23 Wall Street – China Sonangol – Rearing It’s Not-so-Kosher Head Again…

jsr capital 23 wall

Jack Terzi’s JTRE sues Chinese firm Sonangol over 23 Wall deal

Jack Terzi’s $140 million deal to buy the former JPMorgan building at 23 Wall Street is in jeopardy because the seller, China Sonangol, allegedly refuses to play ball.

According to a lawsuit Terzi filed against Sonangol in Manhattan Supreme Court that his deal isn’t moving forward because of Sonangol’s refusal to cooperate with the escrow agent. The escrow agent has refused to release the down payment on the purchase, because of concern that controversial Hong Kong tycoon Sam Pa may benefit from the deal, the suit claims.

Pa was the CEO of Sonangol – his current affiliation with the company is unclear – a Singapore-based conglomerate that has been in contract to sell the historic Financial District property to Terzi for over a year.

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Pa was detained by Chinese authorities in 2015 as part of President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign. In 2014, the U.S. alleged that Pa bribed Zimbabwean officials in order to carry out “illicit diamond deals.” He is on the Treasury’s “Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons” list, which prevents Americans from doing business with him.

Terzi, who’s known mostly for buying and leasing up small and mid-sized retail properties, shot into prominence last year when he entered contract to buy the 160,000-square-foot property at 23 Wall at the eye-popping figure of $140 million. But month after month went by, and he never closed, raising speculation that all was not smooth with the deal. According to sources familiar with the property, Terzi has been in talks with Paramount Group to provide financing for the acquisition and redevelopment.


The former JP Morgan building at 23 Wall has long sat dormant since the bank stopped using the building in the late 2000s. Sonangol bought the property in 2008 for $150 million from a subsidiary of Lev Leviev’s Africa Israel Investments. But attempts to court tenants like Apple and an entertainment venue never came to fruition.

To read the article in its entirety click here.


Their Platinum Wives: Dahlia Kalter – Kalter Gilad Cook Islands Trust, OBH 2308 LLC, RRR


Please, dear reader read carefully. The irony cannot be lost on you that every penny that disappeared from the various Platinum entities, wound up in the wives’ funds, accounts, trusts, real estate holdings, jewelry foundations etc.

Mark Nordlicht has all but convinced the courts that he is penniless. That’s probably true. But Dahlia Kalter Nordlicht? She has way more than 2 nickles to rub together.

Have you forgotten about the Herbert Stettin case from 2011? Have you not considered the defendants in that case and the connections among them?

See for yourselves: 


Fast-forward to 2016 and The Talk of the Sound:

Two New Rochelle Men Among Seven Indicted In A $1 Billion “Ponzi-esque” Investment Fraud

The Wall Street Journal reported that Platinum’s investors were focused in the observant Jewish community. Nordlicht and his wife Dahlia Kalter-Nordlicht are active members of Young Israel of New Rochelle, both are board members of the Westchester Torah Academy located in New Rochelle, NY and endowed The Fred Kahane Technological High School, an Americans for Israel and Torah (AMIT) school in Ashkelon Israel.

Three of those arrested attended Yeshiva University, according to The Commentator, the school’s official student newspaper,  Mark (Meir) Nordlicht graduated from Yeshiva University in 1990 with a bachelor’s in philosophy. Uri Landesman attended Yeshiva University in the 1980s. David Levy graduated from Yeshiva University in 2006.

According to news reports, Mark Nordlicht was considering taking out a second $7.5M mortgage on his home.

As the New York City-based hedge fund began to go under in December 2015, Nordlicht wrote that he was thinking about using $7.5 million from a second mortgage on his home to try to keep it afloat, the papers say. He also was considering fleeing the country, they say.

That property could not have been his primary residence in New Rochelle which is estimated to be worth about $1.5 million and is held in a trust. As Platinum Partners faltered, some time between 2012 and 2016, the property at 245 Trenor Avenue was transferred from Dahlia Kalter, Nordlicht’s wife and a past employee of Platinum Partners, to Kalter Gilad Cook Islands Trust Limited.

The property may have instead been one in Florida owned by OBH 2308 LLC, a limited liability company which owns 10295 Collins Ave Unit 2308 at One Bal Harbour Ritz Carlton. The 5,266 square foot apartment, with 4 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms overlooking the ocean, is currently listed for sale at $9,995,000, The realtor describes the property as “the largest unit for sale in the building”.

