Introduction: FTR#412 documents a frightening political and economic scenario involving an impending fiscal catastrophe for the United States that, in turn, portends a devastating political crisis. In several recent broadcasts, Mr. Emory has used the phrase “the engineer intends to wreck the train” in order to describe the economic and foreign policies adopted by the Bush administration. Beginning with a column by brilliant New York Times economic columnist Paul Krugman, the broadcast highlights his use of almost identical phraseology to express the view that the radicals in the administration intend to produce “a fiscal train wreck” with their suicidal tax cutting policies.
This “fiscal train wreck,” in turn, is designed to force the elimination of social programs that the American people would not otherwise support. In this context, one should not fail to note Mr. Emory’s past observations that this administration is the point element of the deadly Bormann organization—quite literally a Third Reich gone underground–and is designed to subjugate or destroy the United States of America.
At the core of this gambit is the goal of bankrupting the U.S. by slashing revenues and drawing the country into a protracted and costly military struggle against the Muslim population of the Earth Island—themselves serving as proxy warriors for the Underground Reich.
Giving numerical substance to the dimensions of the approaching economic debacle, the broadcast sets forth some truly daunting numbers from a Financial Times article—impending deficit totals of $44,200bn or ten times the publicly held national debt. Comparing the behavior of the American power elite with that of their French counterparts in the run-up to World War II, the program recapitulates documentation that the French defeat in World War II was welcomed and engineered by a political and economic Fifth column.
That Fifth Column’s ideological and structural economic affinity with the Third Reich disposed them against the democratic interests of their own country. Similarly, the profound structural economic ties of this country’s power elite to the Bormann group and to the Saudi financiers of Al Qaeda are motivating their conscious rush to ruin.
The second side of the program deals with the issue of offshore tax havens and their functional and historical relationship to the economic subversion of democracy. In particular, the use of tax havens has facilitated the collaboration of US corporations with rogue regimes such as that of Saddam Hussein.
Program Highlights Include: The French elite’s use of Swiss bank accounts to avoid taxes and the economic sacrifice they were demanding of others; the Bush administration’s reversal of Clinton policies that would have increased economic transparency and reduced the use of offshore financial safehavens; Saddam Hussein’s use of offshore banking to hide the ill-gotten gains he accumulated from Western corporations officially enjoined from dealing with him; Donald Rumsfeld’s dodging of a reporter’s question concerning the Saddam flight capital; Saddam’s use of an account with the Banco del Gottardo (part of the Al Taqwa complex) as a repository for much of his money; the mysterious death of a Swiss lawyer hired to help rectify the accounting of Saddam’s money in the Banco del Gottardo account.
Correction: In some of the ancillary discussion for FTR#412, Mr. Emory incorrectly identifies Johann Von Leers as a member of the party that left the Fuehrerbunker with Martin Bormann. It was Werner Naumann, not Von Leers, who was with Bormann and Hitler Youth leader Arthur Axmann. Both Naumann and Von Leers were key aides to Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, and Naumann was named to succeed Goebbels. Both Naumann and Von Leers later worked for the post-war Nazi underground in the Middle East and elsewhere. Von Leers is alleged to have told French intelligence that Bormann was alive in Latin America. For more about Naumann, Von Leers and company, see: Dreamer of the Day: Francis Parker Yockey and the Postwar Fascist International. (Autonomedia, copyright 1999 [SC].)
1. Beginning with the concept from which the title of the program is developed, the broadcast sets forth a column by Paul Krugman of The New York Times (a professor of economics at Princeton University.). In numerous recent broadcasts, Mr. Emory has used the phrase “the engineer is out to wreck the train” to describe the direction of the Bush administration and the forces that drive it. For some time, the For The Record series has advanced the working hypothesis that this administration is a front for the Underground Reich, with the goal of the political, economic and/or physical destruction and/or subjugation of the United States as its goal. By maniacally reducing the federal budget and dramatically increasing federal expenditures, the GOP extremists are going to destroy the country. Now, the notion that “the engineer intends to wreck the train” is not just Mr. Emory’s refrain.
