Trouble in Paradise Dan Gertler, Glencore, the DRC and Secret Loans

Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler

Dear Reader:

The Paradise Papers have brought us a wealth of information on some of our most reprehensible of “philanthropic” figures, not the least of which is Dan Gertler. As an ode to Dan, we decided that we would publish his story as the first of the Paradise Papers publications.

It is an remains our position that Gertler  pilfered (raped was the word we initially wanted to use) an entire country out of mining rights to the detriment of the citizens of that country. It is and remains our position that his dealings with high-powered players in the Congo lead to the death of one such player (Katumba) and to the slaughter of people in the region.  

Revealed: Glencore’s secret loan to secure DRC mining rights

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/nov/05/revealed-glencore-secret-loan-drc-mining-rights-paradise-papers

The world’s largest mining company, Glencore, secretly loaned tens of millions of dollars to an Israeli billionaire after it enlisted him to secure a controversial mining agreement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Paradise Papers reveal.

The documents show in forensic detail how the mining magnate Dan Gertler held Glencore’s imprimatur as key negotiator with DRC authorities.

The Paradise Papers, a leaked cache of documents including more than 6m from within Appleby, one of the world’s leading and most secretive offshore law firms, lay bare the arcane multi-jurisdictional dealings of Glencore, a scandal-plagued Swiss multinational with mining interests across the globe, but particularly in Africa.

The documents confirm that in 2009, Glencore loaned Gertler $45m with the caveat that it would be repayable if agreement with DRC authorities was not reached to secure a mining contract for a company linked to Glencore.

……

He is also alleged to be the unnamed “DRC Partner” cited in a 2016 US Department of Justice deferred prosecution agreement who, along with others, paid more than $100m in bribes over a decade to DRC government officials “to obtain special access to and preferential prices for opportunities” in the country’s mining sector for a US hedge fund.

 

…..

 

The Paradise Papers confirm that several times over 2008 and 2009, Gertler was called in to negotiate with DRC authorities over the struggling Katanga copper mine in the south-east of the country, which was mired in stalled talks to secure a joint-venture agreement with DRC’s state-run miner Gécamines.

In 2009, Glencore, through a loan offer, took effective control of Katanga, but also kept Gertler’s interest in the company by secretly loaning his company Lora Enterprises $45m in pledged shares for him to take part in the loan. Gertler, known for his close relationship with DRC’s president and key adviser, was also tasked with securing the mining agreement.

“Glencore shall use its vote at the board of Katanga to have Dan Gertler exclusively mandated to assist Katanga in finalising the terms of the joint venture agreement,” the finance document shows.

But the Paradise Papers also reveal that the terms of the loan meant it could be recalled if the mining agreement was not secured. The term sheet states that it will be “immediately repayable on demand” if the agreement “is not finalised within three months”.

 

…..

Glencore, and its forerunner company, have been accused of sanctions-busting in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, apartheid South Africa and Iran. In 2004, Glencore was cited by the CIA as having paid $3.2m in illegal kickbacks in violation of sanctions to Iraq’s state-run oil monopoly. It has also been accused of environmental pollution, poisoning rivers, and allowing child labour in its African mines. Glencore denies the allegations.

In February, Glencore bought Gertler out of their shared assets in DRC for $534m, a move described by analysts as an attempt by the company to disassociate itself from Gertler.

DRC is ranked by the UN as one of the least developed countries and has been blighted by near-constant civil war for decades. The massive landmass, as large as western Europe, is rich in mineral resources, making it a target for foreign powers and heavily armed rebel groups seeking to control lucrative assets.

The country remains mired in turmoil. Kabila, who took over the role from his father, Laurent-Désiré Kabila, in 2001 after he was assassinated by his bodyguards, refused to hold constitutionally mandated elections last year.

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Diamonds and Diamonds and Israel and HAP – Eran Polack

Loose-diamonds

HAP co-founder committed fraud in $10M diamond heist: Israeli court

HAP Investments’ Eran Polack lied about being a victim of a $10 million diamond heist, an Israeli court ruled in September, after more than $5 million of the supposedly stolen inventory was recovered in his possession.

