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Trump-Linked Stock Scammer Resurfaces With A New Investment Idea

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Leslie Greyling hasn’t let a long list of legal troubles keep him from touting stocks that are, shall we say, intriguingly volatile.


It’s tough to admire much about Leslie Greyling given his track record — two convictions for securities fraud, one especially sketchy property deal and a deportation — but give credit where it’s due. The man’s dedication to his craft is remarkable. At 71, an age when many fraudsters would be kicking back with a Cohiba, counting their kickbacks, Greyling is still in the game.

This time the South African native was on LinkedIn, touting the stock of an obscure company called Tingo Inc., now doing business, mostly in Nigeria, as Agri-Fintech Holdings.

Tingo Inc. is easily confused, perhaps intentionally, with Tingo Group. Unspinning the yarn of Greyling’s decades-long international high jinks involves making sense of a junk drawer’s worth of corporate name changes, reverse mergers, a revolving cast of associates and on-paper-only business entities. For a time, Greyling, by his own account, was in the business of selling shell companies. Sleuthing the current confusion, it’s apparent that there’s a link between the two Tingos, and it was Tingo Group that short-seller Hindenburg Research named in a scathing, wide-ranging report last month that called it “an exceptionally obvious scam with completely fabricated financials.

Tingo Group denounced Hindenburg’s work as “malicious and misleading” but watched its share price nosedive from a comfy $5-plus in mid-May to under a buck by mid-June. By then, Greyling was out, according to the man himself. “Zero involvement with Tingo,” Greyling told Forbes in a rambling response to questions via LinkedIn, referring to Tingo Inc. “I am not a director, shareholder, advisor or consultant.”

Greyling’s stock-hyping is a reminder of the challenge of stopping stock scammers from hatching new stratagems. With the advent of accessible stock trading through digital platforms, geographical boundaries have become inconsequential. The infamous boiler rooms that once thrived on Long Island, New York, and in Boca Raton, Florida, have spread globally like mushrooms after a spring rain. The Panama Papers shed light on the ease with which crooks can cover their tracks. Shell companies, requiring only a modest registration fee, offer a way to conduct illicit activities under the cloak of legitimate business. Even in schemes involving penny stocks, shady characters can amass substantial wealth, enabling them to cultivate connections with influential individuals who can aid them in their mischief or help them elude justice.

Greyling’s career

Here’s a taste of Greyling’s résumé, with annotations from Greyling’s message to Forbes via LinkedIn:

In 1993, Greyling bought a house in Palm Beach, Florida for $3.5 million and flipped it soon after for $1.6 million. That’s not a typo. Consider that the lucky discount buyer was Donald Trump. The former Greyling property neighbors Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.

Four years later, Greyling pleaded guilty to securities fraud in the U.S. and was deported to South Africa. The criminal allegations included money laundering, issuing false news releases to lure investors to his company, Members Service, and filing bogus statements with the SEC. Greyling said he took the advice of his lawyer, F. Lee Bailey, who defended O.J. Simpson in the famous murder trial, to plead guilty on one count and spend no additional time behind bars — as long as he left the U.S. within 24 hours. “A good deal,” Greyling said in the LinkedIn message. “I was never going to get permanent residence anyway.”

In 2000, he was arrested in the U.K., where he lives, as part of an FBI investigation of organized crime’s alleged manipulation of penny stocks. The U.K. government refused to extradite him to the U.S. and Greyling walked free.

The U.K.’s Serious Fraud office investigated Greyling’s ties to MinMet, an Irish mining company, according to a 2010 report in Australia’s Daily Telegraph. No charges were filed.

The SEC charged Greyling with fraud again in 2022, this time for allegedly trying to sell shares in Alterola Biotech that he didn’t own. He never showed up to contest the allegations and was convicted by default judgment. Greyling was ordered to pay back $1.8 million in ill-gotten gains and was banned from trading penny stocks.

The SEC’s complaint in that case shines a light on how Greyling operates. In February 2017, he identified shell company Alterola as a potential acquisition for his son Clinton’s firm, Trends Investments. To fund the purchase, Greyling advised an associate to sell shares of Alterola through Trends, even though the firm held no actual shares. The associate pitched Alterola stock to investors with information provided by Greyling, according to the SEC. By April 2017, Trends raised approximately $500,000 from seven investors, who believed they were purchasing Alterola shares through Greyling’s firm.

