"Soros was very clear. He offered me US $500.000. I promptly refused"
The meeting took place in financier George Soros's luxury apartment in New York. It was a breakfast meeting. Also present was the financier Stewart Paperin (president of the Soros Economic Development Fund). The Angolan political activist, Rafael Marques, refused an offer of US $500,000.
These are the facts recently admitted by Rafael Marques. I decided to use them in order to scrutinise the basis of the action he is taking against me in the Portuguese justice system, having been offended at being described as a political activist who in the past has been paid by organisations funded by the multimillionaire, Soros.
Rafael Marques says he is a journalist and in his defence he has called two of the country's most brilliant journalists — Daniel Oliveira (Expresso) and Fernanda Câncio (Diário de Notícias).
Soros invited the journalist Rafael Marques. "I went to New York to speak directly with Soros, who invited me to have breakfast with him in his apartment", he said.
So, was it news that Soros gave the journalist Rafael Marques? Or was it an interview? What information or declarations emerged from this meeting and at what time or times were they published by Rafael Marques? And in which media?
Because journalists, when they accept private breakfast invitations from one of the most important people in the world of finance and of global lobbying at their apartment in the Upper West Side, they do not do so for the eggs or the wonderful views of Central Park. They do it for information, for declarations, for briefs.
And, as a journalist as he states he is, one offered a rare opportunity to have a personal meeting with such a remarkably elusive person, was Rafael Marques accompanied by a photographer to help him with his work? Did he take a recording device? Did he record the conversation? Did he prepare his questions? Did he ask questions? Did he take notes? Did he publish anything (even if only on his blog)? Did he call his friend at Forbes to sell the story?
Unfortunately for the faith of Rafael Marques's fans, he confessed that at this breakfast in the luxury apartment in Manhattan, what Soros offered him was a bag filled with half a million dollars.
In his own words: "Soros was very clear ... he offered me US $500,000 ... I promptly refused"
Rafael Marques said he refused. He did well.
However, was he not for one moment shocked by Soros's philanthropic gesture? Was he not tempted to ask the butler to take him straight back to the limousine that had brought him there? He, the champion of the whistleblowing corruption and pseudo-corruption, did he not feel this turn of events warranted any civic appeal? He thought it natural that a financier would attempt to hand over half a million dollars to a journalist?
It is only now, as a result of the pressure caused by what I have written (here and here) about the relationship between Rafael Marques and George Soros, that he has come to publicly confess this episode that until recently was only known to a few people. However, you may ask yourself how many journalists would think the situation he describes is normal and would have simply left it out?
Would Fernanda Câncio or Daniel Oliveira, who have been called to testify that Rafael Marques is an offended journalist (and not a respected political activist), think it normal to be offered US $500,000 by George Soros, or by any other philanthropist with deep pockets, were it to happen to them at breakfast in New York or in any other city? The question is rhetorical: I am sure their answer would be no.
So I ask myself, why would Rafael Marques think this normal? Why would he not think that to offer a journalist US $500,000 was (is) indecent behaviour?
I dare to answer: because Rafael Marques is not a journalist. Because Rafael Marques is a political activist who is used to receiving money from philanthropists to enable him to keep doing what he does. Because George Soros was (at least in the past) one of those philanthropists who provided him with funds, or who financed him through organisations such as the one Stewart Paperin represented at that breakfast.
Rafael Marques recently said I was a "mercenary with imagination". Imagine, in light of the fact he believes it normal to be offered US $500,000 at breakfast, what I could say about Rafael Marques. Certainly not that he has any imagination.
And let's speculate, if he did at that moment refuse the bag stuffed with half a million dollars without the slightest display of surprise, let alone of indignation or shock, then could it not be that his refusal was only a bargaining strategy?
Could it be that this or other later identical offers are at the heart of Rafael Marques's current activities and, for example, in his controversial participation in the controversial article in Forbes? If Soros felt so free to offer half a million dollars over breakfast, how many other philanthropists have done the same? And had Soros previously made similar offers, and were they accepted or rejected?
Could it be that Rafael Marques lives in a world in which being offered bags full of US $500,000 (or offshore to offshore transfers) is as commonplace as having breakfast in luxury Upper West Side apartments with superb views over Central Park?
In the end, by making this sordid episode public, Rafael Marques should be aware its publication will be interpreted as an advert for the purchase of his services, whatever they may be.
Can Soros "offered me US $500,000" and "I refused" be translated as "I cost more than half a million dollars"?
Luís Paixão Martins
Consultor de Comunicação