The Panama Papers, Dan Gertler – Concordia Marketing Group Inc., HSBC, Benny Steinmetz and Mining

Loose-diamonds

THE GERTLER STEINMETZ CONNECTION PANAMA PAPERS, 2015

If you will recall, a while back Dan Gertler’s name was mentioned in connection with our article regarding the Panama Papers.  That article was more about what was not mentioned than what was. It should not go unnoticed that there dozens of reports about Mr. Gertler’s financial shenanigans, alleged money laundering, various bank accounts, hidden companies and his connection (or alleged lack thereof) to Benny Steinmetz.
Recent articles about Dan Gertler seem to forget or perhaps avoid the intriguing ways in which Mr. Gertler’s name shows up in the same places as Daniel Steinmetz, another remarkable pillar of Jewish society. The connections go back years, numerous documents in the files of the Panama Papers and an extensively tied web of mining operations worldwide. We post one such example, more to follow.
-LM

 

Diamond Dealers in Deep Trouble as Bank Documents Shine Light on Secret Ways

https://www.icij.org/project/swiss-leaks/diamond-dealers-deep-trouble-bank-documents-shine-light-secret-ways

Also in the files is Dan Gertler, an Israeli diamond dealer and close friend of Congolese President Joseph Kabila. He reportedly got his big start trading arms for diamonds in African civil wars during the 1990s in violation of UN embargoes. A 2001 UN Security Council report found “very credible sources” who told of a secret deal that, in exchange for a sweetheart deal giving Gertler a monopoly on diamond rights in the Congo, the Israeli “agreed to arrange, through its connections with high-ranking Israeli military officers the delivery of undisclosed quantities of arms as well as training for the Congolese armed forces.”

Mischon de Reya, a London law firm representing Gertler, said in a letter to ICIJ that “our client categorically denies any involvement in the alleged diamonds-for arms trades in Congo in the late 1990s” and that Gertler “has no knowledge of the companies listed in your letter as having these bank accounts.”

“Details of his private affairs are of no legitimate public interest. Our client has, however, always paid all taxes due in every jurisdiction.”

Gertler is listed in the HSBC files as beneficial owner of an account under the name of Concordia Marketing Group Inc., a British Virgin Islands firm. The other beneficial owner of the account was Daniel Steinmetz of the Steinmetz family, one of the biggest HSBC-linked diamond clients of all (Gertler’s lawyers said he is not associated with Daniel Steinmetz). Steinmetz family members appear to have controlled accounts containing nearly half a billion dollars at the bank in 2006/2007. One HSBC banker noted with an exclamation mark that an inactive account belonged to the Daniel Steinmetz group and that the bank expected much new business from him in the next year.  He cautioned that the account was “part of DS Group!!!” Another HSBC banker also noted that Daniel’s mother was very ill and that bank officials would travel to Sardinia, where the Steinmetzes lived four months every year, to visit the family. 

The bankers were not wrong to be excited. One numbered account called 25225 KT with Daniel Steinmetz listed as attorney would eventually have as much as $264 million at HSBC in 2006/2007.

Wildly lucrative deal

Beny Steinmetz

Beny Steinmetz. Photo: YouTube

Steinmetz’s brother Beny offered the prospect of even more business. One of the richest men in Israel and a Gertler business partner, Beny expanded his father’s diamond business into a multi-industry empire. He had major business interests in African warzones, including Angola, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, and in 2008 in Guinea, he made one of the most lucrative deals of all time.

As longtime Guinean dictator Lansana Conté lay dying, he handed Steinmetz half the mining rights to Simandou, the richest iron-ore deposit on earth, wresting it away from the Anglo-Australian giant Rio Tinto. A year later, Steinmetz, who had no experience in iron mining, sold 51 percent of the rights for $2.5 billion. It was almost pure profit. He had paid nothing for the exploration license – in a country whose entire GDP was just $4.5 billion that year – while investing just $160 million in the project.

