Basil Zaharoff facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
Basil Zaharoff in 1928
October 6, 1849
Muğla, Ottoman Empire
|Died||November 27, 1936
|Nationality||Ottoman, Greek, naturalised French|
|Occupation||Arms dealer, industrialist|
Basil Zaharoff, GCB, GBE (born Vasileios Zacharias; Greek: Βασίλειος Zαχαρίας Ζαχάρωφ; October 6, 1849 – November 27, 1936) was a Greek arms dealer and industrialist. One of the richest men in the world during his lifetime, Zaharoff was described as a "merchant of death" and "mystery man of Europe". His success was forged through his cunning, often aggressive and sharp, business tactics. These included the sale of arms to opposing sides in conflicts, sometimes delivering fake or faulty machinery and skilfully using the press to attack business rivals.
Zaharoff maintained close contacts with many powerful political leaders, including British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, Greek Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos and Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II; he likely served as a primary inspiration for Ian Fleming's fictional James Bond villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
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