Precious little is known of Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay, despite being renowned for seizing business opportunities in media, retail and property.
1. BrecqhouIn 1993, the Barclay brothers purchased the island of Brecqhou, situated just west of Sark in the Channel Islands. Upon completion of the deal, the Barclays immediately set about commissioning the design and build of a £60m gothic-style mansion, an imposing walled building that now dominates the island’s north face.
However, the brothers’ quest for idyllic seclusion has met with a number of obstacles – primarily in the shape of the government of Sark. The Barclays drive cars on the island and frequently land their helicopter within the mansion’s grounds despite both activities being deemed illegal by Sark’s age-old feudal laws.
Demonstrating a rebellious streak bordering on churlishness, but additionally attracting the headlines they tried so hard to avoid, the Barclays shut down their entire Sark operation in 2008, invoking a game of political poker designed to pressure the government of Sark into overturning the preventative feudal laws. One hundred jobs were lost on Sark, which represents around a sixth of the population. “Sark doesn't appear to want or appreciate the Barclays' investment and so it doesn't have it," advocate Gordon Dawes, who represents the Barclays, told BBC News.
Unfortunately for the Barclays, in a gesture of defiance not seen since Passport to Pimlico, Sark’s electorate voted unanimously against the twins, which was compounded by the five Supreme Court judges who also dismissed their case. The helicopter has not been sighted since....read more
Their acquisition of Littlewoods in 2002 courted controversy though when the penny-pinching duo scrapped the firm’s tradition of donating 1% of its annual profits to a range of charities