Archive for May, 2011

Wie der Fifa-Enthüller sich weigerte, eine Million Dollar zurückzuzahlen

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Der Amerikaner Chuck Blazer brachte die neusten Korruptions-Vorwürfe gegen Fifa-Vorstände ins Rollen. Mit einem mexikanischen Geschäftspartner geriet er sich vor einiger Zeit wegen 1,5 Millionen Dollar in die Haare. von Christian Bütikofer

Der Amerikaner Chuck Blazer ist Fifa-Exekutivmitglied und Generalsekretär des Nordamerikanischen Fussballverbandes CONCACAF (Nord- und Zentralamerikanische und karibische Fussballkonföderation). In den letzten Tagen brachte er die neusten Korruptions-Vorwürfe gegen Fifa-Vorstände an die Öffentlichkeit.

Er beauftragte einen Anwalt aus Chicago, eine 47-Seiten dicke Akte mit Mails, Fotos und Anhängen anzufertigen. Sie wurde der Fifa-Ethikkommission übergeben und diente ihr dazu, Fifa-Präsidentschaftskandidat Mohamed bin Hammam sowie Fifa-Exekutivmitglied Jack Warner temporär von ihren Ämtern zu entheben.

In geschäftlich schwierigen Lagen hat Chuck Blazer Übung: 2005 stand er auf der Anklagebank, wegen einer nicht zurückbezahlten Summe von 1 Million Dollar.

Die Anklage gegen Chuck Blazer

Die Anklage gegen Chuck Blazer (PDF)

 

Denn Chuck Blazer gehörte auch die Firma Multisport Games Development, die im Glücksspiel mitmischte. An der Multisport wollte sich 2001 auch der mexikanische Unternehmer Alejandro Burillo beteiligen. Für einen Anteil von 30 Prozent sollte er Blazer 1,5 Millionen Dollar auf ein Konto überweisen. Allerdings sollte der Betrag von Blazer so lange treuhänderisch verwaltet werden, bis Burillo die Firma einer wirtschaftlichen Prüfung unterzogen hatte.

Nach der Bücherprüfung wollte Alejandro Burillo nichts mehr vom Investment wissen und verlangte 2002 die Gelder zurück. Blazer antwortete ihm per E-Mail, er würde die ersten 500’000 Dollar in wöchtentlichen Tranchen überweisen, was bis Ende Mai 2002 auch geschah.

Für die restliche Million jedoch hielt der seinen mexikanischen Geschäftspartner immer wieder hin, bis er 2005 die Summe gerichtlich in New York einklagte.

In einer Antwort an den Richter bestritt Chuck Blazer sämtliche Vorwürfe. Wenige Monate später jedoch einigten sich die zwei Parteien. Ende 2005 zog Alejandro Burillo seine Klage zurück.

© az Aargauer Zeitung 2011; 31.05.2011

Skandale ohne Ende: Ein Auszug aus Blatters Fifa-Präsidentschaft

Monday, May 30th, 2011

Mit dem Rücktritt von Fifa-Präsidentschaftskandidat Mohamed bin Hammam hat die Krise beim Weltfussballverband vorerst ihren Höhepunkt erreicht. Weitere Enthüllungen dürften folgen. Die Vergangenheit des Verbandes ist gespickt mit Skandalen. von Christian Bütikofer

1998: Joseph «Sepp» Blatter wird FIFA-Präsident. Er setzt sich in einem kontroversen Wahlkampf gegen Lennart Johansson durch. Uefa-Präsident Johansson versprach unabhängige Revisionen der Fifa-Bücher und allgemein mehr Transparenz. Die Europäer sind sich bei der Wahl uneinig. Unterstützung erhält Blatter von seinem späteren Rivalen Mohamed bin Hammam. Der frühere Generalsekretär Blatter beerbt seinen Boss João Havelange, der den Verein jahrelang undurchsichtig führte.

2000: Blatter verspricht den afrikanischen Staaten seine Unterstützung für die WM 2006. Doch die Kandidatur Deutschlands gewinnt dank einer Stimme Vorsprung mit 12:11.

Blatters Entscheidungsstimme kommt nicht zum Zug, die er als Präsident bei einem Unentschieden gehabt hätte. Deutschland gewinnt, weil Neuseelands Delegierter Charles Dempsey nicht zur Abstimmung erscheint.

Das Satiremagazin «Titanic» enthüllte danach, dass es Dempsey ein absurdes Geschenk offerierte: Titanic-Chefredaktor Martin Sonneborn verfasste einen amateurhaften Brief, den Dempsey unter der Hoteltür durchgeschoben wurde. Darin versprach man ihm eine Kuckucksuhr, einen Korb gefüllt mit allerlei deutschen Spezialitäten mitsamt Bierkrug, wenn er für Deutschland als Austragungsort zur WM 2006 stimmen würde (statt wie von seinem Verband gefordert für Südafrika). Am nächsten Tag enthielt er sich der Stimme.

2001: Die Zuger Marketingfirma ISL kollabiert mit einem riesigen Schuldenberg. Jahrelang bezahlte die ISL Millionen an «Provisionen» an Fifa-Exekutivkommitee-Mitglieder. Dafür erhielt sie den Zuschlag für die lukrativen Vermarktungs-Rechte der Fussball-Weltmeisterschaften.

ISL stand nach dem Konkurs im Visier der Zuger Staatsanwaltschaft. Vorwurf: Obwohl die Fifa-Führung um Blatter wusste, dass Mitglieder ihres Vorstandes jahrelang Schmiergelder kassierten, hat die Fifa nichts dagegen unternommen. Die Strafuntersuchung in Zug fördert zutage, dass ISL mindestens 138 Millionen Franken Schmiergelder bezahlte.

Zu den Schmiergeldempfängern gehörte auch Ricardo Teixeira. Er ist Präsident des brasilianischen Fussballverbandes und der Ex-Schwiegersohn von Blatters Vorgänger João Havelange.

Um die ISL-Peinlichkeit aus der Welt zu schaffen, zahlten Fifa-Offizielle 2004 2,4 Millionen Franken Schmiergelder zurück – das Geld floss zu Peter Nobel, Blatters Anwalt für persönliche Angelegenheiten.

2010 war dann seine Kanzlei wieder in ISL-Belange involviert: Damit im Zusammenhang mit der ISL-Pleite eine Strafuntersuchung gegen die Fifa eingestellt wurde, zahlte man insgesamt 5,5 Millionen Franken Wiedergutmachung.

Damit erreichten die Herren, dass die Namen diverser Schmiergeldempfänger geheim blieben. Die Zahlung belegte, dass die Fifa beim ISL-Schlamassel nicht einfach unschuldig war. Doch der Verband konnte danach verkünden: «Der Fifa-Präsident wurde von jeglichem Fehlverhalten in dieser Angelegenheit freigesprochen.»

2002: Der damalige Fifa-Generalsekretär Michel Zen-Ruffinen behändigt ein 22-Seiten dickes Dossier, das Beschwerden gegen den Fifa-Vorstand enthält. Inhalt: Vorwürfe wegen Missmanagements und finanziellen Unregelmässigkeiten. Blatter soll dem russischen Vertreter Wjatscheslaw Koloskow unrechtmässig 100‘000 US-Dollar gezahlt haben – bewiesen wurde das nie. Eine ganze Seite ist Jack Warner gewidmet – der skandalumwitterte Fifa-Vertreter von Trinidad und Tobago, der nun temporär vom Fifa-Vorstand suspendiert wurde.

2004: Nach einem Freundschaftsspiel zwischen Trinidad und Tobago und Schottland bat Jack Warner den schottischen Fussballverbands-Präsidenten, einen Scheck für die Anteile der Einnahmen aus dem Spiel auf ihn persönlich auszustellen anstatt auf den Fussballverband von Trinidad und Tobago.

