Wednesday, April 29, 2009

21 Dead Horses

By Pauly
Holylweird, CA

Something is rotten in Wellington, Florida. And it's not 21 dead horses previously owned by Venezuelan billionaire Victor Vargas.

If you are not familiar with the posh polo scene, let me clue you in on a tragedy. Last weekend, 21 polo horses owned by Victor Vargas died unexpectedly at the Palm Beach Polo Club only 45 minutes before a scheduled match. One polo insider compared the horse slaughter to the 9/11 of the polo community, however, the news was barely a blip on the radar of world wide weirdness. Between torture scandals, Government bail outs, the NBA & NHL playoffs, and this newly concocted Swine Flu... it's no wonder that the news of 21 dead horses flew under the radar. So under the radar that it was a mile under ground.

In the shadows of the pristine polo fields of Wellington, Florida (where various equestrian sports is estimated a 500 million per year industry), there are whispers of a possibility of a governmental conspiracy, or a mafia vendetta, or a massive betting scandal. How about all three?

There has been plenty of speculation over the whos, whats, and whys about the 21 dead horses. And one of those rumors keeps pointing back towards the notion that the 21 horses were killed to prevent Venezuela's Lechuza Caracas club from winning the US Open Polo Championship. If that is the case, it has to be one of the biggest scandals in sporting history. And if the horses were killed to insure a gambling wager, then that has to be one of the most horrid acts of deviant degeneracy. It's one thing to pay off a kicker to shank a field goal in crunch time, but it's another thing to kill 21 animals. That's cold blooded shit that only the lowest of the low could ever conjure up.

The 21 horses were poisoned. That much has been made evident and Franck's Pharmacy in Ocala even copped to the act of accidentally injecting the horses with a lethal dose of selenium... up to 10x the intended dose.

Accidents do happen. But what was the real motive behind the accidental overdose?

Where the horses killed to prevent Lechuza Caracas from winning the Polo Championships?

Was it an act of sabotage from anti-Venezuelan entities who wanted to punish Vargas for his close ties with President Hugo Chavez?

Was it a CIA plot and simply mere message sent to Chavez via Vargas' prize horses that Chavez was in trouble (similar to the dead horse's head in the bed in The Godfather)?

Was it the Russian mafia taking out the horses to ensure that the clubs they wagered on would win the Polo Championships? Did the Colombian or Mexican drug cartels operating out of Miami rub out the horses as payback for mismanaged laundered funds from various cocaine conglomerates controlled by many of Vargas' banking entities?

A billionaire who is friends with a despised dictator like Chavez is bound to have a handful of enemies. Vargas' resume is cluttered with misery, shadiness, and gloom behind him. Despite Chavez's socialist revolution that has enveloped Venezuela, Vargas' Banco Occidental de Descuento escaped unharmed. Word on the street was the Vargas' was Chavez's personal banker and his Banco Occidental handled high volume currency trades and over $1 billion in Argentine bond swaps. Vargas was buying bonds at official rates (Bolivars to Dollars) and then re-selling those bonds to investors at black market prices often double the market value.

Aside from being one of Chavez's buddies, Vargas ticked off quite a few people in the American banking elite. According to a Time magazine article...
In 1993 he paid the Federal Reserve Bank of New York $1.5 million in fines after it determined Vargas had lied about his knowledge of fraud that executives had committed at a bank he was in the process of acquiring. (As part of his settlement with the Reserve Bank, he didn't have to admit guilt.) Today, Vargas cannot invest in U.S. banks without government permission."
Vargas made plenty of enemies during his days in international banking. Were his horses just a bit of collateral damage in a greater war between the haves and the have nots?

Polo horses in Vargas' stable were worth approximately $100,000 each. Estimated damages of the 21 dead horses were in excess of $2 million and only a handful of the horses were actually insured. Did the money really matter to someone with the obscene wealth of Vargas? His complete stable included over 60 polo horses and he reportedly purchased a $68.5 million compound in swanky Palm Beach in order to have a place to stay during the polo season. The value of the horses were insignificant compared to the amount of money it cost to field and train a team and army of horses which were flown on private jets to matches in the UK, Florida, and Argentina.

Vargas openly flaunted his wealth. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal last year, Vargas admitted, "People write stories about me saying I have a Ferrari, a plane, a yacht. But it's not true. I've got three planes, two yachts, six houses. I've been rich all my life!"

Then again, the dead horses could just be the result of two uber-rich guys who have nothing else better to do than engage in high stakes pissing matches in the form of polo. The concept of polo is exceptionally high brow. Only the richest of the richest and the highest of classes (think Princes, Archdukes, and other Eurotrash royalty) can afford to participate in the polo culture let alone attempt to be the best in the game. Perhaps Vargas' arrogance got the best of him and one of his opponents decided to slay his prized possessions out of jealousy and spite.

I hit a deadend when trying to obtain information on any large sums of money placed on any polo clubs that were not Vargas' Lechuza Caracas squad. But if anyone collected a nice sum of cash due to the edge gained with the 21 dead horses, you have to automatically assume that they were directly involved.

Throughout my research on this matter I discovered one startling article that was never mentioned in any of the other new blurbs about the 21 horse deaths. 3 vials of virus samples missing from Maryland facility is an article from CNN. Hmmm, so three vials of Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis go missing right around the same time that 21 horses die? Coincidence?

Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker at All rights reserved. RSS feeds are for non-commercial use only.

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