Archive for March, 2011

Stasi-Diplomatin: Geschäftlich bis heute mit der Schweiz verbunden

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Das Eidgenössische Departement für Auswärtige Angelegenheiten (EDA) hat von den Stasi-Aktivitäten der Bulgaren offenbar nichts gewusst und erst durch Veröffentlichungen in der Presse davon erfahren. von Christian Bütikofer

Mehrere bulgarische Botschafter in Bern waren während der Zeit der kommunistischen Ära für den bulgarischen Geheimdienst tätig. Dem EDA sei mitgeteilt worden, dass Botschafter Atanas Pavlov nach Ablauf seiner Amtszeit Ende 2010 nach Bulgarien zurückgekehrt sei, sagte Pressesprecher Georg Farago auf Anfrage.

Botschafterin löste Skandal aus

Ihre Zelte abgebrochen hatte auch die ehemalige Botschafterin und Geheimdienstmitarbeiterin Elena Kirtscheva, die von 1991 bis 1996 in der Schweiz ihr Land vertrat. Mit der Heirat von N., von dem sie inzwischen geschieden ist, löste sie einen Skandal in Bulgarien aus. Denn N. organisierte nicht nur einen Kongress für Geschichts-Revisionisten, er vertrieb auch Videokassetten eines Auschwitz-Leugners.

Stasi-Spitzel Kirtscheva aber war stolz darauf, nach dem Sturz des kommunistischen Regimes «das demokratische Antlitz Bulgariens in der Welt zu repräsentieren».

Beraterin bei der UBS

Offensichtlich lohnte sich ihr Einsatz für Demokratie und Freiheit. Nach dem Abgang in der Botschaft wurde sie Beraterin der damaligen United Bank of Switzerland, der Vorgängerin der heutigen UBS.

Aktuell ist sie unter anderem Aufsichtsratspräsidentin des Investment-Konglomerats «Industrial Holding Bulgaria». Die Firmentochter «International Industrial Holding Bulgaria» sitzt an der Bahnhofstrasse im Steuerparadies Zug.

© Aargauer Zeitung / MLZ; 30.03.2011

Bulgariens Botschafter in Bern waren ehemalige Geheimdienst-Agenten

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

In Bulgariens Botschaft in Bern tummelten sich jahrelang ehemalige Staatssicherheits-Mitarbeiter. Auch der letzte offizielle Botschafter Atanas Pavlov hat eine Stasi-Vergangenheit. von Christian Bütikofer

Mitte Dezember 2010 liess die Sonderkommission (comdos.bg) für die Untersuchung der bulgarischen Geheimdienstakten eine Bombe platzen.

Die Kommission stellte ein 129 Seiten dickes Dokument ins Internet, das feinsäuberlich auflistet, welche Diplomaten zur Zeit der kommunistischen Diktatur Mitarbeiter des Staatssicherheitsdienstes «Dazravna Sigurnost» oder anderer ähnlicher Dienste waren. Nach der Wende 1989 blieb diese Wahrheit 20 Jahre lang unter dem Deckel.

Von 462 durchleuchteten aktuell führenden Mitarbeitern des Aussenministeriums hatten 192 auf die eine oder andere Art Verbindungen zum Geheimdienst gepflegt. In diversen EU-Staaten wird Bulgarien durch ehemalige Stasi-Spitzel vertreten, so etwa in Deutschland, Schweden, Grossbritannien, Italien oder Spanien.

Bis wenige Tage vor Enthüllung in Amt und Würden

Die EU ist nicht allein, die Stasi-Connection blühte auch an der Bernastrasse in der Bundeshauptstadt. Dort hielt Botschafter Atanas Pavlov bis Ende November 2010 Hof. Seine Residenz liegt ein wenig abseits vom Botschaftsviertel, mit bester Sicht auf Aare, Bundeshaus, Hotel Bellevue.

Wenige Tage vor der Veröffentlichung des inkriminierenden Dokuments lief in Bern die Zeit des fliessend Deutsch sprechenden Botschafters ab: Atanas Pavlov wurde im Dokument Nr. 175 als ehemaliger Stasi-Spitzel  – Deckname «Asenov» – enttarnt. 1976 warb ihn das «Büro I» als Agent an.

In dieser Funktion arbeitete Pavlov alias «Asenov» für die Gegenspionage, Hauptgebiet USA. Vor seiner Botschafter-Karriere in der Schweiz war er aussenpolitischer Berater des bulgarischen Präsidenten.

Aufgabe: Journalisten «betreuen»

Pavlovs direkter Vorgänger in Bern, Georgi Dagaradin, wurde 1972 vom «Büro 11» für Gegenspionage unter dem Decknamen «Arkady» rekrutiert. Spezialgebiet: die Beschäftigung mit Auslandkorrespondenten. Später arbeitete er bis 1992 operativ im Auslandgeheimdienst-«Büro 3» (Spezialität: USA und Westeuropa).

Ex-Botschafterin mit Nähe zur rechten Szene

Die dritte im Bunde der Ex-Stasi-Spitzel ist Elena Kirtcheva. Von 1990 bis 1991 war sie Parlamentsabgeordnete der zentristischen Bulgarischen Bauernpartei und bewegte sich dort am rechten Rand. Von 1991 bis 1996 war sie Botschafterin in der Schweiz.

Nach ihrer Abberufung hielt sie der Eidgenossenschaft die Treue und heiratete einen Schweizer mit bulgarischen Wurzeln. Ihr damaliger Partner sorgte durch nationalsozialistische und antisemitische Sprüche für Aufsehen.

Nachdem ihre Partei an die Macht kam, übernahm sie erst den Botschafterposten in Finnland, später jenen in Österreich. 2005 gründete sie das «Vienna Economic Forum» in Wien, bei dem sie bis heute im Vorstand sitzt.

Kirtcheva war Agentin fürs «Büro 8». Dort kümmerte sie sich von 1985 bis 1990 unter dem Decknamen «Iva» in Bulgarien um Touristen und Westler, die sich auf Stippvisite befanden.

Ein Webauftritt mit Gedächtnislücken

Der Internet-Auftritt der bulgarischen Botschaft in der Schweiz listet heute weder den 66-jährigen Ex-Spitzendiplomaten Atanas Pavlov noch seinen direkten Vorgänger Georgi Dagaradin auf.

Das Dokument der Sonderkommission dürfte auch für die über 2100 in der Schweiz lebenden Bulgaren nicht eben für warme Gefühle gesorgt haben. Denn viele von ihnen sind Alteingesessene, die bereits vor oder kurz nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg in die Schweiz auswanderten, wusste Ex-Botschafter Atanas Pavlov 2009 zu berichten. Jene Exil-Bulgaren flüchteten also mitunter vor dem kommunistischen Regime.

Stasi-Verbindungen «omnipräsent»

Offiziell wurde die Staatssicherheit 1991 aufgelöst und zahlreiche Mitarbeiter wurden entlassen. Doch inoffiziell sind die Stasi-Verbindungen «omnipräsent». Das berichtet der deutsche Diplomat Klaus Schrameyer in der aktuellen Ausgabe des Politmagazins «Europäische Rundschau».

Schrameyer, der vormals stellvertretender Botschafter Deutschlands in Bulgarien war, äussert sich in seiner Analyse«Bulgariens Stasi-Diplomaten» bemerkenswert undiplomatisch: «Mit ihrer Hilfe entwickelte sich ein mafioses Netzwerk von kriminellen ‹Businessmen›, ganz gleich ob sie im ‹Nebenberuf› Politiker, Abgeordnete, Beamte, Richter, Staatsanwälte, Oligarchen usw. waren. Sie alle waren vor allem daran interessiert, reich zu werden, auf Kosten ihres Volkes.»

Nomenklatura schaffte Milliarden ins Ausland

In Bulgarien fand beim Zusammenbruch der Sowjetunion gleich wie in Russland kein echter Übergang zwischen der alten und neuen Herrscherelite statt.

Die Nomenklatura schaffte es rechtzeitig, Milliarden Dollar an Volksvermögen im Ausland in Sicherheit zu bringen. Und als sich Bulgarien eine neue Verfassung gab, konnten sich die gut vernetzten Ex-Kommunisten Straffreiheit für Verbrechen und Bereicherung verschaffen.

200 Auftragsmorde bis heute ungesühnt

Bis heute sind Bulgarien und Rumänien die EU-Länder mit den grössten Problemen im Justizsystem. In Bulgarien allein wurden bis heute um die 200 Auftragsmorde nicht geklärt, schreibt Diplomat Schrameyer.

Diverse aktive Politiker sind als Spitzel bekannt, ohne dass dies Konsequenzen hat. Als die Diplomaten-Spitzel-Liste bekannt wurde, weigerte sich Präsident Georgi Parwanow schlicht, die Betroffenen von ihren Posten abzurufen.

Neben den ungeklärten Aktivitäten zu Zeiten des Kommunismus der kompromitierten Diplomaten kommt ein weiteres Problem hinzu: Die Ex-Stasi-Leute sind unter Umständen erpressbar.

Trojanisches Pferd Russlands

Die prekäre innenpolitische Lage Bulgariens wird für die EU zunehmend zum Problem – etwa beim Thema Schengen-Beitritt. Diverse Justizminister und Kriminalbeamte der Partnerländer hegen Bedenken, Bulgarien in den Schengen-Raum aufzunehmen.

In Anspielung auf die alten Geheimdienst-Seilschaften mit besten Verbindungen nach Moskau bezeichnete der russische Botschafter in Brüssel vor vier Jahren die Bulgaren unverblümt als «trojanisches Pferd Russlands» in der EU. Experten befürchten, dass durch den Schengen-Informationsaustausch unbefugt Daten zu russischen Nachrichtendiensten gelangen könnten.

Schweigen bei der Botschaft

Die Bulgarische Botschaft hat bis Redaktionsschluss auf eine Anfrage von az nicht reagiert. Das Eidgenössische Departement für auswärtige Angelegenheiten (EDA) liess az wissen, von der Vergangenheit der Diplomaten erst durch die Presse erfahren zu haben. Dem EDA sei mitgeteilt worden, dass Botschafter Pavlov nach Ablauf seiner Amtszeit nach Bulgarien zurückgekehrt sei, sagte Pressesprecher Georg Farago.

© Aargauer Zeitung / MLZ; 29.03.2011

Schweizer Bundesanwalt bringt Argentiniens Politiker in Wallung

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Die Bundesanwaltschaft ermittelt im Umfeld des grössten Gewerkschaftsbosses Argentiniens. Der droht seinem Land mit einem landesweiten Streik und schüchtert die Presse ein. von Christian Bütikofer

Mitte März sandte Bundesanwalt Erwin Beyeler ein Rechtshilfegesuch wegen Verdachts auf Geldwäscherei nach Argentinien – und löste damit gewaltigen politischen Wirbel aus. Denn die Verdächtigen haben engste Verbindungen zum mächtigsten Gewerkschafter Argentiniens, Hugo Moyano. Er lenkt die Gewerkschaft «Confederación General del Trabajo de la República Argentina» (CGT).

Die Bundesanwaltschaft nahm ihre Ermittlungen aufgrund einer Verdachtsmeldung der Chartered Bank auf und blockierte das Konto Nummer 25491 vorsorglich. Darauf befanden sich knapp 2 Millionen Franken.