Der Schotte verweigerte die Ausstellung des Schecks. Warner wird daraufhin bei anderen Mitgliedern des schottischen Fussballverbands vorstellig.

2006: Jack Warner soll seine Position beim Fussballverband Trinidad und Tobago dazu genutzt haben, dank Ticket-Schwarzmarktverkäufen der Fussball-WM 2006 einen Millionengewinn einzustreichen.

Als Berater seines Fussballverbandes von Trinidad und Tobago handelt Warner eine Vereinbarung mit den Spielern von Trinidad und Tobago aus, um die Einnahmen zu teilen. Nachdem die WM 2006 abgeschlossen war, gab der Verband an, dass er 18,25 Millionen Trinidad-Dollar Einnahmen erzielte, bei Kosten von 17,9 Mio. Jedem Spieler wurde ein Anteil der Einnahmen um die 5600 Trinidad-Dollar angeboten. Die Spieler lehnten das Angebot aufgrund zweifelhafter Zahlen des Verbandes ab. Daraufhin bezeichnete Jack Warner die Spieler als «gierig».

Später enthüllt die Regierung von Trinidad und Tobago, dass der Verband insgesamt über 173 Millionen Trinidad-Dollar Einnahmen erzielte. Auf ihre Anteile an den Gewinnen warten die Spieler von Trinidad und Tobago bis heute, obwohl Jack Warner eine Auseinandersetzung vor einem Sportgericht verlor.

2007: Joseph «Sepp» Blatter wird mit Akklamation ohne Gegner für eine weitere Amtszeit als Fifa-Präsident wiedergewählt.

195 Millionen Franken zahlt die Kreditkartenfirma Visa für den Sponsoring-Vertrag von 2007 bis 2014. Zum Zug kommt Visa aber erst, nachdem ihr Konkurrent und langjähriger Fifa-Partner Mastercard vertragswidrig ausgebootet wird. Die Fifa muss Mastercard später mit 90 Millionen Dollar entschädigen. Den Visa-Deal fädelte Jérôme Valcke ein. Nach dieser Pleite wurde er freigestellt. Doch schon bald fand er wieder Platz in der Fifa-Familie: Heute ist er deren Generalsekretär.

2010: Die Fifa leitet mit ihrer eigenen Ethikkommission ein Verfahren gegen zwei Vorstände ein, nachdem die «Sunday Times» sie dabei filmte, wie sie über Schmiergeldzahlungen in Millionenhöhe diskutierten. Den beiden Undercover-Journalisten erklärte der ehemalige Blatter-Günstling Zen-Ruffinen, wie das normalerweise lief bei Schmiergeld-Deals, in die Fifa-Abgeordnete involviert waren.

Vor der Strafjustiz in der Schweiz müssen die beiden geschassten Fifa-Vorstände keine Angst haben: 2004 beschloss der Bundesrat unter Federführung von Christoph Blocher, die neuen Antikorrutionsbestimmungen nicht auf Sportverbände auszuweiten.

Die zwei von den Journalisten überführten Fifa-Hinterbänkler im Vorstand wurden Ende November suspendiert und durften für die WM-Vergaben 2018 und 2022 nicht mehr mitbestimmen. Nicht aber die Schwergewichte Ricardo Teixeira (Brasilien), Nicolás Leoz (Paraguay) und Issa Hayatou (Kamerun), die ebenfalls auf einer Schmiergeldliste auftauchten.

Die WM-Vergaben an Russland (2018) und Katar (2022) sorgen für einen Eklat. Die unterlegenen Engländer wittern Korruption.

2011: Im März kündigt der Katarer Mohamed Bin Hammam an, er kandidiere gegen Joseph «Sepp» Blatter fürs Amt des Fifa-Präsidenten.

Der englische Unterhausabgeordnete Damian Collins beschuldigt im Mai während einer Parlamentsanhörung zwei weitere Fifa-Exekutivkomitee-Mitglieder der Bestechung. Sie sollen für je 1,5 Millionen Dollar ihre Stimme den Bewerbern aus Katar verkauft haben. Katar erhielt den Zuschlag für die WM 2022.

Bei den zwei angeblich bestechlichen Fifa-Spitzen handelt es sich um Issa Hayatou (Kamerun), Präsident des Afrikanischen Fussballverbandes, und Jacques Anouma aus der Elfenbeinküste. Katar weist die Bestechungsvorwürfe zurück, ebenfalls die beiden Fifa-Vorstände. Die Fifa erklärte heute, die Vorwürfe gegen die beiden hätten sich nicht erhärtet.

Ende Mai wirft Fifa-Vorstandsmitglied Chuck Blazer (USA) den Fifa-Funktionären Mohamed Bin Hammam und Jack Warner Bestechung seit Beginn des Präsidentschafts-Wahlkampfs vor: «Es war eine Verschwörung der beiden von Anfang an», sagte Blazer gegenüber der Nachrichtenagentur AP. Blazer erwartet weitere Enthüllungen. Er brachte den neusten Skandal mit Informationen an Fifa-Generalsekretär Jérôme Valcke ins Rollen.

Jack Warner will die Suspendierung nicht hinnehmen. Er kündigt in der Zeitung «Trinidad Express» seinerseits Enthüllungen an, die einen «Tsunami» lostreten würden.

Als erstes zitierte er Fifa-Generalsekretär Valcke, der ihm gesagt haben soll: «Ich habe nie verstanden, warum MBH (Mohamed Bin Hammam) kandidierte. Ob er wirklich meinte, eine Chance zu haben oder ob er es nur machte, um zu zeigen, wie sehr er Blatter inzwischen nicht mehr mochte. Oder vielleicht dachte er, er könnte die Fifa kaufen, wie sie (die Katarer) die Fussballweltmeisterschaft kauften. […]»

Warner versucht Chuck Blazers Glaubwürdigkeit mit Details aus dem schummrigen Kreditkarten-Deal (Visa/Mastercard) der Fifa zu untergraben.

In der gerichtlichen Auseinandersetzung um die vertragswidrigen Ränkespiele gegen Mastercard taxierten die Richter Chuck Blazers ausweichenden Aussagen als unglaubwürdig und konstruiert.

© az Aargauer Zeitung, 30.05.2011

Schweizer Firma im Fadenkreuz der CIA

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Ein KMU kam ins Visier der amerikanischen Geheimdienste. Die Firma verkaufte dem Iran hochwertige Elektronikchips. Die Amerikaner befürchteten ab 2008, die würden in Kriegswaffen verwendet. Von da an wurde es für die Firma ungemütlich. von Christian Bütikofer

Die QuartzCom aus dem solothurnischen Bettlach beschäftigte in den letzten Jahren die amerikanischen Geheimdienste und die Schweizer Diplomaten regelmässig.

Im September 2008 drängte die damalige amerikanische Aussenministerin Condoleezza Rice in einer als geheim klassifizierten Depesche ihre Botschaft in Bern, bei den Schweizer Behörden vorstellig zu werden. Die Amerikaner wussten, dass die malaysische Firma Evertop Services von der Schweizer QuartzCom seit längerem grosse Mengen hochwertiger Quartzoszillatoren bestellte.

Verdacht: Chips für Massenvernichtungswaffen

Die malaysische Evertop ist nach US-Informationen jedoch nur eine Tarnfirma fürs iranische Unternehmen Farezeh Tajhiz Gostar. Iran steht wegen seinen umstrittenen Atom-Projekten seit Jahren auf der Schwarzen Liste der Uno. Für US-Firmen gilt seit den 80er-Jahren ein weitgehendes Exportverbot. Gegen Evertop haben die USA inzwischen Klage erhoben.

