Is London a Gangsta’s Paradise?:
Well, ask your favourite dictator’s family member, Mrs. Assad, Britain’s desert rose, LSE’s distinguished alumnus, Saif Gaddafi, various Central Asian friends of members of the Royal Family and don’t forget the Oligarchs and their favourite stock exchange, the LSE.
Some of you may be familiar with the American gangster, Meyer Lansky, organized crime’s preferred money manager. Portrayed as Hyman Roth in “The Godfather Part II” in both the film and real life he is famously remembered as having said how organized crime had finally realized its dream “a partnership with government”. Lansky achieved this in Cuba, in the ‘50’s, in co-operation with the Batista dictatorship.
There are moments when you might wonder if Lansky isn’t rolling over in his grave….why bother with gambling in Cuba, paying off Batista and his banana republicans and worrying about Castro and his rebels when you can steal, then control and then stock exchange list significant portions of the world’s key natural resources in a stable, law abiding country, with a great financial services infrastructure and lots of great real estate to buy up.
A character in the “The Godfather Part III” harangues Michael Corleone telling him his mobster colleagues want to continue to do business with him because “you can purify their money”.
Who needs Michael when you’ve got London.
Walter Marlowe blogs at http://thematicinvest.wordpress.com/ and is the author of a forthcoming Searching Finance book on investment management.