‘Watch “Billions”’

Greyling, however, insisted there was “very little to zero evidence other than hearsay” to the fraud allegations. He’s been unfairly victimized, he said, pointing to global banks Goldman Sachs, HSBC
HBA
, Deutsche Bank and Wells Fargo
WFC
as perpetrators of much worse than he’s alleged to have done. “The result is always the same” with the big banks, he told Forbes. “Pay a few billion in fines and carry on as blue-chip institutions.” At the same time, the SEC pursued his case, for a mere $1.7 million (his number) “and I’m branded a crook.”

“Watch the show Billions,” he advised, referring to the episodic work of televised fiction from the Showtime network, to “see what corrupt prosecutors and SEC lawyers can do.”

Which brings us to Greyling’s Tingo touting. Hindenburg Research, known for its battle with Nikola and altercations with heavy hitters like Carl Icahn and Gautam Adani, found questionable actions at both Tingo Group and Tingo Inc., which together, at one time, and now separately, comprise a self-professed jack-of-all-trades conglomerate with business operations in mobile phones, food and perhaps aviation in Africa. Hindenburg’s allegations in its June report ran the gamut from fabricated finances to bogus businesses, illusory infrastructure to phantom jets and a figurehead leader flaunting a counterfeit résumé. Hindenburg said the fraud had been going on for years.

What wasn’t part of the report, though, was the connection to Greyling.

Corporate swindles can fall apart in different ways. Numbers that make no sense. Grandiose claims that turn to smoke and ash. Blaming a plunging stock price on mythical naked-short sellers. Or perhaps, catching the CEO in a lie.

Yet, there’s an alternate route to ruin that’s more subtle, but possibly just as telling: does the stock serve as a magnet for fraudsters? Rancid firms have an uncanny knack for luring similarly repulsive investors. Greyling is a walking red flag. He’d been talking up Tingo Inc. for years. In his LinkedIn message to Forbes, Greyling said he introduced Tingo Mobile to a public company named iWeb. The two companies completed a reverse merger in August 2021, with iWeb acquiring Tingo Mobile in an all-stock deal for $3.7 billion. But he insisted he has no involvement today.

Deeper Ties

An apologist might argue that Greyling was just happy to lead the cheers for a company he believes in. However, evidence beyond his social media posts suggests a deeper tie. Tingo Inc. transferred 100 million shares to various individuals and shell entities, according to a document viewed by Forbes. Some of the recipients have links to Greyling.

One of the individuals was Alexander Lightman, an MIT graduate (under the name Alexander Petofi). Lightman told Forbes he’s known Greyling for 20 years and the two have done business together. Lightman was once an advisor to Alterola Biotech — an entity focused, at first, on creating chewing gum blended with “nutraceutical/functional ingredients.” Inevitably, perhaps, it later pivoted to cannabis-based products. Alterola was one of the companies caught up in a fraud scheme for which the SEC successfully sued Greyling, his son Clinton and three others in June 2022. According to an Alterola filing, Greyling loaned the company $50,000 with “no specified terms of repayment.”

Lightman told Forbes that Greyling was the victim of a political witch hunt. “Leslie was a friend 30 years ago with Donald Trump,” he said. “It’s my observation that anybody who could be helpful to Donald Trump is being attacked by the weaponized Department of Justice and SEC.”

So what has Greyling done wrong, if anything? “He overstayed his visa,” Lightman said. “And as far as I’m concerned, he’s been punished for that.”

Another recipient of Tingo Inc. shares with a link to Greyling was a shell company called Global Fintech Trading Ltd., owned by Lightman and Peter Maddocks, according to the website opencorporates. In 2008, Maddocks resigned as chairman of MinMet, a Dublin-based company that says it explores for gold and gas, because of a “series of complex deals involving companies associated with Mr. Maddocks” and a $126,000 payment to “fraudster Leslie Greyling,” according to a report in the Irish Independent.

Bringing the relationships full circle, Lightman and Maddocks were listed on the registration of a British company called Platinum Lifestyles Ltd., where Clinton Greyling was once a director. Forbes tried to locate Maddocks for comment but was unsuccessful.

Darren Mercer, CEO of Tingo Group, told Forbes that he was aware Greyling was involved with the stock before his company, MICT, a Chinese fintech, acquired some of Tingo Inc.’s assets last year, particularly its phone business, Tingo Mobile. Mercer said he knew who Greyling was and wanted nothing to do with him.

“When we were made aware of his involvement with Tingo Inc. as a shareholder at the time we struck the deal with Tingo, it was made very clear from our side that if he had any involvement in management, the executive or otherwise or any influence at any level, that we did not want to proceed at all,” Mercer told Forbes. “We have nothing to do with the old Tingo. We bought its main assets.”

Lightman told Forbes that was hogwash. “Do you know who introduced me to Darren Mercer?” Lightman asked. “Leslie Greyling. Do I believe MICT held up their nose refusing to do a deal if Leslie was involved? No, I don’t believe that.”

