The Geneva-Fribourg-Panama Connection

Panama City in the background. AP

The following persons have been board members of companies in Fribourg and Panama (list incomplete)

1.   Abacassis, Cyril **** 45. Brulhart, Philippe 89.   Dietler, Marcel
2.   Achermann, Peter 46. Brun, Arnold ** 90.   Droz, Jean-Louis
3.   Aebischer, Georges 47. Brun, Bernard ** 91.   Ducrest, Emmanuel
4.   Aepli, Hans ** 48. Buman, Nicolas de 92.   Dunand, Baudouin ***
5.   Aeshimann, Jean-Paul 49. Brunischolz, Olivier * 93.   Dunant, Olivier ***
6.   Alther, Peter ** 50. Brunner, Dominik 94.   Dunant, Roger
7.   Ammann, Roger 51. Brunner, Edgar H. 95.   Dupont-Willemin, A.L.**
8.   Argand, Luc ** 52. Brunner, Kurt ** 96.   Durussel, Christian ****
9.   Augsburger, Serge ** 53. Brunner, Michael 97.   Eardley, John  F.
10. Aymonier, Jean-Edouard 54. Brunner, Vincent 98.   Eggertswyler,Marie-Noël
11. Azouli, Armand * 55. Buchs, Jacques 99.   Eskenazi, Gerard
12. Badel, Ernest 56. Buchi, Jacques 100. Etienne, Donald
13. Bailly, Claude 57. Bugnon, Roland 101. Faria e Castro, Dimitri de
14. Baly, Marc 58. Buschi, Bernard *** 102. Farina, Roland **
15. Balzan, Gaston 59. Cauderay, Jean 103. Ferdman, Sylvain ***
16. Balzer, Robert 60. Chanez, Marie-Francoise 104. Fiaux, Daniel
17. Barth, Michael-André 61. Chatelain, Gerald 105. Fidanza, André
18. Barras, Dominique *** 62. Chatton, Marcel 106. Fischer, Victor
19. Baudat, Eric * 63. Chevaillaz, Christian 107. Fivaz, Jean-Jacques
20. Baudet, Gaston ** 64. Chollet, Jacques de 108. Fleury, Olivier ***
21. Baudin, Daniel *** 65. Christen, Fritz 109. Fonjallaz, Paul-Eric *
22. Bavier, Jacques de * 66. Clinton, Richard 110. Fontaine, Jean *
23. Beguin, Pierre-André ** 67. Conne, Maurice 111. François, Jean-Pierre
24. Belleli, Lucien 68. Cornu, Edouard 112. Frank, Robert
25. Belleli, Serge *** 69. Corpataux, Beat 113. Freiburghaus, Beat  E.
26. Berney, Charles ** 70. Cottier, Jacques 114. Friz, Werner
27. Beutler, Jean-Claude 71. Courvoisier, Philippe ** 115. Furey, Sonia
28. Beutler, Max 72. Cramer, Jean-Antoine 116. Furey, Terrence
29. Beyeler, Ernst 73. Cramer, Roland * 117. Gaillard, Bertrand
30. Bioul, Felix 74. Criscione, Sebastien 118. Ganichot, Serge ***
31. Briner, Robert 75. Croisier, Jean-Paul ** 119. Gerber, Hans *
32. Boccard, Bruno de *** 76. Cugny, Jacques *** 120. Gex, Jean-Paul ***
33. Boccard, Hubert de * 77. Currat, Philippe 121. Giger, Christian
34. Boccard,Philippe de **** 78. Defago, Jean-Pierre * 122. Gilboa, Yair
35. Boccard, Pierre de 79. Degiacomi, Walter **** 123. Gillioz, Marcel *
36. Boccard, Thierry de ** 80. Delacretaz, Gaston * 124. Girardet, Corinne Gerber
37. Borgognon, Claude * 81. Demole, Claude * 125. Girardet, Jean-Pierre
38. Bouquet, Kurt ** 82. Demole, Guy * 126. Giriens, Maurice *
39. Bovay, Georges 83. Despland, Gabriel ** 127. Glaser, Harry **
40. Brechbuhl, Claude ** 84. Dietschi, Eugene 128. Gogniat, Jean-Philippe**
41. Brechbuhl, Henri-Paul 85. Disch, Pierre 129. Gonseth, Charles
42. Bregy, Oswald **** 86. Diserens, Jean-Christophe 130. Graf, Ernest
43. Bruetsch, Peter **** 87. Diserens, Jean-Pierre * 131. Grangier, Claude
44. Brugger, Hans 88. Dormond, Charles 132. Gremaud, Daniel