But a new Guinean government under reformer Alpha Condé suspected that Steinmetz had paid someone for the license to develop Simandou after all – and illicitly. An investigation bankrolled by billionaire George Soros  (whose Open Society Foundations help fund ICIJ) and assisted by former British prime minister Tony Blair through his Africa Governance Initiative found that Steinmetz’s Pentler Holdings had bribed one of the late dictator’s wives, Mamadie Touré, giving her millions of dollars and a 5 percent stake in the project in exchange for her help getting Conté to sign over the rights, according to The New Yorker.

Touré insisted on a signed contract, she later testified, and when word of the documents emerged during the Soros-backed Guinean investigation, which would result in a U.S. probe, Steinmetz agent Frederic Cilins then traveled to Florida to pay Touré up to $11 million to destroy the contract and change her story. Touré was wearing a wire for the FBI, which recorded Cilins telling her that he was acting on the authority of Steinmetz himself. Cilins later pleaded guilty to obstructing a federal bribery investigation.

“BSGR and Beny Steinmetz have consistently denied wrong doing in Guinea,” says Theo Crutcher, a Steinmetz spokesman, adding that “BSGR has taken the Government of Guinea to international arbitration at ICSID [International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes] to defend itself against the allegations that have been made against it,” said Theo Crutcher, a Steinmetz spokesman.

Beny Steinmetz and BSG Resources allege that the documents were forged and that Cilins was trying to destroy the forgeries. But Steinmetz is now himself a target of an ongoing U.S. investigation, along with probes in several other countries, including Guinea, and Switzerland, his latest residence. Steinmetz changed his official residence from Israel to Geneva in 2012, while Israeli tax authorities were pursuing an investigation that ultimately determined that he evaded $1.1 billion in taxes.

“Beny Steinmetz is a Swiss resident, pays taxes in strict accordance with his agreement with the Swiss tax authorities and has always managed his bank accounts in Switzerland in full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations,” Crutcher said.

A Pentler Pacific Ltd. appears in the HSBC files. Though it is not connected by HSBC to the Steinmetz group, Pentler Pacific is listed having the same address in the British Virgin Islands as Pentler Holdings, the Steinmetz vehicle that the FBI says bribed Touré. 

How the system works 

Digging for diamondsWomen in Zimbabwe digging for diamonds. Photo: APBanks like HSBC, as well as the offshore-front industry, are part of an infrastructure that enables the looting of poor countries and the evasion of taxes in rich countries.

“By and large really significant corruption in the resources sector does not involve suitcases of cash,” said Scott Horton, a lecturer at Columbia Law School who investigated the Simandou concessions for the new Guinean government and who wasn’t speaking specifically about Steinmetz. “It involves millions of dollars being paid into bank accounts. They may be in Geneva or London or New York. They may be held in the British Virgin Islands or the Caymans. Very, very rarely are they moving money into banks in Guinea or Liberia or Sierra Leone. You cannot pull off this large scale corruption without involving lawyers, accountants, investment advisers in places like Geneva, London, Amsterdam, New York and Paris.”

And Antwerp.

In September 2005, a diamond dealer from war-torn Central African Republic (CAR), one of the poorest countries on Earth, bumped into his new HSBC banker at the Park Lane hotel in Antwerp. Abdoul-Karim Dan Azoumi “was with the minister and the Central African delegations in the hall [or lobby],” noted his banker, and the two exchanged contact information in order to talk later. 

Dan-Azoumi’s papers weren’t in order with the bank for an unspecified reason, and the banker told him in phone calls over the next few weeks that he “wasn’t comfortable with the current situation,” and that forming an offshore company would solve the issue.

The banker noted that Dan-Azoumi was Muslim and had 18 children by four wives, two of whom he was still married to, and that he directed Badica, a diamond company based in the CAR. Badica would later be fingered by a United Nations Security Council committee for trafficking in blood diamonds.  The U.S. State Department noted reports that Badica had financed the Séléka, the Muslim rebel group that overthrew the predominantly Christian CAR government in 2013, setting off a civil war.

