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Who's behind Madoff? by Wayne Madsen
Who’s behind Madoff?
By Wayne Madsen
[/FONT]Online Journal Contributing Writer

Feb 19, 2009, 00:21

(WMR) -- As the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that it had cut a deal with $50 billion Ponzi scammer Bernard Madoff whereby Madoff will neither admit nor deny fraud claims against him in a suit brought by the SEC. In return Madoff has agreed to pay civil fines and penalties levied by the SEC. The agreement has no bearing on Madoff’s criminal trial.
WMR has learned that in addition to 20 million documents stored by Madoff in a warehouse in Queens that were stored without any indexing system and merely placed in boxes and strewn around the floor are millions of additional documents that were stored by Madoff in a Brooklyn warehouse that was partially flooded. A number of the Madoff documents there were destroyed by water damage.
WMR has also learned that a key element in Madoff’s Ponzi scheme was Madoff Energy LLC, formed as a Delaware corporation in February 2007. Other Madoff firms in the energy arena were Madoff Energy Holdings LLC, Madoff Energy III LLC, and Madoff Energy IV LLC. There are links between these now-defunct Madoff energy entities and Texas oil and natural gas industry interests, some close to the Bushes and Dick Cheney.
WMR has also learned that the kid glove treatment given by federal authorities to Madoff, including allowing him to remain in his Upper East Side luxury town home, is because Madoff’s Ponzi scheme was part of a much larger operation, one involving top officials of both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations, as well as the notorious Russian-Israeli Mafia.
One of the investors in Madoff’s scam was, according to the published list of Madoff “victims,” was the Bank of New York (BONY) and a contrivance called the “Alternate Investment Service.” BONY was the subject of a previous detailed WMR report on the activities of the Russian-Israeli mob:
“Forest Hills has been identified by the FBI as a major center for both the Russian-Israeli Mafia and Mossad and it is a place where the two interests often cooperate. In 2002, OPERATION SPIDERWEB, a joint FBI-EUROPOL operation, resulted in the arrest of 20 Russian-Israeli dual citizens on charges of money laundering. The laundering primarily involved the Bank of New York (BONY), the Russian bank Menatep, and an ‘Internet bank’ called the European Union Bank. More importantly, the money-laundering network also included Benex, a firm connected to Bill Clinton-pardoned Mossad figure Marc Rich, who still resides primarily in Switzerland. . . . Benex’s office was located on Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills in the same building where Grigori Loutchanskyheadquartered two of his companies. Loutchansky is a Latvian-born Israeli who laundered billions through his Vienna-based NORDEXfirm. National Security Agency (NSA) signals intercepts have reportedly yielded intelligence on Loutchansky’s role in the smuggling of nuclear materials. Loutchansky also was closely linked to Clinton’s 1996 re-election campaign through New York real estate magnate and Democratic donor Sam Dombs. . . . Forest Hills was also the hometown of international diamond dealer Yehuda Abraham, convicted in a plot to smuggle surface-to-air missile launchers from Russia into the United States, a mere four months after 9/11, and launder the proceeds from the deal through Malaysia. The network was discovered to have links with the Viktor Boutweapons smuggling network and money laundering facilities linked to ‘Al Qaeda’ Southeast Asia affiliate Jemaah Islamiyah. Abraham, an Afghan Jew, was linked not only to Mossad but to the Saudi Royal Family.”
Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, was the Clinton administration’s deputy attorney general who approved the eleventh hour Clinton pardon for Rich.
Another Madoff investor was Mellon Financial Services. On July 8, 2008, WMR reported:
“A February 27, 2008, truck theft of backup data tapes from Bank of New York Mellon Corporation’s Jersey City Shareholder Services unit has the hallmarks of an organized crime heist. Shareholders of the Walt Disney Company, John Hancock Financial Services (a division of Manulife Financial Corporation), People’s United Bank of Connecticut, and the Bank of New York were informed that their stock sale transactions may have been compromised.”
Obama’s Middle East envoy, George Mitchell, is a former chairman of the Board of the Walt Disney Company.
WMR has learned from a U.S. intelligence source in the Middle East that much of the $50 billion scammed by Madoff is now in Israeli banks and other financial contrivances established to secretly launder the ill-gotten loot. The Madoff Ponzi scheme may also be linked to the revelations by former Liechtenstein LGT bank employee Heinrich Kieber of secret off-shore accounts held by tax-evading politicians and businessmen in the United States and other countries, as well as the Clearstream entity in Luxembourg that involved allegations of a slush fund used to finance the political ambitions of France’s neocon president, Nicolas Sarkozy, and other right-wing politicians.
Harry Markopolos, a former investment manager-turned-investigator, recently told the U. S. House Financial Services Subcommittee that the SEC failed to take action against Madoff when Markopolos repeatedly warned the regulatory agency of the Ponzi scheme activities of Madoff, a former chairman of NASDAQ. The hearing at which Markopolos testified was chaired by Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY), whose 5th congressional district adjoins the 9th congressional district of Forest Hills and Rego Park, a nexus for Russian-Israeli mob activity in the New York City area.
On February 9, the SEC announced that Linda Thomsen, the agency’s top enforcement official, was resigning to “pursue opportunities in the private sector.”
Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.
Copyright © 2008
Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the [/FONT]Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).[/FONT]
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
I luv the SEC’s attitude. It’s an organized crime and organized pol heist so don’t press charges.

