Zaharoff, Sir Basil

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.
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Zaharoff, Sir Basil

Sir Basil Zaharoff (Basileios Zacharias) (ză´hərŏf´), 1850–1936, international financier and munitions manufacturer, b. Anatolia, Turkey, probably of Greek-Russian parents, educated in England. His name is best known in connection with the Vickers-Armstrong munitions firm, of which he was director and chairman. For his services to the Allies during World War I, Zaharoff was knighted by George V and decorated by the French government. He was, however, popularly known as the "mystery man of Europe" and was accused of fomenting warfare and of secret political intrigue through his association with European statesmen, notably Lloyd George, and through his reputed holdings in Krupp, Skoda, and other munitions firms.

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