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"Michael Dobbs - Higginson and Miri (r)

Subject: Re: "Michael Dobbs - Higginson and Miriam Marshall Segal" Plus "Inflatio

In a message dated 96-04-24 07:35:29 EDT, you write:
  I started by forwarding this to most of the current US Senate, President
Clinton, various news papers, etc.   Why, partly since Dole and Gore are
noted below.  MAYBE this could hit a nerve.

>Subj:	"Michael Dobbs - Higginson and Miriam Marshall Segal" Plus "Inflatio
>Date:	96-04-24 07:35:29 EDT
>From:	brelief@xxxxxxx
>Reply-to:	burmanet-l@xxxxxxxxxxx (Conference reg.burma)
>To:	burmanet-l@xxxxxxxxxxx (Recipients of burmanet-l)
>From: brelief@xxxxxxx (Ken and Visakha Kawasaki)
>Subject: "Michael Dobbs - Higginson and Miriam Marshall Segal" Plus
>"Inflation in Burma", from BURMA ALERT March 1996
>Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
>Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
>Volume 7, No.3
>March 1996
>In Dec.95, an article entitled ''What is the National League
>for Democracy Up To?" by a Michael Dobbs - Higginson
>was published in the Indonesian Observer and the Straits
>Times of Singapore. It was featured very prominently in
>SLORC - controlled newspapers in Burma (in Burmese and
>in English) in Jan.96. People in Burma suspected that
>Dobbs - Higginson was paid by SLORC to write the very
>biased report on the NLD. According to a story by Erik
>Guyot in the 24 Jan.96 issue of the Asian Wall Street
>Journal and court documents, the facts are a little more
>complicated and very interesting:
>* Michael Dobbs - Higginson, 54, was until 1990 the
>former chairman of Merrill Lynch Asia Pacific in Hong
>* Dobbs - Higginson wrote the book "Asia Pacific: Its Role
>in the New World Disorder."
>* Dobbs - Higginson is co - chairman of "Myanmar
>Strategic Advisory Services Limited."
>* Dobbs - Higginson works as a consultant to the Japanese
>trading firm, Mitsui & Co, which started investing in
>Burma in 1994. Mitsui & Co is currently engaged in
>negotiating various contracts with SLORC.
>* Dobbs - Higginson is a good friend of Miriam Marshall
>Segal who persuaded him that Burma is ruled by a forward
>looking 'collegiate military government.' Until November
>1995, Segal was apparently the other co - chairman of
>"Myanmar Strategic Advisory Services Limited.
>* For the last 20 years, has Segal divided her time between
>Burma and New York. She is a close friend of General Ne
>Win and Lieut-Gen Khin Nyunt [BA].
>* In 1990, Segal founded the Myanmar American Fisheries
>Co (MAFCo), a joint venture with SLORC's Ministry of
>Livestock and Fisheries, to process prawns and other
>* Peregrine Investments Holdings Ltd of Hong Kong which
>has offices in 16 Asian countries and prides itself on
>finding well - connected local partners in emerging
>markets, teamed up with Segal in 1992.
>* In mid - 1994, Peregrine bought Segal's shares of MMA
>Financo Fisheries Co, which owned 50% of MAFCo.
>Peregrine then hired Segal as Chairman of the money -
>losing business and pumped in more than US$3 million.
>* MAFCo continued to lose money and Segal was furious
>with Peregrine for limiting her role in running the
>In early 1995, Mitsui & Co wanted new sources of seafood
>and became interested in taking a stake in the prawn
>business in Burma.
>* According to memos that Peregrine submitted in court,
>Segal allegedly wrote on 31 May to Claude Charles, a
>retired Peregrine director and former head of its regional
>corporate finance: "I really do hope you and Michael
>(Dobbs - Higginson) come up with something creative by
>which Mitsui buys all of Peregrine's stake in MAFCo and
>then we are able to buy 35% - 40% back.  I think they
>should be able to get it quite cheaply. "
>* In a memo on 12 June, Segal addressing Brig - Gen
>Maung Maung as "My dear general" advised him on a
>range of issues including how to handle relations with the
>US government or how to spot and deal with potential
>dissidents in Burma. "Watch for expats or ex - Burmese
>nationals. They are planted to organize local Burmese with
>money and strategy while they remain in the background
>and act as business people. "
>* Segal also advised Maung Maung on Burmese politics,
>"Do not give an inch .... It is yours to rule as you see fit ....
>If the lady has (sic) let out, who will take responsibility for
>her life and lives of others (?) Perhaps they should advise
>her to compromise - in other words - attack mildly - show
>your security - but your willingness to talk(,) not to be
>dictated to. "
>* According to documents filed in court by Peregrine,
>Segal on 13 June dictated a memo to SLORC's Minister of
>Fisheries Brig - Gen Maung Maung, to expel a Peregrine
>employee and US citizen named Hector Lwin. "Why can't
>his visa revocation be implemented - undesirable citizen,
>mistreatment of local staff, suspicion of illegal action, too
>many lost passports, etc. My job is difficult enough without
>his undermining everything .... make life as difficult as
>possible for the group (Peregrine employees) so they learn
>that without support from me they will achieve nothing."
