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Bernie Madoff, Meet Ivar Krueger

May 26, 2009 12:17 p.m.

Before there was Bernie Madoff, there was Ivar Kreuger, the man John Kenneth Galbraith called the Leonardo of scammers. When Kreuger, an extremely successful and much-admired businessman during the 1920s, killed himself in 1932, investors discovered that his financial empire, based in the manufacture of matches, was made of sand, built out of complex financial instruments that are the forerunners of today's derivatives.

Related Story: Bernie Madoff, Meet Ivar Krueger