HIGH FINANCE: Infallible Strategist?

Since the spring of 1957, law-enforcement agencies have been trying to unravel the complex dealings of Fancy Financier Lowell McAfee Birrell, 52, who promoted his way to control of 40 companies, mainly through top posts at Swan-Finch Oil Corp. and Doeskin Products, Inc. Last week a New York County grand jury indicted Birrell on 69 counts of grand larceny, alleged that he stole stock worth $14 million from the two companies.

Birrell, a Presbyterian minister's son and a lawyer, began his jiggery-pokery after he got control of Swan-Finch in 1954. He increased the oil company's shares and exchanged them for...

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