Friday, December 01, 2006

The Strange Saga of Leo Wanta

I belong to a mailing list for 9/11 conspiracy theorists. Needless to say I am not very popular there, I am surprised they haven't banned me yet. In any case, they brought this story to my attention, if only because it was so bizarre. Looking into it, not coincidently, came up with the same list of conspiracy theorist paranoid anti-globalists familiar to followers of 9/11 conspiracies, Rense, RBN, the American Free Press, and Karl Schwarz. So I decided to do a piece on it.



The following is summary of receipts identified in handwritten analytical notes performed by the distinguished US Secret Service Treasury agent, Leo Wanta, on some of the transactions involved in the giga-financing operation involving a colossal loan to the Illuminati from 200+ international banks worth $27.5 trillion, to finance the 'Global Security Environment', a.k.a. the New Underworld Order, which is to be enforced by the United States as the enforcement arm for the project. Sufficient funds were raised to bribe every policymaker, intelligence officer, ruler, Prime Minister, President and senior official for the whole of the 21st century. This fund is now worth $60-$70 trillion at a minimum – and with collateral leverage, probably far more. [List extracted from International Currency Review, Volume 30, Numbers 2/3, January 2005]:

This article is a rather long and incoherently rambling, it evens repeats the same items over and over again, as if they were never mentioned previously, but I will try and summarize it. Supposedly Leo Wanta claims that acting as a Secret Service/Treasury agent he made $27.5 trillion trying to crash the Soviet ruble under Reagan, but that this money (now grown to $60-70$ trillion) was stolen by the Illuminati. He was thrown in to a "Swiss dungeon" then extradicted back to Wisconsin, where he was put under house arrest, and jailed under trumped up tax evasion charges. I think that is what he is saying, it is rather hard to follow.

Anyway, Wanta, or Ambassador Wanta, he is now claiming to be an ambassador from the non-existent government of Somalia to both Canada and Switzerland, now says that he is trying to return this money, or at least $4.7 trillion of it, to its rightful owners, the US taxpayers. The global elite are of course trying to prevent this, because well... they are really mean. Needless to say this is attracting attention among the paranoid conspiracy theorists and the economic illiterate.

Even without doing any research, these claims are pretty silly. For starters, the Soviet Ruble, was a nonconvertible currency, with a limited market. Trying to profit off of manipulating it would be a futile exercise. Even George Soros only made $2 billion of off his famous attempt to crash the Bank of England. A considerable amount of money no doubt, but less than 1/100 of 1% of what Wanta is claiming. For comparison, this would also be more than 10 times the entire Soviet GDP at the time.

So what is the history of this man, how did he come up with this? I was curious, so I looked up some articles in Factiva. A Google search, unfortunately will only come up with the same self-referential conspiracy sites. It turns out, that in fact he does have a history.

The AP printed an article on April 8, 1998, indicating he was trying to sell pistols to Manuel Noriega:

(AP) _ A secret memo outlining a plan by Panamanian strongman Manuel Antonio Noriega to acquire thousands of semi-automatic pistols has been leaked to an opposition leader by a rebel member of Panama's military.

The proposed acquisition of the Browning 9mm pistols is part of a sizable weapons buildup by Panama's Defense Forces that got under way shortly after Panama's crisis began six weeks ago with Noriega's ouster of President Eric Arturo Delvalle.

The memo was sent to Noriega on April 1 by Leo Wanta, president of AmeriChina Global Management Group Inc., an arms exporting firm based in Appleton, Wis.

Covert operative, or enterprising businessman? You decide.

It does not stop here though, apparently he was involved in manipulating the Ruble. Well at least trying to scam people. From Insight Magazine 17 June 1991:

Enter Leo Wanta: One of the names most frequently cited by those who got caught up in ruble mania is that of Leo Emil Wanta, director general of the New Republic/USA Financial Group. Though few claim to have met him face-to-face, a lot of people heard his story over the telephone. What he told them, they say, is that his business was acquiring rubles on behalf of the U.S. government in order to provide an infusion of hard currency to the Soviet economy.

It might be too much to say that Wanta single-handedly created the myth that rubles were in demand, but he did more than his share. He has floated dozens of pieces of paper relating the sale or purchase of rubles in amounts of up to 105 billion rubles (worth roughly $6 billion at the black market rate). There is no evidence that any of these deals ever closed, but he has shown a rare gift for getting other folks to trot hither and yon.

Almost every banker contacted for this story recalls at least one telephone conversation with him. It was on his behalf that officials at Natwest and Volksbank went fishing for a high-profit deal on their own banks' stationery.