“ ‘The lunatics are now in charge of the asylum.’ So wrote the normally staid Financial Times, traditionally the voice of solid British business opinion, when surveying last week’s bill. Indeed, the legislation is doubly absurd: the gimmicks used to make an $800-billion-plus tax cut carry an official price tag of only $320 billion are a joke, yet the cost without the gimmicks is so large that the nation can’t possibly afford it while keeping its other promises.”
“Stating the Obvious” by Paul Krugman; The New York Times; 5/27/2003; accessed at; www.NYTimes.com.
2. Mr. Krugman suggests that “a fiscal train wreck” is indeed intended.
“But then maybe that’s the point. The Financial Times suggests that ‘more extreme Republicans’ actually want a fiscal train wreck: ‘proposing to slash federal spending, particularly on social programs, is a tricky electoral proposition, but a fiscal crisis offers the tantalizing prospect of forcing such cuts through the back door.’ Good for The Financial Times. It seems that stating the obvious has now, finally, become respectable.”
3. “It’s no secret that right-wing ideologues want to abolish programs Americans take for granted. But not long ago, to suggest that the Bush administration’s policies might actually be driven by those ideologues—that the administration was deliberately setting the country up for a fiscal crisis in which popular social programs could be sharply cut—was to be accused of spouting conspiracy theories. [Italics are Mr. Emory’s] Yet by pushing through another huge tax cut in the face of record deficits, the administration clearly demonstrates either that it is completely feckless, or that it actually wants a fiscal crisis. (Or maybe both.)”
4. “Here’s one way to look at the situation: Although you wouldn’t know it from the rhetoric, federal taxes are already historically low as a share of G.D.P. Once the new round of cuts takes effect, federal taxes will be lower than their average during the Eisenhower administration. How, then, can the government pay for Medicare and Medicaid—which didn’t exist in the 1950’s—and Social Security, which will become far more expensive as the population ages? (Defense spending has fallen compared with the economy, but not that much, and it’s on the rise again.)”
5. “The answer is that it can’t. The government can borrow to make up the difference as long as investors remain in denial, unable to believe that the world’s only superpower is turning into a banana republic. But at some point bond markets will balk—they won’t lend money to a government, even that of the United States, if that government’s debt is growing faster than its revenues and there is no plausible story about how the budget will eventually come under control.”
6. “At that point, either taxes will go up again, or programs that have become fundamental to the American way of life will be gutted. We can be sure that the right will do whatever it takes to preserve the Bush tax cuts—right now the administration is even skimping on homeland security to save a few dollars here and there. But balancing the books without tax increases will require deep cuts where the money is: that is, in Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.”
7. “The pain of these benefit cuts will fall on the middle class and the poor, while the tax cuts overwhelmingly favor the rich. For example, the tax cut passed last week will raise the after-tax income of most people by less than1 percent—not nearly enough to compensate them for the loss of benefits. But people with incomes over $1 million per year will, on average, see their after-tax income rise 4.4 percent. The Financial Times suggests this is deliberate (and I agree): ‘For them,’ it says of those extreme Republicans, ‘undermining the multilateral international order is not enough; long-held views on income distribution also require radical revision.’”
8. “How can this be happening? Most people, even most liberals, are complacent. They don’t realize how dire the fiscal outlook really is, and they don’t read what the ideologues write. They imagine that the Bush administration, like the Reagan administration, will modify our system only at the edges, that it won’t destroy the social safety net built up over the past 70 years. But the people now running America aren’t conservatives: they’re radicals who want to do away with the social and economic system we have, and the fiscal crisis they are concocting may give them the excuse they need. The Financial Times, it seems, now understands what’s going on, but when will the public wake up?”
