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Robert Vesco sentenced to 13 years in Cuba

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  • Walter Lippmann
    (Here s some background on Robert Vesco. Since so few of the corporate crooks we ve heard of recently in the United States have experienced matching bracelets
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 2 7:39 AM
      (Here's some background on Robert Vesco.
      Since so few of the corporate crooks we've
      heard of recently in the United States have
      experienced matching bracelets composed
      of stainless steel recently, one wonders why
      the US media hasn't expressed any current
      interest in one who has...)

      Fugitive American Financier Vesco
      Gets 13-Year Sentence in Cuba
      The Washington Post

      American financier Robert Vesco, one of the most wanted U.S.
      fugitives, was sentenced to 13 years in a Cuban prison
      Monday for economic crimes against the government of Fidel

      The announcement was made by the official Cuban media in
      Havana. Vesco's Cuban wife, Lidia Alfonsa Llauger, was
      sentenced to nine years in prison for helping Vesco. She is
      being held at the maximum security Villa Marista prison.

      Vesco, 60, who could have received a 20-year sentence, spent
      years on the run from U.S. authorities before settling in
      Cuba in 1983, where he lived regally until running afoul of
      the Castro government in recent years.

      Wanted in the United States on charges of stealing $224
      million from a mutual fund, Vesco also has been indicted on
      drug-trafficking charges. He settled first in Costa Rica,
      then Nicaragua and the Bahamas before landing in Cuba -
      which has repeatedly refused U.S. extradition requests.

      The case against Vesco in Cuba centered on a scheme to
      develop and market a miracle drug, known as TX, that is
      supposed to be a cure for cancer, AIDS and the common cold.
      When he was arrested in May 1995, Vesco was charged with
      trying to develop and market the drug behind the backs of
      Cuban officials. There is no known scientific evidence to
      back up the claims of TX's healing powers.

      During his detention, Vesco denied he was a U.S. citizen,
      saying he had taken out Italian citizenship instead. He
      refused U.S. consular visits but did see Italian diplomats.

      (the precise date in 1996 of this article wasn't given
      at the source below.)

      Los Angeles Times
      July 6, 1995
      Sarah Klein; Times Staff Writer

      IRVINE -- The late President Richard Nixon's nephew Donald
      Nixon Jr., who was held under house arrest in Havana while
      Cuban officials investigated his ties to fugitive financier
      Robert Vesco, said Wednesday he believes that authorities
      might have been after a "miracle drug" that he and Vesco
      were testing.

      Nixon, 49, said he had been working through Vesco with the
      Cuban government for three years to test a spinoff of the
      controversial anti-AIDS drug Viroxan, a citronella-based
      substance that he believes cured his wife of breast cancer
      and arthritis. Nixon was detained for 30 days in a Havana
      hotel room. Although Cuban authorities did not arrest him,
      they did not give him permission to leave until Sunday.

      At a press conference at his attorney's office in Irvine,
      Nixon said he was detained on May 31, the same day that
      Vesco was arrested on charges of being a foreign agent.
      Nixon had been a guest in Vesco's Havana home and was in a
      venture with Vesco to develop an "immune adjuvant" drug to
      combat AIDS and other illnesses.

      "After three years of creating the basic elements for
      double-blind clinical trials in humans in six countries, as
      well as completion of Cuba's research, [Cuban laboratories]
      were able to produce the product at relatively low cost,"
      Nixon said in a prepared statement. "However, interestingly
      enough, two weeks after the purest material was produced,
      the people from counterintelligence came into Vesco's home
      and immediately took him away."

      Nixon said he doesn't believe that Vesco was a foreign
      agent. Vesco "had nowhere to go," Nixon said. "There was no
      reason for him to break the law."

      Nixon's theory is one of the first set forth outside of Cuba
      to explain why the Cuban government would arrest the
      59-year-old Vesco after allowing him to live in the country
      for 12 years. Vesco fled the United States for Costa Rica in
      1972 after the Securities and Exchange Commission charged
      that Vesco had diverted more than $220 million from four
      mutual funds.


      Local experts disagree that the anti-AIDS drug could be, as
      Nixon puts it, "a medical breakthrough." "I am open-minded,"
      said Dr. Donald Forthal, an infectious diseases expert and
      assistant professor of medicine at UCI, "but am skeptical
      about this." Forthal, who does research on viruses such as
      HIV and measles, said he thought a citrus-derivative might
      help some conditions, but it would not have a significant
      impact. "High doses of vitamin C don't have much of an
      effect on a common cold," Forthal said.

      The drug's predecessor, Viroxan, was widely criticized after
      its inventor, an Orange County physician, administered the
      drug to AIDS patients. Although touted as a cure, the
      homemade substance hastened the deaths of at least two
      AIDS patients, according to state medical officials. The
      physician, Stephen Herman, agreed to surrender his medical
      license in 1991 after state prosecutors agreed to drop civil
      charges of gross negligence, incompetence, dishonesty and
      other offenses, according to his attorney.

      Viroxan was also the subject of the first AIDS medical fraud
      case to come trial in the United States. A Los Angeles
      Superior Court jury ordered two doctors and a hospital that
      used the drug to pay five patients a total of $2.7 million
      last July. Herman was dropped from the lawsuit when he filed
      for bankruptcy, but continued to pursue the development of
      the drug with Nixon's help.

      Herman told The Times in 1992 that the younger Nixon had
      helped him negotiate a marketing agreement with China for
      Viroxan-based soap.

      Nixon dismissed the controversy about Viroxan, saying it was
      created by the media. When told the complaints came from
      state medical investigators, he said: "All that's been
      thrown out" because his new drug had been altered by "a
      trade secret."


      Nixon said it would cost $300 million to test the drug in
      the United States. He said when the Clinton Administration
      and federal officials expressed no interest in the drug, he
      formed a venture with Vesco and partners from Colombia,
      Mexico, Switzerland and Italy. Nixon said the drug has been
      tested in Colombia, Italy, Switzerland, Russia, Mexico and
      Cuba. He also said his wife had taken the drug for six
      years, ever since chemotherapy for breast cancer left her
      with arthritis.

      Nixon said little about his relationship with Vesco at the
      news conference. He said he lived with Vesco for five years
      in the early 1970s. Nixon subsequently married and his
      family moved to Tustin. He said hadn't spoken to Vesco for
      14 years until he needed help testing the drug, which he
      calls TX.

      Nixon said he has not seen or heard from Vesco since the
      financier's arrest. As for the drug, he said, "At this time,
      the project to my knowledge has stopped and I have no
      knowledge that the Cubans will continue." GRAPHIC: PHOTO:
      COLOR, Donald Nixon Jr.

      This appears at the CANF website:
      Robert Vesco: In 1972, the wealthy financier fled the United
      States to avoid numerous racketeering charges. He lived in
      several countries until finding his way to Cuba in 1982.
      Once in Cuba, U.S. officials have indicated that Vesco
      enjoyed the personal protection of Fidel Castro; under his
      patronage, Vesco became the high financier of several of the
      region's dictators and the island's criminal elite. For
      these activities, he was indicted by a U.S. grand jury in
      1984 for cocaine trafficking and, in 1989, for conspiring
      with the leader of a Colombian drug ring to smuggle
      narcotics. In 1995, Vesco fell out of favor with his Cuban
      hosts after he was accused of trying to market behind their
      backs his own a new "miracle" drug against cancer and
      arthritis. The U.S. government has issued repeated requests
      for his return to face justice.
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