Jeffrey Epstein Country of Residence Saudi Arabia? And Art, Diamonds… The State Department….

US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman announces charges against Jeffery Epstein on July 8, 2019 in New York City. Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images.

Art Industry News: The Feds Are Investigating Jeffrey Epstein’s Hair-Raising Art Collection + Other Stories

Feds Investigate Jeffrey Epstein’s Art Collection – US prosecutors are fighting to keep the disgraced billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein behind bars while his lawyers argued in court that he should be able to stay at his Upper East Side mansion ahead of his trial for sex trafficking. Assistant US Attorney Alex Rossmiller cited the “art and diamonds” found in Epstein’s $77 million home, along with an expired passport listing his country of residence as Saudi Arabia, as reasons he should be denied bail. “Certainly, the first question for a defendant of this tremendous means is how much money does he have?” Rossmiller asked in court. “How much is in diamonds or art?” (Epstein, incidentally, is known to have a certain creepy taste in art, for instance decorating his home with a custom mural of himself standing in the middle of a prison tableau.) Two new accusers have also stepped forward alleging Epstein sexually abused them when they were underage, adding to a growing list of women that includes the artist Maria Farmer. (Courthouse News)

Glencore, Human Rights, Gertler, Sanctions, the DRC and The Global Magnitsky Act’s Non-Enforcement

Where are Africa’s billions?

Photograph Credit: Transparency International

Who Oversees Enforcement of The Magnitsky Act and Dan Gertler’s Payments from Glencore Belie Enforcement

DISCLAIMER: The below Euractiv.com piece is an Opinion Post, republished in part without the permission of the author or the Euractiv.com Ltd. company and/or their website.

We are re-posting with links to the original.

This current interest comes at the heals of recent violence in the DRC: “The Congolese army has arrived at Glencore’s largest copper and cobalt mine following the deaths of over 40 informal miners on the site.” (The Financial Times) “The latest tragedy struck at a site owned by Kamoto Copper Company, a subsidiary of FTSE 100 giant Glencore. The company has reported incursions of up to 2,000 people a day on its giant mining concession, which, at 5,200 acres, is difficult to secure.” (The Telegraph)

For the purposes of the Global Magnitsky Act in the US, it is unclear within the context of the United States enforcement mechanisms who enforces the Global Magnitsky Act within the branches of US Government. The Sanctions against Dan Gertler, a former partner of Glencore, were issued by the Department of Treasury and Foreign Assets (OFAC); but Glencore’s announcements in 2018 that it would pay Gertler in a currency other than US Dollars to avoid triggering the sanctions or asset seizures was announced with a measure of glee in 2018. It would seem, therefore that even though the US has enacted the Global Magnitsky Act it lacks teeth or in the alternative, those with teeth are easily bought.

“Glencore said it believed payment of the royalties in a currency other than U.S. dollars to Africa Horizons Investments Limited and Ventora without the involvement of U.S. entities would address applicable sanctions obligations. It added it had discussed the matter “with the appropriate U.S. and Swiss government agencies”. [Reuters]

Based upon Glencore’s own comments, it would appear that they colluded with US and Swiss government agencies to avoid compliance, or rather to find loopholes in which payment would comply. Either way, this means that Gertler continues to get wealthier off the backs of the Congolese people and The Magnitsky Sanctions, intended to prevent exploitation of human rights are meaningless.

We believe that there is a connection to Gertler with high ranking officials in the United States government or with people who have the ear of US officials and with that, a means of guaranteeing that those who would be overseeing the sanctions simply look the other way.

We take the general position that the are no coincidences, everything is political and nearly everyone has a price. 

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Merlin Can’t Possibly Possess Enough Magic for Gutnick’s Great Escape, ASIC Turns Up Heat On Diamond Company

ASIC liquidator push turns up the heat on Diamond Joe Gutnick

Australia’s corporate watchdog has sought Federal Court approval to wind up Joseph Gutnick’s publicly-listed company, Merlin Diamonds, and flagged an inquiry into whether the colourful Melbourne businessman has breached his director’s duties.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s (ASIC) move against the man known as “Diamond Joe” due to his appetite for outback diamond and gold deposits confirms the worst fears of Merlin Diamonds’ shareholders, who have already endured a seven-month trading ban on the company’s stock.

Joe Gutnick.
Joe Gutnick. CREDIT:JOHN WOUDSTRA

Court filings released to The Age and Sydney Morning Herald on Tuesday show ASIC is seeking an order to appoint Deloitte as liquidators of Merlin Diamonds, which had a market capitalisation of just $20 million when its stock was banned from trading last October.

ASIC has for months been probing how Merlin Diamonds has loaned $13 million of investor money to a private company, AXIS Consultants, which has long been associated with Mr Gutnick.

“The loans have been used to fund private companies associated with Joseph Gutnick and provide no discernible benefit to Merlin Diamonds,” ASIC said in a statement on Tuesday evening.

