“The mysterious death of David Rossi, the head of communications for Italy’s oldest bank, Monte dei Paschi di Siena, was initially ruled a suicide.” New York Post, 2016
Just after updating my “Suicide Bankers” article about a murder/suicide of a Dutch banker and his family, someone then knocks off an offshore banker CEO in Liechtenstein. Liechtenstein is a place which has been accused of being too involved with shady banking in the past. Then, of course there is David Rossi.
However, nowadays the bankers who have reaped enormous rewards by piling in money from dubious sources are faced with a dilemma. If they do not report suspicious activity of some of their clients, their bank could be faced with hundreds of millions of dollars of fines from various western countries, especially the United States. We have seen this happen in the case of HSBC over drug lord laundered money from Mexico.
However, when these banks out some of their clients, they can find that the repercussions can be very negative, I presume. Clients may include those who find it as easy to put away people as ordering a sandwich. And some people take it very unkindly when their money in accounts is frozen or seized.
Irrespective of all the details of the Liechtenstein banker murder, we can see that there are many more risky derivatives in which clients have been directed by their bank advisers. Or they have not been sufficiently warned about that have decimated them and other investors, especially naive and smaller retail ones.
Some banks have badly acted and have not been up to the moral task demonstrated more by previous generations of bankers as acting as fairly responsible fiduciaries. Which makes one wonder, how many hateful or scornful clients of the modern day are out there who are now beginning to see their cases get thrown out of the courts or decided against them regarding the fall-out from the 2008 meltdown. Or are showing increased unhappiness from suffering due to the accelerated increase in nation to nation tax agreements.
And hence, for these and previous stated reasons will more pop out of the woodwork and pop a banker especially those with criminal or psychiatric problems, or sometimes both? Who knows?
This should remind bankers that it does really pay to ensure as best as possible that ones customers are clean and to be responsible towards their precious money on which it is easy indeed for clients to get quite emotional especially in these troubled economic times with more uncertainty. However you look at it, it is all most worrisome given what is happening.
In my book ZUrabia, published not so long before this banker suicide/murder phenomenon, there is some warnings about banking becoming more deadly. For example, the protagonist threatens his Swiss bankers if his criminally sourced account money is reported to the IRS and seized. As an assassin, he contemplates shooting his banker if his secrets are not kept.
Another character in my book with Swiss bank accounts, a nuclear physicist working with terrorists is involved in developing and planting a nuclear bomb in a downtown cathedral in Zurich and a dirty bomb in New York City. The former is partly done as an act of revenge against his bankers for collaborating with the CIA in freezing his account, and then confiscating his money gained from helping with nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.
Thus, who knows the real potential of irate depositors, countries or other individuals who feel excessively done in by such seizures including those facilitated by the new FACTA US tax law. Use of a weapon of mass destruction might be considered as too much work and over the top by such people for economic sanctions and confiscations, but who knows? But then some countries have handy access to these weapons, so the question is whether they would or could use them if financially attacked in a substantial manner.
We also know that more of these types of money freezing and confiscations (and fines) are more and more happening be it because of ever-present terrorists, criminality or significant tax avoidance and fraud. Hence, one would think that there would be a commensurate increase of risk for some of the bankers perceived as party to such seizures or “whistleblowing” on their own clients.
And contrastingly, that there would be continued risks for those preventing or interfering with due process as we saw with a number of prosecutions in America of Swiss bankers. These prosecutions will no doubt continue, albeit possibly more with respect to other countries. That threat can cause great worries for the thousands of bankers out there who wonder if they are next to be charged. Can that stress on them and even their families get to be too much?
Maybe it is and will grow, especially if there is a new economic meltdown as I predict is likely on the way at some point. The public, not just some of the clients would be irate towards the financial community no doubt in such a case. Then things might sadly even go inquisitorial including the blaming of bankers for more than they deserve.
Again, it has been my contention with all these new investigations of private accounts, supported by new legislation, particularly in the United States, re FACTA, that there was going to be some very nasty fall-out, pardon the expression, beyond past prosecutions.
And I again wonder if the number of fast expanding murder?/suicides of bankers in the past also relates to these kind of growing pressures connected to so called “dirty account” exposure. Connected and/or sometimes separate to various whistleblowing about questionable banking practices, which are getting more public/government scrutiny. And given the amounts involved, it is not hard to see how desperate some might be to cover it all up.
Whistleblowers in the banks or closely connected may be also trying to get out ahead of the new regulatory game to increasingly investigate and report “all” that is rigged or illegal. And some of the various bank clients or insiders worried about their potential criminal or job status may be getting ahead of those they see as potential whistleblowers that could terribly undermine their situations. But again that is speculation towards the conspiratorial and macabre.
These indeed are difficult time for bankers, as well, with tens of thousands of job terminations being predicted. Possibly, this and more scrutiny partly explains all the retirements of recent or planned of by many? Banking may not be considered so safe anymore or less worth the risks associated with being in the C suite. Hedge funds may be seeing less scrutiny and more attractiveness to high-flyers at all financial ends of the recruitment.
Banks would thus best direct psychiatrists and “risk management” specialists towards bank executives and senior managers themselves, not only respectively to the clients or their related business. The sooner, the better it would seem before there is much greater fall-out not only due to the banking sector’s impact on the outside, but from within it, as well.