The government has rejected a bid by the local subsidiary of U.S. aluminum firm Reynolds Metals Co. to buy out the state's interest in a joint bauxite venture, officials announced Friday.
Mike Brassington, head of the state's privatization unit, said the government rejected Aroaima Bauxite Mining Co.'s undisclosed bid to take over the Berbice Mining Enterprise because it was below officials' price expectations.
The government would start over with the bidding process, Brassington said, but he did not say when.
Aroaima mines for bauxite, a key raw component of aluminum, in the same Berbice region in a joint venture with the government. The company was one of only a few that submitted bids to buy the enterprise.
Reynolds Metals, based in Richmond, Virginia, is best known to consumers as the manufacturer of Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil and makes a variety of aluminum products.
Reynolds' bauxite assets were nationalized by a previous administration during a now-abandoned socialist experiment in the 1970s, but the company returned to Guyana at the invitation of the government about 12 years ago to resume mining operations.
With bauxite prices falling, the government is looking to dispose of its 50 percent share in Berbice and also sell most of its shares in its Linden Mining Enterprise, about 70 miles (112 kilometers) south of Georgetown.
IPS-Inter Press Service
June 8, 1990, Friday
GUYANA: MINISTERS BLAMED FOR PURCHASE OF MALFUNCTIONING BARGE
LENGTH: 373 words
DATELINE: GEORGETOWN, June 8
Two senior government ministers who presided over the purchase of a derelict 10-megawatt power barge from a California firm last spring have been chided for negligenceby a government-appointed probe team which investigated the deal.
The team led by city businessman Mike Brassington, handed in its report to President Desmond Hoyte last week, but it was de-classified today and copies made available to the public. Hearings began last September.
It said that Robert Corbin, deputy prime minister in charge of utilities and Jules Kranenburg, works and communications minister should both have exercised greater vigilance and ministerial interest when the deal was being negotiated with Diesel Systems Incorporated (DSI) of Benicia, Califoirnia.
Corbin, who claimed that he was not directly responsible for the purchase of the malfunctioning facility took no responsibility.
But the commissioners said as the man in charge he ought to have paid closer supervision to the deal.
The report stopped short of recommending disciplinary action because it would be outside its scope. However, it hoped the findings would be helpful to president Hoyte when he considers what action to take concerning the deal.
There is speculation here that there will be a shake-up in the state-owned Guyana Electricity Corporation which owns the facility as a result of the probe finding.
The $2.8 million barge arrived here last may, but has never worked properly. The appointment of the three-man commission followed an explosion and fire last September. No one was injured but a unit was badly damaged.
Engineers who inspected the facility in California and Houston before shipping said that none of the four 2.5 megawatts stood up for more than one hour of full loadtesting. They claim that this was reported to senior officials.
Guyana has sued diesel systems and has retained the prestigious law firm of Celphi and Sullivan to represent it in the case this fall in Louisiana.
The report said that it will be wise for government to approach DSI to see whether the facility can be sold off to an interested buyer, for not less than 50 percent.
Failing this the barge should either be sold locally or relocated to an interior district.
IPS-Inter Press Service
September 4, 1990, Tuesday
GUYANA: WORLD BANK LOAN TO BE REQUESTED FOR SUGAR INDUSTRY
DATELINE: GEORGETOWN, Sept. 4
The Guyana government is to ask the World Bank for a $30 million loan to rehabilitate this South American republic's run-down sugar industry.
A mixed team comprising officials of the government and a British company which is to manage the industry from October is currently preparing a loan application proposal to be submitted to the international financial institution.
The money is to be used to fund a massive five-year replanting of the state-run Guyana Sugar Corporation's (Guysuco) 100,750 acre canefield system, buy machinery and improve the working conditions of the country's 15,000 canecutters.
Booker-Tate, a British company which owned the sugar industry in Guyana up to 1976, returned July to manage the former British colony's flagging sugar sector at the invitation of the government of President Desmond Hoyte, hit by serious foreign exchange shortfalls stemming from low production.
Booker-Tate is to formally take over the industry from Oct. 1, but officials say this is linked to finance becoming available to do major rehabilitation works on the eight coastal factories and 10 sugar estates.
A joint Booker-Tate/government team monitoring the proposed management takeover by the British firm, says the money has to be obtained before any substantial improvement can be done.
