By Andria Kades
President Nicos Anastasiades will attend the UK funeral of his old school friend, self-made property billionaire Chris Lazari, who died from a heart attack in his London home on Monday aged 69, it was announced on Tuesday.
In a message of condolence, Anastasiades said he would attend the funeral as a sign of respect, not only of his own but “of all Cypriots for his [Lazari’s] contribution to our country and our fellow citizens”.
Lazari moved “to England during difficult years and managed, with his creative spirit, his hard work” and his business mind to become a prominent businessman first in fashion and then in property.
An active member of the Cypriot community in London, Anastasiades said his friend “served his country in every way in every opportunity” and his support to the needy was an important element to his personality yet he always wanted to keep it away from the spotlight.
His extensive charity work included active support for the Radiomarathon for people with disabilities.
Lazari, who went to the UK in 1962 with £20 in his pocket, started out working in restaurants during which time he studied fashion design in London, then created his own clothing company. With profits from this enterprise in 1978 he turned to real estate.
According to the annual Rich List published annually by the newspaper Sunday Times, in 2015 the property of Chris Lazari amounted to 1.450 billion pounds. He was second in the list of richest Greeks and Cypriots Britain behind Sir Stelios Hadji-Ioannou and 65th overall in the UK.
Last year he assumed the cost for the use of a private jet by Anastasiades, when this was considered necessary.
In a written statement at the time, Lazari said: “Taking into account the economic situation of my country and wanting to actively express my support to the efforts of my personal friend President Anastasiades – who has to travel abroad frequently – I decided to assume the cost for the use of a private airplane, when this is necessary, for example where there is no direct air link with Cyprus.”
Lazari leaves behind his wife Mary, three children and seven grandchildren.
According to Parikiaki newspaper, the funeral will take place Saturday August 1, at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of All Saints on Camden Street, London.