A little-known company located in Switzerland has come under scrutiny by the Special Counsel’s Office for its connection to Psy Group, the firm that created a social media manipulation plan to help Donald Trump win the 2016 election. That’s according to three sources with knowledge of the office’s questioning, and documents obtained by The Daily Beast.
Former employees of Psy Group said the FBI interviewed them in 2017 and asked detailed questions about the firm’s business and ownership structure. These same sources told The Daily Beast that while working at Psy, which is now defunct, they operated under the understanding that Joel Zamel, an Australian with links to Israeli intelligence, ultimately owned the firm. But the financial structure of Psy Group was much more complicated, they said, and included offshore entities registered in the British Virgin Islands.
At the end of that chain of opaque offshore entities sits a Zurich, Switzerland-based financial services group known as Salix Services AG, according to interviews with former Psy Group employees and two other individuals with insight into the firm’s ownership. And financial documents appear to show a relationship between Salix, named after the Latin word for a willow tree, and at least one of the companies that owned Psy Group.
Robert Mueller’s team has eyed Salix as part of his wide-ranging probe into foreign meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Details about Psy Group’s financials and its ties to Salix could shed new light on a pair of mysteries that could be key to this part of the special counsel’s probe: Why did international business and influence-peddler George Nader pay Zamel $2 million after the election? And where did all that money go?
On its blander-than-bland website, Salix offers few clues about its operations. (“Like the Willow, at Salix our roots as well are deep and run wide through a network of clients, professional intermediaries, financial institutions and family offices,” the site reads.) And the company did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Zamel’s lawyer declined to comment. The Special Counsel’s Office declined to comment.
For more than a year, Psy Group and its owner, Zamel, have flown somewhat under the radar, despite the questions they’ve faced about their efforts to use online propaganda to help Trump with the presidency.
The New York Times was the first to detail Psy Group’s plan. And on Monday, The New Yorker published a detailed story about the firm and its operations, calling it a “Private Mossad for Hire.” But Zamel’s involvement in any plan to help Trump win through an online propaganda campaign has remained somewhat elusive. Former Psy Group employees previously told The Daily Beast that they believed Zamel could have carried out a plan separate from the one they pitched to Trumpworld in 2016.
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
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.
FRIENDS OF ROB ASTORINO
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.
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 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.
Congo rights group: Army kills 12 rebels after Beni attacks
BENI, Congo — Congo’s army fought off attacks in and around the eastern city of Beni on Thursday, killing at least 12 assailants and capturing seven, a local human rights group said.
Two soldiers also were killed in the fighting and several people were wounded, including students taking exams, said Omar Kavota, executive director of the Center for Studies of Peace and Defense of Human Rights.
Kavota blamed a new rebel coalition for the bombing of a school and attempted attacks on a women’s prison, a police station and the town hall.
The death toll could rise as Congo’s military pursues other attackers, he said.
Beni Mayor Nyonyi Bwanakawa blamed the attack on Mai Mai rebels. Kavota, however, warned that a new rebel coalition has formed outside Beni after armed men on June 11 attacked the city’s central Kangbayi prison, killing at least 11 and freeing 900 prisoners.
The new coalition, which Kavota called the National Revolutionaries Movement, is likely composed of rebels from the Mai Mai, Allied Democratic Forces and former M23 members who escaped prison.
Kavota said the new coalition may have external political and military support, given the logistics of the attacks, and he called on the government and military to quickly dismantle the group.
Kavota, whose organization tracks civilian deaths in the region, also called on the military to increase protection of civilians and public places.
Eastern Congo is home to multiple armed groups that compete for control of the region’s vast mineral resources.
Suspicion circles Israeli diamond maven who ‘understands negroes’
Recorded in about 2 00, the revealing slur was made during the early days of the Israeli diamond scion’s ambitious Democratic Republic of Congo venture.
It is a venture that gained him an unsavoury reputation after he ingratiated himself with two successive DRC presidents and a shadowy presidential adviser and kingpin while laying claim to a host of sought-after mining concessions – in often shady circumstances and on often questionable terms.
Now Gertler is dogged by investigations in Israel, where it is alleged he made large payments to companies said to have been controlled by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman while Lieberman held other public positions.
Gertler denied the claims, whereas Lieberman declared that he had sold his shareholdings. Prosecutors and police remain suspicious.
