3 deaths and a missing reporter – all with ties to finance and Wall Street investigations

This one is strange, very life-imitates-thriller, but I can’t get it out of my mind. Via David Dayen and Twitter, we learn that a number of people tied to investigations of Wall Street and the finance industry have turned up dead, and one financial reporter has gone missing, all in the space of just a few days.

I know; doesn’t seem likely that this is foul play. Still, the odds of all this being chance are awfully high. And like I said, I can’t get it out of my mind. Neither could Dayen apparently. So I’ve decided to put it into yours as well.

Via Pam Martens at WallStreetOnParade:

In a span of four days last week, two current executives and one recently retired top ranking executive of major financial firms were found dead. Both media and police have been quick to label the deaths as likely suicides. Missing from the reports is the salient fact that all three of the financial firms the executives worked for are under investigation for potentially serious financial fraud.

The first case looks like a legit suicide. The dead guy is the one who would presumably take the heat when the whistle-blower spoke out the next day:

bank-failuresThe deaths began on Sunday, January 26. London police reported that William Broeksmit, a top executive at Deutsche Bank who had retired in 2013, had been found hanged in his home in the South Kensington section of London. The day after Broeksmit was pronounced dead, Eric Ben-Artzi, a former risk analyst turned whistleblower at Deutsche Bank, was scheduled to speak at Auburn University in Alabama on his allegations that Deutsche had hid $12 billion in losses during the financial crisis with the knowledge of senior executives. Two other whistleblowers have brought similar charges against Deutsche Bank.

The next two, however …

Just two days after Broeksmit’s death, on Tuesday, January 28, a 39-year old American, Gabriel Magee, a Vice President at JPMorgan in London, plunged to his death from the roof of the 33-story European headquarters of JPMorgan in Canary Wharf. According to Magee’s LinkedIn profile, he was involved in “Technical architecture oversight for planning, development, and operation of systems for fixed income securities and interest rate derivatives.”

Magee’s parents, Bill and Nell Magee, are not buying the official story according to press reports and are planning to travel from the United States to London to get at the truth. One of their key issues, which should also trouble the police, is how an employee obtains access to the rooftop of one of the mostly highly secure buildings in London.

There’s more about Magee, and also JPMorgan’s legal trouble, in the article. This one could also be legit, another suicide, though I’d like to see that “rooftop access” question answered. Then this …

One day after Magee’s death, on Wednesday, January 29, 2014, 50-year old Michael (Mike) Dueker, the Chief Economist at Russell Investments, is said to have died from a 50-foot fall from a highway ramp down an embankment in Washington state. Again, suicide is being presented by media as the likely cause. … According to a report in the New York Times in November of last year, Russell Investments was one of a number of firms that received subpoenas from New York State regulators who are probing the potential for pay-to-play schemes involving pension funds based in New York. No allegations of wrongdoing have been made against Russell Investments in the matter.

This too could be legit. But the writer correctly asks, “Do people holding Ph.D.s really attempt suicide by jumping 50 feet?” I’d ask that as well. Bouncing off the pavement, and in the case of the second guy, after screaming down 50 floors first, wouldn’t be my first choice of an easy exit.

And then the reporter:

The case of David Bird, the oil markets reporter who had worked at the Wall Street Journal for 20 years and vanished without a trace on the afternoon of January 11, has this in common with the other three tragedies: his work involves a commodities market – oil – which is under investigation by the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations for possible manipulation. … Bird left his Long Hill, New Jersey home on that Saturday, telling his wife he was going for a walk. An intentional disappearance is incompatible with the fact that he left the house wearing a bright red jacket and without his life-sustaining medicine he was required to take daily as a result of a liver transplant.

I know we’re not living in a novel, just the real and dreary world. Still, as the article points out, all this in just 18 days? There’s more; please do read. If this isn’t a puzzle, it’s certainly a puzzlement.

GP

To follow or send links: @Gaius_Publius


Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States. Click here for more. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius and Facebook.

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  • G5

    So are we to believe that people that are up to no good, you know, thugs, suddenly grew a conscious, felt terribly guilty and killed themselves? Didn’t even try to leave town? Blame someone else? Say it was all a terrible mistake? I didn’t know this was happening excuse? Maybe one guy takes the death dive, but several? BTW the way you kill yourself is indicative of how you felt about what you did, i.e. very painful way out, because you felt you deserved to be punished. I am not buying it, because usually it is the criminal’s lack of consciousness, married with a strong sense of entitlement, and of course denial, is why they were cheating the system in the first place. That way of thinking is not disappearing overnight. Think Bernie Madoff, even his son’s suicide over his scandal didn’t get him to kill himself.

  • Lilac Parr

    So, in the end, what’s this trying to tell us? Stay away from Wall Street and stay away from numbers?
    ______________________________

    housekeeper
    london

  • Indigo

    That reminds me of the “suicide” of the Tampa madam who somehow hanged herself in her mother’s tool shed after writing two, not one, suicide notes in two, not one, entirely different handwritings. On top of that, there is no explanation about how she managed to fold up her mother’s step-ladder and put it away after using it to hang herself. But this is subtropical Florida and there’s many strange doings here.

