Multimillionaire killed in plane crash leaves £41m to Oxfam

BY: www.independent.co.uk
Businessman Richard Cousins died in a seaplane crash alongside most of his immediate family in December 2017 ( PA )
Businessman Richard Cousins died in a seaplane crash alongside most of his immediate family in December 2017 ( PA )

A multi-millionaire businessman killed alongside his family in a seaplane crash has left a reported £41m of his fortune to Oxfam.

Richard Cousins, former chief executive of international catering giant Compass, donated the money following an amendment to his will made just months before his death, according to The Sun.

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Mr Cousins, 58, his two sons, his fiancee and her daughter, were killed when the sightseeing aircraft they were travelling in plunged into a river near Sydney, Australia, on New Year’s Eve.

However, a year before the accident, the Leeds-born tycoon reportedly had a “common tragedy clause” drawn into his will.

The clause was thought to stipulate the vast majority of his money should be given to the charity in the event he and his sons died together.


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Oxfam said it had been gifted a sum of cash as part of Mr Cousins’ will, but did not confirm the reported size of the donation.

“We are extremely grateful for this bequest of which we have only recently been notified,” the charity said in a statement.

“We are working with the family and our Board of Trustees to identify how the money will be used.”

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Mr Cousins had been at the helm of Compass for more than a decade at the time of his death, but planned to retire in April this year.

The businessman's donation comes weeks after Oxfam warned its staff it needed to make a reported £16m in savings and scale back its aid programmes following fallout from the Haiti sex scandal.

Thousands of people are thought to have cancelled direct debits with the charity following allegations its staff hired victims of the country’s 2010 earthquake as sex workers.

Four employees involved in the disaster relief effort were ultimately fired following an internal investigation conducted by the charity after it was made aware of the allegations in 2011.

Oxfam also faced criticism for its decision to allow Roland van Hauwermeiren, its head of operations in Haiti, to resign rather than have his contract terminated following allegations of impropriety.

Mr van Hauwermeiren admitted to engaging in a sexual relationship with a victim of the disaster, saying he was “deeply ashamed” of his behaviour, but denied using prostitutes.

Head of Oxfam International, Winnie Byanyima, described the sexual exploitation allegations as a “stain” on the charity “that will shame us for years” at the time the scandal broke.