The Park Lane hotel itself was co-owned by four of the bank’s clients, including Luscha Baumwald, Louis Stranders, and Josif Grosz. “A family member has court concerns, so we wait to contact,” HSBC noted on Stranders’ account.

Mozes Victor Konig, one of the men now wanted by Interpol, was the fourth co-owner of the Park Lane. Konig had as much as $114 million in his HSBC accounts, one of which was called Front Trading Consultants Inc., during 2006/2007.  

The group had used the hotel investment to launder tens of millions in dirty money. All four would be convicted of fraud in 2012. A criminal court in Antwerp forced them to forfeit the $40 million hotel and another $18 million in cash and handed out sentences that ranged from probation to two years in prison.

https://www.icij.org/project/swiss-leaks/diamond-dealers-deep-trouble-bank-documents-shine-light-secret-ways

 

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Moshe Peretz Klein – Panama Papers – Political Contributions – Hashomer Alarms

MOSHE PERETZ KLEIN – AND HIS MILLIONS…

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Entity

Role From To Incorporation Jurisdiction Status Data From
FUEGA INC. Shareholder 29-OCT-2002 British Virgin Islands Changed agent Panama Papers

Address

Data From
13 ESHKOL ST.; PETACH TIKVA; ISRAEL Panama Papers
LostMessiah, August 8, 2016

MOSHE PERETZ KLEIN – HASHOMER ALARM SYSTEMS – MILLIONS OF DOLLARS – PANAMA PAPERS..

In March, the FBI raided a number of locations in Airmont/Monsey/Suffern, New York. The focus of one particular article was 386 Airmont Avenue in Suffern.

On March 16, 2016 LostMessiah published an article taken from the Facebook Page, Clarkstown What They Don’t Want you to Know. The article was an in depth play-by-play explanation of FBI raids which were being simultaneously conducted in Airmont/Suffern, Kiryas Joel and Crown Heights, and may have also been conducted in Lakewood, New Jersey.

According to local news articles and blog sites covering the raids, one of the businesses focused was Hashomer Alarm Systems, the connection being its involvement with E-Rate funding. For obvious reasons, we found that odd from the get-go but assumed we would know more immediately following the raids.

Hashomer Alarm Systems is owned and operated by Peretz Klein, a somewhat shady character whose place has been woven throughout almost unnoticed questionable business practices for years. He has been questioned and even to date has had some pretty creative responses to those questions. He has also been a consummate political donor, seeming placing money where it could benefit him and his interests the most. Andrew Cuomo’s gubernatorial seat being no exception. 

While we could likely have a field day with each of the donations listed on the NYS Board of Elections Financial Disclosure report (attached at the bottom of the page) for Andrew Cuomo and likely find numerous anomalies, we found the donations of Peretz Klein to be the most intriguing, particularly in light of his involvement with the raids in March very shortly after the donation to Cuomo.  

It can be of little surprise that  we believe Klein has been stealing through the E-Rate program in the many millions of dolalrs from the government and the taxpayers of New York State. We believe that a fair amount of the fortune Klein has amassed can be found in bank accounts in Israel related to enteties he owns or operates there.

Klein’s well-timed donation to Cuomo, immediately preceding the raids, seems more than simple coincidence.

Klein Contributor

 

In 2015, the Funding Status for Klein’s entities is staggering: http://ny.e-ratecentral.com/news/news2016/weekly-news-2016-0328-ny.asp

Funding Status

Wave 43 for FY 2015 will be released on Thursday, March 31st. Funding for FY 2015 is available for both Category 1 and Category 2 services at all discount levels. Cumulative funding for FY 2015 is $3.16 billion.

 

Klein worst

Peretz Klein’s place in the Panama Papers reports (shown above) and his place of notoriety amongst former Public Advocate de Blasio’s archive of “Worst Landlords” leaves open numerous questions, not the least of which is why the FBI in conjunction with the US Attorney’s office has not been more aggressive in pursuing Klein and his co-conspirators in what we believe to be a systematic theft of government and taxpayer money.

