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Ivanhoe Mines executive chairman Robert Friedland has never forgotten the time 20 years ago when Forbes magazine labelled Vancouver the "scam capital of the world."

But after celebrating Ivanhoe's five-year anniversary on the New York Stock Exchange this week, the international mining financier believes Vancouver-based firms such as his are having the last laugh.

"Of course New York has supplanted Vancouver," Mr. Friedland told a Vancouver mining conference yesterday. "That's where Bernie Madoff is from and the critics of the Vancouver Stock Exchange have become rather quiet now that China so desperately needs new pots and pans."

Mr. Friedland was, of course, referring to China's insatiable appetite for resources, something his gold-and-copper company is working frantically to feed.

"It's sort of ironic that we've had five years on the New York Stock Exchange and the chattering class, the bottom feeders that have made a living out of attacking the Vancouver Stock Exchange, have gone so quiet."

The VSX no longer exists, after merging with Alberta's exchange to form what's now known as the TSX Venture Exchange. But until the 1990s, the VSX was notorious for scams and risky investments that left many investors out of pocket.

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