The Principal of OBH 2308 LLC is Dahlia Kalter.

Nordlicht, Levy, Landesman, SanFilippo and Mann are charged with securities fraud, investment adviser fraud, securities fraud conspiracy, investment adviser fraud conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy for defrauding investors through, among other things, the overvaluation of their largest assets, the concealment of severe cash flow problems at Platinum’s signature fund, and the preferential payment of redemptions. Nordlicht, Levy, Small and Shulse are charged with securities fraud, securities fraud conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy for defrauding Black Elk’s independent bondholders through a fraudulent offering document and diverting more than $95 million in proceeds to Platinum by falsely representing in the offering document that Platinum controlled approximately $18 million of the bonds when, in fact, Platinum controlled more than $98 million of the bonds.

Nordlicht, Levy, Landesman, SanFilippo, Mann, Small and Shulse will be arraigned later today before United States Magistrate Judge Lois Bloom at the United States Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York. Shulse’s initial appearance for removal proceedings to the Eastern District of New York is scheduled for this afternoon at the United States Courthouse, 515 Rusk Avenue, Houston, Texas.

The charges were announced by Robert L. Capers, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI); and Philip Bartlett, Inspector-in-Charge, United States Postal Inspection Service, New York Division (USPIS).

“As alleged, Nordlicht and his cohorts engaged in one of the largest and most brazen investment frauds perpetrated on the investing public, earning Platinum more than $100 million in fees during the charged conspiracy. Platinum Partners purported to be a standard bearer in the hedge fund industry, reporting annual average returns of more than 17 percent since inception in 2003. In reality, their returns were the result of the overvaluation of their largest assets, which eventually led to Nordlicht and his co-conspirators operating Platinum like a Ponzi scheme, where they used loans and new investor funds to pay off existing investors,” stated United States Attorney Capers. “The charges and arrests announced today reflect our steadfast commitment to holding accountable hedge funds on Wall Street who rip off investors for personal gain.”  Mr. Capers thanked the Securities and Exchange Commission, New York Regional Office (SEC) for their significant cooperation and assistance during the investigation.


Continue reading

A Platinum Gilded Friendship – Mark Nordlicht and Rob Astorino going back 2013

Astorino 2013


Dear Reader:

As the current criminal trial against Norman Seabrook and others plays out, our previous statements connecting the dots to Mark Nordlicht, Platinum Partners, Echo Therapeutics, Jona Rechnitz, Africa Israel, Black Elk and the current bankruptcy should become more and more obvious.

Anyone who thinks that each movement of Platinum and its ever Philanthropic Partners are exclusive of one another is simply missing the big picture. If someone would take a diamond in exchange for a wide angle lens, perhaps the creditors of Platinum Partners and Echo Therapeutics, the COBA members defrauded of millions  might actually get justice and some of their money back. There are no coincidences. And we believe, it’s all a diamond in the rough.

Mark Nordlicht knows his way around paying money for what he wants. Let’s not be naive. Neither you nor him were born yesterday.


A Platinum Receiver – The Filings so Far and the Connections to be Made

On December 19, 2016, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York announced the indictments of seven individuals who were then or were previously associated with Platinum Partners.  The same day, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil complaint in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York against the same individuals, along with certain Platinum corporate entities.  Together with its complaint, the SEC asked the Court to appoint a Receiver over several Platinum entities affiliated with Platinum Partners Credit Opportunities Master Fund LP and Platinum Partners Liquid Opportunity Master Fund LP.  The Court appointed Bart M. Schwartz as Receiver.  Important filings in these cases are linked below.  This page will be updated regularly.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Filings

Marc Kasowitz and a Maelstrom over Collusion with Russia – The Leviev Connection and The old NY Times Building


Trump’s Russia lawyer faces conflict-of-interest questions over $296m Kushner deal

The lawyer privately advising Donald Trump on the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election is head of a law firm that was involved in the sale of a prestigious piece of New York real estate to Jared Kushner, the US president’s son-in-law, in a deal that could fall under the spotlight of the same inquiry.

Marc Kasowitz, a member of the New York bar who has represented Trump in his business dealings for 15 years, was brought on board by the president last month to provide personal legal advice relating to the Russian inquiry now being conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller. The appointment has placed Kasowitz at the center of the legal maelstrom over the investigation into potential collusion between Russia and elements of Trump’s presidential campaign.

