Thursday, February 19, 2009

A pair of parasites make a move on Marathon

The sordid little story of Marathon Resources just gets dirtier.

The latest development is the registration at the Australian Securities Exchange of Black Pearl Global Opportunity Fund as a substantial shareholder.

Although not yet listed on the Marathon Resources website as one of its Top Twenty Shareholders, BPGOF has purchased sufficient shares between December 8 last year and February 11 this year to move into fifth place behind ANZ Nominees Ltd with close to 4.8 million shares and a voting power of 6.3%.

So who is BPGOF?

It is a company incorporated in the tax haven of the Cayman Islands.

Its directors are Abbas Jafarian and Reza Irani-Kermani.

And that’s about all the website of its parent company, Black Pearl Capital (of which Jafarian is CEO) reveals. It’s worth going there just to get the flavour of this secretive operation ( ).

Further investigation reveals that both Jafarian and Irani-Kermani worked together at Brokerbox Limited, based at Chicago and for the Fixi Group based in London.

Jafarian had also worked as an investment executive at Morgan Stanley where he was responsible for the Middle Eastern region managing over $1.3 billion in assets. He has also worked for British Chartis Research’s mergers and acquisitions advisory service.

Drawing on that experience, Black Pearl Capital has a sister company to BPGOF in Onyx MENA Fund, also registered in the Cayman Islands. Onyx is a hedge fund with a target capital of $US250 million focusing primarily on the Middle East and North African (MENA) markets.

Jafarian has a number of other private equity outfits of which he is sole director, such as Verity Real Estate and Eurozone Equity Company, both of which are registered in another tax haven, Luxembourg.

Irani-Kermani has based his career on foreign exchange and investment management.

However, he came under the spotlight in 1999 through his association with Kia Joorabchian with whom he acted as a front for Russian gangster capitalist Boris Berezovsky when the latter took control of the influential Kommersant Publishing which runs the most influential newspaper in Moscow.

Irani-Kermani popped up again in dodgy circumstances when he was associated with Joorabchian’s purchase of the Brazilian soccer team Corinthians. It has been alleged that the men were involved in money laundering through player payments, marketing and so on. In less than a year, they had spent $US60 million through their football investments.

Whilst their share acquisitions in Marathon are perfectly legal (they have retained Adelaide-based law firm Johnson Winter & Slattery), it remains something of a mystery as to how Marathon Resources, a minor minerals explorer at the best of times, and one whose future is clouded by ongoing controversy associated with its despoliation of the pristine Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary, has come to their attention.

Is it just insignificant enough on the world scale to be set up for more money laundering?

With their expertise in hedge funds, are they going to seize an appropriate time to short it and race away with their pockets full (although it can’t be shorted too much at only 36 cents a share at the moment!)

With their private equity expertise, are they going to take it over completely, take it private and get it off the stock exchange so they can restructure and asset strip? It might need to have a structure first, to be restructured, and have assets for them to be stripped! It has neither at the moment.

So, the latest episode in our local little soap opera fails to clean the air.

Once again, the absence of an Independent Commission Against Corruption, consistently blocked by Premier Rann and his corrupt capitalist Labor administration, is very much felt.

Stay tuned folks, and let’s see what the Iranian pair of finance capitalists parasites can make out of the sad little Marathon mess.


Anonymous said...

Enough Already, my uncle Jezzara finds of this he string me up in the public square!

Okay, a dollar here a dollar there, dirty money now - scrub it up in this corporate washing machine - (your country men too they make plenty - there is plenty for ALL)...So Reza rings me up he says "Abbas"..."listen to me!!!"..."the Chinese are buying up big already the mineral in Australia"..."what are we a fool to not take a piece of this pie"..."when the Chinese take up everything the price will move and we get the hell out of there"

How much of a crime to put away a little rubel's for good future?


Anonymous said...

When will they give up? Iranians. Sound like Uraniums.

It is rather interesting that just as we have the Olympic Dam indigenous sign off or a really hairy nt meeting, Marathon rears it's ugly head each time. Can say the same about this one, however it it too bizzare to be feasible.

Anonymous said...

