Saturday, April 19, 2014

Expert for the Defence Sounds Off @ Pistorius Trial

“(Does) that accord with the test that you attended?”

Defence lawyer Barry Roux, wily veteran of over three decades in the South African legal system, puts this key question to a suited figure in the witness box of Courtroom GD,  North Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, SA.

Roger Dixon, billed as an eminent forensic expert, part of the “dream team” expected to defend Roux’s client, Oscar Pistorius, addresses the High Court’s presiding Judge Thokozile Matilda Masipa and replies in the affirmative:

“My Lady, the first ones were the cricket bat at 60 and 180 and the second ones were the gunshots at 60 and 80, yes.”

Dixon corrects himself re the last number, “60 and 180.” (not 80) “Thank you, my lady, no further questions,” concludes lawyer Roux.

(This exchange is found starting at 11:28 in the embedded video below. Should this vid not be viewable on your browser or player - you'll find it on YouTube @ )

In the wee hours of February 14, 2013, a young woman, Reeva Steenkamp, was shot to death, in the tiled toilet cubicle of an home bathroom, by Pistorius, the man she’d been dating since November 2012.

Earlier in the killer’s trial, witnesses testified hearing, on that tragic Valentine’s Day, a woman’s scream, described as “blood-curdling” by one neighbour, gun-shots, and voices of a man and woman.

Countering this “ear-witness” testimony, Oscar Pistorius says that only he screamed during the killing of Reeva Steenkamp. His legal counsel takes the position that neighbours have confused the sounds of gun-shots with the sound of a cricket bat hitting the bathroom door. Further, and contrary to testimony from experts for the state, the defence says that those gun-shots which did occur happened in such rapid succession as to not allow for the woman’s scream heard to intervene.

(Explanations are continually evolving in this case. Some of the versions and scenarios put forward seem impossible to reasonably convey. Best to hear them verbatim from those testifying – and, full credit to a refreshingly open decision by the SA judiciary, the trial is being broadcast to the world, enabling all with an interest to gain independent insight and understanding. Check YouTube for documentary and news videos, and Google for the numerous websites in SA and elsewhere that are showing proceedings live and hosting archival video of each day in court.)

Setting out to prove a case of mistaken hearing by the neighbours to the killing, Mr. Roux takes his expert, Mr. Dixon, through a series of questions under oath – April 15 (from 0:00 to 8:09) and 16, 2014 (8:10 – to 11:48) – building to a pivotal summation (11:28 – 11:48).

Mr. Dixon tells the court that he went to a gun-shooting aka firing range at night to test the sounds of a cricket bat and gun-shots on a door. He stresses efforts made to replicate exact conditions so as to scientifically test things.

Entered into the court record on April 16 are recordings said to be sounds of a cricket bat hitting a door at a distance of 60 metres and 180 metres, and the sounds of gun-shots hitting a door - recorded at those same, 60 and 180 metre, distances.

Examined by Mr. Roux, Mr. Dixon affirms for the record that the cricket bat and gun-shot recordings played to court, “accord with the test that (he) attended”. The import of this testimony from the defence witness is, obviously, huge.

Reporting for BBC News, Andrew Harding, tweets: “So we've heard both cricket bats and gunshots at 60m and 180m. They sounded very similar. Big score for #OscarPistorius defence.”

Having reached the desired point, Mr. Roux takes his seat. Cross-examination begins.

Mr. Harding, the BBC correspondent, is impressed by the expert on the stand and now tweets: “Dixon strikes me as a very competent scientist, applying his skills across a broad range of evidence. State may imply lack of expertise.”

Gerrie Nel, the state’s razor-sharp prosecutor, (who, like Mr. Roux, has 30+ years experience - Mr. Nel as an advocate in SA), begins exploration of Roger Dixon and his testimony. Starting at 11:49 in the video here, Mr. Dixon, tells the court why he believes his background as a geologist, and his 18 years of service with the police force, enable him to give expert opinion on “all sorts of things”.

Mr. Nel’s cross-examination mines nuggets of information pertaining to Mr. Dixon’s expertise and his sound testing – from 11:49 – 18:44 before the customary tea-break, and from 18:45 – 24:27 of this video after the tea-break on the same day, April 16.

