Vesco, Robert Lee (1935–)

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Vesco, Robert Lee (1935–)

Robert Lee Vesco, a U.S. financial manipulator and white-collar criminal, was born 4 December 1935, to immigrant parents in a lower-class Detroit neighborhood. Having quickly achieved wealth, he became the subject of an investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in the early 1970s. After his questionable financial activities were revealed, Vesco fled to the Bahamas and then to Costa Rica, where a close relationship with President José Figueres helped him evade U.S. extradition attempts. Seeking again to evade U.S. extradition, he returned to the Bahamas, where he is alleged to have been the money launderer for drug cartels. Under intense U.S. pressure, the Bahamas refused him political asylum, and in 1981 Vesco found refuge in Antigua. In 1982, however, again under U.S. pressure, Vesco fled to Nicaragua. He later turned up in Cuba, where he led a shadowy existence. In 1996 the Cuban government sentenced him to thirteen years in prison on charges of attempting to steal and export Cuban pharmaceutical patents.

See alsoDrugs and Drug Trade .


Herzog, Anthony. Vesco: From Wall Street to Castro's Cuba: The Rise, Fall, and Exile of the King of White Collar Crime. New York: Doubleday, 1987.

                                  Anthony P. Maingot