9. Highlighting the cataclysmic dimensions of what the administration is doing, The Financial Times set forth the deadly dimensions of the fiscal impact of the Bush tax cuts. One should not overlook the fact that this information is from a report commissioned by the Treasury Department, suppressed by the administration, and ignored by the US media.
“The Bush administration has shelved a report commissioned by the Treasury that shows the US currently faces a future of chronic federal budget deficits totaling at least $44,200bn in current US dollars. [Emphasis added.] The study, the most comprehensive assessment of how the US government is at risk of being overwhelmed by the ‘baby boom’ generation’s future healthcare and retirement costs, was commissioned by then treasury secretary Paul O’Neill. But the Bush administration chose to keep the findings out of the annual budget report for fiscal year 2004, published in February, as the White House campaigned for a tax-cut package that critics claim will expand future deficits.”
“Report Warns of Chronic US Deficits” by Peronet Despeignes; The Financial Times; 5/29/2003; p. 1.
10. “The study asserts that sharp tax increases, massive spending cuts or a painful mix of both are unavoidable if the US is to meet benefit promises to future generations. It estimates that closing the gap would require the equivalent of an immediate and permanent 66 per cent across-the-board income tax increase. . .”
11. “Mr. O’Neill, who was fired last December, refused to comment. The study’s analysis of future deficits dwarfs previous estimates of the financial challenge facing Washington It is roughly equivalent to 10 times the publicly held national debt, four years of US economic output or more than 94 per cent of all US household assets. [Emphasis added.] Alan Greenspan, Federal Reserve chairman, last week bemoaned what he called Washington’s ‘deafening silence about the future crunch.’”
12. “The estimates reflect the extent to which the annual deficit, the national debt and other widely reported, backward-looking data are becoming archaic and misleading as measures of the government’s solvency. Mr. [Kent] Smetters, now a University of Pennsylvania finance professor, said tax cuts were only a fraction of the imbalance, and that the bigger problem ‘is the whole [budget] language we’re using.’ Laurence Kotlikoff, an expert on long-term budget accounting alleged in a recent Boston globe editorial that the Bush administration suppressed the research to ease passage of the tax-cut plan.”
13. The 9/11 attacks constitute an event as complicated as they are important. In FTR#’s 344–346, Mr. Emory presented his view that the attacks could be viewed as “Pearl Harbor meets the Reichstag Fire.” They were, indeed, a sneak attack by a hostile foreign power (the “virtual state” that is the Underground Reich.) It was also utilized by an internal Fifth Column that was connected to the attackers through structural economic relationships. The attacks have been used to institute the foundations of fascism. Recapitulating discussion from FTR#366 and FTR#372, this broadcast compares the attacks to the German invasion of France in World War II. The German invasion was not a “provocation” as such, but it was used to implement fascism in France. (The Franco-German axis that opposed the American invasion of Iraq is reflective of the foundations of the events prior to, during, and after World War II.) The first side of the program concludes with review of a passage written in 1944 by Pierre Cot, the French minister of aviation in the period leading up to World War II.
“Enough evidence has been published already to prove that France was stabbed in the back by those who saw in Hitler the new St. George who would slay the Communist dragon. When Pierre Lazareff, former editor-in-chief of Paris Soir (the French newspaper with the widest circulation), reports royalists as saying: ‘We need the defeat to wipe out the Republic;’ when Elie Bois, former editor of the Petit Parisien (the most influential political newspaper), reports great industrialists admitting to him, during the winter of 1939–1940, that a plot had been organized to replace the democratic regime by a ‘government of authority’ and that this plot presupposed a Nazi victory; when Anatole de Monzie writes, in a book passed by the censor of the Vichy government, that Marshal Petain said in February, 1940: ‘They will appeal to me in the third week in May’; when Genevieve Tabouis tells of the work accomplished in the Parisian salons by the Fifth Column’s ‘brigade mondaine’; when Henri de Kerillis, former officer and nationalist deputy, exposes the inroads of the Fifth Column in the conservative and military circles which he knew; when Henry Torres reveals to us what was going on in the offices of the official propaganda . . . we have every reason to accept their affirmations, which tally so perfectly with the events.”
