|Hypo-Alpe-Adria – A Bank-Scandal in Austria|
Dr. Alexander von Paleske - A Scandal is presently rocking Austria, involving Austria’s fourth largest Bank, the Hypo-Alpe-Adria, which was recently bought by the German bank “Bayerische Landesbank”, owned by the German state of Bavaria. The majority shareholder was up to then the Austrian county of Carinthia/Kaernten, whose governor is Joerg Haider, ultra right winger and well known for his praise of Adolf Hitler’s labour market policies and his derogatory remarks about foreigners as well as asylum seekers.
When in 2000 his Party, the FPOe or so called Liberal Party of Austria formed a coalition government with the OeVP, Israel recalled it’s ambassador from Vienna and the European Union reduced it’s contacts to Austria to a minimum. So what are the scandals, rocking this bank now?
Let’s start in the US in the year 1993.
A man by the name Robert Mc Farlane, security adviser to former US President Ronald Reagan at the time of the Iran-Contra scandal and now adviser to the mercenary company AEGIS, headed by Tim Spicer, on a Pentagon contract in Iraq, was with others founding a bank by the name of Czech Industries. The company was in 1996 merged with a company Eastbrokers International, in which a certain Wolfgang Koessner from Vienna became a shareholder,
Koessner brought with him a Bank in Austria by the name of WMP AG, which was now merged with Eastbrokers to be named Global Capital Partners. However disagreement led Koessner to disengage from Global Capital Partners and after the Global Capital Partners issued more shares, Koessner lost control of the WMP Bank and became a minor shareholder. Noteworthy is the fact, that Czech industries was majority owned by Stratton Oakmont, a broker house that was closed by the Securities and exchange commission because of fraud.
Minority shareholder at the WMP-Bank, that was now re-named“General Commerce Bank” was as well the Hypo-Alpe-Adria Bank. Koessner did a lot of work to establish the relationship with this bank, before he lost control at the WMP. As a result, Hypo-Alpe-Adria Bank sold shares and bonds of Global Capital partners to it’s customers, worthless shares as it would turn out and many of the customers now suing the bank.
A crack crew arrives
Koessner, no longer in control, had to witness, that a crack crew appeared in 2000 at the WMP Bank for a “turnaround”, however not for better, but for worse. The crack crew comprised:
1. Regis Possino, former US lawyer
-arrested after he tried to sell in 1978 Cocaine to undercover agents
-tried also to land a deal over the monthly sale of Cocaine at a street value of 680.000 US Dollars
-tried to sell stolen bonds to the public
-arrested during his trail because he tried to influence one member of the jury
-disbarred as a lawyer in 1984 because of his criminal record
-In 1996 again sentenced for stock fraud
2. Amador Pastrana, Filipino king of the “boiler rooms”. He allegedly commandeered at least t 100 boiler rooms. Offices, where fraudulent telemarketing of worthless shares is organised from.
3. Sherman Mazur, US citizen, convicted in 1993 in Arkansas for severe cheque fraud and sentenced to five years imprisonment. Allegedly authorised, while in prison, Amador Pastrana to continue with his fraudulent activities.
4.Raoul Berthaumieu,Canadian of Belgian origin, alias Raoul Berthamieu, alias Lee Sanders, convicted for cheque fraud in the US in 1991, met in prison Sherman Mazur, who allegedly taught him there a thing or two.
5. Adnan Khashoggi, international arms dealer and fraudster, involved in the Iran-Contra Scandal.
6. Rakesh Saxena, Indian, international megafraudster, , allegedly committed fraud at the Bangkok Bank of Commerce in the 90s together with the then CEO Krirkiat Jalichandra to the tune of 2,2, billion US Dollars and thus triggering the Asian Banking Crisis in 1997. Fled with allegedly 88 million US Dollars “pocket money” to Canada and continuing his fraudulent activities there from self paid house arrest. Extradition procedures (Thailand wants him) are lasting now already 11 years.
This crack crew, Saxena under house arrest via the phone, allegedly turned the WMP/General Commerce Bank in 2000 into a boiler room. The fraud allegedly amounted to 1 billion US Dollars. 1 billion in 1 year.
