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Info on ABN AMRO in Burma!: Special
- Subject: Info on ABN AMRO in Burma!: Special
- From: nin@xxxxxx
- Date: Thu, 06 Nov 1997 02:16:00
I take the liberty to share the following information which is a FBC's
special posting today (6 Nov.1997).
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Sender: jepeck@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (John Peck)
Subject: Info on ABN AMRO in Burma!
I've gotten several requests for more info on LaSalle Bank's ties
to Burma through its Dutch parent ABN AMRO. Simon Billeness kindly checked
with our spider friends in the Netherlands and then forwarded this response
to me which I thought I would share with the list.
Also, an update from Don Erickson with Synapses (who was at last
weekend's kick-butt Democracy Teach-In Organizing Conference at the Univ.
of Chicago along with about 200 student activists from 25+ schools from all
over the country!) is that the Thurs. Nov 13th 7:30 pm picket outside the
LaSalle-sponsored Steve Goodman Tribute Concert (featuring John Prine,
Jackson Browne, Emmylou Harris, and Arlo Guthrie) at the Medinah Temple
(Ohio and Wabash) is still on! Apparently, Pete Seeger and others are
talking to Arlo Guthrie about the Burma situation, and there will also be a
5:15 demonstration at a $500/plate reception at the Hard Rock Cafe (just
west of the Temple) for the performers prior to the concert. Any spiders
who can help with the Nov. 13 actions or have $500 to spare to crash the
reception (!!) should contact Don at #312/421-5513. Several of us from
Madison plan to go down for the picket. Also, keep calling Ticket Master
to complain about LaSalle sponsoring the concert: #312-559-1212!
Our friends in the Netherlands!
>From the BCN a heartfelt hurray for the La Salle campaign. We are
monitoring your US-campaigns closely, and we will certainly use it to the
media. Please keep us informed!
I want to let you know BCN & others are still pressuring all the Dutch /
and to our capacity other European Investors to quit Burma.
eg. November 11th there is a discussion between F.D. van Loon, ceo emerging
markets ING Barings, minister J. Pronk of Development cooperation, trade
unions and the large development organization NOVIB.
The trade unions by the way are working on a joint proposal to the
organizations of employers not to invest in countries such as Burma. That
is taking them alot of time, but that seems the way they want to go at it.
November 17th we're doing a demo at the Total gas-station of the media-park
(Holland is so small that all tv, radio and what-have-you journalists are
in one park) while the trade unions and the larger political parties are at
Total's Belgium Netherlands and Luxembourg hq in Rotterdam.
An update on the banks, I am taking this from our website that will be on
the net after this weekend at http://www.xs4all.nl/~bcn.html (I think) but
only after a native English speaker has read through it all:
ABN AMRO invests through her subsidiary Hoare Govett Asia in the Bawdwin- and
Monywa-mines where led, copper and silver are produced. The exploiter of
these mines is the Canadian company Indochina Goldfields. SLORC is closely
involved through state company Mandalay Mining Cooperation, that has 50% of
ING Barings trades shares of the Myanmar Fund at the Dublin Stock Exchange.
The Myanmar Fund invests mainly in real estate in Rangoon, like hotels and
industrial zones. Druglord Lo Hsing-han and his son Steven Law are co-owner
of the Myanmar Fund.
Already over 45 million dollar has been invested in different projects.
They both have so called rep-offices in Rangoon. The status of their
banking-license is unclear. They both have a license, but we can't find out
if this is a full banking license. SLORC was about to hand full-licenses
out this summer, or so the story was.
ABN AMRO's General Director Jhr. Mr. M.H. Reuchlin has written the BCN (and
X minus Y, with which we are carrying out the campaign: "Burma let's talk
business, Democracy first."
Warning: it is a bit of a read!
"About the rep office:
"in the course of 1995 ABN AMRO has decided to open a rep office in
Rangoon, on the expectation that the economical and political situation in
the country would bring about a rise in foreign investments and thus in a
later stage would jsutify the opening of a ful branchoffice. Unfortunately
the developments after the official opening in Ferbraury 1996 have not been
in agreeance with our earlier expectations and we have therefore have
postponed the upgrading from rep to full branch till now. As you will know
a rep office is not allowed to have commercial activities and can be
considered as an "ear" (his quotation marks) that can support information
to interested clients on the local situation.
About HG Asia:
HG ASIA is a minorityshareholder in Finansa (31%) and Fruntier Fund
Management (30 %), and these investments date from before ABN partook in
FFM is investmentadvisor to Southeast Asia Frontier Fund and Vietnam
Frontier Fund. The influence of HG ASIA is very limited.
ABN AMRO has not invested in any of these funds, the investors are
SAEF and VFF have invested in the Bawdin lead (Pb, BCN ed, added periodic
table abbr to avoid mistakes), zinc (Sn), and silver (Ag)mine. However, VFF
in 1994 invested in Indochina Goldfields which took over the investments by
Robert Friedland in Burma. VFF is a passive investor and has no management
controle over the company. Also the rules of the Toronto Stock Exchange
forbade until recently to sell shares of VVF.
SEAF invested in the Australian DMR that after that bought 50 % of Mandalay
mining. That company has researched the commercial possibilities of the
Bawdin mine: if the investmentresults are positive, then the company is
free to negotiate with the "ministry of Mines" (his quote). On this moment
there is no investment in Buram and it is very unsure whether this will
happen since Mandalay Mining has bought shares in Ghana, which could be an
indication that Bawdin is seen as not-worth it."
Jhr. Mr. M.H. Reuchlin
1000 EA AMSTERDAM
tel: +31-20-629 56 88
fax: +31-20-629 23 97
To which we replied ofcourse, that the influence of the ABN AMRO through HG
ASIA on Finansa is much bigger than he says.
ABN has allready some but wants 49 % of Asia Securities Trading, the other
investor in Finansa. The shares of Finansa are owned by the staff of
Finansa, ao two ceo's of HG ASIA. It is more a matter of "will" than "can"
influence. And George Morgan - HG ASIA - has been promoting SEAFF in the
USA, under auspicien from FFM. etcetera etcetera.... closing of with
stating that in our humble opinion ABN AMRO is still significantly
contributing to Burma's economy etcetera.
Now on ING.
This bank has tried to deny everything for some time. But finnaly it also
wrote us, after the Dutch audience was approaching them, and ever better,
investors were asking the bank not to use their money in Burma (so they
called us asking us for a full list of companies.)
drs. J.H.J. Zegering Hadders
ceo corporate communications & strategy
1000 AV AMSTERDAM
wrote us a short letter on august 28th:
"ING has a bankinglicense in Burma. This license is not used. The rep
office is not operational. ING is not conducting business in with Myanmar.
We are aware of the situation in Burma. ING has no plans to activate the
And this we consider to be true. We are still trying to peek into the
rep-office in Rangoon through people on the ground. ING no longer "knows"
the adress of the repoffice, but it it still is in the Yellow Pages of
As you see, banking is a tricky thing. I agree with Simon that it probably
was among others ING that pushed the EC into the WTO complaint. A ING repr.
was present at a meeting with EC commissionair explaning it and when we
asked publicly about their interests in the subject he hurried out the
John Peck, c/o UW Greens, 731 State St., Madison WI 53703 #608-262-9036
"Just as teenagers are the same all over the world, children are the same
all over the world." - Boston billionaire, Sumner Redstone, owner of
which runs MTV, VH1 and Nickleodeon