Stripping the criminal of his assets

It’s something I’ve been following for a while – the debate about whether criminals should be allowed to make money by writing or speaking about their crimes.  An ongoing case in Australia concerns David Hicks, who spent five years as “Detainee 002” in Guantanamo and has since written about his experiences in a book called “Guantanamo: My Journey”.  In the latest development, the Australian government has frozen a trust fund containing an estimated A$100,000 (an advance plus sales of 30,000 copies of the book).  Hicks’s defence team says that the proceeds of crime law being cited does not apply because his conviction by a US military commission at Guantanamo was invalid.  The hearing has been adjourned until tomorrow (16 August).

But this latest story is much more amusing.  When he was convicted, Bernie Madoff’s possessions were auctioned, and a company called Frederick James snapped up most of his clothes.  They are now transforming them into useful items that are being sold to raise money for victims of the Madoff fraud.  So for US$250 you can buy an iPad cover made out of Bernie’s ordinary chino trousers, or $500 gets you one made out of what I fear we must call his fancy pants.

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