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Why Has John Deuss Offshore Bank Been Singled Out?

Why Has John Deuss' Offshore Bank Been Singled Out?

By Suzan Mazur

First Curacao International Bank 1975 – Image: Suzan Mazur's Archives

"When contemplating money laundering actions against smaller financial institutions, I often wonder at the risks that plague the little guys when they try to compete with the NY Federal Reserve member banks on their home turf.
-- Catherine Austin Fitts [former Assistant Secretary of Housing-Federal Housing Commissioner during the first Bush Administration, a former managing director and member of the board of directors of Dillon Read & Co. Inc. and President of The Hamilton Securities Group, Inc.]

THE QUESTION IS WHY has Dutch businessman John Deuss' offshore First Curacao International Bank (FCIB) been singled out over the issue of VAT on mobile phone sales deposited at FCIB -- which mushroomed over the last two years from $60 million to billions of dollars before the bank was recently shut down -- when the international banking system as a whole is compromised? Deuss is being held without charge in Bermuda, his home for the last 30 years, while the court there decides whether to extradite him to The Netherlands for questioning regarding the export/re-export of phones matter.

-- Consider that in the past few years hundreds of billions of dollars have been funnelled through the "legitimate" international banking system for state-sanctioned slaughter of over a half million Iraqis and countless Afghanis, Sudanese, Kashmiris, Palestinians and Israelis too.

-- Think about the profits from objects "raped" from the world's ancient cultural sites whirling through some of these same banks decades after the UNESCO treaty to curb such plunder.

-- And the heinous ongoing banking gains from the sale of deadly cigarettes and illegal drugs to the world's youth, not to mention monies channelled from the global exploitation of women and children as sex workers.

Banker John Deuss

I first met John Deuss in the early 1970s, when US politicians and bankers were beginning to have their bloody fill of war -- after 58,000 Americans had been sacrificed in the jungles of South East Asia. Richard Nixon had at last been removed from office and America was pulling out of Vietnam.

At the time, Deuss, was a 31-year old daring international oil trader whose first deal with the Yugoslavs was shipped -- and then sold. Deuss also opened a fashion house in Manhattan at the same address as New York deans of design, Geoffrey Beene and Bill Blass, called "Alexandra Christie". I was the model. [Click here: Scoop: Suzan Mazur: John Deuss - The Manhattan projects ]

John and I were occasional friends for some time after the company closed. I have seen him only once in recent years, but know him well enough to say that there is more to the man than a questionable consolidated bank statement of condition and that he does not have the common character of a swindler, as is being projected in the media, although he has been known to take advantage of a poorly crafted deal.

In a 1970s oil contract with the Soviets involving more than a hundred million dollars, for instance, Deuss did not completely honor its terms. He accepted oil shipments and was slow to pay because he'd discovered that the Soviets had failed to provide the necessary number of signatures to make the contract valid. Years later the parties settled amicably out of court.

However, Deuss clearly was on the wrong side of history in deciding to organize shipments of oil to apartheid South Africa in the late 70s. And hiring the intensely disliked former CIA Saigon Chief of Station, Ted "Blond Ghost" Shackley to coordinate the operation.

But while investigators are sorting things out on the FCIB "carousel fraud" matter -- here's another glimpse of Deuss's human side.

Just days before the FCIB story broke, I received an email from the UK about a 1980s Deuss commission of one of the UK's most talented artists - the late Charles Mozley - to illustrate Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Click here:

It was Mozley's biggest commission ever and the drawings were regarded as some of the best seen in the UK. Not all of the project got finished before Mozley died, and Deuss apparently forgot about 700 of the folios, which were subsequently damaged in storage.

Only 250 folios survived and of those -- 10 were passed on by the publisher.

There was a copyright issue, which the emailer wanted to discuss with John Deuss. Seeing my story about Deuss online at Scoop -- first published in Bermuda's Mid Ocean News -- the emailer contacted me looking for a way to reach him:

Good morning,

I hope you don't mind my contacting you on what at first might seem a trivial matter. My name is Kes Travers and I live in the UK along with my father. . . .I recently acquired the severely damaged stock of a project initially commissioned by John Deuss, someone I believe you know. The project was an illustrated edition of The Canterbury Tales, for which Charles Mozley was used as the illustrator. When Mozley died (after illustrating eight of the tales) the project was seemingly abandoned and the stock left to deteriorate in storage. The really sad part is that the work was probably the best ever seen here in the UK.

Click here:

However, less than 20% has survived intact, with the rest damaged to a degree that makes them unusable as folios. The lithographs in the remaining bulk could be salvaged as single sheets and made use of in that way, although at least 30% is ruined beyond hope.

Although sale of the folios and sheets is not a problem in that no copyright is breached, in order to maximise the potential, other products could be produced. This would involve copyright of Mozley's original work, which is held by John Deuss. I am wondering if Mr Deuss would allow me to use certain images of the work (probably no more than ten) in order to carry this out. I know it probably sounds ambitious for someone of my age (I'm 18) but I would love to give it a go. Do you think Mr Deuss would be approachable on such a small matter, or do you have a contact address that I might use? I obviously don't want to trouble such a busy man on matters that do seem trivial, but I am really excited at trying the project which would be centred on the historical background of The Canterbury Pilgrims.

Again my apologies for troubling you directly, but you are the only person I have found that seems to know Mr Deuss. I hope you don't mind. I can be reached on this address (my dad's) or directly on Any help would be much appreciated.

Many thanks,
Kes Travers

I, of course, forwarded Kes's email to John Deuss. Understandably, John has not responded.


Suzan Mazur's reports have appeared in the Financial Times, Economist, Forbes, Newsday, Philadelphia Inquirer, CounterPunch and Scoop, among others, as well as on PBS, CBC and MBC. She has been a guest on McLaughlin, Charlie Rose and various Fox Television News programs. Email:

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