Introducing Jamie Reuben: Friend of Boris Johnson, Paris Hilton and Newcastle's key man

·4-min read
Introducing Jamie Reuben: Friend of Boris Johnson, Paris Hilton and Newcastle's key man - Gett Images
Introducing Jamie Reuben: Friend of Boris Johnson, Paris Hilton and Newcastle's key man - Gett Images

While the Saudis faced the furore, a billionaire heir with close links to Boris Johnson went quietly about his business to play a key part in the Newcastle takeover.

Slipping under the radar has been a hallmark of a family empire ranked second richest in Britain, and, true to form, Jamie Reuben took up his position as a St James' Park director with relatively minimal fuss.

His father, David, one half of the Reuben Brothers empire worth £21bn, steers clear of publicity where possible. "Brothers Who Let the Money Do the Talking," is among headlines on the company's official website.

Jamie, however, has an easier relationship with the glamourous trappings of fame. The 34-year-old was declared by one rival broadsheet as among the nation's most eligible bachelors. He has also set tongues wagging by attending parties with the likes of Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian and Princess Beatrice.

However, the glitzy distractions have failed to deter Newcastle's consortium from the firm belief that Reuben may prove to be one of the astute brains - and best connected - of all the new executives involved.

His network extends well beyond his many celebrity friends, including Justin Bieber. It is his previous experience on the board at QPR and his association with the Prime Minister that his associates see as a greater asset as he begins life in Premier League ownership.

His family's 10 per cent investment in the club brings with it a sharp instinct for business that extends beyond his inherited family fortune. He founded the investment firm Melbury Capital in 2011 but has enjoyed more financial success in recent years investing in real estate for the Reuben Brothers family firm. He is in the process of developing a proposed luxury hotel at 94 Piccadilly, formerly the In & Out Club in Piccadilly.

Introducing Jamie Reuben: Friend of Boris Johnson, Paris Hilton and Newcastle's key man - WireImage
Introducing Jamie Reuben: Friend of Boris Johnson, Paris Hilton and Newcastle's key man - WireImage

He has already started pressing the right buttons with the fans. "We will build a true community club, based upon our family’s knowledge of the city and in line with our plans that have been worked on closely with Newcastle City Council to deliver long-term sustainable growth for the area," he said in a statement after the takeover went through.

However, after the Premier League gave its approval on the basis of no state interference by Saudi, there are fair questions to be asked about the extent of his relationship with UK leaders too.

He has previously dabbled in politics, becoming committee chairman for Mr Johnson’s re-election as London Mayor in 2012. The openDemocracy website also reports he has overseen £440,000 in donations, including £125,000 from his firm, Investors in Private Capital Ltd.

However, the Reuben family have categorically denied there was any contact with Mr Johnson relating to the Newcastle deal. Downing Street has also distanced itself from the takeover, clarifying Boris Johnson had not spoken to Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, for "some time". Nigel Huddleston, the sports minister, repeated his position that it was a "matter for football to decide".

The Reuben family, meanwhile, will be keen to keep Jamie as low profile as they can manage at Newcastle. Simon Reuben, his uncle, once said “It goes against all my instincts to talk to a journalist.”

“I also like to keep a low profile,” Jamie told The Times during a rare interview in February last year, just before his involvement in the Newcastle deal was revealed by Telegraph Sport. “I think that’s an approach that has worked well for us. The last time I did an interview was a decade ago.”

Despite dodging publicity, the Reuben Brothers continue to be one of the largest investors in luxury leisure group Belmond Ltd. Other holdings include Travelodge Hotels. David, his father, was born in Mumbai, India, and came to Britain in the 50s. After starting his career at Mount Star Metals, a UK-based scrap-metals business, David joined Trans-Continental, a subsidiary of Metal Traders Inc. In 1977 he left that firm and formed Trans-World Group, and in 1986, along with his brother, Simon, he restructured the firm, bought out his partners, and took control of the business. In 2000 the brothers wound down Trans-World’s operations to sharpen their focus on Reuben Brothers, which is a global leader in private equity, real estate investment and development, and debt financing.

For a dynasty with such a track record of success, navigating a challenging diplomatic situation by going into business with the Saudis at Newcastle may rank as the most daunting challenge of the lot.

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