Mit Demonstranten Presse lahmlegen

Die Gelder wurden auf Ricardo Depresbiteris ausgestellt. Er ist eine schillernde Figur in Argentinien. In wenigen Jahren schaffte er es vom einfachen Lastwagenfahrer mit einem kleinen Verdienst zum Präsidenten mit Luxusjacht der Abfallbeseitigungs-Firma Covelia SA. Die Covelia gedieh unter dem schützenden Einfluss der Gewerkschaft CGT und deren Boss Moyano. Depresbiteris verneint, er sei ein Strohmann Moyanos – glauben tun ihm dies nur wenige. Diesen Januar wurde zudem bekannt, dass die Firma Covelia auch intransparente Finanztransaktionen über Uruguay abwickelte.

Als ruchbar wurde, dass die Tageszeitungen «Clarín» und «La Nación» im Zusammenhang mit dem aktuellen Rechtshilfegesuch im Umfeld Moyanos recherchieren, drohte er ihnen sogleich: Täglich würde er mit tausenden von Demonstranten die Presse lahmlegen. Das Gleiche drohte er dem Staat an, sollte das Justizministerium dem Rechtshilfegesuch aus der Schweiz stattgeben.

Dieser Aktivismus erstaunt, wird doch gegen Moyano in der Schweiz nicht direkt ermittelt.

Die Aktion aus der Schweiz wird Argentinien auf jeden Fall noch länger beschäftigen: Im kommenden Oktober stehen Wahlen an – und Moyano selbst hat grosse Ambitionen. Zusammen mit Argentiniens Präsidentin Cristina Fernández de Kirchner will er siegen – und seine Gewerkschaftsfreunde im Kabinett platzieren.

© az Aargauer Zeitung, 22.03.2011

UMRANIYE ROUND-UP TARGETS DEEP STATE

Saturday, March 19th, 2011
ID
08ISTANBUL51
SUBJECT
UMRANIYE ROUND-UP TARGETS DEEP STATE
DATE
2008-01-30 07:07:00
CLASSIFICATION
CONFIDENTIAL
ORIGIN
Consulate Istanbul
TEXT
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ISTANBUL 000051

SIPDIS

C O R R E C T E D COPY – CORRECTING PARAGRAPH NUMBERS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/28/2028
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM TU
SUBJECT: UMRANIYE ROUND-UP TARGETS DEEP STATE

REF: A. 06 ANKARA 1442
¶B. 06 ANKARA 3772

ISTANBUL 00000051 001.2 OF 003

Classified By: Consul General Sharon A. Wiener
for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

¶1. (C) Summary. The January 22 police round-up of scores of people in Istanbul and other cities, related to the discovery of a weapons cache in Istanbul’s Umraniye district last June, may be a battle in the war to fight the “deep state” in Turkey. The “deep state” is a vague, ill-defined network of like-minded people (including former military personnel and government officials) with ties to Turkey’s ultra-nationalists that purports to provide an “alternative” to state power. Allegedly, this extra-legal grouping works to influence and deliver public support behind actions by real state actors, often the military. Some, such as former Prime Minister and President Suleyman Demirel, voice support for this power center. Current PM Erdogan apparently opposes it and is looking for ways to subvert if not destroy it. There is speculation the contemporary deep state has overlap affiliation with popularly termed Operation GLADIO, a Cold War “stay behind” network organized to resist possible Soviet occupation. Successful prosecution of a deep state network would strike a blow against nationalist impunity and demonstrate a strong commitment to rule of law. Despite apparent support for this investigation at the highest levels of the political leadership, prosecution can only be successful with the cooperation of Turkey’s arch-nationalist judiciary. End summary.

UMRANIYE RAIDS ————–

¶2. (C) In pre-dawn raids on the morning of Tuesday, January 22, police in Istanbul and at least four other cities took suspects into custody under suspicion of belonging to what Istanbul prosecutor Zekeriya Oz labeled a terrorist organization. Press report police monitored Ergenekon (ultra-nationalist club) members, actions and telephone conversations for 8 months as part of an investigation of a stockpile of explosives and ammunition found June 12, 2007, in Umraniye, a middle class district on the Asian side of Istanbul. Istanbul-based TESEV Foreign Policy Director Mensur Akgun believes there is an Ergenekon link to clandestine “stay behind” networks (popularly referred to as Operation GLADIO after the Italian version) set up in NATO countries to resist potential Soviet occupation. Akgun says Ergenekon is part of the “Deep State” apparatus in Turkey and believes Prime Minister Erdogan forced the military to acquiesce to police exposure and prosecution of the group.

¶3. (U) According to police, the Istanbul raids were part of an organized counterterrorism effort carried out in Istanbul, Adana, Izmir, Duzce, and Malatya. Thus far, 60 suspects have been detained from nationalist groups called Ergenekon, Atabeyler, Sauna, and Umraniye. During initial raids in June/July 2007, police discovered a hit list including pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) deputies Ahmet Turk and Sebahat Tuncel, Diyarbakir mayor Osman Baydemir, former MP Leyla Zana, Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk, and Zaman daily journalist Fehmi Koru. DTP politicians on the list reportedly refused a 24-hour police guard offered them. Also uncovered in the raid were diagrams and action plans said to lay out the foundations for a coup planned for 2009. Press speculation implicates Ergenekon in virtually every killing with political significance over the past several years, including the Hrant Dink murder, the 2006 Council of State (Danistay) shooting which killed one judge, the bombing of the Cumhuriyet newspaper building in Istanbul, and the 2006 murder of an Italian priest, among others. Prior to the raids on January 22, 15 people had been arrested in connection with the Umraniye weapons cache. They were charged with establishing and running an armed terrorist organization, conspiring to encourage military members to disobey orders, acquiring information on state security, and being in possession of explosives.

A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF A COMPLICATED SUBJECT ——————————————–

¶4. (C) Referring to the antecedents of Ergenekon, Mensur Akgun says nationalist elements, traceable to Ottoman days, were responsible for incidents including the Istanbul riots of September 6-7, 1955, targeting the Greek minority. Then-PM Bulent Ecevit complained in 1974 of a “counter guerrilla” force operating outside the Turkish military chain of command. Akgun also claimed former PM Tansu Ciller and former President Suleyman Demirel requested and received NSC approval for a “deep state” mechanism in the 1990s. Forces established in the 1950s as sleeper agents, once directed by the intelligence community, have come to feel immune from prosecution and are no longer controllable, Akgun claimed. Ergenekon has overlap with this group. Akgun also professed that deep state elements have taken part in efforts to eliminate the PKK, citing the Semdinli incident. The November 9, 2005, bombing of a bookstore in Semdinli killed one and injured several in Turkey’s southeastern province of Hakkari. Two suspects were found to be members of the security forces. Efforts by Prosecutor Ferhat Sarikaya to pinpoint ultimate responsibility for the attack resulted in his being fired by the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors (Ref A).

¶5. (C) Akgun posits arrests on January 22 were facilitated by followers of Fethullah Gulen (once a deep state target) who have established themselves in the regular police and police intelligence cadres. Akgun cited the Prime Minister’s comment, “the state is working,” as evidence he had forced agreement with Turkey’s military to make the Umraniye investigations public. Those found guilty would be prosecuted, said Akun. Mindful of truncated investigations into Sedinli, Susurluk (Ref B) and other scandals, Akgun made an appeal for the USG to reveal any informaton it has that would corroborate evidence of wrongdoing by the suspects.

¶6. (C) The judiciary, Akgun said, could prove a stumbling block to justice. He lamented that though not necessarily corrupt, Turkey’s judiciary had large numbers of “illiberal” judges, more focused on protecting the state from the individual than in promoting individual rights, and who firmly believe any means should be used to protect the state. Insofar as the deep state’s purported intentions are to protect the state (as that group defines it), they may be able to find common cause with some in the legal system who could shield them from the full brunt of prosecution. Akgun expects the accused would mount a strong defense but added that there are now many factors at work to thwart the extra-legal group. Akgun — and many respected media commentators — said success would have far-reaching, positive implications for the rule of law and democracy in Turkey.

A ROGUE’S GALLERY FRAMES THE PLOT ———————————

¶7. (U) Central to the cast of characters detained in the Umraniye raids is retired Major General Veli Kuck, reputed to be a leader in the Ergenekon organzation. Following the 1996 Susurluk incident, the Office of the Chief of the General Staff reportedly blocked charges from being filed against Kucuk (then active duty) and he refused to give a deposition to the parliamentary investigation. Kucuk sued Erdal Dogan (attorney for the Dink family) after Dogan told prosecutors that Kucuk could be involved in Dink,s murder. Kucuk attended hearings for Dink,s Article 301 case, filed by ultra-nationalist lawyer Kemal Kerencsiz who was also detained on January 22. Kerencsiz filed 301 cases against Orhan Pamuk and Elif Shafak as well.

¶8. (U) Also among the detained is Oktay Yildirim, a retired noncommissioned officer reputed to have made threatening phone calls to Prosecutor Zekeriya Oz. Two people arrested during the June 2007 raid on the house in Umraniye indicated Yildirim provided the weapons. Yildirim claims he found the weapons at a dump behind a military barracks in Hasdal on Istanbul’s European side.

DEMIREL ON THE DEEP STATE ————————-

¶9. (U) Interviewed on CNN-Turk on April 17, 2005, former President Demirel said, “The deep state is the state itself. It is the military. The military that established the state always fears the collapse of the state. The people sometimes misuse the rights provided…. The deep state is not active as long as the state is not brought to the verge of collapse. They are not a separate state, but when they intervene in the administration of the state, they become the deep state.”

¶10. (C) Comment. The deep state is shady, vague and ill-defined. Events like the 1955 Istanbul riots, Susurluk and Semdinli, the Dink 301 trial and subsequent assassinations have long haunted public life. Weak rule of law and the impunity with which privileged operators have long been able to subvert Turkey’s legal system have created an environment in which rumors of the deep state’s existence have been enough to give the concept a life of its own. Fear of the deep state’s omnipotence combined with an unshakable belief that it exists, imparts much of its power. If Akgun’s take is correct, PM Erdogan has the evidence he needs to expose and close down or seriously damage a widely rumored “deep state” apparatus that works outside the rule of law, often in the service of ultra-nationalist causes. However, prosecution will only be successful with the cooperation of Turkey’s deeply conservative judiciary. That will be the test; passing it will have positive implications for strengthening and extending democracy and rule of law in Turkey. End comment.

WIENER

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http://www.wikileaks.ch/cable/2008/01/08ISTANBUL51.html

WHO ARE MEXICO’S MONOPOLISTS?

Thursday, March 17th, 2011
ID 06MEXICO6413
SUBJECT WHO ARE MEXICO’S MONOPOLISTS?
DATE 2006-11-09 16:04:00
CLASSIFICATION UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
ORIGIN Embassy Mexico
TEXT 85174
2006-11-09 16:22:00
06MEXICO6413
Embassy Mexico
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY 

VZCZCXRO4906
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DE RUEHME #6413/01 3131622
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FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4147
INFO RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 MEXICO 006413

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE, SIPDIS

FOR WHA/MEX, WHA/EPSC, AND EB/IFD/OMA
USDOC FOR 4320/ITA/MAC/WH/ONAFTA/ARUDMAN
TREASURY FOR IA (ALICE FAIBISHENKO)
STATE PASS TO USTR (EISSENSTAT/MELLE)
STATE PASS TO FEDERAL RESERVE (CARLOS ARTETA)
STATE PASS TO JUSTICE DEPARTMENT ANTI-TRUST DIVISION
(CALDWELL HARROP, KIMBERLY GARNETT, ANNE MARIE CUSHMAC)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ELAB EFIN PINR PGOV MX
SUBJECT: WHO ARE MEXICO’S MONOPOLISTS?

