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In the day since the interview was conducted, one YouTube version of it had close to 400 000 views.
In the clip, Alessio Rastani tells a clearly shocked interviewer that he “dreams of another recession” and that market crashes are an opportunity for “anybody to actually make money”.
He calls the current European economic crisis a cancer that everyone should be prepared to fight, before making the bold claim about Goldman Sachs ruling the world.
Perhaps most bluntly, he goes on to say that “In less than 12 months my prediction is that the savings of millions of people is going to vanish”.
The clip has been shared extensively on Twitter term “Goldman Sachs” onto the global trending list, along with Rastani’s name.
The social network’s reactions to the clip have ranged from self-validation to parody-style banter and claims of a hoax by culture jamming group The Yes Men:
According to Wikipedia, The Yes Men “pose as a powerful entity (typically a corporate or government representative or executive) and make ridiculous and shocking comments that caricature the ideological position of the organisation or person”.
The BBC has, however, denied that the interview was a hoax. “We’ve carried out detailed investigations and can’t find any evidence to suggest that the interview… was a hoax,” it said.
In an attempt to clarify the mystery, Forbes made contact with Rastani. In the interview, Rastani insisted that he was actually a trader and had never heard of The Yes Men.
A Memeburn commenter also pointed out the Rastani’s web presence actually goes as far back as 2008.
English newspaper the Telegraph tracked Rastani down to a modest semi-detached house where he works and lives with his partner. The paper also revealed that after four years of trading, Rastani’s net assets are £10 048 — in the red.
The interview rapidly found its way onto other areas of the web, including the websites of the UK’s Daily Mail, the Guardian and the Independent. It was also reported on by Forbes, the Wall Street Journal and CNBC.
It even found its way onto news parody site, The Daily Mash with the subtitle: “THERE is a chance the scary trader on the BBC News may have been acting selfishly, it has emerged”.
The site said that the interview “was clearly about making a colossal amount of money by lunchtime”.
“The trader, who does not get invited to a huge number of parties, also left millions of viewers traumatised with the revelation that financial markets do not care about them,” it added.
The parody story features quotes from fictional traders of a similar ilk to Rastani and states that his revelation that Goldman Sachs controls the world led to “an explosion in online I-told-you-sos from amateur experts who have been saying this sort of thing in pubs for years”.
Rastani has made no mention of the interview on his Twitter feed. It does, however feature tweets reinforcing his basic message:
Since the interview, the blog has been up and down.
According to Financial News, Rastani does not appear on the Financial Service Authority’s register of approved persons and has no mention of any employers, past or present, on his blog.