Polack, who co-founded HAP with two partners, was enmeshed in a long-running insurance case in Israel, in which he claimed to have been robbed of $10 million worth of diamonds in his office in Hong Kong in 2010. In September, an Israeli court threw out the claim, finding that more than $5 million of the stolen inventory had been with Polack all along, and that Polack lied about how the robbery went down, if in fact there was one.

“The defendants have successfully proven fraudulent intention,” the judge wrote. “Not only that the plaintiffs gave false testimony, but that they knew it was false, and did so with the intention of unlawfully recouping funds from the defendants on its basis.”

Polack is not facing fraud charges, as this was an insurance case, but the claim was thrown out and Polack is required to pay the insurer’s legal costs and attorney’s fees, in addition to $215,000 in legal fees.

Channel 10 News in Israel reported that Polack resigned from HAP following the ruling, and quoted a statement from the firm that, “Polack requested to leave his position as chairman and CEO soon after the ruling.”

However, in a statement to The Real Deal, a spokesperson for HAP denied that was the case. “Eran Polack was, and is, a founding partner and CEO of HAP Investments LLC and its affiliates in the United States,” the spokesperson said, and added that he intends to appeal the court’s decision.

According to Israeli court documents, Polack traveled to Hong Kong in February 2010 to sell about $10 million worth of diamonds. On the day of the alleged robbery he met with two men, identified only as “Africans,” at his office building in Hong Kong, to discuss the deal, documents show. At the building, Polack claims, the two men attacked him at knife-point and forced him to open his office, then ran off with the diamonds, leaving him bound.

Polack had increased his insurance policy from Menora Insurance days before leaving to Hong Kong in preparation for the deal, the documents show. After the heist, he filed a claim for 1,898 stolen diamonds worth a total of $9.5 million. Menora denied the claim on account of inconsistencies in Polack’s story, and followed up with a complaint accusing him of fraud.

Over the course of the next few years, more than $5 million worth of the stolen inventory was discovered in Polack’s possession, according to the documents. Three of the most valuable gems, worth a combined $2.5 million, had allegedly been bought on consignment in Hong Kong days before the robbery and Polack later tried to sell them. Polack removed another 41 gems from the list early on, deducting their value from his claim, after they too were found in his possession. In both cases, he was caught because he went to get the diamonds certified and reinsured, the documents state.

Polack’s story about the Africans was suspect from the start, according to Menora, who pointed out a list of inconsistencies and abnormalities, like the fact that the office was unfurnished, that he dismissed his secretary early that day and didn’t tell his partner about the meeting. But the key piece of evidence was CCTV footage that contradicted the crux of the story. In elevator security footage that was entered as evidence, Polack is seen taking the keys to his office out of his bag, proving that he allowed the two strangers inside voluntarily without accompaniment, which is not allowed by the policy.

According to the court, the robbery might have happened, only not under the circumstances described. “The motive for telling the wrong story is clear,” the judge wrote, since Polack knew that he hadn’t followed the security procedure and wouldn’t get the insurance money unless he fudged the details. Raising the stakes further was the fact that Polack was a middleman, and not all the stolen diamonds were his.

Dovid Levi, a victim of the theft, told Channel 10 news in Israel that back in 2010, Polack promised to return the money once the insurance paid up. “Then suddenly, I hear he’s running around New York, investing in real estate.”

HAP was founded by Polack, Amir Hasid and Nir Amsel, and they are funded in part by private Israeli investors. They are developing several multifamily buildings in Harlem, including a 20-unit condo building at 329 Pleasant Avenue, designed by Karim Rashid. The firm’s biggest New York City project to date is a $387 million development in Chelsea at 215-227 West 28th Street, where they plan to build a 21-story building with 199 units. HAP is also developing a 42-story mixed-use tower in Jersey City.

See article in its original post, click here.

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

Astorino 2013

FRIENDS OF ROB ASTORINO

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.

LM

Where there’s a Diamond, A Benny Steinmetz and Fake Contracts… There’s a Fraudy

Beny Steinmetz, the Israeli diamond mining magnate, was taken into custody by Israeli police on Monday on suspicion of fraud, obstruction of justice and bribery.

The 61-year-old billionaire, who is one of Israel’s wealthiest men, was detained alongside four other suspects as part of a joint international investigation by Israeli, Swiss and US authorities.

Israeli police gave few details of the allegations but said the five men were suspected of creating fake contracts to move and launder money.

