Riches Among the Ruins by Robert P. Smith


Robert P. Smith

Robert P.Smith PhotoMr. Smith is the founder and managing director of the Boston-based Turan Corporation, which specializes in trading emerging market sovereign debt and evaluating creditor claims against foreign governments.

A graduate of Bowdoin College and Boston University School of Law, Mr. Smith served as a loan officer and economic liaison for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Vietnam, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic and Brazil. He later joined Deltec Bank of Sao Paulo, Brazil, before returning to the United States in the mid-1970s where he established a law practice specializing in international debt collections.

Turan Corporation was founded as Turam (“Turkish-American”) Corporation in 1978, and soon became one the largest privately held sovereign debt trading firms in the world. The company’s many achievements include purchasing $7 million of Turkish Non-Guaranteed Trade Arrears (NGTAs) in 1980, making it the first company to develop its own debt/equity investment in Turkey. The company forged similar archetype deals in places such as El Salvador, Nigeria and Guatemala.

Peter Marber, the author of From Third World to World Class: The Future of Emerging Markets in the Global Economy (Perseus, 1998), credits Mr. Smith as one of four individuals who contributed "significantly to the birth of the debt market, and possibly even the entire emerging markets investment community, well ahead of Wall Street's more prominent houses."

Mr. Smith is a noted authority on developing world debt and has been cited or quoted in numerous publications including the Wall Street Journal, Africa Economic Digest, The Financial Times, International Business, and various journals of Euromoney Publications of London. From 1986 to ’88 he wrote the monthly column “Blocked Currency” for Euromoney Treasury Report. Mr. Smith is a sought-after speaker and has addressed numerous professional groups on matters relating to emerging markets.

Mr. Smith has served as a trustee of various nonprofit organizations, including the Roxbury Latin School, Caribbean Central American Action, Oxford Academy, the Fessenden School, Plimoth Plantation and the Massachusetts Trade Advisory Board. He is a benefactor of the David Saul Smith Union at Bowdoin College and the Robert P. Smith Art Center and Theater at the Roxbury Latin School.

Mr. Smith and his wife, Salwa, have two children and two grandchildren. The couple resides in Boston.

Peter Zheutlin

Peter Zheutlin is a freelance journalist and author whose work has appeared regularly in the Boston Globe and The Christian Science Monitor. Mr. Zheutlin has also written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the International Herald Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Toronto Star, the Globe & Mail (Toronto), The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, AARP Magazine, Bicycling, The New England Quarterly and numerous other publications in the United States, Japan, Russia, Pakistan, Mexico and other countries.

Mr. Zheutlin is the author of Around the World on Two Wheels: Annie Londonderry’s Extraordinary Ride (Citadel Press/Kensington, October 2007), the true story of the first woman to circle the globe by bicycle. He is the co-author, with Thomas B. Graboys, M.D., of Life in the Balance: A Physician’s Memoir of Life, Love and Loss with Parkinson’s Disease and Dementia (Union Square Press/Sterling, April 2008), and co-author, with Robert P. Smith, of Riches Among the Ruins: Adventures in the Dark Corners of the Global Economy (forthcoming from Amacom, March 2009).

After graduating cum laude from Amherst College and magna cum laude from Boston College Law School in 1979, Mr. Zheutlin practiced law in Boston and was an instructor and lecturer in legal research and writing at Northwestern University Law School and the University of Virginia School of Law.

From 1985 to ’93, Mr. Zheutlin served as Director of Public Affairs for International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), which received the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize. In that capacity, he served as IPPNW spokesperson and media-relations director.

Mr. Zheutlin resides in Needham, Massachusetts.

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