In the second of these sessions Mr. Nel digs deep into a previously unrevealed anomaly – that tests were redone:

“The sounds that we recorded when I was present – the cricket bat, that was in fast succession. Or slow. And the gun-shots were individual.” Mr. Dixon (20:32)

“Okay. So, what was played to court did not happen on one day.” Mr. Nel (20:46)

“The sounds of the cricket bat (‘Yes’ – Mr. Nel) happened one evening. (“Yeah” – Mr. Nel) And I am not sure, I cannot tell which recording it was, I don’t know that. The person who played that would have to testify.” Mr. Dixon (20:56)

“It is, it’s amazing because, you’re telling us that what you, when you said to court – the gun, the bat sounds of the bat sounds you remembered. And you identified the gun shots. Standing where you’re standing. Am I right, Mr. Dixon?” Mr. Nel (21:09)

“I identified those sounds as gun shots, my lady.” Mr. Dixon (21:28)

“But you weren’t present when it was done.” Mr. Nel (21:31)

“If that was the recording made recently then I was not present when that was done. However, it sounds, the difference between the cricket bat sound, the gun-shot sound, the gun-shot sounds the same.” Mr. Dixon (21:34)

“No, for me it goes towards integrity of a witness and I’m putting it to you. The question is about integrity – nothing else. You identified gun-shots and you weren’t present when they were made. Why would you do that?” Mr. Nel (21:46)

“Because I’ve heard gun-shots.” Mr. Dixon (22:05)

The geologist appears to wince at 22:08 – as this ground opens up.

“No, you can’t get away with that Mr. Dixon. You’ve been a policeman for many years. You’ve testified  in various courts – listen to my question. Why would you identify gun-shots and you weren’t present when they were fired? That’s the only question I want you to answer.” Mr. Nel (22:08)

“I was asked if I recognized the sounds of the shots and I replied in the affirmative. I heard…” Mr. Dixon (22:30)

“But we can take it you weren’t present when they were made.” Mr. Nel (22:38)

“The gunshots, I’m unsure. I do know that only one test was done with the cricket bat and was recorded.” Mr. Dixon (22:43)

“Now, let us just test you, and, Mr. Dixon, really, take it from me, I’m testing your integrity. You can take it. The gun-shots we heard could not have happened on the night you were on the shooting range with the bat, because we have rapid shots and that did not happen on that night. Am I right?” Mr. Nel (22:50)

You are right, my Lady”. Mr. Dixon (23:15)

“Mr. Dixon, it is a serious issue for an expert to identify things and he wasn’t present. I’m putting it to you, Mr. Dixon…” Mr. Nel (23:22)

Defence counsel Barry Roux rises to his feet and interjects: “My Lady, with respect, the evidence was never that those, that identified those as the gun-shots fired that evening. That was not, it’s now implied to him that was his evidence. That was never his evidence. He was simply asked to listen to the recording to say, and it was put to him what it was, but it was never his evidence that those were the gun-shots fired that evening when he was there. That’s not the evidence.” (23:33 - 23:57)

“My lady, I’m not going to argue, if the court will bear with me I’ll carry on with something. I think it’s on the record.” Mr. Nel (23:57)

“I think you should carry on with something because there is a dispute.” Judge Masipa (24:04)

“There’s a dispute, my Lady. I say the witness clearly identified the bats and the gun shots as one occasion. He’s never given us, the court, any indication it happened on two occasions. My questions are fair. That’s my argument.” Mr. Nel (24:09)

“Well, you will argue at the end of the case. After you’ve all read the record.” Judge Masipa (24:22)

(Gerrie Nel’s cross-examination of Roger Dixon continues – and it’s learned that audio recordings of a cricket bat and gun shots have been made by an unidentified music producer, based in Centurion, SA. Mr. Dixon tells the court he “had discussions with the gentleman in question that evening” and “it appeared to me that he had quite a lot of experience in soundtracks and so on”.

Among the global community watching the trial’s live broadcast feed is a renowned expert in recorded audio evidence - Paul Gibson, President of Professional Audio Labs based in New Jersey and New York, USA ( ). He tweets ( ) at this point in proceedings:

"there's quite a difference between a music producer and an experience forensic audio expert. I know...40 years 1,750 cases."

"My last gunshot analysis was the Sandy Hook shootings. Too many 'Testimony for Mony' would-be 'experts' around."

From East Sussex, England, in the UK - another viewer, Deborah Sullivan, tweets to ask Mr. Gibson:

"Would the sounds recorded at a shooting range replicate those heard coming from the bathroom?"

Mr. Gibson tweets back: "Will be different amounts of reverberation. Also gunshots are loud & transient, special techniques req'd."