Triumph of Treason; by Pierre Cot; Copyright 1944 [HC]; Ziff-Davis; p. 63.
14. A very important article by investigative reporter Lucy Komisar underscores the structural economic relationships maintained by the French power elite in the pre-World War II period. (Again, listeners are referred to FTR#272 for an understanding of these events.) One should in this context the significance of the Swiss tax haven for the economic realpolitik of the French oligarchs. The possibility that the American power elite’s ability to secret their capital abroad (while the country is economically decimated) is not one to be too readily dismissed. It is Mr. Emory’s view that the attitude of significant elements of the US economic elite is similar to that of their French counterparts in the run-up to World War II. It is worth noting that the title of Ms. Komisar’s article characterizes the issue of offshore banking as a “Secret Threat to America.” Amen.
“In November 1932, deputy Fabien Albertin took the floor of the National Assembly in Paris to denounce tax evasion by eminent French personalities—politicians, judges industrialists, church dignitaries, and directors of newspapers—who were hiding their money in Switzerland. ‘The minister of finance knows very well that for ten years, the concern of all his predecessors has been to track down this fraud . . .’ he declared. ‘However, till now, the information one has gotten has been extremely vague. When documents arrive, they are represented only as numbers. Employees of the banks don’t know the names of account holders. These names are known only to the director of the bank, who the clients forbid to correspond with them, so anxious are they to preserve anonymity.’”
“Offshore Banking: the Secret Threat to America” by Lucy Komisar; Dissent; Spring/2003; p. 1.
15. “He said, ‘If one reads the Swiss newspapers this morning, one sees that public opinion in Switzerland dreads the massive shrinking of sums that have been deposited in its banks—of which it enjoys exclusive profit.’ There had been a raid on a building on the Rue de la Tremoille in the aristocratic district of the Champs-Elysees, where officials of a Swiss bank had a five-room apartment. Police had passed through a crowd of impatient clients in the waiting room, entered the office, and seized all available documents. Albertin argued that the operation should have occurred earlier, as the business had gone on without interruption for ten days. Even so, the police collected 245,000 French francs, 2,000 Swiss francs, and even more important, an index, a cashbook, a file, and ten large notebooks with two thousand names.”
Ibid.; pp. 1–2.
16. “A parliamentarian shouted, ‘We want to know them!’ Albertin answered, ‘the minister knows . . .’ But the finance minister declared, ‘Ah! No! Mr. Albertin, I don’t know this list at all.’ And Albertin replied, ‘I am going to satisfy your curiosity. Some will say, ‘Ah! You socialists are happy to dishonor political adversaries and show that there are classes in society!’ Yes, there are classes. And in this scandal, the ruling elite of society shows its selfishness and unwillingness to obey French law!’”
Ibid.; p. 2.
17. “His list included deputies, senators, and judges, whose role, he pointed out, was to make and apply the laws. He called them men of ‘a particularly ticklish patriotism’ who, he noted with irony, ‘probably are unaware that the money they deposit abroad is lent by Switzerland to Germany.’ That Switzerland was Hitler’s banker was already known. [Hitler did not actually assume the chancellor’s position until his appointment in January of 1933, a couple of months later.] Albertin noted sardonically that such people never made loans to the French defense effort. He added that the list included a dozen generals, even the comptroller of the army. He began to name the names of the tax evader elite, including two bishops, who he said, ‘though their kingdom isn’t of this world,’ were able to reconcile their oaths of poverty with the desire to shelter their fortunes. There were also manufacturers of automobiles and furniture.”
