Thursday, April 17, 2008

God Delusion

Younger children rarely see their parents "as they are". For most (young boys anyway), Dad is God, and Mom is a combination of Julie Andrews meets The Good Witch of East meets. But there is moment in every child's life where that image is shattered - often violently. For me, it was the day my father got fleeced buying (or attempting to buy) a colour TV off "the back of the truck" in a deal that in hindsight was indeed too good to be true. It was a lot of money (for him and US) to get stung with nothing to show for it and as a result he was at once visibly shaken, embarrassed, sullen and oh-so-ashamed. How could this happen to "God"? I thought Superman was invincible?!!? What gives?!? And so the myth of invincibility is shattered, and thereafter, the worshiped and theretofore invincible ones are never seen in the same light ever again.

So it was with a flash of deja-vu that I read yesterday's Wall Street Journal interactive article describing how the mighty seemingly invincible Och-Ziff Management was also fleeced out of [substantially more] money (USD$77mm) by some Japanese contrapreneurs trading upon the good Marubeni name, in a bridge-loan scheme that, in hindsight, was also "too-good-to-be-true". Now this was a termed a "fraud" which technically-speaking, one might suppose, it was. But in thinking back to my seemingly invincible father, who accepted the blame and despite his fall from grace, learned a valuable lesson, contrasts with OZ who placed this event in the "alledged fraud deparrtment" perpetrated upon themselves, which served to absolve them of culpability when in reality it would seem to more appropriately fall into the "trying to get something for nothing" bucket. As such, and as a highly-paid investment manager and fiduciary, one would have expected God or Superman to have been a bit more skepitcal, undertaken a bit more due-diligence before writing out a $77mm cheque to the bad-guy scamsters. Pedestal-worshippers take note: mortality reigns.

1 comment:

tariq said...

Does Marubeni really have a "good" name?

Especially after the Lockheed incident from the 70's?