USA vs. Evertop Services

USA vs. Evertop Services (PDF)

Quelle: az

Die Firma Farezeh habe in der Vergangenheit über diverse Tarnfirmen wiederholt westliche Technologie beschafft und dann ans iranische Raketen- und Drohnen-Programm weitergeleitet, behaupten die Amerikaner. Dies steht in mehreren Wikileaks-Dokumenten, die «Le Temps» kürzlich veröffentlichte.

Quartzoszillatoren gehören zu den Grundbausteinen unter anderem der Telekommunikation – Handys oder Computer kommen ohne diese Bauteile nicht aus. Die Firma QuartzCom ist eines von mehreren Schweizer Unternehmen, das in dieser Branche geschäftet.

Das Seco schaltet sich ein

Die Reaktion des Staatssekretariats für Wirschaft Seco blieb nicht aus: die Behörde blockierte einige Tausend dieser Quartzoszillatoren und nahm Untersuchungen auf. Kurz danach doppelten die Amerikaner noch einmal nach: Nun hätten QuartzCom und Evertop über Möglichkeiten beraten, eine andere asiatische Firma als Zwischenhändler einzuschalten. Die Amerikaner vermuteten, die Schweizer wollten die Restriktionen des Seco umgehen.

… und erhält immer mehr Berichte

Ende 2008 dann eine dritte Meldung der Amerikaner: Nun habe ein Unternehmen aus den Vereinigten Arabischen Emiraten bei QuartzCom Waren bestellt und sie danach in den Iran geliefert. Auch hier sei die Bestimmung wieder das iranische Raketenprogramm gewesen, behaupteten die US-Diplomaten.

Ende 2009 sandte die US-Botschaft in Bern wieder einen Bericht ans Seco. QuartzCom sei nun mit Syrien im Geschäft – auch hier drängten die USA auf einen Lieferstopp, weil damit deren Raketenprogramm unterstützt werde. Anfang 2010 meldeten sich die Amerikaner wieder: die Schweizer hätten mit den Iranern erneut über Wege diskutiert, wie man die Restriktionen über China umgehen könnte.

Jahresumsatz mit Iran: 500’000 Franken

Hans Rudolf Haas von QuartzCom bestätigt gegenüber az, dass er seit Jahren mit den Iranern geschäftete: «Wir haben schon seit jeher IT-Produkte in den Iran geschickt. Und dafür haben wir jeweils die nötigen Bewilligungen vom Seco eingeholt.» Das sei jahrelang kein Problem gewesen. Doch «die Terror-Anschläge 2001 haben alles verändert», sagt Haas. Mit dem Iran habe man pro Jahr einen Umsatz von etwa 500’000 Franken gemacht.

Wie kamen denn die Iraner ausgerechnet auf ihn? «Wir haben seit langem Universitäten Produktmuster gratis zur Verfügung gestellt. Wahrscheinlich erinnerten sich dann die einen oder anderen Spezialisten an uns.»

Haas ist überzeugt, dass seine Quartzoszillatoren nicht für kriegerische Zwecke missbraucht werden könnten. Für Raketen etwa seien sie nicht tauglich, da sie der Hitze nicht standhalten würden.

E-Mails wurden mitgelesen

Eigentlich stehen die Quartzoszillatoren nicht auf der Liste der verbotenen Güter und sind auch nicht vom Waffenembargo der UNO gegen den Iran betroffen. Faktisch jedoch verbot das Seco der Firma die Ausfuhr ihrer Produkte in den Iran.

Um nicht an dubiose Händler zu liefern, fragte Haas jeweils beim Seco nach, ob diese oder jene Firma einschlägig bekannt sei. Obwohl zu Beginn nicht alle Zwischenhändler auf der Schwarzen Liste standen, wurde diese Liste immer länger. Einmal schickte Haas dem Seco dann einen fiktiven Firmennamen. Auch der stand auf der ominösen Schwarzen Liste des Seco. Von da an wusste Haas, dass es einfach darum ging, dem Iran keine solche Technologie zu senden, egal für welche Zwecke sie eingesetzt wurde.

Plötzlich sei auch ein Solothurner Polizist in der Firma aufgetaucht, der sich mit vorgeschobenen Argumenten in der Firma einmal umsah. Da war Haas klar, dass man überwacht werde. Er machte es den Behörden leicht: Die E-Mail-Korrespondenz mit seinen Kunden hatte er nie verschlüsselt geführt, man habe nichts zu verbergen, meinte Haas. So konnten die Amerikaner jeweils ungestört mitlesen.

Der Drohnen-Zwischenfall

Erstaunt war Haas jedoch, dass eine andere Episode offenbar nicht in den Diplomaten-Depeschen auftauchte: Als er einmal vom Seco zum Gespräch nach Bern eingeladen wurde, sprach ihn  Seco-Exportkontrollen-Chef Jürgen Boehler darauf an, ob seine Chips auch in Überwachungs-Drohnen verwendet werden könnten. Hans Rudolf Haas meinte, dies sei theoretisch möglich.

Später wurde Haas die Frage klar: Anfang März 2009 erschien als Randnotiz in Schweizer Zeitungen ein kurzer Bericht, dass US-Kampfjets im irakischen Raum eine Drohne aus dem Iran abgeschossen hätten. «Wahrscheinlich analysierten die Amerikaner das Gerät und entdeckten einen unserer Chips darin», vermutet Haas.

Schweiz wichtiger Handelspartner Irans

Auch wenn Haas inzwischen nicht mehr mit dem Iran geschäftet, bleibt die Schweiz offenbar ein wichtiger Handelspartner. So erzählte Haas: «Boehler sagte mir, dass trotz Embargo Schweizer Güter für zwischen 230 bis 250 Millionen Franken pro Jahr in den Iran geliefert werden.»

© az Aargauer Zeitung, 26.05.2011

Confrontation with the FARC Rattles GOP

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

ID     10PANAMA41
SUBJECT     Confrontation with the FARC Rattles GOP

DATE     2010-02-01 00:00:00
CLASSIFICATION     SECRET//NOFORN
ORIGIN     Embassy Panama
TEXT     S E C R E T PANAMA 000041

NOFORN
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 2035/02/01
TAGS: PTER, SNAR, PGOV, PREL, PM, CO
SUBJECT: Confrontation with the FARC Rattles GOP

CLASSIFIED BY: Stephenson, AMB, State, FO; REASON: 1.4(B), (D)

Summary

1. (S//NF) Three members of the FARC were killed in Panama’s Darien province and two were captured on January 27, apparently after a Panamanian National Frontier Service (SENAFRONT) patrol stumbled upon the guerrillas traveling in a boat on the Tuira river. Reports indicate the guerrillas opened fire after being ordered to stop. One of those killed was mid-level commander Gaspar Gonzalez, alias “Rene” or “Orejas”, reportedly close to 57th Front commander alias “Becerro.” Some in the GOP appear to be rattled by the encounter. Minister of the Presidency Demetrio “Jimmy” Papadimitriu told the DCM January 28 that he did not have details on what had happened, and played down the request for helicopter
support he had made the night before . Reinforcements are being sent into the area, apparently in fear of a possible retaliatory strike by the FARC. The GOP has strenuously denied reports in the Colombian press that the GOP bombed a camp. Mitchel Doens, Secretary General of the opposition Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) told reporters January 28 that he was afraid the incident was part of a “hidden agenda” involving a pact with the Government of Colombia that might compromise Panama’s security. End Summary

Halt, who goes there!

2. (S//NF)) The incident took place on the Tuira River that runs through the Darien National Forest near the border with Colombia. The FARC 57th Front’s Wilson Cordoba company, led by 57th Front Commander alias “Becerro” has long been based in this area.
SENAFRONT has been carrying out a strategy for the last year, with Embassy support, to cut off FARC supply routes, restricting the amount of food that enters the area, and increasing patrols in choke points to make it more difficult for the FARC to operate. [Comment: It is the consensus view of Post Country Team that SENAFRONT does not have enough men, training, equipment or logistical capability to militarily confront the FARC, and that the “harassment” strategy is the most forward leaning strategy that SENAFRONT can maintain. End Comment.]

