Alan Bond

Alan Bond was an Australian businessman who became a poster child for the capitalist excesses of the 1980s. He incurred huge financial losses which led to the destruction of Bond Corporation, and was involved in the WA Inc political corruption scandals in Western Australia. He was eventually sentenced for seven years' prison in 1997.

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Bond entered and has remained in the Australian imagination as the man won Australia the America's Cup, taking the trophy out of American hands for the first time in 132 years.

But underneath all the hype and jingoism, Bond was no more than a thief and a crook. He siphoned off money from the publicly-listed company Bell Group which he controlled to plug the holes in his own failing companies.

In 1987, Bond purchased Vincent Van Gogh's renowned painting, Irises, for $54 million—the highest price ever paid for a single painting. However, the purchase was funded by a substantial loan from the auctioneer, Sotheby's, which Bond failed to repay.

Bond bought the Nine Network from Kerry Packer for $1 billion, but when the money finally ran out and Bond was declared bankrupt, Packer took the TV station back for a pittance. Packer famously stated: "You only get one Alan Bond in your life, and I've had mine."

At the time, the Bond Corporation collapse was the biggest in Australian corporate history. Thousands lost their jobs.

But it's important to remember that Alan Bond was just one Bad Apple and capitalist businessmen have your best interests at heart.