The ASOS billionaire caught speeding in the Highlands told police ‘there was no traffic’ and ‘it was a beautiful sunny day’ as they fined him £100 and three points on his driver’s license to make.
Danish retail mogul Anders Holch Povlsen is the largest shareholder in British online fashion company ASOS and the wealthy owner of international fashion company Bestseller.
The mogul, worth £6.1 billion but known for enjoying a whiskey in the local pub and driving a VW Golf, is Scotland’s richest man with around 220,000 acres of the Highlands under his control after he started buying up some of the country’s largest estates over 15 years ago.
But according to the BBC documentary series Highland Cops, even 50-year-old Povlsen is not above the law.
In the program’s fourth episode, officers clocked the billionaire at 82 mph as he drove in a 60-zone. They chased his vehicle for several miles before reaching a safe place to stop him.
The officer presented Mr Povlsen with his options – be fined £100 and three points on his driver’s license or, if he did not accept, press charges in court. Mr Povlsen said ‘that’s fine’ before noting that it was a ‘nice, sunny day’ and there was ‘no traffic’.
Video shows the moment police handed Scotland’s largest private landowner Anders Holch Povlsen a £100 fine and three points on his license after he was caught speeding
Police spoke to the billionaire before handing him a £100 fine
Officers followed Mr. Povlsen before he slowed down and came to a stop
Mr Povlsen controls at least 220,000 acres of the Highlands after he began buying up some of the country’s largest estates. With his wife Anne, they have formed a ‘200 year vision’ for their estates, rewilding the land.
Video shows two police officers in Sutherland chasing a Volkswagen Caravelle van after the driver – later identified as Mr Povlsen – was clocked driving 20mph faster than the speed limit.
“He was detected at 82 mph in the 60 limit, so a little too fast,” the officer said. “We’ll try to stop him as soon as possible.”
The pair followed Mr. Povlsen’s vehicle down the winding road for several miles, noting how difficult it would be to overtake the roadway. They tracked the van for a fixed distance that matched Mr. Povlsen’s speed, so that they could “say with ease that he was traveling at no less than a certain speed.”
Mr. Povlsen began to “reduce quite a bit of speed,” leading the officers to think he knew they were behind him. They stopped him at the next opportunity.
The agents approached the property magnate’s vehicle and immediately recognized him. Mr. Povlsen got out and greeted the officers.
Mr. Povlsen gets out of his vehicle when approached by the police
Mr. Povlsen listens to officers as he is fined for speeding
Mr. Povlsen retired after being caught speeding
One of them explained how they stopped him and he was caught exceeding the speed limit while driving uphill at Achinduich. The officer showed him the speed gun and said, “That’s your speed registered there 82.”
The police officers presented the billionaire with his options, a fine and points or court report, before asking him to confirm his last name was Povlsen – knowing who he was – and handing him the quote.
“When we dealt with this gentleman, I immediately recognized who he was,” says an officer. “He does a lot for the Highlands, he’s invested a lot of money here, and he has a deep interest in the environment and protecting the Highlands for what it is. But apart from that, we should treat everyone equally.
“If we stop people who drive too fast, we obviously have our own discretion. But there are certain thresholds that we adhere to and we deal with offenders.’
Aldourie Castle is set in 200 acres of prime Scottish property near Loch Ness and is owned by Mr Povlsen
The £7m bonded island off Loch Eriboll on Sutherland’s northern tip was purchased in 2016
The couple had four children: Astrid, Agnes and Alfred (pictured in the days before they died) and Alma, who took the picture. Only Astrid survived the 2018 Sri Lanka bombings
Mr Povlsen became enchanted with Scotland when the young boy from Denmark went fly fishing in the Scottish Highlands with his parents and brother one summer in the 1980s.
Some have called it the most expensive family holiday in history, as three decades later he spent £100 million quietly turning himself into a true Monarch of the Glen.
He began building this ever-expanding property portfolio in late 2006 with the £7.9m acquisition of Glenfeshie, a 42,000 acre stretch of the Cairngorms National Park.
Two years later he spent a further £15.5 million acquiring the 23,000 acre Braeroy estate near Fort William, near Tulloch, and Lynaberack in the Cairngorms. Four estates were added between 2011 and 2015 and another three in 2016.
His Scottish landholdings cover an area half the size of Worcestershire, surpassing the mere 217,000 acres owned by the Duke of Buccleuch – Britain’s largest landowner before him.
Mr Povlsen and Anne had formed a ‘200 year vision’ for their estates, which would see the land rewilded. In the vision, Povlsen said he intended to pass the estate on to his four children and that they would continue his work.
Three of his four children were killed in the 2018 Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka. Alfred, Alma, and Agnes all died. Only their youngest daughter, Astrid, then ten, survived the attacks.
Mr Povlsen, left with his wife Anne, outlined his plans to hand over his estates to his children as part of a ‘200-year plan’ to ‘rewilder’ his Scottish estates by reintroducing lost habitat and bringing back wildlife to bring those that have long since died out there. But disaster struck when three were killed in a terror attack (their children on the right in the picture)
Povlesen’s first purchase was Glenfeshie, whose 42,000 acres inspired Sir Edwin Landseer’s Monarch of the Glen
Tucked away in the Cairngorms, Lynaberack was one of Mr Povlsen’s first purchases and cost him £5 million
In an open letter, Mr. Povlsen: ‘From our home in Glenfeshie, both Anne and myself – our children and also our parents – have enjoyed a deep connection with this beautiful landscape for a long time.
“As the holdings have grown and our shared vision for the work has become increasingly clear, we have incorporated the entire project into a venture we call Wildland.
“It’s an important and lifelong commitment we’ve made – not just to ourselves but to the Scottish people and nature – one we deeply believe in.”