Sugar production has dropped in the last five years to around 160,000 tons per annum compared to a minimum of 250,000 tons annually when Booker-Tate owned the industry.
The monitoring team, including three members of a five-man booker advance team here since July 1, is putting together the project proposal to be submitted to the World Bank.
Officials, who asked to remain anonymous, say they are optimistic about raising the funds.
Guyana, the Caribbean Community's largest sugar producer, has in the last two years been unable to fill its sugar quota on the preferential European Community (EC) market because of labor disputes, unseasonal rainfall and labor shortages in the industry.
The industry also needs to hire an additional 5,000 workers to make up for a severe exodus from the sector in the last five years.
In 1988 Guyana imported sugar for the first time in living memory, a move that triggered widespread criticism from the opposition and newspapers here.
The latest shipment of sugar from Guatemala arrived here last week.
Guysuco justifies the importation of sugar by saying it is much cheaper to buy sugar at world market prices for the domestic market and export the locally-produced commodity to the lucrative EC market.
Meanwhile, Harold Davis, Guysuco chairman since the takeover in 1976, has retired from active duty in the industry and the monitoring team has reorganized the board of the corporation.
Businessman Mike Brassington has replaced Davis, but he will head a titular and policy-making board with terms of reference different from those of Davis, who was executive chairman and managing director.
December 23, 2004 Thursday
RusAl starts South African projects
LENGTH: 173 words
After agreeing to buy 90 percent of shares in Guyana's state-owned bauxite company, Russian Aluminum (RusAl) plans to spend $10m to study the feasibility of setting up an aluminum plant in the South American country, the St. Petersburg Times said citing unnamed officials.
Managers of RusAl, run by metals tycoon Oleg Deripaska, have discussed setting up an aluminum plant that could process 1m tons of bauxite per year, said Mike Brassington, the head of Guyana's government privatization agency.
No decision will be made, however, until the feasibility study is completed in about three years, he added.
Brassington estimated it would cost about $1bnto build the aluminum plant. RusAl signed an agreement to buy 90 percent of shares in the state-run Aroaima Mining Co. in eastern Guyana. The Russian company agreed to spend $20m over several years to improve the mine's production. The company will be known as the Bauxite Co. of Guyana Inc., and production should increase from 1.3 to 2.5 tons per year by 2006.
April 15, 1998
POLITICS-GUYANA: POWER COMPANY UP FOR SALE AGAIN
BYLINE: Bert Wilkinson
LENGTH: 865 words
HIGHLIGHT: Guyana government to sell 50 percent of the shares of Guyana Electricity Company
For the second time in less than a year, the Guyana government is attempting to comply with dictates from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to sell 50 percent of the shares of Guyana Electricity Company. Authorities have short listed 6 firms in a new round of bidding just made public here. Of the six, three are U.S.-owned, while a fourth has indicated that it will get the backing of another American firm as a joint venture partner if it gets the nod. Included in the short list are Leucadia National Corp (Salt Lake City, UT) and Commonwealth Development Corporation (London, UK). Full text also discusses the collapse of the 1st attempt to privatize the electric company.
GEORGETOWN, Apr. 15 (IPS) -- For the second time in less than a year, the Guyana government is attempting to comply with dictates from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to sell 50 percent of the shares of Guyana Electricity Company.
The first attempt came to a sudden halt in January, when a Canadian provincial investor pulled out of the negotiations citing the politically unstable state of the country.
At that time this South American country was in the throes of social unrest. The main Opposition People's National Congress (PNC) disputed the Dec 15 election results, which saw the People's Progressive Party (PPP) receiving a second consecutive term in office.
Apart from the damage the pullout might have caused to Guyana as a potential investment haven, it meant that the usually protracted bidding process will have to start all over again.
Additionally, the withdrawal by Saskatchewan Power Commercial of Canada came just as the company was preparing to send a team of about 10 senior managers to take up top positions in the company. This was after the entity had agreed on a $22.5 million purchase price for half of the shares and got authorities to agree on staggered rate hikes in the short term.
But the sale by a government traditionally and ideologically opposed to selling of state assets was not to be. Following the December elections, supporters of the PNC took to the streets, claiming that the results were incorrect, and the PNC should have won the election.
The demonstrations resulted in the closure of businesses in most of commercial Georgetown, and once reports of grenade explosions surfaced in the city, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom issued travel advisories to their citizens against travelling to Guyana.