Detectives raided the men’s homes and offices and a judge granted police permission to detain Mr Steinmetz until Thursday for questioning.

Steinmetz, who founded the BSG Resources (BSGR) mining company, denies any wrongdoing.

Appearing before a magistrate’s court in central Israel, the businessman hit out at Israeli investigators and George Soros, the Hungarian-American investor with whom he has had a long-time rivalry.

“I feel terrible that the state of Israel is doing this to me. This is customary in totalitarian states. It’s like a dictatorship that decides and marks people,” Mr Steinmetz said.

“There is nothing, the whole investigation is nothing. There are those who have marked us here. It’s political. George Soros marked me. We did not do anything.”

Mr Steinmetz has not been charged with a crime. A spokesman declined to comment.

Police said in a statement that the men were detained on suspicion of money laundering, fraud, forgery, obstruction of justice and bribery.

The police raids on Monday were the latest in a long string of legal troubles for Mr Steinmetz, who lives mainly in Geneva and has dual Israeli-French citizenship.

Israeli police placed him under house arrest for two weeks in December 2016 on suspicion of bribing officials in the the west African country of Guinea to advance BSGR’s business interests.

car in Guinea
The Simandou project in Guinea has been stalled for years

The house arrest was lifted in January and he was released without charge but on the conditions that he hand over a 100 million shekel (£21m ) guarantee and not leave Israel  for six months.

BSGR gained access to half of Guinea’s giant iron ore seam, known as Simandou, in 2008 after paying a small amount for the mining rights. It later sold half its concession to Brazilian mining giant Vale for $2.5bn, although just $500m was paid.

Simandou is thought to be the world’s richest untapped deposit of iron ore, used in steel. The deposit had been wholly owned by FTSE 100 giant Rio Tinto until BSGR’s arrival.

The Guinean government stripped BSGR of its access in 2014 after concluding that it had bribed its way to the rights.

BSGR denies any wrongdoing and has threatened to file a lawsuit against Mr Soros, accusing him of orchestrating a defamation campaign against the company and encouraging Guinea to strip it of the Simandou rights. Mr Soros’s representatives have dismissed Mr Steinmetz’s claims as a “PR stunt”.

Asher Avidan, a former president of BSGR in Guinea, was taken into custody alongside Mr Steinmetz. Mr Avidan was also placed under house arrest and released in January.

Among the others detained were Tal Silberstein, a prominent Israeli political consultant, and David Granot, the acting chairman of Israeli telecoms giant Bezeq.

Mr Silberstein had been doing polling work for Austria’s Social Democratic Party ahead of parliamentary elections in October but the party cut ties with him after learning of his detention in Israel.

Bezeq said in a statement that Mr Granot’s detention was “not related to the company”.

A Little Lax, Perhaps? Ivanka and A Lax Friendship, Oh.. and Diamonds…

The Trouble With Ivanka’s Business Partner

The first daughter’s longtime friend and associate is falling afoul of his creditors—and the courts.

From POLITICO

His vendors call him a “career grifter.” His father’s creditors claim he’s a fraud and a serial extortionist who shakes people down with trumped-up threats of criminal charges. With these and other allegations piling up in court records along with judgments—against him, his wife and his businesses—for millions of dollars, his lawyers are abandoning him, saying he’s a deadbeat. All the while, he’s been living in one of the most luxurious mansions in the Bronx.

Meet Ivanka Trump’s longtime friend, matchmaker and business partner, Moshe Lax.

For the past decade, Lax, a 43-year-old New York diamond heir and entrepreneur, has been Trump’s partner in Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry, the first major venture of her business career.

Trump and her family have continued to associate with Lax even as his legal problems have mounted and Trump has been dragged into Lax’s business disputes. On election night, Lax and his wife stood at the front of the ballroom at the Trump campaign’s victory party in New York, and Lax went on to visit Trump Tower during the transition, while Tiffany Trump attended the launch party for a new Lax venture in February. Ivanka Trump has even continued to rely on Lax’s advice in recent years: In depositions they gave for an unrelated case last summer, both Trump and her brother, Don Jr., cited advice they received from Lax in assessing another business partner.

And according to court records, Trump renewed her licensing agreement with Lax in 2011, allowing him to continue using her name even after his company defaulted on payments and he violated numerous terms of their agreement.

