THE CASE OF THE WELCHED REWARD Coverage
In this nonfiction work, Cymrot, a lawyer, recounts a peculiar case in which a Venezuelan spy sued the nation of Peru.
In the 1990s, Vladimiro Montesinos served as Peru’s “infamous spymaster,” the country’s national security chief under President Alberto Fujimori. When Montesinos was accused of extrajudicial killings, bribery, drug trafficking, and much more, he fled Peru, and despite the dogged efforts of Peruvian authorities, he proved to be a remarkably elusive man. When he was finally found in Venezuela in 2001, Venezuelan spy Jose Guevara claimed that he was responsible for Montesinos’ capture—in his account, he had furnished the man’s whereabouts to the authorities, entitling him to a $5 million reward offered by the Peruvian Cabinet in an emergency decree. Peru claimed he did not satisfy the conditions of the reward. Guevara sued Peru in a United States court.
The author, who has 20 years of professional experience in Peru, represented the country. With impressive clarity, Cymrot unravels this exceedingly complex case; a central issue was determining whether a foreign national with no ties to the United States could sue another nation in its courts. An early judgment in the case was astonishingly hostile to Peru and seemed an unhappy omen for its legal prospects (per the United States Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit: “Anything that makes it easier for countries to welch on their promises to pay for information decreases the real value of any reward they offer and makes it less likely that an offer will be accepted”). The author lucidly limns the extraordinary details of Montesinos’ capture as well as the grim history of Peru under Fujimori’s often brutal tenure as president. A fascinating blend of history, legal drama, and espionage thriller, Cymrot’s story is as engrossing as it is historically illuminating. The author is a talented storyteller—he painstakingly documents every relevant detail but never at the expense of the larger narrative.
A captivating account of a spectacular legal drama.
The Law Gazette
Mark Cymrot’s book is a cross between a John Grisham thriller and counsel’s skeleton argument. It provides a riveting insight into the US legal system, and the international legal battle between the Peru government following the flight of former national security chief Vladimiro Montesinos (pictured above) and a Venezuelan spy (Jose Guevara) who claimed a $5m reward from the government. Issues of sovereign/state immunity are explored in some detail. Cymrot also provides an insight into the procedural machinations of the US court system…
Read the Full Reward Review
SQUEEZING SILVER Coverage
A captivating economic tale, both riveting and historically enlightening.
An attorney recollects his participation in a civil trial that resulted from a catastrophic meltdown of the global silver market in this debut book . . . The author’s remembrance is astonishingly detailed, a vivid chronicle of a trial that turned out to be of historical and economic significance. The financial particulars can be hyper-technical for those unfamiliar with the labyrinthine machinations of the metals markets, but Cymrot gracefully manages to render clear the naturally convoluted. This is more than a trial transcript—the author ably transforms the facts into a real story, a novelistic depiction of extraordinary fiscal subterfuge. Cymrot has produced something rare—a genuinely thrilling financial drama.
“I enjoyed the narrative and Cymrot made what could have been a highly technical set of issues understandable and interesting to a reader with no real understanding of futures trading. A remarkable period in our history.”
– Marc Abbey, Partner, Accenture.
“I loved this book and enjoyed learning more about the silver markets squeeze at that time… It was mindboggling the extent to which they went to manipulate the marketplace and audaciously brazen, but intensely real. If you want a wonderful fall read try this one on for size!”
– Michelle Kaye Malsbury
Mark Cymrot in The New Yorker
Mark Cymrot’s quotes in two successive New Yorkers reflect – along with Squeezing Silver – a career of major cases impacting international law, economics and business.
Paul Singer Doomsday Investor, by Sheelah Kolhatkar, The New Yorker, August 27, 2018
We confronted Paul Singer when his fund, Elliott Associates, sought to thwart Peru’s restructuring of $10 billion in defaulted loans owed to 180 creditors worldwide. Peru’s thriving economy today, which arose up from brutal poverty and pervasive terrorism, is due in small part to our litigation strategy that frustrated Singer, gave Peru time to reform its economy and settle with other creditors. See reported cases. When the US Court of Appeals overturned our trial win, it opened the door to Singer’s 15 years of litigation with Argentina. Ms Kolhatkar’s @sheelahk essay fuels the debate of whether our legal system perpetuates poverty and alienates natural allies. She wrote: “Mark Cymrot who defended the Republic of Peru in the Elliott case, said that Singer exploited a loophole in the market. But, he told me, ‘it’s a problem with the system. They are acting within the system as it exists.’ Sovereign-debt experts have long argued that the international financial system needs a version of bankruptcy court, where countries could work out debts they were no longer able to pay.” See also, “Argentina is in ‘unchartered territory'” CNN July 30, 2014.
How Bill Browder Became Russia’s Most Wanted Man, by Joshua Jaffa, The New Yorker, August 20, 2018
Jaffa takes one of the few critical looks into the Bill Browder story and quotes Browder’s cross-examination: “Browder was questioned by Mark Cymrot, a lawyer from BakerHostetler, who pushed him on where he got this or that document, or how he knew an allegation to be factual. Browder often replied that he didn’t know or didn’t remember, or that the answer to a particular question was known only by his lawyers or the team at Hermitage. At one point, Cymrot read from the letter that Browder had delivered to prosecutors in New York in 2012, which refers to the ‘corrupt schemes’ by which Katsyv acquired his wealth. Cymrot asked him which schemes he was referring to. ‘I don’t know,’ Browder said. Cymrot quoted another passage from the letter, which alleged that Katsyv had ‘taken significant steps’ to conceal the source of his assets. What were they? ‘I don’t know,’ Browder answered.”
Interviews and Podcasts
TWISTED Podcast: Unraveling the Intricacies of True Crime
Dedicated to the discussion and analysis of thought-provoking crime cases | Episode 60: “Squeezing Silver” | Interview with Author Mark Cymrot
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Bunker and Herbert Hunt, among others, illegally manipulated silver prices. Numerous entities filed civil lawsuits against the Hunts for their losses. Mark Cymrot was the lead attorney for the largest lawsuit against the Hunts. He wrote a book about his experience called, “Squeezing Silver,” and we will be discussing his book and the underlying case.
WBNW Radio Interview by Stu Taylor with Mark Cymrot: Audio Player (launches in a new window)
WBNW is a business talk radio station in the Boston market. The station is owned by Money Matters Radio, Inc.
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