The Devil's Banker


A registered money-transfer business renowned as “Hawala” is frequently used by terrorist organizations such as Hijira to transfer their money. Cartels from Colombia, Mexico, and Russia are their best clients. A man who chooses a warrior name “Abu Sayeed” snakes through the alleys of the Smugglers' Bazaar to carry five hundred thousand dollars to “Bhatia's Gold and Precious Jewelry”, which is a fake name of Hawala. Abu Sayeed is paid by a sheikh to carry out a transaction with Hijira. Both Hijira and Abu Sayeed share a distrust of bureaucracy and paperwork demanded by Pakistan and Afghanistan's less-than-solvent banks. Hence, Hawala is a potential alternative to them as this system is built on trust and hidden from intrusive eyes. Besides, it is a convenient mechanism to evade taxes and duties. This system has been utilized since Arab traders plied the Silk Road hundreds of years ago.

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Sarah Churchill, with an operational designation “Emerald”, from CIA watches the target and tries to stop Abu Sayeed in Pakistan-Afghanistan border. When Sarah and American soldiers try to interrogate and fight Abu Sayeed after he completes the transaction, he chooses to kill himself. The money that Abu Sayeed carries will be picked up at Royal Joailliers, located at the Place Vendôme in Paris. Adam Chapel, Foreign Terrorist Asset Tracking Center agent, is responsible for destroying this transaction in Paris. Detective Sergeant Santos Babtiste of the French Sûreté, Ray Gomez and Carmine Santini from the Customs, and Mr. Keck from the Agency also join the team to watch over Royal Joailliers. In addition, a Frenchman from the Sûreté named Leclerc is a paratrooper that joins the team as a hotel security at the Ritz Hotel, Paris. All of them are the Blood Money task force currently searching for Hijira.

The team in Paris have been watching over Royal Joailliers to catch the recipient. The suspect is Mohammed al-Taleel, native of Saudi Arabia, a naturalized American citizen in 1993. The team follow Taleel after he leaves Royal Joailliers. They run after Taleel to his apartment, but he then blows himself using a detonator. They find him dead, holding a briefcase in one hand and a pistol in the other. However, they do not find the money. Before he dies, Taleel handed over the money to Rafi Boubilas, a proprietor of Royal Joailliers. He handles some conflict diamonds for Taleel. Those conflict diamonds are mined by regional warlords and sold off to fund their excursions into terror. They primarily come from Sierra Leone, Nigeria, and places nearby. Keck, Gomez, Babtiste, Santini are then killed a bomb; only Adam Chapel survives. The team find a video camera in Taleel's apartment. What they find in the video indicates that someone was in Taleel's apartment before the explosion, but the team have not found a clue of who he/she is.

The Hijira has an account in Gemeinschaft Bank of Dresden, Germany. The account name is Holy Land Charitable Trust. In total, the Holy Land Charitable Trust has sent USD7 million to 56 accounts. Adam Chapel investigates every account related to Hijira's activities. Because of this, George Gabriel is sent by someone to kill Adam Chapel as he is considered to be too close to Hijira's activities. However, George Gabriel fails. Realizing his failure, George Gabriel decides to run away with his girlfriend. He tries to withdraw money from an ATM before the escape, but police then find and arrest him. Adam Chapel subsequently interrogates him and finds out that the man behind this terrorist activity is George Gabriel's father, Omar al-Utaybi a.k.a. Marc Gabriel a.k.a. Claude François a.k.a. Albert Daudin a.k.a. Mr. Gerard Moreau. Taleel is in fact Omar al-Utaybi's cousin.

Chasing Marc Gabriel is not an easy job. He tries to slow the investigation by putting a trap such that Adam Chapel is removed from the team. The terrorist has conducted four transfers over the past months to Chapel's bank account in Hunts, totaling USD260,000 dollars. Furthermore, Admiral Owen Glendenning, the Director of Naval Intelligence, works secretly for Marc Gabriel to keep an eye on the intelligence community and make sure that no one gets too close. Marc Gabriel's plan is to put the detonation of a one kiloton nuclear device inside the White House during the King's four-day visit to the U.S. This bomb is expected to destruct every building within a radius of two square blocks. What he wants is the deaths of the King, his ministers of finance and education, and his chief of armed forces. This would make Marc Gabriel's oil-rich homeland paralyzed and open to new and more capable leadership. Although Gabriel supports a return to the fundamental values of the Koran, he realizes that his earlier plan to return Arab to its pure Wahhabi roots may prove unwise. Oil workers will be forbidden from visiting larger cities. American troops will be expelled, but he will not sever relations with the Americans. He also plans to break up with OPEC. He will lower oil prices, and increase twofold his oil production. In his opinion, no one will threaten such a proponent of economic growth, and the U.S. will quickly recognize the new regime.

