Now a Court Jester (like myself) needs a Court to perform. There are not many monarchies around but it seems that one of my fellow traveler's found employment in the court of Tonga.
Tonga is a Pacific Island archipelago, which is just the sort of place where crazy things are bound to happen and where I would dearly love to retire. Sunshine, beaches, beautiful women and a happy-go-lucky island culture.
To return to the story, the King of Tonga hired a jester. The jester claimed to be the only one in full time employment jestering (or gesturing or is it gesticulating?) or whatever that jester's do.
The king then puts the jester in charge of a $26m trust fund. Good grief!
Kings are nutty, but why on earth does one hire a jester and put him in charge of a trust fund. Turns out the jester was a retired banker (?? bloody hell this was before the credit crunch. Now I guess it would not be so surprising, but tells you what sort of people bankers really are). I've always had a bit of a low opinion of bankers, to tell you the truth.
The jester's name was Bogdonoff, which is the most suspicious sounding name that I have come across, sounds a hell of a lot like Madoff. Investments were made through the jester's company company Wellness Technologies (!).
Anyway, the King accused the jester of mismanaging the trust, investing unwisely and taking inflated commissions. He also cheated King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV and his government out of the money the country made from selling citizenship to Hong Kong Chinese people ahead of the 1997 handover of the former British colony to Chinese rule.
Its gets even funnier. Some $20m of the fund's money allegedly evaporated after Mr Bogdonoff invested it in life assurance for the terminally ill.
Who in the name of hell sells life insurance to the terminally ill? Why do the insurance companies make you take a battery of tests before selling life insurance? Because they want you to LIVE, not die. They never make money if you die early and will never sell you a policy if you are likely to die soon. The deal with life insurance is that they pay your family money if you die accidentally, otherwise the insurance companies will be broke.
Anyway it all ended happily with the jester settling out of courts for $1m. Presumably he retired rich and happy.
Hmm.. Wonder when the next plane leaves for Tonga?
Full story here.