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Ivar Kreuger ~ The matchstick King.
Part 3: The Edgewater Beach hotel meeting - Fact or fiction?
So what about the secret meeting at the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago mentioned earlier? Tracking down hard evidence is extremely difficult, since those who reputedly attended would have certainly destroyed any incriminating evidence very soon afterwards. There is also another complication in that the most-quoted document seems to have been used by preachers and other ‘gentlemen of the cloth’ in America as an example of the consequences of greed and that our sins will eventually catch up with us!

What follows is what I surmise happened and the backgrounds of the most likely conspirators to have attended: At Chicago’s Edgewater Beach Hotel in 1923, a secret meeting reputedly takes place in Arthur Cutten’s private apartments. No documentary evidence of the discussion is known of, though undoubtedly Kreuger’s’ financial holding company IMCO in the US, and its links to other subsidiaries world-wide were involved.
Kreuger had a number of deals going in Eastern Europe, and through it, was able to convert money trapped out there into more ‘useful’ foreign currencies. IMCO offered Americans wishing to evade US taxation a way of transferring profits into investments abroad, via Continental, a Liechtenstein based holding company which Kreuger had set up. Kreuger's dealings in Eastern Europe and his ability to convert money into more ‘useful’ currencies to evade taxation and its transfer across borders must have at some point been on the agenda. The document then lists the people reputedly involved and how they eventually paid for their participation in this, and a number of other dubious shenanigans.
Of the 12 individuals cited below, only Arthur Cutten, Richard Whitney, Charles E Mitchell, Albert Wiggin and Jerome D Greene were definitely known to have been deeply involved with Kreuger. That however, does not mean to say that the authors of the Edgewater Beach Hotel document weren’t aware of further information that proves that the others were involved.

Arthur Cutten, The greatest of the infamous grain speculators; He is called before the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency which was investigating the collapse of the stock markets and IMCO's involvement in this. Cutton displays grave lapses of memory regarding his involvement in either of these, and due to a lack of evidence, he is not charged. In 1936 Cutten is indicted on a charge of tax evasion but he dies of a heart attack a few months before the trial in his apartment at the Edgewater Beach Hotel, aged 66 in 1936.

Richard Whitney Most people in America will have heard of him, but for those who haven’t, the following will suffice; A remarkable character who was also a banker, investment advisor, and embezzler. He was born in Beverly, Mass. His father, George Whitney, was a leading Boston banker, who undoubtedly encouraged his son to go into the profession. Whitney graduated from Groton and then Harvard, where he was elected to the prestigious Porcelland Club. He moved to New York City in 1910 and became a member of the New York Stock Exchange in 1912, at the age of twenty-three. Soon afterward he was principal broker for J. P. Morgan and Company, of which his brother, George, was later vice-president. During WWI, Whitney was a dollar-per-year executive for the Food Administration, headed by Herbert Hoover, in Washington, D.C.
In the 1920's Whitney became a member of every major club and organization which a member of the eastern aristocracy should belong. He was also treasurer of the New York Yacht Club. In 1916 he married a young widow, Gertrude Sheldon Sands and managed to take over her father's investment business, Cummings and Markwald, and renamed it Richard Whitney and Company. In 1919 he was elected to the governing board of the New York Stock Exchange. Whitney epitomized the "old guard" of the New York Stock Exchange, a group of wealthy and almost autocratic individuals who acted as if they owned the Exchange.

At the height of the Wall St panic on Oct. 24 1929, he appeared on the floor of the exchange and placed purchase orders to stem the rush of selling. The story goes that he appeared on the Wall St floor and placed an order for ten thousand shares at 205, forty points above the market price. He also placed orders that day for 15 to 20 other blue-chip stocks totalling $20m, the largest personal trading episode of the 20th century. Whitney served on virtually every significant committee of the exchange, including the business conduct committee. At the time of his efforts in 1929, he was vice-president and acting president. He served five terms as president of the exchange beginning in 1930. During this time he was the spokesperson for "the Old Guard," which came under attack from the newly created Securities and Exchange Commission, part of the 'New Deal' instigated byFranklin Roosevelt, following the Wall St Crash. He appeared as a witness at congressional hearings between 1932 and 1935.
When these investigations were made public, it was revealed that Whitney had borrowed over $30 million from his friends, his family, and the accounts he was entrusted with. A fair proportion of this money got into Kreuger’s hands. When he declared bankruptcy, he owed approximately $6.5 million. He was then charged with misusing funds from his father-in-law's estate, and pleaded guilty as charged. He served three years and four months of a five-to-ten-year sentence in Sing-Sing jail, When Whitney was released from prison, he moved to a family-owned dairy farm in Barnstable, Mass. where he dropped out of public view and eventually died 3 decades later, at the ripe old age of 86.