Reports indicate this was a routine patrol of approximately 30 men, who were following up on an intelligence report on a nearby FARC camp. Reportedly the patrol saw a boat on the river with six or seven armed persons on board, and ordered the vessel to stop. When the FARC members opened fire SENAFRONT returned fire, killing two and wounding three. One of the wounded eventually died. There are reports that one person escaped. The prisoners are being questioned by Panamanian authorities. The SENAFRONT personnel involved in the incident had received SOUTHCOM funded training by the Joint Planning and Assistance Team (JPAT), including marksmanship training.

3. (S//NF) Rene, a very active mid-level commander, was very close to Becerro, who played a key role in calming down members of the FARC that called for revenge after a similar incident last year in the Darien village of Manene. He has traditionally argued that the FARC should not confront Panamanian security forces, and has ordered the 57th Front to respect civilians and their property. It remains to be seen if the death of Rene leads him to take a different view of retaliation this time.

We were wondering . . .

4. (S//NF) The incident occurred at approximately 7:30 am. Over twelve hours later Minister of the Presidency Jimmy Papadimitriu called Post’s ODC Chief to ask for helicopter lift support to bring reinforcements into the Darien. When DCM called the next day and asked for a readout on what had happened and exactly what kind of support the GOP was requesting, Papadimitriu said he had “no idea” what had happened, and minimized the previous day’s request, saying he had, “just been wondering if you had some helicopters.” DCM explained that all USG assets were tied up in Haiti, and pressed the need for the GOP to put some real effort into security planning. Papadimitriu said that it was time for the GOP to take security seriously, and realize that it was expensive and they would have to pay for it.

5. (S//NF) On February 1, SENAFRONT Deputy Director Christian Hayer told Emboff that SENAFRONT had 800 men in the area, and that they would begin pulling them back in one week. Embassy personnel traveled to SENAFRONT HQ in Meteti, Darien on January 28 and reported that SENAFRONT had cancelled all leaves, and the SEAL-trained RECOM unit was seen mustering for deployment, while buses of other SENAFRONT units headed east towards the border. However, there was no sign of a logistics mobilization that would allow the units to remain deployed for much more than a week. Newspaper reports are stressing the fear of a retaliatory strike by the FARC as the reason for the mobilization. The GOP has forbidden land or air travel over the border region until Saturday, January 30.

Colombian angle

6. (U) Shortly after the incident Colombian President Alvaro Uribe issued a statement from Davos, SWITZERLAND thanking Panama and President Martinelli for the “military” operation that killed the three guerrillas. This was followed by a piece in the Colombian newspaper El Espectador that said Panama had “bombed” a FARC camp, citing Colombian Minister of Defense Gabriel Silva. Minister of Government and Justice Jose Raul Mulino made several public comments over the course of the day insisting that the encounter had been fortuitous, and denying that Panama had planned the operation ahead of time in any way with Colombia.

7. (U) PRDSecGen Mitchel Doens told reporters January 28 that the incident was part of a secret agreement between Panama and Colombia that could compromise Panama’s security. He pointed to the contradictory statements by leaders of the two countries, and called them “suspicious,” noting that Martinelli and Uribe had recently met. He also highlighted Silva’s reported statement that Colombia would, “continue offering our cooperation . . . in the campaign against the FARC.”

Comment

8. (S//NF) All indications so far are that this incident was a result of happenstance, and that SENAFRONT is not actively seeking to engage the FARC. There does not appear to have been any change in strategy or tactics with regard to the FARC by the GOP. The President and many ministers are not in the country right now, and senior government leaders seem to have been caught off guard by the crisis. The major mobilization of SENAFRONT forces does not appear to be well planned. While a FARC retaliation is possible, it would be a major change in the FARC’s modus operandi in Panama, and would entail serious strategic risks. Any attack would likely be against one of the many small isolated outposts throughout the Darien.

9. (S//NF) Post has been pushing the GOP since Martinelli took office to focus on security before the linked problems of the FARC, narco-trafficking, growing gangs, and a rising murder rate began to seriously damage Panama’s reputation as a safe place to invest, and eventually its stability itself. The solution is not just money: it’s organization and will to find competent leaders to begin to reform and build solid security institution in the country.

STEPHENSON

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ADDED     2011-05-25 12:30:00
STAMP     2011-05-26 12:33:06
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AMBASSADOR’S MEETING WITH BENAZIR BHUTTO ON SECURITY AND INVESTIGATION OF KARACHI ATTACK

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011
ID
07KARACHI756
SUBJECT
AMBASSADOR’S MEETING WITH BENAZIR BHUTTO ON SECURITY AND INVESTIGATION OF KARACHI ATTACK
DATE
2007-10-29 10:36:00
CLASSIFICATION
CONFIDENTIAL
ORIGIN
Consulate Karachi
TEXT
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KARACHI 000756

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/28/2017
TAGS: ASEC PGOV PINR PREL PTER PK

SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR’S MEETING WITH BENAZIR BHUTTO ON SECURITY AND INVESTIGATION OF KARACHI ATTACK

REF: ISLAMABAD 4599

Classified By: Ambassador Anne W. Patterson, Reasons 1.4 (b), (d).

¶1. (C) Summary: During an October 23 meeting in Karachi, Pakistan People,s Party Chairman Benazir Bhutto told the Ambassador that she was dissatisfied with the government’s investigation of the October 19 bombing that targeted her motorcade. The Ambassador noted we had absolutely no evidence anyone in the government was involved and that we believed such accusations were not constructive. The Ambassador added that we are working with the GoP through longstanding channels.

¶2. (C) Bhutto also discussed her concerns about her personal security. She expressed frustration at not being consulted in the formation of the North West Frontier Province interim government and the loopholes in the National Reconciliation Ordinance. Regarding the upcoming general elections, Bhutto made it clear that she did not trust the voter,s list or the independence of the Election Commission. Ambassador told her the international community, and particularly the U.S., had robust observation and education measures planned. End Summary.

————————————
BHUTTO FRUSTRATED WITH INVESTIGATION
————————————

¶2. (C) On October 23, Ambassador called on Pakistan People,s Party Chairman Benazir Bhutto at her home in Karachi to convey condolences. Bhutto opened the meeting by expressing her dissatisfaction with the government,s investigation of the October 19 bombing that targeted her homecoming procession in Karachi. Bhutto insisted that government officials were responsible for the attack and could not be trusted to conduct an independent investigation. Bhutto complained that the government had not shared any of the details of the investigation with her.

¶3. (C) Bhutto reiterated her public request for U.S. assistance and asked to receive satellite imagery and &chatter8 intelligence. The Ambassador noted that USG agencies were involved in the investigation. The Ambassador continued that all evidence thus far pointed to an al Qaeda-related – or another extremist group – attack and that blaming the government was not productive.

¶4. (C) Bhutto countered that a number of government officials supported the Taliban and al Qaeda, and that her blame is focused on them. Bhutto added that she would like rapprochement with the government, but does not see how it would be possible, as she believes that some government officials were involved in the bombing.

—————–
BHUTTO,S SECURITY
—————–

¶5. (C) Bhutto said that she was still receiving threat information. She claimed that the Sindh Government had informed her that if she goes to Larkhana (her ancestral home), she would be attacked. A &brotherly8 government (unnamed) had informed her that there would be snipers in Islamabad. Bhutto repeated that she felt the federal government was involved.

¶6. (C) According to Bhutto, Pakistan,s Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI) is complaining to the Sindh Government about the high level of security that the Government is providing to Bhutto. Still, Bhutto said, the government should relax the law to allow her own guards, &her boys8, to be armed, especially as some of them had died in the October 19 attack.

