Gas Week

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Interesting business credentials of Firepower executives and friends: no strangers to APRA and ASIC

Posted by gasweek on 4 October, 2007

Gunter Nolte, the former Halliburton executive, was now Firepower’s European head, reported The Sydney Morning Herald (29/9/2007, p. 44).

Expensive well: Nolte was a former chief executive officer of Regal Petroleum, which briefly was one of the most valuable stocks on the Alternative Investment Market after it reported a gigantic oil discovery off the coast of Greece. Regal’s share price collapsed in mid-2005 after the oil well was found to be non­commercial, leaving respected City institutions, including Henderson Global, Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs, staring at losses of about $600 million.

The small world of Firepower connections: Nolte resigned several months before the stock collapsed, the Herald reported. Regal had been floated out of Jersey, a tax haven, by a Romanian-Australian business­man, Frank Timis, who was also involved at an early stage with Firepower. Timis was an itinerant entrepreneur who came to Perth aged 16. In the early 1990s he was twice convicted for possession of heroin with intent to supply before founding a successful goldmining company, the Canadian-listed Gabriel Resources. Firepower’s former Romanian partner, George Teleman, was also a consultant to Regal. Teleman is a relative of the late Rom­anian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and has links to the Romanian intelligence com­munity. He played a role in having one of Firepower’s products manufactured in Rom­ania under an arrangement with the British arms dealer, BAE Systems. The deal was brought to Firepower by Austrade.

Firepower connections know regulators well: Closer to home, one of the main salesmen of Firepower shares was the Perth business­man Michael van Rens, who by coincidence had sat as a director with Timis on at least two Australian and Canadian companies, the Herald said. In 2003 and 2004 van Rens was the subject of action by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, which disqualified him from acting as a trustee, investment manager or a custod­ian of a superannuation entity. Another person investigated by Australian regulators and involved with Firepower wass Quentin Ward, a former bankrupt who was once banned by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission for three years from dealing in securities and giving investment ad­vice. Investors who wanted to buy Firepower shares were directed to Ward’s company, Axis International Management.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 29/9/2007, p. 44


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