World’s Weirdest Scam

Quico says: A hearty congratulation goes out to Alex Dalmady, only guy I ever met who’s blown the top off a multibillion dollar fraud. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy, so I want to go on the record saying I used to hang out with him before he became an international media darling!

The underlying story is truly bizarre. Apparently, a very large percentage of Stanford’s fraud hit Venezuelan investors. We’re talking billions, perhaps as many as $5 billion out of the $8.5 the Antiguan bank had in deposit, though nobody knows the exact number.

At this point, I have many more questions than answers: have you ever heard of a Cricket-promoting Texas-billionaire who specializes in swindling Antiguans and Venezuelans? How can it be that a fraud that was operating in 130 countries ended up focusing such a high percentage of the losses on just ours?

There are a ton of rumors going around of Chavista big fish getting hit hard by this scam, but it’s all rumint so far.

And then, there’s one very obvious subtext here that nobody seems to want to acknowledge, ABCNews has started to look into. There is only one reason off-shore banking got so big in the Caribbean in the first place: money laundering. And there is indeed some evidence that Stanford was involved in helping Mexico’s Gulf Cartel launder its money.

Hmmmm, lets review the bidding: …dodgy Texans…off-shore Caribbean banks…Venezuelans who are suddenly gazillionaires and are looking for places to invest…massive profits that vanish into thin air. These are not hard dots to connect, and if Clodosbaldo Russian’s EEG ever registered anything beyond a persistent vegetative state, I’m sure he’d have no trouble.

But we shouldn’t forget that Stanford was running a Fogade-insured retail bank in Venezuela alongside its scam-laden Antigua operation. And not every Venezuelan taken in by the Antigua scam was an obvious crook: in fact, the only people I know for sure to have lost their money are normal Venezuelan savers, not chavista pesados.

It’s all incredibly murky: where this goes from here, I can only guess.