18. “ ‘Names!’ cried a deputy. ‘The Peugeot brothers,’ Albertin replied. The furniture maker was Levitan. He moved on to Henriette Francois Coty, of the famous perfume family, who ran a newspaper, L’Ami du People (Friend of the People), and a M. Sapetre, whom Albertin took for the publisher of Le Matin (Morning). Albertin declared, ‘There is nothing more painful, saddening, and tragic, nothing that can discourage the mass of French workers more deeply than to see every day the men who direct and inspire French opinion in the columns of their big dailies call for the nation’s financial patriotism, tell of sacrifices to be asked of civil servants and war victims . . . and on their own part, cheat.’”
Ibid.; pp. 2–3.
19. “Swiss bankers were stunned by the revelations of their clients’ names. They feared that unless they could block future exposure, they might lose the deposits people had stashed with them to avoid paying their own countries’ taxes. To make sure that account owners’ names could never be made public again, in 1934, the Swiss confederation made it a crime for a bank employee to violate the secrecy of clients’ identities. Bank secrecy was born; even law enforcement on the track of thieves could not pierce it. The elites of France and elsewhere could rest easy. Taxes would burden only the poor and middle classes. . . .”
Ibid.; p. 3.
20. Further down in the text of the Dissent article, Ms. Komisar discusses the amount of wealth of US-based multinationals that is believed to be in tax havens, as well as the percentage of overall world wealth secreted in these repositories.
“ . . . The money involved is monumental. Secrecy havens have 1.2 percent of the world’s population and hold 26 percent of the world’s wealth, including 31 percent of the net profits of U.S. multinationals. According to Merrill Lynch & Gemini Consulting’s ‘World Wealth Report’ for 2000, one third of the wealth of the world’s ‘high net-worth individuals’ (as banks like to call them), nearly $6 trillion out of $17.5 trillion, may now be held offshore. Some $3 trillion is in deposits in tax haven banks and the rest is in securities held by IBC’s and trusts. Experts believe that as much as half the world’s capital flows through offshore centers. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says that between $600 billion and $1.5 trillion of illicit money is laundered annually, equal to 2 percent to 5 percent of global economic output. These offshore centers awash in money are the hub of a colossal, underground network of crime, fraud, and corruption.”
Ibid.; p. 7.
21. The same tax havens and offshore financial repositories are mainstays of corporate maneuvering, terrorist-financing, drug-dealing and weapons trafficking. The remarkable Lucy Komisar—showing more moxie and character than the overwhelming majority of American journalists—braced secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld about Saddam Hussein’s use of offshore havens to bank his ill-gotten gains.
“It hasn’t been reported in the U.S. press—until here, now—but in Milan, Italy’s chief prosecutor has obtained thousands of documents that show how for more than 20 years Saddam Hussein used the Western bank and corporate secrecy system to launder bribes skimmed from oil revenues to pay his security forces and buy Western arms during international embargoes. The key countries—whose governments openly allow these money-laundering systems to exist—were Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Panama and Nassau. Corporate registrations and bank accounts there use ‘straw men’ and secrecy rules to cover up true owners of companies and accounts.”
“Rumsfeld Queried on Offshore Banking Reform” by Lucy Komisar; The American Reporter; 5/27/2003 [Vol. 9, No. 2112]; p. 1.
22. “On Tuesday (May 27), Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, and I asked him what the U.S. planned to do about this system that financed and armed Washington’s latest nemesis. This was the question: ‘It’s been shown by investigations by the prosecutor of Milan in Italy, which has gotten thousands of documents about banks accounts in Europe, particularly Switzerland and Liechtenstein and then also Panama, that these were the accounts through which Saddam Hussein hid the rake-offs he was getting from Western companies that were buying his oil—that allowed him to get money for weapons over the 80’s and 90’s. This bank and corporate secrecy is what allowed this to happen. I assume the Americans know about this. Are you going to do anything about this system that allows them to get weapons illegally?’”
Ibid.; pp. 1–2.