———————–
U.S. PROVIDED SECURITY?
———————–

¶7. (C) Bhutto asked the Ambassador if it would be possible for the USG to provide her with a security detail. The Ambassador responded that she was aware of two cases,

KARACHI 00000756 002 OF 002

President Karzai of Afghanistan and President Aristide of Haiti, in which the USG provided personal security and both were heads of state. She added that American security would not be consistent with the movements of a political campaign. On the other hand, the USG did provide long-term training on personal protection through existing government-to-government programs. Finally, the Ambassador offered to have Embassy RSO meet with individuals Bhutto designated to discuss security issues (reftel).

————————–
UPCOMING ELECTION CAMPAIGN
————————–

¶8. (C) Bhutto complained that the government did not want any political rallies in the upcoming election campaign. The government was doing this, she said, to deny or hide the fact that she had support.

¶9. (C) In Bhutto,s opinion, the Election Commission was not independent and the voter list was not accurate. She was thankful for the National Democratic Institute pre-election assessment delegation suggestions regarding election reforms. The Ambassador informed Bhutto that the international community would provide election observers and the USG had already identified 47 districts likely to be hotly contested. Bhutto expressed concern that the observers could become targets of attacks.

——————–
CARETAKER GOVERNMENT AND NRO LOOPHOLES
——————–

¶10. (C) Bhutto complained that she was not consulted on the North West Frontier Province caretaker government. She insisted that she should be consulted on the composition of the federal caretaker government and said that her party should occupy 1/3 of the positions.

¶11. (C) Bhutto also lamented that the recently promulgated National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) has loopholes. Ambassador said we were familiar with the drafting process of the NRO and did not believe it had been drafted with any loopholes in mind. Bhutto noted that the corruption cases outside Pakistan (such as in SWITZERLAND) had not been withdrawn because the government had not written letters to stop them.

—————————–
BHUTTO,S INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL
—————————–

¶12. (C) When asked if she would stay in Pakistan, Bhutto responded that she would stay for a while but then would start to travel and give lectures. Some of the countries to which she would travel included the UAE (Dubai), the United Kingdom, and the U.S. However, she would be based in Pakistan.

ANSKE

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http://www.wikileaks.ch/cable/2007/10/07KARACHI756.html

Wegen Todesdrohung: USA warnte vor Besitzer einer Schweizer Bank

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Die US-Botschaft in der Türkei warnte vor Milliardär Mehmet Karamehmet. Ein Business-Partner seiner Firmengruppe Cukurova sei von diesem Umfeld mit dem Tod bedroht worden. Karamehmet gehört eine Schweizer Bank mit illustrer Vergangenheit. von Christian Bütikofer

US-Botschafter Eric S. Edelman nahm 2005 kein Blatt vor den Mund. Als ihm der Öl-Unternehmer Howard Lowe eröffnete, er sei mit dem türkischen Milliardär Mehmet Emin Karamehmet im Geschäft, warnte ihn Edelman eindringlich vor diesem Abenteuer: «Karamehmet ist der Botschaft als unzuverlässiger und zwielichtiger Geschäftspartner bekannt.»

Der Botschafter wusste von einer US-Firma zu berichten, die Opfer «unethischen und einschüchternden» Geschäftsgebarens wurde, als sie mit Karamehmet und seiner Firmengruppe geschäftete. Um eine geschäftliche Auseinandersetzung zu Gunsten Karamehmets zu erzwingen, seien die Amerikaner aus dessen Umfeld mit dem Tod bedroht worden, warnte Botschafter Edelman seinen Landsmann aus der Ölbranche. Darum empfahl die US-Botschaft in Ankara US-Firmen generell, sich auf Deals mit Karamehmet nicht einzulassen. Dies zeigt ein neues Wikileaks-Dokument von dieser Woche.

Milliardär Mehmet Karamehmet ist eine der reichsten Personen der Türkei. Seine Cukurova-Gruppe betätigt sich in den unterschiedlichsten Branchen: Er mischt etwa in der Telekommunikation mit, baut Immobilien, beherrscht Zeitungen, verschiebt Waren zu Land und Wasser rund um den Globus.

Der Stützpunkt am Genfersee

In Genf besitzt Karamehmet seit den 90er-Jahren die «Banque de Commerce et de Placements» (BCP). Die BCP ging aus der pakistanischen Skandalbank «Bank of Credit and Commerce International» (BCCI) hervor. Die BCCI ging 1991 bankrott, hinterliess weltweit einen Schaden in zweistelliger Milliardenhöhe.

Unter anderem stellte sich heraus, dass etliche BCCI-Verantwortliche auf höchster Ebene im grossen Stil Geldwäscherei betrieben und als Hausbanker für Drogengelder kolumbianischer Mafiakartelle fungierten.

Untersuchungen zeigten, dass die damalige Genfer BCP ein wichtiger Knotenpunkt im BCCI-System war und dort immer wieder Gelder auf unerklärliche Weise in einem «Schwarzen Loch» verschwanden.

Später erhielt die BCP von der Eidgenössischen Bankenkommission (die heutige Finma) jedoch einen Persilschein, der bei Szene-Beobachtern für einigen Gesprächsstoff sorgte.

Die Schweizer hatten Glück: Als eine der ganz wenigen BCCI-Töchter konnte die Filiale verkauft werden: Karamehmet griff mit seiner Cukurova-Gruppe gerne zu.

Stark in Zentralasien engagiert

BCP mit Filialen in Luxemburg und Dubai ist unter anderem in Ländern wie Aserbaidschan und Weissrussland stark engagiert. Daneben bieten die Genfer auch Private Banking an.

In der Türkei beherrschte Karamehmet mehrere Banken, die Konkurs gingen. Seine Cukurova-Gruppe legte in der Vergangenheit wiederholt seltsame Finanzpraktiken an den Tag. Aufgrund der vergangenen Bankenpleiten wurde ihm in der Türkei verboten, weitere Banken zu betreiben. In diesem Zusammenhang verurteilte ihn ein Gericht in Istanbul 2010 zu 11 Jahren und 8 Monaten Gefängnis – das Urteil ist nicht rechtskräftig.

Klage wegen Madoff-Geldern

Die BCP hat momentan weiteren Ärger am Hals. Ende 2010 deponierte in New York Liquidator Kenneth Krys eine Klage – sie liegt az vor. Er will für Geschädigte der Madoff-Pleite rund eine halbe Million Dollar zurückhaben – offenbar landeten fiktive Gewinne auf deren Konten. Die Klage richtet sich gegen die Bank und ihren früheren Direktor Franz Maissen.

Sowohl die Bank BCP wie auch die Curokova Holding reagierten auf entsprechende Nachfrage von az bis Publikationsdatum nicht.

Wikileaks-Depesche: 05ANKARA247

IPSC PD IMO RES ECON DCM DAO AMB AID ADM RSO

Thursday, May 19th, 2011
ID
06TELAVIV4604
SUBJECT
IPSC PD IMO RES ECON DCM DAO AMB AID ADM RSO
DATE
2006-11-24 13:02:00
CLASSIFICATION
SECRET
ORIGIN
Embassy Tel Aviv
TEXT
S E C R E T TEL AVIV 04604

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CONS

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07/t Text/Tags: TAGS: PTER ECON OVIP AMGT ASEC SY LE IR IS
07/s Text/Subject: SUBJECT: APHSCT TOWNSEND’S NOVEMBER 12 MEETING WITH
07/r Text/Ref:
07 Text: *** Maschinell erstellte Kleinschreibung, nur Satzanfaenge gross. ***

S e c r e t section 01 of 04 tel aviv 004604

Sipdis

The white house for aphsct frances fragos townsend
treasury for under secretary stuart levey

nsc for malvesti
state for nea, nea/ipa (maher), s/ct (ambassador crumpton)
joint staff for j-5
hq useucom for ecj-5 (klothe)
pentagon for osd desk (anderson)

E.o. 12958: dng: co 11/24/2026
Tags: pter, econ, ovip, amgt, asec, sy, le, ir, is
Subject: aphsct townsend’s november 12 meeting with
chief focuses on lebanon, syria and iran

Classified By: Classified by Charge Gene Cretz. Reasons: 1.4 (b) (d).

