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Kevin 'planned to sell yacht'

The Maxwell Trial; Day 40
One day after Robert Maxwell's mysterious death, his son, Kevin, was so hard-pressed for cash that he planned to sell the yacht from which the tycoon fell, an Old Bailey jury heard yesterday.

The yacht, the Lady Ghislaine, was part of an asset package being prepared by Kevin, said NatWest Bank executive Mr Leal-Bennett.

Robert Maxwell died on 5 November 1991. A day later, Kevin met NatWest officials to discuss the Maxwell group's "financial crisis". Kevin asked the bank to ensure his mother's day-to-day bills were paid. "This was done," said Mr Leal-Bennett.

Kevin also told the meeting that he was planning to sell the yacht, a Berlin newspaper for pounds 50m, a couple of aeroplanes, a Hungarian newspaper and other assets worth about pounds 200m.

The bank official told the jury of the urgent phone call he had from Kevin the day his father went missing from the yacht.

"He sounded extremely distraught. It was clear something concerned him greatly," he said.

Later, Kevin phoned again to say his father's body had been found. Mr Leal-Bennett said the cash crisis began months before Robert Maxwell's death.

Kevin, his brother Ian and former Maxwell aide Larry Trachtenberg deny conspiracy to defraud. Another former Maxwell executive, Robert Bunn, denies the same charge. The trial was adjourned to Monday.