“He cheated not just us, he also cheated Ivanka,” says Mahipal Singhvi of KGK, a company that was recently awarded a multimillion-dollar judgment against Lax, his wife and their businesses after they kept, but did not pay for, a large shipment of KGK diamonds.

Trump’s relationship with Lax and the mountain of legal and financial troubles—reported here for the first time based on dozens of interviews and public records—raise serious questions about the first daughter’s judgment, even as she continues to serve as a powerful White House adviser. In response to detailed questions sent to the White House and the Trump Organization, White House spokesman Josh Raffel requested more information about this article but did not provide comment. Following publication, a person close to Trump contacted POLITICO Magazine to say Lax was not a “close friend” of hers, and Trump Organization general counsel Alan Garten wrote in an email that the Trump family business “is still owed a significant amount of money” from Lax after terminating its licensing deal with him at the end of last year

Lax initially agreed to a telephone interview about his relationship with Trump, but then said he might be traveling to Washington imminently and would prefer to meet in person. In response to an email listing detailed questions about the judgments and allegations against him, Lax responded that he was the victim of a blackmail and extortion scheme by one of his creditors.

“I do have all the hard evidence that this is an extortion case for money,” he wrote. “I will pursue criminally.” Lax declined to elaborate, and POLITICO Magazine is withholding the name of the creditor, for lack of any evidence of wrongdoing.

***

Lax grew up in Brooklyn the son of a diamond magnate with a sideline in real estate. He began his partnership with Trump a decade ago when both were rich kids looking to make their mark in the world of business. In 2007, Lax approached Trump pitching her on a land deal in Fort Myers, Florida.

Trump found herself drawn to Lax, seeing him as a kindred spirit. “Moshe was looking to take his business to a whole new level,” she recounts in “The Trump Card,” a 2010 memoir in which the entire final chapter is devoted to her partnership with Lax. “In that way, I suppose, we were a lot alike, trying to make our own way along a path set out for us by our fathers and trying to extend that path in exciting new directions, which I guess explains why we hit it off.”

Lax was not the only person Trump would hit it off with through the proposed deal. Soon after meeting Trump, he called a meeting of real estate heirs to discuss business opportunities at Prime Grill, a steakhouse across the street from Trump Tower, according to an April profile of Lax in Mishpacha, a magazine serving the Orthodox Jewish diaspora. At Lax’s networking lunch, Trump met her future husband, Jared Kushner, for the first time (in the profile, Lax joked that it was a “state secret” whether he received a matchmaking fee and said he had gained an appreciation for President Donald Trump’s “decency” and “sense of humor” by working with him up close).

The real estate deal went nowhere, but Trump and Lax soon embarked on a more promising venture together. At the time, Lax had a steady supply of diamonds from his family’s business, but was having trouble differentiating his product. Trump had a famous name with which to brand jewelry and ideas about how to create a shopping experience geared toward working women buying for themselves—a break from other diamond retailers that catered to husbands and boyfriends.

The pair decided to embark on a joint business venture, Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry, converting Lax’s retail space on Madison Avenue into their flagship boutique.

According to Trump’s memoir, the partnership was a home run. “As of now, in this tough economy, we’re doing very well,” she wrote in 2010. “Actually we’re doing better than ‘very well’ … We’ve succeeded beyond my wildest expectations.”

But beneath the rosy picture Trump painted in public, there were a number of problems. In June 2011, Trump and Lax entered into a new licensing agreement. This agreement, which has since surfaced in litigation, states that Lax’s company defaulted on licensing payments to Trump and that Lax or his company committed numerous violations of the original deal, including entering into unauthorized sublicensing agreements and failing to keep accurate records. The agreement charges Lax’s company $300,000 per year and 36 percent of net proceeds for the right to use Trump’s name.

Despite those problems, Trump remained in business with Lax as troubles kept piling up.

In 2012, Lax’s company, Madison Avenue Diamonds, found itself in court after it accepted delivery of millions of dollars in diamonds but refused to pay for them, claiming that the vendor, KGK, had breached their agreement by delivering some computer files related to the diamonds late. Lax was represented by David Scharf of Morrison Cohen, who in the past had done extensive legal work for the Trump Organization (the firm later went to court with the Trump Organization over half a million dollars in disputed legal fees).