——-
summary
——-

¶1. (S) During a November 12 meeting, Chief MeirDagan told Assistant to the President for Homeland Securityand Counterterrorism (APHSCT) Frances Fragos Townsend thatUSG efforts to designate Iranian banking facilities haveproven effective and are forcing the Iranians to move theirfunds to banks in the Gulf States and the Far East. Daganurged the U.S. to continue activity in this direction,noting that SWISS and Japanese banks are forgoing businesswith Iran. Dagan warned that Iran and the Hizballah aretrying to bring the Siniora government down in Lebanon, andthat Hizballah’s next step is to rally Shiites in thestreets to put more pressure on the GOL. Dagan said heanticipates that this current effort will ultimately leadto violence and the murder of some of Siniora’s politicalallies. On Syria, Dagan said that Asad is comfortable withthe current situation and has no intent of breaking fromhis strategic alliance with Iran, or stopping his supportof Hizballah and Hamas. Dagan expressed frustration withEuropean attempts to engage Asad with the hope of bringinghim around, predicting that these attempts will fail, andonly encourage Asad to engage in more bad behavior. Dagansaid that the best way to change Asad’s behavior is tothreaten force. He encouraged the U.S. to ratchet uppressure on Syria by designating its Commercial Bank, andasking the Saudis to put pressure on banks in Europe andDubai. Dagan expressed frustration with Europeanreluctance to designate Hizballah as a terrorist group.End summary.

———————————————

-dagan: keep up the financial pressure on iran

——————————————— –

¶2. (S) Dagan said that Treasury Department designation ofIranian banking facilities has succeeded in its aims andhas proven very effective. The Iranians are nowpreoccupied with this problem and trying to move funds tobanks in the Gulf States and Far East, specifically India,China ((MLM: Dagan specifically noted Hong Kong)), Taiwan,and Singapore. He added that the Iraniansare also encountering difficulties with European banks.Dagan urged the U.S. to continue to move in thisdirection. He noted that the has sent some of itsown people to Europe to keep up the bank pressure on Iran.He said that Iran’s economic situation is weak, and thatthis is causing bankers and the Iranian middle class toincrease their criticism of Ahmadinejad and his regime. Hesaid that they are increasingly concerned thatAhmadinejad’s policies are going to lead Iran into”financial disaster.” Dagan added that Credit Suisse, UBSand a number of Japanese banks have asked Iran not to dobusiness with them anymore.

¶3. (S) Dagan said that is still having some problemswith banks in the UK, and noted that the Iranians aretrying to buy a Turkish bank there. The Iranians aretrying to move their foreign currency reserves from Europeto the Far East. At the same time, they are also thinkingabout how to do more work with the Euro, even while theyrecognize that they need U.S. dollars. Dagan said that theIranians are finding it difficult now to transfer fundsfrom Sadarat Bank to Hizballah through Lebanon. They arenow transferring the money in cash using couriers thatcarry it by suitcase from Iran to Hizballah recipients.Dagan stressed that Treasury Under Secretary Stuart Levey’sdirect discussions with bankers appears to yield betterresults than when governments deal with one another.

——————————————-

“we are on the edge of a crisis in lebanon”

——————————————-¶

4. (S) Dagan warned that and the U.S. are on “theedge of a crisis” in Lebanon as Syria, Iran and Hizballahare trying to bring down the Siniora government “in stages”through various tactical moves. The Hizballah ministers inPM Siniora’s government had resigned, and Hizballah isplanning to bring Lebanon’s Shiites into the streets toincrease pressure on the GOL. Dagan said that Hizballah’splan has been coordinated well with the Syrians, and thatIran is aware of this plan and has had a part informulating the strategy.

¶5. (S) Dagan said that this effort has two aims:
A) To form a unity government and bring others into it inorder to overwhelm Siniora. Hizballah needs to do thisbefore Lebanese President Lahoud finishes his term. Dagansaid that Michel Aoun is trying to get elected president,and is getting support from the Saudis to this end. Daganclaimed that Aoun is trying to mediate between Siniora,Samir Geagea and the West.
B) To increase Shia representation in the parliament bychanging the electoral law.
Dagan warned that and the U.S. are now witnessingthe beginning of a crisis in Lebanon. He said he would notbe surprised if the end involves violence and the murder ofpeople just below Siniora (“second echelon types”) beforethe UN finishes its investigation into the ofPM Hariri. Dagan said that he does not believe thatHizballah would try to kill Walid Jumblat or Siniora, butmight try to kill Marwan Hamedi and others like him. “Thisis the typical Lebanese way to solve problems,” Daganadded.

———————————————

–syria: asad continues to back terrorist groups–

———————————————

¶6. (S) Dagan said that based on the intelligence he hascollected, he would estimate that Syrian President Asad issatisfied with the current situation in the region, and hasno intention of stopping his support for Hizballah, Hamasand PIJ. Asad views his alliance with Hizballah and Iranas strategic, a view that justifies allowing PalestinianIslamic Jihad (PIJ) and Hamas to continue to operate fromDamascus, and to send radical Islamic fighters across theborder into Iraq. Dagan claimed that Asad is “happy to seeU.S. soldiers killed in Iraq.”

¶7. (S) Dagan noted that a British delegation led by formerUK FM Douglas Hurd and former MI6 Chief John Scarlett hadvisited Syria to talk with Asad. According to Dagan, Asadmade no concessions to the delegation, and instead assertedthat Lebanon is Syria’s number one priority. Dagan notedthat Asad occasionally calls for peace negotiations with, but then sets unrealistic conditions for startingthem. He explained that this pattern of behavior is doneto ease international pressure on Syria, and expressed hisview that he does not believe that Syria is willing to makepeace with . Instead, Dagan said, the Syrians arenow looking at different ways to engage by force.Dagan acknowledged that is not aware of any Syrianplans to attack in any way at this time, butcautioned that, in comparison with the past, more of Asad’sadvisors are talking about fighting , and usingterrorists in the fight. Dagan claimed that Asad hasappointed “ex-reservists” from the Golan Heights — who arein their eighties — as “resistance fighters.”

¶8. (S) Dagan said that Asad’s new policy and guidelinestowards drive his relations with the Palestinians aswell. He is now encouraging Hamas to “behave” vis-a-visPalestinian President Mahmud Abbas in his drive to form anational unity government. At the same time, Asad isencouraging Khaled Meshal to adopt more radical positions.

¶9. (S) Dagan claimed that Syrian-Iranian intelligencecooperation is enhancing, and pointed to “joint commandposts” staffed by Syrian and Iranian intelligence officers,including personnel from the Iranian Revolutionary GuardCorps (IRGC) and Hizballah.

¶10. (S) Dagan said that Asad is also allowing weapons to betransferred from Iran to Turkey and then to Syria, withtheir ultimate destination being Hizballah. Heacknowledged that suspects this only, and has no”smoking gun” or hard evidence to prove it.

