Willie Sutton was an all-American bank robber who had a few words of advice for those who wanted to be rich in the 1930s: “I go where the money is.”
If it was true for the original “Slick Willie,” it is equally true for George Soros and his friend Mark Malloch Brown in 2007.
George Soros was born in Hungary on Aug. 12, 1930, and came to the U.S. in 1956 after getting a degree from the London School of Economics. He turned a little of his own money into an enormous fortune through his skills in managing hedge funds and currency trading.
Soros is best known as the president of his own hedge fund, the Quantum Fund, and president of the Open Society Institute. He has been married and divorced twice and had three children by his first wife, Annaliese, and two by his second, Susan. His two eldest sons, Robert and Jonathan, are active in the Soros Fund. Soros is also a prolific, but little-read, author, a less-than-articulate public speaker and an inveterate meddler.
George Soros, who will be 77 in August, is, according to the gossip columns, dating Queen Noor, 55, of Jordan, the widow of King Hussein. Other recent girlfriends of the philanthropist are said to include violinist Jennifer Chun and a former Miss Russia, Anna Malova.
One time Soros made himself a $1 billion profit when the British pound was devalued. With the profit went a pseudo-title, “the man who broke the Bank of England.” Reports say that last year the Quantum Fund paid him $7 million.
Soros is now said to have amassed a fortune of $7 billion and uses masses of dollars for the sole purpose of bringing about the political defeat of President George W. Bush and the dismissal of Republicans from any American affairs of state. To observers, his tactics appear to consist of the purchase of the Democratic Party and of many of their causes.
Soros did not learn the tricks and turns of politics and currency trading at the London School of Economics. In fact, he is remembered there as someone who had so many part-time jobs that his fellow students would keep notes for him and help him out with homework when he missed classes. Over the years, he learned the maxim that money and the delusion of wisdom comes from information and that money can buy information.
And if like Soros, you make several fortunes from international dealing, what and where is the best information foundâ¢ The offices and committee rooms of the United Nations in New York and the World Bank Group in Washington.
Hence, it was no surprise when, early this month, Soros announced that he was bringing into his organization an old friend who had filled a number of posts over the years, through which it was possible to have contributed to the collection of the Soros billions.
The posts involved deputy secretary-general of the United Nations, chief of Cabinet to the U.N. secretary-general and administrator of the United Nations Development Programme. Earlier posts included vice president for External Affairs at the World Bank and the bank’s director of External Affairs. In preparation for these elite appointments was a 10-year stint with an international consulting group that specialized in advice to reformist and socialist candidates for heads of state in Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia.
Each and every one of these posts has been held by a good friend of George Soros, Sir Mark Malloch Brown. In 2006, ostensibly for his services to Britain, Sir Brown was made a Knight Commander of St. Michael and St. George — a KCMG — by the queen of England.
A KCMG in England is awarded only to the most senior of civil servants. They are then called “Sir” rather than “Mr.,” wear fancy, colorful clothing at some state events and become even more impressed with their own self-importance. Thus, the initials of the order are usually known as “Kindly Call Me God” — although never by a recipient.
The son of a South African diplomat, Mark Brown was born and grew up in Zimbabwe (when it was known as Rhodesia), was educated in England at Marlborough College and took a history degree at Magdalene College, Cambridge.
He now lives with his wife, Patricia (“Trish” to George Soros and other friends), who is a vice chairman of Refugees International, and their four children in a five-bedroom house on a near-five-acre estate in Katonah, in upstate New York. The estate belongs to George Soros, who charges Mark $10,000 a month rent, some $5,000 less than a previous tenant.
“Sir” Mark querulously defends this rent by saying that he pays the utilities.
As of now, Brown is “interacting” with Yale University students and faculty at the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization as a distinguished visiting fellow. Instead of concentrating on writing a book on globalization, he had been in Washington leading the charge against former World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz.
Brown told a large audience at World Bank headquarters that the bank’s “mission” was “hugely at risk” as long as Wolfowitz remained; by his very presence, the British knight also was saying: “Here I am, ethically pure, eminently qualified and ready — right now to become your leader.”
Too bad Brown has a short memory.
Last year, speaking of the United Nations, Mark Malloch Brown insisted, “Not a penny was lost from the organization.” This, after an audit through which it was shown that the United Nations had lost $7 million from overpayments; $61 million was found to have bypassed U.N. rules; $82 million was lost to mismanagement; and $110 million was rated as having “insufficient” justification. This adds up to $260 million out of a $1.6 billion budget.
Naturally, Brown also wants to forget the Oil-for-Food scandals, where he said that his boss at the United Nations, Kofi Annan, had been “fully exonerated.” A totally untrue statement, Brown described calls for Annan’s resignation as “inappropriate political assassination.”
Among many other items in his life, which Brown would prefer no longer to be reminded of, is a speech he made at Pace University in 2005. Speaking of the United States, he said: “This ungainly giant of a nation that has led the world in advancing freedom, democracy and decency cannot quite accept membership in the global neighborhood association; that it must abide by others’ rules as well as its own.” He noted that Washington already has set itself apart in its opposition to the International Criminal Court and the Kyoto Protocol on global warming.
It is being said that Sir Mark Malloch Brown, vice chairman to George Soros, will be asked to join the Cabinet of Gordon Brown when he becomes Britain’s next prime minister.
“Sir” Brown may have found another position that will help his partner, “the man who broke the Bank of England,” just when the pound sterling has become interesting again.