Greek Shipping Magnate Is the Money Behind Amal Clooney’s Campaign for the Elgin Marbles

Amal Alamuddin Clooney with Culture Minister Konstantinos Tasoulas and Dimitris Pantermalis, president of the Acropolis Museum.

In addition to her recent marriage to actor George Clooney, Amal Alamuddin-Clooney has been front and center in the case against the British Museum for the repatriation of the Parthenon Marbles (see Elgin Marble Loaned to Russia, While Greece Keeps Getting Snubbed and Can George Clooney’s Wife Rescue the Elgin Marbles?). But who has financially backed her and her firm? It sure isn’t the bankrupt Greek government.

According to the London Times, a former official in Greece’s culture ministry said that an anonymous Greek shipping magnate who works in both Athens and London wanted to make a “great gesture of patriotism” by funding the human rights lawyer’s legal fees. Since the Greek financial crisis has yet to be resolved, the government found the London-based barrister’s fees “too extravagant.”

The full chronology of the events is still under wraps, as the official refused to say whether the shipping tycoon had stepped in to foot the bill or whether the Greek government approached him first. However, he did note that the timing of the arrangement “came immediately after Mrs. Clooney and her boss Geoffrey Robertson visited Athens three months ago.” When asked about the financial stipulations, Robertson said their fees would be paid by “a group of philanthropists at no expense to the Greek people.”

The statues in question were removed from Greece by Lord Elgin, the British ambassador at the time to the Ottoman Empire, and have been in British hands since the early 19th century.

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