  • Shagman6969

    More!

  • Shagman6969

    Bankers and their low life buddy’s on Wall St are no better than Al Capone and Dutch Schultz

  • Lilyash

    Now there are FIVE. Another banker “committed suicide” with a NAIL GUN – 8 shots!! Not a likely way to kill yourself. http://beforeitsnews.com/alternative/2014/02/another-banker-commits-suicide-by-shooting-himself-eight-times-with-a-nail-gun-2893666.html

  • Monophylos Fortikos

    You just let it be known that it would be awfully convenient if someone was found dead, and all your subordinates and people looking to curry favor go out to hire the hit men.

    Ah, the Henry II method. Mind you, the actual assassins didn’t fare too well out of the whole affair.

  • Nathanael

    People should simply not be permitted to get rich enough to be in such powerful positions solely due to money. (You can never prevent people from getting that powerful due to *charisma*, but those people are *obvious*.)

  • Nathanael

    If you’re powerful enough you don’t even have to hire a hit man yourself. You just let it be known that it would be awfully convenient if someone was found dead, and all your subordinates and people looking to curry favor go out to hire the hit men. You have plausible deniability.

    Of course, if you’re really powerful enough you may control your own paramilitary force.

  • earthworx

    Four people involved in Wall St. investigations all die within a few days, two by falls? I would think the probability of that happening would be in the 9 or 10 digit figures.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Rachel Maddow heard it here first. :-)

  • arcadesproject

    So these people are dead or missing under mysterious circumstances. Let’s not start calling for Old Testament Justice, OK?

  • pappyvet

    Ok, we have smoke. Lets see some fire.

  • Lordwhorfin

    It’s interesting, isn’t it-all through the 1970s and up to 2000, law enforcement agencies always said, “oh there are no real hit-men, no real soldiers of fortune you can hire to kill someone-they’re always bumblers or undercover officers.” And for the most part, for average Joe and Jane Citizen, this was correct. I suspect, given the number of rich fools who were jailed for attempting murder-for-hire, this situation was also mostly true. But now, with the incredible and accelerating concentrations of wealth, and the endless wars of the American Raj, I think, horribly, life will more and more imitate art. Elysium may well get one thing right-we may see a lot more Krugers around.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    A slow-motion coup among the plutocratic elite perhaps?

  • Bill_Perdue

    Thanks GP.

    Capitalists are gangsters who make their money stealing from workers and consumers. They kill people though neglect, as in Obama’s health care giveaway to insurance companies; in wars of aggression where the death toll can reach genocidal (Vietnam and Iraq) proportions; when they sell machine guns to psychotics; when theyt allow the infrastructure to collapse around us; when they deliberately pollute the environment, creating massive and soon to be massively disastrous weather anomalies and by using racist, homohating and misogynist campaigns to encourage violence, including, in this country, 20 or so murders of LGBT people a year. (1)

    And from time to time they kill people who get in their way by shining a light on them.

    (1) National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) http://www.avp.org/storage/documents/2012_mr_ncavp_hvreport.pdf

  • nicho

    Just to stir the pot a little:

    On January 27, Tata Motors managing director Karl Slym, 51, was found dead on the fourth floor of the Shangri-La hotel in Bangkok. Police said he could have committed suicide.
    Mr. Slym was staying on the 22nd floor with his wife, and was attending a board meeting in the Thai capital.

    http://rt.com/business/russell-investments-chief-economist-dead-564/

    People always take their wives in a business trip and then commit suicide in the hotel room.

  • damspam

    The pattern is clear. Big money and big power are protecting themselves, and are probably so well connected that they’ll get away with it.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    It does seem damned fishy…

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Reminds me a bit of the movie, “Mystery Men” and The Bowler’s explanation for her father’s death: “He fell down an open elevator shaft onto some bullets.”

  • Buford2k11

    Ahhh, New Jersey suicides….”shot twice in the head and stabbed in the back”…

  • Indigo

    This is a story that can be buried in a flury of stories about what a terrible mess the Olympics became. Just in time for a cover-up.

  • Nathanael

    The Bird case is probably a murder. Far too suspicious.

  • lynchie

    When 85 are worth what 3.5 Billion are you can be sure they can buy someone to disappear you. There are enough former military, blackwater, cia folks who are more than willing if the price is right. They don’t particularly care if it is deemed a suicide, dead is dead and the trail ends. Christie comes to mind. He should have kept his entourage close instead of firing them, though we still haven’t had any of them testify. Why are so many of them given more time to comply with emails and documents. Simply sieze the servers and stop giving them time to all get their stories straight

  • A_nonymoose

    If you don’t think these people aren’t capable of murder, you aren’t paying attention.

  • cole3244

    from pres to wall st to reporters, the cons have kept power for decades all around the world and it isn’t because they have better ideas.

  • nicho

    Just coincidences. Nothing to see here. Move along. Hey, isn’t Kim Kardashian showing a baby bump?

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