The Webfairy
Mr. Blood Diamond
Mon Jul 7 16:05:44 2003

The only difference between a "legal diamond" and a "blood diamond" is whether the people have stopped defending their
land. If they are already dead, driven off or cowed, then the diamonds are "legal."


Mr. Lev Leviev is an international businessman and philanthropist. He heads a large group of global companies that encompasses the fields of international trade, diamonds, real estate, infrastructure development, metals, chemicals, high-tech development, and hotels.

Mr. Leviev was born in 1956 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan USSR. At the age of 15 his family immigrated to Israel. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Leviev began to work as an apprentice in a diamond polishing plant and, following his military service, he established his own diamond polishing plant. Within a number of years, his export volume reached $250 million, with the Leviev Group's annual turnover reaching $1.5 billion.

At the beginning of 2000, Mr. Leviev received, from the Angolan government, the sole concession to market Angola's rough diamonds throughout the world. This represents an annual volume of $1 billion. Mr. Leviev is the largest private diamond manufacturer in the world with diamond polishing plants in Russia, India, China, South Africa, Ukraine, and Armenia, as well as eight marketing agencies around the world.

In 1996, Mr. Leviev acquired control over Africa-Israel Investments, one of Israel's largest companies, with holdings and assets valued above $1 billion. Africa-Israel Investments -- which includes real estate, tourism, shopping malls, energy, hotels, industry, high-tech and communications interests -- is considered one of the greatest successes of Israel's economy. The group also has large international investments, mainly in Russia and the Former Soviet Union countries, in the fields of metallurgy, chemicals, infrastructure, power stations and transportation.

Mr. Leviev serves as Chairman of the Israel-Russia and CIS Chamber of Commerce and Industry. It is the leading facilitator for Israeli and Russian business expansion and development through partnerships in Israel and the Former Soviet Union countries.

In addition to a well-established reputation for his business accomplishments, Mr. Leviev serves as Honorary Consul for the Republic of Kazakhstan in Israel as well as being recognized worldwide for his philanthropic efforts and undertakings.

With the fall of Communism, in the early 1990's, Mr. Leviev established the Ohr Avner Foundation in his father's memory. It has inaugurated fifty educational establishments in the Former Soviet Union including Jewish day schools, universities, kindergartens and camps. This Foundation is among the most significant benefactors of Jewish life in the Former Soviet Union while also supporting numerous schools for Russian immigrants in Israel, the United States and Europe.

Mr. Leviev serves as the President of the Federation of Jewish Communities of the CIS (FJC), the central organization that represents the fifteen organized Jewish communities of the fifteen independent republics that once made up the Soviet Union. These organizations encompass more than 300 Jewish communities, all of whom are helped by the FJC. Under the leadership of Mr. Leviev, the FJC is the premier organization in the Former Soviet Union for the restoration of Jewish life, culture and Jewish education.

Mr. Leviev additionally serves as the President of the Bukharan Jewish Congress, which unites close to 250,000 members worldwide and helps to address the religious and cultural needs of the Bukharan communities around the world.  LEV LEVIEV GETS EFFECTIVE CONTROL OF NAMCO RIGHT UNDER THE NOSE OF DE BEERS

Lev Leviev has done it again. While De Beers, the biggest diamond miner offshore Namibia was considering what it should do about the pretender to its throne, Namibian Minerals Corporation, the Leviev group of Israel did a deal. It is the old story of the fast moving entrepreneur and the ponderous committee-oriented major.

One can imagine the conversation in Charterhouse Street, Johannesburg, or wherever, "Now do we really want to get involved with that upstart Namco? It must have been running its finances on an oily rag for the banks to behave in the way they did when its NamSSol 1 mining vehicle got stuck on the seabed." "Know what you mean. Anyway they sell their diamonds through Jack Lunzer, not to us. Better stand back and pick up a few of the bits when it has gone totally belly up."

While such conversations meandered on Leviev got out the cheque book and agreed to subscribe US$15 million to buying Namco shares. The terms were tight as might be expected under such conditions. 22.7 million shares at US$0.33 per share plus a one half warrant per share, exercisable at US$0.40 per share and 15 million shares at US$0.50 with a one half warrant per share purchased, exercisable at US$0.50 per share. This compares with a share price for Namco which was once as high as US$6.95 during the past twelve months.

The move saved the blushes of Canaccord Capital (Europe) which was on the point of raising around US$10 million for the company after sending some representatives down to Namibia to carry out a due diligence exercise post the accident. Presumably they gave a clean bill of health, but delays by the stock exchange authorities meant that subscribers had not handed money over when the banks did their worst. Now the firm has raised US$9.4 million for Namco through a sale of Special Warrants and 10 % Special Notes.

The actual adviser to Namco in all this is Endeavour Financial Corporation with the Welsh wizard Tony Williams and his old mate from Yorkton days, Frank Giustra , back in harness together. They have done a good job as the money raised will allow the company to restart its mining and exploration activities and take its operating companies out of provisional liquidation. In fact Namco is effectively being re-born, having proved that it is possible to mine diamonds effectively from the middle shelf offshore Namibia over a period of 18 months. Its second underwater mining vehicle Nam 2 should be back in operation in the next few weeks and NamSSol itself, insurance permitting, should be repaired by the end of the year

The rewards for the Levieve Group, apart from becoming a major shareholder - 31 per cent prior to the exercise of any warrants - at a good price and time, is that it gets an exclusive 15 year marketing right to Namco's production. It will buy all production at open market world prices with Namco retaining the right for independent pricing control via a price checking mechanism. At this stage no one is prepared to guess at production levels in the second half of 2001, but in 1999 NamSSol alone mined 265,000 carats averaging over US$151/carat, so ball park figures can be worked out.

Leviev will be appointing two members to the board of the new Namco, as will Canaccord. Word has it in Canada that Pierre Lassonde of Franco Nevada, one of the great brains of the world's goldmining industry , will be one of them. This would be quite a coup. What is quite clear is that Alastair Holberton, the chairman and CEO of Namco, will be given a rather more focused role and he will have to delegate some of his powers. How long he will be able to put up with this is anyone's guess, but at least Namco has a new life and shareholders new hope.

When Nicky Oppenheimer reads the announcement a couple of extracts are bound to stick in his craw. First, "Last year, the Leviev Group formed Ascorp, a joint venture with the Angolan Government which exclusively markets Angola's legitimate diamond production estimated at almost US$1 billion a year". And second,The Namibian Minister of Mines said that "We recognise Mr Leviev's worldwide reputation in diamond cutting and polishing and we consider a strategic alliance would complement the development of the Namibian diamond industry."

28 March 2001 

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