Dr. Kulterer, CEO of Hypo Adria until 2006, trusted Berthaumieu, the convicted fraudster, according to information he received from the police(The local police station?) an honest man ! The Hypo Alpe Adria Bank gave Berthaumieu several loans and tasked him to sort out “problems” at the General Commerce Bank. In late 2000 Berthamieu introduced Adnan Khashoggi to Dr. Kulterer and his team. A couple of months later, reacting to pressure from the FBI and SEC the General Commerce Bank was closed by the Austrian authorities. One would expect, that the day for departure or better sacking of Dr. Kulterer had arrived by now, however the clocks in Haider’s Kaernten/Carinthia are ticking in a different way.
A friend, a good friend
Kaernten/Carinthia was, as already mentioned, the biggest shareholder of Hypo-Alpe-Adria bank. And the Governor (Landeshauptmann) of Kaernten/Carinthia is Joerg Haider. Haider praised Dr. Kulterer as “Visionary” and “Austrias’s best bank manager ” Kulterer in return gave a loan to Haider’s then party, the FPOe, for expected election expenses until the year of 2013. Obviously the voters in Kaernten are “ownership” of his party and serving as a collateral. And Kulterer accompanied Haider on his trip to Libya in 2000 , and met with Gaddafi, when Libya and Gaddafi were still part of the “axis of evil”.
Ed Fagan comes on stage
In 2003, however, Ed Fagan, US Star-lawyer entered the stage and took Kulterer and his Bank to court. He accused them of Insider trading, fraud and falsifying balance sheets. Kulterer in return lodged a complaint with the state prosecutor in Austria, accusing Ed Fagan of blackmailing.
14 days in 2004
In 2004 Dr. Kulterer could prove, what a visionary he was. His bank started trading in Swaps and within 14 days lost 328 million Euro. His bank managers then tried to hide the loss in the balance sheet by stretching it over several years, a criminal act which came under the spotlight now in a parliamentary subcommittee of the Austrian parliament. And he allegedly informed the supervisory board only six months later.
And when the bank ran short of the legally required capital, the bank allegedly issued shares and sold them to customers, giving them at the same time loans in order to buy them , the loan supplied from a subsidiary of the bank in Liechtenstein, re-routing then the money via Virgin Islands back to Austria. A carousel as a money spinner.
Dr. Kulterer had to vacate his position as CEO however was immediately installed as head of the supervisory board, the visionary became the controller. Haider wanted to park him there for a while, and then put him back as CEO. And Kulterer was, in view of his performance at the Hypo-Alpe offered and he accepted the job of the head of the Flick Foundation and the manager of the Flick money.
As a remainder: Friedrich Flick was a convicted war criminal in the Nuremberg trials and became later on a billionaire and one of the richest, if not the richest man in post war Germany.
His son, Friedrich Karl Flick, regarded the inheritance tax, which his heirs once would have to pay as too high in Germany and emigrated lock stock barrel before his death to Austria.
A former Croatian General
In April this year, the former Croatian General Vladimir Zagorek was arrested in Vienna on request of the Croatian government. He is accused of embezzlement of state money and money laundering. He was a prominent customer of the Hypo Alpe-Alpe Adria Bank, which is now also under investigation for alleged money laundering. And last week the weekly DIE ZEIT reported yet another scandal involving the bank, this time in Istria/Croatia, where large tracks of pristine state land were bought at low prices and then sold with a 200 fold price increase, after the land was subdivided into plots in collusion with the local authorities, many of them now behind bars.
A Bank on sale
The Hypo-Alpe Adria Bank was supposed to be floated on the stock market this year, however this became impossible in view of the scandals. So Dr. Kulterer was actively looking for a buyer and found the Bavarian“Landesbank” (county bank) 100% owned by the state of Bavaria/Germany as being very interested.
So Haider flew on 16.th of May 2007 to Munich to seal the deal. He was not only met by the CEO of Bayerische Landesbank, Werner Schmidt, but also by the Bavarian Finance minister Kurt Faltlhauser and Home Affairs Minister and future Prime minister of Bavaria, Guenther Beckstein. They did, what the European Union refused to do, to negotiate with and thus uplifting the reputation of Haider. And they were not only meeting him, but also exploring ways to strengthen the ties between Bavaria and Kaernten.
