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Parsing Paris Latsis

Apr. 9 2008, Published 6:25 a.m. ET

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Has Carl’s Jr. spokesmodel ParisHilton bitten off more than she can chew with her newfiancé Paris Latsis? Not only does the27-year-old’s family move in circles where starring in an amateur porn isfrowned upon, sources say their estimated $7.5 billion fortune has some unsavorypolitical origins. “They say they make their money through shipping, butthe real wealth comes from arms and oil,” says a source close to thefamily. (The Latsis Group controls a chunk of Hellenic Petroleum and hasrefineries in Saudi Arabia.) “They didn’t get that rich beinggood guys, put it that way. The last two Gulf Wars have been very good forthem.”

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But the family’s history of questionable dealings stretchesfarther back than that, we hear. It’s long been rumored that theclan’s late patriarch, John “Yanni” Latsis, aided his storiedclimb from deckhand to shipping tycoon by profiteering on the black marketduring WWII. In 1967, Yanni drew additional scrutiny when he loanedhis shipping fleet to the Egyptians during the Six Day War with Israel and threwhis financial support behind Greek fascist dictator Colonel George Papadopoulos.(The title of Latsis’ unauthorized bio translates to“Gangster” in English.)

These days, the still highlyconservative (and devoutly Greek Orthodox) Latsis clan is less concerned withpropping up dictators than keeping a certain Park Avenue scandal magnet on theother side of the Atlantic. “The family is appalled that their son wouldmarry such a girl, and are in the process of doing up a pre-nup that willdissuade him from marrying Paris as much as possible. They really don’twant her in the family,” says our source. To preserve the peace, we hopeParis packs more reliable Trojans than his Homeric namesake.

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Then again,the family didn’t want Paris Latsis’s waterski-instructing father,Grigoris Kasidokostas, in the family either (in his teens,Paris savvily adopted his mother’s maiden name.) Today, he’s thewell-respected mayor of the Greek seaside town Vouliagmeni. While we don’tharbour such high hopes for Hilton, if the marriage happens at least shewon’t have to worry about her Sidekick getting stolen. According to oursource, “Paris Latsis is guarded by former members of the Russian specialforces. He’s almost too protected.” The notoriously private Latsisfamily could not be reached for comment by press time—“Theydon’t do press,” according to Hilton’s publicist,Caroline Bubnis—and Bubnis declined to comment on thefamily, saying “I’m not his rep, so I can’t really speak onhis behalf.”


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