——-
Summary
——-

¶1. (SBU) Bank of Mexico and likely incoming Mexican government officials in recent weeks have stressed the importance of opening key sectors of the economy to more competition, but have been hesitant to publicly name the “offending” companies. This telegram spells out which sectors are dominated by only a few powerful firms, who is in charge of these companies, and how much of the market the companies control. End Summary.

——————————————— —–
Summit Participants Highlight Need for Competition
——————————————— —–

¶2. (SBU) At the Monterrey Business Summit on October 30, 2006, Bank of Mexico (BOM) Governor Guillermo Ortiz and other participants (business representatives, academics, President-elect Felipe Calderon transition team members, etc.) underscored the importance of more competition in key sectors such as telecommunications, transportation, construction, and financial services. Ortiz stressed that macroeconomic and financial stability is an important “theme” in the Mexican economy, one that has been largely achieved. He said that another key theme is competition. He emphasized the importance of focusing on monopolies and how they hinder economic growth and competition by keeping prices high. Professor and political commentator Denise Dresser made similar points at the Summit the day before, and received applause for her comments. Numerous participants focused on the need to challenge monopolies and the excessive costs they produce. That said, no one at the Business Summit would name specific companies or people (Carlos Slim, etc.). When pressed by a questioner to name a Mexican company that needs to open up to competition, Mexican Institute for Competitiveness head Roberto Newell would only name Coca Cola and Wal-Mart, to the nervous laughter of the audience.

¶3. (SBU) To facilitate USG understanding of what analysts are referring to when they talk about Mexican industries and sectors where competition is absent or severely restricted, Post is providing the following list (alphabetical listing by sector).

Airlines
——–

Aeromexico
CEO: Andres Conesa
Market share: 39.7%

Mexicana
CEO: Gaston Azcarraga
Market share: 36%

(Note: The introduction of low-cost airlines is expected to increase competition in the domestic market. End Note.)

Beer
—-

Grupo Modelo
Chairman and CEO: Carlos Fernandez Gonzalez
Market share: 65.2%

Cerveceria Cuauhtemoc Moctezuma
Chairman: Jose Antonio Fernandez Carbajal
Market share: 43%

Bottling
——–

Coca-Cola FEMSA
Chairman: Jose Antonio Fernandez Carbajal
DG: Carlos Salazar
Market share: 70%

Pepsico

MEXICO 00006413 002 OF 003

CEO and DG: Oscar Cazares
Market share: 15%

Bread
—–

Bimbo
Chairman of the Board: Roberto Servitje Sendra
DG: Daniel Servitje
Market share: 67.8%

Broadcasting
————

Televisa
Chairman and CEO: Emilio Azcarraga Jean
Market share: 56% of Mexico’s TV stations

TV Azteca
Chairman and CEO: Ricardo Salinas Pliego
Market share: 38% of Mexico’s TV stations

Cablevision (owned by Televisa)
Chairman of the Board: Emilio Azcarraga Jean
DG: Juan Paul Broc
Market share: majority of market for cable TV

Sky (owned by Televisa)
Chairman of the Board: Emilio Azcarraga Jean
DG: Alexandre Moreira
Market share: majority of market for satellite TV

Cement
——

Cemex
Chairman and CEO: Lorenzo Zambrano
Market share: 87.6%

HOLCIM Apasco
DG: Pierre Froidevaux
Market share: 12.4%

Energy
——

Pemex
DG: Luis Ramirez Corzo

Federal Electricity Comisisn (CFE)
DG: Alfredo Elias Ayub

Luz y Fuerza del Centro (LyFC)
DG: Luis de Pablo Serna

Financial Services
——————

BBVA Bancomer (Spain), Banamex Citigroup (U.S.), Santander
Serfin (Spain), Banorte (Mexico), HSBC (UK), and
Scotiabank-Inverlat (Canada) have over 90% of the market.

(Note: Mexico’s Federal Competition Commission is investigating banks and pension fund operators to see why their commissions are so high, and if they are involved in anti-competitive practices. The results of this investigation are supposed to be released around March ¶2007. A number of companies, including Wal-Mart, have filed for licenses to enter the financial services market in Mexico. End Note.)

Glass
—–

Vitro
Chairman and CEO: Adrian Sada Gonzalez
DG: Federico Sada
Market share: 73.8%

Hospitals
———

MEXICO 00006413 003 OF 003

Grupo Angeles
Chairman: Olegario Vazquez Aldir
Market share: 67%

Mining
——

Penoles
Chairman: Alberto Bailleres
DG: Jaime Lomelin
Market share: 52% of gold, 97% of silver, and 90% of sodium
sulfate

Grupo Mexico
Chairman and CEO: German Larrea
Market share: 88% of copper

Railroads
———

Ferromex
DG: John Kelly Joseph
Market share: 58%

Ferrosur (owned by Carlos Slim’s Empresa Frisco)
DG: Daniel Torres
Market share: 15%

Kansas City Southern
Chairman: Michael Harverty
Market share: 27%

Telecommunications
——————

Telmex (owned by Carlos Slim’s Grupo Carso)
Chairman of the Board: Jaime Chico Pardo
DG: Hector Slim Seade
Market share: 95% of landlines

Telcel (Radiomovil Dipsa/America Movil)
(owned by Carlos Slim’s Grupo Carso)
Chairman of the Board: Carlos Slim Helu
DG: Daniel Hajj Aboumrad
Market share: 80% of cellular service

Tortillas
———

Gruma-Grupo Maseca
Chairman and CEO: Roberto Gonzalez Barrera
Market share: 73%

Minsa
Chairman: Juan Jaime Petersen
DG: Jose Cacho Ribeiro
Market share: 15%

——-
Comment
——-

¶4. (SBU) For some time now, Bank of Mexico Governor Ortiz has been a key voice in calling for the elimination of monopolies. He is a key spokesperson on this issue because of his high profile and because he is not directly connected with vested interest groups — unlike some members of the GOM Executive branch. Mexico has made notable progress in promoting competition over the past year (e.g. passage of a competition law), but it has a long way to go. Making further headway in this area will require significant political will, as it entails incoming government officials taking on powerful unions and, in some cases, the people who financed their campaigns. End Comment.

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NATO KFOR MISSION: SWISS NOT PLANNING ANY CHANGES IN FORCE CONTRIBUTION

Monday, March 14th, 2011
ID 09BERN127
SUBJECT NATO KFOR MISSION: SWISS NOT PLANNING ANY CHANGES
DATE 2009-03-20 16:04:00
CLASSIFICATION CONFIDENTIAL
ORIGIN Embassy Bern
TEXT 2009-03-20 16:40:00 09BERN127 Embassy Bern CONFIDENTIAL 09STATE26179 VZCZCXRO5710
OO RUEHSR
DE RUEHSW #0127/01 0791640
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5730
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RUEHSM/AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM PRIORITY 3024
RUEHVI/AMEMBASSY VIENNA PRIORITY 0855
RUEHYE/AMEMBASSY YEREVAN PRIORITY 0057
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 0330 C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BERN 000127 

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EUR/RPM (C.DAVY) AND EUR/CE (C.HODGES)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/20/2019
TAGS: PREL MARR NATO KPKO KV SZ
SUBJECT: NATO KFOR MISSION: SWISS NOT PLANNING ANY CHANGES  IN FORCE CONTRIBUTION

REF: STATE 26179

Classified By: Acting Political-Economic Affairs Counselor Chris Buck;
reasons 1.4(b) and (d).

Classified By: Acting Political-Economic Affairs Counselor Chris Buck;  reasons 1.4(b) and (d).

——————————————— –  SWISS PLANNING NO CHANGES IN KFOR CONTRIBUTION  ——————————————— –

¶1. (C) Acting POL-ECON Counselor and DAO representative  delivered the reftel message on March 19 to Marlene Odermatt,  Policy Advisor for International Relations and Strategy at  the Swiss Federal Ministry of Defense. Odermatt said that  Switzerland has no plans to change its current force  contribution to KFOR. In collegial but appropriately  cautious fashion, she referred to the fact that current Swiss  DefMin Ueli Maurer generally espouses his Swiss People’s  Party (SVP) aversion to foreign deployments. However,  Odermatt underlined that DefMin Maurer is well aware of the  importance of Balkan security to Swiss interests, given the  region’s proximity to Switzerland and the large Kosovo expat  population living in Switzerland. She further emphasized  that the DefMin is taking a fact-based (i.e.,  non-ideological) approach to foreign deployment issues as  they are discussed within the MOD. In that context, Odermatt  mentioned that DefMin Maurer on his own initiative was in the  early stages of considering travel to Kosovo, to visit the  Swiss KFOR contingent (SWISSCOY) and Kosovo officials.

¶2. (C) Also on March 19, A/POL-ECON Counselor passed the  message (reftel, para 5) via telephone to Didier Chassot,  Swiss MFA Regional Coordinator for South-Eastern Europe;  Chassot was not available to meet, due to pending travel out  of Bern. In a follow up meeting at the MFA on March 20,  Chassot informed A/POL-ECON Counselor that the MFA concurred  with the USG’s views and concerns with regard to the KFOR  posture — the “job is not yet done.” Responding to  A/POL-ECON Counselor’s query regarding the Swiss government’s  current position with regard to the Kosovo Security Force  Trust Fund, Chassot said that, although Switzerland is  strongly committed to Kosovo’s future, he does not believe it  likely that Switzerland will make a contribution to the  Kosovo Security Force Trust Fund, due to domestic political  considerations. (Note: Though the Swiss arms industry  routinely is permitted to make foreign commercial sales to a  range of countries, the Swiss generally are more reluctant to  provide foreign security assistance other than in ways that  clearly have only humanitarian or civil-military  applications, such as the types of training provided at the  Swiss Geneva Center for Security Policy. End Note)

———————————————  QUICK REFERENCE: SWITZERLAND AND KOSOVO/KFOR  ———————————————

¶3. (U) Switzerland recognized Kosovo independence on February  27, 2008 — ten days after Kosovo’s declaration. In March  2008, Switzerland became one of the first countries to open  an embassy in Pristina. FM Calmy-Rey traveled to Pristina  for the opening. The Swiss government pledged CHR 77 million  (USD 69 million) in development assistance over three years  at the July 2008 international donors’ conference for Kosovo.  Approximately 150,000 Kosovo Albanians reside in  Switzerland, most on long-term residency permits.

¶4. (U) The Swiss government made its initial decision to  participate in KFOR in June 1999. Switzerland’s  participation in KFOR is based on UNSCR 1244 and a mandate  from the Swiss Parliament. The parliamentary mandate was  renewed last July through the end of 2011. Up to 220 Swiss  military personnel (all volunteers only) serve in the  SWISSCOY, which is composed of support and infantry  companies, and an aviation detachment with two Superpuma  transport helicopters. The SWISSCOY is stationed in  Multinational Task Force South (MNTF-S), but can be employed  throughout Kosovo. The Swiss personnel are co-located with  Austrian personnel at Camp Casablanca. The Swiss MOD’s  budget for its KFOR deployment in 2008 was CHF 37.5 million   BERN 00000127 002 OF 002    (USD 33.5 million).  CARTER

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BLOCHER-ROSCHACHER ROILS SWISS CONSENSUS POLITICS

Monday, March 14th, 2011
D 07BERN896
SUBJECT BLOCHER-ROSCHACHER ROILS SWISS CONSENSUS POLITICS
DATE 2007-09-13 05:05:00
CLASSIFICATION UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
ORIGIN Embassy Bern
TEXT 2007-09-13 05:53:00 07BERN896 Embassy Bern UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB 

DE RUEHSW #0896/01 2560553
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 130553Z SEP 07
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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4475
INFO RUCNMEU/EU INTEREST COLLECTIVE
UNCLAS BERN 000896

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EUR/AGS AND INR/EU

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV SNAR SZ
SUBJECT: BLOCHER-ROSCHACHER ROILS SWISS CONSENSUS POLITICS

——-
Summary
——-

¶1. (SBU) The Blocher-Roschacher affair is for the most part about  Federal Councilor (and Justice Minister) Blocher’s role in the July  2006 resignation of Federal Prosecutor Valentin Roschacher. The key  question hanging in the air is whether Blocher abused his office as  Justice Minister to exert undue pressure on Roschacher to resign, or  worse, was involved in a secret plot trying to oust Roschacher.  Though this complex saga appears far from over, it thus far has  generated one of the worst bouts of bickering and public accusations  in modern Swiss politics. However, barring some further sensational  development, we should not expect Blocher to resign or be removed  from office. The most likely effect of the affair will be to  galvanize already committed supporters in the Swiss political camps,  rather than increase the support for one party or another. End  summary.

