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July 10, 2017

Morgenthau’s Hypocrisy On “Drug War”

Outgoing DA Robert Morgenthau
Morgenthau is a hypocrite says columnist
By Edward Manfredonia
September 20th, 2009

[Policing Wall Street]

Outgoing Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau has no moral grounds to lecture Iran and Venezuela when it comes to alleged smuggling of illegal drugs and money laundering.

During a recent lecture, which was later adapted into a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Morgenthau said: “…a high level of corruption, within the Venezuelan government, military and law enforcement that has allowed that country to become a major transshipment route for trafficking cocaine out of Columbia. Intelligence gathered by my office strongly supports the conclusion that Hezbollah supporters are engaged in the trafficking of narcotics.”

Without offering details, Morgenthau further stated: “In the past several years Iranian entities have employed a pervasive system of deceitful and fraudulent practices to move money all over the world.”

Such pronouncements from Morgenthau, who ran one of the nation’s top law enforcement jurisdictions for 35 years, represent the ultimate in obnoxious hypocrisy.

Let me tell you how I know.

In 1993 I was wired by the FBI when I asissted in an investigation of Wall Street corruption. The Assistant United States Attorney, who wired me, was AUSA Frances Fragos (Townsend), later President George W. Bush’s advisor on Homeland Security.

The FBI Special Agent, who physically placed the wire on me, was FBI Special Agent Joseph Yastremski, a graduate of Columbia University. What began as an investigation into the stock fraud PNF at the American Stock Exchange and the involvement of two members of the Board, Louis Miceli and Robert VanCaneghan, with Al Avasso, a front man for the Italian Mafia who promoted PNF, led to an investigation into narcotics smuggling and money laundering at the Amex by members of the Amex Board.

The drug money from the Cayman Islands was laundered via LIT, a clearing subsidiary of the firm Spear Leeds and Kellogg.

What is recounted in this article is public information, which can be found in my lawsuit (08-CV-01678-SLT-LB), which I filed in the Eastern District of the State of New York in an effort to obtain my FBI files.

First a brief digression: In 2009 the United States Department of State; Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper; The Los Angeles Times; and other newspapers reported that the Israeli Mafia, which is based in Israel, is responsible for the illegal importation of approximately 80% of the ecstasy, an illegal drug, which enters the United States.

Yet, Morgenthau never made any comment about this illegal smuggling of ecstasy into the United States. Nor has Morgenthau ever excoriated Israel, for the drug trade and money laundering center. One can’t be selective in condemning such serious wrong doings.

Where was Morgenthau when it was made public during the 1993 trial of “Crazy Eddie” Antar that Bank Leumi was laundering money for various criminal enterprises- including $100 million dollars for the Antar family.

In contrast to his excoriation of Iran and Venezuela Morgenthau did not fight the laundering of drug money by members of the Board of the American Stock Exchange from the Cayman Islands into the United States. Perhaps he did not want to embarrass his friend, Arthur Levitt, Chairman of the American Stock Exchange from 1979 to 1989 and Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission from 1992 to 2000.

During that period several Amex Board members told me that specialist firms at the American Stock Exchange- including the specialist firm of Miceli-VanCaneghan, were laundering drug money.

In September 1993 I had a meeting with the FBI Special Agent Yastremski and Assistant United States Attorney Frances Fragos at her office in One Saint Andrew Plaza- the headquarters of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of the State of New York.

While I assisted the authorities with information about Wall Street corruption, Fragos and Yastremski also told me that Louis Miceli, former Senior Floor Governor of the Amex, and Robert VanCaneghan, a member of the Amex Board, were laundering drug money from the Cayman Islands through their American Stock Exchange specialist firm, Miceli-VanCaneghan. This merely confirmed the information I had gathered independently.

Several weeks later I spoke to Fragos on the telephone. Fragos instructed me to speak to Yastremski. When I called Yastremski, he informed me that Louis Miceli was smuggling cocaine from the Bahamas. Yastremski asked me the name of Miceli’s boat. “The Jaded Lady,” I told him.

Yastremski informed me that Miceli had been smuggling cocaine aboard his boat.

Yastremski said that he was going to a meeting with the Department of Justice in which the topic of discussion was to be Miceli’s smuggling of cocaine aboard his boat. In March of 1995 Morgenthau had a senior Assistant District Attorney, Tom Wornom, pick me up because in November 1994 I had asked Joel Lovett, then Vice Chairman of the Amex, to provide information to the FBI about a series of rapes by an Amex Board member; money laundering by Miceli and VanCaneghan; and cocaine smuggling by Miceli.

I told Wornom that the FBI was investigating Steven Lister, Vice President of Compliance for taking payoffs from Avasso, a front man for the Italian Mafia; Al Avasso, a stock fraud artist, for the stock fraud, PNF; Robert VanCaneghan and Louis Miceli for laundering drug money and for their involvement in the stock fraud, PNF; and Miceli for smuggling cocaine. I also mentioned that an Amex member was laundering drug money from the sovereign nation of Jamaica.

Nothing was done with this information; instead I was threatened.

So when we next hear senior United States’ law enforcement officials lecturing foreign leaders such as Iran’s and Venezuela’s regarding drugs and money laundering, let us bear in mind that United States officials have been culpable in drug proliferation by failing to enforce and uphold the law, which is their sworn duty.


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