>* Segal also asks Brig - Gen Maung Maung to intervene
>with her landlord, "I left on the understanding that if there
>are embargoes, which I am fighting against, his business
>will be devastated. Please ask KN what to do about it ....
>Make the landlord care; please show your muscle .... Talk
>to him"
>* Segal also reported to Brig - Gen Maung Maung about
>her efforts to lobby for SLORC in the USA. "But bottom
>line is we need USA for infrastructure - and work must
>continue on changing their minds ... I have to tackle the
>White House ... arranged to see Bob Dole, hopefully, our
>next president."
>* In 1995, Segal set up a rare meeting between a senior
>Mitsui official and Lieut - Gen Khin Nyunt, SLORC
>Secretary 1 and its intelligence chief. From a 19 June
>memo from Segal to Dobbs - Higginson: "I ... arranged
>every meeting and the most important one which Mitsui
>themselves admitted was impossible to get, and which gave
>them much face .... My understanding of the agreement that
>exists between you and me is that they (Mitsui) are paying
>us a US$150,000 retainer."
>* In a 21 June memo to Dobbs - Higginson, Segal claims,
>"I am recognized throughout the world as being the
>strongest and most influential person with the government
>of Myanmar.  That is worth a great deal .... What I have
>described above would be the most sensible route for
>Peregrine to take. The same applies for Mitsui as I
>influence the Burmese government and the Burmese
>dependency grows stronger daily."
>* In the same memo, Segal writes, "I have managed to
>diffuse the fallout from the movie  After Rangoon' (sic) by
>pointing out that all this took place before 1988, and it has
>changed ..... I have a meeting scheduled with Al Gore, and
>I believe I can pull off a big public relations coup by
>having the Burmese government represented for very little
>money by a lobbying firm, the head of which is doing it for
>me and believes in what I am doing. He has overruled his
>board, and now it is a matter of convincing the Burmese to
>do it, which I believe I can."
>* According to Peregrine, Segal wrote Dobbs - Higginson
>on 28 June: "In a conversation with Endo (senior Mitsui
>official), discuss with him, that (sic) fact that the
>government wants for me to become the official advisor for
>Mitsui. This would be very beneficial for us and for them.
>If that happens, the ministries will act promptly on Mitsui's
>requests and I will be able to follow through openly on
>everything and no one will dare say no. For these services, I
>think we could ask US$500,000 ... and my salary plus
>expenses ( ...about US$250,000 / year, roughly what I am
>getting now). This would allow us to control and have a
>deep knowledge of what Mitsui is doing in Yangon. "
>* The same memo said, "Peregrine is about to put another
>US$1.5 million into MAFCo... but they will not see the
>return anticipated...  At that time, Mitsui can come in and
>make a ridiculously low offer for 40% of MAFCo."
>* Segal's 28 June memo to Dobbs - Higginson was faxed to
>Peregrine by mistake.
>* On 31 June, Segal again wrote to Brig - Gen Maung
>Maung about Hector Lwin: "Hector is very active - pin
>something on him, frame him - anything... I would raid
>Hector's house."
>* On 11 July 1995, Peregrine dismissed Segal as Chairman
>of MAFCo claiming that she was planning to damage
>Peregrine's business interest.
>* On 14 July, Hector Lwin was interrogated by military
>intelligence and immigration officials. On 17 July he was
>given 72 hours to leave Burma for violating a minor travel
>regulation which would normally merit a warning or fine.
>* In early September, Segal entered MAFCo's two prawn
>processing plants in Rangoon and told staff that she had
>been reinstated as a director. She and a Burmese ally who
>she reinstated as MAFCo's Managing Director, told staff
>that Peregrine personnel entering the plant would be
>* Segal's lawyer justifies her actions under Burmese law
>because the Ministry of Fisheries said that the share
>transfer was invalid.
>On 12 September, SLORC's Ministry of Fisheries wrote to
>Peregrine, stating that the transfer of MMA Financo
>Fisheries was subject to Burmese law, even though the
>company was incorporated in Hong Kong, and questioned
>the validity of Peregrine's acquisition of Segal's shares
>because it did not register its ownership of the shares with
>*  Peregrine claims that its purchase of Segal's Hong Kong
>- registered company doesn't come under Burmese
>jurisdiction and that it properly registered the shares.
>* Peregrine sued Miriam Segal in New York for US$20
>million in September 1995 for violating her employment
>contract by pursuing other business deals and plotting to
>undermine the prawn business so that Peregrine would be
>forced to sell out.
>* In Hong Kong, Peregrine also sued Claude Charles and
>Michael Dobbs - Higginson, for conspiring to aid Miriam
>*  In October, Alan Mercer, Peregrine's in - house lawyer
>said that it is no longer talking with its joint - venture
>partner, the SLORC Ministry of Fisheries.