Move along folks nothing to see here.

AS posted elsewhere, Walt Disney is also a wise guy outfit these days. Obama really knows how to pick’ em eh.

On Clearstream there was a more than interesting story that came to light a few years ago in a book by Ernest Backes (formerly of Clearstream which itself was formerly known as Cedel SA) in a book he wrote called “Revelation$”. I’m posting an article below on it.

Back in my bad old City days I met Backes when I visited Cedel in Luxembourg, along with his CEO who was later suicided or accidented or had one of those usual heart attacks, if you know what I mean (can’t remember which it was now).

But then I learned that Backes was working for German intelligence and that the whole purpose of his book was to damage the then Chairamn of Clearstream who was forced to resign. With that accomplished Clearstream was bought out by the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (Deutsche Bourse) which was the whole point of the affair


Apologies in advance if I am slightly hijacking this thread. That is not my intention, but rather I wish to further elucidate the background to show just how compromised the global financial markets really are.

Cedel/Clearstream were one of two world clearing systems for securities (the other being the Morgan bank cipher Euroclear). European bankers had never trusted Euroclear as they figured that it would share their trading activity with other American banks and so they collectively set up Cedel as the European alternative.

Backes was also working with an American freelance journalist who just happened to be freelancing for the CIA I was told. I met her too once at her request. There was no purpose to the meeting other than for her to spring a stocky guy in a trenchcoat (honest!) on me so he could run his eye over me and, I think, so she could snap my picture. Back then I thought she was just an ordinary journo and it was only later I learned about her spooky relationships. That would be Lucy-not-so-juicy who wrote the below piece. Backes and Lucy went on to involve themselves in a high profile Russian oil deal that ultimately saw a billionaire adversary of Putin's put in prison on tax evasion charges. That deal had the Rothschild banking family all over it.

The world’s biggest banks and multinational corporations have set up a shadowy system to secretly move trillions of dollars—a system that can be exploited by tax evaders, drug runners and even terrorists.

Ernest Backes, circa 1986.

