ASmallWorld: Nestlé heir Patrick Liotard-Vogt, a ‘jetrosexual’ website and a £3m dispute

One of the social media company’s backers has made an apparently sudden exit of his own from his native Switzerland for St Kitts in the Caribbean

Deputy Business Editor

Chuka Umunna must have wished he could have run away from the Westminster bubble after he was exposed as a member of the international rich kids’ website ASmallWorld – particularly when his messages bemoaning the “trash” and “C-list wannabes” in London’s nightclubs were made public.

Now one of the social media company’s backers, the Nestlé heir Patrick Liotard-Vogt, has made an apparently sudden exit of his own from his native Switzerland for St Kitts in the Caribbean, leaving a string of financial claims and from business partners behind him.

Mr Liotard-Vogt was the archetypal ASmallWorld member. Handsome, aristocratic and from one of Europe’s wealthiest families, he epitomised the “jetrosexual” customers using the London-registered site known as “MySpace for millionaires”.

He lives the life of the moneyed continental, sporting tailored bling designed to set off his long, swept-back ginger curls at exclusive nightclubs and ski slopes.

His anecdote about how he bought ASmallWorld from the movie mogul Harvey Weinstein while at a glitzy function in Cannes paints a picture of the man. “I walked up to him and said, ‘Hey, I want to buy your shares in ASmallWorld.’ To which he responded: ‘You need to show up with a lot of money, which I don’t think you have.’ I laughed and said, ‘I think I have 10 times more than you do.’ ”

However, reports in the Swiss press said that according to official documents he was now being pursued for more than Sfr4m (£3m).

One of those registering a claim is a company associated with the website’s former chief executive, Joe Robinson. It is seeking Sfr1.6m. The claim is confidential, but is likely to involved the events surrounding his departure from the company.

Another business, a franchise of the exclusive Diners’ Club credit card, is said to be claiming Sfr1.15m, amid reports he racked up big debts on his personal Diners’ Club card - claims he strenuously denies. The claim comes despite the fact that he is a director and shareholder, since teaming up with a businessman friend to buy the franchise for Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Germany and Luxembourg.

Most intriguingly, the FC Basel football star David Degen was also reportedly claiming more than SFr1.5m. That case appears to have now been settled privately and the claim withdrawn.

Mr Liotard-Vogt surfaced tonight to tell The Independent by email that the other claims continue, with, as he describes it: “different opinions on various internal affairs” with Diners’ Club, and an ongoing spat with the former ASmallWorld boss Mr Robinson who “was asked to leave” the website in 2010.

He said the company has set aside an “escrow” account with money to cover the Robinson dispute, and added: “the courts shall decide” whether the money gets released to the former executive or not.

On the Diners’ Club claims, he said: “Diners Club and I have different opinions on various internal affairs. Both Diners Club and I remain confident that all lawsuits against each other (against myself, against management), will be withdrawn within days.”

His Diners’ Club partner, Anthony Helbling, declined to comment on the proceedings when asked by the Swiss newspaper Handelszeitung. Mr Robinson did not return calls.

Mr Liotard-Vogt’s London-born great grandfather worked his way up through Nestlé to become chairman and chief executive of the company.

Asked whether he was in financial difficulties, the heir to the fortune responded: “I can afford three hot meals a day... No financial difficulties in sight”, declaring he had long planned to stay in St Kitts while overseeing a luxury property development there. “Being on the spot is better than [in] a foreign country,” he said.

He added that he had recently upped his stake in ASmallWorld in December by a further 35%, taking his ownership to 80%.

ASmallWorld files accounts in two addresses in London but a spokesman said it only had offices in Edinburgh, Switzerland and New York.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
sport
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sport
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Sport
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Junior Research Analyst - Recruitment Resourcer

£18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £25K: SThree: SThree Group has been well estab...

Senior Analyst - Financial Modelling

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: This really is a fantastic chance to joi...

Associate CXL Consultant

£40000 - £60000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: CXL, Triple Po...

Business Anaylst

£60000 - £75000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: Business Anal...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform