Who runs Britain?
The British Israel Communications and Research Centre, (BICOM), is an influential pro-Israel lobby operating in the corridors of power at Westminster and is a common thread running through the political and financial network of political friendships enjoyed by Liam Fox.
Government within a government
Following up complaints about the conduct, in office, of Liam Fox, then Secretary of State for Defence, an investigation revealed Adam Werritty, (a personal friend of Liam Fox) to be one the hidden hands behind Pargav, a company which had received £147k funding from six different entities, including:
Jon Moulton: Three months before the 2010 general election, venture capitalist and multi-millionaire Jon Moulton reportedly paid £60m for Gardner UK, which makes components for aircraft including RAF fighter jets and troop transporters.
In a statement, after publication of the report Moulton said: “Before the election, I made several, on-the-record donations to support Dr Fox following a request from the Conservative party fundraiser.
After the election I was asked by Dr Fox to provide funds to a non-profit group called Pargav, reportedly involved in security policy analysis and research and after obtaining written assurances as to its activities.
I provided £35k to Pargav. Neither I, nor any of my associates, sought or received any benefit of any form from Pargav.
I have not received an account of Pargav’s activities, nor have I been involved at all with Pargav other than the funding. Adding: “I will not be doing this again.”
Hazel Blears MP, Bicom chairman Poju Zabludowicz and Lorna Fitzsimons (third left)
Tamares Real Estate: An investment company, based in Liechtenstein owned by Poju Zabludowicz, one of Britain’s richest men, who owns approximately 40 per cent of the property in downtown Las Vegas, including numerous casinos, plus property in Washington DC and New York’s Times Square.
He bankrolled David Cameron’s campaign to become Tory leader and donated £132k to the Tory Party in 2010 .
His father built up the Israeli arms company “Soltam” in the 1950s, working closely with Shimon Peres, who was then the Director General of the Israeli defence ministry.
A spokesman for Zabludowicz said he owned a “legacy” arms business in the US, but added that it was not a significant part of his empire. Most of his assets were now in property.
He maintains strong links to the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) an organization that lobbies extensively at Westminster on behalf of Israel.
Michael Lewis: Vice-Chairman of (BICOM) until 2007 and boss of Oceana Investments.
A Tory Party donor, he also gave £14k to “Atlantic Bridge”, the charity set up by Fox and run by Werritty from Fox’s parliamentary office. He also donated £5k to Fox’s leadership campaign in 2005.
Lee Petar (left)
Lee Petar: Former communications chief of (BICOM), co-founded Tetra Strategy, and recently won the account to advise the emirate — one of the United Arab Emirates — on strategic communications and reputation management.
The deal, reportedly worth around £500k, is one of the biggest PR deals of the year.
Petar said: “It’s a real communications challenge and a real opportunity for me”.
Email’s provided evidence that Petar had been working to arrange a meeting between Boulter, a private equity boss based in Dubai, and Fox or Werritty for some time.
G3, (Good Governance Group): A multi-million pound, private intelligence company, donated £15k to Pargav.
The company is a major game-player in the intelligence industry employing 32 analysts in the UK and many others worldwide, providing advice on risky overseas investments, investigative services, competitor analysis and cyber security.
It also provides services to a number of defence contractors including BAE Systems.
It is styled as an “independent strategic advisory firm” offering “insight, analysis and advice to help leaders make informed decisions and realizing value in complex situations, placing the “highest priority on integrity, discretion and trust”.
Operating out of an undistinguished building in Mayfair (it is chaired by Chester Crocker, the US Assistant Secretary of State for African affairs under President Ronald Reagan) since at least 2005.
The company has another office on Madison Avenue, in New York, and a network spread around the world, reportedly worth around £20 million.
Fox first approached the South African, Andre Pienaar, multi-millionaire, chief executive (and one time managing director of the secretive private intelligence company Kroll) in 2008 seeking funding for a Sri Lankan based charity.
Dr Fox had a long-standing interest in the country, dating back to the mid-1990s when he was a junior foreign office minister.
They agreed that G3 would pay to set up the Sri Lanka Development Trust through a Scottish law firm (enter Helen Liddel) to help with reconciliation and reconstruction of a country torn apart by years of civil war.
The charity, however, was never registered with the Charity Commission nor with Companies House and no details of its accounts appear in any public records.
Fox travelled to Sri Lanka three times on flights paid for by the trust in 2009 and 2010 while he was in opposition.
The flights were declared in Dr Fox’s register of MPs’ interests. The trust’s address is given as the business address of G3, although the company says it never carried out any work for the charity on its premises.
