Bourke trial begins second day

Round Hill’s own Ric Bourke begins day two of his trial for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act but so far, not much news. Maybe later. Readers have expressed various opinions of Mr. Bourke, depending, it seems, on how they feel about running down bicyclists with an SUV, but I’ll confess to some sympathy for the man, regardless of his driving habits. Only in the good old USA is bribing corrupt foreign officials a crime. The rest of the world takes a realistic view of the world, acknowledges that not everyone can be as pure as a United States Congressman, and basically says, “if you gotta bribe to get the business, get the business.”

For instance, Bourke’s partner, Viktor Kozeny, has confessed to bribing the oil ministers of Azerbaijan (considered by connoisseurs to be the most corrupt nation in the world, if one can imagine such a thing) yet he’s sitting this trial out in the comfort of his $29 million villa in the Bahamas. The U.S. tried to extradite him but the Bahama courts ruled that Vik had done nothing illegal by their laws and in fact, ordered the U.S. (that would be us taxpayers) to reimburse his legal defense fees.

Kozeny, by the way, not only cheerfully admits to the bribery, he says that everyone in on this deal knew exactly what he was doing. By “everyone”, he not only means poor Frederic Bourke, he means another investor, former Senator Edmund Muskie. George Mitchell. Guess who is not on trial alongside Bourke? Guess who seems never have even been questioned by federal prosecutors? It was a Republican Justice Department that brought this case, so I think this suggests that political power trumps mere wealth, every time.

30 Comments

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30 responses to “Bourke trial begins second day

  1. anon

    Edmund Muskie? Was he even alive then?

    I think you mean the all-too-alive George Mitchell.

    • christopherfountain

      I must mean Mitchell, but I’m going to have to check. (we’re back). Ooops! Dead in 1996, heart attack.

  2. All friends

    DouglASS, Mitchell, Bourke all friends up in Seal Harbor. Cook up a big scheme in Maine. Cry only if you get caught. Get your paw out of this bear trap Bourke. Money can’t buy you love either.

    Rats like DouglASS will end up in Court with Noel, my prediction.

  3. Rage

    I was once in Boston watching Bourke’s brother Dennis, an anesthesia doctor, and squash player like Fred, shatter his wooden racket when he lost a match. He muttered something like life is too short to be this unhappy.
    These guys get baby like and whine when they don’t get their way. Their mother made them into pampered adults.
    Look who is crying again. All this behavior is very understandable if you go back to Michigan where they just hung out with rich people all the time. They thumb their noses at the working class (lots of us non-club workers here in Boston). Now I think this Bourke brother is in Baltimore at a VA Hospital. Still plays squash I think.

  4. Expert

    There’s huge misunderstanding, comrades. Rick Bourke did nothing wrong in Baku, but lost US$8 million of his own money. Now Kozeny, who did not need to pay (and he didn’t) any bribes either to the SPC officials or to the President, whom he saw only once at a public function and who genuinely disliked big Vik, because SOCAR had never been for sale. Nor even such plans existed. So, no business, no bribes. When Kozeny fooled Rick and others pocketing $350 million, Rick learned about it and sued Kozeny, who lost the case in London. Now, this “dirty hands” tactics is Vik’s revenge. But he will certainly lose together with his three accomplices who will be witnessing against Rick. ¡No Pasarán!

  5. perspective

    Wow, someone has a bone to pick. Rick is not perfect, but this is a lame case, anyone can see that. I bet nothing of substance comes from this.

    I’m no defender, but, your zeal for blood is over the top. This is a very technical case- and has little to do with his family matters, his other business dealings both successes and some less than successful ventures- and , talk about selective enforcement – George Mitchell has been friends with Rick Bourke for many , many years. They have looked at opportunities for years and each utilized there power over the years to achieve various things to there own enrichment. And, he is no Bernie Madoff and all that stuff – its his own money that he spent , lost, etc… As for whether he is a nice man – even his friends would tell you he is a driven , and eccentric person – a little off, but no monster.
    I was always somewhat intimidated around him, never all that comfortable – but, guys like him are often like that – get over it. I predict at most – a slap on the wrist, likely not even that.

  6. special

    i was a guest of rukyser’s once in his box at brant polo field grand stand. i saw frederc bourke there with his young family. someone pointed him out to me and said he was very pompous, self absorbed, big ego, no common sense, show off, not humble, looked down at his helpers, demanding, self important, very pampered, kind of a hypochondriac about his health, balding at a young age, over achiever.
    your story/comments/federal blog on law all reflect this about bourke years later.
    this guy treats the world like he is special. never works.