23. “For the record, Rumsfeld’s answer: ‘The Department of the Treasury has been working with other countries and attempting to locate the assets that the Saddam Hussein family and regime have placed in other countries. They found some, and I’m sure they have not found additional sums, and I’m sure they’re working on it.’”
Ibid.; p. 2.
24. Ms. Komisar notes that the Bush administration has quietly reversed the Clinton administration’s efforts at lifting the curtain of secrecy on this curtain of financial secrecy.
“Rumsfeld clumsily side-stepped the question, because the Bush administration has reversed the Clinton-era policy that attempted at least minimal reforms of the offshore system. It has blocked European efforts to pierce bank secrecy by allowing tax authorities to share information on non-residents’ bank accounts. It does not want to change the offshore system because its corporate and wealthy supporters use it to evade taxes.”
25. “Rumsfeld would know how that works, because he was CEO of G.D. Searle & Co. a worldwide pharmaceutical company, and of General Instrument Corporation, which deals in broadband technologies. International corporations routinely use the offshore system for ‘transfer pricing’—corporatespeak for the practice of moving bookkeeping entries around the globe so they can report near-zero profits to the IRS. He said that when funds are needed in Iraq, the U.S. ‘will rely on frozen assets in the U.S. and other countries.” But to be frozen, they have to be found. And to be found, the U.S. will have to follow the trails set out in the Milan documents—to challenge the bank and corporate secrecy of friendly allies such as Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Panama and Nassau.”
Idem.; p. 3.
26. “Rumsfeld says that in the new Iraq, ‘Market systems will be favored,’ the U.S. ‘will encourage moves to privatize state-owned enterprises’ and that it is developing a plan for the oil industry based on transparency.’” The international oil business is notorious for using secret offshore accounts to move profits and also to bribe government officials for access to oil fields. Transparency would make that difficult.”
Ibid.; p. 3.
27. “Earlier this month, Rep. Henry Wax man (D‑California) released documents showing that Halliburton, while it was headed by Vice-President Dick Cheney, set up offshore subsidiaries in places such as the Cayman Islands to guide its dealings with Iraq, Iran and Libya, which were under US embargo.”
Ibid.; p. 3.
28. “If the Bush administration is serious about transparency, if it’s serious about not wanting Iraq’s new oil barons to use the same offshore system that skimmed profits for their predecessors, it had better reconsider its protective attitude toward shell companies and secret bank accounts.”
29. The program concludes with a look at a man characterized in a recent book as the “Cashier of Saddam.” This individual—Elio Borradori– deposited much of Saddam’s wealth through a bank account in the Banca del Gottardo, intimately linked to the Bank Al Taqwa complex.
“A financial adviser to Saddam Hussein has revealed how the Iraqi dictator channeled hundreds of millions of pounds into secretive offshore companies. For more than 10 years Elio Borradori, a company trustee in the tax havens of Liechtenstein and Lugano, Switzerland, managed the huge commissions’ and ‘consultancy fees’ from the Iraqi dictator’s arms deals and development contracts. The money was funneled into companies controlled by Saddam’s appointees through Panama, the Bahamas and Switzerland. It is thought to have partly funded the Dictator’s palaces and lavish lifestyle.”
“Banker Who Hid Saddam’s Millions” by Stephen Grey, Nick Fielding, Jon Ungoed-Thomas, Edin Hamzic, Paolo Fusi, Eben Black; Sunday Times [London]; 4/13/2003.
30. “Many of the millions moved in and out of an account codenamed ‘Satan”, which was originally overseen by a relative of Saddam. He was Saad al-Mahdi. But he made the mistake of falling out with Saddam and was executed, possibly for pilfering from the Satan account. A Swiss lawyer took over some of the companies; others went into the hands of Barzan Ibrahim Hassaan al-Tikriti, Saddam’s half-brother.”
