The business on...Nat Rothschild, Financier, Vallar

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The Independent Online

Why is he in the news?

The Honourable Nathaniel Philip Victor James Rothschild, entrepreneur and scion of the famous banking family, said yesterday that he was preparing to float his latest venture, Vallar, which is expected to invest up to £5bn in the mining industry.

Mining? Whatever happened to banking?

Nat was co-chairman of the hedge fund Atticus, which sadly closed its flagship fund last year after running into trouble during the financial crisis. But he has already dabbled in the resources industry, having been on the advisory board of the world's biggest gold miner, Barrick, for the past few years. He is also good mates with Oleg Deripaska.

Oleg Deripaska? I've heard that name before.

Ah, yes. Mr Deripaska caused something of a stir in Britan in 2008 when the Tories attempted to make a bit of political capital out of the fact that Lord Mandelson had stayed on the Russian oligarch's yacht and attended a party thrown by Nat in Corfu. It somewhat backfired when Nat wrote to a newspaper saying that George Osborne, now the Chancellor, had asked Mr Deripaska for a donation to Tory Party coffers during the bash.

We thought Nat and George were best mates...

They used to be. Indeed, they go back as far as prep school and there's probably a closely-guarded Bullingdon Club photo of the pair of them somewhere from their days at Oxford. They go back so far, in fact, that Nat probably knows the Chancellor as Gideon.

So he's well connected, then, young Nat?

Indeed he is. As well as Osborne and Lord Mandelson, it is thought he is also on first name terms with a host of politicians and members of the glitterati. He is even chums with Saif al-Islam Muammar al-Gaddafi, the son of the Libyan dictator. But he also knows a few people in the mining industry and has managed to recruit a former Anglo American executive, James Campbell, to help run Vallar.

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