Tonga's Court Jester Loses US$20M of King's Trust Fund in Viaticals Scandal

October 23, 2001 5:39 PM   Subscribe

Tonga's Court Jester Loses US$20M of King's Trust Fund in Viaticals Scandal
Jesse Bogdonoff, the manager of Tonga's ever-shrinking trust fund and official court jester to the King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV (the reports of whose death have been exaggerated), has admitted to losing $20M in investing in viaticals, an often fraudulent form of speculation on life insurance policies of cash-strapped terminally-ill people. Court jesters? Viaticals? It's like a Ziggy cartoon run amok.
posted by rschram (9 comments total)
Back to selling passports and money laundering, then! Bogdonoff was recently implicated in an embezzlement scandal involving two cabinet ministers. There is some connection between this earlier story and the announcement of the viaticals losses, but it's not clear from above. Does anyone understand this?
posted by rschram at 5:40 PM on October 23, 2001

I think you mean Zippy rather than Ziggy. I hope.
posted by electro at 5:50 PM on October 23, 2001

Yeah, that would be one hell of a fucked-up Ziggy cartoon.
posted by kindall at 5:56 PM on October 23, 2001

Perhaps he was thinking of this?

Sorry it's so crappy. I just got a new computer and had to do that with paint...
posted by o2b at 6:22 PM on October 23, 2001

Background on Tonga here.

Court Jester? Tupou's 83 and good for more Lear-like stunts yet.

It's a classic story. No-good, fast-talking, foreign con shmoozes corrupt royalty in sleepy kingdom before running away with the royal purse. Hilarity ensues.

Of course it's funnier when you're not a journalist.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 6:25 PM on October 23, 2001

i applied for that gig. the benefits were not that good.
posted by newnameintown at 8:34 PM on October 23, 2001

Still made me laugh, o2b.
posted by Grum at 8:55 PM on October 23, 2001


Apparently Tonga's had foibles like this before, all subject to tacit or implicit approval by the king or his children and his coterie. It sounds funny, but this kind of thing can pop up on the "Oddly enough" scanners one day and be swept under the rug the next, all at the expense of politically and economically vulnerable populace, fisheries, and islands. I hope the Pro-Democracy Movement makes hay of this ... but they don't seem to have a website!

By the way, this King is said to be the last. He's old and his son can't produce any heirs if you know what I mean. Succession controversy!
posted by rschram at 9:24 PM on October 23, 2001

Isn't Tonga also where some natives have formed whacky cult groups to Michael Jackson and Donny Osmond and such?
posted by sixdifferentways at 10:17 PM on October 23, 2001

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