Merlin the Magician and Diamond Joe Gutnick – Magically Insolvent

gutnick

‘Diamond’ Joe Gutnick’s company insolvent after ‘dishonest’ transactions

The Federal Court has ordered that a company associated with Melbourne business figure “Diamond” Joe Gutnick be wound up and declared insolvent amid allegations of millions of dollars of dishonest related party transactions.

The Federal Court on Wednesday appointed liquidators to the publicly traded mining company Merlin Diamonds Limited after a provisional liquidators’ report showed it had just $1331 in the bank and liabilities of $13 million.

Judge Michael O’Bryan said a liquidator would allow for investigations into a number of inter-company loans, related party transactions and “round robin” payments that “have the appearance of uncommercial and dishonest transactions”.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s had requested a liquidator to be appointed after an investigation into Mr Gutnick, one of Australia’s best-known business figures. The ordained Rabbi was once a regular on the BRW Rich 200 list and a benefactor to many Jewish charities. As president of a stricken Melbourne Football Club during the 1990s, his financial support kept the club alive.

However, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald revealed in a series of stories in 2019 that ASIC was investigating what happened to $18 million in loans that allegedly saw money flow from publicly listed companies controlled by Mr Gutnick to a private company that he was also closely involved with.

In a scathing judgment on Wednesday, Justice O’Bryan said Merlin “does not appear to take its legal obligations seriously,” had expressed “no contrition” for various corporate transgressions and faced a “strong prima facie case” that it had contravened the Corporations Act, particularly when it came to two related companies called Chabad and Axis.

 

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Serial Fraudsters are no Different from Other Serial Criminals – Rechnitz Feeling Impervious in CA?

Jona Rechnitz in an undated photo.

Corrupt Mayor de Blasio donor Jona Rechnitz faces new FBI probe in L.A.: court papers

Notorious Mayor de Blasio donor Jona Rechnitz faces a new FBI investigation in Los Angeles, only months after he was sentenced for bribing public officials in New York.

Rechnitz’s latest legal trouble was revealed as part of an ongoing $7 million debt dispute in Los Angeles County Superior Court with a Beverly Hills investor, Victor Franco Noval.

Rechnitz’s attorneys wrote in a letter made public late Monday that they could not respond to the civil suit because it relates to the “subject matter of an ongoing criminal investigation led by the FBI.”

 

Noval’s attorney Ronald Richards said the FBI investigation was likely examining allegations Rechnitz was running a scam involving loans in exchange for diamonds he didn’t actually own.

“Basically he was borrowing money on diamonds that weren’t his — on top of creating one lie on top of another to keep the loans going,” Richards said.

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Is Dershowitz, Freeh and Apfel’s Representation of Gertler Really Such Big News? [AN OPINION]

Dan Gertler and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, April 28, 2005
 

Tomer Appelbaum

 

DAN GERTLER, HIS MONEY, THE PEOPLE WITHIN HIS VORTEX, THE DRC, GLENCORE, MAGNITSKY AND BOMBARDIER – PART I

Dear Reader:

This is unequivocally our Opinion. It is based upon an analysis of current events and relevant FARA filings. We have posted some of the filings as images on the bottom of this page.

We believe that recent news about Dan Gertler and those lobbying on his behalf are a red herring, a distraction. They are really old news. We believe that the importance in creating smoke and mirrors is to provide a different narrative to Giuliani’s involvement in the Ukraine and his potential connection with Dan Gertler, whether directly or through intermediaries. We are working on that connection.

This is an opinion and should not be taken as anything more. 

In 2017, a number of registrations were made which disclosed to the government that several companies were representing lobbying efforts for both the Democratic Republic of Congo and Dan Gertler. We feel that the DRC and Gertler are inextricably intertwined. He has a long and storied history with Kabila which in 2017 we wrote about extensively. 

The Panama Papers contain more elicit information about Gertler than about almost any other single subject; and his business dealings are creative, if nothing else. Again, this is an opinion.

We are not particularly fond of an industry which underpays citizens to dig for diamonds, cobalt, copper, emeralds and other riches and then makes zillions of dollars on the labor of those citizens who work to barely survive. Meanwhile their employers (using that term loosely) travel on a fleet of Bombardier Planes, have lavish meals delivered to Kinshasa, consistent with the laws of Kashrut of course, the cost of which is more than many of the citizens of the DRC will see in two generations of lifetimes.

We firmly believe that a mineral wealthy country should have citizens who share in that wealth and are not enslaved by it. It is our opinion that the DRC’s citizens are the victims of the vast amounts of wealth of Gertler, Kabila and their networks of associates. We believe it can only be viewed as a Shanda. There but for the Grace of G-d go I…  

In 2018 Alan Dershowitz, Gertler’s attorney (and therefore privileged confidant), Louis Freeh, also an attorney and a former FBI director between 1993 and 2001, and Gary Apfel, also an attorney, (the same brilliant attorney who notably assisted in the defense of Shalom Rubashkin and took on the issues of Criminal Justice Reform) were being paid to lobby on behalf of Dan Gertler. This is not new news. This is also not meant to create the illusion that somehow they are responsible for what is happening in the DRC. We voice no such opinion. They are lobbyists and attorneys and are getting paid to do a job.