The sale of the Bank went ahead not without another suspected scandal: Insider Trading. An investment Company headed by Tilo Berlin, the Berlin AG, , where the Flicks had also invested their money, bought in January, when the negotiations started with Bayerische Landesbank, 4% of the shares, and another 10%, when the negotiations were coming to a close. These shares were now sold to Bayerische Landesbank with 50% gain, 148 million Euro profit, and cash to carry in less than 6 months. If this is not Insider trading, what is it? However there are more scandals connected with this bank.
A Jewish family and a plot in Belgrade
On 22.April 2005 the Hypo Alpe announced, that they had acquired for 20 million Euro from the state prime land in Belgrade’s city centre. What the Hypo Alpe regional representative did not tell was, that this plot has a history. It was called “Three Tobacco Leaves” and was owned for generations by the Jewish family Galich. Two of the family member were killed in 1944 by the SS when they tried to defend the building against German troops, on the retreat, who wanted to blow up the building, which they eventually did. Immediately after the Germans had left, the Galich family rebuilt the Three Tobacco Leaves Building, however were later expropriated by the Tito government of Jugoslavia.
The Galich family emigrated to the US.
The building was eventually torn down by the Milosevic Government of Serbia. Potential buyers were advised by the Galich family, that they intend to reclaim the plot from the state, and thus no buyers came forward until eventually the Hypo-Alpe-Adria Bank entered the stage.
Totally disregarding the interests of the Galich family and the history of the plot and it’s former buildings on it,, they grabbed the plot. However protests against this ridiculous grabbing mounted and in May 2005 several hundred people, some of them Holocaus survivors, demonstrated in front of the Hypo-Alpe dependance in Belgrade. The local newspapers, reporting about the scandal, asked, whether the Hypo Alpe had learned nothing from the scandal around the Croatian ski-athlete Ivica Kostelic in 2003.
A Ski athlete named Kostelic
Kostelic was sponsored by the Hypo-Alpe Adria Bank, better named Scandalpe or Skandalpe. He became not only famous for his skiing performance, but also for his remarks about Nazi-Germany similar to Joerg Haider, Governor of the Austrian county of Kaernten which owned half of the shares of the Hypo Alpe bank. Haider, similar to Kostelic also became famous for his praise of Nazi Germany’s labour policy, recommending it as a good example to Austria’s government. A few statements of Kostelic in 2003:
The Nazi-System was a healthy system for an ambitious person
Before a start to one slalom, he felt well prepared like a German soldier on the 22nd June 1941 (the day, Hitler attacked the Soviet Union)
The Nazi Regime equals to 2000 years of Roman history, compressed into 12 years
The Communists were worse than the Nazis, because under Nazi rule one could pursue a career.
He was excited when watching in a movie the attack of the Nazi airforce on Britain, the so called Battle of Britain.
As a remainder: England was at that time alone in it’s fight against Adolf Hitler’s army. In a heroic performance the British pilots pushed back Hitler’s air force. Their performance was acknowledged in Churchill’s historic speech in the commons “never before in history owed so many so much to so few”. One would have expected, that the Hypo-Alpe-Adria bank would have immediately cancelled the sponsorship. That did not happen, they were satisfied with a lukewarm apology from Kostelic.
What happened to the alleged WMP criminals?
Regis Possino is still in business. Last year he was with his company “Geneva Equities” on a “roadshow” in Asia and collected 28 million US Dollars money from investors. Geneva equities was also involved in a fake company by the name of “L-Air” supposedly to be an airline, however it’s planes never made it to the runway, only the money of the investors flew away-forever.
Sherman Mazur is busy in the US. He created a company with his children by the name of “Accu-Poll-Holdings”, and selling the shares via boiler-rooms, the usual story.
Adnan Khashoggi is allegedly in the United Arab Emirates and enjoying his retirement. Last year Deutsche Bank, Germany’s biggest bank, paid 350 million US Dollars in compensation for share fraud, in which both, Deutsche Bank and Khashoggi were involved, the Genesis Intermedia scandal.
Rakesh Saxena was last year put into prison, pending extradition to Thailand. In December he was freed as the extradition request from Thailand expired after 10 years. Good to be a rich economic refugee in Canada! He is now again in self paid house arrest and most likely doing, what he always did.
Raoul Berthaumieu did not get a good reputation either. If you put the name of his company, Pacific Federal SA into a search engine, plenty of warnings, not to do business with this company, are appearing.