Robert Maxwell, whose death in the Atlantic Ocean is suspicious at best and murder at worst, has come to personify the evil capitalist out to bilk widows and orphans of their pension monies. By outward appearances, Maxwell was a highly successful businessman who was able to put together deals that included millions of dollars. Shortly after his death, however, it became painfully clear that his deals were financed by nonexistent collateral, or by collateral which had been pledged several times over, or which had been overstated in its value. It also became apparent that Maxwell had raided the pension funds under his control for cash, and the question of whether pension fund members or Maxwell(s creditors have first claim to the remainder of those funds also came into question following his death.
Maxwell is not in a position to defend his actions, and it is unclear what shape such a defense would take. There is no shortage of critics of Maxwell(s affairs, including the bankers who lent him money, and the pensioners who future he mortgaged. But the final judgment of Maxwell is not as clear as it might first appear to be. Having raided the pension fund and left it unable to meet its obligations, it is simple to cast Maxwell in the role of villain, a devil who sought to profit at others( expense. In this case, he profited at the expense of those least able to take care of themselves, pensioners, and those who had entrusted their retirement years to him.
But Maxwell did not reach a position of relative glory without the assistance, witting or not, of bankers and others in the financial world. Had Maxwell been able to pull off his convoluted financial scheme, had the pension fund monies been repaid and had he been able to continue operating what amounted to a Ponzi scheme, he would not be cast in the role of villain, but would be seen as a cunning, if cutthroat, businessman.
Clearly some of Maxwell(s activities were illeg...