Between 2008 and 2011, G3 says it made payments to the Sri Lanka Development Trust totalling “no more than £45k”. A further payment of £15k was paid to Pargav.
A spokesman for G3 said last week: “In 2008, we were asked by Dr Liam Fox, then the shadow defence secretary, to give advice about the reconstruction of northern Sri Lanka after the sudden end of the civil war.
He explained that he wanted to play a constructive role in the peaceful reconstruction of the country. Our advice, which was provided on a pro-bono basis, related to how a charity of this nature might be structured.
“The Sri Lanka Development Trust was subsequently established but we have never had any involvement in its work.
Good Governance Group has no business or other related business in Sri Lanka, has no clients there and has never worked for its government.”
G3 admits holding meetings with Dr Fox, both in government and in opposition.
A spokesman said: “Mr Pienaar was keen to help Dr Fox while he was in opposition.
G3 had defence clients but wanted to get more”. The deal with Fox was kept quiet even within the company”.
Published accounts show that the firm enjoyed huge commercial success since it was established in the UK.
After recording a loss of £33k in 2009, it doubled its turnover from £6m to £12m and raised its profits from £1.3m to £2.4m.
G3 is closely linked to C5 Capital, which describes itself as “an independent investment company, focusing on the global security sector”.
One of C5’s employees is Lt General Sir Graeme Lamb, the former director of UK Special Forces.
The company website revealed: “We are closely associated with the Good Governance Group, which includes G3, a leading strategic advisory consultancy.
Through G3, we have unparalleled access to in-depth sector knowledge and to an extensive network of specialist advisers”.
G3 and C5 work so closely together that they are based in the same London premises, 40 George Street in Marylebone. And the two companies also share a director, Andries Pienaar.
The Sri Lanka Development Trust: Another corporate intelligence company with close links to Sri Lanka. Coincidentally based in the same building as G3.
The trust was set up by Fox, using private finance to rebuild the country’s infrastructure. It reportedly relocated to Edinburgh.
Pargav: Records at Companies House reveal that Werritty was not the director of Pargav, despite being its only prominent employee.
Oliver Hylton, charity adviser to a hedge fund, said that he had signed up as its director after being asked by Werritty. Hylton added that he had met Werritty through Tory donors.
Perhaps the most damaging disclosures in the report showed that many of the financial transactions of Pargav corresponded with the 18 destinations that Werritty and Fox visited together between 2010 and 2011.
Other intriguing connections have surfaced revealing that (BICOM) paid for Werritty’s flights and hotel bills at the tine he attended a conference in Israel in 2009 to speak about Iran. (Scoops)
Liam Fox, Dr. Adam Werritty.
Special adviser Luke Coffey and wife Emily
October 2011: Fox and Werritty enjoy a stag party during a taxpayer-funded trip to Dubai
Fox and his long-term travel companion, Werritty, went on a “stag do” while on a taxpayer-funded trip to Dubai.
The late-night drinking session in some of Dubai’s most exclusive hotel bars was for Luke Coffey, one of the Defence Secretary’s special advisers.
Coffey, currently a Margaret Thatcher Fellow at “The Heritage Foundation”, (an American Conservative party think-tank) is an American political adviser, and US Army veteran who did work for Fox.
The six-strong party reportedly started the evening at the opulent 41 storey, Shangri-la hotel where Fox was staying at a £500-a-night cost to the taxpayer.
They first went to the top-floor bar of the 63-storey Address, which is shaped like an ocean liner, before moving on to other bars where they downed giant “treasure chest” cocktails.
Celebrations apparently lasted until 3am. A source who witnessed the session said: “It was quite a boozy affair; they were drinking huge cocktails and they caused quite a stir”. The friends spent the rest of the next day lounging by the pool.
Fox spent three nights at the exclusive Dubai hotel on his way back from visiting troops in Afghanistan and it is open to question whether he extended his stopover in Dubai to give Coffey a special send-off into married life.
Protocol dictates that official trips back from Afghanistan or Iraq stop off in Qatar or Bahrain and questions have previously raised about Fox’s regular trips to Dubai who has been to Dubai five times since the 2010 election, meeting Werritty on each occasion.
The minister once took a “weekend leave break” in the emirate in August 2010. However, on the visit in June, Fox did not take leave and was being funded by the taxpayer.
The Ministry of Defence declined to comment as to why Fox’s trip lasted three days when both engagements could have easily been done in one day.
