• Share
  • Read Later
Robert Vesco, one of the two or three most wanted U.S. fugitives for more than 20 years, is now the focus of a diplomatic poker game between Havana and Washington. Last week, Cuban officials quietly notified American officials that they had detained the rogue financier, who fled the U.S. during the Watergate scandals amid charges of massive embezzlement and bribing the Nixon re-election campaign. (A major drug trafficking indictment came later.) Clinton Administration officials, wary of Cuban motives, today said they were interested in Vesco's extradition -- but not, as Havana has hinted, atthe price of warming U.S. relations with Cuba. Douglas Waller, TIME national security correspondent, says the State Department is under pressure to seek a lesser quid pro quo rather than lose such a high profile fugitive. Still, Waller adds: "The Vesco case is 23 years old, and he's not Michael Milken. He's an icon of a past generation of greed."