By the time these countries withdrew the advisories, Sask Power, owned by the province's government, had called a press conference to say it was discontinuing negotiations and attempting to smooth over its departure by promising to either team up with other interested investors or to help encourage others to come in.
Apart from blaming the opposition for the fiasco, government decided to reopen the bidding process rather than moving up Leucadia National Corporation of Salt Lake City, Utah, to the top position.
Leucadia, with interest in the power company in Barbados, had placed second to Sask Power with the London-based Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) following behind.
Both are among the six firms authorities have short listed in a new round of bidding just made public here.
Of the six, three are U.S.-owned, while a fourth has indicated that it will get the backing of another American firm as a joint venture partner if it gets the nod.
The Guyana Electricity Company has a history of power generation and transmission problems going back almost 20 years. Successive administrations had been slow in releasing funds for its upgrading.
Now from all indications, the Janet Jagan administration wants to comply with the demands of the IMF, with which it has a borrowing relationship.
It has set a May 30 deadline for companies to submit their proposals and only a further four weeks for conclusion of an agreement.
"The investor with the best proposal will be invited to negotiate and conclude definitive agreements with the government by June 30," said Mike Brassington, head of the state's privatization unit, an arm of the Finance Ministry.
Finance Minister Bharrat Jagdeo said in his budget presentation two weeks ago that several other state companies will be divested this year in keeping with the new policy of the state getting out of the commercial sector as much as possible.
And the planned sale of the power company has the support of the sometimes militant Consumers Association.
Spokesperson Sheila Holder says that with the political interference, well known management problems, lack of capital and the fact that government has a monopoly have not necessarily worked in favor of the consumer.
"We have considered the issue of privatization quite a lot and we support it once it is a good deal. We did not support the Sask Power deal because our advice from networking with other consumer bodies and advocacy lawyers indicated that it was a horrible deal.
"We hope rates will go down as is the case in other countries so that our business community can remain competitive in a global market," she says.Copyright 1998 Global Information Network710
Oleg Deripaska, the owner of the world's biggest aluminum producer, United Co. Rusal, boosted the net value of his assets to $23 billion (U.S.) last year as he bought into construction and energy and added to his metals investments.
The assets had a value of $14 billion in 2005, said Gulzhan Moldazhanova, CEO of Deripaska's investment company, Basic Element. Revenue soared 40 per cent to $18.5 billion in 2006, and may rise again as Deripaska seeks acquisitions in engineering and uranium.
"We've finished only one step of the process," Moldazhanova said yesterday. "The task now is to have our business grow at least 5 or 6 per cent" a year over the next 20 to 25 years, she said.
Deripaska, 39, is married to the granddaughter of former Russian president Boris Yeltsin and is Russia's second-richest man, according to Forbes magazine.
Last month, he agreed to invest $1.54 billion in Aurora-based Magna International Inc., to become a partner of Magna chair Frank Stronach.
After combining his aluminum assets in 2000 with the plants held by Russia's richest man, Roman Abramovich, Deripaska bought out his partner and renamed the company OAO Russian Aluminum. It recently acquired smaller domestic rival Sual Group and the alumina assets of Swiss trader Glencore International Inc. to form the world's biggest aluminum producer.
United Rusal will be "ready" for an initial public offering this fall, Moldazhanova said. The metals producer accounted for almost half of Basic Element's revenue, or $8.18 billion. Russian Machines, a sub-holding of Basic Element that owns Russian car maker OAO GAZ, added $4.5 billion to sales.
The Globe and Mail (Canada)
June 5, 2007 Tuesday
Magna's Russian math doesn't add up
BYLINE: DEREK DeCLOET
SECTION: REPORT ON BUSINESS COLUMN; Pg. B2
LENGTH: 780 words
Magna International executives have been on the road trying to persuade shareholders to back their plan to sell a piece of the company to Oleg Deripaska. It's not going so well. By some accounts, the reception has been about as warm as a Siberian winter.
That's as it should be. The more you scrutinize this deal, the more it smells.
It had a certain stench from the beginning, from the day Magna said it would sell 20 million shares and partial control of the company to the Russian billionaire for $1.54-billion (U.S.), in return for an entreé into the Russian market. Now investors are getting around to crunching the numbers, and the odour seems worse.
