Friday, December 09, 2005


Secret agent Ney [Updated]

"Swingin' on the Riviera one day
And then layin' in the Bombay alley next day
Oh no, you let the wrong word slip

While kissing persuasive lips

The odds are you won't live to see tomorrow"

- Johnny Rivers

We spit out a mouthful of coffee when we read this:
Ney spokesman Brian Walsh told The Dispatch this year that Ney, who once taught English in Iran, is "very active in Middle East issues and certain countries in that region. (The trip) does have national security dimensions, and as much as (Ney) would like to, he will not say any more beyond that." Yesterday, Walsh elaborated: "There were sensitive issues on matters of international trade discussed at these meetings and it would simply be inappropriate to air them out in the media. . . . There was nothing inappropriate whatsoever about this trip and the fact that yet another story is being written without any allegation that there was something inappropriate is completely ridiculous."
It get's better and better. Who knew he was a whiz at baccarat? It worked for Bond. James Bond:
Ney had dinner during the trip at a posh London casino with FN Aviation Director Nigel Winfield, a convicted felon whose offenses have included tax evasion, and Fouad al-Zayat, a Syrian-born businessman known as a high-stakes casino gambler. Walsh has said Ney did not know about Winfield’s background. Ney returned to the same casino on a personal trip later in 2003 and reported on his financial disclosure form that he won $34,000. Walsh has said Ney parlayed a $100 bet into the large winning on two hands of a three-card game of chance. Questions arose over the FN Aviation trip when NBC News in May reported Winfield’s background and disclosed Zayat’s involvement with the company. Zayat has not returned phone messages left by The Dispatch.
[Update] Based on a few emails we received, we should clarify that the baccarat reference is somewhat tongue in cheek and something of a guess. We seem to recall that many European casinos also play a 3-card variation of poker, so that is always a possibility. But, for some reasons, we really like to imagine the Boy Wonder of Bellaire relishing the chance to shout, "Banco!" surrounded by all these nefarious characters steeped in international intrigue.

And, although Pho, in the comments below, is somewhat correct about the odds in baccarat and how difficult it might be to parlay $100 in to $34,000, it really depends on the form of the game one is playing. The form that James Bond played is called Chemin De Fer and in it, the casino is NOT the bank; it must be one of the players, and the players placed the bets among themselves. In CDF, anything goes. Players can also take dives . . . if you know what we mean.


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