Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Where's a Russian oligarch when you need one?

    London’s flooded with Russian oligarchs — but can you find an oligarch when you want one? No, you can’t. I’ve been looking for one for over two years —hoping to find even a little oligarch to whom I can sell a billion-dollar life insurance policy: the perfect gift for the oligarch who has everything.

    I’ve run up to anyone looking even vaguely oligarchal — essentially that’s anyone getting out of a Rolls Royce Phantom with a six-foot blonde supermodel and six very large tough-looking guys with granite jaws you can ski off, standing around him.

    Two weeks ago I was on oligarch lookout at the bar of a Mayfair club when Oleg came and sat next to me. Even though he looked like a 20-year-old student with a bad Beatles hairstyle, a surreptitious glance at my BlackBerry told me he was on the Forbes list of the world’s youngest billionaires. I launched into my billion-dollar life insurance policy sale. “Oleg, just imagine — you’ll own the largest life insurance policy in history — one billion dollars — and it will only cost you one per cent per year — peanuts! Only $10 million.”

    “Really? so little? But tell me, how do I get the billion dollars?” he asked.

    I realised he’d missed one little detail. “Oleg, you have to die! It’s a life insurance policy”. Suddenly I felt he wasn’t quite so interested.

    Keep him alive? I thought he had a cold

    The next evening I met another oligarch. Two in two days! “Hi, I’m Alexander Godolvbovsky”, he said. “But please — call me Alex”.

    On Christmas Eve I got a call. “Hello, it’s Alex, do you remember me?”

    “Alex! what a nice surprise. How are you?”

    “I’ve got a cold.”
    “Alex, stay right where you are, I’ll send my doctor over immediately.”

    When it comes to oligarchs, I know how to ingratiate myself as well as the next life insurance salesman.

    I called Milton, my Harley Street doctor. “Milton, have I got an oligarch for you!”

    “I’ll fly over right away,” he said.

    “Fly? Where are you, Milton?”

    “Jerusalem., for a barmitzvah. But don’t worry, I can be there in 10 hours...”

    Instead I called my doctor friend Chris. Thirty minutes later we met outside a mansion in Belgravia. “Chris, this could be the BIG one for me,” I said. “You must keep him alive.”

    “Keep him alive? I thought you said he’s just got a cold.”

    “I did, but that was an hour ago — maybe it’s spread. He might have pneumonia by now. I want to sell him a very large life insurance policy. If he’s died, I don’t think he’ll pass the medical. Chris, my financial future is in your hands.”

    Chris called me later. “Your diagnosis was right. He’s got a cold.” I haven’t heard from Alex since.

    But I’m not giving up. Khodorkovsky’s out of prison after ten years in Siberia and the word around Mayfair is he’s heading for London. Did you see him at his Berlin press conference 24 hours after his release? Didn’t he look very healthy to you? I think he’d pass an insurance medical.

    When he went inside he was Russia’s richest man with $25 billion, so even if he’s down to his last two or three billion, he still could be my oligarch. This could be my happiest new year ever...

Columnists

A prejudice unlike any other

Melanie Phillips

Thursday, November 10, 2016

A prejudice unlike any other
Columnists

Pray America repudiates Trump

Jonathan Freedland

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Pray America repudiates Trump
Comment

The hard left’s double-standard on Israel

Robert Philpot

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The hard left’s double-standard on Israel
Israel

Russian PM to visit Israel this week

Anshel Pfeffer

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Russian PM to visit Israel this week
World

Muslims, Jews - we fight Russia as one, says Ukr...

Samuel Sokol

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Muslims, Jews - we fight Russia as one, says Ukr...
Columnists

Moderate left is ready to rally

Daniel Finkelstein

Friday, October 7, 2016

Moderate left is ready to rally
Columnists

Beware of the Bonfire Night toffee hazard!

Susan Reuben

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Beware of the Bonfire Night toffee hazard!
Columnists

You know, you really don't look it

David Aaronovitch

Friday, October 21, 2016

You know, you really don't look it
Columnists

Why death becomes us

Abigail Radnor

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Why death becomes us