>*  In December 1995, Miriam Segal counter sued Peregrine
>in New York for US$20 million for breach of contract and
>The above account highlights not only the unethical
>behaviour of Miriam Segal and her colleagues but is
>shocking in exposing how SLORC generals are being
>manipulated by unscrupulous businessmen. The lawless
>nature of these exchanges should cause investors to pause
>and reconsider whether they really wish to do business with
>SLORC -- Ed 
>ln recent months prices of basic commodities such as rice
>and cooking oil in Burma have skyrocketed ringing
>alarmbells. So severe is the inflation that SLORC has
>finally admitted that there is a problem. The generals are
>getting worried. "The uprising and demonstrations that
>took place in 1988 were mainly because of the economic
>difficulties," SLORC Minister of Trade Lieut - Gen Tun
>Kyi said at a recent symposium. But according to the
>generals, growing foreign investment, strong economic
>growth and economic reforms have fuelled the inflation.
>To explain the increases, SLORC's Minister for National
>Planning and Economic Development, Brig-Gen David
>Abel, detailed Burma's economic growth rates at a recent
>top-level coordination committee meeting. "The issue of
>inflation is inevitable since more and more has to be
>invested for national reconstruction, but the rate of
>inflation must not be out of control," said SLORC
>Chairman Senior General Than Shwe. He called for all -
>out efforts to bring down production costs by stressing
>frugality in spending [Reu/N960301, B960324].
>Are the generals' diagnosis of the problem correct? How
>severe is inflation in Burma?
>The following chart of prices gives an idea of the severity
>of the inflation. It shows the Official Price versus
>Unofficial Prices of basic commodities in Rangoon - in
>Kyat per unit (Source: US Embassy).
>          Official  Unofficial     Unofficial
>          1990      1990      1995
>Emata Rice     6.0       10.6      65.0
>Fish      90.0      90.0      300.0
>Chicken   120.0          122.0          325.0
>Pork      110.0          158.0          300.0
>Groundnut Oil 34.0       69.8      225.0
>Gasoline  16.0      80.0      220.0
>Other cost increases include: Electricity in Rangoon - Kyat
>2.50 per unit in 1994 compared to Kyat 0.50 in 1991;
>Charcoal - Kyat 45 per viss versus Kyat 13 in 1993; and
>Gasoline - the Official Price was hiked to Kyat 25 per
>gallon in Aug.94 from Kyat 16. Most Burmese attribute the
>jump in inflation to domestic shortages of essentials caused
>by excessive exports of some items to earn much - needed
>foreign exchange (forest products, rice, sesamum, pulses,
>onions, and marine products). Jumbo Shrimps, which are
>out of the reach of most Burmese, best illustrate the point. 
>In 1990, the Official Price was Kyat 200 per viss versus
>Kyat 224 unofficially. In 1995, the unofficial price was
>Kyat 1,500 per viss (Note - Most Burmese do not have
>access to goods at the Official Price).
>According to Professor Mya Maung, the main cause of
>inflation in Burma is the inept monetary and fiscal policies
>of SLORC. The following tables illustrates his point: 
>          Currency in circulation
>          (in million Kyats)
>1988      14,659
>1989      19,926
>1990      29,211
>1991 March     35,140
>1992 March     46,584
>1993 March     63,871
>1994 March     76,749
>1995 March     106,023 plus 13,248
>The figure for 1995 shows the additional value of FECs
>(Foreign Exchange Certificates) in circulation today (Kyat
>13,248 million at the Unofficial rate of exchange). The fact
>that the value of FECs are about one eighth of the notes in
>circulation notes, makes matters worse.
>SLORC's deficit spending on defence is another factor.
>Since 1988, the 180,000 - man army has increased to
>350,000 men. According to SLORC's own figures, its
>defense spending in 1994 - 95 was Kyat 11.421 billion out
>of a total budget of Kyat 31.938 billion. These figures do
>not include the US$1.8 billion in arms that SLORC
>purchased from China. The cumulative SLORC budget
>deficit for five years of its rule from 1988 was Kyat 28.931
>billion (US$4.82 billion).
>The generals' chronic trade deficit is another factor as
>illustrated by the following table:
>Foreign Trade ( in million Kyats)
>Year      Export         Import         Bal
>1988-89   2,169          3,443          2,411
>1989-90   2,834          3,395          561
>1990-91   2,953          5,523          2,571
>1991-92   2,926          5,537          2,411
>1992-93   3,590          5,356          1,775
>1993-94   4,158          7,800          3,642
>1994-95   4,893          9,360          4,467
>The cumulative trade deficit since 1988 is Kyat 17.837
>billion (US$2.86 billion at the official rate).
>Given these facts, it does not seem that SLORC is capable
>of solving the problems Burma is facing. - Ed.