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The Jack of All Trades: Abramoff, Andrade, AML Bitcoin.

Nigel Morris-Cotterill

You'd have thought that you'd heard the last of US lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the self-styled lobbyist, film producer, writer and businessman when he was awarded the coveted additional position, without which no American businessman's career is, seemingly, complete: that of convicted felon. After all, when you've been jailed for fraud, conspiracy to commit bribery and tax evasion you'd keep your head down, wouldn't you.

But then again, when your entire career has been working with dodgy businesses and doing dodgy political deals, perhaps there's nothing left to do but be dodgy over cryptoassets. A crypto-coin especially designed to be resistant to money laundering: AML Bitcoin was tailor-made for Abramoff. Now he's awaiting sentence and the company behind it is in disarray - and spending investors' money on litigation.

But what lies behind it is even more fascinating and takes us on a global trek from Las Vegas via Texas to London, Singapore and Melbourne - then across the Pacific to Northern California.

The 2017 plan, it was announced, was that NAC Foundation would raise some USD100 million by sales of "tokens" to the public. When AML Bitcoin was released, those tokens would be converted into what, having justifiably failed to find a suitable word to describe it, prosecutors (who, in the documents are bizarrely referred to as the "plaintiff,) refer to "actual AML BItcoin technology."

Now is a convenient place to summarise all that has gone before: Andrade set up a "foundation" in Nevada which means that due to state and federal US law, or lack of it, we can find out nothing about its ownership or structure. He also formed a company in London which, with judicious digging, leads us to a merry-go-round of owners and directors, some of which are involved in companies that have all the hallmarks of being highly credible. And some of which might be open to question. Some might even be named in some schemes and entirely unaware of their supposed involvement. The records in the UK are a mess. Meanwhile in the USA, Andrade came up with a scheme that looked a bit like crowdfunding and a bit like unregulated investment scheme and a bit like an Initial Coin Offering - without there actually being any coins.

Enter Jack Abramoff.

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