“No Saint’s Day” for Bourke

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Ed. Note-we continue with our series of guest posts my colleague Mary Jones.

In the mid 1990’s, Azerbaijan (one of my most favorite places to visit) began privatizing its state-owned enterprises. A Czechoslovakian entrepreneur, Viktor Kozeny, launched an effort to acquire the state-owned oil company, through a privatization auction. Frederick Bourke (as in the “Dooney and Bourke- makes fabulously expensive purses” Bourke) was one of many investors who it appears was swindled by the clever Czech. Determined to regain some of his money, Mr. Bourke triggered an investigation that in all respects appears to have backfired on him, as he is now facing jail time for what the jury believed he “knew” about improper payments made to Azeri government officials to secure the state owned Oil Company. In the eyes of the jury Bourke was clearly no saint.

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