133. Grob, Lucien * 177. Luthi, Michel 221. Perrin, Olivier *
134. Guibert, Blanche 178. Magnenat, Dominique 222. Perrottet, Alain
135. Guillaume, Yvonne 179. Magnenat, Henri 223. Peyer, Bernard
136. Haddad, André 180. Mathier, Charles 224. Pfyffer, André **
137. Haessig, Michel 181. Maya, Samuel 225. Pictet, Ivan
138. Hafner, Luc *** 182. Mazin, Max 226. Piller, Joseph
139. Hasler, Frederic 183. Mendes, Pedro * 227. Pinoesch, Jon  A.
140. Haytree, Eleanor ** 184. Menoud, Benoït 228. Progin, Jean-Paul
141. Heck, Alain 185. Merkt, Jacques **** 229. Raper, John James
142. Heer, Jurg * 186. Merkt, René **** 230. Rappaport, Bruce *
143. Heerema, Pieter Hugo 187. Mertenet, Cyrille *** 231. Rappaz, Gustave *
144. Hefti, Suzanne ** 188. Mestelan, Olivier 232. Rebeaud, Sully *
145. Henriod, Claude *** 189. Metz, Werner 233. Regamy, Jean-Claude
146. Hess, Maurice G. 190. Meuwly, Jacques 234. Reyff, Emmanuel
147. Hochstaetter, Jacques 191. Meyer, Ferdinand 235. Rham, Guillaume de **
148. Honold, Christoph 192. Meyer, Karl N. ** 236. Richoz, Jacques
149. Hottinger, François ** 193. Mezger, René 237. Rimer, Gerald
150. Hottinger, Luc 194. Mitchell, David 238. Rochat, Dominique
151. Huber, Charles 195. Mocellin, Jean-Claude *** 239. Rochat, Henry
152. Huguet, Jean 196. Mock, Georges *** 240. Rossier, Pierre N. *
153. Hunziker, Roger 197. Modoux, Jean-Francois 241. Rouiller, Lucien
154. Hussy, Hans 198. Monnerat, Jean-Pierre 242. Ruchonnet, Daniel ***
155. Jacques, Henri-Albert ** 199. Monfrini, Enrico **** 243. Ryser, Walter
156. Jorand, Jean-Marc * 200. Montenach, Georges de 244. Sack, Eric
157. Josi, Fritz * 201. Mooser, Georges 245. Salathé, Edward T. ****
158. Junod, Charles-André *** 202. Morisod, Bernard 246. Santschi, Rolf ****
159. Junod, Nicolas * 203. Morris, David 247. Sarasin, Béat
160. Karlweis, George 204. Moser, Jean-Luc 248. Sarasin, Guy
161. Keppeler, Bruno * 205. Moser, Max P. * 249. Schmid, Marcel
162. Kieber, Georg ** 206. Mossaz, Jacques * 250. Schluep, Martin
163. Kirschmann, François ** 207. Moulin, Edmond 251. Sciclounoff, Pierre ****
164. Kostenbaum, Alain **** 208. Muhlstein, Michel * 252. Schlaeppi, Gerald
165. Kuffer, Bernard 209. Mulier, Peter * 253. Schnarrenberger, Yvo *
166. Lachenal, Bernard ** 210. Muller, Werner 254. Schoch, Joerg
167. Lacoste, Michel * 211. Nicolazzi, René * 255. Schuermann, Remo
168. Larpin, Christian * 212. Nicolet, Raymond ** 256. Schwab, Frederique
169. Latsis, John S. 213. Niestle, Robert * 257. Secretan, Hubert
170. Latsis, Spiro J. 214. Oberson, Raoul ** 258. Senarclens, Jean de *
171. Layani, Philippe 215. Ody, Gérard * 259. Sfera, Antonio ***
172. Layat, Alain 216. Oltramare, Gabriel 260. Shakarchi, Marwan
173. Legrand, Jean-Paul * 217. Palmer, Laurence 261. Sibinga, Peter G. *
174. Linder, Pierre 218. Patry, Jean ** 262. Sieber, Albert
175. Lombard, Louis * 219. Pennone, Robert 263. Steel, David *
176. Loup, Bernard 220. Perret, Charles 264. Steiner, Roland **