The diamond dispute entangled Trump in a web of litigation against her will. At one point, Judge Charles Ramos became agitated with Trump’s attempts to avoid testifying about her relationship with Lax.

Ramos expressed special annoyance at the fact that Trump submitted an affidavit from her lawyer in an attempt to quash a subpoena, rather than submitting one herself. “You know something, if she does not want to testify she can tell me she doesn’t want to testify,” Ramos said at a hearing on the matter. “She has not done that. She does it through counsel? Thanks a lot. The deposition will go forward.” Trump also made the unusual request that the deposition take place at her office in Trump Tower, which the judge denied.

At her deposition, Trump’s lawyer revealed that in addition to her licensing agreement with Lax, Trump had an ownership stake in Madison Avenue Diamonds through an entity called IHoldings Madison LLC. It’s not clear how large a share of the company Trump held, or for how long. In the personal financial disclosure she made this year upon entering the White House, Trump says she served as president of IHoldings Madison until this May.

In 2015, the court ordered Lax’s company and his wife, Shaindy—who had personally guaranteed payment of the diamonds and in whose name Lax conducts many of his financial dealings—to pay the stiffed vendor $2.4 million plus interest. Singvhi of KGK says the company has still not received the payments due, which at this point amount to $3.5 million.

In the meantime, Lax has had other problems.

***

In 2008, Lax’s father died, leaving him as co-executor of a vast estate. But his father also left vast debts, including $27 million owed to the IRS and a multimillion-dollar loan guaranteed by the Brooklyn real estate developers Joseph Brunner and Abe Mandel.

The fallout from that loan has led to some of the most disturbing charges against Lax: that he has been extorting members of his tight-knit religious community, threatening to bring criminal charges against them if they do not pay him—and that he engaged in a massive financial fraud to hide tens of millions of dollars left by his father from the government and creditors.

In 2014, Brunner and Mandel sued Lax, his wife, his brother-in-law Martin Ehrenfeld, his father’s estate, his father’s family trust and various corporate entities, claiming the defendants had used a series of shell corporations to hide Lax’s father’s money and avoid paying his father’s debts. The developers say that before his death, Lax’s father showed them documentation that his net worth was $174 million. According to their complaint, Lax and his co-defendants managed to make the fortune disappear—so that when creditors came calling, the estate had no assets to repossess.

The developers also claimed that Lax attempted to extort them in a scheme to avoid paying on the debts. In a sworn affidavit, Mandel said he received a call from Scharf in March 2014 informing him that a legal complaint was being prepared that would “destroy” him and Brunner and inviting him to a follow-up meeting to discuss the issue at Scharf’s office.

At the meeting, Scharf allegedly told the developers that his client was working with a former prosecutor, was prepared to accuse them of racketeering and would demand $20 million in damages—that is, unless they negotiated with Lax and his brother-in-law “to make this go away.”

In the affidavit, Mandel also said that a private intelligence firm had been approaching his business and personal contacts, telling them Mandel and his partner were under investigation and telling a charity he had given to that his gift was made with “stolen funds.” The developers submitted business card from the firm Sage Intelligence bearing the name Herman Weisberg, a former New York Police Department detective, that had been left with one of their acquaintances. Weisberg declined to comment for this story.

The developers said they were not the only victims, and that the defendants had been engaging in a “pattern and practice” of extorting and trying to extort other members of the Orthodox Jewish community, to which all involved belong, through “sham” entities called Diligence I LLC and Prudence LLC.

“Brunner and I inquired in our community about Scharf, Lax and Ehrenfeld,” states Mandel in a sworn affidavit. “We learned that they have been shaking down other people in our community for large settlement payments by threatening criminal actions.”

The Laxes and Ehrenfeld have denied wrongdoing. Scharf and his firm, who were never named as defendants, also deny any wrongdoing. Morrison Cohen has since withdrawn as counsel for Lax’s father’s estate, citing a conflict of interest (in June, the firm also withdrew from the KGK case, saying Lax and Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry had failed pay them).

Morrison Cohen’s withdrawal was just one of many bizarre turns the Brunner and Mandel case has taken. At one point, an attorney for Diligence claimed not to know who actually controlled the shell corporation he was representing. At another point, Lax claimed not to know the original identities of the lenders for the loan under dispute.

