Scottish billionaire loses three children in SL attacks

22 April 2019 01:48 pm - 2     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Billionaire ASOS owner Anders Holch Povlsen has lost three of his four children in the Sri Lanka terror attacks on Easter Sunday, Daily Mail reported.

Povlsen is the second largest private landowner in the UK and is the biggest shareholder in the online retailer. 

Just days before the devastating attacks, one of Povlsen's children, Alma, shared a snap of her three siblings Astrid, Agnes and Alfred, next to a pool.   

It is not yet known which of Povlsen's three children have died.

Povlsen, 46, is married to Anne Storm Pedersen. The pair met when Anne began working in sales for Bestseller.

He is Denmark's richest man, with his father passing down ownership of the international clothes retailer chain Bestseller when he was just 28 years old.

Seven suicide bombers killed at least 290 people in coordinated attacks on five-star hotels and churches on Easter Sunday.

No group has claimed responsibility but Sri Lankan police say a previously unknown Muslim extremist group was the subject of an intelligence warning ten days before.

Early evidence points towards Islamist group National Thowheed Jamaath (NTJ), according to intelligence chiefs, who warn that more attacks are expected.

Povlsen has 11 Scottish estates, and a castle, covering an astonishing 221,000 acres. He is Britain’s biggest private landowner, surpassing the Dukes of Atholl with 144,000 acres and the Prince of Wales, who owns 130,000 acres.

He began building this ever-growing property portfolio 12 years ago, in the autumn of 2006, with the £7.9 million acquisition of Glenfeshie, a 42,000-acre patch of the Cairngorms National Park.

His father, Troels, began his fashion empire with a single store in 1975. Povlsen now employs 15,000 people and owns brands such as Jack & Jones and Vero Moda, along with almost 30 per cent of ASOS.

Its success has helped him build a fortune estimated at £5.4 billion.

Povlsen and his wife live at Constantinsborg, a neo-classical former royal palace near Aarhus. The couple send their four children to state schools.

Blasts ripped through landmarks around the capital Colombo, and on Sri Lanka's east coast, targeting Christians, hotel guests and foreign tourists yesterday. More than 500 people were wounded and five British citizens were among the dead.

A six-foot pipe bomb was later found by air force personal on a routine patrol at the country's main airport Bandaranaike International, also known as Katunayake Airport or Colombo International.

'A PVC pipe which was six feet in length containing explosives in it was discovered,' Air Force Spokesman Gihan Seneviratne told the Sri Lankan Sunday Times.

He said the bomb device was discovered by Air Force personnel on a routine patrol and was disposed by the Explosives Ordinance Disposal Unit of the Air Force in a controlled area.

The airport was put 'on lockdown' while the security forces examined and detonated the device, according to reports from the scene.   

Yesterday morning, six bombs went off in quick succession before another two blasts two hours later in Sri Lanka's worst violence since the end of its decades-long civil war in 2009.

Three of the near-simultaneous blasts targeted worshippers attending Easter services on the holiest day in the Christian calendar.

Families on holiday were massacred by three further explosions at luxury hotels in Colombo as they sat down to enjoy breakfast at around 8.30am.  

At least 35 foreigners are feared to have been killed in the attacks - including five Britons, two of whom were joint US-UK citizens.  Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt condemned the the 'horrifying attacks' which he said had killed 'several British nationals'.

Further fatalities are said to include three Indians, two Turks, one Portuguese citizen and an unknown number of Dutch and Chinese nationals.   

Thirteen suspects have been arrested, as it emerged the country's police chief had warned of an Islamic extremist plot to target 'prominent churches' just 10 days earlier, but no group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. 

 Sri Lanka's defence ministry has now ordered curfew with immediate effect 'until further notice' while access to social media messaging services has been shut down.

In Colombo, St Anthony's Shrine, a Roman Catholic church, the Cinnamon Grand; Shangri-La; and Kingsbury hotels were targeted in the first wave of explosions.

At the Shangri-La, security camera footage showed two men detonating devices in the Table One restaurant and a hotel corridor.

Other blasts hit St Sebastian's Church in Negombo, a majority Catholic town north of Colombo, and at Zion Church in the eastern town of Batticaloa.