265. Steiger, Albert de * 275. Troyanov, Tikhon 285. Weghsteen, Pierre
266. Sunier, Jean *** 276. Turrettini, Robert * 286. Werner, Bill
267. Thalman, Claude 277. Vez, Michel 287. Widmer, Arnold **
268. Thevenoz, Yves * 278. Vuille, Georges-Alain 288. Wiederkehr, Alfred ****
269. Thiebaud, Pierre-Alain 279. Wagner, Georges 289. Wiedmer, Madeleine
270. Thivolet, Eric 280. Wagneur, Daniel 290. Wieser, Jacques-André *
271. Thuner, Eric 281. Wanner, André * 291. Woodtli, Jean-Franklin **
272. Tillmann, Georges ** 282. Warluzel, Dominique * 292. Zolty, Andre Abraham
273. Toulorge, Jacques * 283. Weck, Dominique de 293. Zucher, Willard *
274. Trachsel, Jacques ** 284. Weck, Philippe de 294. Zurcher, Willy *

The Geneva-Fribourg-Panama Connection

By Matthew Temme

The above list represents a selection of names of lawyers, accountants, fiduciary agents, bankers, and businessmen who have been board members of companies in Fribourg and in Panama. Most have served primarily as “nominee” directors of Panamanian companies. They all figure on at least one Panamanian board. The asterisks indicate roughly how many companies they have been associated with. If there is no asterisk next to their names that means they have served on less than 10 Panamanian company boards.  One asterisk means they have served on more than 10  company boards; two asterisks mean they have served on more than 25; three asterisks mean they have served on more than 50; and four asterisks mean they have served on more than 100. Two cousins have served on more than 1000! (nos.185 & 186)

A large proportion of these individuals maintained offices in Geneva. These 294 individuals established many thousands of Panamanian companies. Since it is obvious that most were primarily functioning as nominees, we can assume that the beneficial owners of the companies wished their identities to remain secret. At any rate, until recently Panama was one of the most opaque tax havens in the world. However, since Scottish coder Daniel O’Huiginn “scraped” the Panamanian company data base in 2008, it has been possible to follow the tracks of many criminals and tax cheats.

It has become increasingly obvious that different tax jurisdictions act in symbiosis in order to better hide who is controlling businesses. During the Iran-contra investigation in 1987, the important connections between Geneva banks, Fribourg-based nominees, and Panamanian shell companies were clearly exposed. The system that the Iran-contra conspirators used to hide their illicit funds offshore is routine practice for wealthy individuals who are intent on hiding their assets. This practice has been going on for a long time. By establishing these layers of secrecy, money launderers, kleptocrats, arms & drug traffickers, and tax cheats can escape the vigilance of government law-enforcement agencies. It was outrageous that CIA Director Bill Casey encouraged Col. Oliver North to use this underworld system to circumvent the U.S. Constitution by violating the Boland Amendment which restricted U.S. funding for the Nicaraguan “contras.”

Read More

Muresan, Murphy, Naggar, Nambu

61.  Muresan, Sever   (1948 –     )

Former Romanian tennis pro who married a French woman he met while on tour, and later set up a Franco-Romanian bread products business (Paniro SA) from his base in Dijon, France. Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu allowed Muresan to live abroad in the 1980’s. After the fall of communism in 1989, Muresan, using political and business connections, was able to borrow huge sums of money from Romania’s first private bank, Dacia Felix, on false pretences using off-shore stratagems, which included the participation of a Fribourg company, Corynsa SA.

These loans were not repaid, but in the meantime, Muresan was able to use the bank’s money to buy a controlling interest (68%) in Dacia Felix. One of Romania’s celebrated post-communist nouveaux riches, Muresan’s popularity reached a high-point in 1996 when he invited former U.S. President George H.W. Bush to a grandiose tennis tournament he organized in Bucharest. Bush and Muresan teamed up for an exhibition doubles match which they won (Bush and Muresan are on the right in the photo below).


Muresan’s thievery caught up with him when the Romanian regime changed, and eventually, he was arrested in Hungary (see photo, below). Under indictment in France and Switzerland, Muresan spent time in French and Swiss jails only to be extradited to Romania where authorities let him go free.–un-homme-d-affaires-roumain-condamn%C3%A9-%C3%A0-gen%C3%A8ve/1770798

Read More

Middendorf, Mitchell, Monfrini, Montagnier

57. Middendorf, John William “Bill” (1924 –     )

Described by the Conservative Heritage Foundation, where he has been a trustee since 1989, as “a true renaissance man with interests in both music—he wrote Heritage’s theme march—and art,” Bill Middendorf is a former Secretary of the Navy, an ambassador to the Netherlands and the Organization of American States, and a successful investment banker.

