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Who is Sam Blyth? Derring-do of Boris Johnson’s rich cousin in a crisis | News

For for most people, a ten-day sentence in a Mozambique prison in the midst of communist rule will take its toll.

Sam Blyth, a travel entrepreneur embroiled in a furore over an £800,000 loan guarantee for his relative Boris Johnson, has used the prison experience as a wellness sanctuary.

“Whatever the situation, Sam can turn it into fun or advantage,” said his cellmate and ex-girlfriend, 82-year-old Lady Black of Crossharbour, who is married to businessman Lord Black.

She told The Times: “Sam set up training in his cell and walked out looking like he was at New Moon camp and I walked out like a ghost after I got malaria and typhoid.”

The anecdote serves as a parable of Blythe’s life, which replete with stories of how he faced adversity, but used the situation to his advantage. Friends have suggested that this is a common feature of the multimillionaire and Johnson.

The Sunday Times reported this month that Blyth helped secure funding for Johnson, 58, when he was in 10th place and was struggling to survive on his £164,000 prime minister’s salary.

The story prompted a formal investigation into how Richard Sharpe, chairman of the BBC, got his job after it was revealed that he had put his friend Blyth in touch with the cabinet secretary so that he could offer to act as a surety to the prime minister. minister.

A friend said that Blyth was

A friend said that Blyth was “charming. He knows how to make friends and influence people – just like Boris.”


Sharp did not state his involvement in the arrangement during an interview with the BBC, despite Johnson’s role in recommending his appointment. The Times spoke to 67-year-old Blyth’s friends and family and pieced together his colorful life.

Blyth organized adventure tours that ended in disaster when passengers got stuck thousands of miles from home hanging his effigy, and bankruptcy cases where judges accused him of overseeing tours that were a “nightmare” for passengers.

The Times may reveal details of his closeness to the Johnsons, which stems from both families having their roots in Sir George Williams, founder of the YMCA. Bleeth sits on the same board of an education company in Canada as Johnson’s younger brother, Joe, a former minister of universities, and is friends with his younger sister, Rachel.

Sam was born Graham David Blyth at a military base in Manitoba, Canada in 1954 to Patricia, an Anglican priest, and David, an army officer. Nicknamed Sam, he was the youngest and only male among four or five siblings.

• BBC Chairman, Prime Minister and £800,000 loan guarantee.

John Frazier, 78, a friend and journalist from Toronto, said: “All the sisters adored him. He is considered very attractive and looks very good. He is charming. He knows how to make friends and influence people – like Boris – they both like risk.

“He’s an entrepreneur, and entrepreneurs often live very close to the line of the law, but don’t cross it.”

Blyth’s second cousin is Stanley Johnson, Boris’s father. Blyth and Stanley’s mothers, Patricia Blyth and Irene Williams, were cousins.

Stanley, 82, showered Blyth with praise, adding that they had been “close” friends for “many years”.

Blyth and Barbara Amiel.  Their relationship lasted two years.

Blyth and Barbara Amiel. Their relationship lasted two years.

The Canadian went to school in England and frequented the Johnson family farm, a 500-acre site in Nethercote, Exmoor, where the former prime minister spent most of his childhood.

“I have nothing but praise for Sam Blyth,” Stanley said. “Good man. He and I have a common great-grandfather, so we are very close. He’s on my mother’s side – Williams’ side. Side Williams married David Blyth.

“Sam went to school in England. In Uppingham. He was at the University of Cambridge. It is very nice to have a connection with Canada. I love Canada.”

Blyth spent his early career in Canada promoting adventure overseas, including arctic icebreaking treks, Himalaya treks, bike tours in China, and cruises to Cuba.

At 17, he took a job as a luggage porter for a European tour run by a travel company in Toronto and worked his way up before starting his own travel business at 23. His first venture was the Great Canadian Show Train which traveled the country showing live performances on board and then stopping in towns for passengers to explore. Pierre Trudeau, former Prime Minister and father of current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, joined one of the trips to Bhutan and Kashmir. Blythe’s ambitious ideas did not always work. In 1992, a $12,600-per-person cruise billed as an “epic trip” to Chile encountered gale-force winds that made passengers terribly ill and fell far behind schedule, which meant land-based excursions were excluded from the itinerary. “Angry passengers hung an effigy of Mr Blyth,” the Globe and Mail reported in 2000.