"As in the case of Voice ID all conditions must be identical for accurate comparison to be valid.")

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Saturday, April 15, 2006

Back to the Future: The Magnex Files

I'm receiving requests for my non-music writings - dating back to the 1990s and earlier. Oy!

Starting with the saga of YBM Magnex and its web of white collar, and Russian, organized crime.

Wading back into paper files in this computer age is not something I'll be doing for a long time. If ever. Online, there's not one common repository for all that I wrote about YBM Magnex. It's a big, sprawling story. Numerous essays were published in 1997/98 on a website that I took down (offline) before this millenia. There were also quite a number of articles written for a Canadian trade publication called Canada Stockwatch. Finally, there was a multi-part feature that appeared in The Vancouver Sun newspaper.

Sincere requests have prompted me to look for writings I've not seen in almost a decade! It's cool to find, that, while, not all, quite a lot, of my reportage on YBM Magnex, and assorted tales of white collar crime and rascality, remains cached in cyberspace thanks to the Wayback Machine and archives of various financial forums, newsgroups, and major media publications. To collect this mass of data would require intensive digging and sorting (and/or having an account in some instances). There's no rush, eh!

In the case of YBM one finds years of coverage in newspapers and other media that followed my reportage of '97/'98. The scandal - involving Semion Mogilevich and his network - spawned lawsuits, criminal charges, government regulatory hearings+ - all of which earned extensive, often international, press coverage.







From 1986 until 1995, I wrote, primarily, for print publications around the world - newspapers and magazines including those Canadian journals mentioned in my first post on starting this blog - and others including The Observer (London), The New York Times, The Washington Post, Forbes and Barron's. Though largely in print, I also worked in broadcast media - researching documentaries for the BBC, Channel 4 in the UK, ABC in Australia, ABC-TV and CNN in the U.S., and, home in Canada, for the CBC's Fifth Estate and CTV's W5 investigative tv programs.

From 1995 to 1998, I created one of the first, and most detailed, investigative journals on the internet. "Back in the day", this was more like posting a book online. My YBM Magnex web-text alone is 50,000 words. Sheesh. (I don't know a total, but it looks like I wrote several hundred thousand words on other entities! All in laborious HTML-tagged text. lol)

Discovering blogging, I'm reminded of the thrill of those days. Only it's better now. Writing online is faster and more fun! It's easier to make things graphically appealing. Web searches are superior. So much data is now online. And, people are connected. What I find especially welcome is that there is now a genuine global community on the web.

In light of this exciting new environment - given time, (yeah, right - more like, given next-to-no-sleep), I may attempt to reconstruct "my back pages". If it'd make for a potentially entertaining cultural study of corruption. Maybe, eh?

First, however, I'd want to find a blog or other format that doesn't run all the words into one long page - or, make the archives less prominent than the present content. Something not-so-linear in contextual applications. A blog or other format with multi-dimensional form. Maybe I just need more time to play with links on blogger. Is Wordpress the answer?

Should anyone, in practice, not theory, want to read several books-worth of writings on the arcana of con-artistry, well, good for you! Unless, though, it can appear on multiple pages, and be enlivened with great images, even sounds ~ it's seems too static. Also, it may be that I need two, separate, blogs. Combining historic "true white collar crime" essays with current analyses of the music world may be too jarring. It's an uneasy juxtaposition - to my mind. Of course, blogs seem to be about anything people choose them to be! Something to sleep on...

Even should it seem like a good idea to be acted upon, it'll be months, likely more, before I'll have any opportunity to do the job right. For now, if you've a taste for stories like YBM Magnex, here's a page that contains a nice mix of items - a few by myself, and a few by other investigative writers. It's the reporter's equivalent of a mixed-tape or CD song-sampler: Russian Mafia

Here, below is the intro that appeared online in 1998 to:

The Magnex Files

- Eternal Russia. The soul of this country is so deep, the beauty it can create so powerful, perhaps unique in the world. But there is always that other dark, brooding, violent and greedy side that is never far from the surface.

Jennifer Gould -- Vodka, Tears, and Lenin's Angel

The strange case of YBM Magnex International, Inc. is the most extraordinary I've ever investigated. A study of YBM is extraordinary in that it so clearly reveals the essential nature of Canada's stock markets.

The articles on this web-page will, hopefully, shine some public light into corners of the most bizarre affair, and the case most graphically illustrative of the nurturing corporate culture, encountered in close to 20 years work, much of it exploring the dark underworld of Canada's junior financial markets.

