Tycoon's estate pays $360m to children fathered on sex safaris

When Larry Hillblom, reclusive founder of DHL Worldwide Express, died in 1995, he left behind more than a business empire. His legacy also included four Asian children fathered during obsessive sex safaris across the Far East. David Usborne explains how they have won a slice of his estate.

Bringing a happy end to a paternity battle that was as tawdry as it was tropical, four impoverished children from South-East Asia have won $90m each from the estate of the founder of DHL Worldwide Express, the world's largest air courier service.

The children, two little Filipina girls, a Vietnamese boy and a teenage boy from Palau, were apparently fathered by Larry Hillblom during quests for teenage virgins that took him to girly clubs and go-go bars in the Philippines and throughout the Far East.

The settlement with the children and their mothers was reportedly agreed secretly last month on the Pacific island of Saipan, where Mr Hillblom had lived for the final 10 years of his life. Additionally, $240m was released for medical research at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF).

A lawyer for the teenage Palauan, 13-year-old Larry "Junior" Hillblom, confirmed the deal to the San Francisco Examiner newspaper at the weekend. "There is no question that these kids are not going to have to worry about how their power bills will be paid," David Lujan told the paper.

It was only weeks after Mr Hillblom's death in August 1995, when he ploughed a vintage World War II seaplane into the Pacific Ocean, that women from across the Far East started coming forward with children they said had been fathered by the tycoon. Formal claims were filed by at least eight women.

In his own court filings, Mr Lujan labled the reclusive tycoon a paedophile and said that he "kept mama-sans on the payroll to save virgins for him" in an array of bars and clubs. The allegations were at first denied by Mr Hillblom's estate and its original executor, former DHL chairman Joseph Wachtler.

The normal manner of settling such suits - comparing the DNA of parent and child - was not available because Mr Hillblom's body was lost at the bottom of the ocean.

In the end, however, "sibling DNA" testing was carried out that established that the four children making the claims had one common parent, even though they came from four different places and three different countries. That, apparently, was enough to persuade the estate to settle.

The scandal is said to have shaken DHL to its core. Founded by Mr Hillblom in 1969 when he was still at university in Berkeley, it now offers its services in 200 countries around the world.

Officials noted, however, that the settlement should have little impact on the company. Nor would it affect ownership, because other principals can buy back Mr Hillblom's stock from any heirs.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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 General

Recruitment Genius: Photographer / Floorplanner / Domestic Energy Assessor

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Surrey - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence