Ed Bedford 1:30 p.m., Dec. 4
USD's Partnoy Has Winning Book on Ponzi Schemer Ivar Kreuger
University of San Diego law professor Frank Partnoy is out with his third book on financial flimflammery -- this one titled "The Match King." Swedish financier Ivar Kreuger was one of the most colorful business characters of the 1920s -- celebrated in the highest circles until it was revealed, basically after his suicide,that he was a complete fraud. Author Ron Chernow says in the New Yorker, "Although his empire started only a few years after [Charles] Ponzi's scheme imploded, Partnoy calculates that Kreuger's machinations lasted ten times longer and involved sums fifty times larger. He lifted the prosaic Ponzi fraud to a new level of sophistication and engaged in corporate finagling on a dizzying scale." Edward Chancellor of the Wall Street Journal calls the book an "eminently readable and and scholarly biography." After Kreuger's death, says Chancellor, accountants looking into his holding company "found a black hole in in the balance sheet that was bigger than Sweden's national debt." Unlike Charles Ponzi, Kreuger actually had a business enterprise, having 75 percent of global match production and controlling 200 businesses in a wide variety of industries. But his profits were fantasies. He stashed funds in offshore tax and secrecy havens such as Liechtenstein. Partnoy's first book, "F.I.A.S.C.O.," of 1997, which exposes the derivatives scam, is coming out a second time. His second book, "Infectious Greed," also exposed Wall Street hanky-panky.