——————————-  Background: The “Ramos Affair”  ——————————-

¶2. (U) In July 2006, former Federal Prosecutor Valentin Roschacher  announced his resignation. He previously had weathered some  domestic criticism in 2004 for alleged mismanagement and for a  terrorism cooperation agreement he concluded with the USG. However,  his 2006 resignation was made amidst mounting public pressure  following a Swiss newspaper article alleging that Roschacher had  played an instrumental role in engaging a convicted Columbian drug  trafficker, Jose Manuel Ramos, for an undercover operation in  Switzerland. Ramos reportedly had spent 12 years in a U.S. prison  on drug charges.

¶3. (U) Information provided by Ramos purportedly prompted an  investigation against a Swiss private banker, Oskar Holenweger, on  suspicion of money-laundering. The investigation ultimately led to  Holenweger’s personal ruin, but to no formal indictment. Swiss  press reports claimed that the Federal Prosecutor had placed too  much stock in information provided by an ex-con. Only days after  the press reports, Justice Minister Blocher and the Swiss Federal  Criminal Court in BELLINZONA, which hold joint oversight over the  Federal Prosecutor’s office, announced a special investigation of  Roschacher’s office. Roschacher announced his resignation before  the end of this special investigation, though he ultimately was  cleared of the allegations of mismanagement and legal wrongdoing.

——————————-  The “Blocher-Roschacher Affair”  ——————————-

¶4. (U) The Oversight Committee of Parliament’s lower house (GPK-N),  which monitors the Swiss government administration on behalf of the  Parliament, has had an ongoing investigation of the circumstances  leading to Roschacher’s resignation. The issue had remained largely  out of the public discussion until September 3, when left-leaning  newspapers began reporting information apparently leaked from a  GPK-N report on Roschacher’s resignation. According to those press  reports, Blocher allegedly plotted to oust Roschacher, overstepping  his mandate by pressuring Roschacher to resign and by arranging a  severance package for Roschacher to help convince him to quit absent  any legal or administrative basis.

¶5. (U) The storm broke on September 5 when the Federal Council  announced it planned to engage an independent legal expert in order  to help it assess the findings of the (yet-to-be published) GPK-N  report on Roschacher’s resignation. Under mounting pressure of the  media reports, Blocher the same day held a press conference  denouncing the GPK-N report as “tendentious” and the allegation of a  plot as “nonsense.”

¶6. (U) Later on September 5, the GPK-N held a hastily arranged press  conference to publish the findings of its report, which alleges  serious misconduct of Blocher, including bypassing the Federal  Council and disregarding the separation of powers in the  “non-voluntary resignation” of Roschacher. More ominously, the  GPK-N also announced that it was going to examine documents that  might reveal a plot to oust Roschacher, cooked up by Holenweger and  supposedly involving Blocher. The documents reportedly had been  obtained by the German police and provided by the government of  Germany to Swiss legal officials. By September 6, the media from  left to right was pitching the imbroglio as an affair of state  focusing almost exclusively on putative evidence of a plot. The  actual GPK-N report got almost overlooked by the media.

————————–  The SVP Comes Out Swinging  ————————–

¶7. (U) On September 6, Blocher’s SVP fought back. SVP strategist  Christoph Moergeli presented the press with what he said were the  original documents that the GPK-N wanted to evaluate for indications  of the alleged plot. Thus far, the GPK-N has only viewed copies  held by a Swiss Examining Magistrate, who did not permit the GPK-N  to make copies of the documents. Moergeli said he had obtained the  documents directly from his “friend” Holenweger. The documents are  a series of military-style flipcharts with names of two dozen Swiss  politicians, journalists, and private persons, annotated with  comments, abbreviations, and markings. Moergeli vehemently  dismissed allegations that the documents in question represented  plans of a secret plot against Roschacher, calling the conspiracy  theory “politically instrumentalized bull—-.” He argued that the  cryptic notes of Holenweger, a former Swiss army general staff  officer, were simply Holenweger’s effort to record the crisis  unfolding over Roschacher following the publication of the press  reports regarding the “Ramos Affair.”

¶8. (U) In a September 11 statement released via his lawyer,  Holenweger himself reinforced Moergli’s claims, arguing that the  documents were simply notes he wrote for his own “personal  orientation,” and that none of the persons listed were aware of the  documents or involved in any kind of plot. He further stated that  he had not met with Blocher since 1988, and apologized for the  trouble the documents had caused.

——————-  “UnSwiss” Bickering  ——————-

¶9. (SBU) Though this complex saga appears far from over, it thus far  has generated one of the worst bouts of bickering and public  accusations in modern Swiss politics. The SVP has presented recent  events as proof of its claims that the left was conspiring to oust  Blocher from the Federal Council which comes up for election in  December. Lucrezia Meier-Schatz, the member of the GPK-N who  insinuated a possible plot to oust Roschacher, reportedly has  received anonymous threats and has been put under police protection.  Some members of the (center-)left have decried Blocher’s position  on the Federal Council as untenable, though generally denying any  plot to remove him. Federal Councilor and Interior Minister  Couchepin (FDP) said on Swiss radio that recent events reminded him  of fascism in Italy and, referring to his arch-enemy Blocher, that  Switzerland had no need for a “Duce.”

¶10. (SBU) On September 10, Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey, who  thus far had refrained from comment, urged restraint on everybody.  In an interview with Switzerland’s largest circulation tabloid,  Calmy-Rey  called the current bickering among the political parties “unSwiss”  and admonished that nobody should be blamed before all the facts are  known and carefully evaluated.

———————–  A Complicated Storyline  ———————–

¶11. (SBU) The circumstances leading to Roschacher’s resignation  remain murky and facts are scant. However, it is an open secret  that there was no love lost between Blocher and Roschacher, who  repeatedly had clashed publicly prior to Roschacher’s July 2006  resignation. It also is a fact that Blocher had warned Roschacher  in writing of his possible dismissal. Nevertheless, Blocher would  have had no authority to single-handedly sack Roschacher. That is  where the conspiracy theories start, allegedly “corroborated” by the  Holenweger charts, claiming that the press report that prompted  Roschacher’s resignation was part of a bigger plot (Comment: The  newspaper in question — “Weltwoche” — firmly toes the SVP line.  End comment)

¶12. (SBU) Those who claim that the affair stems from a personal  vendetta against Blocher note that Roschacher had been nominated as  Federal Prosecutor by Blocher’s predecessor as Justice Minister,  Ruth Metzler (CVP), whom Blocher bumped from the Federal Council  following the elections in 2003, ending 44-years of stable party  composition of the Swiss government when the SVP demanded a second  seat in the Cabinet. Roschacher had a long-standing personal  relationship dating back to student days with Metzler and her  husband, so his relations with Blocher likely were strained from the  very beginning. Meier-Schatz, who led the investigation of  Blocher’s actions and stirred rumors of a plot, is a member of the  Christian-Democratic party, as is Metzler, and represents a Canton  in eastern Switzerland from which both Roschacher and Metzler hail.

——————————–  Comment: Pre-Election Politics?  ——————————–

¶13. (SBU) The Blocher-Roschacher affair has roiled the Swiss  political scene whose normal hallmarks are consensus and compromise.  And it comes at a particularly sensitive time, as the Swiss prepare  for their October 21 parliamentary elections. General Swiss  prosperity and challenges related to globalization appear to be  reinforcing the normal pre-election tendency toward “niche” politics  and polarization (more on that will be reported septel).

¶14. (SBU) Against this backdrop, the vehemence with which the  various parties have asserted wrong-doing by others and/or claimed  for themselves the status of “victim” surely is driven by a desire  to score political points. However, barring some further  sensational development, we should not expect Blocher to resign or  be removed from office. Give the complexity of the storyline and  limited public appetite for political news, the most likely effect  of the affair will be to galvanize already committed supporters in  the Swiss political camps, rather than increase the support for one  party or another.

CARTER

 

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TURKEY: AQ KHAN SANCTIONS REACTION, UPDATE ON CASE

Monday, March 14th, 2011
ID
09ANKARA71
SUBJECT
TURKEY: AQ KHAN SANCTIONS REACTION, UPDATE ON CASE \
DATE
2009-01-15 11:11:00
CLASSIFICATION
SECRET
ORIGIN
Embassy Ankara
TEXT
2009-01-15 11:47:00 09ANKARA71 Embassy Ankara SECRET 09STATE2519 P 151147Z JAN 09

FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8474

INFO AMEMBASSY BERN PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE PRIORITY

S E C R E T ANKARA 000071

EUR/SE, EUR/PRA, ISN/CPI

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/15/2019

TAGS: ETTC MNUC EFIN KNNP PARM PINS PREL SZ

SUBJECT: TURKEY: AQ KHAN SANCTIONS REACTION, UPDATE ON CASE

REF: STATE 2519

Classified By: Pol-Mil Counselor A.F. Godfrey, Reasons 1.4 (b,d)

¶1. (S) MFA Nonproliferation and Disarmament Department Head Elif Ulgen expressed appreciation for receiving advanced notification of US intentions to sanction individuals and companies linked with the AQ Khan network (reftel) and for the background information on the various sanctions. We praised solid Turkish cooperation on these cases and emphasized that the sanctions are directed at the individuals and firms named, not the GOT.

¶2. (S) Ulgen said she did not anticipate much public reaction to the sanctions and noted that the individuals (Selim Alguadis and Kursad Cire) continue to be monitored by Turkish intelligence. She agreed to check on the status of the plans, drawings, and documents that were in the Turkish companies’ possession and follow up with us once she has additional information to share.

¶3. (S) Regarding Turkish efforts to prosecute Alguadis, Cire and others involved in AQ Khan network’s activities in Turkey, including Urs Friedrich TINNER and Henk Slebos, Ulgen said the next hearing for the case will take place in March. She said that according to officials in the Ministry of Justice, the case cannot progress until TINNER, a key suspect in the case, either agrees to testify or provides a written deposition to the court. She noted that the GOT still has not received any responses to its requests to the governments of Switzerland and the Netherlands for their assistance in obtaining a written deposition from TINNER and Slebos, respectively. While making clear the GOT is not in position to influence the judicial process, Ulgen expressed concern that the court may eventually dismiss the case if the GOT is unable to obtain the needed cooperation from other governments.

¶4. (S) Comment: The GOT has worked hard to investigate and prosecute those involved in the AQ Khan network here and has worked closely with the USG in this case. The MFA is frustrated that it has not been able to obtain needed information from foreign governments. MFA officials are aware of the New York Times reporting alleging a connection between the TINNER family and US government agencies. Although they have not explicitly stated so, it is clear MFA officials following the case do not expect a response from the Swiss Government and suspect the USG has played a role in this. Absent a deposition from Urs Friedrich TINNER, it is highly likely the case against Alguadis and Cire will eventually be dismissed.

