Treasure Seekers – Fact/Fiction

WHAT IS FACTUAL:

  1. The death of Rafsanjani on January 8, 2017, former president of Iran, respected Ayatollah and at the time of his death, he was the richest man in Iran. He has never revealed the following secret:
    • Several days before the fall of Communism in Romania on December 18, 1989, the Romanian dictator, Ceausescu, went to Tehran with trunk-loads of gold to deposit in Rafsanjani’s private bank; 
    • This gold, valued at $1 billion dollars, has never been found or claimed. What has happened to this gold?
  2. The gas-for-gold laundering scheme between Turkey and Iran.
  3. The arrest and imprisonment of the gold launderer and his eventual flip from guilty to witness to become part of the U.S. Witness Protective Program. 
  4. The buried treasure of Forest Fenn in the mountains of Santa Fe. 

FACTUAL BACKGROUND  

(The following political information is intertwined in the fictional story)

  • ROMANIA has had an economic relationship with Turkey as far back as the Ottoman Empire and in the 20th century with Shah Reza Pahlavi. Romania has been involved with the TANAP pipeline as described in the novel and in conjunction with Turkey. 
    • When Ceausescu was executed in 1989, Iran and Romania had business projects that exceeded $1 Billion.
  • ARGENTINA, The New York Times (January 9, 2015; February 7, 2015; March 5, 2015; December 29, 2016; December 11, 2017) and The New Yorker (July 30, 2015; January 23, 2015; January 31, 2015; June 29, 2016)  report on a cover-up in the murder of Argentine judge, Alberto Nisman,  (2015) who was investigating the 1994 terrorist bombings of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people. The bombing was the worst in Argentine history.
    • Argentina’s previous Presidents, Hector and Christina Kirchner, have covered-up the homicide of the judge and have said it was suicide. 
    • POPE FRANCIS has signed a petition for the investigation of the death of judge Nisman. At the time of the terrorist bombing, Pope Francis was Jesuit Archbishop of Buenos Aires.

WHAT IS FICTIONAL:

  • The fictional aspect begins in Paris at Le Jardin du Luxembourg with a fashion show, hosted by fashion designer, Cristina. Her friends, Marina, Mica and Anca, are enjoying the unique garden setting when they discuss vacationing together in Santa Fe. Once in New Mexico, Cristina and Marina meet Tahquitz, a native American Indian from the Taos tribe. He serves as their guide to find a real-life buried treasure in the desert.
  • Several months later, while visiting Tahquitz in Istanbul, Marina and Cristina attend a party hosted by a Turkish rock star. Yet, it is true that the singer was married to Reza Zarrab, the richest gold smuggler in the world.
  • The continuation of the stories and narrative of the Four Musketeers, Mica, Marina, Christina, and Anca, as well as their husbands Petre and Eugen who work with the C.I.A.

FICTION AND FACTS MERGE TO CREATE A NOVEL:

  • True events of crime lead Marina and Cristina to investigate the smuggling operation that is known as the Gas-for-Gold scheme, involving hundreds of billions of dollars being shared among Iranian and Turkish politicians.
  • Ceausescu took gold to Tehran on December 18, 1989 for secret safe keeping to President Rafsanjani and his private bank. Reports and newspaper articles claim that the value amounted to $1 Billion in gold bullion bars. It is true that this gold has never been found or identified. However, the theory that the $1 Billion in gold was recycled to jump start the Gas-for-Gold scheme is based on my own findings for fictional purposes. There has been no proof of this. 
  • However, there are photos in newspaper articles showing the relationship of key political and financial figures from the countries involved in the scheme.
  • The novel’s fictional protagonists are brought into the web of mystery and facts when they investigate if the gold being laundered is originally Turkish? Or Iranian? Or Romanian? They realize that during the years of smuggling gold for the Gas-for-Gold scheme, there was an embargo in Iran. International sanctions prevented trade as well as transfers of money or currency to enter or leave Iran. Yet, there was gold hidden in the Bank of Tehran by President Rafsanjani, that had to be recycled, somehow by someone. Rafsanjani was getting old and his political opponents were suspicious of his wealth. And Iran needed capital because of its dire economic state caused by sanctions. A scheme had to be created to help both Iran and Turkey circumvent their economic and political problems.
  • 25 years later in 2016, gold resurfaces as the key launderer, Reza Zarrab, enters Miami with his wife and daughter to visit Disney World. He is arrested and taken to a Manhattan prison while his legal team works to free him. Represented by key politicians and seventeen lawyers, Zarrab makes a deal with the American government to turn him from accused to witness to informant and to be protected by the U.S. government’s Witness Protective Program.
  • The novel ends on a fictional note in Paris with a fashion show. The narrative transforms into a love story when the leading protagonists, Marina and Tahquitz, prepare their wedding in New York City.
  • All the characters in the novel participate in a Treasure Seekers, where fiction and facts intermix Their search for Truth goes far beyond the largest money laundering scheme in our time. Like a kaleidoscope of prismatic colors, this is an adventure story that pulsates in the exotic world of Turkey, and is waiting to be discovered.
  • All names in the novel from the Political-Factual segment have been changed except Ceausescu (President-Dictator of Romania, 1965-1989) and Rafsanjani (President of Iran, 1989-1995).