At the time of the May 10 announcement, remember, Magna was still in the running to buy Chrysler, or so it appeared. Five days earlier, a German newspaper said the Magna-Onex group was the only "seriously interested" bidder. It looked like they might win, so raising cash made some sense.
Then Magna whiffed on Chrysler, which was instead sold to a Wall Street private equity fund. Management's road show pitch now revolves around the Russian venture. It sounds nice - car sales grew 20 per cent last year - and might pay dividends later on. But the Russian market, two million vehicles last year, is barely larger than Canada's. It will take years to make much difference to Magna's profit.
You could give Mr. Stronach the benefit of the doubt because he has chosen the right partner: Mr. Deripaska is said to be close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. If you're going to do business in a country run by an autocrat, you're wise to do it with the autocrat's pals. For shareholders, Russia's potential is not the big question. It's "What's the Russian getting that we don't know about?"
To understand their paranoia, you have to examine the details of this deal. Mr. Deripaska isn't stuffing his 20 million shares into an account at Merrill Lynch. He's contributing them to a new holding company, nicknamed Newco, which in turn will control Magna. Mr. Stronach and some members of management will do the same. Trouble is, they don't have anywhere near 20 million shares. They've got about 1.3 million.
Regardless of how the voting power is divided, then, you'd expect Mr. Deripaska to own a 94-per-cent economic stake in Newco, since he's putting in that proportion of its shares. Nope: He gets 42 per cent of the holding company. Mr. Stronach gets 42 per cent and management gets 16 per cent.
Here's another way of looking at it: Mr. Deripaska is paying for 20 million shares but his real economic ownership is just less than nine million (42 per cent of 21.3 million). On day one, he's taking a 55-per-cent markdown on his investment. Who in his right mind would accept such a deal? Would you buy a stock today for $10 if your broker told you it would be worth $4.50 by tomorrow morning?
"Guys don't become billionaires by immediately writing down their investments by $850-million," says one shareholder. "When smart, rational people do things like that, and nobody can tell me why - I start getting suspicious."
Suspicious is a good word for it. We know about one side deal - Mr. Deripaska is paying $150-million to Mr. Stronach and will receive half of his annual consulting fees. But that's not likely to put more than $25-million or $30-million in the Russian's pocket, even in a good year, and he's paying for that privilege. He's also getting more say in the enterprise than minority investors have, but even that fails to explain why he would pay more than double the going rate for shares. There has to be something else. Does the agreement give Mr. Deripaska a path to outright control of the company after Mr. Stronach, 74, dies?
Whatever it is, the only sure thing is that Mr. Stronach and management are getting a slick deal here. Do the math: in return for their 1.3 million shares, they get an economic stake in 12.4 million shares (through Newco). Those shares today are worth $1.15-billion at yesterday's closing price of $93.09.
In effect, Mr. Stronach and his executives are receiving $883 for every Magna share now under their control - plus millions in extra dividends they would not otherwise be entitled to. It's obvious why they want this deal.
What's less clear is why other shareholders would vote for it. What's in it for them, other than equal participation in an unproven venture with a Putin crony? But at least they have a say: Without approval from a majority of the class A minority shareholders, the transaction dies. For once, they've got leverage, and they should use it to deliver a message: Give us a better deal, Mr. Stronach, or we'll kill this one.
The Observer (England)
June 3, 2007
Business & Media: Business: MAMMON: First oligarch claims his due: Michael Cherney rose from running a Tashkent street lottery with ping-pong balls to revolutionising the Soviet industrial machine. A former partner of Abramovich and Berezovsky, he's now suing the country's richest man for $6bn
BYLINE: Simon Bell
SECTION: OBSERVER BUSINESS PAGES; Pg. 9
LENGTH: 1642 words
An English courtroom is set to stage a legal contest next year between Russia's richest man and the mentor who paved the way to his riches.
Oleg Deripaska, whose fortune recently exceeded that of Roman Abramovich, is being sued for 40 per cent of the aluminium company Rusal, a stake worth at least $6bn. The man bringing the suit is a little-known Russian businessman living in Israel called Michael Cherney, who gave Deripaska his first break, in 1993, as one of his factory managers.
Cherney has avoided the limelight since emigrating to Israel in 1994 and, unlike the oligarchs, stayed out of the political intrigues revolving around Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin. He is, however, the missing link between the 'red directors' of Soviet industry and today's Russian tycoons. As well as fostering Deripaska, Cherney also backed Iskander Makhmudov and Vladimir Lisin, the metals magnates now worth $8bn and $11bn respectively, and Alexander Mashkevich, a minerals billionaire.
