This story is from our network Source: The Australian

Rivkin's 'playmates' sicken family

July 06, 2004

THE wife of Rene Rivkin and two of his sons have told how the disgraced stockbroker abandoned them for a group of "playmates" he showered with gifts.

Gayle Rivkin and her eldest sons, Jordan and Damien, last night revealed their struggle to forgive the stockbroker for "12 years of wreckage", saying they were left feeling unloved.

"Some of his friendships in the 90s were completely different from his friendships in the 80s," Mrs Rivkin said. "He discovered a bunch of playmates. These people just knew exactly what he wanted and massaged his ego continually. It was just sickening and of course he loved it."

Mrs Rivkin said her husband had been cruel, narcissistic and unappealing, and his weekends in the hospital ward of Long Bay Jail for insider trading now gave her "a sense of relief" from the daily struggle to keep him alive.

His arrogance during the insider trading trial evaporated with his collapse in jail, and later in front of Mrs Rivkin he screamed for 20 minutes and was "frothing at the mouth". He was the "maddest person" at the private

Rivkin's behaviour changed markedly following an operation for a brain tumour and his diagnosis with depression around the time of the 1987 stock market crash. He turned from a "loving and slightly eccentric" father to becoming "extremely selfish, and cruel", ignoring his family.

Mrs Rivkin said her husband, on the anti-depressant Prozac, became a person she no longer knew and she felt "unloved".

"He was always ecstatically happy. Spending money like you can't imagine," she said.

As well as buying businesses he did not understand - nightclubs, a jewellery and fashion business and exotic cars - Rivkin fought with his children. "He told my daughter he didn't love her ... she was crying ... I told him I'd never forgive him for saying such a thing," Mrs Rivkin said.

Jordan, 30, said the people his father was associating with were not there for the "noblest" of reasons.

"My father bestowed quite expensive gifts on these people, whether it be expensive watches, expensive cars - I'm aware of a Ferrari that was given to someone."

Damien, 31, said he was hurt by his father's decision to disown the family and spend time with "these people".

"The reason is clear, his sons were honest with him and these people weren't, they were willing to tell him how wonderful he was and we were going to tell him as it, you know, as it was," Damien said. "We weren't going to flatter him shamelessly."

The family said they found it difficult to forgive Rivkin for the grief and pain he had caused the family. Mrs Rivkin said she has now "taken control and cut out all those crazy excesses".

"I am very upset that he's spent so much money and this was going to be my children's inheritance, and I spent quite a lot of time last year being very angry at him but now I'm sorry but I'm not angry at him any more because I can't be," she said. "And it's just now a fight to try and make him believe that he's got his family who love him."

Jordan said his father was now "full of regret".


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