In one example cited by ASIC, it alleges Merlin Diamonds in October 2016 received $900,000 from a Mr Gutnick-linked company, Chabad Properties, for convertible notes and options issued to Chabad.

“The ultimate source of the $900,000 paid by Chabad, through a series of transactions involving related companies, was Merlin Diamonds. Mr Gutnick is a former director of Chabad,” ASIC’s media statement revealed.

Mr Gutnick, who resumed the chairmanship of Merlin Diamonds after emerging from a self-imposed bankruptcy last year, and his wife, Stera Gutnick, are also named in the ASIC’s court filing to wind up Merlin Diamonds. Mrs Gutnick is not a director of Merlin Diamonds and is not understood to be personally under investigation.

ASIC has asked the liquidators to examine and provide an opinion on whether Mr Gutnick and other past and present Merlin Diamonds directors and officers, have breached the Corporations Act.

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Merlin Diamonds, Not So Magical Now – ASIC Move to Liquidate Company – Follow the Money…

ASIC media releases are point-in-time statements. Please note the date of issue and use the internal search function on the site to check for other media releases on the same or related matters.

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Tuesday 14 May 2019

19-113MR ASIC moves to appoint provisional liquidator to Merlin Diamonds Ltd

ASIC has applied to the Federal Court of Australia to wind up ASX-listed public company Merlin Diamonds Limited (ACN 009 153 119) (Merlin Diamonds) and for the appointment of provisional liquidators to report to the court pending hearing of its application for final relief.

The application arises from ASIC’s concerns which include:

  • since 2012, Merlin Diamonds has advanced substantial funds to Axis Consultants Pty Ltd (Axis), a related management services company, without shareholder approval ($13,752,124 owing as at 30 June 2018) (Loans);

  • the Loans have been used to fund private companies associated with Mr Joseph Gutnick (a current and former director of Merlin Diamonds and Axis respectively) and provide no discernible benefit to Merlin Diamonds;

  • the terms of the Loans appear to be unreasonable, uncommercial and non-arm’s length. No security for the Loans has been provided by Axis or any third party and the Loans are being fully provisioned (impairment provision) each financial year;

  • the Merlin Diamonds auditors have been unable to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence to be satisfied that Axis is likely to be able to repay the Loans;

  • in October 2016 Merlin Diamonds received $900,000 from Chabad Properties Pty Ltd (Chabad) for convertible notes and options issued to Chabad. The ultimate source of the $900,000 paid by Chabad, through a series of transactions involving related companies, was Merlin Diamonds. Mr Gutnick is a former director of Chabad;

  • audited accounts of Merlin Diamonds for the half-year ended 31 December 2018 (due 18 March 2019) have not been lodged with ASIC, a contravention of s320 of the Corporations Act;

  • the financial position of Merlin Diamonds as at 30 June 2018 raises concerns over the company’s solvency;

  • there has been no company secretary of Merlin Diamonds since 8 January 2019, a contravention of s204A(2) of the Corporations Act; and 

  • corporate governance of Merlin Diamonds falls far short of the standard expected of an ASX-listed public company.

ASIC seeks from the Court:

  • the appointment of Mr Salvatore Algeri and Mr Timothy Norman, of Deloitte Financial Advisory Pty Ltd as joint and several provisional      liquidators of the company; and

  • orders requiring the provisional liquidators to provide a detailed report to the Court that sets out, among other things:

    • the way in which Merlin Diamonds has made the Loans;

    • the recoverability of the Loans from Axis;

    • the $900,000 transaction involving Chabad; and

    • the financial position of Merlin Diamonds

  • for the Court’s consideration at a later date, orders to wind up the company and appointing Mr Algeri and Mr Norman as liquidators.

ASIC’s application will be heard in the Federal Court of Australia at Melbourne on a date to be fixed.

ASIC’s investigation into the affairs of Merlin Diamonds is continuing.

Background

Merlin Diamonds, a Melbourne-based company listed on ASX, engages in the exploration and development of diamond mining projects. Its flagship project is the Merlin diamond mine in the Northern Territory.

Merlin Diamond’s shares have been suspended from trading since 1 October 2018. Merlin Diamonds has 3.3 billion ordinary shares issued, and last traded at $0.006 per share – resulting in a market capitalisation of approximately $20 million.

Editor’s note:

The matter was listed for the first case management hearing on 4 June 2019 in the Federal Court, Melbourne.

Diamond Joe Gutnick and Merlin Diamonds, Liquidation… Follow the Money

ASIC liquidator push turns up the heat on Diamond Joe Gutnick

Australia’s corporate watchdog has sought Federal Court approval to wind up Joseph Gutnick’s publicly-listed company, Merlin Diamonds, and flagged an inquiry into whether the colourful Melbourne businessman has breached his director’s duties.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s (ASIC) move against the man known as “Diamond Joe” due to his appetite for outback diamond and gold deposits confirms the worst fears of Merlin Diamonds’ shareholders, who have already endured a seven-month trading ban on the company’s stock.