In 1993, a judge said the expedition to Antarctica “proved disastrous” during a dispute between his company and a cruise ship owner. “Since then, both sides have exchanged scathing accusations of incompetence,” the judge added.

In 2000, he tried to smuggle American tourists to Cuba, avoiding US restrictions, calling it an educational visit. To get around the rules that prevent most U.S. citizens from traveling to Cuba for personal reasons, passengers had to be taken in by a non-profit foundation and technically didn’t have to spend money on Cuban soil. There is no suggestion that this was illegal.

The plan was canceled before any ships were launched “as a result of potentially violent resistance and a recent bomb threat,” the company said at the time. No threats were reported, but Cuban exiles in the US used violence against those seeking closer contact with the island.

Lady Black describes Blyth in her memoirs as

Lady Black describes Blyth in her memoirs as “a born tennis player, cyclist, sailer, swimmer, rugby player with a mop of dark hair and skin as perfect as a peach if a peach could tan.”

Blyth was later criticized by another judge after organizing cruises to bring in the new millennium. His companies sold seats on a 127-night cruise that departed on New Year’s Eve 1999.

Another voyage in early 2000 was a 116-day cruise called the Lost Worlds Cruise. One ship on the tour with 225 passengers, some of whom paid up to $26,990, left people in Tahiti stranded. The Panamanian-flagged Riviera was halted due to financial problems at Blyth’s World Cruise Company. He said the company was not going bankrupt but was “folding up,” adding that it was mostly American and Japanese passengers who were flying home, some at their own expense.

“It’s very unfortunate,” he told the Globe and Mail in 2000.

The National Post reported that two of Blyth’s travel firms went bankrupt, and the court was told that the Royal Bank of Canada was responsible for paying passengers $5 million. The bank reportedly asked the court to grant him ownership of the businessman’s property and declare him bankrupt because he owed $81,399.18 on a line of credit and a term loan. This has been disputed.

In 1980, Blyth had a two-year relationship with Barbara Amiel before she became Lady Black. They were arrested in Mozambique after entering the country without the necessary documents.

In her memoirs, she describes Blyth as “a born tennis athlete, cycling, sailing, swimming, rugby with a mop of dark hair and skin as perfect as a peach if a peach could tan.”

In 1985, Blyth married Rosemary Bata, daughter of businessman Thomas Bata, once the world’s largest shoemaker. The National Post reported that during Blyth’s divorce proceedings 11 years later, he declared over $3.5 million in debts and liabilities.

The newspaper reported on other claims, including that he defaulted on a mortgage loan and that the Canadian tax agency reassessed his taxable income in 1997, barring $975,000 in losses from business investments. Blyth disputed this. In 2001, it was reported that various statements about his net worth were presented during the trial, causing the debt to increase from $339,827 to almost $3 million. The litigation resulted in a complex financial structure with various company names and forms of ownership, including an offshore company.

Stanley Johnson is Blyth's second cousin.

Stanley Johnson is Blyth’s second cousin.


He then married Rosemary Phelan, from a family that owns Recipe Unlimited, Canada’s largest full-service restaurant company. He became interested in education and turned Blyth Academy from a class of 12 students into what he claims is now Canada’s leading private school in terms of enrollment. The Blyth schools spread throughout the world.

He provided financial support to Pembroke College, Cambridge, where he studied social anthropology, after which he received a master’s degree from Uppingham School and entered the University of Paris. He established the Blyth Scholars program which helped Canadians study at Cambridge for about 20 years of college.

Bleeth is also connected to the Johnson family through ApplyBoard, an international student recruitment platform based in Kitchener, Ontario, whose advisory board is chaired by Joe Johnson. He didn’t want to comment.

Boris and his wife Carrie were staying at Blyth’s $5,000 a night villa in the Dominican Republic when he began campaigning for a return to the premiership after Liz Truss was ousted.

The Times was unable to contact Blyth for comment on his personal and financial affairs. Blyth previously told The Sunday Times: “Boris Johnson’s support has been very carefully considered and fully pre-approved by Cabinet Secretary Simon Case. No considerations other than the commercial terms of the warranty have been accepted or provided. Support was also less than reported and was not fully utilized.”

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