Back at the beginning of July, I wondered
where the long-awaited Bloomberg profile of Lawrence Niren (a/k/a Edward Pastorini,
a/k/a Theodore Roxford) might have got to. It was promised
in April – and, finally, it arrived on the last day of August, with a
reasonably bland headline: "Gold
Fields Bidder Takes Twisted Path From Shelter to Argentina".
The best thing about the story is the photo
accompanying it, which comes from a 1995 San Francisco Chronicle piece. Niren
looks utterly bonkers, a cross between Frank Zappa and Bob
Druskin. (Yes, I promised
you another entry in the "facial hair" category: this is it.)
The Bloomberg story is a strange combination of mockery and seriousness: "Niren
says he’s preparing his defense in Argentina, where he has a home, a fiancee
and cats… For at least a decade, Niren, who often wears his hair in a ponytail,
has floated takeover offers that lifted stock prices and then went nowhere."
The story also falls a long way short of constituting any kind of formal correction
to the original
Bloomberg story, which claimed that "U.S. financier Edward Pastorini
may lead a bid for Gold Fields" and which sent Gold Field shares soaring.
Rather than sending reporters to obscure Argentine provinces to interview the
staff of a hotel where Niren once stayed, it might have been easier, quicker,
and a whole lot cheaper to just run a story saying "Edward Pastorini is
a fraud, and we were duped". Which is the subtext of the whole article,
even if nothing quite along those lines ever appears.