When the Soviet Union collapsed at the end of the Eighties, heavy industry ground to a halt and its labour force went unpaid, but Cherney was the man who literally kept the country's furnaces burning. By the early Nineties, he had been so successful in wiring up the clapped-out Soviet industrial base to modern Russia that Rusal - which he founded with Berezovsky, Abramovich and Deripaska - was on its way to becoming the largest aluminium company in the world.
Cherney was born to Jewish parents in Tashkent in 1952. 'Tashkent was a pretty wild place when I was a kid,' he says. 'It attracted roughnecks from all over the Soviet Union, looking for jobs in construction after an earthquake. It was all about drinking and fighting.'
Rejected by Komsomol, the Communist youth league, Cherney developed his skills as a boxer and basketball player until he was conscripted into the Red Army. When he left the army, he decided to become a businessman. 'At the time it was a capital offence to possess more than $10,000,' he recalls.
Cherney started a lottery on the streets of Tashkent, played with ping-pong balls in a drum. 'We had to pretend it was just another socialist enterprise', he says. 'But soon we were making 30,000 roubles a month, when a teacher's wage was 120 roubles. We had to pay off the cops and, if they weren't around, show some muscle ourselves.'
His business horizons opened up when he was offered a job as a sports official that allowed him to travel all over the Soviet Union. He began exporting watermelons to the Siberian industrial city of Krasnoyarsk, until he was chased away by criminal gangs. Then he teamed up with an Israeli to sell Russian honey in aluminium milk churns to the West, but when his partner told him he would be paid in tomato sauce rather than dollars, Cherney dropped the scheme.
'Real money back then only came from the tzekh ['workshops'] , ' he says. 'It was illegal, but it had always operated. A tzekh owner made a deal with factory managers to buy leftover raw materials. I bought what was rubbish to them and made shoes. You had to bribe everyone: the police, the soviets, the factory managers, the municipal authorities.'
The leap from underground manufacturing to dollar millions came through foreign rouble transfers and bartering. 'Using a Bulgarian company that negotiated foreign debt, I bought cloth from Korea through an Uzbek import body. My commission was 10 per cent. It was my first million. To get the money, I had to go to Austria. I remember standing in this spotlessly clean bank staffed by coiffed blondes in this capitalist country. I was in a complete daze.'
After Cherney went into partnership in 1988 with Sam Kislin, a Ukrainian-American, the deals began to multiply: iron ore pellets in exchange for Lada cars; coke and coal for food and sugar. 'Basically, I converted roubles to dol lars by exporting coke and importing consumer goods,' he says. 'I approached Russian factories, which were operating only at 30 to 40 per cent capacity. They were on the point of collapse without the coke to run the furnaces.'
By 1991, the company Cherney and Kislin had set up, TransCommodities, was making $30m to $40m annually. Cherney was summoned by the Minister of Metallurgy and ordered to provide coke and coal for Russia's factories. Merely on the promise of payment, Cherney supplied Russian industry with $100m-worth of Polish coal. 'We brought all the coke smelters back to life,' Cherney says. 'We practically kicked the Russian economy into gear.'
In 1992, profits grew to over $300m and Cherney was approached by David and Simon Reuben, two British brothers who wanted to buy aluminium. Through a company called Transworld, Cherney and the Reubens began importing raw materials and exporting aluminium, using a system called 'tolling', whereby manufacturers were given government permission to import and export tax- and duty-free. 'We set up production lines, paid workers' salaries, paid for electricity for the plants and paid for transport of the finished product,' he says.
Much vodka was drunk to cement the deals, and Cherney began to acquire enemies. 'By early 1994, a campaign against me was under way. During privatisation, we acquired factories that others wanted. Our aluminium business also caused a massive loss in profits to certain corporations in the West and consequently to their Russian partners. And, of course, we were Jews.'
A company backed by the Russian Interior Ministry and the FSB security service began to pressure Cherney and his partners. After a manager who had just signed a deal with Cherney was beaten up, friends at Yeltsin's tennis club in Moscow told him: 'We've heard people want to kill you. You should leave.'