The saga of YBM Magnex began to receive expansive coverage through such regional U.S. newspapers as The Bucks County Courier Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Philadelphia Daily News in mid-May 1998. The first American print journal to give extensive national coverage to related subject matter was The Village Voice with its publication of Robert Friedman’s May 26 1998 cover story, “The Most Dangerous Mobster in the World”. However, word of the criminal activities of Russia's Semion Mogilevich (and the alleged use of Arigon/YBM as a money laundering conduit by the Russian mafia) was widely accessible long before May 1998 on the internet and in European print journals. As early as 1995/96 newspapers and magazines in Czechoslovakia, Hungary and countries formerly of the Soviet Union, carried details of such activities. By at least 1997 (and likely earlier) various news articles and police intelligence reports were accessible on-line to anyone with an internet connection.

On this, my own, web-site I began publishing analyses of the YBM Magnex scam in March 1998 (following the first stock market exposes of YBM which appeared in Canada Stockwatch). In April 1998 I alerted virtually all major Canadian media outlets to YBM’s Russian mafia links (including Mogilevich and another “godfather”, Sergei Mikhailov). The story gained international attention when dozens of U.S. federal agents raided YBM’s Newtown, Pennsylvania headquarters on May 13 1998. Within days of the raid, the YBM story (and the history of Mogilevich et al in the U.K.) appeared on television news, and in newspapers and magazines around the world - from London’s The Observer and The Financial Times to Hungary’s HVG and The Financial Post and The Globe and Mail in Canada.

In May of 1999, David Baines, a reporter with The Vancouver Sun newspaper, and I received a National Newspaper Award (Canada’s top print journalism award) for our breaking coverage of the YBM-Russian mafia story.

In handing out the award, the NNA noted:

The Vancouver Sun’s David Baines, working with freelance securities investigator and writer Adrian du Plessis, unraveled the intriguing tale of YBM Magnex International Inc., the Canadian company that operated as a money laundering vehicle for the Russian mafia. The Sun began its early work on the company’s murky business dealings and links to organized crime even as investors were driving its share prices to record levels on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Judges called it a thoroughly comprehensive effort that combined extraordinary initiative, research, analysis and writing.”

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Friday, April 14, 2006

There were bells, on a hill, but some never heard them ringing...

Herewith, some reportage of the last scam I exposed in my career as a white collar crime investigator. The context is explained in the next post on this blog:


U.S. Raid Helps Crash Former Canadian High-Flyer


TORONTO -- A small cinder-block building in a suburban office park outside Philadelphia is an unlikely setting for a complex tale of international intrigue.

But the FBI and other federal agents descended on it earlier this month to haul off boxes of records from the offices of YBM Magnex International, a maker of bicycles and magnets. On the same day, the once high-flying shares of YBM were suspended from trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange, the only place they had been listed.

The events have raised questions about the individuals involved in the company and the financial records it kept, and about the reliability of the Toronto exchange, whose previous problems include the Bre-X gold-mining fiasco.

An official with the U.S. Customs Service, who spoke on condition that his name not be used, said YBM was being investigated on suspicion of money-laundering and having close ties to members of Russian organized crime. The company's primary manufacturing plant and most of its sales are in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics.

Separately, YBM's auditors, Deloitte & Touche, have so far declined to certify its financial statements for 1997. Deloitte has asked YBM to commission an independent review because of irregularities in the company's sales records, concerns about individuals involved in the company and serious questions about whether illegal acts had occurred.

The Financial Post of Toronto, among other newspapers, has cited a 1995 report by the National Crime Squad of Britain that links YBM to Russian organized crime. According to The Financial Post, the British police identified Semyon Mogilevich, one of YBM's original shareholders, as a director of Arigon Co. Ltd., a Channel Islands concern linked to the Russian mob, which was a predecessor of YBM.

The British police report, according to The Post, stated that Canada has been used by Mogilevich "purely to legitimize the criminal organization by the floating on the stock exchange of a corporation which consists of the U.K. and U.S.A. companies whose existing assets and stock have been artificially inflated by the proceeds of crime."

YBM has facilities in Kentucky and in Southport, England. Company officials deny that they have been involved in any wrongdoing. Guy Scala, a vice president, said operations were continuing at the headquarters in Newtown, Pa., and at manufacturing plants in the United States and abroad. He expressed confidence that the company would eventually be allowed to resume trading on the Toronto exchange.

