CBD is still blinking away the glare after reading the explosive writ filed over Easter by Israeli magnate Beny Steinmetz against hedge fund supremo George Soros.
Steinmetz leaves no grievance unturned in the claim filed in a New York court accusing Soros of all manner of misdeeds against his BSG Resources and its ill-fated attempt to mine iron ore in Guinea.
Amid the allegations of a “shakedown” and “racketeering by Soros, and several uncomfortable references for Rio Tinto, there were some points that raised CBD’s singed eyebrows.
For example, Steinmetz claims to have poured $1 billion into the “socially constructive project”. Yet the case also claims that after Soros’ “mendacious and illegal” conduct – that’s a tame bit – BSG lost its development rights, meaning “nothing has been done to develop the resource”.
In CBD’s world there’s a fair bit of daylight between $1 billion and nothing.
Beny also reckons Soros got one Barack Obama to meet with the Guinean President Alpha Conde and not long afterwards an investigation was launched that led to BSG losing its licence.
Not only that but the claim goes on to detail how the OECD nations together with NGOs partly funded by Soros all got in on the act together to dance on the grave of the failed project.
Yep Steinmetz, who does not appear to be wearing a tin foil hat in any of the public photographs available, believes that the criminal investigation he now faces as he sits under house arrest in Israel is all thanks to some sort of multinational law enforcement pile-on.
Strap yourselves in. Creditors pricked
We couldn’t let it pass without mention, especially given all of the fun we’ve had with it over the years, but Unilife, the one-time plaything of Alan Shortall, has finally succumbed.
With losses approaching $US500 million ($659 million) so far, the retractable syringe maker sought relief from its creditors late last week, even though it is only a couple of years away from having saleable products on the market.
Avid readers of CBD will remember Unilife finally dumped Shortall, its long-time boss, last year, paying for him to move back to Australia as it sought to close the door on his reign, while also launching investigations into possible “violations of law and regulation” by Shortall that ultimately failed to come up with anything “material”.
Once Shortall was out of the way, Unilife was trying to reconfigure itself to focus on the “wearable injectors” market, but profits remain elusive and shareholders could be forgiven for fearing the worst. Old timers say good luck
The New York hedge fund, Elliott Management Corp, which owns 4.1 per cent of the mining giant BHP, may want to have a quick look back in time to see just how hard it is to take on BHP – still seen as the epitome of Melbourne establishment stocks.
In the mid-1980s businessman Robert Holmes a Court did the unthinkable by having a crack at BHP. It was known then as the Big Australian from an ad campaign featuring actor Bill Hunter, and “Hacca” did his utmost to unseat the board, led by Brian Loton, through a series of raids via the exchange-traded options market.
Even the so-called “Melbourne Club”, led by the blue blood John Elliot, who, with Hacca, managed to amass well over 20 per cent in BHP, could not wrest control of the mining giant. So old stockbrokers are now scratching their heads as to how a New York-based hedge fund with 4.1 per cent will succeed. Tour de cash
The 55-strong peloton of “middle-aged men in Lycra” (MAMILs) has put other fund raisings in the shade by collecting a whopping $820,000 for the Tour de Kids charity. Last month they made their way from Albury to Wollongong on what is likely to be the last Tour de Kids charity bike ride.
Led by the chairman, David “the Cheshire cat” Cobcroft, the Tour de Kids is the original multi-day bike ride in Australia. Since its inception 16 years ago, the event has raised nearly $7 million for the Starlight Children’s Foundation and other child-based charities.
The original four cyclists, Richard Hunt,Andrew Gibbons, David Kirkby and Bevan Towning who flew from London, were joined by Vince Kernahan, Andrew Clarke, David Baxby, John Marsh, Trent Illiffe,Tom Hardwick and Ian Holmes among many others.