———————————————

-dagan: talking with syria rewards bad behavior

———————————————
¶11. (S) Dagan said the GOI shares the USG’s frustrationwith the hesitation of European governments to designateHizballah as a terrorist organization. He noted recentvisits by European foreign ministers to Damascus, and saidthey reflect a view — held by Spanish Foreign MinisterMoratinos, as well as the Germans — that dialogue withAsad is the key to luring him away from Iran’s influence.He added that the Egyptians are trying to convince otherArabs to reach out to Asad. Dagan said that he isconvinced they are doomed to failure. He praised the GulfStates for understanding the threat posed by the”Iran-Hizballah-Syria” axis: “They see it as a threat, andas a sign of an oncoming Shia-Sunni conflict. It is notreally a religious war, but that is how they see it, andthey are right to view it as a threat.” Dagan credited theFrench for being less sympathetic to Syria than otherEuropeans, but added that they do not want to cooperate onHizballah as their troops are deployed in Lebanon.

¶12. (S) Dagan cautioned that engaging with Asad innegotiations on the Golan Heights or a Free Trade Agreementwith Europe would only reward aggression. He asserted thatall previous attempts to open dialogue with the Syrianswere misread and viewed by the ruling regime as a rewardfor behaving badly. , he stressed, has engaged withthe Syrians for the past fifty years: “The only thing theSyrians understand is force and pressure.” As an example,he pointed to Syria’s withdrawal from Lebanon, assertingthat it happened only because Asad feared that theinternational community would attack Syria in the wake ofthe Hariri . “Retreat was not due todialogue, but due to fear of brute force,” Dagan said.Dagan added that Syria dropped its support for the PKK whenTurkey threatened to go to war over it.

——————————————–

dagan urges striking at syrians’ pocketbooks

——————————————–

¶13. (S) Dagan said that even though the Syrian economy iscollapsing, he does not envision a real change in Syria anytime soon. Townsend commented that we must continue to workwith financial institutions to create problems for the Syrianbanking system similar to those now facing Iran. In responseto a question, Dagan said it wouldhelp if the U.S. would increase pressure on the CommercialBank of Syria, and that he would recommend this himself toTreasury Under Secretary Stuart Levey when they next meet.Clamping down on the Commercial Bank of Syria would beeffective especially as key Syrian government ministers aretrying to invest outside of Syria. Dagan added that thetiming of this effort is very important, and said heexpects that the results of the UN’s investigation into theHariri will implicate Syria.

¶14. (S) Dagan suggested the U.S. could also bring morepressure to bear on Syria by encouraging the Saudis topressure Europe. Noting that the Saudis are consideringbuying 70 Tornado fighter-bombers from the UK, he wonderedaloud if the USG could encourage the Saudis to buy theirarms from the U.S. instead of from the Europeans. Townsendsaid that the USG will encourage the Saudis to put pressureon banks in Dubai, as they are clearinghouses forproliferation activity. Dagan agreed that pressuring Dubaiwould be helpful, especially as the Iranians are trying tobuy up property there. He cautioned, however, that not allSaudis would be inclined to help — securing KingAbdullah’s support would be vital: “If you can get theKing to support you, others will follow. If he threatensto take his money somewhere else, that would be a seriousthreat.” Dagan asked Townsend to have the USG put morebanking pressure on the Syrians: “By hitting Syrian banks,you also hit Hizballah and Iran. It is a very effectivetool that has proven itself.”

¶15. (S) Dagan concluded the meeting by noting thatcooperation between his staff and POL/RES is excellent.

¶16. (U) APHSCT Frances Fragos Townsend cleared on thiscable.

*********************************************

HEADER
null
Carol X Weakley 11/27/2006 02:28:49 PM From DB/Inbox: Carol X Weakley

Cable
Text:

S E C R E T TEL AVIV 04604

SIPDIS
CXTelA:
ACTION: POL
INFO: IPSC PD IMO RES ECON DCM DAO AMB AID ADM RSO
CONS

DISSEMINATION: POL
CHARGE: PROG

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PTER ECON OVIP AMGT ASEC SY LE IR IS
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http://www.wikileaks.ch/cable/2006/11/06TELAVIV4604.html

SWISS FIRM QUARTZCOM COLLUDING WITH IRANIAN FRONT COMPANY IN ATTEMPT TO SKIRT EXPORT CONTROLS (S): SWISS RESPONSE

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

2010-01-19 16:31:00

10BERN21

Embassy Bern

SECRET

10STATE996

R 191631Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY BERN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 6268

S E C R E T BERN 000021

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/31/2025
TAGS: SZ, IR, KSCA, PARM, PREL, MNUC, ETTC
SUBJECT: SWISS FIRM QUARTZCOM COLLUDING WITH IRANIAN FRONT COMPANY IN ATTEMPT TO SKIRT EXPORT CONTROLS (S): SWISS RESPONSE

REF: STATE 996

Classified By: Pol-Econ couns. R. Rorvig for reasons 1.4(b) and (d).

1. Pol-Econ Couns. was called in by Swiss Economics Department Industrial Export Control chief Juergen Boehler on January 15 to discuss reftel case. (Reftel points were previously provided to the Economics Department.) Boehler stated that Swiss authorities are grateful for the U.S. information on Quartzcom and, after deliberation, now plan to follow up aggressively with the firm. Boehler said that he understands that Quartzcom is a one-man “mom and pop”, import-export firm. The best of his knowledge, Quartzcom has no employees other than the principal, who may be assisted by one or two family members. Based on the U.S.-provided information, the Swiss Economics Department has requested that the Swiss federal police pay a call “in uniform” on Quartzcom’s owner to notify him – on the record – of Swiss law and the criminal penalties for violating export control laws. Boehler said that such a visit usually is sufficient to frighten 99 percent of small operators away from such business.

CARTER

http://www.letemps.ch/cables?id=10BERN21

EMBASSY RAISES PAMUKBANK CASE WITH AK VICE CHAIRMAN

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011
ID
02ANKARA8728
SUBJECT
EMBASSY RAISES PAMUKBANK CASE WITH AK VICE CHAIRMAN
DATE
2002-11-29 12:09:00
CLASSIFICATION
CONFIDENTIAL
ORIGIN
Embassy Ankara
TEXT
C O N F I D E N T I A L ANKARA 008728 

SIPDIS

TREASURY FOR OASIA – MILLS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/29/2007
TAGS: EFIN ECON PGOV TU
SUBJECT: EMBASSY RAISES PAMUKBANK CASE WITH AK VICE CHAIRMAN

REF: ANKARA 8596

Classified by Economic Counselor Scot Marciel. Reasons: 1.5 (d).

¶1. (C) We met November 29 with AK Vice Chairman and MP Murat Mercan to highlight the risks resulting from the Danistay’s November 22 injunction against BRSA’s takeover of insolvent Pamukbank. We said the decision, although taken by an independent judicial body, undermined the BRSA’s credibility and added to the fragility of Turkey’s already-weak banking sector — problems the government would have to address. Moreover, it coincided with AK criticisms of the BRSA, a proposal by 20 AK MPs that Parliament investigate BRSA’s takeover of Pamukbank, and senior-level AK meetings with Mehmet KARAMEHMET, owner (through Cukurova Group) of Pamukbank and of 45 percent of Yapi Kredi Bank. As a result, markets were voicing concern about the new government’s commitment to further bank reform.

¶2. (C) Mercan, who is close to Prime Minister Gul, listened carefully but evinced some skepticism about the legitimacy of the Pamukbank takeover. For example, he asked why BRSA did not take over other weak banks, such as Isbank. We responded that he would hear mixed views from the markets on other banks, but that there was a consensus in the financial community that KARAMEHMET had managed Pamukbank into insolvency and that the BRSA was right to take it over. We also noted strong support for the new government’s pledge to combat corruption, and suggested that cleaning up the banking system was an integal part of that effort.

¶3. (C) Mercan asked what we thought the government should do. We said that was up to the GOT to decide, but we thought the markets would welcome — as a first step — a strong public statement making clear that the government was committed to further bank reform, would not bail out poorly-managed banks, and fully supported an independent BRSA. The GOT would also need to consider steps to address the short-term threat to the banking system posed by the return of insolvent Pamukbank and nearly-insolvent Yapi Kredi Bank to the Cukurova Group’s control.