Visit Ankara’s Classified Web Site at http://www.intelink.sgov.gov/wiki/Portal:Turkey

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CORRECTED MAURITIUS: 2010 INVESTMENT CLIMATE STATEMENT

Monday, March 14th, 2011

ID     10PORTLOUIS35
SUBJECT     CORRECTED MAURITIUS: 2010 INVESTMENT CLIMATE STATEMENT
DATE     2010-02-04 00:00:00
CLASSIFICATION     UNCLASSIFIED
ORIGIN     Embassy Port Louis
TEXT     UNCLAS PORT LOUIS 000035

DEPT FOR EB/IFD/OIA, EEB/CBA, AF/EPS, AND AF/E
DEPT PLEASE PASS TO USTR
DEPT PLEASE PASS TO OPIC, EXIM, AND TDA
USDOC FOR 4510/ITA/MAC/ANESA/OA (ROBERT TELCHIN)
USDOC FOR 3131/USFCS/ANESA/OIO
JOHANNESBURG FOR FCS AND TDA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EINV, EFIN, ETRD, ECON, ELAB, KTDB, KIDE, PGOV, OPIC, USTR,
MP
SUBJECT: CORRECTED MAURITIUS: 2010 INVESTMENT CLIMATE STATEMENT

REF: STATE 124006

1. Per reftel request, Post submits the following 2010 Investment Climate Statement for Mauritius. Please note that the exchange rate used throughout the report is (i) 2007: USD 1 = MRs 32, (ii) 2008: USD 1 = MRs 29, and (iii) 2009: USD 1 = MRs 32.50. (Mauritius Rupees = MRs).

——————————
OPENNESS TO FOREIGN INVESTMENT
——————————-
2. Mauritius is among the most competitive and successful economies in Africa and actively seeks foreign investment. The World Bank’s 2010 Doing Business report ranks Mauritius 17th among the 183 economies covered by the report and first in Africa for the second year in a row in terms of overall ease of doing business. In three years Mauritius has moved from the 49th (2006) to the 17th place (2009). Mauritius is praised in the report for its continued efforts in the past year to improve the business climate with the adoption of a new insolvency law, the establishment of a specialized commercial division within the courts, the easing of property transfers, and the expediting of trade processes. The government’s objective is for Mauritius to rank among the top ten most investment and business friendly locations in the world.

3. The World Economic Forum’s 2009-2010 Global Competitiveness Report places Mauritius second in Africa (after South Africa) and 57th in the world in terms of competitiveness. The report lauded Mauritius as Qa country characterized by strong and transparent public institutions, with clear property rights, strong judicial independence, and a security that is good by regional standards.

4. ECONOMIC REFORM: Mauritius’ economy suffered at the turn of the millennium as longstanding trade preferences in textiles and sugar, which were the foundation of its growth strategy, were phased out. The government which took office in 2005 embarked on a bold economic reform program aimed at opening up the economy, facilitating business, improving the investment climate, and mobilizing foreign direct investment (FDI) and expertise. The reforms have resulted in a strong and balanced growth across all sectors of the economy and
have spurred foreign investment to record levels.

5. Mauritius witnessed three years of robust economic growth between January 2006 and December 2008. In 2008, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was close to USD 9 billion, with a GDP growth rate of 5.3% and a per capita income of USD 7,000, one of the highest in Africa.
However, the Mauritian economy, which demonstrated remarkable resilience in 2008, started to feel the impact of the global crisis at the beginning of 2009, resulting in a decelerated growth rate of 2.8 percent for the year. However, following the recent signs of recovery in the world economy, GDP growth is forecast to recover to 4.3 percent in 2010. By 2011, the economy is expected to return to its pre-crisis growth of more than five percent.

6. FDI, which averaged USD 33 million annually for the two decades ending in December 2005, has risen to USD 280 million since 2006.
Following the reforms initiated in 2006, Mauritius has attracted more than USD 1 billion from foreign investors. In 2009, FDI is estimated at close to USD 280 million.

7. BUSINESS FACILITATION: The GOMQs policy since 2005 has been to open the economy and streamline administrative procedures for people to come, work, and live in Mauritius. The Business Facilitation Act of 2006 simplified the business licensing process with respect to starting a business and allowed businesses to start operations within three days of  incorporation. Also, residence permits and work permits for foreign investors, entrepreneurs, and professionals have been combined into what is called an occupation permit, which
is now processed within three working days.

8. Investment in Mauritius is governed by the Investment Promotion Act of 2000. Investment regulations are consistent with the WTO’s Agreement on Trade Related Investment Measures (TRIMS). The GOM does not discriminate between local and foreign investment.
Businesses can be conducted locally in several forms: under a self-employed activity, as a partnership with Mauritian nationals, or a 100 percent foreign-owned company under the Companies Act. For a limited number of regulated activities in such sectors as tourism, sugar, and broadcasting, an application for the appropriate permit or license must be made to the competent authorities prior to start of operations. For such activities, investors should seek advice from the Board of Investment (www.investmauritius.com).

9. The Board of Investment (BOI) acts as a one-stop focal agency for business registration. BOI acts as the facilitator for all forms of investment in Mauritius and guides investors through the necessary processes for doing business in the country. Before starting operations, businesses must register with the Registrar of Companies. Regulations governing incorporation are contained in the Companies Act of 2001. After receipt of a certificate of incorporation from the Registrar of Companies, all companies must register their business activities with the BOI to be able to apply for occupation permit and other facilities offered to investors.

10. INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES: Mauritius has realized a remarkable economic transformation from a mono-crop economy based on sugar production to a diversified economy driven by export-oriented manufacturing, tourism, and financial and business services sectors.
In recent years, Information and Communication Technology (Business Process Outsourcing, call centers, software development), Hospitality and Property Development (commercial malls, luxury villas, and international flagship hotels), the Seafood and Marine Industry (fish farm, tuna fishing and canning, and seafood processing) and the Biomedical Industry (medical devices, pharmaceutical products, multi-specialty hospitals) have emerged, attracting substantial investment from both local and foreign investors.

11. In addition, Mauritian authorities have identified a number of projects in the following sectors for implementation in the next few years: (i) agri-business and biotechnology (refined sugar, ethanol, food crop production –potato, corn, soya bean–food processing, dairy products and livestock),(ii) renewable energy and environment –wind, bagasse (sugar cane fibrous residue),solar, cold sea water for air conditioning, and waste-to-energy projects (ii) medical tourism (medical, surgical and diagnostic packages to the one million English and French speaking tourists currently visiting Mauritius) (iv) bio-medical research and clinical trials and (v) knowledge-based industries (foreign universities’ campuses in Mauritius, distance education, e-learning, vocational and technical training).

12. The location of Mauritius, situated in the Indian Ocean between Africa, Asia, and Australia, offers a successful business base for both regional and international trade. U.S. companies can use Mauritius as a platform to tap regional markets through Mauritius membership in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), which offer preferential access to a market of 380 million consumers.
Mauritius also has a free trade agreement with Pakistan and is negotiating one with Turkey. It is also in the process of finalizing a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership
Agreement with India.

Year Index Ranking

2010 World Bank Doing Business 17
2009 TI Corruption 42
2009 Heritage Economic Freedom 18

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Conversion and Transfer Policies
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13. The GOM abolished foreign exchange controls in 1994. Consequently, no approval is required for the repatriation of profits, dividends, and capital gains earned by a foreign investor in Mauritius. In general, businesses have no difficulty obtaining foreign exchange.

14. The exchange rate is market-determined, but the market is dominated by a small number of institutions. The Central Bank occasionally intervenes to stabilize the market. There is
convertibility on both capital and current accounts. Settlement can be done in foreign currency, and foreign currency accounts can be opened in Mauritius. There is no legal parallel market in Mauritius for investment remittances.

15. Mauritius has a well-developed and modern banking system. At the end of October 2009, net international reserves amounted to close to USD 3 billion, representing an import cover of close to 41 weeks. Between June and December 2009, reflecting international trends and reduced domestic imports, the Mauritian rupee appreciated by 8.5 percent against the U.S. dollar, the pound sterling, and the Euro.

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Expropriation and Compensation
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16. Legislative guarantees against nationalization exist and are respected. The GOM has never nationalized an industry.

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Dispute Settlement
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17. An entity formed through a joint venture between a local company and a U.S. investor, has been engaged in a lengthy dispute (since 2005) with Mauritius Telecom, its cellular subsidiary, Cellplus (now called Orange), and the former Telecommunications Authority, over allegations of unfair competitive practices by Mauritius Telecom and Orange. The case remains in the courts. There has not been any expropriation of private assets in Mauritius thus far. Mauritius is a member of the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency of the World Bank.

18. The Mauritian legal system is largely based on English common law and French civil law. A Commercial Court was set up in early 2009 to expedite the settlement of commercial disputes. The domestic legal system is generally non-discriminatory and transparent. Members of the judiciary are independent of the legislature and the government. The highest court of appeal is the judicial committee of the Privy Council of England. Mauritius is a member of the International Court of Justice.

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Performance Requirements and Incentives
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19. The investment code is in line with the WTO’s Agreement on Trade Related Investment Measures. A foreign investor, a professional under a contract of employment, or a self-employed person may apply for work and residence permits if the following conditions are met:

(i) Investor: the proposed business activity should generate an annual turnover exceeding MRs 3 million (approx. USD 93,000)

(ii) Professional: the basic monthly salary should exceed MRs 30,000 (approx. USD 925); and

(iii) Self-employed: the annual income from the proposed business activity should exceed MRs 600,000 (approx. USD 18,500). An investor may subsequently apply for permanent
residence status if his/her business activity generates an annual turnover exceeding Rs 15 million (approx. USD 462,000) during the first three years. In the case of self-employed persons, the business activity should generate an annual income exceeding Rs 3 million (approx. USD 93,000). Foreign nationals can acquire property for business purposes.

20. Investment incentives are applied uniformly to both domestic and foreign investors. Mauritius offers a low tax jurisdiction:

(i) a flat corporate and income tax rate of 15 percent, (ii) tax free dividends, (iii) no capital gains tax,(iv) up to 100 percent foreign ownership, (v) exemption from customs duty on equipment, (vi) free repatriation of profits, dividends, and capital, (vii) no minimum foreign capital required, (viii) 50 percent annual allowance on declining balance for the purchase of electronic and computer equipment; and (ix) an extensive tax treaty network with several countries.

21. Moreover, the government has set up the Integrated Resorts Scheme (IRS) to attract high net worth non-citizens desiring to acquire an immoveable property of not less than USD 500,000 in Mauritius (within a resort approved by the BOI) for personal residence. The Real Estate Scheme (RES) introduced in 2007 allows non-citizens to acquire a residence with no minimum price set. The investor and his/her spouse and dependents are granted resident permits to live in Mauritius when a residential property is acquired for a price exceeding USD 500, 000. More detailed information on the incentives is available on BOIQs website: www.investmauritius.com

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Right to Private Ownership and Establishment
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22. Under the Non-Citizens (Property Restriction) Act, a non-citizen investor may acquire property in Mauritius with the prior approval of the Prime Minister. However, the Prime Minister’s approval is not required when the property is acquired (i) under a lease agreement not exceeding 20 years, (ii) under the Integrated Resort Scheme or Real Estate Scheme for the purchase of a villa, (iii) under the Invest-Hotel Scheme for the acquisition of a hotel room, or (iv) when the investor has obtained approval from the Board of Investment to acquire property for use in his/her business.