That is one of the funniest and bizzare pieces on Marathon since Piermont had me laughing with "Goldstream's..." Great research on a monumental scam and eerily illustrious of how filthy the whole affair is !

Anonymous said...

Thanks Mike - an enjoyable read! And great research.

A friend of our campaign who knows the markets well filled me in on them (not to the extent that you have) when they first appeared, but his analysis was that these guys were probably the 'bigger fools' that every company in terminal trouble hopes to flog itself off to; I must say I can't see how anyone is going to make money out of this operation, be they notorious capitalist buccaneers or not! With their $6 million in cash it's surprising that these international sharks even managed to notice them.

It was also suggested that that might explain some of the 'interesting'
share purchases made recently by the existing major holders; sinking a few hundred-thousand into propping up the share price might even become a reasonable investment, and if you manage to wangle commission/brokerage fees on top...

Oh well, the rats devour each-other!

I have to say, while I didn't think much of the share market prior to beginning this campaign, I now view it with a kind of ' the emperor has no clothes' amazement. It's a state-sanctioned playground for con-artists, gamblers and sociopaths, and what I had never really understood was how much of this 'investment' was utterly useless - even in areas that do have tangible production - nothing of any benefit results. Shorting stock is outright piracy - and it's been forbidden now for, well, months. What a well-regulated market! Every one of these idiots piles into the next big thing, so we get petrol at $1.80 per litre (not that expensive petrol is necessarily a bad thing in itself,
mind) and food too dear for those in most desperate need of it to afford. Not to mention minor uranium players suddenly worth hundreds of millions! And as for unregulated derivatives...

If this is what Smith and Ricardo actually had in mind I'll eat my hat!

Another incarnation of ICAC's a good idea, but, really, the whole ridiculous shambles is not much more than an authorised ponzi scheme that manages to generate a little employment almost by accident. I'm waiting for Bernard Madoff to take the stand and patiently explain that he IS the spirit of what is now called capitalism, trading in the very idea of prosperity itself, creating wealth ex nihilo...

I always think of that bearded twat from ABARE smirkingly regailng us all with his (doubtless) dinner party favourite - 'if the price of eggs goes high enough, the roosters begin to lay'! Ho ho ho - no, they won't.
But the market has no time for dreary realities and assumes that they will, and that's why we're all (and I'm including most of the earth's biota here, too) going to go off the edge along with it...


Anonymous said...

Being a journalist, I was intrigued by the stories I had read and I met both Abbas Jafarian and Reza Irani-Kermani in Geneva.

I asked to interview them and they explained that their time was limited but they would have a drink with me in the evening.

My interest was to find out about their background and how they had ended up buying Marathon Resources.

Abbas Jafarian was courteous and told me of his banking background at Morgan Stanley and how he had started up a few companies since he left in 99. He explained the philosophy of his partnership with Reza and why they had started Black Pearl Capital and BPGOF.

Contrary to what I had researched and read about Reza Irani-Kermani, he was open and candid when I asked him about his involvement with the Russian paper and football. Reza explained that Kia Joorachian has been a friend of his for a very long time and he has never had any business involment of any kind with him. The football saga, he laughed off and he said that he had been to Brazil twice in his life for 3 days each time. I sensed that Reza was upset and frustrated about the reports when he said that it was unfortunate that he went out to Moscow to help Kia with due diligence and his name was involved.

When I asked about Black Pearl Capital, Abbas said that the website explained in detail what their engagements were. Reza sais that Black Pearl Capital was formed by both of them as a boutique investment bank for their clients' and their own investments.

So I asked about Marathon. It was obvious that both of them had extensive knowledge of the commodity and energy markets. They gave me a speech on the energy crisis and explained their vision of the future.

They explained that with the organic growth of world population, finite energy and commodity resources, so far as power plants are concerned, there is only one solution - nuclear power plants. And what is the primary material needed to operate such plants - Uranium. They had looked at numerous companies to invest in and had found out that none of them had the resources and position that Marathon claimed it had.

"We look at it as a long term investment and strongly believe that Marathon is in prime position to provide us with substantial returns on our investments" said Reza.

I must admit - I found these two Iranian guys forthcoming.

Jeremy Clarkson - NZ