Friday 19 October 2018

Invisible Man

The Isle of Man International is with us again, starting tomorrow, and once again the tournament sponsors include the Scheinberg family

the one-time owners of PokerStars whose founder, Isai Scheinberg, is still, as far as I am aware, on the run from the US authorities on a range of serious financial charges: described in 2016 as
under criminal indictment from the April 15, 2011 Black Friday action by the US Department of Justice.
As the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists wrote last December, the Isle of Man's role as a harbour for offshore funds played a crucial role in Scheinberg's activities prior to the indictment, and it's played a crucial role since in harbouring Mr Scheinberg himself.

Who's interested in this? Nobody, one assumes. UK society is not particularly keen to think about how much its economy depends on various tax havens such as the Isle of Man. Most UK newspapers don't bang on about it much (of course one of the leading titles is run from a tax haven. The chess press? are fellow sponsors with the Scheinbergs, so we have to assume they at least are all right with this stuff and you won't often find British chess examining the hand that feeds it, let alone biting it.

But then again, just this year, international chess has managed to dislodge its twenty-year President, precisely because he found himself in disfavour with the US financial authorities, and amid much thunder about corruption and transparency and financial propriety and all the rest of it, we now have a new administration. Can they possibly approve of chess tournaments being sponsored by fugitives from justice?

I would hate to think that the reality is not so idealistic as all that, and that in fact, as long as the US doesn't manage to freeze the relevant bank account, we can keep on taking money off people whose travel opportunities are circumscribed by the risk of arrest.

Maybe the new President will have something to day about it. Or, if he is too busy, I believe one of his Vice-Presidents, a Nigel Short, is among the competitors.

Perhaps Nigel might say what he thinks about fugitives from justice funding chess tournaments from tax havens. Or, I don't know, one of our enterprising chess journalists might try asking Nigel what he thinks about it.

Or they could maybe try and ask Isai Scheinberg about it directly. Apparently he can often be seen walking his dog.


Anonymous said...

IOM isn't an official FIDE tournament and is privately organized and managed and this article is just a typical journalist trying to stir up trouble where there is none.

ejh said...

I had no idea I was a journalist, let alone a typical one.

adamponting said...

Yes, there is no 'trouble' relating to Keene's plagiarism and fraud, made-up statistics being quoted as established fact, hypocrisy on a breath-taking scale, lies, cant etc etc. This blog asks as always "Why not?!". Unknown's comment is exactly the attitude that makes this blog and its great predecessor possible, even important. Yes, truth, ethics, justice, accuracy are important, and worth defending and fighting for. What could be the forces on the other side? Laziness? Money? Power? Privilege? .. I guess it's a never-ending battle, part of life on earth. Preaching vision vs preaching blindness. I imagine you know you're doing something right when you get a comment like Unknown's.