Here’s something you may not have known – that massive protest in Iran was initially caused by a financial fraud that wiped out people’s savings when they thought the central bank had their back and it didn’t…
via the Wall Street Journal:
The call to protest came through a group channel on the smartphone app Telegram. Younes, a 42-year-old accountant at a saffron-importing company, like most of the group’s thousand or so members, had lost his savings when a financial firm promising huge returns went bankrupt amid bad investments and corruption.
Younes, who lives in Iran’s northeastern city of Mashhad, had used all his funds and borrowed from his employer to invest about $20,000. The firm was offering returns of up to 27%, up to 15 percentage points higher than banks were offering. Younes said he has recovered only about 20% of his investment.
“We lost all our fortune and no one cares”
So basically, Iran has something like 7000 of these loosely regulated financial firms that were originally operated by the government but then privatized within the last decade and allowed to run themselves. They’re promising investors high interest rates on real estate projects and the like, which, of course, never really pan out. And then there’s outright theft of funds and other crimes and for the middle classes who’d had their money wiped out, there was no recourse.
And while these are privatized investment firms, they still have all sorts of connections to the clerics and elements of the Revolutionary Guard. And so that’s how a financial crime wave turned into an anti-government insurgency within hours of the protests beginning.
Once upon a time, Puff Daddy starred on an MTV show called “Making the Band“, in which he served as producer and manager for a group of aspiring rappers in New York City. One of the first lessons he had to impress upon the kids was that as entertainers and rap stars, they could get away with a whole lot of stuff – partying, trashing hotel rooms, getting with females and whatever else. But only if they took the business side seriously during the day.
“Just don’t mess with the money,” he exhorted.