I love these kinds of ads.
It’s the perfect mix of intrigue, drama, patriotism, greed and fun — it makes you feel like you’re in a Tom Clancy novel instead of pecking away at your keyboard, looking for a half decent investing idea.
Teeka Tiwari moved to the Palm Beach Research Group last year (I think) and has had a couple fun promotions for them — including the “Internet of Things” and “embedded circuits in 3-D printing” pitch a few months ago that got so many readers excited about the mysterious facility in California that led to breakthroughs by Apple and Microsoft and so many others, but this one is very different. This one will make you feel like you’re Liam Neeson, sneaking into the Kremlin to bop Putin on the nose.
So how is it that you can “rob the Kremlin” and get rich? Let me give you a little taste of the ad, then we’ll get into the details. Here’s how it opens:
“Wanted: A Daring Crew to Help Us ‘Rob the Kremlin’
“In 1998, I ‘stole’ $1.2 million as Russia collapsed. Now, I’m going in for even more — and I’m bringing you along with me….
“I’m in a makeshift recording studio on the backside of a mountain filming a message I hope will reach you in time.
“In less than two weeks, my crew and I will attempt the heist of the century:
“We’re going behind enemy lines, straight into the fortress of America’s oldest and cruelest rival. Those who join us could walk away with a fortune.”
He even provides the latitude and longitude of his secret recording studio (which, if I’m reading the numbers right, means he’s in the parking lot outside the Sears at a mall in Stroudsburg, PA — presumably that’s just misdirection to throw us off the scent and make sure we can’t locate his lair).
There’s a pretty long spiel about how this isn’t just a way to make money — it’s the right thing to do, because it will be a way to fight back against the Russian Bear. You can read that yourself if you want, but here’s just a little taste:
“If you love the idea of doing your part to keep your friends and family safe…
“Then this ‘heist’ may be right for you….
“We’re citizen soldiers carrying out our patriotic duty to fight back in any way we can….
“Even though part of our team includes an experienced operative within the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. government has NOT sanctioned this mission. That’s why there are some risks, and you should consider this mission carefully.
“But if you’re tired of Obama’s pussyfooting around, and would like to link up with real Americans who want to fight back… then this operation may be right for you.”
Don’t worry, Mr. Tiwari is not trying to recruit you for the next Bay of Pigs invasion — this is all really just drama to get you excited, and make you feel like this is both right and lucrative. He lays out the way the Russia is trying to fight against the power of the US dollar, by collaborating with other countries (like China and Iran) to trade oil outside of the “petrodollar” system that has been one of the key underpinnings (but certainly not the only cause) of dollar strength since the 1980s. He says that Putin has been “plotting revenge” for decades, dumping dollars and using cyberattacks and whatever else he can do to try to weaken the dollar and increase Russian hegemony.
And the primary weapon Russia and Putin are using, as you probably have surmised, is energy — they are still a major oil and gas producer, and they supply a huge amount of the natural gas for the Western European markets (to say nothing of their former satellites like Ukraine, who are even more dependent on Gazprom’s export pipelines than are Germany and the UK). Here’s a bit more from the ad:
“Putin has been secretly plotting against the U.S. for decades. Now he has enough cash and clout to really be a threat to America and our way of life.
“But, as I’ll show you a bit later… that just means there’s more money up for grabs—more cash that we can ‘steal’ straight from the pockets of Putin and his cronies in Moscow.
“In fact, the U.S. government is our ally on this mission.
“You see, Russia has a stranglehold on the European energy market. They control more than 40% of it in Western Europe.Are you getting our free Daily Update
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“This is like a financial weapon aimed squarely at our best friend’s forehead. And Putin hasn’t been afraid to use it.”
Which means… yes, this is another “resource company that’s going to shatter Putin’s dreams” teaser. We saw quite a few of these from 2008-2012 or so, ranging from European shale gas explorers to Australian or other LNG exporters to the actual LNG tanker companies. The notion that Europe could buy LNG from somewhere else and become less reliant on natural gas from Russia is an easy sell, and it makes a certain amount of logical sense because of the price disparities between natural gas surplus and deficit countries (though Russian gas in Germany right now is only going for about $9, versus $14 for LNG imports in Japan, that’s still about three times the US Henry Hub price of near $3 — and reports are that more LNG cargoes from Qatar and elsewhere are going to the UK and other European customers than has been the case for years, partly because demand from China isn’t growing as much as expected so the Europeans can pay near-competitive prices).
So how does this work?
“… the U.S. is preparing to launch a major weapon against Russia…
“… the calculated manipulation of energy and currency markets. I’m talking about modern warfare.
“And those are Speaker of the House John Boehner’s words—not mine.
“In a March op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, he called for Washington to ‘liberate’ its ‘