Iceland's First Lady - International Banking's Femme Fatale?

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Dorrit Moussaieff was born in Jerusalem in 1950, the daughter of Shlomo Moussaieff, an Israeli who traces his ancestry back to Bukhara, the fabled city on the Central Asian silk route, and whose family has been designing jewelry and trading diamonds and other gems for six centuries. Shlomo’s wife, Alisa, Moussaieff’s mother, was an Austrian refugee whose family had fled to Palestine one step ahead of Hitler and who became personal assistant to and translator for Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion. Shlomo’s clientele included a range of Arab royalty: Egypt’s King Farouk, Iraq’s King Faisal, Jordan’s King Abdullah. But the Israeli-Arab war of 1948 ruined that end of Shlomo’s business. The Moussaieffs emigrated to London in the 1950s. Her parents “didn’t see much of a future living in Israel,” Moussaieff tells me.


Moussaieff’s husband began cultivating celebrities as well. “Dorrit knows a lot of rich, influential people in London and New York, and Ólafur picked up new contacts and connections,” Sigfússon says. One of the most prominent and controversial was the Russian oil billionaire Roman Abramovich, crony of Vladimir Putin’s and owner of the Chelsea Football Club. One day, Grímsson flew in a private jet from Alaska to watch a soccer match with Abramovich in London. Sigfússon recalls, “A lot of people said, ‘Our president? Why is he getting a lift from Abramovich halfway around the globe to watch a football match? It’s not presidential.’ ”