NEWS: Reclusive Lewis calls in Barnfather for advice on handling the press

Joseph Lewis, the secretive millionaire at the centre of speculation over the future of auction house Christie’s International, has called on Maurice Barnfather of The Communication Group to help cope with press attention.

Joseph Lewis, the secretive millionaire at the centre of speculation

over the future of auction house Christie’s International, has called on

Maurice Barnfather of The Communication Group to help cope with press

attention.



Lewis, who is ranked Britain’s 8th richest person by the Sunday Times

with an estimated pounds 1 billion fortune, hit the headlines at the end

of last month amid rumours that he had increased his 28.9 per cent share

of Christie’s to a controlling 30 per cent stake.



A tax exile in the Bahamas since 1979, Lewis is notoriously publicity

shy. He has never given a newspaper interview and no picture library in

the world has a photograph of him.



Barnfather, who is deputy chairman of The Communication Group’s

financial and corporate division and a personal friend of Lewis, was

approached by the millionaire for advice on how to handle the flurry of

press enquiries.



‘I have known Joseph for some time and, given all the press attention,

he has asked for some advice,’ said Barnfather. ‘He is a very private

man who doesn’t court publicity who suddenly finds that he is at the

centre of media attention.’



Barnfather stressed that his advice was being given on a voluntary basis

and that Lewis was not a paying client of TCG. But he did not rule out

the possibility that the relationship could be put on a more formal

footing in the future. ‘We will see what happens and how things

develop,’ he said.



Although Lewis’s main holding company Tavistock Group owns interests as

diverse as financial services, property, food, transportation and

entertainment, most of his fortune has been amassed from foreign

exchange dealings. His credit lines with international banks run from

dollars 500 million to dollars 2 billion and insiders say his personal

fortune could be as big as pounds 5 billion.



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