"I wish I had a crystal ball so I could understand what they're all looking for and where this is going," Scala said.

Investors who briefly made YBM one of the hottest stocks on the Toronto market -- and until recently a member of the exchange's leading index of 300 companies -- are uneasy. Particularly worried are the managers of the Canadian mutual funds that hold 40 percent of YBM's 44 million shares, according to Portfolio Analytics Ltd.

"There seem to be a lot of allegations flying around now but very few real facts," said Alastair Dunn, a director of Connor, Clark & Lunn Investment Management of Toronto and Vancouver, which manages mutual funds holding about $48 million (Canadian) in YBM stock. "It's obviously a very embarrassing thing to have happened, not only to ourselves but to a lot of other very fine investment managers."

Although the Ontario Securities Commission ordered a halt in trading for at least 15 days on the day the FBI agents seized the company's records, the commission said its action was unrelated to the possibility of a criminal investigation. Rather, it was YBM's inability to file its 1997 financial statement that forced the trading halt.

Subsequently, the Toronto Stock Exchange decided to remove YBM from the 300-company index.

YBM shares had shot up as high as $20.15 (Canadian) in March. On the day trading was suspended, it was valued just over $14. There is no way to know its true current value, but some Canadian mutual fund managers recently organized a conference call to establish a value for carrying YBM stock in their portfolios while trading is halted. They agreed to lower it to a range of $5 to $7 a share.

Technimetrics, a listing company, indicates that at least one mutual fund in the United States may also hold YBM stock. Invista Capital Management of Des Moines held 53,000 shares at the end of last year. Invista officers declined to respond to phone calls seeking comment.

For Canadian investors who have been burned by other hot stock deals that flamed out, YBM's trouble is an all-too-familiar story. Just over a year ago, thousands of shareholders in Bre-X Minerals of Calgary were wiped out on the disclosure that someone had falsified samples to make its Indonesian gold strike appear to contain huge amounts of gold when in fact there was almost none.

Even before the U.S. agents swooped down on YBM's headquarters May 13, there were signs -- widely overlooked by the market and many stockbrokers -- that the company might not be all that it said it was.

In February, Adrian du Plessis, who publishes a newsletter that investigates stock offerings in Canada, raised questions about the company's history.

After being listed on the Alberta Stock Exchange in 1995, the value of YBM rose rapidly, and in 1996 it was listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. By March its shares had soared to $20, as it reported rising revenue in North America and a total market value of more than $800 million (Canadian). The stock was heavily promoted by Canadian investment brokerage houses, some of which had substantial holdings.

"The fundamentals weren't outlined," du Plessis said in an interview. "It was just a lot of cheerleading." Company audits eventually showed that YBM had vastly inflated sales in North America.

But that was not the most worrisome of du Plessis' findings. He determined that Arigon, the YBM predecessor, had "been identified by the European media and intelligence agencies as conduits for the Russian Mafia."

YBM officials acknowledge that Mogilevich was one of the 31 original shareholders of the company but deny that he ever had any management responsibilities.

FBI officials would not comment on the nature of their investigation of YBM or on the connection of Mogilevich to the company. Nor would the agency confirm any suspicions about Mogilevich's activities, other than to say that "we are aware of him."

YBM also confirmed that the British police had investigated Arigon. which it acknowledged was its predecessor, in 1995 on unspecified charges, but that the case had been dismissed.

In an earlier statement about the U.S. authorities' search, the company said that along with the FBI, agents from the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the U.S. Customs Service and the IRS had arrived to retrieve documents.

According to the search warrant, which was issued in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the agents seized bank statements, billing invoices, expense-account receipts, customs documents, employee records, tax returns and many other documents relating to YBM as well as to Arigon and other companies connected to YBM.


Dumb Us September 18, 1999

By Alan Abelson, Barron's

New Haven, Connecticut, long has been known as the home of ivy-clad Yale University. Now, we're able to report, it has another, equally impressive claim to fame -- the zeal with which it guards the intellectual integrity of its police force.

Unlike many an unhappy hamlet that has cut its civic cloth to meet the political or social fashion of the day, New Haven remains steadfastly true to principle. More specifically, it refuses to veer from the strict standards it has traditionally employed to determine the fitness of potential peace officers.

Thus, New Haven's finest recently affirmed a longstanding policy of screening out applicants burdened by a high IQ.