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Protection of Property Rights
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23. Property rights are respected. Mauritius maintains a sophisticated and impartial legal system based on both Napoleonic code and British common law. The system protects all tangible property. Intellectual property rights are protected by the Copyrights Act of 1997 and the Patents, Industrial Designs and Trade Marks Act of 2002, which are in line with international norms.
Mauritius is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and party to the Paris and Bern conventions for the protection of industrial property and the Universal Copyright Convention.

24. The Patents, Industrial Designs and Trade Marks Act of 2002 was introduced by the government, in part, as a response to the rise in the production and trade of counterfeit goods, such as Ralph Lauren shirts. In 2004, Polo Ralph Lauren (PRL) successfully sued local manufacturers and retailers of PRL counterfeit products in Mauritian courts, which resulted in the closure of the counterfeit operations.
In December 2008, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of PRL lawyer by ordering Customs to seize PRL products imported by a local businessman without PRLQs authorization. In December 2009, Nike and Adidas lodged a legal action at the Supreme Court against a local businessman, who imported 2,000 pair of shoes suspected of being counterfeit goods. Mauritius Customs has seized the goods and the case will be heard in March 2010.

25. The new trademark and patent laws comply with the WTO’s Trade Related Aspects of Industrial Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement and protects designs, brands, and technological inventions. Also, the law dictates that well-known international trademarks are protected, whether they are registered in Mauritius or not. A trademark is initially registered for 10 years and may be renewed for successive periods of 10 years. A patent is granted for 20 years and cannot be renewed.

26. The Police, Customs and Judicial authorities have effectively enforced trademark and copyright protection of firms like Polo Ralph Lauren and legitimate distributors of Bollywood films that have established a legal or commercial presence in Mauritius. However, U.S. and European producers and distributors of cinema and software have in general not established any representation in Mauritius and protection of their copyrights and intellectual property is practically non-existent. According to a leading IPR law firm, the Police would take action against IPR infringements only in cases where the IPR owner has an official representative in Mauritius because the Court would require a representative to testify that the products seized are counterfeit. According to the PoliceQs Anti Piracy Unit, IPR infringement could be curtailed substantially if the law is amended to put the burden of proof on the seller rather than on prosecution. The Customs Department also requires right holders or authorized users to register their trademarks and copyrights with its office in order to take action to protect their marks/copyrights at the borders of Mauritius. Application forms for registration can be downloaded from the Mauritius Revenue Authority/CustomsQ website: www.mra.gov.mu.

27. WIPO has recently prepared an Intellectual Property Development Plan for Mauritius, which recommends, inter alia, the revision of some existing legislation to strengthen IPR laws and enforcement. The new legislation has not been finalized yet.

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Transparency of the Regulatory System
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28. Mauritius has built its success on a free market economy. According to the 2009 Index of Economic Freedom of the U.S. based Heritage Foundation Wall Street Journal, Mauritius leads Sub-Saharan Africa in economic freedom and is ranked 18th worldwide. With a well-developed legal and commercial infrastructure and a long tradition of entrepreneurship and representative government, Mauritius is one of the developing world’s most successful democracies. Mauritius also has a long-standing tradition of government and private sector dialogue which allows the private sector to effectively voice its views on the development strategy of the country. The Joint Economic Council, the coordinating body of the Mauritian private sector, is a key vehicle in this regard.

29. During the last four years, the government brought radical reforms to trade, investment, tariff, and income tax regulations to simplify the framework for doing business. Trade licenses and many other bureaucratic hurdles were abolished.

30. Companies in Mauritius are regulated by the Companies Act of 2001, which incorporates international best practices and promotes accountability, openness, and fairness. In order to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, the government also enacted the Prevention of Corruption Act, the Prevention of Terrorism Act, and the Financial Intelligence and Anti-Money Laundering Act.

31. PUBLIC PROCUREMENT ACT 2006: A Central Procurement Board, established under the Public Procurement Act 2006, oversees all forms of procurement by public bodies. The Procurement Policy Office is responsible for formulating policies and issuing directives for the operation of a transparent and efficient public procurement system. According to the Procurement Act, a bidder or potential bidder can challenge the procurement proceedings of a public body at any stage and request the Chief Executive Officer of the public body to consider his complaint and, where appropriate, take remedial action. Appeals may be brought against the decisions of a Chief Executive Officer to an Independent Review Panel. A simplified two-tier process, therefore, is available to unsatisfied persons to seek remedy.

32. COMPETITION ACT 2007: In December 2007, the National Assembly adopted a Competition Bill to promote competition, prevent monopolistic pricing, and restrict collusion in consumer markets.
The Competition Act 2007 was proclaimed and became effective on November 25, 2009 and the Competition Commission is now fully operational. Monopoly, and more generally, collusion between suppliers are prevalent in the domestic economy. The Competition Commission started its first enquiries in mid-December 2009.

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Efficient Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment
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33. With its well-developed financial services sector, Mauritius aims to become a regional financial center. The financial system has not been involved in sub-prime lending or any activity deriving directly or indirectly from that asset class. As a result, the government has not had to intervene to bail out any bank. The sector is well regulated and has proven to be quite solid and highly profitable. It has ample liquidity to meet the financing needs of the economy.

34. The Stock Exchange of Mauritius (SEM) has done quite well in terms of the volume of transactions, the number of listed companies, market capitalization, and the fairness and efficiency of its operations since its launch in 1989. In December 2009, the Stock Exchange of Mauritius had 38 companies listed on the Official Market and 49 companies on the Development and Enterprise Market which is designed for small and medium enterprises. Market capitalization grew from USD 92 million in 1989 to about USD 4.6 billion in December 2009. The SEM is a member of the World Federation of Exchanges, which reports that the SEM adheres to industry business standards.

35. In November 2007, the SEM was included in the new Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) Frontier Markets Indices which are designed to track the performance of a range of equity markets that are now more accessible to global investors. Mauritius was among four countries in Africa to be included in the new indices. The SEM has also been included in the DOW Jones SAFE 100 Index which was launched in March 2009 by the South Asian Federation of Exchanges (SAFE). The DOW Jones SAFE 100 Index measures the performance of the 50 largest stocks trading in India and the 50 largest stocks trading in 4 other countries, including Mauritius.

36. The Mauritius stock market was opened to foreign investors following the lifting of the foreign exchange controls in 1994. No approval is required for the trading of shares by foreign investors unless investment is for the purpose of legal and management control of a Mauritian company or for the holding of more than 15 percent in a sugar company. Incentives to foreign investors include free repatriation of revenue from the sale of shares and exemption from tax on dividends and capital gains.

37. Mauritius has an active offshore financial (now called global business) sector, which is a major route for foreign investments into the Asian sub-continent. Mauritius is by far the largest source of FDI and portfolio investment in India, estimated at close to USD 43 billion for the period April 2000-September 2009, which accounts for 44 percent of the total FDI inflows into India. Major U.S. corporations use the Mauritius offshore sector to channel their investment to India. These investments are mainly attracted by a particularly favorable Double Taxation Avoidance Treaty (DTAT) which exists between Mauritius and India. By January 2010, Mauritius had DTATs with a total of 37 countries, including China, Malaysia,
Singapore, South Africa, U.K, France, Germany, Kuwait, and U.A.E.

38. Mauritius has a relatively sophisticated banking sector with 18 banks currently licensed to undertake banking business. The Banking Act of 2004 provides for banking business to be conducted under a single banking license regime. Accordingly, all banks are free to conduct business in all currencies, including the Mauritian rupee.
There are also several non-bank financial institutions which are authorized to conduct deposit-taking business.

39. The banking system is highly concentrated with two long-established domestic and two international banking groups dominating, holding between them 70 percent of all banking assets.
Foreign banks present in Mauritius include the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC), Barclays Bank, Bank of Baroda, Habib Bank, Banque des Mascareignes, PT Bank International Indonesia, Deutsche Bank, Standard Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, and Investec Bank.

40. The banks focus mostly on trade financing and on provision of working capital. Accounts may be opened in all major currencies as well as the Mauritian rupee. Several commercial banks offer card-payment services, such as credit and debit cards and direct debits. Other facilities, including phone banking, home banking, internet banking, and PC banking, are also provided by some banks.
Commercial banks offer spot and forward transactions in all major currencies.

41. Commercial banks have diversified into non-banking business through subsidiaries and affiliates. Banks are engaged in the provision of leasing, stock brokering, asset and fund management, investment and private banking business, insurance agency, and portfolio and custodial management. As of October 2009, commercial banks’ total assets amounted to approximately USD 23 billion.

42. The Bank of Mauritius, the Central Bank, carries out the supervision and regulation of banks as well as non-bank financial institutions authorized to accept deposits. A new Bank of Mauritius Act, which strengthened the central bankQs institutional framework as well as its supervisory powers, was enacted in October 2004. It also has the power to establish prudential safety and soundness standards and regulations, and does so primarily by issue of Guidelines/Guidance Notes. The Central Bank has endorsed the Core Principles for Effective Banking Supervision as set out by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision. In July 2009, the Bank of Mauritius Act was amended to provide for the setting up of a Financial Stability Committee comprised of the Central Bank, the Financial Services Commission and the Ministry of Finance to review, on a regular basis, the soundness of the financial system.

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Competition from State-Owned Enterprises
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43. The government policy is to act as a facilitator to business, leaving production to the private sector. The government, however, still controls key utility services directly or through para-state companies, including electricity, water, waste water, postal services, and television broadcasting. The government also controls the import of what it deems to be strategic products such as rice (only non-basmati or other non-luxury rice), wheat flour, petroleum products, and cement through the State Trading Corporation.

44. The government also has controlling shares in the State Bank of Mauritius, Air Mauritius (the national airline), and the Mauritius Telecom. These state-controlled companies have a Board of Directors on which seats are allocated to senior government officials. The Chairperson is generally nominated by the government. However, they are required by law to publish an annual report and their books are submitted to independent audit. They also are subject to the same corporate social responsibility as private firms.

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Corporate Social Responsibility
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45. The Government of Mauritius has established a policy whereby all profitable firms are required to either spend two percent of their profits on Government-approved activities/programs which contribute to the social and environmental development of Mauritius or transfer the funds to the Government to be used for social investment.

46. Approved areas of activities include eradication of poverty, vocational training for vulnerable groups, promotion of human rights, support to the disabled and the elderly, women empowerment, small enterprise development, support to vulnerable children and youth, rehabilitation of drug addicts, protection and preservation of the environment, health and nutrition, leisure and sports, and promotion of arts and crafts. All projects are reviewed by a National Corporate Social Responsibility Committee.

47. Major corporate groups in Mauritius have begun to implement in partnership with Non-Governmental Organizations a number of projects related to social housing, health, education and training, leisure and sports, environmental protection, and sustainable development.
There is greater awareness on the part of private companies for the need to be accountable to the community. Firms which undertake corporate social responsibility projects are viewed favorably.

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Political Violence
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48. Mauritius has a long tradition of political and social stability and is internationally recognized for its well-established democracy. Inter-ethnic tensions, however, led to four days of
rioting in February 1999, following the death in police custody of a popular minority singer. Governments since then have sought to calm ethnic tensions and stress national unity.

49. Civil unrest and political violence are uncommon. General elections in 2000 and 2005 brought a change in government in each case and passed off without incident. The next general elections are expected to be held in 2010.

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Corruption
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50. In 2009, Mauritius ranked 42nd worldwide and 2nd in Africa (after Botswana), with a score of 5.4 on Transparency InternationalQs Corruption Perceptions Index. The index examines perceptions of public-sector corruption in 180 countries. It scores countries from zero, which indicates the highest level of perceived corruption, to ten, the lowest level. Mauritius is one of only three Sub-Saharan countries to score over 5, indicating that corruption is not seen as a widespread problem.