A staunch conservative (with strong libertarian leanings), Middendorf, was a member of “the draft Goldwater” team as early as 1962. In 2006 he wrote a chronicle of the “disasterous” 1964 Goldwater presidential campaign.

scan0065 Conservative/dp/0465045731

In 1981, Middendorf was part of Ronald Reagan’s transition team. He and his old Wall Street friend Bill Casey, Reagan’s CIA Director, were instrumental in “reforming” the intellegence agency. The subsequent Iran-contra scandal would indicate that Casey’s freewheeling CIA was another “disaster” that Middendorf was involved in (see nos. 38, 65, 88, and 100 on my “Who’s Who in Fribourg” list).

The Hertage Foundation, America’s most influential consevative think tank, is a stalwart opponant of all of Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal” social reforms.

Funded in part by the libertarian Koch brothers, Heritage is especially stridant in its opposition to all climate-change legislation.


Read More


How the Marcoses were able to make so many investments abroad is now becoming clear. There was an elaborate system of codes and false names, shell companies, and offshore corporations. For Imelda’s New York properties alone, for instance, there were two tiers of offshore corporations established in the Caribbean. The Swiss bank accounts, which were set up as early as 1968, a mere two years after Marcos took office, according to the Commission on Good Government, were in the names of “William Saunders” and “Jane Ryan.” If either of the Marcoses wanted to make withdrawals from these accounts, they sent a “happy Birthday” message to an agent in Zurich; this agent in turn contacted a Hong Kong agent, who then traveled to Manila.

–Inside the Palace (1987), Beth Day Romulo, p.253-254.

Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos

53.  Marcos, Ferdinand   (1917 – 1989)

Former president of the Republic of the Philippines, who systematically looted the Philippine Treasury during his 20-year reign—some would claim of up to $10 billion. In 2004, Transparency International ranked Marcos as the second most corrupt political official in recent history. Pavel Lazarenko, also on my Who’s Who in Fribourg list, was ranked as the eighth most corrupt by Transparency International (see no.50 above). Something seems to draw Kleptocrats and oligarchs to the little secluded town of Fribourg!

scan0036Many millions that Marcos skimmed from Japanese war reparations were channeled through a Swiss Bank Corp. account in Fribourg and used to purchase the Crown Building in Manhattan. “Corruption is endemic in Philippine society. The very low wages paid civil servants, for example, almost insures routine bribes as a way of making ends meet, for everything from ‘fixing’ a parking ticket to trying to get a judge to drop a case” (Inside the Palace, p. 255). Imelda and Ferdinand’s thievery, however, was beyond belief. When Marcos’s successor, Mrs. Cory Aquino (whose husband, Benigno, was allegedly assassinated by Marcos) visited Malacanang Palace, where the Marcoses had lived, she was disgusted by “the displays of ostentatious spending—the expensive rugs and chandeliers and crystal statuettes, the antique (some life-size) statues of saints, the rosewood tables and quarts of perfume, the rows of unused gowns, the stacks of shoes, the freezers full of US steaks, and the cabinets piled high with caviar” (Inside the Palace, p. 254).

Imelda with some of her 3000 shoes

Although Ferdinand Marcos died in 1989 (after fleeing to Hawaii in 1987), and his wife was acquitted of US charges of conspiracy and racketeering in 1990, hundreds of millions of dollars remained frozen in bank accounts in Zurich and Fribourg until June 1998 when the remaining $270 million in Swiss banks that belonged to Marcos was transferred to the Philippines. The money was put in an escrow account which already held $300 million previously transferred from Switzerland. In late 1998, after having denied for years that her husband had extensive holdings in the Philippines, Mrs. Marcos announced that she planned to file a suit to recover $12 billion worth of shares she claimed her husband had owned in Philippine companies. In 1999 several new secret Swiss accounts belonging to Marcos cronies were discovered.

Read More

Pavlo Lazarenko, Count Maurice Lippens, Raymond Loewy, Patrick “Paddy” McNally

49. Lazarenko, Pavel   (1952-     )

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister from 1996-1997. In 2004, Lazarenko was convicted of money laundering, wire fraud, and extortion by a court in the United States where he had fled after jumping bail in Switzerland. In 1999, the Swiss had convicted the Ukrainian fugitive of money laundering, as well as attempting to enter Switzerland with a bogus Panamanian passport.

