How to make a killing out of crime

'I hate to boast, but the turnover from my drug empire would easily put me in the top 20 millionaires'
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The Independent Online

There are advice columns for everyone from the small shareholder to the emotionally troubled, from the sports fan to the mortgage-holder, but there has never been a newspaper advice column for major criminals. Today we put that right, as we tackle problems and queries of all sorts from those who defy the majesty of the law and sometimes feel neglected and cut off as a result.

There are advice columns for everyone from the small shareholder to the emotionally troubled, from the sports fan to the mortgage-holder, but there has never been a newspaper advice column for major criminals. Today we put that right, as we tackle problems and queries of all sorts from those who defy the majesty of the law and sometimes feel neglected and cut off as a result.

The top-flight criminals who have written to us with their worries are, of course, granted full anonymity.

I wonder if you can help me. I am an internationally active criminal with a twisted mind and a flawed personality, who has managed to secure a nuclear submarine, which at this very moment has its fierce armoury pointed at Washington, DC, which I could destroy at a moment's notice if the US government does not grant my demands. The trouble is that I cannot think of any demands grand enough to match this devilish design. Can you think of any fiendish promise or humiliating climbdown I might extract from the Americans?

Stop! Don't do anything! You have chosen the very worst time to think about such a course of action. In a few weeks or months the Americans will choose a new president, so any promise made by the outgoing Clinton will be null and void when Bush or Gore comes in. Wait till the presidential elections are over, and then come back to me, and see if we can't think of something satanically satisfying. Meanwhile, make very sure that your staff know what to do in the case of your untimely death.

It galls me every year when they publish a list of the 100 top millionaires in Britain, and I am not on it. I hate to boast, but the turnover from my drug empire would easily put me in the top 20, way above most of the dot.com millionaires and wealthy stand-up comedians infesting the lower ranks of the nouveaux riches. Is there any way I can become known for my wealth without attracting attention, envy or the suspicion of authority?

As the whole point of wealth is to attract attention and envy, and as you must inevitably also attract the suspicion of the authority, I really do not understand your question. Incidentally, when you say that you derive enormous wealth from your drug empire, that doesn't mean that you own Boots the chemist, does it?

Certainly not. I am a good honest drugs baron.

I am glad to hear it. Next, please.

I am involved in an enormous fraudulent VAT scheme. My accountant says that I have made so much money in the past year, that I should be registered for VAT. I said, "I thought I already was registered for VAT, which was the whole point." He said, "Yes, but only fraudulently registered." I said, "So do I have to be genuinely and fraudulently registered for VAT?" He said, "Yes, of course, you dunderhead." What do you think?

What do I think? I think you've got the wrong accountant. He's obviously rude and doesn't explain things clearly, and it seems to me he's getting above himself. I think you should get rid of him.

When you say, "Get rid of him," do you mean... ?

Yes, I do mean...

You actually mean, "Get rid of him"?

Yes. I mean, "Get rid of him."

Right... That could be expensive, though. If I do "get rid of him", can I claim it against VAT?

Yes. But only fraudulently. Next!

I am going to the funeral of a very dear colleague next week, whom I unfortunately had to get rid of. What is the correct dress?

I should leave that to the undertakers if I were you. They'll know what to put him in.

No, I meant, what should I wear?

Oh, something bulletproof, but not flashily so.

I have derived billions of pounds from my activities over the years and have laundered most of it through a chain of casinos I own. Unfortunately, I have recently developed a taste for gambling and I have placed and lost some enormous bets. Fortunately, I get all the money straight back, as I own the casinos where I do my betting.

Right. So what is your question?

No question - I am just showing off.

Fair enough.

Are you fabulously but illegally wealthy? Let's hear from you!

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