Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Thieves, yes. But not that lovable

We've all seen the movies: Lovable thieves make a nice living ripping off the corrupt and venal, until one day they rip off the wrong people and complications ensue. Maybe Sonja Kohn has seen those movies too. She's the Austrian banker who harvested billions in Europe for the cash-incineration machine that has come to be known as Bernard L. Madoff.

Sonja has dropped out of sight recently. As this New York Times story mentions, it's probably not just to catch up on her reading. Turns out some of the investors she suckered are Russian oligarchs -- people not known for simply committing suicide when things go south. If someone must die as the result of a swindle, they generally prefer that it be the swindler. Dropped out of sight? Sonja Kohn is lucky she's not been dropped off a bridge. I'm guessing she's doffed that red wig for something a little less conspicuous.

I'm just hoping this possibility has occurred to Mr. Madoff himself. Yes, being forced to pad around a luxurious Manhattan apartment, mailing off expensive jewellry to family and friends, is punishment enough -- but I wonder if those mercurial oligarchs will see it that way. I hope not. Bernie could use a little more drama in his life. But maybe I've seen too many of those movies myself.

2 comments:

Peter Rozovsky said...

I am reading a crime novel now in which Russian mobsters figure. The novel hints darkly at methods that suggests the lady pictured might indeed be tossed over a bridge, or parts of her, at least.
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Dave Knadler said...

Russian mobsters are a great plot device. Rightly or not, their reputation for gruesome retribution probably ensures that they don't get taken to the cleaners that often.