The United Nations has estimated that Lazarenko embezzled $200 million from the government of Ukraine during the period 1996-1997, mostly through kickbacks to state agencies under his control. In 2004, Transparency International ranked Lazarenko as the eighth most corrupt government official in recent history. After serving a sentence of 8 years in a U.S. prison, Lazarenko was released in 2012.The government of Ukraine has sought his extradition for years, accusing him of conspiring with his protégé Yulia Tymoschenko to kill a high-ranking Ukrainian official.

Between June 1993 and October 1996, with the aid of a Fribourgeois fiduciary agent, Lazarenko transferred $2,378,302.- into accounts No. 502607, 502607.601 and other accounts for “LIP Handel SA” at the UBS bank in Fribourg. (Ukrainian Radio First Programme, Kiev, in Ukrainian 0900 gmt 17 Feb 1999 <http//>) The name of “LIP,” Lazarenko’s Fribourg company, stands for the initials of his name, i.e. Lazarenko, Ivanovich, Pavlo.

The U.S. Federal authorities accused Lazarenko of laundering $114 million through U.S. banks. Many of the charges in the 97-count U.S. indictment were dropped on technicalities, including the charges relating to the money laundered through Fribourg. This was a difficult case to prosecute because of non-cooperation of foreign banks. Nevertheless, Lazarenko was the first foreign official convicted in U.S. courts since Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega. (see page 23)

While waiting for his trial, Lazarenko’s family was ensconced in a mansion “ set on 18 acres in northern California…Once occupied by the Hollywood star Eddie Murphy. The property in Marin County boasts two helicopter pads, five dog kennels, a barn-sized ballroom, granite floors inlaid with brass, and gold-plated doorknobs.”

Read More



MSNBC’S “LAUGH IN” WITH THE KOCH BROTHERS            by Matthew Temme

On November 3rd,  MSNBC’S “Morning Joe” duo Joe Scarbourgh and Mika Brzezinski had a nice chat with the reclusive billionaires Charles and David Koch. The Kochs, who prefer to remain behind the scenes in their extensive funding of libertarian causes, came out of hiding for Mika & Joe in what was billed as “a rare interview.” Brzezinski has said that she worked two years to land the sit-down with the brothers at Charles’s Wichita home.  Expectations, therefore, were running quite high.

Our hopes were dashed, however, when the resulting taped interview turned out to be a dud. Shown in three parts, the “puff-ball” exchange between the billionaire climate-change deniers and the millionaire TV personalities was especially exasperating because we “sucker” viewers were required to watch the entire three hours of the 6-9 A.M. show  (including all of its commercials) if we wanted to check out the three installments of 5-8 minutes each. At the beginning of the first installment, broadcast at about 6:30 A.M. ET, in which Charles mostly griped about how disappointed he was with the current  field of Republican presidential candidates, Mika promised that in the next hour’s episode they would get into Charles Koch’s new book Good Profits “in great detail.”–we-havent-backed-a-candidate-yet-557922883528

Nothing could have been further from the truth. First of all, it was obvious, even after all the build-up, that neither Joe nor Mika had bothered to read Koch’s book about his business philosophy. Joe clearly stated that he had read the book, and after asking a superficial question from chapter one about Charles’s work ethic when he was a teenager, Joe said that he and co-host Brzezinski “had heard” that Koch had been kicked out of a military academy because of drinking. In the book, the under-age drinking was recounted just after the work ethic issue. Why did Scarborough not simply say he had “read” about the drinking instead of giving the impression that someone had briefed him about the contents of Koch’s book?

Brzezinski, who spent a good deal of the interview with her head down, writing on a sheet of paper, seemed surprised when Scarborough, who was chiefly impressed by the autobiographical tidbits in chapter one of Good Profits, mentioned that Charles had gone to eight schools before graduating from high school. Brzezinski seemed to be hearing about the eight schools for the first time.

Having read Good Profits myself, I expected the “Morning Joe” team to ask Mr. Koch informed questions about his business philosophy—the real subject of the book—which  he calls MBM (Market Based Management). For example, I would have liked to hear why Koch thought that legendary management guru W. Edwards Deming’s management system was “too limited to cover all requirements for business success” (in the introduction to Good Profits).  I would also have liked to hear more about Koch’s practical application of Friedrich Hayek’s libertarian philosophy to Koch Industries. Koch’s general view of economics faithfully adheres to the principles of “the Austrian School of economics” as laid out by Joseph Schumpeter, Ludwig von Mises, and Hayek. I would have liked to hear what Koch thought of John Maynard Keynes’ economic principles, which represent the antithesis of the Austrian School. Many feel that it was Keynes who helped bring us out of the Great Depression. Some even said that he had “saved capitalism from itself.”Does Koch feel that the Austrians would have pulled us out of the recent economic slump faster than the Keynesian measures? If so, how?

