"For 35 years, fugitive banker Michael Hand has been on the run from Australian authorities. But nobody, it seems, has been interested in chasing him.
"As early as 1982, ASIO [Australian Security Intelligence Organisation] was told the co-founder of the notorious Sydney-based Nugan Hand Bank was working as a U.S. military adviser in Central America after fleeing Australia under a false name in 1980.
"This tip-off, along with others, was ignored, fuelling speculation Hand was a U.S. intelligence operative whose Cold War service has protected him from prosecution.
"And now Hand has been found in a town in the northwestern U.S. state of Idaho, Australian authorities still do not seem anxious to arrest the 73-year-old former swindler [...].
"The lukewarm reaction to the discovery of Hand this week will only fuel speculation intelligence agencies have deliberately gone dead on bringing the former U.S. special forces Vietnam veteran to justice.
"Nugan Hand was rumoured to have been used by the CIA in Asia to launder dirty money to help fund anti-communist regimes and insurgents during the height of the Cold War in the 1970s.
"The Nine Network’s 60 Minutes program, using information unearthed by Sydney author Peter Butt, tracked down Hand, who was living under an alias in Idaho Falls.
"The international merchant bank collapsed in 1980 with debts of more than $50 million [...]. The bank was subsequently linked to money laundering, tax-avoidance schemes and clandestine intelligence activities, with some of those associated with the bank dying mysterious deaths.
"After bank co-founder Frank Nugan was found shot dead with a rifle by his side in 1980 (an inquest found it was suicide), Michael Hand fled [the country] under a false name [...].
"[I]n December 1982 [...] an Australian police team sent to the U.S. to chase Hand [discovered] that he was employed 'as a (U.S.) military adviser to the Puma Battalion involved in the Honduras/Nicaragua dispute.'
"If Hand was helping to train elite troops of the Puma Battalion in Honduras, he would almost certainly have been working for the U.S. government and possibly the CIA. The CIA has always denied it employed Hand.
"The suspicion that intelligence agencies went cold on prosecuting Hand was reinforced in 1991 when The Eye magazine reported that Hand was believed to be living in a suburb in Washington state.
It even published his alleged address — 1075 Bellevue Way — but the revelation generated no interest from Australian authorities despite an arrest warrant still being in place. In the 60 Minutes report, [Peter] Butt, author of a book about the scandal, Merchants of Menace, says Hand has been living in the U.S. under the same social security number he was given in 1960.
"'The fact that Hand has been allowed to live the free life in the United States suggests he belongs to a protected species, most likely of the intelligence kind,' Butt said.
"In Idaho Falls, Hand runs a business that supplies combat and hunting knives. The Tops Knives website blazes the headline 'Drifting in and out of the shadows' and has knives for up to $US300 ($425). [According to New Dawn Magazine #154, which bears a January/February 2016 cover date, Hand "now lives under the name Michael Fuller [and] runs a company that makes knives for U.S. military clients, including Special Operations personnel."--RG]
To read Stewart and Higgins' unexpurgated article, click HERE.
I highly recommend listening to Dave Emory and Nip Tuck's information-packed July 13, 1986 Radio Free America broadcast about the Nugan Hand Bank scandal, which you can find below. (Begin listening at around 17:00.)