An investigation by the Guardian has found that Kasowitz’s law firm, Kasowitz Benson Torres, legally represented the owners of the former New York Times building in Times Square, Manhattan, in a 2015 deal in which part of the property was sold to Kushner for $296m.

The Washington Post has reported that a subsequent loan of $285m from Deutsche Bank to Kushner Companies, relating to the purchase of the building, could fall under the remit of the Mueller investigation given Deutsche Bank’s scandal-riven reputation. The involvement of Kasowitz’s firm as a key legal player in the initial sale adds a further possible twist as the special counsel’s inquiry gathers momentum.

Questions have already been raised about possible conflicts of interest between the lawyer’s role as Trump’s private attorney in the Russian inquiry and his work for various other clients, among them Russia’s largest bank OJSC Sberbank, which he represents in a corporate dispute lodged in US federal court.

The Guardian asked Kasowitz, via his spokesman, to respond to the potential conflict of interest relating to his firm’s role as attorney on the sale of the Times Square building to Kushner but he did not respond before publication. After publication, the spokesman send in a statement: “There are no conflicts under any standard or by any definition.”

Trump’s connections with Kasowitz’s law firm go much further than just his personal attorney, raising other potential conflict of interest issues. Another of its partners, David Friedman, was appointed by the president as ambassador to Israel; its senior counsel, Joe Lieberman, was considered by Trump as replacement director of the FBI after the president fired James Comey but pulled out of the running, citing potential conflicts of interest with Kasowitz as the president’s private legal counsel; and yet another partner, Edward McNally, is reportedly in the running to replace Preet Bharara as US attorney for the southern district of New York, following a similar Trump sacking.

ProPublica has alleged that Kasowitz himself bragged to friends that he played a role in having Bharara fired, by telling Trump: “This guy is going to get you.” One of the major investigations conducted by the southern district of New York under Bharara was allegedly to look into Deutsche Bank’s involvement in alleged Russian money-laundering.

The Guardian invited Kasowitz to confirm or deny the ProPublica account, but he did not respond.

The old New York Times building is a neo-gothic styled building fronting Times Square, which had been a home to printing presses since the first year of Woodrow Wilson’s presidency. Located at 229 West 43rd Street in Manhattan, the building was declared a New York City designated landmark in 2000.

At the time of the sale to Kushner, the building was owned by Lev Leviev, an Israeli citizen born in the former Soviet Union in what is now Uzbekistan. His company, Africa Israel Investments, bought the Times Square property in 2007 for $525m.

State records show that Africa Israel’s Delaware LLCs, including its subsidiary that bought the former New York Times building, are registered at 40 Wall Street, Trump’s property over the road from the New York Stock Exchange. The office block has “The Trump Building” emblazoned over its entrance in gold capital letters, and was also the home of the now defunct Trump University.

Leviev is one of Israel’s richest businessmen, having made a fortune partly in diamond mining in Africa. He has claimed that he is a “true friend” of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.

In a statement to the Guardian, the Leviev Group of Companies said that Leviev had indeed met Putin a few times though only in his capacity as president of the Federation of Jewish Communities of the Commonwealth of Independent States (the former Soviet Union). Leviev “does not have a personal relationship with the Russian premier” and the comment that he was a “true friend” referred to Putin’s help to the “Jewish community in Russia”.

Leviev’s company has had a number of contacts with the Trump family circle that go further than Kushner. Rich Marin, a former chairman and CEO of Africa Israel USA, has told the Guardian that he had a meeting with Trump himself as well as his daughter Ivanka about the possibility of creating a Trump hotel inside the Times Square property.

That deal never materialized, and it was several years later that Ivanka’s husband, Jared Kushner, stepped into the breach. Filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) show that the sale of the retail portion of 229 West 43rd Street to Kushner was made in an off-market transaction of the sort normally used by owners desiring a quick sale, where speed is more important than price.

Given the lack of competition inherent in such trades, they often give an advantage to the purchaser seeking to acquire property at a bargain.

Kushner acquired the building for $296m from Africa Israel USA and its partner in the deal Five Mile Capital, with Kasowitz’s law firm representing the sellers. The transaction included four storeys of retail space and two sub-basement floors.

