The Most Tragic Investment Banking-Related Story Ever

CityNews has been having a look at those sad stories that have hit the headlines in recent years, to establish what has been the most tragic investment banking-related story ever. Unfortunately, there are quite a few candidates for this dubious honour.

First we had the story of John Slade, the Bear Stearns banker who came to work every day until the week before he died earlier this year. He was 97 years of age. We're not sure what's the most sad, however - the fact that he died, or the fact that he worked until he was 97! (Or, indeed, the fact that he didn't make Director until he was 77!!).

Then we had the murder this year of Edouard Stern, the 50 year-old former Managing Director of Lazard. According to press reports, Stern was found dead in his Geneva penthouse, wearing a, flesh-coloured, latex bodysuit. A 36 year-old former call girl, who had enjoyed a stormy relationship with the banker for 4 years, confessed to his murder. Stern is said to have been executed Clockwork Orange-style, with two bullets to the head, one to the chest and one to the base of the back. Tragic, or just plain ?

And then a couple of stories involving Merrill Lynch. That old chestnut, the firm's 2000 New Zealand office Xmas party, when an inebriated banker thought it would be fun to sneak into a toilet cubicle and set light to his mate's synthetic grass skirt (his mate was in the next-door cubicle, in the arms of a female companion). The guy who was set alight soon staggered from the toilet, his head 'glowing like a cigarette'. He sustained burns to 90% of his body, and died 3 days later.

Then there was the 2003 murder of Robert Kissel, 41, a senior Merrill Lynch executive working in Hong Kong. Kissel's wife, Nancy, was found guilty of the banker's murder earlier this year. Mrs Kissel is said to have drugged her husband and then beat him to death with a metal ornament. She attempted to cover up the murder by rolling her husband's body in a carpet and getting some local help to dump it in a storage area close to the couple's luxury home. Mrs Kissel is said to have become upset when her husband asked for a divorce, following his discovery that she had had an affair with a TV repair man.

But surely the most tragic story involves Maria Cruz, a 35 year-old financial analyst at Barclays Capital in New York. Ms Cruz went missing in 2003, after going off for a doctor's appointment, apparently for treatment for a condition known as 'black tongue' (The condition is a painless black growth on the tongue, which can be a side effect of antibiotics). Her body was subsequently found 10 months later in a suitcase buried under a new section of crudely built concrete steps in the basement area of the doctor's former home in Newark. Ms Cruz is said to have been identified by her dental records.

The doctor, one Dean Faiello, fled the US for Costa Rica some time in 2003, after pleading guilty to a charge of practicing medicine without a license. Extradited earlier this year, he pleaded not guilty to a second-degree murder charge in August. If convicted, Faiello could go to prison for 25 years.

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