Cherney emigrated to Israel, from where he has conducted his business since 1994. Meanwhile the 'aluminium wars' raged in Russia, a struggle from which Rusal is now emerging as the world's number one aluminium producer. 'In 2001, I sold my stake to the Deripaska group,' he says. 'I'm out of the aluminium business now, except for the money owed to me from this stock sale.'
Sitting in a Russian restaurant in the Israeli port of Jaffa, now 55 and greying, Cherney still looks every inch the boxer he once was. 'I managed my businesses in Russia from here,' he says. 'Everything went fine until 1997. But then kompromat - black propaganda - began to be published in Russia at someone's behest.
'I have no criminal record anywhere, but suddenly articles were written claiming I was guilty of drug trafficking, kidnapping, money laundering, murder, you name it. Perhaps it was convenient for someone in the aluminium business to lay their own crimes and murders at my door. My stake in the business was - is - very valuable and certain people wanted to get their hands on it. At any rate, the accusations mounted until the Israelis, who had set up a special bureau to investigate Russians in Israel, became afraid of me, I believe.'
The special bureau tapped Cherney's phones for five years and found nothing to incriminate him. Their investigation went global - Cherney appeared on the files of foreign agencies as a figure 'being investigated by Israel for various crimes'. The mud began to stick.
He was arrested in Switzerland, only to be freed next day for lack of evidence. He was accused of attending a mafia convention in South Africa, but the secret services there could only report his absence. Finally, he was accused of murdering the son of a Bulgarian minister over a telecoms deal. 'The problem with this accusation,' Cherney says, 'is that the son of the Bulgarian minister wasn't dead. The Bulgarians finally informed the Israelis that no relative of any minister had been murdered since the days of the Ottoman empire.'
This was the turning point in what Cherney and his supporters say had become a campaign of victimisation. . A scandal unfolded in Israel that linked figures who had been hounding Cherney with the political left, who did not welcome rich Russian Jews in Israel. Cherney had been a pawn in a political war begun by his enemies in Russia.
Cherney says '[Deripaska] panicked when he heard in 2001 that I was going to sell my stake in Rusal to MDM Bank for $1bn. He met me in London. So I sold the stake to him instead, and the contract guaranteed payment in three years. He met me in secret in Vienna in 2003 and I told him he had violated the terms. Then he stopped answering the phone.
'In January 2005, we met again in Kiev. In the intervening years, Deripaska has bought out Berezovsky and Abramovich, using our joint money to do so - mine as well as his. That means I now have 40 per cent of the company, where before I had 20 per cent. If he'd kept to our agreement, none of this would be happening and he would have ended up paying less. My final deadline in March last year passed without him paying me. I own 40 per cent of $15bn - or $21bn, depending on the valuation when we finally get to court.'
He refuses to say whether it was Deripaska who instigated the kompromat . 'People don't pay what they owe you; that's life. But this is different. When I first met Deripaska, I liked him. He penetrated my soul. I took him to Paris, showed him expensive hotels and women for the first time. He was young, a dynamic achiever. I saw in him a reliable partner. So I'm not going to let him do this.'
Deripaska refutes these allegations and is challenging the interpretation of the contract.
Cherney settles back and lights a large cigar, exuding all the confidence of the billionaire - or of the former boxer who still relishes a fight.
Name Michael Cherney
Job Businessman; investor; founder of the Michael Cherney Foundation for victims of terrorism
Phil McGraw's a deadbeat. That's the claim of a Texas aviation firm that is suing the popular television host for stiffing them on $135,962 in corporate jet bills. As detailed in the below County Court complaint, Dallas-based DDH Aviation alleges that McGraw, "a prodigious consumer of private air transport services," last year flew on the company's aircraft for several months. But "despite numerous letters, faxes, and telephone calls demanding payment," McGraw, an Oprah Winfrey protege, has failed to pay for the luxury service. In addition to suing McGraw--who splits time between homes in Irving, Texas and Beverly Hills--the aviation firm has also named Syndicated Air, Inc, as a defendant in the January 31 action. That firm is owned by McGraw's production company. Steve Sumner, attorney for DDH, said he was surprised that McGraw didn't seem to be following his own advice. "Just as you need to behave with integrity in life, you need to have integrity when it comes to financial issues," Dr. Phil writes on his own web site. "He should practice what he preaches," Sumner told TSG. McGraw's syndicated program, "Dr. Phil," has been a ratings champion and his appearance Monday night (2/17) on David Letterman's talk show resulted in the program's highest ratings in 17 months and Letterman's first victory over Jay Leno in three years. (6 pages)
Subject: Summary of Events
1. The first and most important aspect of my case involves a pilot that I came into contact
with on April 6th, 2004 while working at the General Aviation Facility at the Ft.