An ultra orthodox Jew, Gertler hails from an influential line of diamond traders. His grandfather, Moshe Schnitzer, founded Israel’s Diamond Exchange and Gertler established his own firm when he was just 22. He arrived in Kinshasa soon afterwards.
This was in about 1999. The DRC was tied up in a civil war and then-president Laurent Kabila needed money. Gertler made short work of befriending the president and bagged his first big deal: exclusive rights to export the country’s artisanal diamonds. In return, Gertler was said to have promised Kabila $20million on unclear terms and it was alleged that he had promised to organise arms and military training for Kabila’s fighters.
However, the details of whatever military assistance was discussed with Kabila senior have been fiercely disputed in Israeli courts after Yossi Kamisa – a former Israeli border policeman said to have been roped in for the task – sued Gertler for breach of contract in 2004 after he was cut from the deal.
In Kamisa’s version, he was summoned to Lieberman’s Jerusalem office in July 2000 and told that he and Gertler were “partners” in “future transactions with tremendous economic potential”. In court papers Kamisa claimed: “Gertler explained that paying bribes is very accepted in Congo and that his stay in the country, connected with making the transaction, had already cost him more than a million dollars.”
Gertler has consistently and vehemently denied Kamisa’s claims and he and Lieberman later reached a settlement with Kamisa retracting his allegations, causing the court to reject the case outright.
In his appeal against the dismissal of the case, which was also rejected, Kamisa presented a transcript of a disturbing conversation between the two. Gertler, who was removing Kamisa from the deal, offered his version of African politics, as reported by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz: “A kushi [a derogatory Hebrew term for a black person] who wants something from you ‘sits on your vein’ … A negro likes to talk and make promise after promise, blah blah blah …”
Politics of negroes
Kamisa then claimed that, if it was not for him, Gertler would not have landed the concession, to which Gertler responded: “Yossi, either you are mentally ill or I don’t know what. Are you saying that the diamond contract was signed because of you?” And then: “Yossi, you don’t get it. I understand the politics of negroes.”
Lieberman has strenuously denied his role as described by Kamisa.
After Kabila senior was assassinated in 2001 and succeeded by his son, Joseph, Gertler was able to rekindle relations with the new incumbent as well as his notorious adviser, the late Augustin Katumba Mwanke. Gertler then moved on to claim more lucrative mining concessions in the country.
More recently, Gertler has been hammered by human rights campaigners and international media for “secretly” acquiring mining assets from the DRC government using a complex web of offshore companies. Whereas Gertler’s role in these companies has either been deduced or acknowledged, the companies’ full lists of beneficiaries remain unknown.
The most infamous example was the Kolwezi copper and cobalt tailings project, “grabbed and flipped” from First Quantum through a Gertler company to Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC) in 2010.
Others described by human rights campaigner Global Witness include:
- SMKK copper and cobalt mine: A Gertler-linked company acquired a stake in this mine from the DRC for $10million in February 2010 and sold it to ENRC for $75million that June.
- Kansuki copper and cobalt mine: The DRC transferred a stake to a Gertler company in July 2010. A month later, Glencore took control of half the stake but is financing the entire mine development.
- In May 2011 the DRC government transferred the remaining 25% stake in Kansuki to another Gertler “associated” company for $17million. Global Witness cited valuations suggesting the stake was worth between $86million and $209million.
- Mutanda copper and cobalt mine: The DRC sold an allegedly undervalued 20% stake to another offshore Gertler company in March 2011.
Gertler does not deny that he “enjoys a close friendship” with Joseph Kabila and he openly attended Katumba’s funeral early this year. He also claimed to have served in the mysterious role of the Congo’s “honorary consul” in Tel Aviv.
But through a spokesperson he stridently rejected all claims of impropriety.
According to him, his proximity to the Kabilas and Katumba had no bearing on his business deals. And, he said, the mining assets were purchased, not “grabbed”, at a fair price and sold – “not flipped” – thus bringing significant investment into the DRC.
Gertler prefers to draw attention to such investment, claiming to have spent millions on “community support and environmental programmes” in the DRC, as well as the Chabad House he finances in Kinshasa, advancing his orthodox views.
Please see the original article: https://mg.co.za/article/2012-08-23-suspicion-circles-israeli-diamond-maven-who-understands-negroes