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To support his plan, he works together with Dr. Mordecai Kahn, a Professor of Physics at David Ben-Gurion University. He is the Director of Quantum Research at Ha'aretz National Laboratories and a consultant to certain unnamed divisions in the Israeli Defense Force that create a compact weapon. Dr. Kan sells the weapon to Hijira for USD3 million. Gabriel then kills Dr. Kahn after he got the weapon by giving a satchel containing bomb to Dr. Kahn at Cleopatre, a sex club in Paris.

The one who will carry the weapon to a state dinner at the White House is Noor al-Utaybi a.k.a. Claire Charisse, Gabriel's sister who works undercover as the Director of Drug Action Program at the World Health Organization. She will be Owen Glendenning's date. Before they leave, Sam Spencer from FBI's videotape enhancement unit went to Owen Glendenning's house to inform him that the woman in the videotape at Taleel's apartments was Claire Charisse. Realizing that she has been recognized, she shoots Glendenning and Spencer, and then goes to the White House.

Adam Chapel and Sarah Churchill are at the White House to stop Claire Charisse. Claire Charisse fails to complete the mission as she dies before being able to greet the King. She has been ill and receiving radioisotope therapy because of the explosion at Taleel's apartment. Sarah Churchill calls Marc Gabriel using Charisse's cell phone to trace his position via satellite. The agents shoot Marc Gabriel when he tries to run down the hill from his hiding place. Hijira's threat no longer exists.

Minor Transactions:

  1. Sheikh wants to transfer USD500,000 to Paris.
  2. Abu Sayeed transfers money from Bhatia's Gold and Precious Jewelry.
  3. Abu Sayeed knows negotiates fees to ensure a swift delivery of money to Paris, finally paying USD5,000.
  4. Abu Sayeed transmits serial numbers on the lower left-hand side of the bill to the recipient. When the recipient presents himself at Royal Joailliers, he must give the officer the identical numbers in sequence in order to get the money.
  5. Marc Gabriel puts down USD22,000 at a BMW dealership in Falls Church, Virginia. If the dealership files a price tag of 8,300, it has to list a vehicle identification number. Hence, the car is then registered to 3303 Chain Bridge Road, and it belongs to Owen Glendenning.
  6. Mohammed al-Taleel has to open more than one account in Paris. On June 29 two years before, Taleel opened bank accounts. On July of this year, his beginning account balance was EUR1,500. Cash deposit of EUR5,000 through ATM was done on July 1. He wrote a check to Azema next day of EUR1,500. He then withdrew EUR700 from ATM, and another EUR700, and so forth. With a total of five withdrawals for EUR3,500, his ending balance was EUR1,500.

Major Transactions :

  1. Marc Gabriel, 45 years old, is the Chairman and CEO of Richemond Holdings, S.A., an internationally active investment firm with interests in equities, precious metals, and strategic shareholdings in a number of diverse companies. He calls his bankers in Milan, Zurich, and Frankfurt, and orders them to liquidate his portfolios. He sells all ownership in Fiat, Olivetti, Fininvest, Benetton, ABB, Julius Baer, Nestlé, Credit Suisse, Bayer, Daimler, BASF, and Dresdner. He leaves a million dollars or two in each account while asking that the proceeds of the stock sales be wired to a number of accounts in Dublin, Panama City, Vaduz, and Luxembourg. He then sells his financial assets again by divesting Citroën, Saint-Gobain, and L'Oréal. The sales yield USD271,459,000.03. He had sold his last share of stock, covered his last call, and closed out his last option.

Subsequently, Marc Gabriel through Richemond is going short. He orders his broker to short 10,000 shares of IBM, 10,000 shares of 3M, 10,000 shares of Merck, and 10,000 shares of Microsoft. He goes on by listing industrial stalwarts of the U.S. before traveling round the globe to visit his doomsday doctrine on Britain, France, Germany, Japan, and Hong Kong. In every country, he picks only the most heavily traded issues. He shorts consumer goods, electronics, drugs, paper products, financials, insurance, entertainment, and lodging. He avoids one sector: defense. After he finished with Zurich, he calls Madrid. When he was finished with Madrid, he calls Dublin, and so forth.