¶4. (C) Comment: Key players in AK Party have met a number of times with KARAMEHMET (Mercan said Party Chairman Erdogan had met with him three times), but have not spoken with BRSA officials. They have bought KARAMEHMET’s allegations that BRSA’s takeover of Pamukbank was politically-inspired and unjust. That belief is behind AK’s sharp criticism’s of BRSA over the past few months, and probably explains the government’s weak response to last Friday’s Danistay decision. Now that the financial community and the press — notably the Financial Times in its November 18 editorial — have begun to express concerns about the Danistay decision and about AK’s commitment to banking reform, we hope the government will re-think its views. One positive note: Deputy Prime Minister Abdullatif Sener (who oversees BRSA and intially responded to the Danistay decision by telling BRSA that it was “their problem”) and State Minister Ali Babacan have called BRSA President Engin Akcakoca in to brief them for the first time.

DEUTSCH

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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available. 

XTAGS: XTAGEFIN, XTAGECON, XTAGPGOV, XTAGTU 02ANKARA8728

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http://www.wikileaks.ch/cable/2002/11/02ANKARA8728.html

TURKISH MARKETS AWAIT IMF REACTION TO COURT DECISION ON PAMUKBANK

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011
ID
02ANKARA8596
SUBJECT
TURKISH MARKETS AWAIT IMF REACTION TO COURT
DATE
2002-11-25 15:47:00
CLASSIFICATION
CONFIDENTIAL
ORIGIN
Embassy Ankara
TEXT
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 008596

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EUR/SE, EB/IFD/OMA AND E
TREASURY FOR OASIA – MILLS AND LEICHTER
STATE PASS USTR – NOVELLI AND BIRDSEY

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/02/2006
TAGS: ECON EFIN PREL TU
SUBJECT: TURKISH MARKETS AWAIT IMF REACTION TO COURT DECISION ON PAMUKBANK

REF: ANKARA 8545

Classified by Economic Counselor Scot Marciel for reasons 1.5
(b,d).

¶1. (C) Summary: Turkish markets are awaiting IMF and GOT reaction to the administrative court decision of November 22, which suspended the take-over of Pamukbank by the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BRSA). At the heart of this legal battle lie about $5 billion in loans made by Pamuk and Yapi Kredi to their owner Cukurova Holding. Cukurova’s legal challenge to the Pamuk take-over is part of the bargaining over the repayment of these loans. Failure to reach agreement on repayment terms poses systemic risks to the banking sector, given that Pamuk and Yapi Kredi have $12 billion in deposits or about 15 percent of all deposits in the Turkish banking system. Markets will watch closely on both this issue and the primary surplus issue during next week’s visit of IMF Europe Director Deppler, and the December 9 IMF Mission to Turkey. End Summary.

¶2. (C) On November 22, BRSA Vice Presidents Ceyla Pazarbasioglu and Teoman Kerman called us in to discuss the court decision on Pamukbank (reftel). They summed up the situation as follows:

— The administrative court (“Danistay” or Council of State), sitting in general assembly, suspended the BRSA’s June 18 take-over of Pamukbank. According to press reports, the reason for the suspension was that BRSA didn’t sufficiently consider Cukurova’s recapitalization plan, which would have merged the insolvent Pamuk into sister bank Yapi Kredi. BRSA will have 30 days (from the date of delivery of the court’s opinion, which hasn’t yet occurred) to return Pamuk to Cukurova, pending a final court decision on the merits of the case. The BRSA plans to continue defending in court the merits of its take-over of Pamuk, though given this interim court decision to suspend its action, the final outcome doesn’t look favorable to BRSA.

— Since its take-over of Pamuk, BRSA has injected cash and T-bills of about $2 billion into Pamuk (about TL 2.7 quadrillion in bills and TL 800 trillion in cash). Local media have publicized this injection of public funds, and question whether Cukurova Holding will repay the BRSA. Cukurova, according to press sources, plans to counter-claim against the BRSA for damages, claiming that the BRSA’s take-over damaged the bank (the bank has lost over $1.5 billion in deposits since the BRSA’s June declaration of insolvency and take-over).

— BRSA staff, and financial market analysts, expect that Cukurova Holding will be unable to sufficiently recapitalize Pamuk, and that this insolvent bank will eventually revert to the BRSA. Cukurova’s legal challenge is seen as part of the bargaining process with the BRSA over the repayment terms for Cukurova’s outstanding loans to both Pamuk and Yapi (totaling nearly $5 billion). Thus, while Cukurova may eventually be forced to give up Pamuk, it may be able to bargain down with the BRSA the amount of debt it owes its banks.

¶3. (C) Pamuk’s and Yapi Kredi’s $5 billion in loans to owner Cukurova Holding lie at the heart of the problem. The Pamuk/Yapi Kredi merger plan, presented last June by Cukurova, involved large-scale forgiveness of these loans. The BRSA rejected this plan. Cukurova’s subsequent failure to make payments to these banks is gradually leading to the insolvency of Yapi Kredi Bank. In June, after the triple audit under the recap plan, Yapi Kredi had positive equity of about TL one quadrillion ($600 million), barely meeting the 8 percent capital adequacy standard. But its third quarter results, to be released November 29, will show further losses, bringing it under the 8 percent standard. Furthermore, in light of Cukurova’s continued failure to pay, the BRSA should apply prudential standards that require Yapi Kredi to increase its provisioning of capital for these loans. The general concern in the markets and in BRSA is that, without an agreement with Cukurova over repaying the loans, Yapi Kredi could well be insolvent by year-end.

¶4. (C) Yapi Kredi treasurer Huseyin Imece told us November 25 that the banks’ international creditors are worried, but no one has cut credit lines to the bank yet. Yapi Kredi will repay a $225 million syndication loan to international banks in early December. The Turkish man in the street does not appear worried as yet, and there is no run to withdraw deposits. But Imece doesn’t know if the situation can hold until year-end.

Comment ——-

¶5. (C) The outcome of BRSA’s legal battle with Cukurova Holding (and its owner Mehmet Emin KARAMEHMET) poses systemic risks to the financial system. First, if the BRSA’s take-over of Pamuk is rolled back, the credibility of the newly created BRSA as an effective bank regulator is in question. Second, Yapi Kredi and Pamuk together account for $12 billion in deposits or 15 percent of all deposits in Turkish banks. Yapi Kredi holds billions of dollars of T-bills as assets. Giving Cukurova Holding back the banks, without effectively recapitalizing them, leaves two large sick players in the system relying most probably on overnight funding from other local banks and/or the Central Bank. Banks’ failures to make payments in the overnight market was the proximate cause of both the November 2000 and February 2001 financial crises.

¶6. (C) The IMF’s Deppler will arrive in Turkey next Monday, December 2, to begin discussions with the new GOT. Market participants await IMF reaction to two issues: this banking reform problem; and the GOT’s commitment to maintaining a 6.5 percent primary surplus in 2003. Per IMF resrep, IMF Deputy Managing Director Krueger raised the Pamuk issue with State Minister Babacan in a bilateral in New Delhi November 23l; her talking point was that this is an urgent priority for the GOT to fix. In the meantime, locals markets remain optimistic, based primarily on Turkey’s chances of getting an EU accession talks date in Copenhagen. As JP Morgan/Chase Treasurer told us, “my horizon is one week, and this week is still optimistic. Not sure about next week.”

PEARSON

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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

XTAGS: XTAGECON, XTAGEFIN, XTAGPREL, XTAGTU 02ANKARA8596

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http://www.wikileaks.ch/cable/2002/11/02ANKARA8596.html