  7. perspective

    Who cares about whether he is a baby, a sore sport, what his brother is doing, or any of that stuff – it may be true, but, it does not have anything to do with what Kozeny was able to do to con he and all these captains of industry and political types. It was a big con job – and he along with others took a major haircut. end of story.

    Kharma aside – this case is kinda lame.

    • christopherfountain

      I agree, perspective. Kozney seems like quite a crook and he suckered a lot of otherwise smart people. I don’t subscribe to the “rich deserve what gets taken fromn them school” but I’m less upset about Kozney’s predations than Madoff’s wiping out retirement funds.

  8. perspective

    Well, I am looking forward to trial updates when you have them. It’s a compelling story –

  9. Lawyer defense

    Over the last few years, Bourke has told friends his lawyers approved every step of the way this deal. He was supposed to have this thick itinerary documented by lawyers. So how come his lawyer dropped his case in the 11th hour? Mostly bullshit is what Bourke has been telling people. How many of his friends will visit him in Jail?

  10. Cotswood

    Thank you, Perspective. I completely agree. None of this ad hominem nonsense has any bearing on this case.

    I hope the case is as simple as you suggest, but there are a lot of elements that remain murky. Again, look at who sits on the US-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce, and who the “former” members of the Board were. Also, who recommended Rastas and Pulley to Kozeny? These are two former gov’t employees, one with the DoD, and the other with the DEA. Were they plants?

  11. Anonymous

    Mitchell is a Maine woods sleaze and then some. Man, those Democrats come up with some sleaze bags, don’t they? LBJ, Mitchell, Dodd, now Reid, many others too numerous to mention, what a line of succession. Would be nice if they “got” the Maine hick, just like they did the old silver fox hisself, Clark Clifford, no doubt a hero of Mitchell’s.

    • christopherfountain

      I won’t necessarily disagree (don’t know much about Mitchell, even though I lived in Maine when he was Senator) but I take a rather bi-partisan approach to condemning politicians: most of them aren’t much use, of either party. For every Dodd, there’s a Spector, for every Murtha, there’s a —– (whoever that sleaze from California was, a republican now doing time).

  12. Relevance

    I think Cotswood needs to realize if the government thinks Bourke is a fraud, then they will show if he is a fraud in the past. Your past behavior is always relevant. Cotswood thinks we are all blank slates coming to a Court as a defendant. The jury will want to know who they are convicting. The government prosecutor will want to show Bourke is the phoney we have come to know and love.

  13. perspective

    I do not know about the potential plants etc… I feel like the fact that Rick and the others knew full well what was going on and in some respects where complicit is kinda the elephant in the room… The issue is that Kozeny is the pivotal player – and he is not there , therefore, it is difficult to prove much – and it seems clear he did the bulk of the dirty work. The guys that plead guilty did so, because they got nervous, they lost OPM – at Omega and Aig etc. so they panicked. Rick lost his own money and he has a defense here. I think this case is going to be very difficult for the Fed… If they need to bring up a prostitute – they don’t have much in my humble opinion. With charges as serious as these can be – there better be clear evidence, clear intent, and some clear and provable testimony…

    I bet he changed counsel because the Feds probably offered a plea because they have no case – the attorney entertained it and Rick is too agressive to accept that when he has a good defense here- I hope we here some updates re: the proceedings soon –

  14. The tape

    Didn’t tapes bring down Nixon too. A packed Courtroom today.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=a3f9HEy1RUZ8

  15. Fellow alums

    The Judge in the case and Bourke both went to the same schools (Univ of Michigan and Columbia). Some say the Judge is fair. Advantage:Bourke.

    http://fcpablog.blogspot.com/2009/06/book-on-bourkes-judge.html

  16. Courtroom sketch of Frederic Bourke

    http://media.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/photo/2005/10/06/PH2005100601993.html

    Get that sketch artist some glasses. Bourke has way less hair!

  17. Cotswood

    Sorry Relevance, but I never implied any such thing. I do, however, fail to see how Mr. Bourke’s being rich, having a personal chef, fighting with a woman over a dog, or being scammed out of money has any thing to do with being a phoney.
    Obviously a prosecutor will try to convince the jury that his past actions demonstrate a pattern of dishonest behavior. My point is that the discussion in this forum has been been full of vitriol and largely devoid of substance.

