Alessio Rastani is a trader.* And he has a confession: "I got to bed every night, I dream of another recession. I dream of another moment like this."
Well that's odd, strange, and scary all wrapped into one. So why is he dreaming of stock slides instead of sugar plum fairies?
"People don't seem to remember, but the 30s depression ... wasn't just about a market crash," he explained, "there were some people who were prepared to make money from that crash, and I think anybody can do that. ... It's an opportunity."
In short, when others see danger, he sees dollar signs.
By the way, Rastani was talking about the European financial crisis. He added that he's not confident it can be fixed or that some of the powerful money figures want it to be fixed: “the governments don’t rule the world… Goldman Sachs rules the world, and Goldman Sachs doesn’t care about this rescue package.” And he predicted that in a year "millions" would lose their savings.
His advice might sound familiar: "Get prepared."
You can watch the climax of the interview below courtesy of Business Insider -- an interview that also includes the BBC interviewer uttering complete shock at what Rastani says:
Rumors have started circulating that the interview could be a hoax and that Rastani is part of a group called Yes Men. Forbes reached out to Rastani to get to the bottom of it. The conclusion? He certainly sounds real, but he also seemed to dodge some of the questions. Here's a taste from Forbes:
But then talk circulated that Rastani might be a member of Yes Men, a collective of impersonators. Was his little talk a hoax? When I reached Rastani in London to ask, he spouted some vague wisdom, mentioned his “trader friends,” and insisted that trading is his obsession. He started off the conversation:
AR: I had something to tell you guys. The guy who wrote [on Forbes] mistakenly wrote that I’m a Wall Street trader. I’m not an institutional trader. I wouldn’t dream of ever doing that. I trade my own money, my own account. That’s what I always wanted to do. I like the idea of not having a boss. I did work for one institution, but I realized I want to do it for myself. I just started, and I worked with some of the best traders in the world. I saw how they were doing things. Eventually I developed my own style.
FORBES: What do you think of the attention you’ve received since going on TV?AR: I think it’s overblown. I have no idea why I’m getting this attention. I don’t think it was news. For someone to say what I said, I thought everybody already knew this kind of stuff. The big players of funds rule the world, I don’t think that was news. And what I said about making money from a crash, obviously not everybody knows about that, you can make money from a downward market. A lot of people just got the wrong end of the foot, misunderstood what I was saying. They thought I was joyful or licking my lips about the idea of making money from people’s miseries. That’s probably the way it looked on the video. But if they watch the whole video, what I was really trying to say is people need to educate themselves about how to do that… what I was trying to say was, look, everyone should basically prepare. I was trying to be the good guy. If this market’s going to crash, then you’ve got to prepare yourself. You’ve got to basically learn how to make money from this. Otherwise you’ll be like I did 10 years ago … I made some huge mistakes 10 years ago, during the dotcom crash. I realized it was a falling knife. I was trying to say look guys, it’s not just for traders, it’s for everyone. They should ask me how to do it, I will help you.
Mediaite also drudged up a video of someone who resembles Rastani duping a news network into thinking he was a representative of Dow Chemical:
And this morning, one of the BBC anchors involved in the interview was wondering if he got duped, too:
Additionally, Mediaite reports YesLabs.org has released a statement saying that Rastani is not one of them:
We’ve never heard of Rastani. He isn’t a Yes Man. He’s a real trader who is, for one reason or another, being more honest than usual. Who in big banking doesn’t bet against the interests of the poor and find themselves massively recompensed—if not by the market, then by humongous taxpayer bailouts? Rastani’s approach has been completely mainstream for several years now; we must thank him for putting a human face on it yesterday.