Sydney seaplane victim’s final $71m charitable act
A TYCOON killed with his family in a Sydney seaplane crash has left $71 million to crisis-hit charity Oxfam.
British millionaire Richard Cousins, 58, died alongside his fiancee Emma Bowden, 48, his two sons, and her daughter, while on holiday in Sydney last New Year's Eve when their seaplane crashed into the Hawkesbury River.
Mr Cousins, the boss of catering giant Compass, planned to leave most of his wealth in trust for sons William, 25, and Edward, 23.
But a year before the accident he drew up a new will, inserting a "common tragedy clause", The Sun newspaper reports.
It was to be activated in the seemingly-unlikely event he and his sons were killed together and made Oxfam the main beneficiary. Now all but $5 million of his fortune will go to the charity.
Mr Cousins' brothers Simon and Andrew, who flew into Sydney after the accident to thank the fishermen who tried to rescue those on board, both get a bequest of $1.7 million.
The windfall for Oxfam comes weeks after charity chiefs warned they needed to cut jobs and find $28 million in savings.
Oxfam was shaken by revelations staff preyed on sex workers in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake.
The scandal led to a temporary funding ban by the Department for International Development.
A source said: "It's the kind of bequest charities dream of. There will rightly be heavy scrutiny of how the money is spent."
Mr Cousins was due to retire as CEO of Compass, the world's biggest catering firm, in March.
He and Emma, a magazine art editor, had planned to marry in July and had brought his family to Australia to attend The Ashes cricket series. They were flying back to Sydney to watch the New Year's Eve fireworks when the plane piloted by Gareth Morgan crashed.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau in an interim report found the plane was climbing out of the Cottage Bay area when it banked 80 to 90 degrees to the right before plunging into 13-metre-deep waters.