Yesterday, a Canadian judge rendered his verdict on Bre-X: everyone involved (who isn't dead) is exonerated, the investors, who lost billions in the massive fraud, can go whistle. That's okay here in Canada where massive theft and a possible murder get the nod in "the true north strong and free." A long vacation in Bali lies ahead for Mr. John Felderhof, former vice-chairman of Bre-X Minerals Ltd.
Today in Chicago, Judge Amy St. Eve told Mr. Conrad Black that he can go to Canada for the summer if he leaves his British passport and his travel visas with Canadian authorities at the border and if "the Lord" leaves another $40 million dollars with her. Since Black is broke because his assets have been frozen by some of the people he defrauded, he'll be spending his summer and autumn in "the land of the free." Then after sentencing in November, Mr. Black will become a tenant in the Big House where his money troubles will be over for the next 25 to 30 years, if the federal prosecutor gets his way.
It's just a matter of how white collar crime is handled in the two countries. As a victim of white collar criminals who got off scot-free over and over here in Canada, I am cheering for Amy St. Eve and Patrick Fitzgerald in the windy city. Black's Canadian cheer leading squad is free to pony up some cash to bail out their hero. But I doubt if he will see a dime. Black is not going to Bali. It's communal showers with felons of the lower classes, prison grub with them in the prison dining hall and work in the laundry for Black. I wonder if they still stamp out license plates where he's going?
I feel some satisfaction, not much, but some.