© The Financial Times Ltd 2015 FT and 'Financial Times' are trademarks of The Financial Times Ltd.
January 5, 2014 7:26 pm
Nick Griffin, British National Party leader and figurehead of the far right, has declared that his bankruptcy, announced on Friday, will free him from financial worries.
It would not affect his role as an MEP, he said, adding that he would use the experience to produce a booklet for his constituents about dealing with debt.
To an incredulous public it seemed impossible that a man with a handsome MEP’s salary of more than £75,000 a year plus expenses could have got himself into such serious trouble.
But Mr Griffin is far from the only person in the public eye to be undone recently by large bills.
TV star Kerry Katona and Fazer, a rapper who had a string of hits as part of N-Dubz, were both declared bankrupt in 2013 because of unpaid taxes.
Miquita Oliver, who began presenting TV shows at the age of 16, was declared bankrupt in 2012.
“I’d been earning a lot of money for years and I lived like a maniac,” she said. “Now I try to be really honest about what happened and I hope I’ve helped to reduce the stigma of it a little bit.”
More august historical figures have also been caught out.
Oscar Wilde was forced into bankruptcy as a result of legal costs that arose from his trial for gross indecency. The painter Rembrandt filed for bankruptcy in 1656. He avoided prison for his debts but was forbidden from selling his paintings directly.
And before he became president of the US, Abraham Lincoln was taken to court by his creditors over back payments owed by his business.
Please don't cut articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.
Sign up for email briefings to stay up to date on topics you are interested in