The upper 12 floors of the old New York Times building, which are used for offices, were sold to Blackstone in 2011 for $160m. When both sales are put together, Leviev let go of the entire building after owning it for eight years and committing millions of dollars in renovations for a total price that was beneath the $525m he had originally paid for it.

The Guardian contacted Kushner Companies and Five Mile Capital about the sale, but neither commented.

In a statement to the Guardian, the Leviev Group of Companies said: “The Kushner Companies’ offer for the retail space was the most attractive offer ever submitted, and was higher than the building’s appraisal.”

Kushner sealed the refinancing deal with Deutsche Bank and SL Green over his half of the former New York Times building last October, in the dying days of the presidential campaign. The package, reported by Kushner’s own news magazine, Commercial Observer, amounted to $370m – $74m more than Kushner had paid for it.

The president of Kushner Companies, Laurent Morali, told the Washington Post that the discrepancy in price was a result of the “dramatic turnaround” that they had effected in filling up vacant rental units with high-profile outlets. “We had a vision for the property when we purchased it that no one else had, and are proud to say that we executed on it,” he said.

Deutsche Bank is the biggest lender to Trump, having provided $364m in loans. The German bank has been hit by a series of scandals including Russian money laundering, and was ordered earlier this year to pay more than $600m in fines for failing to prevent the secret and improper transfer of more than $10bn out of Russia.

The Guardian revealed in February that Deutsche Bank had itself conducted an investigation of Trump’s personal account to see whether there were any suspicious links to Russian entities.

Senior Democrats in Congress have raised concerns about possible conflicts of interest relating to the Trump administration and the president’s own financial debts to Deutsche Bank. In March, a group of Democrats on the House financial services committee wrote a joint letter saying that such links “raise serious concerns about whether the president and his inner circle will direct the Department [of Justice] to steer clear of issues that could implicate those who benefited from Deutsche Bank’s trading scheme.”

On Tuesday the Guardian reported that a different Trump lawyer, Jay Sekulow, had approved plans to push poor and jobless people to donate money to his Christian nonprofit, which since 2000 has steered more than $60m to Sekulow, his family and their businesses.

To read the article in its original format please click here.



What’s Leviev Up To? Africa-Israel, Adding Emeralds to Portfolio

Billionaire Leviev Adds Zambia Emeralds to Diamond Portfolio

Billionaire Lev Leviev, who made his fortune undercutting De Beers’ former diamond monopoly, has bought half of one of Africa’s biggest emerald mines.

Leviev bought into the Grizzly emerald mine in Zambia’s Copperbelt province, which borders the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kombadayedu Kapwanga, managing director Leviev’s Namibian unit, said by phone. The operation has been renamed Gemcanton Investments Holdings.

A spokesperson for Africa Israel Investments Ltd., a listed company controlled in which Leviev is the biggest shareholder, didn’t return phone calls and emails seeking comment. A spokesperson at LLD Diamonds, Leviev’s jewelry business, didn’t return calls either. Leviev used his Israel-based diamond unit to purchase half of Grizzly, Kapwanga said, without providing further details.

The move into emeralds marks a change of course for Leviev. Born in Soviet Uzbekistan before fleeing to Israel in 1971, he worked as an apprentice in a diamond-polishing plant and established his own factory, striking deals with diamond-producing countries such as Russia and Angola.

He went on to own an 18 percent stake in Angola’s Catoca diamond mine, one of the world’s biggest, before selling to Chinese investors to focus on the Luminas mine in the African country. As well as his Leviev jewelry company, he controls a real estate empire from Moscow to New York through Africa-Israel Investments Ltd.

Emerald prices have soared by more than tenfold in the past eight years, as top producer Gemfields Plc sought to expand the market for the green stones and boost advertising. Emeralds were previously mainly produced by artisanal miners, meaning there wasn’t a consistent supply enough for retailers to run production lines or advertise them. The company owns the Kagem mine, Zambia’s biggest producer.

Gemfields Chief Executive Officer Ian Harebottle said the company has tried to contact Leviev.

“I’ve written to them a few times and said ‘welcome to the area, let’s talk.’ They’ve been non-responsive so far,” Harebottle said in April. “Colored stones offer a great opportunity with great growth potential. It was inevitable that someone else was going to look this way.”

