The mother of all insider trades was pulled off in 1815, when London financier Nathan Rothschild led British investors to believe that the Duke of Wellington had lost to Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo. In a matter of hours, British government bond prices plummeted. Rothschild, who had advance information, then swiftly bought up the entire market in government bonds, acquiring a dominant holding in England's debt for pennies on the pound. Over the course of the nineteenth century, NM Rothschild would become the largest bank in the world, and the five brothers would come to control most of the foreign-loan business of Europe. "Let me issue and control a nation's money," Rothschild boasted in 1838, "and I care not who writes its laws."
In the United States a century later, John Pierpont Morgan again used rumor and innuendo to create a panic that would change the course of history. … Read More