Robert Maxwell: Who Was He? How Did He Die?

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Investigation Discovery’s ‘The Tetris Murders’ chronicles how Vladimir and Yelena Fedotova and the couple’s son, Peter Pokhilko, were found murdered in their Silicon Valley home on September 22, 1998. While the murder had nothing to do with the video game ‘Tetris,’ authorities, through their investigation, learned that Vladimir had worked on the game during its development stage. Interestingly, the show even talks about the death of businessman Robert Maxwell, who was also allegedly involved in the distribution of ‘Tetris’ copies. Well, let’s delve into his life and find out how he died, shall we?

Who Is Robert Maxwell?

Robert Maxwell was born Ján Ludvík Hyman Binyamin Hoch to Jewish parents in Slatinské Doly, Czechoslovakia. Reports mention that he had an incredibly tragic childhood as the Nazis took away most of his family to concentration camps while he fled the country and took refuge with the Czechoslovak Army in France. However, once France fell to the Nazis, Robert escaped to England and was incorporated into the British army, where he even reached the rank of Captain.

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Subsequently, in 1945, Robert married Elisabeth Meynard, a French interpreter, before legally changing his name in 1948. Since Robert was interested in starting a family, especially after the Nazis wiped out his own, he and Elisabeth shared nine children. Sadly, their daughter, Karine, died of leukemia when she was 3, and their son, Michael, was rendered unconscious after being involved in a car accident at 15.

Unfortunately, Michael never regained consciousness and passed away seven years later. Reports claim that after the war, Robert found employment in the British Foreign Office in Berlin but gradually saved up to buy his first business, Pergamon Press. In the following years, he bought and sold several other companies and served two terms as a British Member of Parliament for the Labor party. Interestingly, during the Arab-Israeli war of 1948, sources mentioned that Robert played a big part in getting military aircraft parts into Israel.

Such speculations made people believe that Robert was a part of Mossad, while some assumed that he was a double or even a triple spy with KGB and MI6 connections. Nevertheless, the fact is that at the time of the business tycoon’s death, he was neck-deep in debt and on the verge of going bankrupt.

How Did Robert Maxwell Die?

On November 4, 1991, Robert Maxwell decided to take a short vacation on his yacht in the Canary Islands in Spain. It is said that the yacht crew last saw him in the early morning hours of November 5, when he was going to bed at around 4:25 AM. Surprisingly, Robert was nowhere to be located after sunrise.

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Since the businessman had a habit of urinating over the edge of the yacht, the crew assumed that the businessman had fallen overboard. A rescue operation was launched within minutes, and his body was recovered from the ocean; a medical examiner determined that he had drowned to death.

Since Robert was under much pressure from creditors then, some people theorized that he might have taken his own life. On the other hand, others believed that status as an alleged spy eventually forced Mossad or Russia to take action. Interestingly, the Investigation Discovery show states that Robert was involved in distributing copies of ‘Tetris’ through one of his businesses.

Since Russia or the Russian Mafia did not get a single penny from such sales, a rumor accused them of being involved in Robert’s demise. However, readers should note that all of these theories have since been reported as a court order ruled out murder as well as death by suicide and determined that Robert had suffered a heart attack, following which he accidentally fell into the ocean and drowned.

Read More: Alexey Pajitnov: Where Is Tetris’ Inventor Now?