Lauderdale International Airport as a Customs Inspector. The pilot had a lookout for
heroin smuggling and his name is Mike Brassington. He had in bis possession a letter
ITomthe Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement stating that is record would be
modified so that he would no longer receive close scrutiny ITom Customs. However, he
still had an active record in the system. This conflict may have occurred because the letter
he had was ITomCustoms but he had a record ITomthe DEA. This may have been an
attempt by Customs to illegally override a DEA lookout. He copiloted the aircraft
(N351 WB) on the 25th of July 2000 into Executive Airport in Orlando. DEA agents were
lying in wait for the aircraft due to a local heroin seizure and intelligence that resulted
ITomthat seizure. Estimates vary as to how much heroin was seized, but the most
common estimate is 431bs. Daniel Hopsicker, a former NBC news producer and
investigative journalist, has researched this incident and found out some very interesting
information. For instance, the same person who owned N351WB is the same person who
owned Huffinan aviation, Wallace Hilliard. Huffman Aviation was where the alleged
lead 9-11 highjacker, Mohammed Atta, trained to become a pilot. Also, Wallace
Hilliard loaned his jets at little or no cost to then Florida governor Jeb Bush. In addition,
Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris both endorsed one ofWa1lace Hilliard's charter airlines,
Discover Air, sometime after the major heroin seizure. Mike Brassington wrote a
complaint letter against me alleging mistreatment and stating that he could view his record
on the computer screen. I was transferred the very next day back to the seaport after
receiving this complaint letter. The complaint letter was originally received by Jason
Ahern, an assistant commissioner of Customs and Border Protection. Jason Ahem has a
checkered past himself and was one of the supervisors who engaged in retaliation in the
tanker car case involving massive amounts of narcotics according to Darlene Fitzgerald,
a nationally recognized whistleblower and author ofBodere:ate. Thomas Winkowski,
the official who terminated me, was Darlene Fitzgerald's supervisor. Mr. Winkowski may
have been linked to the murder of a private detective in Southern Califomia who was
investigating Customs at the time. Edgar Valles, one of two passengers arrested on
N3 51WB for heroin smuggling, reportedly had close ties to Hugo Chavez. The
passengers were making frequent trips, usually about one a week, to Venezuela and would
always pay large sums of cash for their tickets. Diego Levine- Texar, the pilot of
N351WB, reportedly flew Venezuela's "Air Force One", which would include flying the
President of Venezuela himself. It is important to remember that I had access to the
computer system in Customs and, based on what I read, I can confirm that Mike
Brassington was the co-pilot ofN351WB on the 25th of July 2000 which resulted in the
large heroin seizure. On the night Mike Brassington flew in I was the ranking Customs
inspector, which was illegal according to the union contract because I was still on
December 6, 2007 -- CIA "airline" business traditionally used proprietary fronts
The CIA was interested in published reports about its airline proprietary front companies during the revelations about CIA covert operations during the Watergate revelations in 1973.
Declassified CIA archived newspaper articles in the Washington Star and New York Times reveal the agency's interest in investigations of its proprietary firm Southern Air Transport, a company that would later play a key role in the Iran-contra scandal of the Reagan-Bush administration.
Southern Air Transport was incorporated in Florida in 1947 and soon developed into a two-part company, one a commercial venture and the other providing covert assistance to the military. However, in August 1960, two businessman acting on behalf of the CIA -- Edward Perkin McGuire and Percival Flack Brundage -- paid $260,000 for controlling interest in Southern Air Transport.
In January 1957, 98 of Southern Air's 100 shares of stock were owned by Frederick C. Moor, the airline's founder. In 1962, Moor was one of four owners, having been joined by McGuire, Brundage, and Stanley G. Williams.
McGuire and Brundage were veterans of the Eisenhower administration, McGuire serving for two years as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs and Brundage for two years as deputy director for the Bureau of the Budget. On September 8, 1964, the 84 combined shares of McGuire, Brundage, Williams, and Moor were registered under a CIA brass plate name, Suydam & Company. After Brundage and McGuire joined the firm, massive amounts of CIA money poured into Southern Air and the company received a lucrative government contract for trans-Pacific transport.
