Mining Tycoon, Steinmetz, Kushner, Guinea, Switzerland and…

Israeli billionaire Beny Steinmetz has been at the centre of an international investigation into alleged bribery to win mining rights in Guinea. (Image from Beny Steinmetz’s website)

Beny Steinmetz: Mining tycoon in Swiss trial over Guinea deal

A billionaire French-Israeli diamond magnate, Beny Steinmetz, has appeared in court in Switzerland to face trial over alleged corruption linked to a major mining deal in Guinea.

He has always denied his company, BSGR, paid multi-million dollar bribes to obtain iron ore mining exploration permits in southern Guinea in 2008.

He travelled to Geneva from Israel for the two-week trial.

If convicted he could face up to 10 years in prison.

Steinmetz, 64, was previously sentenced in absentia to five years in prison by a court in Romania for money laundering.

Swiss prosecutors say Steinmetz paid about $10m (£7.4m) in bribes, in part through Swiss bank accounts, to gain the rights to Guinea’s iron ore deposits in the Simandou mountains.

The area is believed to contain the world’s largest untapped iron ore deposits.

His lawyer Marc Bonnant says “we will plead his innocence”.

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A Picture Paints 1000 Words, the Kushner Affect, Kodak, Chemdas and Covid-19…

FOIA Request to the DFC, dated May 12, 2020

Eastman Kodak, A Loan From the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, a Fabulous Share Price, Kushner and a Donation

The underlying premise of the following opinion analysis is that there was and has been a relationship between Jared Kushner and Kodak’s board member George Karfunkel. That relationship, as we see it, is one based in real estate holdings and transactions, between well connected religious families that travel in the same circles, either directly or indirectly strengthened to religious connections; and then fostered by Kushner’s lifelong political elite status. This is a relationship that, when accompanied by a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” approach, offers Trump significant access to donations and religious Jewish bloc voting as well as the ear of officials in countries like Israel and the Ukraine. It’s all about money and Jewish geography.

It is our belief that the $750M loan to Kodak by a little known US government development corporation whose head is a former Kushner college roommate was no coincidence and was a means to filter money to Kodak, couched in a brain trust Kushner was tasked with building to try to overcome a formidable opponent, Covid-19. Whether or not the company’s head knew of the seeming lack of propriety of the Kodak deal remains open to debate. He spoke frequently about the deal and seems to have sincerely believed he was going to both rebuild a company and slow or even stop the spread of Covid-19.

He has claimed that Covid-19 made the entire loan idea completely reasonable. We beg to differ. Regardless, Kodak had been lobbying the US government for months and while somewhat questionable, Kodak’s ability to re-define itself might have been palatable, or at least was not exquisitely unfathomable. Had monumental increase in share price and corporate greed not come to lay waste on the transaction in the form of some dubious stock trades, including a donation, that loan probably would have materialized.

On August 7th, 2020 it was put on hold. We do not believe it should be provided.

We opine that the metioric rise of Kodak share price on the announcement of the Kodak loan was well-timed by Kodak’s board member, also the Director of Amtrust, George Karfunkel who used a single moment in time to run a significant donation through a mysterious [” virtually non-existent”] yeshiva, Chemdas Yisroel, effectively maximizing gains in the stock which otherwise would not have materialized. The parenthetical in the previous sentence regarding the status of Chemdas Yisroel is based upon a complete lack of paper for the mysterious Yeshiva, an address which is an unlikely place to hide a Yeshiva with a newly acquired $100+Million and corporate filings that seem inconsistent with a company that donates or that fosters young minds. The board of directors is also not easily found but word is that it is a group of people, family members of Karfunkel, who are oft involved in monumentally profitable loophole-based transactions.

Not coincidentally, the Yeshiva was incorporated by a signatory located at an address in Monsey, New York, 25 Robert Pitt Drive, a location that is the alleged principal location for dozens of seemingly opaque companies, nearly all in the hard money lending, real estate, finance and not-for-profit charities and Yeshivas industries. The Char 440 Registration Statement for Chemdas Yisroel, Inc. can be found here.