Mercer denied that Greyling introduced him to Tingo. He wouldn’t comment on Hindenburg Research’s allegations, citing an ongoing investigation within the company.

Mercer is no stranger to controversy himself. The Financial Times reported in September 2017 that he was temporarily suspended from his role as CEO of BNN Technology, a Chinese payments firm, after the company’s CFO made “serious allegations” against the company. A month later he resigned as both an officer and director. An avid thoroughbred owner, Mercer was suspended in 2004 by the U.K.’s Jockey Club for betting against his own horse.

Massage Parlor King

Over the years, Greyling has rubbed elbows with a range of people, from former Florida governor Claude Kirk, who served as chairman of Greyling’s company, Members Service; Adnan Khashoggi, the Saudi billionaire weapons peddler who was enlisted to help develop a sports-themed park in Orlando, Florida, called Sportsworld 2000, which never happened; and the “king of Detroit massage parlors,” Herman Schannault, who partnered with Greyling on a spree of company incorporations in the 1980s, according to a 2019 story in the Miami New Times.

In Palm Beach, however, no one looms larger — then or now — than Trump. Greyling took a $1.9 million loss on the real estate deal with the future president, and if his LinkedIn posts are any indication, he remains a Trump fan.

Trump, who didn’t return requests for comment, explored the idea of partnering with Greyling in two ventures, according to the New Times: the purchase of a Palm Beach hotel and the establishment of a casino complex in Missouri. Both fell through.

Still, it never hurts to be on a first-name basis with a powerful person. In a 2020 WhatsApp conversation between Lightman and Greyling, which emerged as evidence in the Alterola case, Lightman (who labeled Greyling “Leslie The Man” in his contacts) boasted about his lobbying efforts with the European Parliament and European Commission. Lightman candidly outlined the benefits that accrue to Greyling as a result of their affiliations.

“They are going to be totally wired with the U.K. government,” Lightman said. “I don’t need to tell you that this will be very useful to you, given your connectivity to heads of U.S., Saudi Arabia and China.”

Explains a lot, if true.

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Investment regulator imposed $14M in enforcement penalties in latest fiscal year

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TORONTO — Canada’s investment product regulator says it imposed more than $14 million in fines and other financial enforcements in its last fiscal year.

The Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization (CIRO) says the total also includes imposed costs and the forced return of ill-gotten profits.

The regulator says it also ordered suspensions and permanent prohibitions in a significant proportion of proceedings against individuals.

Enforcement efforts included a $2 million fine against Fortrade Canada for recommending a high-risk product to unsophisticated retail clients, and a $1.7 million fine and permanent ban on securities-related business against Paul Walker for a range of misconduct including soliciting more than $1.5 million in investments for an outside business activity.

CIRO was created at the start of 2023 through a combination of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada and the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada.

The new self-regulatory organization says it is focused on harmonizing its regulatory approach to create more consistency and timeliness with enforcement action.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 16, 2024.

The Canadian Press

 

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Conditions on Simandou investment now satisfied

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LONDON, July 15, 2024–(BUSINESS WIRE)–All conditions have now been satisfied for Rio Tinto’s investment to develop the Simandou high-grade iron ore deposit in Guinea, including the completion of necessary Guinean and Chinese regulatory approvals. The transaction is expected to complete during the week of 15 July 2024.

Along with the recent approval by the Board of Simfer1, this allows Simfer to invest in and fund its share of co-developed rail and port infrastructure being progressed in partnership with Winning Consortium Simandou2 (WCS), Baowu and the Republic of Guinea.

More than 600 kilometres of new multi-use trans-Guinean railway together with port facilities will allow the export of up to 120 million tonnes per year of mined iron ore by Simfer and WCS from their respective Simandou mining concessions in the southeast of the country3. Together, this will be the largest greenfield integrated mine and infrastructure investment in Africa.

Rio Tinto Executive Committee lead for Guinea and Copper Chief Executive Bold Baatar said: “We thank the Government of Guinea, Chinalco, Baowu and WCS for their partnership in reaching this milestone towards developing the world class Simandou project.

“Simandou will deliver a significant new source of high-grade iron ore that will strengthen Rio Tinto’s portfolio for the decarbonisation of the steel industry, along with trans-Guinean rail and port infrastructure that can make a significant contribution to the country’s economic development.”

Under the terms of the transaction, Simfer will acquire a participation in the WCS project companies constructing rail and port infrastructure, commit to perform a portion of the construction works itself and commit to funding its share of the overall co-developed infrastructure cost, in an aggregate amount of approximately $6.5 billion (Rio Tinto share approximately $3.5 billion)4.