Later in the afternoon, two died in a strike at a hotel near a zoo in the south of Colombo, before a suspected suicide bomber killed police officers in the suburb of Orugodawatta in the north of the capital, as police moved in on the suspected terrorist safe house. In all 13 suspects were arrested.

Sri Lanka defence secretary Harsha de Silva said: 'Horrible scenes, I saw many body parts strewn all over.'
The country went into lockdown amid worrying reports there had been missed opportunities to stop the carefully planned bombings.

Prime Minister Theresa May joined leaders across the world in condemning the atrocities while President Donald Trump vowed to 'stand ready to help'.

'The acts of violence against churches and hotels in Sri Lanka are truly appalling, and my deepest sympathies go out to all of those affected at this tragic time.

'We must stand together to make sure that no one should ever have to practise their faith in fear,' Mrs May said.
Pope Francis denounced the 'cruel violence' of the Easter Sunday attacks and urged prayer for all those affected. Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe condemned 'the cowardly attacks on our people'.

Millions of tourists visit Sri Lanka every year but political crisis and religious tension have placed the industry under threat in recent months.

Ten days ago, according to documents seen by the AFP new agency, Sri Lanka's police chief Pujuth Jayasundara issued an intelligence alert to top officers warning Islamist suicide bombers planned to hit 'prominent churches'.

'A foreign intelligence agency has reported that the NTJ (National Thowheeth Jama'ath) is planning to carry out suicide attacks targeting prominent churches as well as the Indian high commission in Colombo,' the alert said.

The NTJ is a small radical Muslim group in Sri Lanka which has no history of mass fatal attacks, but came to prominence last year linked to the vandalism and desecration of Buddhist statues.

Prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe admitted that information about the attacks had been received in advance but denied having direct knowledge himself.

'We must look into why adequate precautions were not taken. Neither I nor the ministers were kept informed,' he said following intense anger in the community.  

Britain's High Commissioner to Sri Lanka James Dauris said British citizens had been caught in the blast, but said he could not yet specify how many had been affected.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: 'I'm deeply shocked and saddened by the horrifying attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka today, and the tragic news of more than 200 people killed, including several British nationals.

'To target those gathered for the simple act of worship on Easter Sunday is unspeakably wicked.

'Everyone has a right to practise their faith in peace, safety and security but tragedies like this, and the one in Christchurch, remind us that there are some who hate these rights and freedoms.

'These despicable acts were carried out at a time when millions of Christians celebrate Easter while living under the shadow of persecution. Many gather in churches at risk of attack; countless more will have suffered threats or discrimination.

'The UK stands in solidarity with persecuted Christians around the world and with the government and people of Sri Lanka. My prayers are with all the victims and their families.'

The country's President Maithripala Sirisena said he was shocked by the explosions and appealed for calm, while Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe called the attacks 'cowardly'.

'I call upon all Sri Lankans during this tragic time to remain united and strong. Please avoid propagating unverified reports and speculation. The government is taking immediate steps to contain this situation,' the PM said.

Eight people have been arrested and 'so far the names that have come up are local', he said, but officials are probing possible foreign links.  

A social media ban was also put in place 'in order to prevent incorrect and wrong information being spread' in what officials said was a temporary measure, alongside an indefinite curfew.  

The magnitude of the violence recalls the bombings perpetrated by the separatist Tamil Tigers that targeted a bank, a shopping centre, a Buddhist temple and hotels popular with tourists a decade ago.

In 2009, Sri Lankan security forces defeated Tamil Tiger rebels who had fought to create an independent homeland for the country's ethnic minority Tamils.

Only around six percent of mainly Buddhist Sri Lanka is Catholic, but the religion is seen as a unifying force because it includes people from both the Tamil and majority Sinhalese ethnic groups.

  Comments - 2

  • Too Monday, 22 April 2019 03:43 PM

    He is not Scottish, he's a Danish national

    beau Monday, 22 April 2019 09:07 PM

    No matter how much money you have death cannot be stopped when it arrives. At death everyone is equal poor or the rich, so no point of writing hossanas about rich people here. RIP poor victims.

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