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Ernest Backes exposed this dubious system and has launched a personal crusade for international oversight—earning him some high-powered and dangerous enemies.
by Lucy Komisar

n the tax haven of Luxembourg, a little-known outfit called Clearstream handles billions of dollars a year in stock and bond transfers for banks, investment companies and multinational corporations. But a former top official of this “clearinghouse” says Clearstream operates a secret bookkeeping system that allows its clients to hide the money that moves through their accounts.
In these days of global markets, individuals and companies may be buying stocks, bonds or derivatives from a seller who is halfway across the world. Clearinghouses like Clearstream keep track of the “paperwork” for the transactions. Banks with accounts in the clearinghouse use a debit and credit system and, at the end of the day, the accounts (minus “handling fees,” of course) are totaled up. The clearinghouse doesn’t actually send money anywhere, it just debits and credits its members’ accounts. It’s all very efficient. But the money involved is massive. Clearstream handles more than 80 million transactions a year, and claims to have securities on deposit valued at $6.5 trillion.
It’s also an excellent mechanism for laundering drug money or hiding income from the tax collector. Banks are supposed to be subject to local government oversight. But many of Clearstream’s members have real or “virtual” subsidiaries in offshore tax havens, where records are secret and investigators can’t trace transactions. And Clearstream, which keeps the central records of financial trades, doesn’t get even the cursory regulation that applies to offshore banks. On top of that, it deliberately has put in place a system to hide many of its clients’ transactions from any authorities who might come looking.
According to former insiders:
• Clearstream has a double system of accounting, with secret, non-published accounts that banks and big corporations use to make transfers they don’t want listed on the official books.
• Though it is legally limited to dealing with financial institutions, Clearstream gives secret accounts to multinational corporations so they can move stocks and money free from outside scrutiny.
• Clearstream carried an account for a notoriously criminal Russian bank for several years after the bank had officially “collapsed,” and clearinghouse accounts camouflaged the destinations of transfers to Colombian banks.
• Clearstream operates a computer program that erases the traces of trades on request from its members.
• Clearstream was used to try to hide a dubious arms deal between French authorities and the Taiwanese military.
Many of these charges were first made in a controversial book called Révélation$, written by Denis Robert, a French journalist, and Ernest Backes, a former top official at the clearinghouse who helped design and install the computer system that facilitated the undisclosed accounts. The book’s impact was explosive. Six European judges called it “the black box” of illicit international financial flows. Top Clearstream officials were fired. The scandal made headlines in big European newspapers; TV networks broadcast specials; the French National Assembly’s financial crimes committee held a hearing. Luxembourg authorities ordered an investigation, and then they effected a cover-up. Yet Révélation$ remains unpublished and relatively unknown in the United States.

bearded, heavyset man in his mid-fifties, Backes spoke with In These Times in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, where he’d gone to attend a conference on international crime, and explained how he’d started fighting “organized crime in banking.”
Click here to read about Clearstream’s connection to the October Surprise.
Ernest Backes was born in 1946 in Trier, Germany. (As he likes to joke, “There were two important people born in Trier; the other is Karl Marx.”) His father was a Luxembourg metal worker, his mother a German nurse. From 14, he worked on an assembly line to pay for school and joined the Young Catholic Workers. After a job in the Luxembourg civil service, he was hired in 1971 by Clearstream’s predecessor Cedel (short for “central delivery” office), set up the year before by a consortium of 66 international banks. Backes helped design and install Cedel’s computerized accounting system in the ’70s.
Cedel and its main competitor, Brussels-based Euroclear, were started to manage transfers of “eurodollars,” U.S. currency kept in banks outside the United States. According to Barbara Garson’s book Money Makes the World Go Around, eurodollars were invented in the ’50s by the Chinese and the Soviets so they would not have to put their assets in banks where the U.S. government could seize them. But others saw value in eurodollars, and they began to be traded for other currencies. Some banks attracted eurodollars with higher interest than was being paid in America, and U.S. corporations and individuals began using the accounts to avoid laws on domestic banks. The euromoney market was born. (By the ’90s, the Federal Reserve estimated that about two-thirds of U.S. currency was held abroad as eurodollars.)
Cedel and Euroclear eventually expanded into handling transfers of stock titles and other financial instruments. Their clients needed a system that would guarantee the creditworthiness of their trading partners and keep records of the trades. The clearinghouses provided speed, discretion, and a system that didn’t make the records of their deals and profits readily accessible to outsiders. Every few months, a list of members’ codes was distributed. For transfers, members just entered the codes, and Clearstream handled the deals with no further inquiries.
In 1975, several big Italian and German banks wanted to centralize their accounting and didn’t want other members of Cedel to send transfers through their numerous individual branches. The Cedel council of administration—its board of directors—authorized banks with multiple subsidiaries not to put all their accounts on the lists. Backes and Gerard Soisson, then Cedel’s general manager, set up a system of non-published accounts. A bank would send a transfer to the code of the headquarters bank, which would send it on to the non-published account of its subsidiary. The bank would regulate this operation internally.
Soisson authorized each non-published account, which would be known only by some insiders, including the auditors and members of the council of administration. As Cedel’s literature to clients explained: “As a general rule, the principal account of each client is published: the existence of the account, as well as its name and number, are published. ... On demand, and at the discretion of Cedel Bank, the client can open a non-published account. The non-published accounts don’t figure in any printed document and their name is not mentioned in any report.”
Requests for non-published accounts came from some banks that weren’t eligible, but Soisson turned them down.

