THE GREATEST HEISTS YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF

When you think of “heists,” a few things probably come to mind. Precious artwork, stolen off the wall of a museum after an elaborate scheme to bypass the laser security system. Ocean’s 11 hitting a Las Vegas Casino—and getting away with it. Or maybe a getaway car and masked bank robbers. But governments commit heists, too, and they are not just wild and weird; they also often get away with it. In this episode, we look at three different heists related to governments. The first, the North Korean bank heist, involves an audacious attempt to steal a billion dollars from the Bangladesh Central Bank without anyone noticing. The second, a heist carried out by former Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh, involved the looting of nearly a billion dollars during his twenty-two years in power. Over that period, he pledged to rule for a billion years, announced that he had found a cure for HIV/AIDS involving peanuts, bananas, and condensed milk, and had an obsession with mayonnaise. And the third and final heist is called the Blue Diamond Affair, a stranger-than-fiction tale of a Thai gardener, a vacuum cleaner bag, Saudi jewels, murder, kidnapping, and an unsolved mystery that continues to sour diplomatic relations between Thailand and Saudi Arabia.

And, as I mention in the episode, if you’re interested in renting Yahya Jammeh’s former mansion just outside Washington, DC, they’ve reduced the price from $15,000 a month to a much more affordable $12,000 a month. Here’s the listing so you can take a look. And if you’re interested in the work of Jeffrey’s non-profit, Vanguard Africa, here’s the link to that, too.