Tuesday, June 5, 2018

David Malone - The Steady Enmity of Powerful People

“Crime doesn’t pay.” Actually it does, handsomely. If you are a banker or large financial player, it pays wonderfully. You get filthy rich committing the crimes and after…you continue to get filthy rich.
What doesn’t pay is reporting crime.
Not long ago I read a rather good book about a small number of honest people who did not understand this dirty fact. It was a book telling the stories of the handful of honest and tragically idealistic insiders who blew the whistle about banking fraud and crime during the Global Bank Debt Crisis.  It was full of disturbing facts. Not the least of which is that not one of their stories ended well.
All of the stories involved the whistleblower following the law and reporting their concerns. In every story the result was being threatened with punitive, some might say vindictive, legal action by the very banks whose wrong doing they had reported.  In every case the ‘Proper Authorities’, in charge of regulating the banks, hung the whistleblowers out to dry.
All the whistleblowers were blackballed from their profession and lost their livelihoods. The majority lost their homes. Another disturbing common thread was that many of the whistleblowers, who had been well paid, and respected employees of the banks, found that as soon as they went public with their complaint, they were accused, by the banks, of being mentally unstable and in need of detention in a mental facility. Many lost their family as a result.  In every case the leading politicians of all the major parties in the whistleblowers’ country, ignored the whistleblower and closed ranks with the banks and the regulators.  Very often they too would join the banks in solemnly suggesting the Whistleblower had had some sort of tragic mental breakdown and was now unstable or delusional.
But the most depressing thing about the book is that it was never published.
One of the stories, in this unpublished book, concerned the UniCredit whistleblower, Jonathan Sugarman, who is a close friend.  I have a detailed knowledge of his case. Over the years I have watched as the Financial Inquisitors repeatedly threatened and intimidated him. And he was intimidated. They are powerful people. Yet I have never seen him silenced nor recant his heresies.
I have seen him unable to keep down his breakfast before yet another inquisition. I have seen him cringe with embarrassment at having to borrow a pair of shoes so he could look smart when testifying, because he had none. I know other friends have helped. Because he cannot do it all alone. It is not possible.
And yet in all the years we have known each other Jonathan has never asked me for anything. Until now…
Something has happened. I don’t know what. Perhaps it is just the steady enmity of powerful people that has finally taken its toll. Perhaps it is trying to attend too many empty and rigged enquiries in too many places.  I don’t know.
I you feel you could help in even the smallest way please click on this link and listen to Jonathan himself.

David Malone: Golem XIV

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