Read More

Lacroix, Lambert, Landolt, Latsis

Plusieurs victimes l’ont soupçonné d’avoir déposé quelques millions de dollars dans des abris fiscaux, à Nassau, aux Bahamas, et même à Fribourg, en Suisse, où il se rendait régulièrement lors de nombreux voyages d’affaires.

–Yvon Laprade, Autopsie du scandale Norbourg, Québec Amérique, 2009, p.21.


45. Lacrois, Vincent   (1969-     )

Convicted in 2007, and again in 2009 of defrauding 9,200 investors in the Norbourg Financial Group trust fund he had set up in Montréal. Lacroix was found guilty of diverting $115 million (CAD), using much of it for himself and his employees. The Norbourg scandal is considered to be the biggest financial scandal to have ever taken place in the Province of Québec. The Canadian public was outraged by Lacroix’s callous embezzlement of the retirement funds of his modest investors. Often compared to Bernie Madoff, the American Ponzi scheme swindler who was sentenced to 150 years in prison in 2008 after embezzling his investors of $150 billion (USD), Lacroix was reviled, especially when he was released to a half-way house (“maison de transition”) after serving only 17 months of his 18 year sentence.


Read More



Dear Holy Father,

I am writing to you about the Catholic Swiss canton of Fribourg which has been sheltering fraudulent business activities since the 1960’s. Given your recent writings, I think you might be interested in my inquiry into this corruption.

Fribourg was an important Swiss center of the Counter-Reformation. At the end of his long and illustrious career, Peter Canisius founded le college St. Michel there in 1582. The Jesuit saint and Doctor of the Church is buried in the church next to the classroom where I used to teach English. Three centuries after Canisius arrived in Fribourg, Cardinal Gaspard Mermillod’s “Fribourg Union” met each autumn in the 1880’s to help prepare Pope Leo XIII’s groundbreaking encyclical Rerum Novarum.

Despite Fribourg’s long-standing connections to the social teachings of the Catholic Church, none of its leaders, secular or ecclesiastical, have ever commented on the “shell” companies which have been set up for corrupt foreigners by local lawyers and accountants. Over the past 28 years, I have repeatedly questioned these leaders—in person and by mail—about the nefarious activities of these shell companies. I felt that schemes such as laundering the money that kleptocrats had stolen from the treasuries of their impoverished countries, smuggling  forbidden arms and technologies—such as poison gas and nuclear technologies—to rogue regimes, and conniving to transport toxic waste to third-world countries were flagrant violations of the Church’s Social MagIsterium.*

The esteemed leaders I contacted, which included the editor of la Liberté, the local newspaper (M. François Gross); a Fribourgeois who became Swiss president (M. Joseph Deiss); and the local bishop (the late Mgr. Pierre Mamie) always elected to remain silent when confronted with these sordid facts. I could not understand how Fribourg, the “pious and convent crowded city” which its inhabitants used to call “little Rome,” could turn its back on the spirit of the “common good” as set forth by “the Fribourg Union” and Rerum Novarum, and degenerate into a port of call for international fraudsters, money-launderers, and arms traffickers. (See The American Catholic Quarterly Review, 1901, vol. 26, p. 773) No one seemed to care. I often wondered what another immigrant to Fribourg, Pieter Kanis from Nijmegen in Holland, would have thought of all of this.

Read More

Koch Brothers, Charles, David, and Bill

56. While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules. Debt and the accumulation of interest also make it difficult for countries to realize the potential of their own economies and keep citizens from enjoying their real purchasing power. To all this we can add widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion, which have taken on worldwide dimensions. The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.

“We live in a nation in which a handful of very, very wealthy people have extraordinary power over our economy and our political life and the media,” Sanders told the boisterous crowd at a convention center near Charleston.