Pallinghurst Resources, which has a 47 percent stake in Gemfields, made an offer in May to buy the shares it doesn’t already own in the company. An independent Gemfields committee said the offer undervalued the company.

Shares in Gemfields rose 3.7 percent by 13:11 p.m. in London to trade at 35 pence.

To read the article in Bloomberg click here.

The Panama Papers, Dan Gertler – Concordia Marketing Group Inc., HSBC, Benny Steinmetz and Mining



If you will recall, a while back Dan Gertler’s name was mentioned in connection with our article regarding the Panama Papers.  That article was more about what was not mentioned than what was. It should not go unnoticed that there dozens of reports about Mr. Gertler’s financial shenanigans, alleged money laundering, various bank accounts, hidden companies and his connection (or alleged lack thereof) to Benny Steinmetz.
Recent articles about Dan Gertler seem to forget or perhaps avoid the intriguing ways in which Mr. Gertler’s name shows up in the same places as Daniel Steinmetz, another remarkable pillar of Jewish society. The connections go back years, numerous documents in the files of the Panama Papers and an extensively tied web of mining operations worldwide. We post one such example, more to follow.


Diamond Dealers in Deep Trouble as Bank Documents Shine Light on Secret Ways


Also in the files is Dan Gertler, an Israeli diamond dealer and close friend of Congolese President Joseph Kabila. He reportedly got his big start trading arms for diamonds in African civil wars during the 1990s in violation of UN embargoes. A 2001 UN Security Council report found “very credible sources” who told of a secret deal that, in exchange for a sweetheart deal giving Gertler a monopoly on diamond rights in the Congo, the Israeli “agreed to arrange, through its connections with high-ranking Israeli military officers the delivery of undisclosed quantities of arms as well as training for the Congolese armed forces.”

Mischon de Reya, a London law firm representing Gertler, said in a letter to ICIJ that “our client categorically denies any involvement in the alleged diamonds-for arms trades in Congo in the late 1990s” and that Gertler “has no knowledge of the companies listed in your letter as having these bank accounts.”

“Details of his private affairs are of no legitimate public interest. Our client has, however, always paid all taxes due in every jurisdiction.”

Gertler is listed in the HSBC files as beneficial owner of an account under the name of Concordia Marketing Group Inc., a British Virgin Islands firm. The other beneficial owner of the account was Daniel Steinmetz of the Steinmetz family, one of the biggest HSBC-linked diamond clients of all (Gertler’s lawyers said he is not associated with Daniel Steinmetz). Steinmetz family members appear to have controlled accounts containing nearly half a billion dollars at the bank in 2006/2007. One HSBC banker noted with an exclamation mark that an inactive account belonged to the Daniel Steinmetz group and that the bank expected much new business from him in the next year.  He cautioned that the account was “part of DS Group!!!” Another HSBC banker also noted that Daniel’s mother was very ill and that bank officials would travel to Sardinia, where the Steinmetzes lived four months every year, to visit the family. 

The bankers were not wrong to be excited. One numbered account called 25225 KT with Daniel Steinmetz listed as attorney would eventually have as much as $264 million at HSBC in 2006/2007.

Wildly lucrative deal

Beny Steinmetz

Beny Steinmetz. Photo: YouTube

Steinmetz’s brother Beny offered the prospect of even more business. One of the richest men in Israel and a Gertler business partner, Beny expanded his father’s diamond business into a multi-industry empire. He had major business interests in African warzones, including Angola, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, and in 2008 in Guinea, he made one of the most lucrative deals of all time.

As longtime Guinean dictator Lansana Conté lay dying, he handed Steinmetz half the mining rights to Simandou, the richest iron-ore deposit on earth, wresting it away from the Anglo-Australian giant Rio Tinto. A year later, Steinmetz, who had no experience in iron mining, sold 51 percent of the rights for $2.5 billion. It was almost pure profit. He had paid nothing for the exploration license – in a country whose entire GDP was just $4.5 billion that year – while investing just $160 million in the project.

But a new Guinean government under reformer Alpha Condé suspected that Steinmetz had paid someone for the license to develop Simandou after all – and illicitly. An investigation bankrolled by billionaire George Soros  (whose Open Society Foundations help fund ICIJ) and assisted by former British prime minister Tony Blair through his Africa Governance Initiative found that Steinmetz’s Pentler Holdings had bribed one of the late dictator’s wives, Mamadie Touré, giving her millions of dollars and a 5 percent stake in the project in exchange for her help getting Conté to sign over the rights, according to The New Yorker.