y 1980, Backes had become Cedel’s No. 3 official, in charge of relations with clients. But he was fired in May 1983. Backes says the reason given for his sacking was an argument with an English banker, a friend of the CEO. “I think I was fired was because I knew too much about the Ambrosiano scandal,” Backes says.
Banco Ambrosiano was once the second most important private bank in Italy, with the Vatican as a principal shareholder and loan recipient. The bank laundered drug- and arms-trafficking money for the Italian and American mafias and, in the ’80s, channeled Vatican money to the Contras in Nicaragua and Solidarity in Poland. The corrupt managers also siphoned off funds via fictitious banks to personal shell company accounts in Switzerland, the Bahamas, Panama and other offshore havens. Banco Ambrosiano collapsed in 1982 with a deficit of more than $1 billion. (Unknown to many moviegoers, Banco Ambrosiano inspired a subplot of The Godfather Part III.)
Several of those behind the swindle have met untimely ends. Bank chairman Roberto Calvi was found hanged under Blackfriars Bridge in London. Michele Sindona, convicted in 1980 on 65 counts of fraud in the United States, was extradited to Italy in 1984 and sentenced to life in prison; in 1986, he was found dead in his cell, poisoned by cyanide-laced coffee. (Another suspect, Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, the head of the Vatican Bank, now lives in Sun City, Arizona with a Vatican passport; U.S. authorities have ignored a Milan arrest warrant for him.)
Just two months after Backes’ dismissal in 1983, Soisson, 48 and healthy, was found dead in Corsica, where he’d gone on vacation. Top Cedel officials had the body returned immediately and buried, with no autopsy, announcing that he had died of a heart attack. His family now suspects he was murdered. “If Soisson was murdered, it was also related to what he knew about Ambrosiano,” Backes says. “When Soisson died, the Ambrosiano affair wasn’t yet known as a scandal. [After it was revealed] I realized that Soisson and I had been at the crossroads. We moved all those transactions known later in the scandal to Lima and other branches. Nobody even knew there was a Banco Ambrosiano branch in Lima and other South American countries.”

