In Memoriam: Beshara Razzou, 83

A Tribute from Keith Simpson to Chase Manhattan GAD Auditor

Beshara was born in October 1940 in Beirut to the well known Razzouk family, famous for the alcoholic drink Arak Razzouk. 
Arak Razzouk was established in 1918 and was one of the first Arak brands in the Lebanese market. In 1920, Arak Razzouk Distillery distinguished itself by being the first company to bottle the Arak under the brand name “Arak Razzouk” and sell it to the end consumer at Al Burj square. This arak is produced from selected sweet varieties of pure grapes, it is triple distilled in accordance with the old traditional art of distillation with the finest anise seeds. The brand’s motto, “The prince of the Souk is Arak Razzouk”, has travelled through generations - a bit like Beshara. One of my prized possession in the late 1980s/early 1990s was a bottle of Razzouk (long gone) which he gifted to me after huge pressure.
Around 1958, Beshara attended the American University of Beirut. Graduating from there he became a one-company man (a lifer) at Chase Manhattan Bank, joining the Beirut office before transferring to GAD (General Auditing Department, or inside auditors) based in London, where he remained until his retirement. As a GAD auditor, Beshara travelled the world making many friends with both fellow auditors and auditees. We all have our favourite stories and memories of working with the big man from his eye for detail – especially on nostro audits. Chase Spain will remember his identification of the fraud between their SA and NA. There was his great love of sunbathing (where he coined the phrase “bronzy bronzy”), and he introduced many of us to the wonders of Lebanese cuisine.
He lived in De Vere Gardens, London W8 for most of his career with Chase. Beshara married Nelly Zaidan in August 1994 and they had a son Gabriel Beshara Razzouk who was born in 1997 in Kensington and Chelsea.
Beshara retired from Chase circa 2000 and he and Nelly returned to Lebanon in 2009 for a well-deserved rest. I lost contact with him for many years, but in 2015 he cropped up on my Facebook page and we reconnected to my great joy. We spoke a couple of times a year and the BS flowed and we laughed and reminisced of those great days in GAD in the 1980/90s when we travelled the world in business class, ate and drank in the best restaurants and lived in 5-star hotels (oh and did a bit of auditing)!!!!
Billy died in Lebanon on 12 September 2023, having never recovered from open heart surgery.
Keith Simpson
Chase Manhattan Bank NA London
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