51. In 2002, the government adopted the Prevention of Corruption Act, which led to the setting up of an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). ICAC has the power to detect and investigate corruption and money laundering offenses and can also seize the proceeds of corruption and money laundering.

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Bilateral Investment Agreements
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52. In September 2006, Mauritius and the United States signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), aimed at strengthening and expanding trade and investment ties between the two countries. The TIFA Council, comprising of representatives from both governments, held its first meeting in Mauritius in February 2007. The Second Annual Council Meeting took place in April 2008 in Washington, D.C., while Mauritius hosted the Third Annual Meeting in April 2009. Mauritius also has an investment incentive agreement with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), while the first round of negotiations for a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) between the United States and Mauritius took place during the first week of 2010.

53. Mauritius has signed Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements with the following 35 countries: Barbados, Belgium, Luxemburg, Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, China, Comoros, the Czech Republic, Finland, India, Indonesia, France, Germany, Ghana, Guinea, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nepal, Pakistan, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Rwanda, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, Swaziland, Sweden, SWITZERLAND, U.K., Zimbabwe, and Tanzania. Agreements with the following countries are awaiting signature: Chile, Egypt, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Malawi, Turkey, Uganda, and Qatar.

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OPIC and Other Investment Insurance Programs
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54. Mauritius is eligible for the full range of OPIC’s investment insurance programs. It is also a member of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency.

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Labor
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55. As of September 2009, Mauritius had a total labor force of 569,400, including 357,700 males and 211,700 females. Total employment stood at 527,300, including 21,000 foreign workers, mainly from China, India, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and South Africa, and mostly employed in textile factories but also in construction, tuna canning, and hotel and catering sectors. The unemployment rate, which reached 8.5 percent in 2007, fell to 7.4 percent in 2009, representing about 42,100 unemployed.

56. The GOM administratively establishes minimum wages, which vary according to the sector of employment, through the National Remuneration Board (NRB), and it mandates minimum wage increases annually based on inflation. However, most trade unions negotiate wages higher than those set by the NRB. The NRB issues Remuneration Orders for more than 90 percent of the workforce in the private sector.

57. In February 2009, the Employment Rights Act and the Employment Relations Act came into force. Their main objectives are to revise and consolidate the existing labor and industrial relations laws which date back to over 30 years and to liberalize the labor market and enhance the effectiveness of collective bargaining. The new legislation also provides for the introduction of a Workfare Program under which workers who have been laid off will benefit from government financial assistance for up to twelve months and opportunities for training to increase their employability.

58. Wages are low by Western standards but high by most Asian and African standards. Factory workers in export-oriented enterprises generally earn between USD 200-USD 250 per month. Middle managers earn between USD 700 and USD 1,000 per month. Fringe benefits, including transport and meal allowances, paid leave, and bonuses, represent about 25 to 30 percent of the basic wages of employees.

59. While Mauritius has an active trade union movement, labor-management relations are generally good. Unionized workers, which account for less than 25 percent of the workforce, act
responsibly and rarely disrupt business. There has not been a major strike since 1979. Under current legislation, unions have the legal right to strike. However, the government seeks to preempt strikes through a system which promotes settlement through negotiation or arbitration by the Employment Relations Tribunal and the National Remuneration Board.

60. Workers’ rights are protected under the Employment Rights Act 2008. Mauritius participates actively in the annual ILO conference in Geneva and adheres to ILO conventions protecting worker rights.

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Foreign Trade Zones/Free Trade Zones
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61. The Mauritius Freeport (free-trade zone) was established in 1992 as a customs-free zone for goods destined for re-export. The government’s objective is to promote the country as a regional warehousing, distribution, marketing, and logistics center for Eastern and Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean rim. Through its membership in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), Mauritius offers preferential access to a market of 380 million consumers, representing an import potential of USD 90 billion.

62. Situated on 52 hectares of land adjacent to port facilities and a modern container terminal, the Freeport offers 120,000 square meters of world-class infrastructure, including cold rooms, dry storage, an international trade exhibition center, processing units, and office space for transshipment, consolidation, storage, and processing activities. Freeport facilities are also available at the airport. Port Louis is increasingly used by major shipping lines (i.e. Maersk/Sealand, P&O Nedloyd, and MSC) as a regional container transshipment hub.

63. Activities that can be carried out in the Freeport include warehousing and storage, breaking bulk, sorting, grading, cleaning and mixing, labeling, packing and re-packing, minor processing, transshipment, cash and carry sales, export-oriented port based activities, export-oriented airport based activities, freight forwarding, express courier services, mail order, simple assembly, reshipment, and quality control and inspection services.

64. By the end of 2009, about 350 Freeport companies were engaged in activities such as re-export, transshipment, minor processing, and assembly. In 2008, the Freeport imported USD 178 million and re-exported USD 302 million worth of goods. Main products re-exported include: machinery and telecommunication equipment (25 percent); apparel and accessories (21 percent); seafood (21 percent); chemical and pharmaceutical products (11 percent); and beverages and tobacco (5 percent). In 2008, the principal export markets for the Freeport were Madagascar, the United Arab Emirates, France, Reunion Island, Spain, and Italy.

65. The Freeport sources its imports from a wide range of countries, including Hungary, China, India, Finland, Taiwan, France, Spain and South Africa. The main products imported  include fish, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, telecommunication equipment, textile fabrics and accessories, ready-made garments, electrical goods, and general consumer goods.

66. The Freeport facilities for warehousing, breaking bulk, and re-export should be of particular interest to American companies. These services enable businesses to ship containerized goods to Mauritius, warehouse them in secure, low-cost facilities, then break bulk and re-export them in an efficient and timely manner to African and Indian Ocean rim destinations. Modern computerized warehouse/logistics facilities, including cold rooms and processing centers, are provided by the private developers. These include Freeport Operations (Mauritius) Ltd (www.freeport-mauritius.com), Mauritius Freeport Development Co. Ltd (www.mfd.mu), and Froid Des Mascareignes (www.seafoodhub.com). Goods can also be assembled in the Freeport for export to the African and Indian Ocean markets.
Current assembly and processing activities in the Freeport include: jewelry and precious stones, slabs from semi-precious minerals, PET plastic bottles, transformation of fish into fillets, aluminum frames and fittings, re-packaging of pharmaceuticals, and reconditioning of second-hand vehicles.

67. Three U.S. companies are present in the Mauritius Freeport. Amazing Stone Ltd., established in 2005 by a U.S. citizen, is involved in the production of slabs made from semi-precious minerals which can be used for kitchens, floors, bathrooms, walls, and furnishings. The firm, which employs 50 people, imports its raw materials from the region, mainly Madagascar.

68. Boxmore Plastics (Mauritius) Ltd., which started operations in Mauritius in 2002, is 100 percent owned by Chesapeake Corporation, headquartered in Richmond, VA. It manufactures PET (polyethylene teraphthalate) pre-forms for the soft drink bottling companies in Mauritius, Reunion, Madagascar, and Seychelles. Casamar (Mauritius) Ltd., a subsidiary of U.S.-based Casamar Holdings, Inc., which specializes in the assembly and repair of nylon-braided tuna purse seine nets, opened an office in Mauritius which provides marketing support for its fishing net repair and assembly operations in Seychelles.

69. The GOM, in collaboration with the private sector, is actively promoting the Freeport as a seafood hub, in particular focusing on the transshipment, processing, storage, distribution, and re-exportation of high value-added seafood products using the modern port and Freeport facilities and logistics. A one-stop shop has been established in the port area to help facilitate administrative clearances related to the seafood industry. Thon des Mascareignes Ltd. (TDM), a leading Mauritian company in partnership with Spanish investors, is operating a tuna loin processing plant with a daily processing capacity of 300 tons for export to Europe and the U.S. for final processing and packaging. U.S. firm Bumble Bee Foods has a tuna supply and processing agreement with TDM.

70. The Board of Investment, in collaboration with Airports of Mauritius Ltd., plans to develop a dedicated air cargo logistics center at the airport. The land parcelling for this project is
currently under way. The main activities targeted include re-export of high value/low volume products, light assembly operations, warehousing, labeling and repackaging, sea-air/air-sea and transshipment cargo, express courier, and freight forwarding services.

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Foreign Direct Investment
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71. After several years of decline, FDI picked up strongly in 2006, as a result of radical economic reform measures taken by the government to open up the economy, facilitate business, and improve the investment climate. FDI, which averaged USD 33 million annually for the two decades ending in December 2005, has risen to an estimated USD 280 million in 2009. Between 2006 and 2009, Mauritius has attracted more than USD 1 billion from foreign investors.

72. The following statistical tables, supplied by the Bank of Mauritius (Central Bank), show inflows of FDI in Mauritius by sector and country of origin (2006-2009).

Foreign Direct Investment by Sector, 2006-2009

– 2006 2007 2008 2009*
– (USD millions)

Manufacturing 5.7 8.5 5 20.5
Tourism 83 187 137 89
Banking 114 127 157 15
Real estate 15 32.2 65 54
Other 11.3 5.3 29 16.5
– —————————-
Total 229 360 393 195

Foreign Direct Investment by Country of Origin, 2006-2009

– 2006 2007 2008 2009*
– (USD millions)

China 0.2 – 2.7 5.3
Dubai 3.6 40 29.2 11
France 16.6 36.7 40.2 56.7
Germany 5.6 1.8 5.9 0.4
India 5 19 66.2 9.3
Belgium 2.6 14 9.8 3.1
Luxembourg 1.1 2.1 7.2 2
Reunion Island 4.0 18 1.7 2.4
South Africa 1.2 15.6 49 10.5
SWITZERLAND 18.6 40.2 21 12
U.K. 121 87.6 70 37
U.S. 5.2 74.4 36.6 19
Others 44.3 10.6 54 26.3
– —————————–
Total 229 360 393 195
Source: Bank of Mauritius

* Figures for 2009 are for the period January-September only

73. In 2008, the largest inflows of the USD 393 million of FDI into Mauritius came from U.K., followed by India, South Africa, France and the United States. Together these five countries represented close to 70 percent of total investments. The bulk of the FDI was directed to the tourism and banking sector. From January to September 2009, FDI stood at USD 195 million, the main sources being France (USD 57 million), U.K. (USD 37 million), and the United States (USD 19 million), followed by SWITZERLAND, Dubai, and South Africa. Hotel and tourism, real estate development under the Integrated Resort Scheme (luxury villas), and banking are the sectors that attracted the bulk of the FDI in 2009.

74. There is one U.S. investor in the export-oriented manufacturing sector. Mauriden Ltd, owned by a U.S. investor, was one of the first companies to operate in the EPZ more than 30 years ago. Initially involved in diamond cutting and polishing, Mauriden now focuses on the production of jewelry for its duty free shops (Adamas). As indicated in the Freeport section above, three U.S. companies (Amazing Stones Ltd, Boxmore, and Casamar) are present in the Freeport zone.

75. Apollo-Blake, a joint venture between American (20 percent) and South African (80 percent) investors, started operations in 2008 as a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) company that focuses on customer relations services, working primarily with U.S.-based customers. The company, which provides bilingual services (English and French) to its clients, had 220 employees at the end of 2009 and plans to expand to 400 employees by end of 2010.