fter leaving Cedel, Backes got a job in the Luxembourg stock market, and later became manager of a butchers’ cooperative. But he kept friends inside the clearinghouse and began to collect information and records about Cedel’s operations.
With Soisson out of the way, there was nothing to stop the abuse of the system. Whereas Soisson had refused numerous requests to open non-published accounts (from such institutions as Chase Manhattan in New York, Chemical Bank of London and numerous subsidiaries of Citibank), Cedel opened hundreds of non-published accounts in total irregularity—especially after the arrival of CEO André Lussi in 1990. No longer were they just sub-accounts of officially listed accounts, Backes charges. Some were for banks that weren’t subsidiaries or even official members of Cedel. At the start of 1995, Cedel had more than 2,200 published accounts. But in reality, according to documents obtained by Backes, Cedel that year managed more than 4,200 accounts, for more than 2,000 clients from 73 countries.
Clearstream was formed in 1999 out of the merger of Cedel and the compensation company of Deustche Börse (the German stock exchange). “No accounts are secret,” insists spokesman Graham Cope. “We are controlled by the local authorities ... who have access to information on all accounts. The term ‘secret’ is misused again and again. Our customers choose to have unpublished accounts, which simply means—like a telephone number—they choose not to display the name and number in our publications. Customers often have many unpublished accounts, which they use for their own internal management purposes to ensure there is no confusion between their accounts.”
But Backes thinks otherwise. “I discovered an increasing number of unpublished accounts,” he says. “There were more unpublished than published accounts, and a [large] proportion were not sub-accounts of a principal account, which is what the system was supposedly for. The owners of these accounts were not inscribed on the official list of the clients of the firm.”
Click here to see a flowchart of how this money laundering scheme works.
How does the system work? Backes explains, for example, that a bank with a published account could open an unpublished account for a branch in the Cayman Islands, an offshore tax haven. A drug trafficker easily could have the Cayman branch debit cash from his personal account to buy stocks on Wall Street. The transaction would be handled by Clearstream, which would transfer the money electronically to a New York bank that had its own clearinghouse account. Soon the shares could be sold to buy real estate in Chicago with “clean” money. But regulators or investigators, depending only on published accounts, would find it nearly impossible to trace the money. Backes says Clearstream employees joke that the company name means “the river that washes.”
While clearinghouse clients may want to keep transactions secret, detailed information on every transfer, including those via non-published accounts, is listed on daily “security statements”—records to prove that the stock or cash has been sent. These statements are stored on microfiche and, under Luxembourg law, must be kept 10 years’ for commercial enterprises and 15 years for banks. A Clearstream insider gave Backes 10 years worth of these records. “The documents are a mine of information for any financial inquiry,” Backes says. “The archives of the clearinghouses can contribute to retracing where funds have gone. The knowledge of the list and the codes relative to non-published accounts, until now guarded secrets, offer immense possibilities.”
Backes notes that similar records exist for the other big clearinghouses, Euroclear and Swift, also based in Brussels. “It is possible,” he explains, “when one knows the date of an operation and the bank of entry, to reconstitute inside the clearing companies the voyage of the money and stocks or bonds—to follow the tracks.”
Révélation$ charges that Cedel/Clearstream further violated its own statutes by setting up unpublished accounts for industrial and commercial companies. With accounts in their own names, companies could avoid passing through banks or exchange agents to use the clearinghouse. They thus skirted mandated due diligence and record-keeping. When Siemens was proposed for membership, Backes says, some Cedel employees protested that this violated Luxembourg law. However, management told them that Siemens’ admission had been negotiated at the highest level.
Among the major companies with secret accounts, Backes discovered the Shell Petroleum Group and the Dutch agricultural multinational Unilever, one of whose accounts was associated with Goldman Sachs. On the French TV broadcast “Les dissimulateurs” (“The Deceivers”) in March 2000, Clearstream President Lussi simply denied the accounts existed. “Only banks and brokers are eligible for membership,” he said, “as it has always been the case. No private company accounts, no commercial or industrial companies.”
But his own spokesman contradicts this claim. “Customers of Clearstream can be banks or, exceptionally, corporate clients who have their own treasury departments the size of banks,” Cope wrote in an e-mail to In These Times. “We cannot accept CEOs of multinationals or terrorists and have strict account-opening procedures to prevent such problems.”