Joe Gutnick.

Court filings released to The Age and Sydney Morning Herald on Tuesday show ASIC is seeking an order to appoint Deloitte as liquidators of Merlin Diamonds, which had a market capitalisation of just $20 million when its stock was banned from trading last October.

ASIC has for months been probing how Merlin Diamonds has loaned $13 million of investor money to a private company, AXIS Consultants, which has long been associated with Mr Gutnick.

“The loans have been used to fund private companies associated with Joseph Gutnick and provide no discernible benefit to Merlin Diamonds,” ASIC said in a statement on Tuesday evening.

In one example cited by ASIC, it alleges Merlin Diamonds in October 2016 received $900,000 from a Mr Gutnick-linked company, Chabad Properties, for convertible notes and options issued to Chabad.

It wants this opinion, as well as advice on the company’s assets, solvency and likely return to creditors, within 42 days of the liquidators being appointed.

Mr Gutnick is one of Australia’s best-known business figures, was once a regular on the BRW richest 200 list and a benefactor to many Jewish charities.

As president of a stricken Melbourne Football Club during the 1990s, the ordained Rabbi’s financial support kept the club alive.

Mr Gutnick said on Tuesday that Merlin Diamonds was reviewing ASIC’s filings.

“It’s been handed to lawyers to examine and defend,” he said.

ASIC has sought an order to release to Deloitte documents it has amassed relevant to Merlin Diamonds, Mr and Mrs Gutnick and a host of Gutnick-controlled or associated private companies.

Among the named private companies is AXIS Consultants, which The Age and Sydney Morning Herald revealed in February was at the heart of ASIC’s investigation into Merlin Diamonds.

AXIS, which shares the same Moray Street Southbank office as Merlin Diamonds, has received about $18 million dollars in unsecured loans from publicly-traded companies led by Mr Gutnick, including Merlin Diamonds and the company formerly known as Top End Minerals.

“The ultimate source of the $900,000 paid by Chabad, through a series of transactions involving related companies, was Merlin Diamonds. Mr Gutnick is a former director of Chabad,” ASIC’s media statement revealed.

 

Mr Gutnick, who resumed the chairmanship of Merlin Diamonds after emerging from a self-imposed bankruptcy last year, and his wife, Stera Gutnick, are also named in the ASIC’s court filing to wind up Merlin Diamonds. Mrs Gutnick is not a director of Merlin Diamonds and is not understood to be personally under investigation.

ASIC has asked the liquidators to examine and provide an opinion on whether Mr Gutnick and other past and present Merlin Diamonds directors and officers, have breached the Corporations Act.

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A Gem of a Read- First He Evades 4B Pounds in Belgium’s Taxes, then he Dies Getting His Penis Enhanced… Precious…

NINTCHDBPICT000474077894

Billionaire diamond trader dies during penis enhancement procedure, reports say

A billionaire diamond trader has died during a penis enlargement operation at a posh Parisian clinic, it was reported.

Ehud Arye Laniado died at the age of 65 in the clinic of an unnamed plastic surgeon on the Avenue des Champs-Elysees in the French capital.

According to local media, complications during surgery proved fatal for the Belgian-Israeli dual national and he suffered a heart attack when a substance was injected into his penis.

exact fortune is not publicly known, got in trouble with the authorities in 2013.

He faced claim for 4 billion British pounds (approx. $5.2 billion) from the Belgian authorities for tax evasion on diamonds illegally imported from Congo and Angola, Belgian’s GVA reported.

Laniado reportedly prevented a tax evasion trial by agreeing to pay 137.7 pounds.

However, the Belgian customs office suspected him of lying or giving incomplete information about some of the diamonds imported from Angola and Congo and still claimed 4 billion pounds as well as a 1.7 million pounds (approx. $2.2 billion) fine.

Even though two courts dismissed the Belgian customs office’s claim, an appeals court ordered a new trial with Laniado due to appear in court on March 14.

Laniado’s company, Omega Diamonds, which is based in the Belgian city of Antwerp, where most of the world’s top diamond traders operate, confirmed his passing.

A statement read: “Farewell to a visionary businessman. It is with great sadness that we confirm that our founder Ehud Arye Laniado has passed away.”

According to media reports, Laniado suffered from a so-called Napoleon complex due his short stature.

 

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ADDITIONAL READING:

DIAMOND GEEZER

Billionaire diamond trader Ehud Arye Laniado, 65, dies during penis enlargement surgery that triggered ‘heart attack’ at Paris clinic

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/8575776/billionaire-diamond-trader-ehud-arye-laniado-65-dies-during-penis-enlargement-surgery-that-triggered-heart-attack-at-paris-clinic/

Ehud Arye Laniado Facts: Billionaire Diamond Trader Dies During Penis Enhancement Surgery