76. In November 2009, Thompson-Chalon Associates, another U.S. and South African joint venture, signed a memorandum of understanding with the Government of Mauritius for the development and financing of the Mauritius Land-Based Oceanic Park, an eco-park project that will pump cold sea water 1,000 meters deep for air conditioning of data centers and other applications. Two U.S. firms are involved in the implementation of the first phase of the eco-park, valued at USD 150 million. Makai Ocean Engineering of Hawaii will be responsible for the construction of the pumping station and the laying of pipes while Fortress International will build 10,000 sq. meters of data center on part of the 120 hectares of land allocated for the project on the west coast of the island. Works are scheduled to start in the first quarter of 2010.

77. MIC-USA Inc., a subsidiary of Millicom International Cellular, is a joint venture partner (50 percent shareholding) with local company Emtel Ltd in the provision of cellular phone service in Mauritius. Ceridian (Mauritius) Ltd., a subsidiary of Ceridian Inc. specializes in software development and payroll and human resource solutions for European, U.S., and Canadian markets. Other U.S. businesses operating in the domestic Mauritian market include Caltex, a brand owned by Chevron Corporation. Microsoft and IBM have regional distribution offices in Mauritius, serving the Indian Ocean region. KFC, Pizza Hut, and McDonald’s have been operating in Mauritius for a number of years, all through local franchisees. UPS and FedEx also have offices in Mauritius.

78. Other U.S. investments in Mauritius include Covance Laboratories Ltd, a subsidiary of Covance Inc., which holds 43 percent of the share capital of Noveprim Ltd., a local company involved in the breeding of monkeys for export to U.S. and European medical research laboratories. In 2006, Covanta Energy established a joint venture with local company Gamma Civic Ltd to build, own, and operate a USD 160 million waste-to-energy project in Mauritius. Plans were to operate a 20 MW power plant generating electricity from 300,000 metric tons of solid waste annually. However, Embassy believes Covanta may withdraw its plans because of a Mauritius court ordered stay to its business license pending government completion of a much delayed Environmental Impact Assessment.

79. Several French, British and Indian companies in joint ventures with Mauritian partners have invested in the ICT sector in Mauritius as a result of the government’s determination at the beginning of this decade to develop Mauritius into a cyber island. Other leading global players, including Accenture, Orange Business Services (France), InfoSys (India), Hinduja (India), Huawei (China), TNT (U.K.) have started Business Process Outsourcing activities, call centers, disaster recovery and business continuity centers, and software development.

80. Significant investment has been made by Indian companies in the past several years. Indian Oil Ltd. has built a 24,000 metric ton-fuel storage terminal as well as a testing laboratory. It also operates a number of retail distribution outlets in Mauritius.

81. Another Indian company, Mahanagar Telephone Mauritius Ltd., (MTML) started international long distance telephone service as well as fixed phone services in competition with the local utility (Mauritius Telecom), in early 2006. It now also provides mobile phone and wireless internet services. The State Bank of India acquired 51 percent equity in a local domestic bank for the sum of USD 8 million. In 2007, Apollo Hospitals Group from India embarked on the construction of a high-tech 200-bed hospital in Mauritius, estimated at USD 30 million, in joint venture with a local corporate group. The hospital is operational since July 2009. In December 2008, another Indian healthcare provider, Fortis Healthcare Ltd., invested approximately USD 2 million in the share capital of a well-known private local health clinic. Fortis has upgraded the services provided by the clinic and plans to develop the clinic into a 400-bed health center providing specialized services in the future. Various Indian hotel groups, including Oberoi, Sagar and Taj, have also invested in high-end hotels and resorts in Mauritius.

82. A Chinese consortium, including Taiyuan Iron & Steel Group, the Shanxi Group, and the Tianli Group, is set to invest USD 770 million in the Jin Fei Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone, the largest and most important foreign direct investment in the country. This development project, backed by the Chinese government, is expected to attract Chinese investors in a wide range of sectors, including manufacturing, information technology, property development, tourism and leisure, health, logistics, and services. Works on the project started at the end of 2009 and it is scheduled to be completed in 2016. It will create more than 34,000 direct jobs as well as a substantial number of indirect jobs and generate up to USD 215 million in export earnings a year. The Chinese government is encouraging the Chinese business community to invest in Mauritius in order to tap the regional markets of COMESA and SADC.

83. Investment opportunities in Mauritius are available in the following sectors: seafood and aquaculture, information and communication technology (particularly legal and business process outsourcing), tourism, land-based oceanic industry (exploiting deep-sea cold water for air conditioning, water bottling, aquaculture, and pharmaceuticals), hospitality and real estate development (including hotels and integrated resort/luxury villas), ethanol production, spinning, renewable energy, environment, clinical trials, education and training, healthcare, creative arts, and global professional services.

84. CAPITAL OUTFLOWS: In Mauritius, there are no restrictions on capital outflows. The bulk of direct outward investment for the past three years have been coming from the tourism sector (hotel construction) in Maldives and Seychelles, the manufacturing sector (mainly apparel) in Madagascar, and the banking sector in Seychelles, Maldives and South Africa.

85. The Government of Mauritius supports regional integration. In line with this objective and in order to promote food security, the Government of Mauritius has established a Regional Food Company (RFC). Under this initiative, Mauritius plans to grow a variety of crops, including rice, potatoes, onions, and corn in Mozambique and Madagascar. The Government of Mauritius has recently obtained 16,000 hectares of land from the Government of Mozambique for the growth of agricultural staples. The RFC, in association with private firms, plan to start the cultivation of rice in part of these lands in 2010.

86. The Mauritius Commercial Bank Ltd, the largest banking corporation in Mauritius, has established a strong presence in the Indian Ocean region with operations in Reunion, Madagascar, Seychelles, Mozambique, and more recently in the Maldives. They also have operations in France. The State Bank of Mauritius, another important local bank, has established banking operations in India and Madagascar.86. Outward FDI in the garments industry emerged in 1990, when the low-end operations were relocated to lower-wage countries in the region. The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) also provided the impetus for several local textile companies to open factories in the region, mainly Madagascar and Mozambique.

87. Other Mauritian investments on the African mainland relate to the use of expertise in the sugar industry to rehabilitate and manage sugar production in Mozambique, Tanzania, Ivory Coast, Madagascar, and Uganda. Long-established conglomerates like the Rogers Group, IBL Group, the Currimjee Group, the Food and Allied Industries Group, the Altima Group, and the British American Investment Ltd. have established foreign subsidiaries in commerce, poultry, and financial non-banking services, principally in Madagascar. Mauritius Telecom and Emtel, a subsidiary of the Currimjee group, have also invested in the telecommunications sector in Madagascar and Seychelles.

88. The following tables provide statistics on FDI outflows by country and sector of investment during the period 2006-2009.

Mauritius Direct Investment Abroad by Sector, 2006-2009*

– 2006 2007 2008 2009*
– (USD millions)

Tourism 12.4 33.4 31.7 17.4
Manufacturing 10.6 7.3 7 3.2
Real estate 2.9 7.6 7.3 3.7
Banking 0.4 3.5 7.2 6.4
Other 9.7 5.2 2.2 1.5
– —————————–
Total 36.0 57 55.4 32.2

Direct Investment Abroad by Mauritius, 2006-2009

– 2006 2007 2008 2009*
– (USD millions)

France – 2 5.2 6
Reunion Island 0.2 4 4.8 1
USA – 2.9 0.4 0.8
Madagascar 9.2 8.3 8 2.7
Maldives 3.4 9.3 21 9.8
South Africa 0.4 1.1 0.7 –
India – 1 0.9 0.4
Seychelles 5.9 5.4 5.7 6.3
Mozambique 8.6 4.5 0.3 0.3
Others 8.1 18.5 8.4 4.9
– —————————–
Total 36.0 57 55.4 32.2
Source: Bank of Mauritius

* Figures for 2009 are for the period January-September only

WALKLEY

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ADDED 2011-09-04 03:38:55
STAMP 2011-09-04 03:38:55
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SWITZERLAND SHUTTING DOWN COLENCO’S BUSINESS WITH IRAN

Monday, March 14th, 2011
ID 09BERN273
SUBJECT SWITZERLAND SHUTTING DOWN COLENCO’S BUSINESS WITH
DATE 2009-07-01 19:07:00
CLASSIFICATION SECRET
ORIGIN Embassy Bern
TEXT 2009-07-01 19:11:00 09BERN273 Embassy Bern SECRET 08BERN464 R 011911Z JUL 09
FM AMEMBASSY BERN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 5919
INFO AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM
DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
S E C R E T BERN 000273 

DEPT FOR ISN/RA (J.ALLEN-CLOSE), NEA/IR, EUR/PRA, AND
EUR/AGS (Y.SAINT-ANDRE), NSC FOR JEFF HOVENIER, DEPT OF
JUSTICE BRUCE SWARTZ

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/30/2019
TAGS: IR MNUC PARM PHUM PREL PTER KWAC ECON ETRD
EINV, SZ
SUBJECT: SWITZERLAND SHUTTING DOWN COLENCO’S BUSINESS WITH IRAN

REF: 08 BERN 464

Classified By: CDA L.Carter for reasons 1.4(b) and (d)

¶1. (S) Summary: Swiss Minister for Economics and TradeDoris Leuthard called CDA in to advise that the Swiss FederalCouncilors had decided in a special session to shut downSwedish firm Colenco’s commercial activities in Iran. TheMinister also reaffirmed the commitment of the Swissgovernment to accept several detainees from Guantanamo Bayfor resettlement in Switzerland. Minister Leuthard made itclear that these two activities were linked to theachievement of a political settlement in the case of Swissbanking giant, UBS. The US court is scheduled to heararguments in the civil case on July 13 and it is clear thatthe GOS hopes a settlement can be reached before the hearingdate. End Summary.

¶2. (S) Minister Leuthard began the meeting by describingtoday’s special session of the Federal Council which wasfocused on what steps the Swiss government could take toadvance a political solution of the UBS case. The Councilconsidered action on the Colenco case, long advocated by theUSG and a major topic during the February meeting betweenSecretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Calmy Rey, was oneproactive measure the Swiss government could take in thisdirection. Since action in this case falls under the purviewof Minister Leuthard, she was tasked to take immediate actionto shut down Colenco’s operations and to notify the USG. Theadditional information that the USG experts provided to theGOS on June 25th was pivotal in providing the Swiss withadequate actionable intelligence to make a legal finding thatColenco is violating the sanctions on Iran. Leuthardconfirmed that the information we provided tracked with thefindings of the Swiss intelligence services. The Swiss nowconsider that Colenco is not fulfilling their requirementsunder the dual use provisions of Swiss law. Leuthard alsoadvised that they have notified the Swedish government oftheir intent to go forward with official action againstColenco.

¶3. (S) Colenco was not able to adequately defend theiractivities in Iran by a deadline set by the Swiss government.Leuthard stated that Colenco will be formally told to ceasetheir activities in Iran on July 2. She further opined thatshould the government or other conditions relating toproliferation change for the better in Iran, Colenco may beable to resume their activities in the future. Sheemphasized that this shut-down was a “suspension”. Shepromised to provide us with a written copy of the Colencodecision.

¶4. (S) Leuthard then turned the topic of discussion toSwiss willingness to accept several detainees from Guatanamofor resettlement and encouraged us to provide as much data aspossible quickly so that the Swiss could move forward. CDAadvised that more bio and medical data had been receivedtoday and was being delivered via a separate channel.

¶5. (S) At this point, Leuthard emphasized that these twoactions were “elements showing that Switzerland is committedto resolving all issues between our countries.” To bringhome the point, she reiterated that this resolve extendedespecially to finding a political solution to the UBS case.

CARTER

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FM AMEMBASSY BERN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 5919
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DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC 

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http://www.wikileaks.ch/cable/2009/07/09BERN273.html