Has Carl’s Jr. spokesmodel Paris Hilton bitten off more than she can chew with her new fiancé Paris Latsis? Not only does the 27-year-old’s family move in circles where starring in an amateur porn is frowned upon, sources say their estimated $7.5 billion fortune has some unsavory political origins. “They say they make their money through shipping, but the real wealth comes from arms and oil,” says a source close to the family. (The Latsis Group controls a chunk of Hellenic Petroleum and has refineries in Saudi Arabia.) “They didn’t get that rich being good guys, put it that way. The last two Gulf Wars have been very good for them.”
But the family’s history of questionable dealings stretches farther back than that, we hear. It’s long been rumored that the clan’s late patriarch, John “Yanni” Latsis, aided his storied climb from deckhand to shipping tycoon by profiteering on the black market during WWII. In 1967, Yanni drew additional scrutiny when he loaned his shipping fleet to the Egyptians during the Six Day War with Israel and threw his financial support behind Greek fascist dictator Colonel George Papadopoulos. (The title of Latsis’ unauthorized bio translates to “Gangster” in English.)
These days, the still highly conservative (and devoutly Greek Orthodox) Latsis clan is less concerned with propping up dictators than keeping a certain Park Avenue scandal magnet on the other side of the Atlantic. “The family is appalled that their son would marry such a girl, and are in the process of doing up a pre-nup that will dissuade him from marrying Paris as much as possible. They really don’t want her in the family,” says our source. To preserve the peace, we hope Paris packs more reliable Trojans than his Homeric namesake.
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 the well-respected mayor of the Greek seaside town Vouliagmeni. While we don’t harbour such high hopes for Hilton, if the marriage happens at least she won’t have to worry about her Sidekick getting stolen. According to our source, “Paris Latsis is guarded by former members of the [Russian special forces]. He’s almost too protected.” The notoriously private Latsis family could not be reached for comment by press time—“They don’t do press,” according to Hilton’s publicist, Caroline Bubnis—and Bubnis declined to comment on the family, saying “I’m not his rep, so I can’t really speak on his behalf.”