“They are very, very powerful and many of them are extremely greedy,” he continued. “For the life of me, I will never understand how a family like the Koch brothers, worth $85 billion, apparently think that’s not enough money.”–election.html



Read More

Holtzman,James, Khodorkovsky, Kittler

“I was profiled before, you probably read in the FT and the Journal, both right behind us, smart journalism supports the cause. Exciting what we’re going to do here, brave new world, a chance for all of us to make money together, and that’s exactly what I tell the Hungarians: I want them to get rich, too, because I know I can get rich happier and faster if we get rich together. All in the same boat. Western-style office buildings, I have a head start on approvals, option for office building convention center, minister a close friend of mine, first-class fellow, I admire his poetry, published poet you know, these new artistic governments, so funny, they won’t last here or in Prague, of course, it’s nice after the Commies, but eventually they’ll get back to having businessmen and lawyers in charge and that’s how things get done, you can’t really have a cabinet full of sculptors, more of a tourist attraction for now. John, I tell you, between you and me, just us right here right now, all I can say is best time for a man of honor and faith to step up, never will there be an opportunity like this, not just for the money men but for this country, will they throw off their shackles, I want to see money make men free, John, I’m the luckiest man alive to be here now, we’re planning an opening fund $37 million, I want them to get rich right alongside me.”

–“Harvey” in the novel Prague by Arthur Phillips, p. 118-119

39.  Holtzman, Marc   (1961-     )

Like the hyperactive “Harvey” character in Arthur Phillips’ novel about a group of American ex-patriots living in Budapest (the book’s title is meant to be ironic), Marc Holtzman was an enthusiastic business promoter in post-Communist era Central Europe. Henry Copeland in a 2002 blog posting entitled “The Truth About Prague,” claims that “Harvey” was in fact modeled on Holtzman. Copeland had interviewed Holtzman in 1993 for The New Republic. In his blog posting, he compares part of the above excerpt with something Holtzman actually told him in the interview: “You have one-tenth of the population of the world that have nothing and need everything. This is probably one of the most impressionable and pivotal times in the history of the world. To be here and to be part of it, not only to be able to experience it, but to have the added benefit of potentially being able to profit from it too, is really close to the biggest thrill I think I can imagine.”

Holtzman grew up in northeastern Pennsylvania, the son of a rich entrepreneur. In 1976, at the age of 16, he became enthralled with Ronald Reagan and began to write the charismatic presidential candidate incessantly. His persistence eventually earned him the position of executive director of Reagan’s Pennsylvania campaign in 1980—the youngest state-wide campaign director ever! Reagan’s assistant, Helene Von Damm, has said that her boss once proclaimed “You know, I wouldn’t be surprised if some day he [Holtzman] becomes the first Jewish president.”

Read More

Guelfi, Haboby, Hayek, Hefti & “Gore Blamed the Swiss…”

35.  Guelfi André   (1919-     )

Born in Morocco, the son of a Corsican military officer, this French international wheeler-dealer and good friend of the late Charles Pasqua, the powerful former French Interior Minister, has promoted sports and oil deals, especially in Russia. Gulfi was also a boon companion of the late Juan Antonio Samaranch, the former International Olympic Committee President. In 1993, Guelfi sold his Ouchy (Lausanne) mansion, overlooking the dazzling Lake of Geneva, to the I.O.C. to be used as the administrative center for the Olympic Museum located next door (See: “The Man Who $old the Olympic$” by Andrew Jennings, Allsports magazine, August 2008, p. 27-29.

A.k.a. “Dédé la Sardine” (from his days as Morocco’s biggest fish exporter), Guelfi went on to become a Formula One race driver in the 1950’s. Later he married Georges Pompidou’s niece, and made a fortune by investing in Parisian real estate. He also became a big promoter of international sports events, e.g. the 1980 Russian Olympics. In 1999, he bought Le Coq Sportif, the French sports equipment company which made athletic shoes, jerseys and T-shirts. (Le Coq Sportif  previously had two subsidiaries in Fribourg: Le Coq Sportif Distribution SA, and Le Coq Sportif Holding SA)


In 1997, Guelfi was imprisoned for six weeks because of his connections to the Elf-Aquitaine kickback scandal (See #10, #13 & #30, above).

While in prison, Guelfi met the flamboyant French sports executive Bernard Tapie who had been incarcerated for having fixed a soccer match. The two dealmakers made a pact whereby Guelfi would give Tapie a generous salary and buy him a sumptuous secondary residence if Tapie agreed to share with Guelfi a settlement he would receive from Crédit Lyonnais which Tapie believed had cheated him when it had been hired to sell his sports company Adidas.

In recent years, the enterprising nonagenarian (96 yrs. Old!) has been battling French oil giant Total for a commission he was supposed to have received many years ago for the exploitation of Russian oil fields.

