George Soroshas donated more than $8 billion globally to his Open Society Foundations. Couple that with decades of investing around the world and it would be easy to assume Soros in a figure of global popularity.
Only he isnt. Hes almost the polar opposite.
Sorosmade headlines recentlywarning of increased economic problems, the growth of Occupy Wall Street and government repression what he characterized as strong-arm tactics to maintain law and order. In short, the kind of chaos helped foment in the old Soviet Union and elsewhere.
In his book Open Society, Soros credits his foundation with mobilizing civil society against the government inSlovakiaandCroatia, among others. He readily calls himself an active participantin the revolution that swept away the Soviet system.
So when Soros talks of chaos, its a subject he knows well. The only question is his involvement.
Most everywhere Soros, his foundations or his investment money has gone, trouble has followed.
Hes helped start revolutions, undermined national currencies and funded radicals around the world.
Soros has been convicted of insider dealing inFranceand fined $3 million, fined another $2 million in his nativeHungary.
His foundations have been accused of shielding spies and breaking currency laws and his investing strategy has been targeted for harming several national currencies.
Thats not the story the broadcast networks have been telling about Soros for the past five years.
There were 29 mentions of Soros during that time but only one gave any hint at trouble, and that was merely to mention he was still known as the man who broke the Bank of England.
But ABC followed that description up with: That was all legal.
Only a sex scandal with a 28-year-old Brazilian actress gave Soros any negative publicity at all.
But there have been lots of negatives in Soross past as hes spread his influence around the world. Soros wears criticism like a badge of honor.
I have now come under attack in several countries: in Hungary from Hungarian nationalists; inRomaniafrom the Vatra Romanesca; in Slovakia from the communist party newspaper Pravda; in the Soviet Union by the organ of the hard-liners Sovietskaia Russiya, he claims in Underwriting Democracy.
Soross Open Society Fund was created in 1979 as a charitable lead trust. Even its creator admitted his motives were basically selfish and he wanted a tax gimmick. He did it as a trust for his children
While Soros has been known worldwide for his investment skills, he hasnt always managed to stay clear of the authorities.
He was found guilty in France of an insider trading case about 20 years ago and has repeatedly failed at having that news pulled from his record.
According toThe New York Times, in September 2011, a French panel upheld his conviction because he had bought and sold shares of Socit Gnrale in 1988 with the knowledge that the bank might be a takeover target.
His fund ran into problems in Hungary, where Soros was born and lived till his late teen years. At issue was how he handled an investment into the the countrys largest bank: OTP.
His fund was fined $2 million by Hungarian regulators last week for having manipulated OTPs stock price, wroteThe New York Timesin 2009.
Even when he has steered clear of legal ramifications, he had some questionable dealings. In 1999, New York Times economist (and now Nobel Prize winner)Paul Krugmanskewered Soros in a piece for .
The story, Dont Blame It on Rio or Brasilia Either, accused Arminio Fraga Neto of working with Soros in his role as president ofBrazils central bank. Fraga was upset, saying he did not have access to any privileged information and Krugman posted a formal apology saying Fraga has behaved entirely properly.
A very positive profile of Soros in The New Republic in 1994 still explained that his investing angered several nations. The president of the European Community and representatives of the French and Belgian governments have accused him of orchestrating an Anglo-Saxonplot to undermine the French currency.
The British government blames him for driving sterling from the European Monetary System, wroteMichael Lewis.
Soross currency moves have long been controversial.
The magazine Foreign Policy ran a cartoon of the billionaire in 2000 that shows Soros torturing a James Bond character and saying You saw what my awesome destructive powers did to the British pound and Malaysian ringgit, 007 Do you think your puny governments can stop me? reported The Washington Post.
Speaking of foreign policy theres also the Soros foreign policy.
Morton Abramowitz of the Carnegie Endowment for Peace once said Sorosbecamethe only private citizen who had his own foreign policy.
That remains true, though it often conflicts with that of theUnited Stateswhere he is now a citizen. He has even helped fund the non-profit group called Independent Diplomat, with the motto a diplomatic service for those who need it most. It representedKosovoSomalilandand the Polisario Front ofWestern Sahara, according to The New York Times. All three were looking for recognition as independent states.
Soros was targeted by anti-globalization protesters at the 2001 World Economic Forum in Brazil. An Argentinian activist called him a hypocrite and a monster, reported the BBC. The next day he had to cancel a trip toThailandafter protestors threatened to pelt him with rotten eggs and excrement.
In 2004, two young men threw water and mayonnaise at him inUkraine, accusing Soros of trying to push a velvet revolution just like had happened inGeorgia, reported the BBC. That same year, a critic of that nations government said Georgia does not exist right now, it is only another U.S. state whose governor is George Soros, wroteAl Jazeerah.
His efforts went so poorly inRussiathat they came close to open combat.
In November,2003 Al Jazeerareported, men in battle fatigues have raided the Moscow headquarters of billionaire investor George Soros. One of the Open Society executives said the attackers had removed documents as a climax to a long-running commercial dispute. Soross fund pulled out of Russia that year, after having lost a reported$2 billion.
Soros has enormous global influence typically purchased by either his own hand or his Open Society Foundations.
At one point, he funded the entire government of the then-new nation of Georgia. George Soros, the New York financier, helped to establish a special anticorruption fund to supplement the paltry salaries of most government employees, from the president (who gets $1,500 a month) down to border guards ($500 a month), wroteThe New York Timesin 2004.
In 2008, he gave $50 million to Millennium Promise, run by Soros buddy and economist Jeffrey Sachs. The goal of the project is to get the worlds 22 richest nations to increase their foreign aid budgets. He gaveanother $27 millionin 2011 to a related project.
Soros has spread billions around he world even to helpful projects. But his liberal views and aggressive undermining of governments makes everything he does suspect.
Given his sweeping global influence, you would think some traditional media outlet might look into that. Oh, thats right, he funds journalists, too.
Dan Gainor is The Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Centers Vice President for Business and Culture. He can also be contacted onFaceBookandTwitteras dangainor.
Media Research Centers Vice President for Business and Culture
. He writes frequently about media for Fox News Opinion.
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