#1042 – Merchants of Menace

 

  • Peter Butt is the author of Merchants of Menace: The True Story of the Nugen Hand Bank Scandal
  • American war hero Michael Hand and Australian lawyer Frank Nugan established Nugan Hand Bank in 1973
  • In 1980, Frank Nugan was found dead under mysterious circumstances
  • Michael Hand disappeared without a trace
  • A dozen investigations (including one by FBI) failed to get to the bottom of the case
  • Peter Butt began his 4-year investigation of the Nugen Hand saga in 2011
  • The bank was involved in drug trafficking, running guns, money laundering for drug syndicates and the CIA
  • Frank Nugen’s body was found in his car, at 4 am in the morning
  • Apparently he committed suicide using his rifle
  • There were no fingerprints found on the rifle
  • Visiting card of CIA Director William Colby was found
  • Michael Hand ordered the destruction of bank’s records
  • Nugen and Hand’s background
  • Bernie Houghton
  • Doug Sapper, Hand’s friend from special ops
  • Hong Kong branch of the Nugen Hand bank
  • Michael Hand resigned from the bank in 1975 and went to South Africa
  • Hand was a former CIA paramilitary officer
  • All operations in Laos were controlled by the CIA
  • Gerald Ford fired CIA Director William Colby in January 1976
  • Three years later, Colby became legal advisor to the Nugan Hand bank
  • In March 1976, Hand returned to the bank
  • Niel Evans ran the Chiang Mai branch of the Nugen Hand Bank
  • Most of the money that went to the bank in Chiang Mai was drug money
  • The Chiang Mai branch was next to the DEA office
  • According to Evans, both the CIA and the DEA knew what the bank was doing
  • The deal between the Nugen Hand bank and the CIA
  • The start of the decline of the bank
  • The Narcotics Bureau investigation of the bank
  • Frank Nugen used the depositors’ money to decorate his home and buy cars for the bank’s staff
  • In May 1978, Frank and his brother Ken Nugen were arrested
  • In the latter half of 1978, General Erle Cocke ran Nugan Hand Bank’s Washington office
  • Cocke had decades of experience moving money for CIA, FBI and other US government agencies
  • The Iranian revolution of 1979 and the Nugan Hand bank
  • General Edwin F. Black, President of Nugan Hand’s Hawaii branch
  • CIA airline Air America
  • “Nugan Hand had enough generals, admirals and spooks to run a small war” – Jonathan Kwitny
  • FREE Borrowable EbookThe Crimes of Patriots by Jonathan Kwitny
  • In early Jan 1980, Frank bought a rifle and an axe
  • Bernie Houghton ran the bank’s middle east branches
  • The death/murder of Frand Nugen and the disappearance of Michael Hand
  • James Spencer Oswald served with Ted Shackley (CIA) in Laos
  • Spencer made a new passport for Michael Hand
  • Spencer spent 3 weeks in Australia helping Hand in creating a new identity
  • The CIA knew where Michael Hand was after he “disappeared”
  • The Royal Commission of Inquiry found no connection to gun running or to the CIA !!
  • How Peter Butt tracked down Michael Hand in 2015
  • News article: 60 Minutes track down fugitive Michael Hand living in the US
  • Video: Tracking down the most wanted fugitive behind Nugan Hand bank collapse

 

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