  18. To hell in a handbag

    To quote an old phrase, the handbag founder may end up there. To the sketch artist, I always thought that Bourke fellow looked more like John Denver with a lot less hair on top. The round glasses and face were similar. At least Bourke will be truly Judged by his peer since both were educated at same schools. Can’t appeal on grounds of an unfair Judge here. To Cotswood, a jury needs to have a picture painted of the man they have to get to know. Warts and all get posted here buddy so get used to it. People say what they want on this blog and we bloggers are usually wearing their underwear behind closed doors late at night on the computer to CF. The only way to blast your neighbors and tell the world what you really think about someone in the spotlight! Ouch, make a juror sit for 6! weeks with no pay while some rich guy gets off the hook. Good luck Bourke.

  19. Cotswood

    Wait, Handbag, whose underwear are you wearing late at night?

  20. Now you get the picture Cotswood

    Now you are catching on. This blog stimulates the mind and other parts of the body. Size 48. Sometimes has a skid mark. But always Haines. And underwear changed daily but washed monthly. Thanks for thinking of me.
    Bourke better not put that jury to sleep. He is a guy that can come across as very pompous. Maybe his attitude, it works on the squash court, but not with the common man struggling to pay his bills.
    Bourke better remember he is now being judged by a jury of his peers (none have three homes or deep pockets or care much about handbags).

  21. greenmtnpunter

    CF- I am willing to wager that a national media search for “Democrat indicted”, “Democrat sleaze”, “Democrat resigned”, “Democrat convicted” “Democrat linked”, and so on will turn up many more hits than it will for Republicans with the same key words.

    So, quantitatively speaking, Democrats have a much larger sleaze factor than do Republicans. Besides, Democrats have to sleaze in politics, what else do they have, ever had? They are the scoundrels, the latter day legatees of Boss Tweed, Daley, and other big city machine crooks, er, I mean politicians.

    Whenever you show me a Republican scandal, I can always top it with at least two Democrats who are much sleazier. Repubs now have no choice but to be the Reform Party- and mean it. But well capitalized behind the scenes to be able to go toe to toe with Soros, shady Chinese, and other crook funders so beloved by Democrats.

  22. Cotswood

    I have to agree with CF that both parties are irredeemably corrupt. There is greed for money and power everywhere in both business and politics. This is hardly the case with which to showcase the sleaziness of Dems. Have you checked Bourke’s political contributions lately?

    Yes, Mitchell is a Dem., but he is not on trial. This case was built against Bourke during a Republican administration, and is continuing under a Democratic one. This is well beyond partisan sniping…

  23. $96,000 Lunch

    http://fcpablog.com/

    I wonder what the bowel movement was worth after the meal was digested, Mr. Rick Bourke?

    I bet this guy Bourke who is on trial isn’t connecting very well with the Jury. He is no “Jimmy Stewart” like that Noel guy.

  24. perspective

    http://fcpablog.com/

    So far, I don’t see much here – other than rich guys with connections helping the economy by spending their money. Who cares how they spent it. It seems to me that the head of Kozeny’s security, a former DEA agent clearly states the Kozeny and he alone was bringing cash to the Azeri leaders-
    Bourke may have known – but how can you prove he did – how can you actually prove Bourke new the cash was being used to bribe people.
    I just can’t see taking a successful business person, even if he is not the most likable character and putting him behind bars when the real con man is Kozeny here. Relatively speaking – I have spent an inordinate amount of money vs. my personal wealth at a steakhouse or two over the years, no Petrus – but, some decent wine too! Big Deal.
    I just don’t see overwhelming evidence here.

  25. F.A.B. Perspective

    I think Bourke should have hung out more with the crowd at the Round Hill Country Store rather than the Round Hill Club crowd. Perspective talks like he’s sitting around a club house. Sure, it makes sense there from that perspective. But Bourke isn’t at the Club now. He is in the room with his “peers”. If you want to avoid the Jailhouse perspective, you better start looking like the guy who fills your pump, not the CEO of Mobil.

    Perspective just brushes off all the eccentricity F.A.B. (Frederic A. Bourke) displays like it is normal (all rich people do it, so what?).

    Hopefully his lawyers will start painting Bourke as Joe average because no jury likes supporting a rich playboy while they sit there day after day wondering who is going to pay the gas, electric, and mortgage during jury duty.

  26. perspective

    I understand the sentiment – I am no club member, although spent a few summers doublebagging it at the club… I am just saying – its easy to be swayed by this sideline stuff – and I have to assume the strategy is not to promote his behavior during the trial – but, the key, is what are the facts— and unless there is actual proof of Rick signing off or handing over these so called bribes – I not feeling it. So, the haters and whiners of the ultra rich can wave the pitch forks – but, where is the smoking gun. If the evidence is there, then so be it – not until then- and for what its worth, I always got good tips as a caddie – and not all the members where what I would call nice people –