Getty helped traitors sell oil to Hitler by Peter Day Telegraph.uk
The Texan oil billionaire Jean Paul Getty was at the heart of a conspiracy to provide support to Hitler’s Germany early in the Second World War, according to newly released intelligence documents. The file links Getty to a shadowy network of financiers who supplied the Nazis with fuel in defiance of a British blockade and accuses him of gathering spies and traitors around him at his fashionable Hotel Pierre in New York. It records that he returned from Berlin in 1939 “talking breezily of his old friend Hitler” and that his business contacts included Serge Rubinstein, a notorious fraudster who ran part of his empire through London. The “Suspect Persons” file prepared by the Foreign Office for the Ministry of Economic Warfare has just been declassified at the National Archives at Kew, south-west London. It appears to be the work of the British Security Co-ordination team in New York, run by William Stephenson, Churchill’s secret envoy to President Roosevelt, codenamed Intrepid. He was rumoured to be behind the assassination of one of the leading figures in the deal to try to stop it continuing. The dossier was compiled after the detention in Trinidad in October 1941 of the banker who worked for Hermann Goering, shifting Nazi funds out of Europe. He was carrying $100,000 cash and had another $1 million in a South American bank. The banker was linked to Rubinstein, the son of a Russian banker who worked for the last Tsar and had been ruined by the Bolshevik revolution. Rubinstein had a first class degree in economics from Cambridge but turned his talents to making money fast and illegally. One of his vehicles was the Chosen Corporation of London which owned the rights to Korean gold mines. It was eventually wound up by a High Court judge in 1943 to prevent Rubinstein getting his hands on $1.6 million in assets. Long before then Rubinstein had milked it of millions more and transferred the money to New York where he set up a subsidiary to finance illicit oil deals through Mexico to Nazi Germany. Rubinstein became one of a cast of extraordinary characters who frequented the Hotel Pierre, which Getty reputedly bought because he wanted to sack a waiter who was rude to him when he was a guest. Among them was a Russian-born Briton, who claimed to work for MI6 but whose sympathies appeared to lie with Germany. He had been seen meeting German agents in Cuba and members of the American Far Right, including the Ku Klux Klan. The intelligence file records: “Precisely what he was doing in the USA, and why, has never been elucidated. At the outbreak of the war he was visiting the US ostensibly on behalf of the Air Crew Co of Weybridge. “He appears to have been mixed up in a Mexican-oil-for-Germany deal, together with Mexican presidential contender Almazan, and J Paul Getty wealthy owner of the Hotel Pierre. “Getty, controller of Mission Oil Corp which holds German patents licensed by I G Farben and Standard Oil of New Jersey subsidiaries, returned from Europe in November 1939 talking breezily about his ‘old friend’ Hitler. “Later he was said to have sold 1,000,000 barrels of oil to Germany for delivery via Russia. The Hotel Pierre was filled with doubtful and flashy characters with Nazi-Fascist-Vichy antecedents and/or connections, and when Getty bought control of it he first employed an Austrian baron, then a German war veteran and an ex-U boat captain as managers. “Among residents at the Pierre — living in luxury suites on no visible income sources — were a Countess Mohle who spent her time making herself attractive to US Army officers and was in a perpetual state of wide-eyed curiosity about military matters.” One of Rubinstein’s contacts in the oil deal, William Davis, was found dead in a hotel room, ostensibly of a heart attack, although there was a suspicion he had been assassinated. Rubinstein himself was the victim of a celebrated unsolved murder case when he was strangled in his Fifth Avenue apartment in 1955. Getty, meanwhile, appeared to have a change of heart when America entered the war after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He volunteered, at the age of 49, for US Navy service. His financial empire continued to blossom until he was named the richest man in the world. He lived out some of his last days at his Sutton Place estate in Surrey. His son, John Paul Getty, lived for much of his life in Britain and was a noted Anglophile who became a British citizen in 1987. He was knighted for his support of charity and the arts, including a £50 million donation to the National Gallery. He was also devoted to cricket and made a substantial donation towards a new stand at Lords. He died in a London clinic, aged 70, last April.