Billion Dollar Whale (Book Review)

This is one very interesting story. Think Wolf of Wall Street, in the year 2010, with bigger parties, more money, and one of the companies financed by this Wolf/Whale, is the production company that made Wolf of Wall Street. It’s graft, corruption and the lack of a moral compass on the largest of scales. Well written and just crazy to contemplate.

It also showcases how many people are willing to look the other way. Is it trust (and I guess that we need that, trade is built on trust)? Or is it greed (which, in a way, also built trade)?

The book also makes me think of America at the moment, is it not also there that money and power from business (and not even good businesses in case of the president) buy you political power? How come that the system (checks and balances) is not working any more?

I have no direct answers at the moment, and who knows it’s also a glass half full thing (that it’s happening less and this is just an exception). I do recommend the book, if it’s just for how crazy it is.

“The dust had yet to settle on the global financial crisis in 2009 when an unlikely Wharton grad set in motion a fraud of unprecedented gall and magnitude–one that would come to symbolize the next great threat to the global financial system. The nuts and bolts of the scheme were shockingly simple: A young, big-talking, huckster persuaded the Prime Minister of Malaysia to create an investment fund that he would direct from the shadows, raised more than ten billion dollars from global investors with the aid of Goldman Sachs and others, and over the next half decade siphoned off no less than $5 billion: money used to finance elections; to purchase luxury real estate in London, New York, and Los Angeles; to produce Hollywood films, including The Wolf of Wall Street–and to throw champagne-drenched parties around the world. Low’s largesse also won him friendships with Hollywood actors, Victoria’s Secret models, and even with a member of President Obama’s inner circle. More staggering still, no one seemed to notice–not the global banks, such as Goldman and J.P. Morgan, who turned a blind eye to shady transfers of hundreds of millions of dollars; and not the international auditors, central bankers, and official financial-system watchdogs.At the center of this fraud was Jho Low–a character so preposterous he seems made up. Federal agents who helped unravel Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme say the Jho Low affair, when its full contours become known, will become a textbook case for tracking transnational fraud in the modern age.”

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