- The Washington Times - Friday, August 20, 2010


You’ve done a disservice to your readers in presenting a portrait of Lily Safra on the basis of Isabel Vincent’s book, “Gilded Lily: Lily Safra: The Making of One of the World’s Wealthiest Women,” which is fiction masquerading as “biography” (“Life of staggering riches and drama,” Aug. 6). Far from the investigative journalism that your reviewer was fooled into swallowing as “scrupulously researched and well-written,” the book is a shabby attempt to sell books at any expense - including that of the facts.

Ms. Vincent interviewed neither Mrs. Safra nor anyone close to her, talking only to those who helped her create the supposed mystery and intrigue. The facts show there isn’t any room for doubt about the events she tries to distort. From beginning to end, the author piles baseless speculation upon falsehoods that were debunked long ago.

Ms. Vincent not only creates fictional scenarios at every turn; her conspiracy theories are worthy of those who believe that Sept. 11, 2001, never happened or that man never walked on the moon. Your readers deserve better than that.

Your book reviewer, Sandra McElwaine, is correct about one thing: This book “reads like fiction,” for it is, in fact, a complete work of fiction. To sell books by deception is simply scandalous, as is gratuitously denigrating an individual - a leading philanthropist for decades - who certainly doesn’t deserve it.


Adviser, Safra SA

Geneva, Switzerland

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