"... money is the name of the game here..." said Peter Fritsch during a panel discussion at the Wilson Center on how to (cue in drum roll) disrupt money laundering. Fritsch, formerly with the Wall Street Journal, is now part of FusionGPS, a research firm that Venezuelan sources say has been hired by none other than Derwick Associates, yep, that'll be the same company being probed by Federal Agencies and New York's DA's office according to the Wall Street Journal, Fritsch's former employer. Nothing dodgy there of course, about a former hack having been hired to discredit the work of its former employer, and any other blogger or journalist reporting on the activities of Derwick, and its execs Alejandro Betancourt, Pedro Trebbau, Francisco Convit, Francisco D'Agostino, Neil Karr...
And, do you know the one about the former New York DA's chief prosecutor that became counsel to white collar thugs like the ones he spent almost half his life prosecuting? That's even better, isn't it? A professional life in Manhattan's DA's office, working hand in glove with legends such as Robert Morgenthau (both pictured), followed by another, working for Alejandro Andrade, Moris Beracha and now Derwick Associates. Moreover, this star prosecutor lectures, wait for it, in international symposiums on economic crimes! Imagine the conversations he'll be having in Cambridge's perfectly mowed gardens, with world-leading anti money laundering experts, law enforcement officers, officials and academics: "So Adam, how's life in the private sector?" Kaufmann: "oh, it's awesome, you just wouldn't believe the kind of money I'm making and how I travel nowadays, for basically telling those criminals we've spent our lifetimes investigating and prosecuting how to avoid prosecution! Fuck the law, helping white collar criminals rocks!"
Kaufmann may, or not, say those things, but sadly that's precisely what he's doing. In its desperate attempt to save face, Derwick folks have contracted Fritsch and Kaufmann, who travelled to Caracas a little over a month ago and stayed in the same hotel (Lido). Nothing beats face to face meetings, specially for people with galloping levels of paranoia, though these experts must know that if there's one thing that characterises Venezuelans is their inability to keep secrets. Fritsch is absolutely right though: money is indeed the name of the game. Steal a few hundred millions in some banana republic, and you can get the very best defence attorneys, spin doctors, research specialists, and former investigative journalists money can buy. There seem to be no ethical issues at play. Kaufmann, for instance, is quoted as saying “If you’re going to use U.S. financial institutions, you have to play by U.S. rules.” Of course, when ethical issues become too evident there's always the possibility of resigning. Mind you if a thug like Nursultan Nazarbayev can get Tony Blair to white wash widely reported killing of protesters by his regime, who is to stop the Derwick boys from ordering the likes of Fritsch and Kaufmann to defend their little known corruption racket in Venezuela? Tony Blair must be the model upon which amoral civil servants are planning lives in the private sector, but is Kaufmann that desperate to make money?
Fritsch works alongside former journalists and civil servants that spent very many years precisely investigating, reporting and prosecuting people like Alejandro Betancourt et al. Ditto Kaufmann. Both are known, around the world, for fighting what they are now defending. My question is: when more evidence of Derwick's corruption emerges through discovery (for instance Derwick's little deals with JP Morgan), what will their reputation be, or do they think that smearing opponents is the way to go?