‘Paranoid’ political donation contested in court

A £10 million donation to the UK Conservative party, the biggest in its history, is being contested in the high court because the late donor was allegedly psychotic, believing that Margaret Thatcher would save the world from a conspiracy of demons and satanic forces.

The donor was Branislav Kostic, a Belgrade-born businessman who made millions with Transtrade, a company dealing in pharmaceuticals and metals.

The Times reports that he became concerned about a conspiracy during the Thatcher-era and re-wrote his will to leave his money to the Conservative party, largely disinheriting his family:

The Belgrade-born tycoon was the perfect family man until he became gripped by delusions around 1984. His beliefs in plots to kill him poisoned his relationships with his wife, sister, mother, friends, advisers, bankers and colleagues. He thought that his own solicitors and accountants were part of a conspiracy to destroy the world.

The deluded Mr Kostic believed that he was victim of “a devilish organisation by three monster ladies”. He accused his wife of stealing his passport and money and being a nymphomaniac with numerous male and female lovers. He believed his mother and sister conspired to kill his father and brother-in-law.

In a note to Scotland Yard, he reported a 100-strong international vice ring was attempting to poison him. He told a detective that he had deposited their names in a yellow tennis bag.

Mr Kostic has since died and the court case concerns whether Mr Kostic was of sound mind when making the change to his will.

If Mr Kostic wanted to change his will now, he would likely be given a mental capacity assessment, as part of the UK’s new Mental Capacity Act which recently came into force.

Rather than relying on a blanket judgement that someone who is ‘mentally ill’ lacks capacity to make decisions, the new act requires that each decision be independently evaluated.

The assessment is aimed at understanding whether the person has the mental facilities to weight the evidence and understand both the situation, and the implications of their choice.

If the person is found to have these abilities, they are free to make whatever decision they lack, even if it seems eccentric or not in their best interests.

Link to report from The Times.
Link to report from The Guardian.

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