The relevant filings were made under FARA in 2018.

What is notable is that at least one document was signed in 2019 and was only  now reported on at any great lengths in the CNBC News report (posted below). It is our position, an opinion, that this is all a great distraction. It is nothing new and should not be viewed as such.

It should be clearly understood that Dan Gertler was sanctioned under the Magnitsky Act.  This was reported by the US Department of the Treasury in a Press Release on June 15, 2018. The full text of that press release, which we are accepting as true and genuine by virtue of its source, is listed on the next page of this report. 

Through crafty maneuvering, and we believe with the help of a current confidant of President Trump, on the same day he was sanctioned, Glncore which allegedly owed Gertler millions, found a workaround to be able to pay Gertler his money. That workaround was to pay him in Euros through overseas bank accounts and companies.

It is our opinion, that the Magnitsky Act sanctions are worthless if a company can “workaround” them by utilizing foreign currency and sources of currency exchanges. Ultimately he is getting paid hundreds of millions of dollars whether he accepts them in “Greenbacks” or in some other currency. The Sanctions should apply to any currency, not just US Dollars, or there really is little point to them at all.

We also find the timing of the announcement of the sanctions and the settlement with Glencore (the company liable to him for back pay) to be somewhat questionable, if not outright insulting to anyone who believes that this is actually a sanction.

We believe that the arrangement with Glencore was back-channeled by another paid consultant with either direct or indirect connections to Gertler. It is that last piece of this opinion that we are working on.

Alan Dershowitz, Former FBI Director Lobbying for Sanctioned Israeli Billionaire

Diamond and mining tycoon Dan Gertler has been under U.S. sanctions since 2017 for corruption, human rights abuses in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Alan Dershowitz, an ally of U.S. President Donald Trump, and former FBI director Louis Freeh have officially registered with the U.S. government as lobbyists for Dan Gertler, an Israeli billionaire known for shady deals and corruption accusations.

The filing, which was first reported by U.S. network CNBC, will allow the two major Washington figures to advocate on behalf of Gertler, who has been under sanctions from the U.S. treasury since 2017.

According to CNBC, Dershowitz, who has never been registered as a lobbyist before, said he was only acting as Gertler’s lawyer.

The lobbying registration, despite only being released now, records the effective start date as October 17, 2018. Dershowitz was advising Gertler as early as last year, according to a New York Times report.

The decision to hire lobbyists is not surprising in itself. “He’s an international businessman and it’s very difficult to do business internationally” when under sanctions, Peter Jones, a campaign leader at international NGO Global Witness, told Al-Monitor.

The place of both Dershowitz and Freeh in Washington and their relationship to the current administration are significant, however.

Louis Freeh, who is also an attorney, was FBI director between 1993 and 2001. He registered to act as a lobbyist for the first time in March this year, but is known to have ties with other controversial figures. This includes former New York mayor and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, whom Freeh hired to pressure the Romanian president, according to a report in The Independent, in connection with Hunter Biden.

Dershowitz has been an ally of both Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu, coming out publicly, including in Haaretz, to dispute the accusations of corruption against Israel’s embattled premier. He has come under scrutiny for his links to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.

The original sanctions against Gertler said he “amassed his fortune through hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of opaque and corrupt mining and oil deals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” mainly through his personal relationship with former President Joseph Kabila.

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ADDITIONAL READING:

Dershowitz, Freeh Register to Lobby for Sanctioned Billionaire

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-05/dershowitz-freeh-register-to-lobby-for-sanctioned-billionaire

High-profile defense attorney Alan Dershowitz and Louis Freeh, a former FBI director, have registered to lobby for an Israeli billionaire investor who’s been sanctioned by the U.S. government.

Dan Gertler, who the Treasury Department said amassed his fortune through “corrupt deals” in the Democratic Republic of Congo, hired Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan LLP to lobby Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, according to a registration statement it filed with Congress today. The filing was first reported by CNBC.

The Trump administration included Gertler in a crackdown it announced in December 2017 on human rights abusers and corrupt actors around the world. OFAC has also sanctioned 34 individuals and entities it says are tied to him, freezing their assets and shutting them out of the U.S. financial system.

Dershowitz lobbies for the criminal Israeli looter, Dan Gertler

Trump ally Alan Dershowitz and ex-FBI Director Louis Freeh are lobbying for an Israeli billionaire the US has accused of corruption

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/11/05/alan-dershowitz-ex-fbi-director-louis-freeh-lobbying-for-israeli-billionaire-dan-gertler.html

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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)

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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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…

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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