Below please read the various articles link to Mr. Klein.

Continue reading

Unicorn, Easter Rabbit, Lightsaber, Panama Papers, Lev Leviev and Steinmetz…. 4 Derech Hachoresh

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4 Derech Hachoresh St. Yehud 56470 – Israel

Africa-Israel -aka AFI Group headquarters- it is: 4 Derech Hachoresh St., Yehud 56470 Israel.

 

We are not quite sure if it was seeing a Lightsaber Corp., an Easter Rabbit Corp. or a series of investment companies in the same screenshot that caught our attention; but something tells us, the Easter Rabbit is not hiding Easter Eggs.

600 Israeli companies and 850 shareholders make for challenging connecting of dots!

THE PANAMA PAPERS

Search results for “ 4 Derech Hachoresh St., Yehud 56470 Israel.”

Offshore Entities (3) Officers (18) Intermediaries (5) Addresses (813)
Incorporation Jurisdiction Linked To Data From

My Nominees Israel Ltd 09-MAY-2012 British Anguilla Israel Panama Papers

MOSSACK FONSECA & CO. (ISRAEL) LIMITED 19-MAR-2012 British Anguilla Israel Panama Papers

ISRAEL GUARANTEED FUND MANAGEMENT LIMITED 23-APR-1998 Bahamas Israel Panama Papers

unnamed.panama.1

“Company Formation Group Limited”/Mossack Fonseca & Co.share the address of 7 Jabotinsky is the Israel Diamond Exchange tower in which 4 floors of the 41 stories were bought in 2005 by Leviev. (Other floors were also purchased-those by Steinmetz-the other diamond mogul.)

unnamed..pp.3

In 2005 HaAretz reported:

Leviev, Steinmetz Buy 10 Floors in Diamond Tower

A group of diamond merchants headed by Lev Leviev and Benny Steinmetz recently purchased 10 floors in the 41-story Diamond Tower in Ramat Gan’s Diamond Exchange from Zadik Bino for $45 million, according to sources who were close to the negotiations.
A group of diamond merchants headed by Lev Leviev and Benny Steinmetz recently purchased 10 floors in the 41-story Diamond Tower in Ramat Gan’s Diamond Exchange from Zadik Bino for $45 million, according to sources who were close to the negotiations.
Of the 10-floor package, Leviev purchased four floors via his holding company, while Steinmetz bought two floors. The deal includes about 11,000 square meters of office space and about 300 parking spaces. Former Diamond Exchange president Itzhak Forem organized the purchasing group, according to the sources.
The buyers intend to build a connector from the 10 floors – the top 10 floors of the building – to the diamond exchange itself in order to benefit from the security regime of the other offices within the exchange.
Steinmetz is considered one of the world’s leading Israeli diamond merchants. His company purchases rough diamonds from producers and sells them to polishers. Leviev is considered one of the world’s largest private diamond merchants. His business interests include diamond mining and selling in addition to polishing. He is thought to be the largest diamond exporter in the country.
The Israel Diamond Exchange, which is headed by Avi Paz, is currently negotiating for the purchase of thousands of square meters in another building in a deal that is expected to be completed within a few weeks.
The exchange is located at the Elite intersection in Ramat Gan. It includes the Shimshon and Maccabi buildings as well as part of the Diamond Tower.
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/business/leviev-steinmetz-buy-10-floors-in-diamond-tower-1.167207

Third listed on the Panama Papers website at the 4 Derech Hachoresh St location of Africa Israel is “Israel Guaranteed Fund Management Limited”. Here’s that screen shot:

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We suspect that the obscure connections and fictional characters are all intended as a diversion. Perhaps the answer is a secret bank and a red notebook.

