Stupidity does pay – Micheal Spavor to receive $7 million


Michael Spavor has reportedly reached a settlement with the Canadian government over his detention in China, with multiple sources quoting the sum of $7 million.

John Philips, Spavor’s lawyer, told CBC News that the matter between his client and the government “has been resolved” but did not further elaborate on the matter. Should the sum prove to be accurate, it will leave many North Korea watchers questioning not only whether he should have received the money, at all, but also whether he plans to pay back money well wishers raised for him during his incarceration.

The Spavor story

Spavor, who referred to himself as a “business consultant”,  and ran Paektu Cultural Exchange, was one of two Canadians detained by Chinese officials in December 2018 — not long after Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada on behalf of U.S. authorities. Many at the time, at least until more evidence came forward thought this was merely a tit for tat retaliation and that they would be used as bargaining chips.

Spavor, along with actual spy Michael Kovrig, spent more than 1,000 days in prison before being released in September 2021.

Of course this is a subject we have written about before, but whether Spavor was a spy in the traditional sense does not overly matter. As those who knew him at the time can attest, he was extremely loud mouthed about the work he did, as well as craving the company of diplomats and the like. He was as has been reported only to happy to regale them with with his stories in exchange for dinners, drinks and being made to feel important.

The settlement if confirmed will mark an end to a process that was started last November when Spavor initially decided to take Canada to court. It is suspected that Canada settled out of court not because of guilt, but to avoid opening up their security apparatus to further scrutiny. That Spavor got away with a multi-million dollar out of court settlement only goes to fuel rumours that he was far more involved than anyone in the Canadian government and beyond is happy to admit publicly.

What next for Spavor?

Since his release many within the “international” North Korean community have been unhappy with the supposed lack of gratitude shown to those who campaigned for his release. Off the record many now feel bitter stating that even if he was “innocent”, he acted with a degree of stupidity that best made him culpable.

It has though also shown that far from just being just retaliation for the Huawei arrest, both Micheal’s knowingly, or not were at least in some ways involved in what is termed as espionage, even if they were not exactly 007 material,

Spavor though at least now has the luxury of $7 million to keep him going, with him almost certainly unlikely to ever be able to travel to North Korea, or China again. Yet while Spavor was no spy, we may well see him turn out to be a soldier of fortune. Do not be surprised if he ends up on the Anti-DPRK circuit as we have well seen with other failed businessmen in the DPRK, such as Alex Sigley.

Either way he is proof that ignorance, carelessness, being a useful idiot and indeed simply being acting incredibly stupidly not only pays off, but pays big.