LONDON — A British court Thursday declared Kevin Maxwell, son of the late, disgraced publishing tycoon Robert Maxwell, bankrupt with debts of more than $800 million.
It was Britain's largest-ever personal bankruptcy.
A High Court registrar issued the order against Maxwell, 32, on a bankruptcy petition filed by the liquidator of Bishopsgate Investment Management, one of Robert Maxwell's companies. Kevin Maxwell was a director of the firm.
Bishopsgate managed the bulk of various Maxwell companies' pension money investments. The liquidator is attempting to trace hundreds of millions of pounds in missing funds.
The missing money was allegedly skimmed from pension funds in public companies controlled by Maxwell and, to a lesser degree, his sons, Kevin and Ian. The liquidators are also suing Ian Maxwell. Both brothers also face criminal fraud charges.
The elder Maxwell died at sea under mysterious circumstances Nov. 5.
It was later charged that he had manipulated stock prices in his companies, borrowed against insufficient collateral and used the pension money in public companies such as Mirror Group newspapers to support the stock-buying operation.
Maxwell's use of such funds called into question the fate of thousands of workers' pensions.
Kevin Maxwell said Thursday that he did not "have the resources" to defend the claims against him.
"Had I the resources," he added, "I would have strenuously denied all the allegations of breach of duty.
"I stand here today bankrupt with a great deal of humility," Maxwell said after the closed court hearing. "If there is a redeeming feature of the bankruptcy order, it is perhaps that the thousands of people who have suffered loss can take real satisfaction from seeing a former director--and I suppose, above all, a Maxwell--suffer from the consequences of their loss personally and in public."