When I was growing up, a nearby town had a beloved ice cream and cake shop that my parents would take us to from time to time as a treat. As I grew older, I’d reserve a portion of my allowance to indulge in the gelato they served whenever we would visit. In high school it was a place to sip coffee, eat cake and spend time with with one's date or friends. It was a quintessential small family business, which thrived by reputation and word of mouth. In a time when people were reluctant to spend on luxuries and indulgences, the owner had the good sense to provide excellent product at reasonable prices, that kept customers loyal through generations. I’ve taken my own kids there since.
One cold winter night twenty years ago, a professional assassin murdered the confectioner, his wife and two sons in their home, while they slept, with one of these. While a professional hitman was arrested, charged with killing three other people with the same weapon the previous week, the court found insufficient evidence to convict him of the last four. He is nevertheless in prison until 2020, after which he has several consecutive life sentences to serve in Serbia (hopefully in sickening solitude…).
Despite the inevitability of a life sentence, the guy continued to claim he was framed for the last job (while taking responsibility for the earlier deaths). No one but the counterparty involved knows the reason that the pastry chef and his family had to die.
It was a time of the Wild, Wild East. Oligarchs were on the rise, fortunes were being made (by carving up what had heretofore been national property, as well as outright stealing from individuals through threats or violence). Strip clubs and brothels were blown up, organized crime and drug enforcement detectives and captains were cavorting with ‘family heads’ and madames. Territory was carved up, fenced, borders marked. Honest cops suffered an epidemic of ‘ugly suicides’, with two shots to the back of the head. Eventually things settled down, and the kleptocracy transitioned into more ‘respectable’, official and legally sanctioned channels.
This same process has taken place countless times in countless eras, when there is a ‘changing of the guard’, a temporary upset in the distribution of the chips around the table, and to greater-lesser extent, the composition of the Players at the table. It took place around the same time in Russia, as well as all the other satellite states. In the case of some neighbors, this involved violence on a more massive scale that in other places -- but was essentially about the same thing. Wealth, land, resources, power. In the US, this process largely finished around the end of the 19th and early 20th century, as the robber barons and monopolists and the original banksta John Pierpont himself cemented their grip on the nation’s lifeblood and nervous system, while going to great lengths to present themselves as benevolent aristocrats to be respected and looked up to. The story of the Corleone family is (for all intents and purposes) a true one, only the names had been changed. It goes on to this day, though banksters have the advantage of starting from (what used to be) a respectable, professional facade.
The current outbreak of sudden death syndrome among financial professionals -- that seems to go back even further than just the four most recent ones – are getting prominently mentioned on not only RT and ZH (and any number of alternative news sites) – but in the center-of-mainstream media as well. In September of last year, the CFO of Zurich Insurance apparently took his own life, casting blame in his note on his boss, former Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackerman. The ex-head-honcho of DB promptly resigned from the Chief Executive position. Interestingly this rather high-profile affair sunk quickly into the background noise (though I found it notable at the time).
It feels a lot to me like this is simply the physical manifestation of a turf war. Whether it’s truly the ‘classically’ illegal drug/arms/human traffickers who want to send a warning to protect their assets and revenue stream, or whether these unfortunate souls were casualties as soldiers in the ongoing currency war remains to be seen. There was an early session with Jim Willie on TFMR that had a line that I remembered that seemed apt to apply to the current situation: “There’s a new sheriff in town.” Though he was using the expression in a different context, this ‘clean-up/show of force’ seems to me to indicate that someone(s) want to make known their reach, power, and absolute unwillingness to compromise. BUT ONLY TO OTHERS IN THE BANKING PROFESSION.
The fact that instead of straight-up hits we are seeing suicides is not necessarily indicative of which layer of the parasitic national/corporate/’real criminal’ (but I repeat myself) complex may be involved – though my guess is that the main desired effect of the instances is silence and cooperation. Obviously the dead ones tell no tales, and staying alive can be a powerful motivator for those left in corner offices and walnut-paneled rooms.
The concurrent investigations from regulatory bodies in the UK, Germany and the US are somewhat coincidental, both in the areas of foreign currency trading, gold and silver trading and derivatives. The fact that major banks are divesting themselves of commodity trading platforms and units (not to mention warehouses and VAULTS) also has nothing to do with any of the ongoing violence. The (quickly retracted) trial balloon of Ms. Masters on the CFTC advisory panel is also pure coincidence. Why would anyone think there is a muscling-out going on as we speak?
The only consternation I have in this regard is that whether the aim is simply to keep the charade going by avoiding convictions, or if there really IS a forceful realignment of the landscape going on, escalation seems like a distinct possibility.
Of course, it could potentially all be chalked up to a simple increase in the stress level, anxiety and general malaise of the pressures the financial industry exerts on its practitioners. Those poor folks really have it tough these days.