The Panama Papers – Intriguing for what remains hidden

 

!#$%!#$L

The Panama Papers – The Biggest Single non-Governmental Document Leak in History and a Financial Nightmare for the Tax Savvy and Ethically Challenged

Lost Messiah, June 28, 2016 

When LM was first provided information regarding the Panama Papers and the connection it might have to Jona Rechnitz, Jeremy Reichberg, the Platinum funds and Lev Leviev, we were also provided links to Leviev’s sons. Moshe and Shmuel Leviev who were, according to the original information we were provided, directly connected to the database. For obvious reasons, we found that odd and did not want to publish anything until we could reasearch further. But, when we noticed that the original links for Shmuel and for Moshe Leviev are no longer available; our curiosity piqued. 

Despite the extent of the information available in that database and the breadth of the names, accounts, connections, emails, not only were the two sons’ information no longer available but hours of research did not uncover anything about Leviev’s ties to Platinum, to Reichberg and Rechnitz, to Sam Pa or frankly or any other story that we have been working on or that has been in the news, though Leviev was not scrubbed from the database completely. 

!#$%!#$SWhile there are dozens of possible explanations (see NY Times take below), not the least of which being that the database does not cover every single company the world over; the complete absence of information on the original links to Leviev’s sons is striking; and the lack of mention of companies which may or may not be related to entities in that database is in our view somewhat suspect.

While the NY Times articles cited below suggests that the lack of US company presence in the database may be the result of the ease with which US companies can set up unidentifiable and untraceable shell companies, we find that answer to be problematic for two reasons. The first, if the US makes it that easy to potentially break laws then perhaps the US needs to tighten up its corporate legal framework. We do note that there is no direct evidence that all of the companies listed have broken laws.  The second relates to the many tentacles the companies mentioned in our articles and articles from US news sources have to foreign entities. From our perspective, there is some indication that what is not in that database may be intentionally absent.

!#$%!#$MWe have provided links to the ICIJ mentioned below. For any curious investigators or investigative journalists among our readers, if you find something we did not, please kindly send along.  

Background – THE PANAMA PAPERS

For those of you who do not know, the Panama Papers is the name given a massive “leak of 11.5m files from the database of Mossack Fonseca, a Panama-based law firm, [which shows] a bright light on the world of offshore tax planning. In addition to its headquarters in Panama, the firm employed 600 people in 42 countries and was the world’s fourth-biggest offshore law firm.” 

Mossack Fonseca data seen by the Guardian covered more than 200,000 companies for which the firm acted as registered agent. The British Virgin Islands held more than 100,000 companies.

“More than half of the companies were established in the British Virgin Islands. Why don’t call it BVI papers? Or the British Commonwealth papers? We take the issue with the fact that it was called the Panama Papers. Call them Mossack Fonseca papers. I don’t care,” he said.

Mossack Fonseca remains under investigation in the British Virgin Islands.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/27/panama-papers-canal-mossack-fonseca

The reality of the Panama Papers is that they have very little to do with Panama and a lot to do with companies whose ownership and other corporate connections are unknown and have used that lack of transparency to hide money. 

The data, part of the Panama Papers investigation, is the largest ever release of information about offshore companies and the people behind them. This includes, when available, the names of the real owners of those opaque structures.

The database also displays information about more than 100,000 additional offshore entities ICIJ had already disclosed in its 2013 Offshore Leaks investigation.

https://panamapapers.icij.org/blog/20160509-offshore-database-release.html

The data was originally obtained from an anonymous source by reporters at the German newspaper Süeddeustche Zeitung, who asked ICIJ to organize a global reporting collaboration to analyze the files.

https://panamapapers.icij.org/blog/20160509-offshore-database-release.html

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) decided to publish much of the database from the Panama Papers.

The searchable database that ICIJ publishes today allows users to explore the networks of companies and people that used – and sometimes abused – the secrecy of offshore locales with the help of Mossack Fonseca and other intermediaries. The leaked data covers nearly 40 years, from 1977 through the end of 2015.