In so doing, the estimable guardians of public safety ensured that they would keep unsullied a record stretching back some 35 years of never having solved a major crime.

At the same time, the New Haven P.D. has avoided degrading the unique characteristics that distinguish it from the vast majority of the nation's police departments. It has, for example, no intelligence unit. And virtually alone among the country's law enforcement agencies, it uses only dum-dum bullets.

In truth, in refusing to hire persons of elevated cognitive capacity as police officers, New Haven is in perfect tune with many of America's leading institutions. Indeed, the linchpin of our democratic structure -- our vaunted system of checks and balances -- has been preserved only because the citizenry has been so vigilant in keeping the executive, legislative and judicial bodies equally free of superior

Can you imagine, for instance, the chaos that would ensue had we a bright President and the usual dim Congress? Or if the Supreme Court were adorned with gray matter as well as black robes?

Happily, to judge by the front-runners for next year's Presidential election, the Republic is in no imminent danger of its leadership emerging from the slough of mental mediocrity. So we can all relax, sit back and enjoy another thrilling battle of wits between unarmed opponents.

Nor, if Jesse Ventura has his way, will the Reform Party offer an alternative. If anything, its choice could significantly lower the average of the candidates' acuity, since Mr. Ventura is trumpeting Donald Trump as the party's standard-bearer.

Critical to Mr. Trump's acceptance of their nomination is that the Reformers agree to his demand that the party platform be 135 stories high and display his name in five-story letters. Besides a lifetime fruitfully spent speculating in real estate and operating gambling casinos, Mr. Trump is renowned as an author who has never read a book.

Although we think it's patently unfair to conclude that "smart banker" is an oxymoron, one is compelled by an extensive file of evidence --added to most recently by Republic New York and the Bank of New York -- to admit that banking is a peculiarly attractive field to the intellectually challenged, perhaps because they often achieve positions of eminence in it. (The same can be said of various other of our bulwark institutions -- journalism, for one; economics, for another.)

Republic was seemingly an unwitting and certainly witless accomplice of Martin A. Armstrong and his investment advisory firm, Princeton Economics International, in allegedly bilking scores of Japanese corporations out of nearly a billion dollars. The victims were ensnared by a rather transparent old-fashioned Ponzi scheme, with the lure taking the form of guarantees of handsome returns on fixed-income instruments (apparently not all Japanese executives are eligible for membership in Mensa).

According to The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Armstrong is one of the two scheduled keynote speakers at the Canadian Society of Technical Analysts conference next month. The Journal failed to identify the other keynote speaker, but rumor has it he's Martin Frankel (who may encounter trouble booking air passage from Germany).

The president of the society says he still hopes Mr. Armstrong can fill the engagement because of his "wealth of knowledge" (presumably of Ponzi schemes).

Since technical analysts of whatever nationality use a vocabulary based exclusively on the entrails of animals, their IQs do not lend themselves to any of the standard measures of intelligence. So, grudgingly, we'll give the Canadian variety of this strange species a pass.

However, no such barrier exists to determining the intellectual level of Canadian securities regulators, most notably those overseeing the Toronto Stock Exchange, as Barron's West Coast editor Jaye Scholl, who has done some great pieces on sleazy operators up north, reminds us.

Noting that the notorious Russian financial manipulator Semion Mogilevitch has recently come under suspicion for his involvement in the Bank of New York money-laundering scandal, Jaye points out that Adrian du Plessis, a muckraking Canadian financial journalist, co-authored a pair of revealing articles on Mogilevitch's machinations early last year. In particular, he exposed the seamy history of Mogilevitch-controlled YBM Magnex, a company based in a suburb of Philadelphia but whose shares were traded in Toronto.

Among other things, Adrian's articles linked two of YBM's Canadian directors to previous stock swindles and questioned how mutual funds, analysts and especially regulators could ignore not only the Mogilevitch connection but also a Deloitte Touche audit questioning whether YBM's U.S. sales were real.

Even though Great Britain had banned Mogilevitch from the country because he had allegedly laundered millions of dollars from illicit activities, including such nice stuff as prostitution, drug smuggling, arms sales, extortion and murder, in 1996 the Toronto Stock Exchange cheerfully granted his company a listing.

The damning information was there for the taking for anyone with an Internet connection and a little time to spare. But obviously, the folks at the Toronto Exchange aren't plugged in. Ah well, if they ever decide to emigrate, they seem to have the necessary qualification for a job with the New Haven police.

Up & Down Wall Street, Part 2

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