[A-List] UK state: Mittal scandal
Michael.Keaney at mbs.fi
Wed Mar 6 01:36:02 MST 2002
Yeah, something fishy about this alright. Why would Tony be pitching for
someone whose interests are not at all clearly aligned with Britain or
Europe, but are more closely tied to protectionist interests in the US?
One possible reason is that by assisting in the privatisation of state
assets in Romania Blair is paving the way for eventual accession into
the EU of Romania, as its most lucrative asset chunks are appropriated
in the manner facilitated in East Germany by the Treuhandstaldt. But now
we discover that Mittal has activities in Kazakhstan, highlighted by
"Lord" George Robertson last year as being an important player in the
"war on drugs" which, prior to Sept 11, was NATO's main hope of a
leading international role. Now western interests are piling into
Central Asia to take advantage of this window of opportunity -- are we
witnessing inter-imperialist rivalry between the US and Europe as
regards the assets of that region? Certainly, Britain has been a key
player in trying to "open" up Iran, getting in before the US. What's
happening in Kazakhstan that has a bearing on Tony's seemingly
irrational lobbying -- unless of course you buy the line that Mittal
"bought" Tony for £125,000 five years ago. There's a lot more to this
than meets the eye.
Mittal's empire 'could crumble'
Steel mill tycoon's fortunes slip but he stays in first place in list of
Britain's 275 richest Asians
Wednesday March 6, 2002
Lakshmi Mittal's worldwide steel empire could collapse within the next
year, an expert who examined his finances warned yesterday.
The businessman continued to top the list of the richest Asians in
Britain, released yesterday, with a personal fortune of £900m - but the
sum was down from $1bn last year.
Mr Mittal was embroiled in scandal after it was revealed that he
received a letter from the prime minister supporting his bid for a
Romanian steel mill, weeks after he made a £125,000 donation to the
Philip Beresford, who trawled through the tycoon's finances to assess
his wealth for the Asian Xpress newspaper, said there was a "20-30%
chance" that Mr Mittal's worldwide steel empire could fall apart.
Mr Mittal is involved in investments in Kazakhstan that could massively
increase his wealth, but coupled with other problems faced by his LNM
group, such as high debts, his business empire could crash, warned Mr
"He's a very skilful juggler. If he can keep all the balls in the air,
he'll come out even richer. If things go wrong in Kazakhstan and he
can't turn around the Romanian operation, if the banks start getting
restless because of a low share price, if loan repayments can't be met,
then it could could all fall apart."
The list suggests that for other super rich Asians giving money to
Labour and its pet projects reaps little financial reward.
The other British Asian big donor to Labour, Lord Paul, saw his personal
wealth fall from £330m last year to £280m. The Hinduja brothers, who
gave money to the Millennium Dome project, are estimated be worth £800m,
a £100m increase from last year. The rich lists compilers say the rise
was not because the brothers' wealth has increased but because the
figure they calculated last year was mistakenly too low.
The list of the 275 richest Asians estimates their combined wealth at
£9.5bn, up £1bn in the past year despite an economic slowdown.
There is no evidence to suggest Asians are more likely than other ethnic
groups to be millionaires. Official statistics show that British Asians
are more likely to be unemployed compared to white people. While 4% of
white people have never worked or are unemployed, 7% of Asians have had
All Asian groups are more likely to be unemployed than white people,
though British Asian Muslims are doing worst of all, mainly because of
poorer educational opportunities and discrimination. Tony Blair has
asked his personal policy unit to investigate why the income gap between
white people and Asians is growing.
Mr Beresford, who also compiles the Sunday Times rich list, said that
compared to white multi-millionaires, Asians were less likely to have
inherited their wealth. Of the top 10 richest Asians based in Britain,
five had mostly made their fortunes from overseas business activities.
Sarwar Ahmed, managing director of Asian Xpress, said the rise in the
total wealth of those on the rich list was because British Asians tended
to shun risky sectors like the internet, opting for safer ones: "Asians
are in fashion and food, and those have proved stable. They are more
likely to be entrepreneurs and own their own businesses. The community
has overcome the odds to thrive in Britain."
The Jatania family appears to enjoy the biggest increase in fortunes;
their cosmetics and beauty products empire has helped push their wealth
from £300m to £548m.
Full article at:
Mercuria Business School
michael.keaney at mbs.fi
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