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By Anonymous Mike, pseudonymously.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007
.... and Carmela Soprano is Well Known for her Charitable Giving

Love this article in today's in EV Trib:

The day Sonia Falcone has been dreading has finally arrived. The Paradise Valley philanthropist and socialite is leaving the U.S. today with her three young children.

Her departure is part of a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, stemming from a misdemeanor charge of hiring foreign workers not legally authorized to work for her.

Sonia Falcone is the wife of billionaire Pierre Falcone which might explain the juice that enables her social and philanthropic career. Nothing wrong with that in theory but where did the money come from?

Pierre Falcone has been at the center of international turmoil for nearly a decade, linked to the shipment of Soviet-bloc tanks and helicopters to war-ravaged Angola in return for future oil profits. Critics say the corruption and armaments added misery to Angolans as they endured poverty and civil war. The nation's president, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, has cast Falcone as a hero who saved his countrymen from genocide by rebel forces.

Global Witness, an international human rights organization, identified Falcone as a key player in the "gruesome tale of money laundering and state robbery at the expense of the long-suffering Angolan people."

The Franco-Brazilian entrepreneur repeatedly has denied wrongdoing. He was jailed in Paris during 2000-01 while prosecutors investigated the case known as Angolagate. After his release on $15 million bail, Falcone left France and was appointed by his friend dos Santos to the U.N.'s Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization , securing diplomatic immunity.

So let's get this straight.... you supply the arms to a former Soviet client so he can crush the other side in a civil war, in return you get a nice chunk of the country's oil profits. When you get arrested in another country for the deal, you use those profits to post an obscene bail, skip town, and then get appointed by the crony you supplied with weapons to be the ambassador from that African country to the great kleptocracy known as UNESCO, thus ensuring your diplomatic immunity.

But the former international beauty queen, described by friends as a gracious and generous benefactor...

Spare me. I know Mrs. Falcone did none of the things her husband stands accused of doing but it's not she doesn't like the lifestyle that those things help fund.