Dan Jarvis, Labour MP for Barnsley Central and a former parachute regiment officer in Iraq and Afghanistan, said: “Our forces will be shocked that, while they are on the front-line risking life and limb, the secretary of state for defence is on a stag do on taxpayers’ expense.
Labour questioned why taxpayers were paying more than £170k a year for Fox’s three official advisers when he preferred to rely on the advice of Werritty.
Two of Fox’s highly trained official special advisers – the American, Coffey and Oliver Waghorn – are paid £61k a year, while Hayden Allan collected at least £52k, giving a total wage bill of at least £174k a year.
The bill for Fox’s advisers is the fourth-highest of any minister in parliament, behind only the prime minister, the deputy prime minister and the chancellor.
Fox spent more on advisers than William Hague, the foreign secretary, and the leader of the Lords, Lord Strathclyde.
The American, Coffey, who oversees policy on Europe, the US, the Middle East, military operations and welfare, married Emily Moore, a family lawyer, at the exclusive St John the Baptist church on the Marquesses of Bath’s Longleat estate in Wiltshire.(Guardian)
October 2011: Fox faces fresh questions on Sri Lanka links
Fox faced fresh accusations of running a shadow foreign policy, with his controversial friend Werritty as its key contact after it emerged he was involved in setting up a private investment firm to operate in Sri Lanka in apparent contravention of UK government policy.
Fox was involved in negotiations with the Sri Lankan regime as recently as the summer of 2010, agreeing a deal that allowed the Sri Lankan Development Trust to operate in the UK.
The Trust was a venture designed to rebuild the country’s infrastructure using private finance with a sideline in charitable projects for Tamil communities.
Lord Timothy Bell, whose PR firm Bell Pottinger was employed by the Sri Lankan government until last year to improve the country’s reputation abroad, said the deal had been struck between Fox and the head of the Sri Lankan bank: “In order for these funds to operate they would need an agreement with the country.
The financial interests of Sri Lanka come under the governor of the Central Bank. My understanding is that the infrastructure development fund would be set up and have an agreement with the Sri Lankan government to invest in Tamil communities in Sri Lanka.
It’s a fine idea with a good sense of purpose”, adding “part of the strategy was to improve the regime’s reputation abroad”.
Bell was awarded his peerage by Thatcher, being instrumental in the Conservative general election campaign victories of Margaret Thatcher.
For her first 1979 victory, he created the “Labour Isn’t Working” campaign and advised her on interview techniques, clothing, and even hairstyle choices.
He also courted newspaper editors and worked on devastating attacks on the Labour Party.
But prior to the approach by Fox, the previous Labour government had adopted an arm’s-length policy on Sri Lanka, calling for an independent inquiry into alleged war crimes.
Since 2006 it had a policy limiting development work to urgent humanitarian assistance and “de-mining” areas affected by the civil war.
The policy had been retained by the incoming Tory government.
Kevan Jones, shadow defence minister, said: “If Fox was still striking deals with the Sri Lankans in the summer of 2010, how does that fit with official UK foreign policy?
You can’t have a situation where a government minister runs a completely separate foreign policy from that of the government.”
A Fox spokesman said that Fox had ceased to have any involvement with the Sri Lankan Trust when he entered government.
But the only activity the Trust appears to have been engaged in was the payment of up to £7.5k of Fox’s travel expenses.
In June 2010, Fox met the Sri Lankan foreign minister in Singapore.
He said: “the purpose of the meeting was to make it clear that although I would no longer be able to participate in the project, the others involved would continue to do so”.
It was then revealed that a further meeting had been conducted at which which Fox agreed with the governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka that the trust would invest in road-building and other infrastructure projects using private investment.
Philip Hammond replaced Liam Fox at the MoD and his links to Fox’s cronies are just as extensive – the king is dead long live the king
Michael Hintze, the Australian-born, multi-millionaire hedge fund baron and former banker with the disgraced banking conglomerate Goldman Sachs, was a key backer of Liam Fox.
Hintze, who donated more than half the budget to the fake Atlantic Bridge charity, set up by Fox, is one of the richest men in the UK with an estimated fortune of £550 million and is the chief executive of a muti-million pound hedge fund. He is close to a number of senior Tory’s and has donated more than £1.5m to the party.
It is now confirmed that the banker also hosted Philip Hammond, the new Defence Secretary, appointed by David Cameron as a “safe pair of hands” at a series of lavish fundraising dinners for the Conservative Party. Details were written up by Hammond, in the MPs’ register of interests recording Hintze as a financial donor – including one for “£1,700 hospitality at Carlton Political Club Dinner” – before and after Hammond became a Cabinet minister.