AS a self-made billionaire, Frank Timis’ entrepreneurial skills in the global natural resources industry are hard to match. Nicknamed “The Gusher” in the City, he is well known for being a fast-talking risk-taker.
His personal website was recently re-launched, drawing a less-than-subtle focus on his social responsibility and charitable deeds. It is clear that Timis is trying to draw a firm line under his controversial past.
At the tender age of 15 he fled Romania and eventually sought refugee in Australia. He was charged twice in Australia in the early 1990s for possessing heroin, something he has never denied but is not proud of.
However, this blip in his past has done very little to negatively affect his future success.
He cut his teeth in the industry as a labourer on a rig in Western Australia, but had embarked on his first mining venture by the age of 27.
One of the many things that set him apart from other entrepreneurs is his willingness to financially back his own projects, such as the $52m (£31.9m) he invested of his own money in African Minerals.
This is likely to be one of the reasons why shareholders, from JP Morgan to Goldman Sachs, repeatedly trust and support him regardless of a previous brush with the authorities.
In 2009, Regal Petroleum, formerly part of Timis Corporation’s portfolio, was fined a record sum of £600,000 for consistently misleading shareholders. A blemish that appears to have been forgotten for now.
Despite owning two Bombardier Challenger 604 airplanes, he would never describe himself as the flashy type, as he lives in London in a rented apartment without a car.