Explosive Revelation$, part 2.

y 2000, according to Backes, Clearstream managed about 15,000 accounts (of which half were non-published) for 2,500 clients in 105 countries; most of the investment companies, banks and their subsidiaries are from Western Europe and the United States. Most of the new non-published accounts were in offshore tax havens. The banks with the most non-published accounts are Banque Internationale de Luxembourg (309), Citibank (271) and Barclays (200).
Backes found numerous discrepancies in the lists he obtained of the secret accounts. For example, code No. 70287 on the published list belongs to Citibank NA-Colombia AC in Nassau, and code No. 70292 is that of the Banco Internacional de Colombia Nassau Ltd. But on the non-published list, the numbers both belong to Banco Internacional de Colombia in Bogota. There’s no mention of Citibank. Based on the published list, members may think they are dealing with two banks in the Bahamas, one of which is a subsidiary of Citibank, but anything sent to these establishments goes directly to the country of cocaine cartels. On the April 2000 Clearstream list, there are 37 Colombian accounts, of which only three are published. (Richard Howe, spokesman for Citicorp in New York, declined repeated requests for comment. Cope declined to talk about any individual customers or accounts, citing Luxembourg banking secrecy laws.)
Clearstream’s dealings with Russian banks are another area of concern. Menatep Bank, which had been bought in a rigged auction of Soviet assets and has been linked to numerous international scams, opened its Cedel account (No. 81738) on May 15, 1997, after Lussi visited the bank’s president in Moscow and invited him to use the system. It was a non-published account that didn’t correspond to any published account, a breach of Clearstream’s rules. Menatep further violated the rules because many transfers were of cash, not for settlement of securities. “For the three months in 1997 for which I hold microfiches,” Backes says, “only cash transfers were channeled through the Menatep account.”
“There were a lot of transfers between Menatep and the Bank of New York,” Backes adds. Natasha Gurfinkel Kagalovsky, a former Bank of New York official and the wife of a Menatep vice president, stands accused of helping launder at least $7 billion from Russia. U.S. investigators have attempted to find out if some of the laundered money originated with Menatep, which they believed had looted Russian assets. (The Justice Department declined to comment on the investigation.)
Even though Menatep officially failed in 1998, it oddly remained on the non-published list of accounts for 2000. (Clearstream also lists 36 other Russian accounts, more non-published than published.) Kathleen Hawk, a U.S. spokeswoman for Clearstream, says that was “a mistake.” But Cope contradicts her: “Closed accounts remain on our files and systems even though they’re non-active because we don’t reuse numbers. We keep the records for many years so there is no future confusion from reused numbers.”
But Backes explains that there’s no systematic rule about delisting canceled accounts. He found that “some that didn’t exist any longer were on the list. Others were delisted when they didn’t exist. And still other accounts were delisted, when we knew they existed, though the numbers no longer appeared.”
Régis Hempel, a computer programmer who worked for Clearstream, says some dormant accounts were activated for special transactions. “Such an account can be opened in the morning, used for a transaction, and closed to appear as delisted in the evening,” Backes explains. “Only the guy who gave the order to open it in the morning knows about the transaction. An investigator or auditor would not look at such an account because it doesn’t appear on the accounts list.”
Hempel also claims that Clearstream erased the records of some transfers. In testimony before the French National Assembly’s financial crimes committee last year, he explained that a computer system had been developed to wipe out the traces of transactions in non-published accounts. When a bank wanted to carry out such a transaction, Hempel testified, it simply contacted a Cedel staff person. “We made a ‘hard coding’ in the program and corrected the instruction that was going to come,” he explained. “[An instruction could be] a purchase, a sale, a movement of funds or a security. We made it disappear, or we put it on another account. Then, when all was finished, we put back the old program and removed the exception. It was not seen or known.”
He said such requests came every two or three days.

