Blood Profits by Vanessa Neumann

Blood Profits by Vanessa Neumann

Author:Vanessa Neumann
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: St. Martin's Press


Bad Sport


The twelve-month period from the summer of 2014 to the summer of 2015 tested my mettle as a businesswoman. I fell in love, came face-to-face with real bad guys in a whole new crime-terror pipeline involving Islamists in the free trade zone in Panama, learned all about yet another form of corruption and money laundering (in sports and online gambling), and had to part ways with my partners in Asymmetrica.

This next level of adventure started in June 2014. Some members of the OECD’s Task Force on Charting Illicit Trade were beckoned to task force chairman David Luna’s office in a satellite building of the State Department for a briefing with a senior member of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. I was one of them. So was Chris Howard.1

He sat across the table from me, next to his International Centre for Sport Security colleague Fred Lord—his friend, Australian compatriot, and polar opposite. While Fred is slim, swarthy, chatty, and long-haired, with tie askew and the permanent demeanor of one who has only just barely escaped some harrowing situation, Chris is broad, pale, taciturn, impeccably attired, and chillingly self-possessed. He watches.

I didn’t realize then that he was watching me, in my favorite slim-cut emerald-green trouser suit, about which he would later tease me endlessly. He seemed nice enough (the little that he spoke) when, at the end of the meeting, we exchanged a few pleasantries about his plans that evening. He gave some vague answer about hitting the town and getting some drinks. Vague, brief answers, I was later to learn, are his default. I was going to Virginia to visit my retired horse, and then one of my new business partners and I were going to shoot targets with a Glock, an AR-15, and an M-4. I had no inkling of the role the quiet Australian would play.


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