A Nuremberg Trial Looms for Polo Philipps; Londoners Diary

The Evening Standard (London, England), March 22, 2007 | Go to article overview

A Nuremberg Trial Looms for Polo Philipps; Londoners Diary


LEADING British aristocrat Rhodri Philipps, 40 year-old polo-playing son and heir of Viscount St Davids, who was once a deputy speaker in the House of Lords, has been arrested at Frankfurt airport and denied bail in case he flees the country.

Philipps's extravagant lifestyle featured in the Evening Standard last month when my colleague Keith Dovkants described how he had caused uproar among workers at the old-established construction company Hans Brochier, which he owned in Nuremberg, depriving the firm of jobs and funds.

Since then things have become dramatically worse for Philipps, a friend of model Jodie Kidd and descendant of Richard the Lionheart. Not only has he been arrested but Germany's top current affairs magazine Der Spiegel this week gleefully chronicles his downfall.

According to Der Speigel, Philipps has been squandering his company's assets.

He spent 21,000 Euros at Cowdray Park polo club and 7,441 Euros at James Purdey, the Mayfair gunmakers. He also used [pounds sterling]12,000 renting a private jet and [pounds sterling]10,000 on a private hospital.

Philipps is said to have taken more that half a million euros from company funds in Nuremberg and paid them into HSBC bank in London to promote a singer from the state opera who claimed the money never arrived.

When Philipps acquired Brochier for the symbolic sum of one euro, he was universally welcomed in Nuremberg as a white knight in shining armour saving a beleaguered firm. Even his high-spending habits were seen as a good thing, as a sign that he would bail them all out.

However, it has all gone wrong now, with allegations that Philipps has spent more than 7240,000 of Brochier money for his own purposes.

Hunky hits half century

HARD to believe, but Alan "Hunky" Duncan will be turning 50 at the end of the month. Although his birthday falls on a Saturday (31 March), the perma-tanned Shadow Secretary of State for Trade, Industry and Energy cannot wait until then, and will be celebrating next Tuesday with an enormous bash in Westminster.

His office informs me 350 friends have been invited to the jamboree in the Great Hall, at 1 Great George Street, although declines to say who they are.

As a very rich bachelor about town, Duncan is known for his insatiable social appetite, and for being highly entertaining at parties.

But when I ring Peter Mandelson's office to inquire whether he will be one of the guests, there is a pause: "Alan who?

Er, Mr Mandelson is in Moscow next week." Are Mandy's partying days over?

Paulinas mourn Diggory loss

SAD news for Paulinas is the passing away of Elizabeth Diggory barely a year after retiring as High Mistress of St Paul's Girls' School from 1998 to 2006.

Despite an academic record that would never do for a Paulina - she failed her 11-plus - she became a popular successor to the formidable Janet Gough and was a fierce advocate of single-sex education.

She believed that girls should be free to find their own voice without having to conform to "feminine" stereotypes imposed on them by boys.

"Diggers was a complete contrast to her predecessor," recollects one former charge. "She liked to keep a low profile and get on with the job. In fact she was so modest that she would stand on the touchline supporting the girls at lacrosse matches and some people failed to realise who she was.

" Diggory had great plans to tackle the Silk Route as well as go on a road trip around America in her retirement but alas she never got the Elizabeth Diggory died of breast cancer at the age of 61.

Mellon joins the Nobu-lity

GOOD TO see that Matthew Mellon's fiancee Noelle Reno had recovered sufficiently from a bout of Delhi belly at Liz Hurley's Indian wedding to brave the fish at Nobu's 10th anniversary party last night at the Roof Gardens in Kensington.

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