empel volunteered to help Luxembourg prosecutor Carlos Zeyen investigate Clearstream. But Hempel says local authorities seem more interested in blocking an investigation than in exercising oversight. Zeyen responded that the inquiry into Hempel’s charges hadn’t produced any evidence and dismissed claims that Hempel had been prevented from seeing relevant files as “rubbish.” In a July 2001 public statement, Zeyen said the investigation would continue.
Luxembourg sources say Zeyen was looking into how Menatep used the system and also into improper ways André Lussi might have gained personally. In January, a French judge took depositions about Menatep corruption. According to Luxembourg journalist Marc Gerges, writing in the local newspaper Land, the FBI and the German BKA are also interested in what might be revealed about the role of Menatep in the diversion of IMF funds. Gerges says investigators are also looking to implicate Lussi in suspected financial swindles conducted through holding companies and trusts in the offshore financial havens of Guernsey or Jersey. (Lussi could not be located; his attorney did not respond to phone and e-mail requests for comment.)
Click here to read about Clearstream’s connection with Bin Laden and al-Qaeda.
The publication of Révélation$ brought forward others with stories about how Cedel/Clearstream had facilitated corruption. Joël Bûcher, former deputy general director of the Taiwan branch of the bank Société Générale, wrote Zeyen volunteering to testify that SG used the clearinghouse to hide bribes and to launder money. In his deposition for Zeyen—which is cited in Denis Robert’s new book on the Clearstream saga, The Black Box—Bûcher said he had worked for the bank for 20 years, but quit in 1995 out of disgust at its rampant money-laundering. He said much of that occurred though a Luxembourg affiliate working through non-published accounts at Cedel. “Cedel didn’t ask any questions about the origin of funds that would have appeared suspect to any beginner,” he told Robert. “[As a result] we directed our clientele with funds of doubtful origin to Luxembourg.”
In the early ’90s, Bûcher contends, Cedel was used to launder $350 million in illegal “commissions” on a contract for the sale by Thomson-CSF, a French government arms company, of six French frigates to Taiwan. He said that the money, handled by an SG subsidiary, was paid as a registered securities transfer to a “nominee”—a stand-in for the real beneficiary—and that Thomson (now known as Thales) didn’t appear in the transaction except in the Cedel archives.
The kickbacks were exposed after the 1993 murder of a naval captain named Yin Ching-feng, who had written a critical report on the purchase and its inflated $2.8 billion price. Bûcher told Taipei authorities that a third of the kickbacks went to Taiwanese generals and politicians, while the rest was pocketed by French officials. Taiwan courts sentenced 13 military officers and 15 arms dealers to between eight months and life in prison for bribery and leaking military secrets.
In March, Bûcher will testify before a French court examining French complicity. “SG is very much implicated,” he told In These Times. “Taipei police searches found many records of transfers of commissions” relating to the frigates and also to the sale of French Mirage fighter planes. In New York, SG spokesman Jim Galvin denies that the bank had any involvement in the arms deal.
There has been no legal action by the Luxembourg prosecutor based on any of his investigations. However, Clearstream Banking, Lussi and others have filed 10 lawsuits for libel in Luxembourg, France, Belgium and Switzerland against Backes, Robert and their publisher, Les Arenes. The first case, Clearstream v. Backes went to court in March in Luxembourg. Another case began its first hearings in Paris a few days later. With no sense of irony, the liquidator of Russia’s notorious Menatep Bank is also suing the authors and publishers for damage to its reputation. (Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Russian oligarch who controlled Menatep, did not respond to a request for comment.)

