I don’t know who was the dumber of the two: the Greek banker apparently rushing to spend 100 million big ones on a London pad, or the American woman who fell off a cliff in Alaska while busy texting? Both dummies survived, which goes to show that the Almighty must have a weakness for the desperate. Lavrentis Lavrentiadis is the unusually named banker now under investigation in Greece for possible money laundering. It’s not unknown for Greeks to cheat on their taxes and purchase houses overseas, though the Russians are much better at it than the Greeks or even the Chinese. London is one big laundry machine; in fact, it should change its name and simply call itself Laundry.
Now please don’t ask me about the Alaskan. All I know is that she broke some bones after falling more than 100 feet off a cliff while texting. Apparently she continued to text while flying downwards. Nothing that people who text do surprises me, except that it took so long for someone to fall off a cliff while texting. Bankers laundering money is another matter altogether. The Greek house hunter never made a London purchase in the spring of 2011 because there were so many crooks ahead of him. Within months his bank — Proton Bank — was seized by the government, a bit of theatre of the absurd, government officials of the Greek persuasion not exactly unknown in London’s real estate markets.
Lavrentiadis has denied the accusations of money laundering. What has emerged from the mess is that the British financial authorities — whatever that means — have handed over a detailed list of about 400 Greeks who have bought and sold London properties since 2009. Whew! Most Greek ship owners (is there any other kind?) I know have had homes in London since the Forties, and even the poor little Greek boy got his first house in London town back in 1971.