Party-fatigue. That’s what I had by the time I got done with the Prologue to this book. And I didn’t even attend a party.
Here’s the thing. I understand why Leo DiCaprio appears on every other page in this book. He sells. And I’m pretty sure the other celebs peppered throughout the book add big bucks as well. But come on, this book is about a massive financial fraud. And not just any fraud. A sovereign fraud. Executed with the help of the then-sitting Malaysian Prime Minister. And yeah, DiCaprio is awesome but god, WHY.THE.DETAILED.DESCRIPTION.OF.SO.MANY.PARTIES????!!!
The Billion Dollar Whale is about the 1MDB financial scandal. Summary: Malaysian national Jho Low and his accomplices allegedly siphoned off billions from a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund to bankroll his (and their) extravagant parties, real estate purchases, setting up a Hollywood movie production company (that financed The Wolf of Wall Street – oh, the irony!), ex-PM Najib Razak’s 2013 election campaign and the PM’s wife – Rosmah Mansor’s jewellery hoard.
The authors – WSJ’s Wright and Hope – covered the scandal for the financial daily. They have covered good ground in their reporting, but I would have liked it better if they had focused more on how the fraud was perpetrated and not so much on the types and bottles of champagne served at every party. It would have also resulted in a more compact narrative.
Loved the part in which the original Wolf – Jordan Belfort – attends a pre-launch party and comments along the lines of “wow, something stinks..” (not the exact comment).
On a separate note: #TILs of the book – Switzerland has a massive, sorta-secretive warehouse complex known as the Geneva Free Port zone patronised by the uber-ishly-uber-most-wealthy (that’s like the 0.01% of the fabled-1%ers.. kinda). It contains some of the world’s priciest privately-held art, vintage cars and god knows what else. And I thought Switzerland was focused on stashing just money – good on them for diversifying!
Review summary – Nice book. Too many parties. Could be hella shorter.
This book review is by @arcana_reads (Click to follow on Instagram).
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