Judge Shirley Kornreich later concluded that Lax was lying, and over the course of the case she grew increasingly frustrated with such shenanigans. “A theme in this case is the pleading of ignorance by defendants and their counsel,” she wrote in one court order, listing off assertions that she did not find credible.

In June 2015, the lawyer for Diligence, Steven Schlesinger, withdrew from the case, saying his client had failed to communicate with him and had stiffed him on $85,000 worth of legal fees. Diligence then got a replacement lawyer, David Jaroslawicz, but he also withdrew from the case this January.

In his request to abandon the case, Jaroslawicz said he had been retained by someone named Elridge Glasford running a corporate services firm on the Caribbean island of Nevis—population 11,000—that he was “not computer literate” because of a disability, and that he was never paid for his work. In November, a lawyer representing Lax’s sister, Zlaty Schwartz, and his father’s estate, withdrew from the case, citing “irreconcilable differences” with the estate.

Since then, the case has settled, according to the developers’ lawyer, William Fried, who declined to comment, citing a confidentiality agreement.

***

Those cases represent only a small sample of the suits filed against Lax in recent years. In September 2013, the law firm Cohen & Perfetto sued Lax, claiming he stiffed them for $48,000 in legal fees. The case settled, with Scharf representing Lax.

Last January, Lax’s cousin, Aron, sued Lax and his sister for allegedly pursuing “unjust enrichment” by trying to evict Aron and his wife from a Brooklyn condo that they have resided in since 2006 but whose mortgage is in the name of Lax’s late father. Last October, the firm Porzio, Bromberg & Newman sued Lax for $100,000 in unpaid legal fees. And in June, the law firm Meltzer, Lippe, Goldstein & Breitstone sued Lax for $20,000 in unpaid legal fees. The cases remain ongoing. Lax has also been named as a defendant in a number of cases claiming failures to make mortgage payments.

Lax’s problems have continued to entangle Ivanka Trump. In recent years, the state of New York has issued at least three warrants for unpaid taxes against Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry, totaling over $300,000. The outstanding taxes were eventually paid.

The financial travails of Lax and his wife have also put Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry in danger of at least partly falling into the hands of the highest bidder at a public auction in order to satisfy their unpaid debts. In January, a New York couple, Michael and Rachel Goldenberg, sued Lax and his wife for stiffing them on a six-figure loan. Lax’s wife owned at least part of Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry, and in April, a New York court ordered her to turn over her stake in the company to the city so that it could be auctioned off to settle the debt. She apparently failed to do so, leading the Goldenbergs to request in May that she be held in contempt of court. In July, the court ordered the Laxs to pay the Goldenbergs $675,000, and the motion for contempt has been put on hold until September 19, the deadline for paying the debt.

The Laxes’ finances are further obscured by the fact that they are sometimes conducted under the name Chana Weisz, an alias used by his wife, Shaindy. Lax will sometimes write checks from a checkbook made in the name of Chana Weisz, according to a person who has seen him do this. The person recently received a five-figure check from Lax out of that checkbook but said they were unable to cash it because, as an alarmed bank teller pointed out, Lax’s signature did match the name on the check.

Amid so many setbacks, Lax did score at least one massive, if temporary, reprieve thanks to some highly irregular tax relief. In October 2015, the IRS released a $27 million tax lien against his father’s estate, saying the obligation had been satisfied. But last May, the IRS reinstated the lien, saying it had been released by mistake and that the $27 million in back taxes had never actually been paid.

Michael Macgillivray, a prominent Chicago attorney specializing in tax collections and a veteran of the IRS collections department, was gobsmacked by the botched lien release. “That is extremely extraordinary,” he said. “Of the things I’ve seen in my practice, nothing has even remotely approached a million dollars when there was an erroneously released lien.”

To read this article in its entirety 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.