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Another Kodak Moment -Little Reported Donation Part II

Kodak Inquiry Doesn’t Solve the Mystery of the $100 Million Donation to a Little-Known Synagogue

From Mother Jones

“In August, Kodak and the Trump administration ran into a scandal, when word leaked that the once-mighty film giant was in contention for a massive and unprecedented $765 million federal loan (to manufacture ingredients for prescription drugs) and its stock price soared, giving rise to speculation about insider shenanigans. Last week, Kodak released the results of a review conducted by the law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld that concluded Kodak and its top brass “did not violate the securities regulations or other relevant laws, engage in a breach of fiduciary duty, or violate any of Kodak’s internal policies and procedures.” House Democrats questioned the finding and why the Trump administration—via a little-known federal agency headed by a former roommate of Jared Kushner—would consider handing such a loan to Kodak. Moreover, the report failed to fully explain a curious aspect of the controversy: a gargantuan transfer of stock by board member (and billionaire) George Karfunkel to an Orthodox Jewish congregation in Brooklyn called Chemdas Yisroel that had practically no public profile but that he controlled as its president and chief financial officer.

In fact, Akin Gump’s investigation of the Karfunkel transaction seemed somewhat cursory, with the report suggesting the law firm didn’t do much more than ask Karfunkel about it. One House Democrat, who has tried to gather information on Karfunkel’s transfer of Kodak stock, noted recently that this move still “raises many questions.” “

To continue reading the story, click here.

A Little Reported Donation of Kodak Shares, Congregation Chemdas Yisroel, Insider Trading and President Trump

As if the Outrageous Kodak Pivot to Pharma Wasn’t Absurd Enough… We Could Jokingly Commented: “All We Need is a Tax Deductible Donation to a Synagogue”

Kodak came up in an article we wrote in 2018 which is, we believe, relevant to the utter insanity of the recent Kodak transaction. Whomever concocted this folly deserves a prize for one of most creative ways to manipulate the financial markets amidst a pandemic. The greatest victims are Kodak shareholders and those unsavy investors who thought buying Kodak was a good idea. It wasn’t, unless you caught it JUST IN TIME. To do that, you had to be an Insider (with few exceptions).

Yesterday (7/28/20), President Trump surprised a LOT of people announcing that via the Defense Production Act (DPA) the US government is going to give Kodak (NYSE:KODK) $765 million to make pharmaceuticals. The tie to current COVID-19 pandemic issues, for which the Act was invoked, is at best tenuous. Somehow the announcement seems to be more about moving pharma production back to the USA. Which is why it left me, and a lot of others, asking, “why would you pick Kodak?” Seeking Alpha

Will Kodak Successfully Pivot Into Pharmaceuticals? I Doubt It

Trump’s ties to the Orthodox Jewish community is no surprise to those of us researching these topics. He did, after all, commute the sentence of Shalom Rubashkin, heavily tied to both the Chabad and the Satmar communities. This was undoubtedly a favor returned for the bloc vote, and likely other personal and professional benefits for friends and family.

Trump’s daughter and son-in-law have deep, heavily leveraged and big money ties to the Jewish community, most particularly as it connects to Chabad. Ivanka’s former business partner has millions in taxes forgiven by the Internal Revenue Service with many of us left to shake our heads. He was then accused of duping diamond dealers. It should be noted that Ivanka’s former partner denied he owed taxes. But then there’s the odd arson claim involving the same partner.

Jared Kushner’s ties to the power brokers within the religious real-estate mogulcommunity is heavily documented in numerous (questionable) transactions. He has lobbied for his personal success and his wishes have indeed been granted.

So, the only thing missing from the absurdity of the Kodak transaction was the

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Chris Christie New Memoir, Charlie Kushner and the “Loathesome” Crime



Chris Christie Says Jared Kushner’s Father Committed a ‘Loathsome’ Crime

Chris Christie writes in a new memoir that Jared Kushner was determined to push him out of President Trump’s orbit because Mr. Christie had prosecuted his father.

Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor who clashed with Jared Kushner during his brief stint running President Trump’s transition team, issued a sharply personal attack on Mr. Kushner’s father on Tuesday, saying he had committed a “loathsome” and “disgusting” crime.

The former governor’s new memoir, released this week, depicts Mr. Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and adviser, as being hellbent on retribution for Mr. Christie’s prosecution of his father more than a decade ago, when Mr. Christie was a United States attorney. Mr. Christie says Stephen K. Bannon, the former Trump strategist, told him Mr. Kushner had directed his firing from the transition team, and he paints Mr. Kushner as a shadow campaign manager and chief of staff who offered questionable advice.

Mr. Kushner’s father, Charles Kushner, a multimillionaire real estate executive, pleaded guilty in 2004 to 18 counts of tax evasion, witness tampering and making illegal campaign donations. He admitted hiring a prostitute to seduce his brother-in-law, who was cooperating in a federal campaign finance investigation, then videotaping the sexual encounter and sending it to the man’s wife, Mr. Kushner’s sister.

“Mr. Kushner pled guilty, he admitted the crimes. So what am I supposed to do as a prosecutor?” Mr. Christie said in an interview on “Firing Line With Margaret Hoover” on PBS. “If a guy hires a prostitute to seduce his brother-in-law, and videotapes it, and then sends the videotape to his sister to attempt to intimidate her from testifying before a grand jury, do I really need any more justification than that?”

He continued: “It’s one of the most loathsome, disgusting crimes that I prosecuted when I was U.S. attorney. And I was U.S. attorney in New Jersey, Margaret, so we had some loathsome and disgusting crime going on there.”

Charles Kushner served 14 months of a two-year sentence in federal prison. It was the maximum sentence allowed under a plea agreement he had reached with Mr. Christie, but Mr. Christie sought a three-year sentence regardless, arguing that Mr. Kushner had violated the deal by failing to accept responsibility for his crimes.

“It shows that no matter how rich and powerful you are in this state, you will be prosecuted and punished for crimes you commit,” Mr. Christie said after the sentencing in 2005. “This sends a strong message that when you commit the vile and heinous acts that he has committed, you will be caught and punished.”

In his new book, “Let Me Finish,” Mr. Christie said that Mr. Kushner had consistently tried to push him out. Mr. Bannon told him that Mr. Kushner was “obsessed with destroying me,” he wrote.

To read the article in its entirety in the New York Times click here.

Investigation into Platinum Widens, The Direction it Should Take?


Our Take on Events –


Since 2016, LM has been reporting on Platinum Partners and the various partners and schemes. It is and has always been our position that Platinum Partners, as a firm, has been nothing more and nothing less than one giant Ponzi Scheme, with some pretty frightening tentacles. Platinum Partners’ establishment with the assistance of then Africa Israel employee Jona Rechnitz, along with other members of AFI is all the more unsettling because we believe the earlier Platinum Fund, itself, was partially financed by Lev Leviev and his connection to the Platinum and its partners cannot and should not be ignored, particularly not by law enforcement reviewing all angles.

We will provide continued information to our readers on investigations it becomes available. Having said that, we do not believe that Murray Huberfeld should be given anything but the harshest sentence and we further believe that if the Platinum Partners’ liquidators are looking for all Platinum’s assets they need begin to look at the personal family fortunes of Huberfeld, David Bodner and Huberfeld’s longtime friend and co-partner Mark Nordlicht.

The men involved in Platinum, Black Elk, Echo Therapeutics, and all of the associated businesses and investments, should be scrutinized, bar none. And Jona Rechnitz should not remain unpunished for his involvement. He knew what he was doing when he introduced Norman Seabrook to the Platinum investments that tanked COBA. He knew what he was doing when he elicited money from Hamilton Peralta.

