Businessman-spy Wilson dead at 84

Sept. 23, 2012 at 8:24 PM
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SEATTLE, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- Edwin P. Wilson, a high-roller businessman and international spy who also spent years in federal prison, has died in Seattle, a nephew says. He was 84.

Wilson died Sept. 10 of complications from heart-valve replacement surgery, Scott Wilson told The New York Times.

While the former Central Intelligence Agency operative once claimed to own dozens of corporations -- not all of them real -- and lived extravagantly in Switzerland, England, Libya, Washington and elsewhere, Wilson was living on a modest Social Security check when he died, the newspaper said.

"Being in the CIA was like putting on a magic coat that forever made him invisible and invincible," the Times said Peter Maas wrote in "Manhunt," his 1986 book about Wilson.

Wilson spent 22 years in federal prison after being arrested in 1982 for selling tons of explosives to Libya.

He was released from prison in 2004 after getting his conviction on some counts thrown out, based on his contention he was working for the CIA. He was still working on getting the remaining counts overturned when he died, the Times said.

Born in Idaho, Wilson spent time as a seaman before earning a degree at the University of Portland and serving in the Korean War in the Marines. He joined the CIA in 1955.

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