The restaurant group backed by wealthy actor Robert De Niro took millions in coronavirus relief money for its Nobu London eatery to cover temporarily laying off staff due to the pandemic. This is the same man who praised Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his handling of COVID-19.
De Niro’s London restaurant is adored by celebrities such as Tom Cruise, Elton John, and Brad Pitt. The actor owns numerous high-end restaurants and his estimated worth is approximately $500 million. He co-founded the Nobu chain in partnership with celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa and film producer Meir Teper back in 1994. They now own restaurants and hotels that span five continents.
According to the Daily Mail, De Niro covered 80 percent of Nobu’s operating costs in 2020 with U.K. government relief funds.
Considering De Niro’s wealth, it is curious that he would be deemed worthy of these loans.
TaxPayers’ Alliance CEO John O’Connell commented: “Justifiably, the Government cast a wide net to catch everyone who could be affected by this coronavirus crisis.”
“But recipients should keep in mind that this money ultimately comes from taxpayers, and support should only be sought if it’s really needed,” he added.
Per Nobu: “The restaurant has been closed since March 21, 2020, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK, and reopened on May 6, 2020, to operate in providing a limited restaurant service that can be operated by the company under the recommended health and safety guidelines imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic such as food take away service.”
“Also on July 8, 2020, the company reopened its in-house dining service to guests that can be operated under social distancing rules during the Covid-19 pandemic,” the released statement reads.”
“The directors, therefore, expect to report a significant decrease in profitability due to materially reduced revenues in 2020.”
CNBC reported in July, that De Niro-backed restaurants also benefited from the Trump administration’s PPP loan program. The Nobu group took 14 loans to the tune of 28 million according to the government records.
De Niro is not the only wealthy person in the U.K. to claim furlough cash. Brits were furious after finding out that Guy Ritchie and former Rugby-pro Mike Tindall both got their share. Tindall is married to Zara Tindall, the Queen’s granddaughter.
De Niro has recently complained of cash flow problems despite being worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Part of his financial dilemma is allegedly due to a nasty divorce. He also claims that the pandemic has forced him to slash spending.
That is ironic considering how much praise the actor has heaped on disgraced Governor Andrew Cuomo who has allegedly been responsible for the deaths of thousands in nursing homes in the state of New York.
De Niro has stated that he would love to play Cuomo in a future movie about the coronavirus epidemic and held him up as possible presidential material.
Appearing on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in May 2020, De Niro said: “He’s doing what a president should do.” He went on to state: “I could see [a President Cuomo]. I am for Biden and want everything to go well for Biden, but at least we have a person who is very capable, a very capable backup if you will … he’s doing a great job, he’s doing what any president should do.”
The admiration is mutual as Cuomo has compared himself and Dr. Fauci to De Niro and Pacino: “We’re like the modern-day De Niro and Pacino.”
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