Thursday, January 18, 2007

Peter Foster: A clean getaway for a thorough crook

Peter Foster is an Australian conman who has been jailed on at least three continents, and added another two countries to his tally, when he skipped bail in Fiji, but was caught in Vanuatu.

He’s obviously got something going for him. He's a thorough ratbag, yet he had the military onside in Fiji, and was helped out by ‘business partners’ in both his escape from Fiji and safe haven in Vanuatu. He was then caught, yet circumstances conspired to give him a clean getaway. Vanuatu fined him something over $1000 for customs evasion, then deported him (paid for his airfare) to Australia, where he has no outstanding warrent, rather than to Fiji, where he's still wanted. It's like Brer Rabbit getting thrown into the briar patch: please don't fly me at your expense to Australia, it's the last thing I want (heh heh).

He has an exemplary notoriety around the world, yet he still manages to persuade people to help him. His schemes pretty much always involve some form of illegality, yet he still finds new investors.

He must be a particularly persuasive person. The extraordinary high degree of risk associated with investing with him should be a deterrent for most. Perhaps there’s also an element of greed – but as they say about internet scams, if it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t.

About 10 days ago, the Herald engaged someone to run a psychological profile on him. The specific words used were narcissistic and paranoid, but the actual issues are that he has an overvalued sense of self, coupled with a complete lack of empathy for others. However, he is extremely good at feigning that empathy, which is what sucks people in.

The particular irony in his makeup is that his skills are so very good, but since he can’t work with people properly, he never fails to get on the wrong side of the law. Yet if he could understand properly how ethics and legal frameworks are tied together, he could make a serious fortune in legitimate business ventures. But for the life of him, he simply can’t recognise when he’s overstepping the mark.

Quite a combination of personality traits. Unfortunately, not as unusual as it sounds. He's just so persistently nefarious.

5-Feb-07 The report of his deportation was inaccurate at the time, but that's substantially what happened. He ended up in jail for about three weeks, before being sentenced to 2 months in jail. But he sweet-talked an official into allowing him a greater than average sentence remission, and was booted out of the country immediately.

Fiji didn't want him because he was an embarassment, since he fooled the authorities into letting him. The interesting point is that he demonstrated an incredible skill for discerning what his jailer most desires [dirt on the political opposition] then giving a credible impression that he could deliver.

Of course, once deported to Australia, he was promptly arrested for money laundering (something else altogether). His chickens eventually come home to roost; it's just staggering how much of the time he can talk his way out of something, despite his nefarious past.

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