The felonious fatty, known as Jho Low, had mixed feelings about the whole thing. Quite a “yes and no” type situation.
On the one hand, he was saddened that Goldman Sachs, a former friend and more-than-willing ally, had been rewarded with a public flogging and fines of over US$5 billion for its role in the 1MDB debacle.
On the other hand, he felt positively elated and brimming over with what the French term la joie de vivre. “It could have been much, much worse,” he confided to his father in between sips of a delightfully ice-cold 1977 Chardonnay. “It might have been us.”
His pater, the dashingly-moustached Hairy Low felt a certain disquiet at his son’s use of the pronoun (“us”) but still awarded himself full marks on his prescient foresight of sending his son to study at the prestigious Wharton School in the University of Pennsylvania all those years ago.
The products of that school were the sort of people most people would want, nay, need to know, reflected the urbane co-conspirator, with a dashing twirl of his moustache.
But only two were really famous.
One was the current President of the United States and the other was a very rich and a very sought after Felonious, his beloved son and the ample apple of his aged eyes.
There was no doubt that Felonious was much sought after but it certainly wasn’t as an after dinner speaker. His erstwhile boss, mentor and help-mate, Fearless Leader, wanted to blame him while Malaysia’s top cop, Abdul Hamid Bador, wanted to jail him.
The US wanted to question him, Singapore wanted to flog him and the banks in Switzerland only wanted to learn at his feet.
Meanwhile, Bernie Madoff wanted his autograph – he wanted to be just like him when he grew up – while it wasn’t clear what exactly Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of Goldman, at the material time when Felonious was Tripping his Blight Fantastic, wanted with the cherubic charlatan.
But it looked as if there was murder in his eyes.
Goldman was pilloried after the 2008 Global Financial Crisis as an archetypal symbol of Wall Street greed: it misleadingly hawked highly dubious mortgage-backed securities as gilt-edged bonds and tried to sell out before the bottom fell out of the market, which added momentum to the downward spiral.
It paid fines but no one was charged. With Fearless running defence, Felonious might have singlehandedly changed all that.
Goldman’s costs from the scandal hurtled beyond US$5 billion on Thursday, while a subsidiary pleaded guilty to a US criminal charge for the first time in the firm’s history.
The parent company entered a deal to spare itself a conviction that could cripple business, by promising to behave.
And both CEO David Solomon and predecessor Lloyd Blankfein got a rare rebuke: they have to give up pay, attaching personal accountability to two of the industry’s most visible leaders for a scandal spanning the globe.
The accords lift a legal cloud that formed during Blankfein’s tenure and remained through the handoff to Solomon two years ago.
It could account for the look in Blankfein’s eyes: he had always maintained he’d never even met the fat fraud.
Get over it, advised the ever-philosophical Felonious. He was eager to get on with a new scheme.
But for some strange reason the Chinese banks seemed reluctant to give him credit for his ideas.