Monday, May 05, 2008

Fugitive Robert Vesco reported dead in Cuba

1974 picture of Robert Vesco. (AP Photo)(Tico Times) - Fugitive financier Robert Vesco, who fled the United States to Costa Rica in 1972 to create an illicit international financial paradise here, may have died in Cuba last November, The New York Times reported Saturday – but nobody except for unidentified "people close to him" seems to know about it.

U.S. and Cuban officials told the New York daily on Friday they were unaware of Vesco's death. However, friends of Vesco – who wouldn't give their names to avoid trouble with the Cuban authorities – said he died of lung cancer on Nov. 23.

Vesco, who alluded U.S. justice most of his life after looting Investors Overseas Services of $224 million and making an illegal contribution to Richard Nixon's 1972 presidential campaign, among other crimes, was welcomed by Jose "Pepe" Figueres, then-president of Costa Rica, to create his imagined "financial district" here to serve as a refuge for international funds.

Figueres not only shrugged off criticism saying Costa Rica needed investments and shouldn't question their source, but even passed a law to guarantee that Vesco would not be extradited. Even though Ticos repeatedly called for Vesco's ouster he remained in Costa Rica until 1978, when President Rodrigo Carazo (1978-1982) repealed what was popularly referred to as the "Vesco Law".

In 1982 he moved to Cuba, a country that would not extradite him to the U.S., and which could provide him with treatment for his painful urinary tract infections. Cuban authorities accepted him on the condition that he would not get involved in any financial deals.

Other Robert Vesco Stories:
To read the original article by the New York Times click here.
Reuters: U.S. fugitive financier Vesco dead, relative says
New York Times: Robert Vesco, the Fugitive Financier, Goes on Trial in Cuba on Fraud Charges
To read more about Robert Vesco on Wikipedia click here.

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