Almost daily I get emails or calls from people who are reading the Cult of NXIVM series as published in Artvoice, the Niagara Falls Reporter, http://www.leavingNXIVM.com and on http://www.frankreport.com.
Some of the emails are from ex-NXIVM members, some are from relatives and friends involved in NXIVM and some may be current NXIVM members contemplating escape from what they are increasingly realizing is a dangerous cult.
Most correspondents have information to share about NXIVM and its leader, Keith Raniere.
One of these recent emails presents information that adds insight to my story about how Raniere “lost” $65.6 million of the Seagram’s heiresses, Clare and Sara Bronfman’s money in the commodities futures market from 2005-2007.
In my article I hinted that there were three possible scenarios to explain what happened to the $65.6 million.
- Raniere invested and lost the Bronfman’s $65.6 million through a series of bad (unlucky) commodities investments and lost their money.
- The Bronfman sister’s father used his immense wealth and influence to conspire with the commodities clearing houses to cause drops in prices in the commodities Raniere invested in with the Bronfman’s money – as Raniere himself claimed.
- Raniere stole the money by defrauding the sisters who are his devotees.
The Bronfman sisters told me they did not possess any receipts for their $65.6 million investment in the commodities market so their own knowledge is of little help. They’re clueless.
So getting back to the recent email, my correspondent suggests a scenario which bears consideration:
He wrote, “it’s hard to believe” that the world’s smartest man, Keith Raniere, “was stupid enough to lose tens of millions of the Bronfman girls’ money in commodities futures….
“It’s much easier to believe that he scammed them. But he’s also paranoid, so he would have come up with a scheme to distance himself. I think that’s not hard in commodities futures. The trick is to lose money on purpose, which is easy!”
The writer went on to explain how Raniere could steal millions while making it look like the Bronfmans lost the millions:
Here’s how: Raniere “sets up company A, and tells the girls about it. He also sets up company B, through a different broker, and doesn’t tell anyone about it.
“He uses company A to take a losing position in the market, like a contract to deliver frozen orange juice concentrate 6 months in the future at well below expected market price.
“He then uses company B to secretly buy that contract. In 6 months, company B demands delivery from company A. Company A needs cash to do that. So he asks the girls to ‘loan’ him money, so company A can deliver to company B. Company B puts the profit in an offshore account that he has access to.
“The net result is it looks like he has lost money in the market, and has records to prove it. But actually he just paid the money to himself and hid it offshore.
“I’m oversimplifying, because if company A only contracted with company B, he could get caught. So there could be many company B’s. Even better, company B only buys 10% of the losing market position, with other legitimate companies buying the rest. Company B gets lost in the noise. Only 10% of the girls’ money goes into his offshore account, but that’s still plenty, and the chance of getting caught is minimal.”
Using this method, Raniere could steal as much from the Bronfmans as they were willing to invest.
The record shows Bronfmans lost $65.6 million.
Was it lost by poor investments Raniere recommended or did Raniere pocket some of it?
An investigation is warranted.