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Short selling is defined as selling a stock an investor does not own in hopes that the share price will decrease in the future and he or she can buy it back at a lower price (Bodie, Kane, and Marcus 2009). For instance, we sell at USD100, wait for bad news to drive the price down, then buy it back at USD50, giving us a gain of USD50. However, it is not really that simple. Officially, we have to borrow the stock from our broker. If the stock price increases, meaning that it moves against us in the short-selling case, we can be forced to buy it back at a higher price. In addition, dividends become our responsibility and are hence debited to our account (Copeland, Weston, and Shastri 2005). However, what mattered in the end was that, even if you didn't officially own the stock, you got to keep the proceeds of the sale.

According to the story, three factors are important in short selling: (1) balls, (2) good credit, and (3) information. It is up to the traders to supply the first whereas brokerage houses are generous in extending the second. Financial firms are as greedy as any other businesses. A good client like Marc Gabriel is allowed to sell a hundred dollars of stock for every twenty-five dollars he keeps in his account, indicating a margin ratio of 25 percent. People do not suspect Gabriel for hiding secrets or private information. This situation is reminiscent to Madoff's scheme. Investors and the SEC perceived that Madoff was so successful and clean that he would be the last person to suspect if any fraud is ever unveiled in the financial markets (Kroft 2009).

Gabriel's strategy is quite successful. World markets have plunged by five percent on average since the shorts were put on. Marked-to-market, his position shows a profit of USD70 million. Lingering recession, political unrest in the Middle East, rising oil prices, and continuing pandemic influenza in Asia have rendered the glooming prospect to the world markets. Switching over to financial modeling software, Gabriel runs through scenarios that project the gains in his portfolio, accruing from a 20, 30, to 40 percent decline in the world market values. The best-case scenario will give him a profit of USD400 million while the worst-case scenario will profit him USD240 million.

  1. Marc Gabriel began investing in 1980. He was a 21-year-old graduate of the London School of Economics with a degree in finance. He held cash of USD4 million sourced from his father's pension and donations from like-minded friends. He almost lost it all several times due to early white-knuckle trades and endless weekends with open, unhedged positions. Then came the 1990s, a ten-year bull run in the U.S. and the destruction of the Japanese financial markets (Eiteman, Stonehill, and Moffett 2007). In this period, Gabriel bet big against the pound, and rode the back of the Japanese market all the way down on its nosedive. Meanwhile, he bought IBM at USD50 and sold at a split-adjusted USD200.

In the end of 1990s and the early 2000s, stock prices of internet companies boosted since investors forecasted that the dotcom boom would persist for the next decade (Eiteman et al. 2007). Gabriel also actively invested in this period by riding up dotcom stocks such as Yahoo, Netscape, Inktomi, and Akamai. The story shows that he is a follower of technical analysis. “The trend is your friend” was the rule, and he followed it as devoutly as he did his religion. He also understood the meaning of “stop loss” and when to utilize it.

  1. There are other transactions and ventures, both legal and illegal businesses. Inteltech is set up in Paraguay, Gropius Gems in Nigeria, and Allen Victor Metal in Kazakhstan. With annual revenues of approximately USD70 million, Inteltech is a leader in the sales and distribution of over-the-counter software to growing markets in Southeast Asia, South America, and Eastern Europe. The company in the previous year has shipped more than one million counterfeit copies of Microsoft Office, Lotus Development, and Corel WordPerfect. This company is basically a money-laundering business whose profits are harnessed to support terrorism. It is a lovely business with a gross margin of 80 percent. There is no marketing cost nor advertising expense. After the cost of goods sold, the largest expense is “official gratuities”, which Gabriel interprets as bribes to government officials. Every last copy Inteltech sells is a pirated edition reproduced with the company's proprietary technology. Richemond's 90-percent stake in the company constitutes one of the largest investments in the holdings.


Bodie, Z., A. Kane, and A. Marcus. 2009. Investments, 8 th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Copeland, T., J. Weston, and K. Shastri. 2005. Financial theory and corporate policy, 4 th ed. Boston: Pearson Education.

Eiteman, D., A. Stonehill, and M. Moffett. 2006. Multinational business finance, 11 th ed. Boston: Pearson Education.

Kroft, S. 2009. The man who figured out Madoff's scheme. Retrieved on August 24, 2009 from

Reich, C. 2003. The devil's banker. New York: Bantam Dell.