Vesco living under guard in Cuba, NBC News reports

WASHINGTON -- Fugitive Robert Vesco, who allegedly contributed $200,000 to President Nixon's reelection campaign to avoid a federal investigation, is living in Havana under heavy surveillance by the Cuban government, NBC News reported Friday night.

Vesco, 49, lives less than one mile from Cuban President Fidel Castro's residence, but is almost out of money, has little furniture and his movements are restricted by the Cuban government, NBC reported.


He came to Cuba three years ago and lived well until he was stripped of his luxuries when the government believed he was trying to swindle Cuba by smuggling hi-tech equipment from the United States.

The equipment was intercepted by U.S. Customs agents in Texas, NBC reported.

A Cuban intelligence agent -- described as a man with a reputation for being very fast with a gun -- is assigned to keep Vesco alive, but out of view, the report said.

NBC said Cuba tried to stop the network from taping pictures Friday of Vesco's movements at his home, which showed a visit from his daughter and grandson who live in the United States.

Vesco fled the United States in late 1971, apparently to avoid a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation against him.


He was reported to have become involved in cocaine traffic in 1983 because he was running out of money. Somehow, NBC reported, Vesco was aided by the Soviet Union and lived in Nicaragua prior to coming to Cuba.

Castro has denied Vesco lives in the Caribbean country.

The network said top American diplomats had hampered the FBI's efforts to arrest Vesco on drug charges.

In May 1971, the SEC subpoenaed the New York financier after he bought 6.5 millions shares of Investors Overseas Services, Ltd. for 92 cents a share. Vesco soon fled to Costa Rica after a Texas oilman filed a $1 million lawsuit relating to the stock purchase.

The case took on political overtones in 1973 when Harry Sears, who headed Nixon's 1972 reelection committee, said Vesco tried to get the Republicans to halt the SEC investigation.

Sears said Vesco contributed $200,000 to the campaign. But the campaign returned the money to Vesco because the SEC inquiry was still in progress.

The Justice Department filed suit in May 1973 against the campaign's financial committee for failing to report the contribution. The incident also was used to obtain indictments against John Mitchell, Nixon's attorney general, and against Vesco for conspiracy and obstructing justice.


Mitchell was cleared and efforts to extradite Vesco from Costa Rica failed as more indictments were obtained.

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