May 6, 2008 in Nation/World

Financier Robert Vesco died in November, document says

Associated Press The Spokesman-Review
 
Canadian Press photo

American fugitive financier Robert Vesco arrives at court in Havana, Cuba Aug. 2, 1996, on the second day of his trial.
(Full-size photo)

HAVANA – Robert Vesco, the American fugitive who cooked up moneymaking schemes that allegedly involved everyone from Colombian drug lords to the families of U.S. presidents, died in Cuba and was buried almost six months ago, according to an official document.

A burial record at Havana’s Colon Cemetery shows that a man with the same name and birth date – Dec. 4, 1935 – died on Nov. 23 from lung cancer and was buried the next day in a private plot. He was 71, less than two weeks shy of his 72nd birthday.

In his lifetime, Vesco was accused of looting millions from a Swiss mutual fund, attempting to find U.S. planes for Libya and inventing a drug that he claimed could cure AIDS.

He was linked to Latin American presidents, Soviet spies, smugglers of high-technology equipment – even the CIA.

U.S. officials in Cuba said Monday they were unaware of Vesco’s death.

Vesco evaded American justice during a quarter-century odyssey through the Caribbean and Central America after fleeing the U.S. in 1972.

It was Cuban courts that finally put him in prison in 1996, convicting him of marketing a drug, which he claimed could cure cancer and AIDS, without government permission. His business partner Donald A. Nixon Jr., the nephew of former President Richard Nixon – was detained along with Vesco but later released.

Vesco ended up serving most of his 13-year sentence, though it was not clear when he was released.


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