What do Bernie Madoff, Ahmed Ghailani, and a captured Somali pirate have in common? They're all locked in the same New York prison. It's too bad Ghailani, Guantanamo detainee and terror suspect with alleged links to Al Qaeda, is being held in isolation. I can't help but wonder about conversations during meal hours.
Ghailani: I used to watch your boat, Bernie, from my cell window in Cuba.
Somali Pirate: Yes, my friendster [sic]. Bernie knew better than to cruiser [sic] our waters. Arrrgh.
Ghailani: My friend, Mr. Arrrgh, would have boarded Bull--that's some Leopard yacht, Bernie--taken it to the local chop shop and sold it off in little pieces.
Ghailani and the Somali pirate lean closer and violate Madoff's body space. Their eyes gleam. The gold fillings of the pirate's teeth glisten under the bare prison light bulbs. He is the muscle in their partnership. Together, they are mesmerized by Madoff's wealth.
Ghailani: Your boat would fund our operations for a long, long time.
Somali Pirate: Yes. Fundster [sic] our operations.
Madoff: You guys are so out of touch. Haven't you heard? The authorities seized Bull. I'm rotting here in sing-sing just like you.
Ghailani: Of course, I'm out of touch. What do you expect? I've been staring at the ceilings in Guantanamo for the last few years.
Somali Pirate: And my English is terri-table [sic]. Would you speak more slowly? And what's song-song [sic]?
Ghailani: What'd you do, Bernie?
Madoff: Ran a Ponzi scheme. Some say it was sixty-four billion. Others say it was sixty-five. What's one billion dollars among friends?
Ghailani: Wait. You ran a sixty-four billion dollar fraud.
Madoff: I don't mean to brag.
Somali Pirate: What's a Ponzi skim [sic]?
Ghailani: Sixty-four billion is more than all-star terrorists can destroy in five lifetimes. I'm not talking pikers. I'm talking Lex Luthor caliber."
Somali Pirate: Arrrgh.
Ghailani: Hey, how come you weren't down in Guantanamo? You destroyed enough wealth. Sixty-four billion dollars must count for something.
Madoff: Well, here's the CNN version. The SEC didn't catch me for almost ten years after Harry Markopolis first sounded the alarm. And then, they caught me only because I confessed. The authorities started closing Guantanamo about the time I was caught.
Somali Pirate: I understand "CNN."
Ghailani: Did you hide among the caves of Afghanistan mountains?
Madoff: No. On my yacht named, Bull. Remember, the one you saw from your cell?
Ghailani: We could use a man like you. When are you getting out of here?
Madoff: It may be a while. But maybe I can help your organization manage its money. You think your terrorist buddies can send their bank statements here?
Ghailani: I suppose it's possible. Our communications aren't all that reliable these days.
Madoff: Have you ever heard of a split-strike conversion strategy? It's all the rage.
Somali Pirate: Arrrgh.
That's it for another week in Acrimoney. Thanks for joining us.
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