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A Shipwreck, an Insurance Scam, and a Murderous Cover-Up

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A Shipwreck, an Insurance Scam, and a Murderous Cover-Up

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The scheme might have worked beautifully, had David Mockett not entered the picture. Within days of the incident, a firm hired by the insurers asked Mockett to visit the ship. He traveled to the site with Vergos and a man named Dimitrios Plakakis, who was working on Vergos’s salvage business but had refused to get involved in the sabotage of the ship itself. During the investigation, Mockett expressed doubts about the piracy story within “earshot of many” on board. Vergos offered him some “unsolicited counsel”: “At your age,” he said, “it’s better to stay with your grandchildren.” He also later urged, “You can go back to your country and enjoy your grandchildren.” Within days, Mockett was dead, and Vergos later told Plakakis, “I told him to stay with his grandchildren.”

Now a second inquiry began: Lloyd’s hired two more investigators, Richard Veale and Michael Conner, to continue Mockett’s work. As the book follows their efforts, it makes accessible the routine but dizzying complexities of modern financial fraud—replete with shell companies, internationally dispersed bank accounts, and foreign governments that either cannot or will not make serious headway in preventing corporate malfeasance that, in the extreme case of the Brillante Virtuoso and Mockett, can have the most serious of tangible, nonpecuniary consequences. Nothing in Veale and Conner’s investigation was straightforward. The Brillante Virtuoso, Campbell and Chellel explain,…

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