Charles E. Mitchell, The head of the National City Bank. He was found to have had a number of dealings with Ivar Kreuger. He was eventually sacked and goes through long and tedious proceedings for alleged income-tax evasion, which result in the passage of the Securities Act of 1933, and Banking Acts of 1933 and 1935. He dies December 14th, 1955.

Albert Wiggin, the head of the Chase National Bank. It is discovered that he was deeply involved with Ivar Kreuger and was eventually sacked. The large pension he had carefully arranged for himself was discovered and revoked.

Jerome D. Greene was an Investment Banker with Lee, Higginson and Co, he sold on behalf of Kreuger, millions of dollars-worth of securities to US investors. Greene also invested most of his own money in these deals, and lost badly. Greene, a Communist, was undoubtedly encouraged via the KGB, to sell Kreuger & Toll stock so as to also over-extend Swedish Match. Stalin hated Kreuger, and feared Kreuger would stabilise the fragile European economies during the 20's and 30's, and thereby undermine his efforts to promote Communism. Discredited in the US, Greene dies in 1959.

Charles Schwab, was President of the world's largest independent steel company, US Steel and Bethlehem Steel. He died a bankrupt in 1939 living on borrowed money for the last five years of his life.

Samuel Insull was originally employed by Edison as his private secretary and later on became President of the world's largest utility company. At one time, his Utilities holdings were valued at $3 billion whilst his personal fortune was estimated to be between $75 and $300 million. He fled to Greece where he lived on a ‘paltry’ $18000 per year until he was returned to the US where he stood trial on charges of embezzlement, violating US bankruptcy laws and mail fraud. He was acquitted in some of these trials, but the toll on his health was considerable. He eventually dies of a heart attack aged 78 on a Paris subway station, a fugitive from justice, with reputedly only 20 cents in his pocket.

Howard Hopson
was a New York utility regulator who managed to buy up the Associated Gas & Electric Company (AGECO), which was to become one of America’s largest utility holding companies through a fraudulently run pyramid scheme which kept him one step ahead of the stockholders and creditors who were chasing him. Between 1940-1 he is found guilty of defrauding AGECO investors out of $20m and income tax evasion for which he is sentenced to a total of 7 years in prison. Through these trials he loses most of his $47m fortune, but one way or another he evades prison life by managing to convince the authorities that he is suffering from physical and mental health problems so they send him to a sanatorium where he eventually dies aged 67 in 1949.

Albert Fall
, who was a member of President Warren G Harding’s Cabinet. Here he held the post of Secretary of the Interior. He was imprisoned for accepting bribes from private oil interests in relation to the Teapot Dome reserve in Wyoming and other reserves in California. Eventually he is pardoned from prison when he became terminally ill, and died at his home in El Paso, Texas. Leon Frazier, President of the Bank of International Settlements. He eventually commits suicide.

Jessie Livermore, is the last one of the possible conspirators and considered the greatest of all the speculators on the Wall St Stock Market. He is accused of being one of the speculators who precipitated the Great Crash of 1929, reputedly making $100m in the process. He eventually commits suicide at the Sherry-Netherland hotel in New York a week after Thanksgiving in 1940. Harry F. Sinclair is my last suspect. Called before a congressional committee, regarding his involvement with Albert Fall in the Teapot Dome scandal. He is eventually jailed for embezzlement.

In 1923, with the Wall Street bubble expanding rapidly, maybe these people sensed that it was time to cut and run with what they have made and saw Kreuger as their saviour. These Americans certainly thought they were getting one over on the little Swede, when is in fact, they were being duped by a far bigger shyster than all of them put together! It is known that Kreuger had an innate knack for getting people to think that his ideas were theirs, and therefore the scenario of him being invited to this gathering, rather than him actually running it, sounds just like the kind of ploy he would have employed, and adds further credence to the likelyhood of an event like this actually taking place.

To be continued ...