Alessio Rastani during his appearance this week on the BBC.
His words were provocative enough.
Alessio Rastani dreams of another global recession, the "independent market trader" told the BBC this week, because he knows he — and anyone who's prepared — can make money when that happens.
Traders, he said, don't care if the European bailout plan works or not. They'll profit either way if they're smart.
"Governments don't rule the world, Goldman Sachs rules the world," added Rastani. And, "Goldman Sachs does not care about this rescue package, neither [do] the big funds."
"Jaws have collectively dropped at what you've just said," the BBC anchor as Rastani offered his opinions.
It wasn't long after Rastani appeared that two things started to be said about him on websites: a) he's an awful human being; b) he might be a fake, perhaps even a member of The Yes Men, a group of imposters who previously pulled one over on the BBC when a bogus Dow Chemical spokesman, who somewhat resembles Rastani, went on the air to accept blame for the Bhopal disaster..
The BBC has doubled down, issuing a statement saying that:
"We've carried out detailed investigations and can't find any evidence to suggest that the interview with Alessio Rastani was a hoax. He is an independent market trader and one of a range of voices we've had on air to talk about the recession."
Meanwhile, Forbes' Emily Lambert tracked down Rastani and their conversation included this exchange. See if he convinces you:
Lambert: "Have you heard of the Yes Men?"
Rastani: "Heard of it before? Not quite sure why they're calling me that. I have no idea where that came from."
Lambert: "Because there's a video of you posing as a Dow Chemical spokesman."
Rastani: "What? A Dow Chemical spokesman? Have you seen this video? That can't be right. I've never spoken to Dow Chemical before in my life. Maybe it's a fake. Are you sure about this? Honestly, listen, I've no idea where that came from. That interview yesterday was one of the first ones I did live.
"I don't know why they think it's a hoax. No, I am a trader absolutely. I have trader friends who could back that up. One of my mentors is a bestselling author and trader. Everyone knows me."
Rastani's website is here. He hasn't tweeted in three days.
Update at 3:45 p.m. ET. Rastani Says He's A "A Talker":
Well, the BBC may be standing by its subject. But now there's this:
" 'They approached me,' [Rastani] told The Telegraph. 'I'm an attention seeker. That is the main reason I speak. That is the reason I agreed to go on the BBC. Trading is a like a hobby. It is not a business. I am a talker. I talk a lot. I love the whole idea of public speaking.'
"So he's more of a talker than a trader. A man who doesn't own the house he lives in, but can sum up the financial crisis in just three minutes – a knack that escapes many financial commentators.
" 'I agreed to go on because I'm attention seeker,' he said on Tuesday. 'But I meant every word I said.' "