Siddhesh Joshi (Editor)

Robin Birley (businessman)

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Name  Robin Birley
Children  Maud Birley
Ex-spouse  Lucy Ferry
Died  1986, Togo
Role  Businessman

Robin Birley (businessman) idailymailcoukipix20100524article1281127
Parents  Lady Annabel Goldsmith, Mark Birley
Siblings  India Jane Birley, Jemima Goldsmith, Rupert Birley
Similar People  Mark Birley, India Jane Birley, Lucy Ferry, Lady Annabel Goldsmith, Jemima Goldsmith

Robin Marcus Birley (born 19 February 1958) is an English businessman, entrepreneur and political activist. He is the son of Lady Annabel Goldsmith and the night club owner Mark Birley. He had a brother, Rupert, who disappeared and is presumed deceased, and has a sister, India Jane Birley, from whom he is estranged.



Birley owns and runs 5 Hertford Street, a private members' club in Mayfair, which opened in June 2012 after a £30 million building and refurbishment programme. Fashion designer Rifat Ozbek designed the interior of the club.

Birley also owns and runs Birley Sandwiches, a chain of 14 sandwich bars in the City of London and Canary Wharf.

Until 2004 he was chairman of the Democracy Movement, a crossparty pressure group once financed by Paul Sykes that succeeded the efforts of the now defunct Referendum Party. The Democracy Movement actively campaigned against a European Union constitution and a single European currency.

A conservative Eurosceptic, Birley stood as a candidate for the Referendum Party, founded by his stepfather Sir James Goldsmith with the aim of creating a referendum on UK membership in the European Union.

In 1998, Birley began his work with Chilean Supporters Abroad. During a break in the trial of Chile's former president Augusto Pinochet, Birley welcomed him to England and helped to finance a sumptuous residence for him in Wentworth, Surrey, as well as a pro-Pinochet pamphlet. Birley stated: "It's also an abuse of hospitality to ambush an old man when he has come to this country year after year. He has done an immense amount for Chile. No one is supporting him and I have sympathy for the underdog.". Pinochet was the leader of a military junta which overthrew the democratically elected government of Chile in 1973.

In the early 1990s, Birley was president of the Mozambique Institute, which supported Renamo, a conservative political party sponsored by the white minority government in Rhodesia and later by the apartheid regime in South Africa. Birley once told George Monbiot, that he believed he "had not just a right but a duty to give help to Renamo."

In 2005, Birley financed David Davis' bid to become the leader of the United Kingdom's Conservative Party. Birley described Davis as "the most conservative of the candidates". Although the position ultimately went to David Cameron, Birley's half-brother Zac Goldsmith was given a high-profile role as the party leader's advisor on environmental issues.

When his father needed to use a wheelchair full-time, Birley and his sister took over the operation of his nightclub empire. which included Annabel's, the London night club founded by his father and named for his mother.

However, in late 2006, Birley was dismissed by his father and his sister on the grounds of alleged misconduct for having engaged a private investigator to do a background check on the boyfriend of his 45-year-old sister India Jane. Birley paid £200,000 for what turned out to be false information. For this reason he and his sister, India Jane, are now estranged.


Birley also owns and runs Envirotrade, which sells Plan Vivo community carbon credits. These carbon credits allow companies to voluntarily offset their carbon emissions. Envirotrade has set up community forestry projects in Mozambique and Bhutan to produce carbon credits through reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) and agroforestry. The Sofala community carbon project remains the only project in the world to have been awarded gold in all three categories of the Climate Community and Biodiversity standard.

In April 2010, the BBC admitted that a documentary about Birley titled Taking The Credit, should not have been shown because of conflicts of interest. The BBC trust stated in its final report in 2011 that "there was no suggestion that the ACLT, Envirotrade or any personnel connected to the organisations had acted improperly".

Private life

Birley grew up in London with his siblings, Rupert and India Jane. He was educated at St. Aubyns Preparatory School in Rottingdean, East Sussex and Eton College. His parents were divorced after his mother had two children with his father's friend Sir James Goldsmith. His mother eventually married Goldsmith and continued their polyamorous relationship. Birley has three half-siblings through his mother's second marriage, Zac Goldsmith, Jemima Goldsmith and Ben Goldsmith.

During his adolescence, Birley was mauled by a tiger at Howletts Zoo, the private zoo of family friend John Aspinall. The bones on one side of his face were crushed. He has endured years of cosmetic surgery but the accident left him severely disfigured.

In 1986, his brother Rupert was presumed drowned in mysterious circumstances whilst working in Togo, West Africa, but his body was never recovered.

Birley has a daughter, Maud, by a former girlfriend. He married Lucy Helmore, the ex-wife of Bryan Ferry, in October 2006.


Robin Birley (businessman) Wikipedia