Thomas S. Kaplan

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Biographical Information

"Natural resource investor Thomas Kaplan made nearly $2 billion in 2007 when he sold an East Texas natural gas field. He used some of that money to make bets on gold and silver, acquiring stakes in mining development firms NovaGold Resources and Gabriel Resources. His natural resources group, Electrum, also expanded into silver assets. Kaplan's fortune has slid $500 million in the last year as gold and silver prices have declined. His sister, Ellen, filed a suit against him alleging that she and her family were unlawfully removed as potential beneficiaries of trusts tied to the Texas natural gas payout; Kaplan denies any wrongdoing. Ellen's son Aguiar also sued Kaplan, claiming he deserved proceeds from the sale. Kaplan countersued. In June 2012 Aguiar disappeared off the coast of Ft. Lauderdale. There has been speculation that Aguiar faked his own death. Kaplan is chairman of the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan. He is also executive chairman of Panthera, a foundation dedicated to the preservation of wild cats. He and his wife have also endowed the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit at Oxford University, Kaplan's alma mater, and founded the Orianne Society, which supports the conservation of longleaf pine forests and their fauna in the southeastern United States."[1]

"Thomas Kaplan holds Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate degrees in history from Oxford University. He presently serves as Chairman of the Electrum group of companies as well as Tigris Financial Group Ltd. and its affiliates, a New York City-based advisory and asset management group with a focus on natural resources investing." [1]

His wife is Daphne Recanati Kaplan.


"Kaplan doesn't see that happening, and that's why he has fallen in love with the leafy green hills of Transylvania in central Romania. He owns an 18 percent stake in a Canadian company called Gabriel Resources that is attempting to reopen what is widely believed to be Europe's largest gold deposit, an estimated 10 million ounces, worth more than $12 billion at today's price, as well as 47.7 million ounces of silver. There's one problem: Some residents of the economically ravaged area, where unemployment is 80 percent, are fiercely contesting the project on environmental grounds.

Despite the opposition, the potential windfall has attracted investors, including Paulson, of whom Kaplan is an unabashed admirer. "If he sticks to his conviction on gold, he may yet become the richest man in America," Kaplan says, "and I'd love to see it happen." Kaplan would do well, too, though he brings his own particular dilemma—striking a balance between an urge to expand his mining empire and what he insists is an even greater desire to save the planet from environmental harm.

"In 1988, Kaplan was completing his dissertation at Oxford—on the Malayan counterinsurgency and the way commodities influence strategic planning—and earning extra money analyzing Israeli companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges. The work involved traveling to Israel, and while there Kaplan connected with two people who would shape the rest of his life. First was Daphne Recanati, who had attended the same boarding school Kaplan had and was then just beginning her compulsory military service. She would eventually become his wife, mother of his three children—and his "reality check" for new investment ideas. "Her instincts are pretty much perfect," he says.

Through Recanati's mother, Kaplan was introduced to Avi Tiomkin, a well-known Israeli investor with whom he established a close bond. "There was immediate chemistry," says Tiomkin, now 62...

"Kaplan credits Marc Faber, the notoriously bearish Hong Kong-based publisher of the Gloom, Boom & Doom Report, with inspiring his move into natural resources investing in 1993. Faber has long argued that precious metals represent vital protection against the monetary foolishness of central governments. That year marked Kaplan's first defining deal, the launching of Apex Silver Mines to dig for silver in San Cristóbal, Bolivia. Among the early backers of Apex was Soros Fund Management." [2]

  • Doctoral Thesis Title: ‘In the Front Line of the Cold War’: Britain Malaya and South-East Asian Security 1948-1955 - Supervisor(s): Robert O'Neill


Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch


  1. forbes Thomas S. Kaplan, organizational web page, accessed March 29, 2013.
  2. nbcnews Meet gold’s evangelist, organizational web page, accessed March 30, 2013.
  3. Wildlife Conservation Trust Advisory Board, organizational web page, accessed June 6, 2020.