If a conservative or libertarian billionaire — like the Koch Brothers or Harlan Crow — were accused of domestic violence, it would get wall-to-wall coverage from the media. But there was little press coverage when left-wing billionaire George Soros was sued for domestic violence. As a lawyer notes, “It’s interesting how the 100s of millions of dollars George Soros has spent on left-wing causes has shielded him from scrutiny. Can’t imagine Harlan Crow or a Koch brother getting that kind of pass if a woman a third their age was accusing them.”
He was referring to a news report in the BBC that was carried by few other news networks, reporting that a former girlfriend of billionaire investor George Soros had sued him for $50m (£30m), claiming he slapped her,” tried to choke her, committed battery and infliction of emotional distress, and broke promises to buy her a New York apartment.
Adriana Ferreyr had alleged that Soros twice said he would buy her a home during their five-year relationship, only to break his promise each time. Ferreyr, a Brazilian soap opera actress, filed the lawsuit in the Supreme Court of New York in Manhattan. (In New York, the “supreme court” is a trial court, not the state’s highest court. New York State’s highest court is called the New York Court of Appeals, not the supreme court. The “supreme court” is called “supreme,” despite being a trial court because there are other, dinkier trial courts with limited jurisdiction, like small claims courts. By contrast, the “New York Supreme Court” can hear really important trials, like over multimillion dollar lawsuits and murder and rape cases).
Soros’s spokesman said the suit is “completely without merit,” and”nothing more than an attempted shakedown targeting a wealthy man.” An appeals court later dismissed her claim that Soros owed her for the breach of promise, leaving only her battery claims over the alleged violence. Soros apparently offered her $250,000 to settle her lawsuit.
The lawsuit filed by Ferreyr accused Soros of “a malicious campaign of extreme and outrageous harassment and intimidation”, battery and fraud.
She accused Soros of promising to buy her an apartment in the Upper East Side of Manhattan – her “dream place to live” – costing around $2 million.
Soros arranged to purchase the apartment through a company he controlled, but soon after the purchase closed, Soros broke up with her. Months later, Ferreyr says, she and Soros reconciled. Soros told her as they lay in bed that he had given the flat to a new girlfriend. When she remonstrated with him, he slapped her on the face and “proceeded to put his hands around her neck in an attempt to choke her”, her complaint alleges.
Ferreyr – then a student at New York’s Columbia University – called the cops during the incident, but no charges were brought.
The complaint said that when the pair got back together again, Soros offered to buy her another apartment – this one worth over $4 million – only to break his promise yet again.
Soros’ lawyer, William Zabel, said Soros once had an “on-again, off-again and non-exclusive relationship with Ms Ferreyr”. He said her complaint was “riddled with false charges and is obviously an attempt to extract money from my client, who is known to be a very wealthy man.”
Soros and Ferreyr met in the Hamptons on the eastern part of New York’s Long Island.