A Midwestern banker encountered Wanta last summer and tells a story that stands for many. "No sooner had we begun talking about the possibility of opening an account than I began to get inquiries from traders here and abroad and in tiny Pacific islands asking whether his company was good for a $10 million spot transaction. I said, `I'm sorry, but we're still checking it out ourselves,' and they'd say, `That's all I wanted to know, click.' "

New Republic's letterhead features a fashionable address in Vienna, but Wanta's phone rings in Appleton, Wis. In a two-hour conversation, he attributes his start in politics and finance to the kindness of the late Sen. Alexander Wiley, a Wisconsin Republican, who sent him to Dale Carnegie to cure a stuttering problem. He mentions various careers as a high-tech defense engineer, a deputy in the Waukesha County sheriff's office, a Milwaukee policeman, stints in the Nixon and Reagan campaigns, adviser to the Drug Enforcement Administration and as a perennial candidate for various Cabinet and sub-Cabinet posts.

"My background is in intelligence," Wanta says, while denying that he has posed as an agent of the U.S. government in ruble deals. Instead, he calls himself a "task force member," adding cryptically: "Do your homework. You'll find out we are who we are. We're the good guys."

The public record is somewhat less than definitive. It shows that Wanta is the owner of a failed vending machine company in Menomonee Falls, Wis., against which a number of legal judgments remain outstanding.

Marquette University, which he offers as one of his educational credentials, says he once registered for a continuing education course in 1963, only to cancel two days later.

A letter that appeared to have been signed by an employee of the First Wisconsin Bank of Appleton , dated last summer and addressed to a Swiss bank, attests that Wanta is a corporate client in good standing and has been since the 1960s. The employee, Jill Campbell , denies ever signing such a document. Wanta claims to have recently had $1.4 billion on deposit at National Westminster, but a bank spokesman says no account was ever opened. And so on.

As for rubles, Wanta claims to have signed trade agreements worth $50 billion with Moscow, covering everything from exporting oil and vodka to rebuilding gas pipelines, to the importation and distribution of food. He was floating offers to buy rubles in order to fulfill these contracts. Profit, or even completing the deal, was not
the primary objective, however: "All we say is that we are Big Brother monitoring what the hell is going on out there."

Most bankers have another explanation: "The whole thing stinks from A to Zed," says Frederick Gevers of PaineWebber Inc.'s office in Geneva, Switzerland.

The story is backed up by other accounts. From the Capital Times on 21 November 1995, in an article titled, rather tellingly, "DELUSIONAL' CON MAN GETS EIGHT-YEAR TERM":

Leo Wanta, the Appleton man who claimed to be an international businessman with connections to government agencies but was portrayed by prosecutors as an international con artist, will be spending the next few years in Wisconsin prisons.

Wanta, 55, who was convicted in May of tax evasion, was given an eight-year prison term Monday by Dane County Circuit Judge Michael Torphy, who also ordered a six-year probation to follow.

For his part, Wanta -- described as delusional by his own attorney -- continued his scam to the end, claiming the court had no jurisdiction over him, that he was a victim of a vicious Department of Revenue and state Justice Department.

"I know there is a conspiracy and subterfuge here," Wanta said when given a chance to speak.

At various times he has claimed to be a CIA agent, an ambassador from Somalia, a close friend of former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush, and an international businessman.

It continues later with:

"Mr. Wanta is in fact a con man, nothing more and nothing less," he said. "He is a con man who cons con men."

Haag said Wanta was arrested in Switzerland in 1993 for attempting an $81 million bank fraud. Wanta claimed diplomatic immunity in that case, contending he was the Somalian ambassador to Canada. The Swiss deported him to the United States, where he was arrested in New York on the Wisconsin tax fraud charge.

Wanta is also described in the book, "A Thieve's World," as being involved in an attempted scam involving Russian rubles.

"He is a world class con man," said Haag. "A snake oil salesman. But he was unable to sell that snake oil to the jury."

Haag asked for a sentence of 13 years in prison and another 12 on probation.

Epstein, on the other hand, said Wanta clearly is delusional. He called Haag's allegations "a lot of shadows and smoke and allegations of wrong doing around the world," but pointed out Wanta has never before been convicted of a crime.

"The portrait that has been painted by Doug Haag is not the real Leo Wanta," said Epstein. "He exists in a different world," Epstein said of his client. "The fact of the
matter is he is in a different orbit," Epstein said, adding that Wanta actually believes the stories he tells.

So once again, the paranoids turn a fake into a conspiracy. A delusional vending machine salesman becomes an international banker for the covert elite.