ackes’ knowledge and records make him a valuable investigative partner, and he cooperates with numerous authorities, though he prefers not to say in which countries. But his agenda is larger than that. Backes is lobbying for oversight by an international public body. Unlike banks, Clearstream has no effective outside surveillance. It is audited by KPMG, one of the “big five” international accounting firms, which either has been ignorant of or has overlooked the non-published accounts system. KPMG announced last year it found “no evidence” to support the allegations made in Révélation$, though its report was not made public.
Local officials’ attempts to defend financial secrecy are not surprising. Luxembourg’s multi-billion-dollar financial sector brings in 35 percent of GNP and gives the inhabitants a per capita income of more than $44,000, the highest in the world. (Next on the list are Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Bermuda, all money-laundering centers, with the United States fifth.) For years, local officials have refused to provide bank information to other countries.
But Luxembourg authorities have turned their sights on Backes. Using a March 2001 judicial order based on a complaint made by Lussi before he was fired, police raided Backes’ house on September 19 in search of records. He says they seized unimportant documents and diskettes; he keeps the microfiches outside the country as “life insurance.” “The raid was organized to impress [others] not to repeat what this dangerous guy Ernest Backes has done,” he says. “Those who know me well know I am not at all impressed by such a raid.” 
Lucy Komisar is a New York journalist who has spent the past five years investigating the international offshore bank and corporate secrecy system. To order a copy of Révélation$ (in French), visit
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
[QUOTE] .....There are links between these now-defunct Madoff energy entities and Texas oil and natural gas industry interests, some close to the Bushes and Dick Cheney.
WMR has also learned that the kid glove treatment given by federal authorities to Madoff, including allowing him to remain in his Upper East Side luxury town home, is because Madoff’s Ponzi scheme was part of a much larger operation, one involving top officials of both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations, as well as the notorious Russian-Israeli Mafia..... [Quote/]

One gets that sickening sense of deja vu or is that deja 'do'?
Backes and Lucy Komisar - mentioned - above were involved in the Yukos affair according to a German investigator who ha written about the affair fairly extensively, albeit in German language only (sadly).

Khodorkovsky moved to Moscow jail

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Jailed former Russian tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky has been transferred to Moscow from his Siberian prison to face trial on new charges, officials say.

His former business partner, Platon Lebedev, was also moved from the prison in the Chita region to the capital.

Once Russia's richest man, Khodorkovsky was jailed for nine years in 2005 for tax evasion and other offences.

The former head of Russia's disbanded oil firm, Yukos, faces trial on theft and embezzlement charges next month.

Khodorkovsky's supporters say the authorities apparently want to keep him behind bars well beyond the end of his first sentence.

They say the original charges were politically motivated because Khodorkovsky had funded Russian opposition groups.

'Ridiculous allegations'

Moscow City Court spokeswoman Anna Usachyova said on Tuesday that both Khodorkovsky and Lebedev had arrived in Moscow to face trial on new charges misappropriation of property, embezzlement and illegal financial operations.

Preliminary hearings are scheduled to begin on 3 March at the city's Khamovnichesky District court.

1963 - Born in Moscow, son of chemical engineers
1980s - Sets up computer and software business with fellow students
1987 - Founds Menatep bank
1994 - Buys fertiliser company Apatit at auction
1995 - Buys oil company Yukos for $300m, with Menatep assuming $2bn in debt
2003 - Arrested for embezzlement, tax evasion and fraud
2004 - Court case begins
2005 - Found guilty on six of seven charges and sentenced to nine years
2009 - Faces new charges of misappropriation of property, embezzlement and illegal financial operations

Russian news agencies have reported that the two former business partners are accused of misappropriating nearly 1 trillion roubles ($27.7bn) and laundering almost 450bn roubles ($12.5bn).

Khodorkovsky had been serving his prison sentence in Krasnokamensk, in the eastern Siberian region of Chita, close to the Chinese border, about 4,700km (3,000 miles) east of Moscow.

He remains a strong critic of the Kremlin, last year accusing Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin of having used the law while president to target political enemies, especially businessmen like himself.

Responding last week to the announcement of a new trial, his lawyers said: "The bureaucrats of the security forces have wasted many years, huge sums of state money and their own reputation by fabricating these ridiculous allegations."

Lebedev was also convicted of tax evasion at the same trial in 2005 and jailed for nine years.

Yukos, once Russia's biggest oil company, was declared bankrupt in 2006 and ceased to exist as a legal entity in November 2007.

The company had been steadily dismantled after being accused of massive fraud and tax evasion by the Russian authorities.

Yukos maintained it was the victim of a concerted political campaign by a government which wanted to discredit its executives and gain control of vital energy assets. Russian officials deny the allegation.
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14

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