The CIA set up another front company called Actus Technology to funnel money into Southern Air. Actus sub-leased facilities at Southern Air's Miami International Airport headquarters. Actus, in turn, received money from another CIA proprietary airline, Air America. Air America was funded by its parent, Pacific Corporation. The loans to Southern Air via Pacific and Air America were guaranteed by a favorite CIA bank, Manufacturers Hanover Trust of New York. Southern Air's contracts were awarded by an entity known as the "Logistical Support Group."
In 1973, the CIA' s involvement with Southern Air became a matter of public record when documents on one-third owner Williams' bid to purchase the airline from McGuire's and Brundage's CIA controlling interests for $5.1 million were filed with the Civil Aeronautics Board in Washington.
It was revealed that the CIA proprietary airlines all shared the same Washington, DC address: 1725 K Street, NW. At the address were Southern Air Transport, Air America, Pacific Corporation, and Civil Air Transport Asia Ltd. (the predecessor of Air America founded by noted right-winger Gen. Claire Chennault, the World War II founder of the Flying Tigers who founded the Louisiana Civil Air Patrol that would attract such members as David Ferrie, James Bath, and Lee Harvey Oswald). 1725 K Street also housed another CIA proprietary airline, China Airlines. Southern Air's military missions appeared to have been complemented by another company, Airlift International.
The focus on Southern Air Transport revealed a close connection between the CIA proprietary and U.S. oil companies. For example, Southern Air flew oil exploration equipment to Africa for Texaco; maintained a "rest and relaxation" facility in Las Palmas, Canary Islands; and had operations in Mauritania. The airline also maintained bases at Tainan, Taiwan and Ukoda, Japan. Southern Air was also active in Congo, particularly in secessionist Katanga, and in Bolivia, Haiti, Australia, Indonesia, the Dominican Republic, and Venezuela. Southern Air also maintained a charter route across the Pacific that served American Samoa, Guam, Wake Island, Okinawa, the Marshall Islands, and Johnston Atoll.
The complicated and interlocking nature of past CIA proprietary airlines structures is mirrored today by the myriad airline owners, charter and leasing companies, brass plate firms (including law firms) and other entities that seek to mask the involvement of the CIA in the extraordinary rendition of captured and kidnapped prisoners around the world.
Greg Smith was one of three directors of a public company run by a stock swindler who has now been charged three separate times with grand theft and felony fraud by the SEC.
Fort Lauderdale pilot Greg smith was a director of a public company which went bankrupt after the owner had swindled and stolen as much money as he could from the investors and shareholders of his company.
just like the people involved in the related drug plane flown out of sty Petersburg Clearwater international airport
Although Skyway head Brent Kovar was a notorious scamster, he has never faced a judge, and his aviation undertaking somehow attracted investment from two very real corporations: The defense giant Titan and Argyll Equities of Boerne, Texas. According to investigator Daniel Hopsicker,
he owner of record was a teflon-coated con artist named Brent Kovar, a
After the crash, Malago said he was contacted by an official from the U.S. Embassy in Brazil who asked about the jet and the drugs.
"We showed them the papers and tried to show them that everything was done by the law," he said. "We have the money; we delivered the plane. We have a bill of sale. We did everything right, but unfortunately, this one was a mess."
The hypocrisy of America’s phony drug war: Like being in a vast airport men’s room with dozens of Republican Senators running their hands suggestively back and forth
underneath their bathroom stalls at once.
Jorge Corrales, a Simi Valley, Calif., aircraft broker.
Jeb Bush’s state of Florida created a ready-made market for SkyWay’s non-existent “Homeland Security” products by subsidizing their purchase by local airports across the state.
Why would they want to do that?
“They got the first plane in the middle of 2003, and it was sent up to an airport in Chicago to get turned into an executive jet, with a marble bar and leather couches,” our SkyWay source explained.
“They had it in Chicago 8-9 months before it came back. Then they got the second plane in mid-2004.”
“They wrote it up in a press release, touting how they’d just received a big investment from the DuPont Foundation. Which turned out to be bogus, just some guy at a desk in Costa Rica.”
Some CIA guy at a desk in Costa Rica, as it would turn out.
these activities and international terrorism. Sibel Edmonds
The Associated Press