As we mentioned in a previous post, Murray Huberfeld’s attorneys in their remarkable eloquence would have us believe that he is a great altruist, naive and burdened by a scheme he knew nothing about. That is pure and utter nonsense. The many men involved in years and years of frauds and schemes and their associates are savvy, creative and cunning businessmen. These are not men who should be permitted to walk a higher ground because they purport to believe in a “higher authority” [borrowed from an old advertisement]. We have little choice but to give credit where credit is due and these men, in all of their financially lucrative glory, deserve the lions’ share. On the flip side of that very valuable coin, their moral compasses do not necessarily all point in the same directions as their victims’.

There have been thousands of victims over the years. We should be focusing on them: compensation, investment returns, justice and retribution. The money was siphoned off into personal family funds and other investments. And it should be recovered. 

As to COBA and its heralding a $7M recovery for COBA members, that is a financial farce. Murray Huberfeld will be repaying $4M initially with the additional $3M over time. This is utterly reprehensible as he will have use of funds during that time. He will be generating income over the course of that time. Platinum Partners, the fund, the individuals, should all be repaying COBA and its members, plus interest, investment losses and other compensation. Only then should those currently in charge take pride in their recovery.



Platinum Partners Hedge Fund Investigation Reportedly Widens


The Platinum Partners saga may have further twists in store.

The New York-based hedge fund has begun liquidating its funds, after the firm’s longtime associate Murray Huberfeld was accused last month of arranging for a $60,000 kickback to be delivered — in a Salvatore Ferragamo bag — to a correctional officers’ union official in exchange for directing the union’s retirement fund investments to Platinum.

Now, Platinum and its chief investment officer, Mark Nordlicht, may face scrutiny as the probe widens, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.

Platinum’s woes began with the June 8 announcement of bribery charges against Huberfeld and Norman Seabrook, president of the New York City Correction Officers Benevolent Association.

Prosecutors say that Huberfeld, through an intermediary, arranged for the delivery of the kickback to Seabrook after the union official directed $20 million in union investments into the Platinum Partners Value Arbitrage Fund. Huberfeld then arranged for the hedge fund to reimburse the intermediary for the kickback using a fraudulent invoice for the purchase of New York Knicks basketball tickets, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Both Seabrook and Huberfeld pleaded not guilty to the charges on Friday.

The fund itself had not been implicated in the criminal case against Huberfeld, whom prosecutors describe as a co-founder and manager at Platinum, claiming he was not listed on the firm’s registration documents to avoid scrutiny. Huberfeld has been previously fined by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Federal agents raided Platinum’s office in late June, after the charges were announced, as part of an investigation that’s reportedly separate from the bribery case. And there are other rumblings of wider fallout.

Since its founding in 2003, Platinum Partners has appeared to be one of the world’s best-performing hedge funds, claiming a 17% annual return for its main fund as of last fall. But the firm has made investments in assets that are potentially hard to value or liquidate, such as private placements in a distressed company’s debt. These are known in accounting parlance as “Level 3” assets, which have significant “unobservable” value inputs. Nearly all of Platinum’s investments are Level 3, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Among the illiquid investments are several that have raised eyebrows. In 2007, according to SEC investigators, Platinum created a subsidiary called BDL Group for the purpose of investing in variable annuities for hospice patients, which paid out a bonus when the patient died. Several involved in the plan agreed to pay settlement fines to the SEC, but Platinum and Nordlicht were not accused of wrongdoing.

Other Platinum investments include financing for payday lenders, which offer short-term loans at the equivalent of a 400% annual rate or higher. The industry has long been the target of regulatory crackdowns.

Platinum’s payday borrowers include CashCall, according to Bloomberg. CashCall has been suedby the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for allegedly charging interest in excess of what state laws allow; the company contests those claims and the case is pending in federal court in Los Angeles.

All of this adds up to signals that, at best, it may take Platinum some time to liquidate its funds, a subject that was already making some investors antsy. Two prominent investors reported Platinum to the SEC in November for non-payment of redemptions, according to The Observer.

The Wall Street Journal, citing sources, now says that the investigation into Platinum is examining whether it overstated the value of its holdings, or paid out exiting investors from new investments or borrowings. A Platinum spokesperson rejected those claims in a statement to the Journal.

To read the article in its entirety click here.