Ian Maxwell
Born1956 (age 65–66)
Alma materUniversity of Oxford
Laura Marie Plumb
(m. 1991; div. 1996)

Tara Dudley Smith
(m. 1999)
Parent(s)Robert Maxwell
Elisabeth Maxwell
RelativesKevin Maxwell (brother)
Christine Maxwell (sister)
Isabel Maxwell (sister)
Ghislaine Maxwell (sister)

Ian Maxwell (born 1956) is a British businessman and co-founder of the think tank Combating Jihadist Terrorism. In the 1990s, Maxwell was acquitted of charges of criminal financial malpractice relating to the business practices of his father, publishing tycoon Robert Maxwell.[1]

Early life and education

Maxwell, born 1956 in Maisons-Laffitte, France, is the son of Elisabeth (née Meynard), a French-born scholar, and Robert Maxwell, a Czechoslovak-born media mogul.[2] His father was Jewish and his mother was a French Protestant of Huguenot descent.[3] He is one of nine siblings, of which two died in childhood. These include sisters Isabel Maxwell, Christine Maxwell, and Ghislaine Maxwell, and brother Kevin Maxwell. The family moved to Headington Hill Hall in 1960.

Ian Maxwell was educated at Summer Fields School, Marlborough College and Oxford University.


Maxwell's first involvement in his father's business was at Pergamon Press from 1978 to 1983. After a short time at the Prince's Charitable Trust, he rejoined the Maxwell business, this time at British Printing and Communications Corporation (later renamed Maxwell Communications Corporation).[4] In 1991, it was reported that Maxwell worked for The European.[2]

Ian Maxwell was appointed chairman of Mirror Group Newspapers plc (MGN) following the death of his father on 5 November 1991.[5] For the next month, the group was the subject of speculation regarding its financial position. On 3 December 1991, Maxwell and his brother Kevin resigned from the board of Maxwell Communication Corporation and nine hours later resigned from MGN, following the disclosure that "many million" of pounds had been transferred from the Mirror Group pension fund to Robert Maxwell's private companies apparently without due authority.[6] MGN announced: "Because of increasing conflicts of interest, Ian Maxwell, chairman and publisher of MGN, Kevin Maxwell, and Michael Stoney, who has a major management involvement in the Maxwell private companies, have today resigned from the board of MGN and its subsidiaries and have also ceased their executive duties in the MGN Group."[6]

On 19 June 1992, Ian Maxwell, Kevin Maxwell, and their financial advisor Larry Trachtenberg were arrested and charged with conspiracy to defraud others of millions of dollars.[7][8] In January 1996, all three were acquitted.[2][9]

In 1995, Maxwell was involved with Maximov Publications, a company with a focus on content about Russia and the Soviet Union's former republics.[2]

The Scotsman reported in 2001 that Maxwell was a director of 31 companies and also worked for Westbourne Communications, a public relations firm which represented Telemonde.[10]

Maxwell announced in September 2018 that he and his brother Kevin had founded a UK think tank, Combating Jihadist Terrorism (CoJit), with the aim of better understanding terrorism and its causes.[11] As of 2020, Maxwell was CoJit's director.[1]

Personal life

In 1991, Maxwell married Laura Marie Plumb, an American former fashion model from Chicago.[12] They announced their separation in 1996,[12] and the pair later divorced. Maxwell remarried in 1999 to Tara Dudley Smith.[2]

In March 2021, Maxwell expressed concern about the welfare in a US prison of his sister Ghislaine who was then awaiting trial on criminal charges relating to her association with Jeffrey Epstein.[13]


  1. ^ a b Rogers, Taylor Nicole (6 July 2020). "A death in the Atlantic, a media empire that once had $4 billion in debt, and a yacht named Lady Ghislaine: Take a look at Ghislaine Maxwell's family history". Business Insider. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Kevin and Ian Maxwell". BBC News Online. BBC. 29 March 2001.
  3. ^ New York Times: "AT LUNCH WITH: Elisabeth Maxwell; Questions Without Answers" By ALEX WITCHEL 15 February 1995
  4. ^ "1991: Publisher Robert Maxwell dies at sea". On This Day. BBC News. 5 November 1991. Retrieved 7 February 2007.
  5. ^ "MGN continues to achieve 'highly satisfactory' results: Ian Maxwell". AFX News. AFP-Extel News. 7 November 1991.
  6. ^ a b Nisse, Jason; Waterhouse, Rosie (4 December 1991). "Maxwells quit Mirror board; Serious Fraud Office set to investigate transfer of pension funds to firms controlled by Robert Maxwell". The Independent. Independent News & Media. p. 1.
  7. ^ Touey, William (19 June 1992). "Maxwell's 2 Sons Arrested on Fraud Charges". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 28 July 2019.
  8. ^ MacAskill, Ewan (19 June 1992). "Maxwell's Sons Arrested on Fraud, Theft Charges". The Washington Post. Retrieved 29 January 2020.
  9. ^ "The way is still clear for a tyrant and a fraud". The Independent. 20 January 1996. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  10. ^ "Misery in the maxwell house". The Scotsman. 16 November 2001. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  11. ^ Davies, Caroline (9 September 2018). "Robert Maxwell was to meet Bank official the day he died, say sons". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  12. ^ a b "Three loyal and brave women who stood by the brothers". HeraldScotland. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  13. ^ Hill, James; Folmer, Kaitlyn; Longman, James; Leuci, Santuci (15 March 2021). "Ghislaine Maxwell's brother insists she should be treated as 'presumed innocent': 'She is not Epstein'". ABC News. Retrieved 17 March 2021.