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Wednesday, February 11, 2004
Rene Rivkin

Rene Rivkin is a flamboyant Australian investor who makes mountains of money out of his business. Several years ago, I heard him relate that he had 70 (yes, seventy) vintage cars in his collection. Last year, he was convicted of insider trading.

It has taken a while to get him to begin serving his nine-month prison sentence which was, in fact, ‘merely’ weekend detention. He has used every trick in the book, most of them medical. Eventually, his manoeuvrings have been overcome but it does seem that nine months’ detention, at weekends only, is a remarkably lenient sentence. The latest is that he will be having ECT to ‘cure’ his depression. Let us hope most sincerely that it is effective and not fatal The lesson seems to be that if you’re rolling in it legal and medical systems will bend to your will. The best example is Ernest Saunders in the UK.

Saunders was convicted of some financial shenanigans in relation to the takeover of Guinness. He was sentenced to several years’ continuous imprisonment but almost immediately developed ‘serious’ symptoms. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and released. A month or two later, he resumed his normal life. Currently, he lectures on some form of financial management but I wouldn’t be surprised if he were to add ‘How I am the only person in history to have recovered from Alzheimer’s disease’. I wonder if he’s been giving tips on medical/legal manipulation to Rivkin…

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