The data, which includes postal addresses, displays links to more than 200 countries and territories, from China to Chile. Users can filter the information by country and by offshore jurisdiction. They can also explore the role of banks, law firms and other gatekeepers of the financial system in facilitating the creation of offshore companies for high net worth individuals. For the first time, they can see details about shadowy Panamanian private foundations, including when available information about who controls them.

https://panamapapers.icij.org/blog/20160509-offshore-database-release.html

Diamond Tycoons and the Panama Papers

The Panama Papers included information on numerous diamond merchants and holdings that are both secret (or were) and public. These included Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler, Yitzhak Abuhatzeira, “the son of David Abuhatzeira, formerly Nahariya’s chief rabbi. David Abuhatzeira is also the grandson of Rabbi Israel Abuhatzeira, known as the “Baba Sali”” who recently endorsed the Israeli ultra-Orthodox political party Shas. The Panama Papers included information on companies and their holdings, such as Mumi, jointly owned by Rowny and Glencore. They were comprised of information on Benny Steinmetz and Daniel Steinmetz, all diamond tycoons along with Lev Leviev.

The Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler, who made his fortune in diamonds and mining, is mentioned more than 200 times in the Panama Papers.

Gertler is among some 600 Israeli companies and 850 Israeli shareholders listed in the leaked documents of Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, a leader in establishing shell companies that often serve to conceal the ownership of assets.

Gertler is mentioned in connection to a number of companies, and registered as a beneficiary for some of them. Mossack Fonseca’s internal correspondences includes a draft of a contract between Gertler and a company called Callery Resources, seemingly for consultation on a mining deal in Congo.

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.713130

Gertler isn’t the only diamond merchant associated with companies that were registered by Mossack Fonseca. Lev Leviev, for example, is named in the files as the owner of Lexinter International Inc., which holds shares in Vauxhall Securities Inc., a company registered in the British Virgin Islands.

The extensive activities of diamond and mining tycoon Benny Steinmetz, his brother Daniel Steinmetz and their business partner Nir Livnat are mentioned in hundreds of Mossack Fonseca documents. Internal correspondences between the law firm and Diacore, part of Steinmetz’s diamond group BSGR, identify Construction Minister Yoav Galant as a confidant of Steinmetz.

In view of this, the law firm requested the company to provide “the pertinent explanations related to the information found.”

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.713130

The New York Times take from April of 2016

The New York Times reported on the Panama Papers on April 4, 2016 in an article entitled, “The Panama Papers: Here’s What We Know.” Addressing our theory on the lack of information regarding the involvement of US companies and individuals, The New York Times suggested that because it is so easy to create shell companies in the US, Panama and other foreign jurisdictions are largely unnecessary so there may have been no reason to use  a Panamanian law firm or connected firm to create such entities. We don’t necessarily buy that conclusion because many of the companies we have investigated do have offshore entities or are deeply and inextricably connected to offshore entities.  

The Panama Papers have exposed how some of the world’s most powerful people may have used offshore bank accounts and shell companies to conceal their wealth or avoid taxes.

The papers — millions of leaked confidential documents from the Mossack Fonseca law firm in Panama — identify international politicians, business leaders and celebrities involved in webs of suspicious financial transactions. The revelations have raised questions about secrecy and corruption in the global financial system.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/05/world/panama-papers-explainer.html

Were any Americans implicated?

It is not clear how many United States citizens may have been involved. So far, the documents cited in news reports have not connected any prominent American politicians or other influential Americans to Mossack Fonseca.

One reason may be that it is fairly easy to form opaque shell companies in the United States. Americans “really don’t need to go to Panama,” James Henry, an economist and senior adviser to the Tax Justice Network, told Fusion. “Basically, we have an onshore haven industry in the U.S. that is as secretive as anywhere.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/05/world/panama-papers-explainer.html

Related Coverage

Panama Papers Continue to Shake Leaders, Including Cameron and Putin APRIL 7, 2016
Panama Papers Leak Casts Light on a Law Firm Founded on Secrecy APRIL 6, 2016
Panama Papers Tie More of China’s Elite to Secret Accounts APRIL 6, 2016

Links to the Panama Papers:

https://panamapapers.icij.org/