THE LOW-profile loaded Count Kazimierz ‘Kaz’ Balinski-Jundzill raised his head last week to challenge a plan by the state to house 950 Ukrainians on his Glendalough estate in Co Wicklow for 32 weeks, saying he will deny access to the lands, which he believes to be unsuitable for housing refugees, “until such time as this matter is resolved”. But, who is he?
Glendalough House, which has been the setting for movies such as Kidnapped and Excalibur, was also developed at one stage by Balinski-Jundzill as a venue for weddings and corporate events. It was also earmarked by the count to be the permanent home of what was called the Irish Green Gathering.
This was a festival established by Giles FitzHerbert, who was described as “the father of the Irish Green Gathering” back in 2010. He was joined by the likes of Kaz, Davie Philips of Cloughjordan Eco Village and festival stalwart Feidhlim Bryan (ex Glastonbury and Electric Picnic).
The Irish Green Gathering was probably ahead of its time, having been set up to be a sustainable-living festival (“incorporating Irish culture”) focused on renewable energy and green technology. As noted by Byran at the time: “We are not just a party in a field but have a serious agenda in promoting environmental awareness.”
The sprawling Glendalough estate was actually placed on the market back in 2015 with a €10m price tag. According to land registry documents, at the time it was owned by an offshore entity called GFH Investments Ltd and, while no sale is recorded, in 2016 a charge was registered against the property by Trust Corporation of the Channel Islands Ltd.
It is unclear if this entity is the trust in which the estate is now held but Kaz claims that the deal to accommodate Ukrainian refugees on the Glendalough land was signed by a trustee of the estate “with neither our knowledge nor consultation”.
GFH also popped up as a defendant in a High Court action lodged by one Francis O’Kane back in 2006 against the company and two other offshore entities, Marlena Ltd and Chispete Ltd. Initially a lis pendens notice was registered, showing that the property was the subject of litigation, although this was vacated in 2015, by which stage the action was resolved.
While little is known here about Count Kaz of Glendalough, he did feature in a 2013 unauthorised biography (Supermodel Chef) of his first wife, former English top model and television cook, Lorraine Pascale, written by journalist Sue Blackhall. The couple, who were married in New York and split five years later, had a daughter, Ella Balinska, who will be known to the very few fans of the 2019 Charlie’s Angels movie, in which she starred alongside Kristen Stewart.
While references to Ella’s Westminster-born aristocrat daddy attribute his wealth to the oil industry, these days Kaz is focused on all things internet, although in the past he appears to have devoted much of his energy to working in and around the music and entertainment industry.
A waterski enthusiast, he was also involved with a cranberry-flavoured UK energy drink called Spiked Silver that was the official sponsor of the Spiked Silver British National Waterski Championships in England back in 2002. According to Kaz, Spiked Silver was aimed at “young energetic and fun people with impeccable taste”.
He was a director of a handful of UK-registered firms, where his address was given as being in Jersey.
In Ireland, Kaz has incorporated some companies too, having originally arrived over here decades ago with his mother, Katrina Emmott, who relocated to Co Wicklow when she split from Kaz’s father, Count Christopher Balinski-Jundzill.
Most recently, Kaz incorporated a company called Monatomic Ltd along with Co Wexford-based Robert Kozakowski-Baranowski, a senior engineer at digital security outfit Viatel Technology. Balinski-Jundzill gives his address in Companies Office filings as St Aubin in Jersey. Another tech outfit the count has recently established is Stampower Ltd, where is 50% partner is crypto currencies expert Glenn Bolger, with an address in Greystones, Co Wicklow, with Kaz’s residence listed this time as Glendalough House.
It was here in 2021 that he got married (and featured in Hello!) to former super model and sometimes reality TV contestant Sophie Anderton, still best known to many as the face of a risqué advertising campaign for Gossard bras in the mid-1990s.