Touré insisted on a signed contract, she later testified, and when word of the documents emerged during the Soros-backed Guinean investigation, which would result in a U.S. probe, Steinmetz agent Frederic Cilins then traveled to Florida to pay Touré up to $11 million to destroy the contract and change her story. Touré was wearing a wire for the FBI, which recorded Cilins telling her that he was acting on the authority of Steinmetz himself. Cilins later pleaded guilty to obstructing a federal bribery investigation.

“BSGR and Beny Steinmetz have consistently denied wrong doing in Guinea,” says Theo Crutcher, a Steinmetz spokesman, adding that “BSGR has taken the Government of Guinea to international arbitration at ICSID [International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes] to defend itself against the allegations that have been made against it,” said Theo Crutcher, a Steinmetz spokesman.

Beny Steinmetz and BSG Resources allege that the documents were forged and that Cilins was trying to destroy the forgeries. But Steinmetz is now himself a target of an ongoing U.S. investigation, along with probes in several other countries, including Guinea, and Switzerland, his latest residence. Steinmetz changed his official residence from Israel to Geneva in 2012, while Israeli tax authorities were pursuing an investigation that ultimately determined that he evaded $1.1 billion in taxes.

“Beny Steinmetz is a Swiss resident, pays taxes in strict accordance with his agreement with the Swiss tax authorities and has always managed his bank accounts in Switzerland in full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations,” Crutcher said.

A Pentler Pacific Ltd. appears in the HSBC files. Though it is not connected by HSBC to the Steinmetz group, Pentler Pacific is listed having the same address in the British Virgin Islands as Pentler Holdings, the Steinmetz vehicle that the FBI says bribed Touré. 

How the system works 

Digging for diamondsWomen in Zimbabwe digging for diamonds. Photo: APBanks like HSBC, as well as the offshore-front industry, are part of an infrastructure that enables the looting of poor countries and the evasion of taxes in rich countries.

“By and large really significant corruption in the resources sector does not involve suitcases of cash,” said Scott Horton, a lecturer at Columbia Law School who investigated the Simandou concessions for the new Guinean government and who wasn’t speaking specifically about Steinmetz. “It involves millions of dollars being paid into bank accounts. They may be in Geneva or London or New York. They may be held in the British Virgin Islands or the Caymans. Very, very rarely are they moving money into banks in Guinea or Liberia or Sierra Leone. You cannot pull off this large scale corruption without involving lawyers, accountants, investment advisers in places like Geneva, London, Amsterdam, New York and Paris.”

And Antwerp.

In September 2005, a diamond dealer from war-torn Central African Republic (CAR), one of the poorest countries on Earth, bumped into his new HSBC banker at the Park Lane hotel in Antwerp. Abdoul-Karim Dan Azoumi “was with the minister and the Central African delegations in the hall [or lobby],” noted his banker, and the two exchanged contact information in order to talk later. 

Dan-Azoumi’s papers weren’t in order with the bank for an unspecified reason, and the banker told him in phone calls over the next few weeks that he “wasn’t comfortable with the current situation,” and that forming an offshore company would solve the issue.

The banker noted that Dan-Azoumi was Muslim and had 18 children by four wives, two of whom he was still married to, and that he directed Badica, a diamond company based in the CAR. Badica would later be fingered by a United Nations Security Council committee for trafficking in blood diamonds.  The U.S. State Department noted reports that Badica had financed the Séléka, the Muslim rebel group that overthrew the predominantly Christian CAR government in 2013, setting off a civil war.

The Park Lane hotel itself was co-owned by four of the bank’s clients, including Luscha Baumwald, Louis Stranders, and Josif Grosz. “A family member has court concerns, so we wait to contact,” HSBC noted on Stranders’ account.

Mozes Victor Konig, one of the men now wanted by Interpol, was the fourth co-owner of the Park Lane. Konig had as much as $114 million in his HSBC accounts, one of which was called Front Trading Consultants Inc., during 2006/2007.  

The group had used the hotel investment to launder tens of millions in dirty money. All four would be convicted of fraud in 2012. A criminal court in Antwerp forced them to forfeit the $40 million hotel and another $18 million in cash and handed out sentences that ranged from probation to two years in prison.