31. “Just before the first Gulf War in 1991, almost 1 billion pounds was moved from Satan and other accounts to be hidden around the world. Italian police last month identified 300 million pounds in one account in Geneva. The network of offshore companies remained active long after United Nations sanctions were imposed on Ira at the end of the war. The Sunday Times has uncovered more than 1,000 documents, some of which confirm Borradori’s role. They also provide indications of export deals relating to Dassault and Thomson-CSF, two French arms companies (then state owned), and to Russian firms. Although many of the documents relate to the 1980’s, others suggest activity in the mid-1990’s. The material will be a fillip to investigators in Italy, Switzerland and Liechtenstein trying to untangle the web of transactions in the hunt for Saddam’s billions.”
32. “Borradori, who said he met Saddam in person several times retired some years ago to live quietly in Switzerland. But a Lugano court case brought by the al-Mahdi family, and the mysterious death of one of the lawyers involved, revealed documents relating to Saddam’s secret network of companies. Now 75 and living on the southern shores of Lake Lugano, Borradori admitted he was Saddam’s banking adviser. . . .”
33. “ . . . By 1977 the network of companies and number of deals had grown so extensive—with both overt and covert operations—that al-Mahdi was sent to Europe to oversee them, under the control of al-Tikriti, who was then the overall head of Saddam’s financial network . . . The main entity was Mediterranean Enterprises Development Projects (Lugano), which had branches in New York, Tokyo, London, Paris and other centers. It in turn controlled about 300 other companies, mainly in Liechtenstein and Panama.”
34. “Three key companies, called Dumynta, Radistal and Technoservice International (Vaduz), were among those that received commissions and consultancy fees, handling at least 300 million pounds in the 1980’s. Some payments, however, were staggered over the life of the contracts and stretched into the 1990’s. There were, for example, commission payments related to a missile site near Mosul, in northern Iraq, which, according to Italian authorities, was not completed until the mid-1990’s—even though such work was supposed to stop after the Gulf War.”
35. “To cover the tracks, much of the money passed through account number 70513 at the Banca del Gottardo in Nassau in the Bahamas—the Satan account. [Italics are Mr. Emory’s] One banking slip indicated a payment as recently as December 1998. There were 47 other bank accounts linked to the offshore network. Borradori was usually president and signatory for the companies, and the day-to-day transactions were handled by an accountant for him. But the man in control for the Iraqi regime was al-Mahdi. Something of a playboy, al-Mahdi jetted around Europe, while in Iraq, Saddam used some of the millions to build extravagant palaces . . . Saddam, however, appears to have suspected al-Mahdi of stealing from the accounts. He was summoned to Baghdad and beheaded for theft and behavior disrespectful to Islam . . . .”
36. After the death of Al-Mahdi, his family hired a lawyer to investigate the missing money in the Satan account. That lawyer, Gianluca Boscaro, died under suspicious circumstances.
“ . . . Years after the death of al-Mahdi, his family decided to pursue some of the millions that had washed through the network of offshore companies. They hired Gianluca Boscaro, a Swiss lawyer, to bring a case which named, among others, Borradori’s accountant and other trustees . . . Through the legal action, Boscaro secured evidence of how, at least in part, Saddam had siphoned off a fortune and hidden it around the world. Increasingly paranoid about his own safety, Boscaro told one friend that should anything untoward happen to him, the documents should be brought to public attention.”
37. “In the midst of the legal action in August last year, Boscaro, an adventurous man in his forties, died while taking time off from the case to relax in the foothills of the Piedmont mountains. At around 7:30 pm on a clear sunny evening, he was floating high in the sky beneath a paraglider. Suddenly the canopy seemed to stall. Boscaro plunged to his death. It is a dangerous sport and such accidents are not uncommon, but officials who examined the canopy noticed cords were damaged. Police concluded it was an accident, although friends of Boscaro dispute their findings. Accident or murder? It may never be known. But for Saddam, the end was nearing. Within months coalition troops ere on their way to Kuwait. However, the many millions Saddam siphoned off for his own purposes may never be fully traced, let alone recovered.”