Hiding in Plain Sight – [Jersey men] Cowboys, Conmen and North Korea – a look back to 2016
The following report is about Economic Sanctions, and it highlights “A RATHER TEPID RESPONSE” to sanction risks:
- Hiding in Plain Sight Cowboys, Conmen and North Korea’s $6 Trillion Natural Resource Prize [J.R. Mailey April 2016]
Comsure is reposting this report because it is a timely reminder about SANCTION RISK, and the case profiled in this report raises essential questions about
- Sanctions compliance and
- The efficacy of several financial regulatory and sanctions enforcement mechanisms.
This concluding section
- Highlights some of those challenges,
- Encourages regulators and law enforcement to look more closely at this case and
- Makes recommendations about how to address some of the structural deficiencies exposed by the case.
Introduction – to whet the appetite J
Schurmann believed that North Korea is on the verge of a turn-around.
- “This is the time,” he said. “This is when North Korea needs to stand up and actually be counted as a member of that region, rather than being ousted and isolated either by the world or by themselves.”
He said he was not alone in his optimism.
- “There are people out there with money who actually recognize that North Korea will have a future,” he said,
- “And that they are basically based right slap in the middle of a host of countries which will actually represent 30 percent of the current Western GDP.”
Schurmann said that his activities in North Korea are backed by foreign investors from Europe. The main backer, he said, is a Jersey-based tycoon named Kevin Ronald Leech.
- “Kevin Leech is the main guy,” Schurmann said.
- “His shareholders are basically people from Europe and mainly Switzerland.”
Rd. Louis Schurmann, an Australia-based South African geologist contracted by Leech to work on mining projects in North Korea, is one of the few names publicly associated with the British tycoon’s mining ventures in North Korea.
Publicly, he was listed as the head of a number of firms involved in Leech’s North Korean gambit.
However, Schurmann does not appear to have a stake in any North Korean mineral assets—and it may be that Schurmann’s expert reputation was used to merely advance the credibility of otherwise dubious operations
In fact, there is a long list of companies and investors in half a dozen countries involved in the North Korean deals tied to Leech-linked companies, many of whom, until now, have been able to remain unnamed through the deft use of anonymous shell companies in opaque financial jurisdictions like the British Virgin Islands and United Arab Emirates.
In April 2016, however, the veil of anonymous shell companies was pierced. A deluge of 11.5 million documents became available from a law firm in Panama called Mossack Fonseca that revealed the identities of owners and directors of many previously hidden offshore companies. In the course of a parallel investigation, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) gained access to some of these documents. They provide new details about many—but not all—of the firms and individuals involved in Leech’s operations. The documents reveal that a group of men who have engaged in a number of controversial business transactions with one another over the course of a decade hold positions in virtually every company linked to Leech’s mining ventures.
Read the report
Hiding in Plain Sight Cowboys, Conmen and North Korea’s $6 Trillion Natural Resource Prize [J.R. Mailey April 2016]