Dan Gertler, the Systematic Destruction of Obstacles and the Lawyers Involved – The Gertner Brothers – PART I

THE SYSTEMATIC DESTRUCTION OF MOISES GERTNER AND HIS BROTHER BY DAN GERTLER, HIS LAW FIRMS, HIS PR FIRMS HIS RELATIONSHIPS AND A SERIES OF COMPANIES, TRUSTS AND PARTNERS

LostMessiah – 23 June 2017

Earlier this week we published an article regarding Dan Gertler which made reference to a series of other articles, including to a blog post of paramount importance entitled: “Exposing African Mafia and Corruption” in a Blogspot – Purifying Africa. Interestingly the information published by Purifying Africa, though a series of what appears to be leaked emails from a law firm, seems to have been largely ignored by mainstream media. We believe it speaks volumes to the extent to which the Gertler empire will go to destroy its perceived adversaries.

The emails include correspondence written by an attorney by the name of Dory (Avigdor) Klagsbald of a law firm in Israel. The parties who are cc’d or otherwise mentioned in those emails include attorneys with Mishcon de Reya LLP, a series of consulting firms (namely public relations firms), and attorneys from Millbank, Tweed, another law firm. 

The sole purpose of those emails appear to be outlining a strategy to unwind an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA) which was a negotiated agreement between Islandic Bank Haupthing and the Gertner brothers for repayment of a loan at what was to have been an undisclosed amount. That effort continues and has all but destroyed Moises Gertner.

It should be noted that much of the alleged payments of that loan and corresponding guarantees are in the form of interest and fees. We believe the current claims by CFL are tantamount to extortionery at this juncture, particularly since these events have dragged on for years and there were agreements in place to settle many of those loans. CFL Limited has sought and continues to seek systematically to undo formerly agreed upon settlements (Case No. 3482 of 2015 / BR-2015-02338).

The emails between Dori Klagsbald in our analysis refer in no uncertain terms to a methodology for undoing the IVA and dragging the Gertner brothers’ names through the silt, with what can only be deemed to be a carefully constructed PR campaign (steps to be taken “if necessary”).  The party in whose interest this carefully crafted scheme has been devised, is an Israeli owned company CFL Finance (a Dan Gertler company). CFL was in 2015 allegedly owed only 12Million Pounds, a paltry amount in comparison to the 557M pounds that was the subject of the IVA and the agreed repayment to Haupthing. Again, to reiterate much of the currently disputed money is comprised of interest and penalties. The fact that it is still ungoing and leaves the Gertner brothers in a constant stated of disquiet is likely of greater value to Gertler.

We reiterate the articles and the historical context should not be taken in a vacuum. In fact, we contend that the death of Katumba , the information regarding the Fleurette Group, Glencore Plc, Ellesmere Global (BVI) can similarly not be read exclusive of the other articles and the timeframe involved. When read in context with an earlier published Ha’Aretz article and dozens of other articles and publications, it is abundantly clear that Dan Gertler, along with his attorneys and public relations firms, has since at least 2013 made concerted and systematic efforts in no uncertain terms to destroy anyone or anything that stands in the way of his constantly increasing wealth.

In the case of the death of Katumba, we can only speculate. In the ongoing legal battles against Moises Gertner and his brother who were at one time business partners of Dan Gertler, we maintain that Gertler was and continues to be intent upon decimation and they continue to be his victims.

We begin describing this saga by re-posting the 42 screenshots taken from the Purifying Africa Blogspot.

We will continue by slowly introducing the cast of questionable figures including another character in this case of Gertler v. Gertner, an Israeli lawyer named Yaakov Weinrot. We note Mr. Weinrot claims to have been owed many millions of dollars by the Gertner brothers, was apparently hired by them in the context of their dealings in the Congo; but also apparently participated in the smear campaign against them on behalf of Dan Gertler. We leave that piece for another day.

Our sources are publicly available. As many of the articles state, the Congo is one of the worlds most mineral-rich countries. And yet, it is the poorest and least developed. The Congolese people are the victims of extraordinary greed, the greed of their government, the greed of so-called “investors” like Dan Gertler and the corresponding corruption and fraud.

Finally, we note in the interest of full disclosure that we have not independently investigated the Gertner brothers on their other dealings, most of which appear to have been real estate investments. We have found significant evidence of charitable giving but make no judgment one way or the other. We firmly believe them to be victims of Dan Gertler and his  ‘mafia’ of attorneys, PR firms, and co-conspirators. We write the series of exposés in the hopes that perhaps the Gertner brothers and numerous other victims of Dan Gertler and his associates’ greed will find justice.

The Images: