Column Eight: We blew it - Forbes owns up

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The Independent Online
STARLETS seeking sugar daddies should not depend exclusively on Forbes magazine's list of the world's wealthiest figures for their information.

The 1992 list, published on Monday, explains (if explanation was needed) why the Reichmann brothers, owners of Olympia and York and landlords of Canary Wharf, have dropped off.

Last year Forbes had the family fortune at dollars 7bn. This, as it now admits, was a little generous. The company's liabilities are now estimated to exceed assets by dollars 2bn because of plummeting property values.

Calculating its numbers, Forbes says, 'requires endless intelligent digging, but in the end what we have are only highly educated guesstimates.

'Gulp. We sure blew that one,' it concludes.

SUPERB timing. Kininmonth Lambert, specialist reinsurer, announces a new company, Lonzag, formed in co- operation with two leading Croatian insurance companies. It promises 'a full range of insurance and reinsurance broking services for clients in the new state'.

Allusions are made to 'many difficulties relating to the present military, social and economic situation'. Some might describe it as the ultimate high-risk strategy.

TOKYO stockbrokers used to throng seances hosted by Nui Onoue, searching for market indicators from the afterworld as they watched the Nikkei slide inexorably.

But that was until Onoue was arrested on fraud charges. Yesterday one broker told Onoue's trial that the medium would check with the gods before intoning to a packed seance the advice: 'The price will rise . . . it's too soon to buy . . . buy now,' - advice that seems not much better than useless. 'If I had to say, I'd say she was an amateur,' was the broker's verdict.

Amateur? Onoue is the 62- year-old restaurateur who managed to borrow Y240bn ( pounds 1.05bn) from the International Bank of Japan, and is pleading guilty to defrauding financial institutions of billions of yen in Japan's largest loan fraud scandal.

FROM THE ashes of BCCI rises . . . a slim volume on a Welsh fishing hotel. Lake Vyrnwy: The Story of a Sporting Hotel was co-written by George Westropp, a partner at Touche Ross, which was appointed global liquidator of BCCI. Dawn calls from journalists in the Far East and the US robbed George of so much sleep that he decided to do something useful with the time between calls. Kettering Books, pounds 12.95. Don't delay.