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Bennett Winch SC Holdall

Stink and Grow Rich - The Wealthy Villains of Bond

02 October, 2018

Besides the Martinis, girls and guns, one of the coolest features of any Bond novel or film, is the bad guy opposing Bond.

They are often men of wealth and taste, and in this article we shall do a little investigating into the investments, occupations, and maneuvers that made these malicious men rich and powerful, and worthy opponents of 007.

In the first of the Bond novels, Casino Royale, we meet the first of the Bond villains, Le Chiffre. The name means the cipher, or the number, and he made his numbers in a rather interesting way.

Casin Royale book cover ian fleming james bond

With money from the Reds, Le Chiffre operated brothels in Normandy and Brittany. But soon French law put the lock on these love factories, and our villain switched to operating porn theaters and what today might be referred to as “short stay” hotels for clandestine close encounters of the best kind.

Sort of a room with a rendezvous.

But our French friend wasn’t a one trick pony. He also landed a post as a treasurer of a French labor union where he made rather personal use of the funds, creating his need to make a big gambling win to replace the stolen “gold.”

Le Chiffre lost everything to Bond at the gambling table, and he needed that like a hole in the head. Matter of fact, that’s just what he got from SMERSH.

Le Chiffre wound up a zero.

Live Let Die book cover ian fleming james bond

In Live and Let Die, we meet Mr. Big, whose real name is Bonaparte Ignace Gallia, (get it “B” “I” G”). He was the owner of a big yacht and his own little island off of Jamaica. He was also the head of his own Voodoo Cult, and ran things from his HQ in Harlem, New York City.

Big’s earning credentials include hijacking, pimping, and running nightclubs. He was a SMERSH agent, and he was pushing some old Spanish gold for the Reds.

Highly educated, articulate and a deadly adversary for Bond, Mr. Big was a big fish. The big fish, however, eventually wound up as shark food, (sort of an old chum), after Bond bombed his yacht into splinters.

diamonds are forever book cover ian fleming james bond

In Diamonds Are Forever, we run into Rufus B. Saye a/k/a Jack Sprang. The entrepreneurial endeavors that helped Saye make his play included narcotics trafficking, bookmaking, prostitution, Las Vegas hotels, and mob involvement. (Kind of goes together).

Rufus, a first class evildoer, had his own luxury train. In the end, however, he didn’t make the return trip to the station.

dr no book cover ian fleming james bond

There were times that Bond needed to see a doctor. One “doctor” he could have done without visiting was Dr. No. Julius No. When Bond met him, No was saying yes to making money from his own island - Crab Key - "raising" bird shit - guano.

But this six foot six mixture of German and Chinese blood first made a fortune stealing from the Hip Sing Tongs, where he was involved with burglary, arson and murder. He was also their treasurer (shades of Le Chiffre), and made off with a million dollars in Tong gold.

To show there were no hard feelings, the Tong cut off his hands and shot him where they thought his heart should be. But fortunately for Dr. No, he had his heart in the right place: the right side of his chest, and he survived, (although manicures would be a thing of the past for the good doctor).

Dr. No had big ambitions, and he liked to topple United States missiles. So, Dr. No had to go, and when he bumped up against James Bond, he went - permanently.

goldfinger book cover ian fleming james bond

Then there was the man with the Midas touch: Auric Goldfinger, the 24 karat creep in Goldfinger. He started out at twenty with his skills as a jeweler and a goldsmith. He purchased a chain of pawn shops, selling cheap jewelry and buying up old gold.

Auric loved gold, loved to possess it, smuggle it, and blow up places like Fort Knox where it was stored in great supply to increase the value of his holdings. His dwelling was deluxe, and he had a loyal Korean servant that liked to kill people and break things with his hat in hand—and then his hat out of it.

Kind of a servant that did Odd Jobs.

Even though Goldfinger didn’t drink or smoke, he didn’t live to a ripe old age when he ran into Bond. He got all choked up by Bond, (in the novel). As for Odd Job, he shouldn’t have had the window seat on the plane, and apparently didn’t like the flight, because he sort of walked out on it, through the window while the plane was decompressing.

(As you no doubt know, in the movie, this was the fate of Goldfinger, because Odd Job had already had a rather “shocking” end at Fort Knox).

thunderball book cover ian fleming james bond

Now we all are aware of the importance of being Ernst.

Ernst Stavro Blofeld. We run into him in Thunderball where, like Dr. No, he had an interest in Western missiles. Not to topple them, but to ransom them.

Ernst was a good student, studying economics, engineering, radionics and history. Acquiring a post with the office of the Polish Ministry of Post and Telegraphs, Blofeld created his own little intelligence agency, selling information gleaned from the cables that passed through his greedy little hands to the Germans, then to the Americans and the Swedes.

He changed his ill gotten gains to bearer bonds, got a false passport, and did his world tour. Blofeld might have had a dry sense of humor, but he got all wet when his plans to ransom the missiles got all wet thanks to Bond. Our boy Ernst would later return in other Bond adventures, looking different each time, but basically being the same old baddie.

He ended up not living twice.

The next Bond villain charged a million a shot.

the man with golden gunn book cover ian fleming james bond

Francisco Scaramanga, better known as The Man with the Golden Gun. Unlike Dr. No, Scaramanga was immaculately manicured. He made his money doing mob hits, then taking off to the Caribbean where he dealt in real estate, investing money for the mob.

Scaramanga learned it doesn’t pay to come in second in a gun fight. He might have had a third nipple, but Bond gave him an extra hole or two to go along with it.

moonraker book cover ian fleming james bond

Then there was Sir Hugo Drax, of Moonraker fame. He was another one with the missile mania; made his money in metal and other commodity trading. He also killed and robbed a Jewish businessman of 15,000 pounds, because Drax was a Nazi. He liked to spend his ill gotten gelt on houses, cars, women and yachts. Also nuclear tipped missiles to shoot at London.

He was man with many important connections, but Bond had a more important connection. He managed to connect Drax’s missile with the Soviet Submarine on which Drax was making his escape.

Like Mr. Big, he died a watery death, and rested in pieces.

So this has been a sampling of the wealthy weird world of Bond villains, and it appears from the novels and movies that crime does pay... for a while.

But in the long run, your best investment is in the bond market.

James Bond.

About the author
W. Adam Mandelbaum, besides being a New York attorney and former US Intelligence operative, is the blog master at where you can learn many tricks and tips to becoming a VIP bachelor (or married gent).

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