The Good Father

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Father Mussie Zerai is a remarkable Catholic priest who works daily with refugees and asylum seekers while Europe’s politicians pontificate and procrastinate. Zerai is from Eritrea and based in Rome, but he is also responsible for the thousands of Eritrean refugees living in Switzerland whom he visits every weekend at his own expense to hold services up and down the country and provide support to those who have been through unimaginable trauma, many of them in their teens or barely out of them. I met him in Lucerne along with many of those for whom he is the light at the end of a very dark tunnel. He is also Chairman of Agenzia Habeshia for Cooperation for Development (AHCS) set up in 2006 to support and protect asylum seekers in Italy. A frequent to Lampedusa, he is the man those in peril on the Mediterranean and across the Sahara call for help. www.habeshia.blogspot.com tweeting @AgenziaHabeshia View article

 

Easy rider

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In all sports the likes of Muhammad Ali, Roger Federer and Lionel Messi come along very rarely. Adolfo Cambiaso is one of the greatest polo players of all time. He reached top ranking at the age of 17 and twenty years later he’s still there. I have been lucky enough to watch top class polo in the UK, USA and India and seen some of the greats in a dynamic sport but to spend time with the greatest was a privilege. Stylish, aggressive, Cambiaso sees plays and moves ahead of the rest. As mild-mannered out of the saddle as he is dominating and game changing on the field, I asked Cambiaso if July Cooper was right: that polo is better than sex. “Sex is better,” he smiled, “but polo, it lasts longer.” This major feature appeared in The Telegraph Magazine. View article

The Man of Steel

Steel billionaire Lakshmi Mittal began life in poverty in India and became the biggest maker of steel in the world against all odds: political, cultural and racial. He now lives in this house which cost him a reported £56 million. He is pictured with his son and right-hand man Aditya. After writing this profile for The Telegraph Magazine Mittal opened up his contacts book for me to write the story of the epic takeover battle in which he won control of the world’s second biggest steel company. That story, which has all the elements of a classic spy thriller, became my first book, Cold Steel Lakshmi Mittal and the Multi-Billion-Dollar Battle for a Global Empire (Little Brown/Abacus) View article 

The new face of philanthropy

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Bill Clinton, Al Gore, hedge fund bosses, tycoons and pop stars―there was no limit to the big names that ex-model and fashion entrepreneur Renu Mehta could get to come along to a £1,000-a-head charity fundraising dinner for her Fortune Forum. It has raised millions for charities in the developing world fighting poverty, malaria and delivering clean water. This piece for The Times Magazine explores the glitzy world of giving it large and how to open the wallets of those that Mehta describes as ‘thoughtful luminaries’.   View article    

The art of vanishing

Frank Ahearn is the world’s greatest privacy expert. He can help you vanish to a new life leaving no traces. It’s not easy to do but the reason Frank is so good is that he used to work as a skip tracer in New York, skilled at finding bad people who had skipped town owing money or escaping the police. He completely reversed his skills and successfully hides those being pursued by the mob, Hell’s Angels, abusive husbands and weirdos. I spent several weeks with Frank in his native New York to write pieces for The Times Magazine and Reader’s Digest.  He said: “you ever need to disappear; you know where to find me.” View article

Les très chers frères Zaoui

Michael and Yoel Zaoui are the stars of some of the most significant corporate takeover battles of the last 25 years. Based in London, Michael (on the left) was head of European mergers and acquisitions at Morgan Stanley; Yoel, the younger, held the same post at Goldman Sachs. They have advised some of the world’s leading companies, either defending them against takeover or masterminding their campaigns to take control of others. Sometimes the brothers worked together in a fight; other times they were on opposite sides. Their back story is equally fascinating. French citizens, they are Jewish born in Morocco, educated in Rome, Paris, London and the United States. Cultured, smart and with bulging contacts books, they have now set up together in London as Zaoui & Co. This piece appeared in the French edition of Vanity FairView article