Prof. Jayanth R. Varma’s Financial Markets Blog

A blog on financial markets and their regulation

Dalmady: The blogging Markopolos?

A week ago, I blogged
about Pellechia’s suggestion
that Markopolos should have blogged about Madoff instead of taking his
suspicions to the SEC. I mentioned then that the problem is that the
blogger would fear regulatory action for “rumour
mongering.” Now we do have Alex Dalmady blogging about another
possible Ponzi scheme.

Dalmady is smart. His five page article in the
Venezualan publication Veneconomy of January 2009 gets to
the “case study” only after two pages of general
discussion about scams and mentions the name of the entity (Stanford
International Bank) only on page 4. His description of the
whistleblower’s dilemma is very well put:

Another thing many can’t grasp is why these scams
aren’t uncovered. The truth is that most of them are
“found out” all by theselves or when the circumstances
make it obvious. … And it’s not just because the participants
are happy while they are collecting profits. It’s that a good
scam is really hard to detect and almost impossible to uncover without
inside help.

Being “almost sure” is usually “not
enough.” How do you blow the whistle when you’re
“almost sure”? It’s preferable to not get involved
and the skeptic will keep it to himself. Frankly, what does a whistle
blower have to gain? So normally he’ll back away from the
suspicious deal and leave things as they were.

His conclusion is also well hedged: “be careful with animals
that look like ducks that say that they’re something
else. Because they could be that other something, although it’s
very likely that they are just ducks.” Dalmady repeatedly
invokes the Heisenberg uncertainty principle to say that one can never
be sure of anything. He finally ends with an appeal in the postscript:
“Please, do not accuse me of destabilizing the financial
system.”

Dalmady followed that article up with a blog
post
on a site called of all things the Devil’s
Excrement. His writings created quite a stir in the blogosphere with
Felix Salmon for example posting about it here, here and here.

Post Madoff, there is greater willingness by bloggers to put their
neck out and voice their suspicions about fraud. But the mainstream
media is still running scared. The Financial Times for
example gives this view of their internal decision processes at its
Alphaville blog:

PM: Well, been looking at this SIB – Sir Allen Stanford story
PM: rather fruity
PM: Anyway – think we are cleared to publish our stuff now
NH: only taken 12 hours
PM: Not huge new revelations – beyond that printed elsewhere
PM: This was a very good pick up by a certain Long Room member
NH: it was fascinating stuff
NH: and if you want to know what we are talking about
NH: there are stories in Business Week
NH: and on Bloomberg
NH: if u are interested
NH: for our story we just need sign off from the editor now

The media knows that banks are treated with kid gloves because a
bank run is supposedly such a terrible event. I think regulators and
the broader society must learn to live with frequent bank runs and an
occasional bank failure as the price of a healthy financial
system.

One of my favourite quotations from Milton Friedman is his
statement somewhere to the effect that banks are not regulated because
they are different, they are different because they are regulated. All
kinds of frauds (and incompetence!) find shelter behind that regulatory
veil.

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7 responses to “Dalmady: The blogging Markopolos?

  1. Jones February 18, 2009 at 1:15 am

    You all have been duped. I suggest you look at the individual behind Mr. Dalmady which brings to light the journalistic integrity of the original article “Duck Tales”. Go to https://informe24.com/noticiascandela and search the name Stanford. Try to do some investigative work instead of building upon lies……

    When you want something successful to fail you present the perception, associate it with something negative (Madoff) and watch the masses panic….. You have now created the reality….

    I hope you put as much energy in recanting this story as you do posting them…

  2. Pingback: SEC confirms Dalmady analysis on Stanford « Prof. Jayanth R. Varma’s Financial Markets Blog

  3. Alex Dalmady February 19, 2009 at 4:42 am

    Thank you very much for your comments. Again.

    Alex Dalmady

  4. Jayanth Varma February 19, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    Well, all of us should be thanking you for blowing the lid off this scam!

  5. S. Ray DeRusse February 19, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    Thanks for standing up to the fraudsters. Whistle blowing is not an endeavor one aspires to. People think one day you wake up and say, “Today I think I will be a whistle blower”. Long thought and deliberation usually goes into the process. Money and influence is a strong motivator to commit fraud and as shown in the below link even academic scientific misconduct by falsification and fabrication. These are crime upon the public no matter how you slice them.

    http://www.bccmeteorites.com/misconduct-planetary.html

  6. Heartburn Home Remedy April 15, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    Hey, cool tips. I’ll buy a bottle of beer to the man from that chat who told me to go to your blog 🙂

  7. forex advisors May 1, 2009 at 6:27 am

    Even the gurus will agree with what is being said here. I am glad I found it.

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