Arpad Busson, the ex-boyfriend of supermodel Elle MacPherson, is to finance seven city academies.

A charity led by the multimillionaire ex-boyfriend of supermodel Elle MacPherson is planning to finance seven city academies in London.

Absolute Return for Kids (Ark), led by multimillionaire French financier Arpad Busson, wants to invest a total of £14m towards academies in areas including Southwark, Hammersmith, Westminster, Lambeth and Hackney. The charity has begun discussions with Southwark council over establishing one of the centres in the area.

The academy in Southwark would be the third in the borough, and would replace Geoffrey Chaucer Technology College and Joseph Lancaster Primary. It could open as early as 2008. Proposals for an academy in Islington have been dropped after opposition from school governors.

Arpad Busson owns investment company the EIM Group, which lists members of the Bin Laden family amongst its former clients.