In 2002, Guelfi admitted to having illegally arranged numerous free flights aboard Elf corporate jets for his fellow Corsican, Mr. Pasqua. Shady Moroccan, French, and Swiss business affairs still “pitch about in his wake” (“Intermédiaire professional du sport et des affaires, André Guelfi se met à table,” Le Temps, Geneva, 2/18/99). But Guelfi steadfastly maintained that all the accusations made against him were unfounded.

At the beginning of 1999, Guelfi’s polemical autobiography, L’Original, was published by Robert Lafont. One of the persons that Guelfi savages in his book is French author Françoise Sagan, who claims that she was manipulated by Guelfi so that he could gain access to her friend French President François Mitterrand when Guelfi was seeking to close a deal between Elf and the new Central-Asian state of Uzbekekistan (See: “Quand Sagan jouait les Mata-Hari,” Le Monde, 3/12/99, p. 14).

Then, on September 16, 1999, on page one of the Swiss daily Le Temps, it was announced that an international warrant for the arrest of André Guelfi had been issued in Geneva by Judge Paul Perraudin, who had been investigating the myriad Swiss connections to the Elf affair. Guelfi was accused of fraud, forgery, and money laundering in the Leuna-Minol affair, named for the East German oil refinery which Elf bought after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Elf accused Guelfi of fraudulently obtaining a commission of SFR. 80 million with the complicity of an Elf subsidiary in Geneva. Some of this money was rumored to have gone into the coffers of ex-German Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s political party.

Initially, Guelfi was considered to be a fugitive from justice. Several weeks earlier, on August 31, 1999, Roland Trachsel, chairman of the Lausanne fiduciary Orgafid, which had played an important role in laundering the Guelfi commission, was arrested on the same charges that were later leveled against Guelfi. Trachsel, who had been administrator of several Fribourgeois companies (Études Techniques Gertec SA; Karmento SA) was also on the board of Guelfi’s Fribourgeois company Gerag SA (See: “Les Pots-de –vin d’Elf en Allemagne dans le collimateur des Suisses,” le canard enchaîné, 9/8/99, p. 3).

In November 2003, the long Elf affair ended, and a French court gave Guelfi  a suspended sentence of three years and a fine of $1.2 million. Today, Guelfi resides in an exclusive Maltese community, and continues to pilot his own jet in his travels around the world.

Fribourg cos. : BSTV, Big Screen Television SA, Commerce internat. de   télévision à grand écran et d’access, annexes, etc. Cap 0,05.  (20.5.77, 1.3.79)  Rue de l’Hȏpital 3, chez Gestion Financ. Schibler SA

 Gerag SA, Participations, etc., Cap 0,05.  (7.1.82, 8.10.82) Bd. de Pérolles 15. Chez  Me Bernard Boni

Guelfi’s mansion above the Lake of Geneva where he lived from 1975-1993

Haboby and Fadel Kadhum settled on a company called Schmiedemeccanica (SMB). Not only did it make maraging steel, it could provide the machine tools needed to shape it as well. Better yet, it was located in the paradise of all arms dealers, dope peddlers, dictators, and money launderers: Switzerland.

–Kenneth R. Timmerman, The Death Lobby, p. 385.

36.  Haboby, Dr. Safa   (1946-     )

Saddam Hussein’s Oil Minister, who was formerly one of his chief agents for the procurement of advanced arms technology. Haboby worked with Gerald Bull on the Super-Gun project until Bull’s assassination in 1990.

Haboby’s specialty was setting up front companies that were used to hide Iraq’s secret procurement of American and European weapons technology, especially for Saddam’s uranium enrichment program which used gas centrifuges.

(See: “Al Gore Blamed the Swiss for Helping Iraq Get the Bomb,” below)


Read More

Frere, Fribourg, Ghattas, Gould

Nothing really gets done in France or Belgium these days without Frère being involved somehow. –Forbes, 7/6/98. p.228.


31.  Frère, Baron Albert   (1926-      )

Belgian entrepreneur and financier who is the richest man in Belgium with a net worth valued at $4.8 billion by Forbes (as of May 2015). A high-school dropout who turned his family-owned nail-making company, Frère-Bourgeois, into a giant enterprise which had cornered the Belgian steel market by the 1970’s. Frère has always demonstrated an uncanny sense of business timing. In the early 1980’s, as the world steel industry went into a slump, Frère sold his steel business to the Belgian government, and with the almost $2 billion that he received in return, he was able to buy into prime Belgian and French businesses.

Read More