Tech billionaire sought to play ‘covert Batman’ running paramilitary missions overseas: report

The Daily Beast on Wednesday published a new report on a "star venture capitalist" titled, "Lewd Texts & Secret Missions: Inside Billionaire Michael Goguen's Wild Life."

The Beast reported on messages reportedly sent between Goguen and Matthew Marshall, one of his employees who claimed to be a former CIA operative.

"He and Marshall also discussed plans to conduct paramilitary missions overseas, which would theoretically allow Goguen—who was worth at least hundreds of millions of dollars—to act as a covert Batman against global crime and terrorism," reported Noah Kirsch, The Beast's "wealth and power" reporter.

The two founded the Amyntor Group.

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"Goguen separately wired more than $2 million to Marshall for the paramilitary missions over multiple payments, including $750,000 in 2015 “to strike Syrian Terrorist Leaders,” according to a court filing later submitted by federal prosecutors. But these world-saving ambitions never materialized. In fact, none of the secret missions took place at all," The Beast reported.

Marshall pleaded guilty to wire fraud, money laundering, and tax evasion charges.

"The plea, on its face, suggested that Amyntor was merely a sham. But the truth is considerably more complex," The Beast reported. "Amyntor really did vie for government contracts, such as a previously reported proposal to develop a private 'spy network' for the Trump administration. Executives also mulled offering services to foreign governments, like the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Libya, multiple former staffers acknowledged."

All of this played out in Whitefish, Montana — the town made infamous as the stomping ground of white nationalist Richard Spencer and where former Trump Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is attempting a political comeback while listing a hotel as his address. In 2017, a two-person energy firm with ties to Zinke, Whitefish Energy, was awarded a $300 million contract to rebuild Puerto Rico's hurricane-damaged power grid.

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"Based on private messages obtained by The Daily Beast, two dozen interviews, and thousands of pages of legal documents, one charitable interpretation of Goguen is that of a serial womanizer with terrible judgment who got dragged into an epic con—a man whose escapades left him vulnerable to grifters, but who never broke the law. 'You’re supposed to be an investor for a living, have these wonderful instincts and all that, and you’ve been suckered,' he lamented. His growing roster of enemies, including Marshall, the former Whitefish chief of police, and a (real) CIA alum, insist that something more nefarious is at hand," The Beast reported.

The Beast noted that some Whitefish-area residents question his explanation.

"Some of Goguen’s neighbors aren’t buying his story either. Here is a billionaire venture capitalist, with every resource imaginable at his disposal, who claims he was duped by his old acquaintance, his former lover, his security manager, two former spies, and the local police chief, one after the other," The Beast reported. "Said one resident of Flathead County: 'He’s either lying or the dumbest motherfucker Stanford ever graduated.'”

Read the full report.