May 26, 2013
Gutnick Relocates to Singapore
Ta ta Australia: Mining magnate Joseph Gutnick recently moved with his wife Sterna to Singapore for lower income tax, investment opportunities and the ability to stroll the streets at 1:00 AM.
By COLlive reporter
Rabbi Joseph Gutnick, the Australian Lubavitcher mining magnate who was a known name in the Melbourne Jewish community and in the business world, has recently moved to Singapore.
With most of his 11 children married and a growing number of wealthy Australian entrepreneurs moving there for lower corporate and personal income tax, Gutnick made the move with his wife Sterna in recent months.
He opened up an office in Singapore's Marina Bay Sands building and told the Business Weekly Review (BWR) that he wants to become a permanent resident of Singapore. He is still retaining his Australian citizenship.
"I've moved to wonderland," says the 60-year-old, who is the considered the world's only ordained Orthodox rabbi who has created fortunes by mining gold and diamonds. BWR estimated his fortune is $285 million.
"I feel more at home in Singapore than I do in Australia," he told the publication. "You can’t walk down Carlisle Street [St Kilda] at 1 o'clock [in the morning], but you can do that in Singapore," where, he adds, "there's no anti-Semitism."
"We have left our friends here [in Melbourne] and I've given up my position in the Chabad house of Caulfield," he said. "I am doing it because the resource sector and investment environment is much better in Singapore. It's also quiet. I can read. I get peace."
The shul in Caulfield is the one he built as a replica of Lubavitch Headquarters - 770 Eastern Parkway in New York. It is one of the many institutions in Australia and around the world which he helped build and sustain.
It is not clear what will happen with the Machon L'Smicha Yeshiva in Melbourne, one of Chabad's longest running and respected rabbinical ordination institutes, which was under Gutnick's patronage and directed by Rabbi Faitel Levin.
Gutnick says he does not see the South-East Asian country as a vacation spot, as he keeps homes in Melbourne, Jerusalem and in Brooklyn's Crown Heights neighborhood.
He is back on the acquisition trail, looking to set up an investment fund to find rubies and phosphate. He is now a significant investor in Innopac and has made a bid for Canadian company True North Gems, which mines rubies and sapphires.
But he remains convinced that one day he will strike it gloriously rich with diamonds. His nickel business Centaur Mining & Exploration failed in 2000.
Speaking about the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Gutnick told BWR that "in 1988 [after the sharemarket crash] he encouraged me to continue my search for gold, and brought up the idea of looking for diamonds."
"Today, with the gold price down, it looks like the only good thing is diamonds," he says. "I believe that when I am successful with diamonds – like in the billions – then I will have left a legacy honoring his memory. That drives me, big time, to diamonds. It's why I spend tens of millions of dollars looking for them."
"I want diamonds to be the jackpot," Gutnick says. But would he be upset if it was gold that brings him the billions? "I wouldn't mind it," he says. "But I'd prefer it to be diamonds. I am Diamond Joe."