Chalco Iron Ore Holdings Ltd (CIOH) has now paid its share of capital expenditures incurred or required by Simfer to progress critical works up to completion. A first payment of approximately $410 million, for expenditures until the end of 2023, was made on 28 June 2024, and a second payment of approximately $575 million, for 2024 expenditures, was made on 11 July 2024. These amounts settle all expenditures incurred up to date.

The co-developed infrastructure capacity and associated cost will be shared equally between Simfer, which will develop, own and operate a 60 million tonne per year5 mine in blocks 3 and 4 of the Simandou Project, and WCS, which is developing blocks 1 and 2.

Under the co-development arrangement, Simfer and WCS will deliver separate infrastructure scopes to leverage expertise. Simfer will construct the approximately 70 kilometre Simfer spur rail line and a 60 million tonne per year transhipment vessel (TSV) port, while WCS will construct the dual track approximately 536 kilometre main rail line, the approximately 16 kilometre WCS spur rail line and a 60 million tonne per year barge port.

Once complete, all co-developed infrastructure and rolling stock will be transferred to and operated by the Compagnie du Transguinéen (CTG) joint venture, in which Simfer and WCS each hold a 42.5% equity stake and the Guinean State a 15% equity stake6.

First production from the Simfer mine is expected in 2025, ramping up over 30 months to an annualised capacity of 60 million tonnes per year5 (27 million tonnes Rio Tinto share). The mine will initially deliver a single fines product before transitioning to a dual fines product of blast furnace and direct reduction ready ore.

Simfer’s capital funding requirement for the Simandou project as a whole is estimated to be approximately $11.6 billion, of which Rio Tinto’s share is approximately $6.2 billion, broken down as follows.

US dollars in billions (nominal terms) Simfer

capex

  Rio Tinto
share
Mine and TSVs, owned and operated by Simfer
Development of an initial 60Mt/a mine at Simandou South (blocks 3 & 4), to be constructed by Simfer $5.1 $2.7
Co-developed infrastructure, owned and operated by CTG once complete
Simfer scope (funded 100% by Simfer during construction)

Rail: a 70 km rail-spur from Simfer mine to the mainline, including rolling stock
Port: construction of a 60Mt/a TSV port

$3.5 $1.9
WCS scope (funded 34% by Simfer during construction)

Port and rail infrastructure including an approximately 552 km trans-Guinean heavy haul rail system, comprised of a 536 km mainline and a 16 km WCS rail spur

$3.0 $1.6
Total capital expenditure (nominal terms) $11.6 $6.27

Rio Tinto’s share of expected capital investment remaining to be spent from 1 January 2024 is to be $5.7 billion. Rio Tinto’s expected funding requirements for 2024 and 2025 are included in its share of capital investment guidance for this period, with project funding expected to extend beyond this timeframe.

Further details on the Simandou project can be found in the 2023 Investor Seminar presentation at https://www.riotinto.com/en/invest/investor-seminars.

As Chinalco, Baowu, China Rail Construction Corporation and China Harbour Engineering Company are Chinese state-owned entities, and given Chinalco indirectly holds 11.2% of shares in the Rio Tinto Group, they, and WCS, may be considered to be associates of a related party of Rio Tinto for the purpose of the UK Listing Rules. Rio Tinto’s funding commitment pursuant to the infrastructure co-development arrangement (Rio Tinto share $3.5bn) is a smaller related party transaction for the purposes of Listing Rule 11.1.10R and this announcement is, therefore, made in accordance with Listing Rule 11.1.10R(2)(c).

___________________________
1 Approval has been granted by the Board of Simfer Jersey Limited, a joint venture between the Rio Tinto Group (53%) and Chalco Iron Ore Holdings Ltd (CIOH) (47%), a Chinalco-led joint venture of leading Chinese SOEs (Chinalco (75%), Baowu (20%), China Rail Construction Corporation (2.5%) and China Harbour Engineering Company (2.5%)). Simfer Infraco Guinée S.A.U. will deliver Simfer Jersey’s scope of the co-developed rail and port infrastructure, and is, on the date of this notice, a wholly-owned indirect subsidiary of Simfer Jersey Limited, but will be co-owned by the Guinean State (15%) after closing of the co-development arrangements. Simfer S.A. is the holder of the mining concession covering Simandou Blocks 3 & 4, and is owned by the Guinean State (15%) and Simfer Jersey Limited (85%).
2 WCS is the holder of Simandou North Blocks 1 & 2 (with the Government of Guinea holding a 15% interest in the mining vehicle and WCS holding 85%) and associated infrastructure. WCS was originally held by WCS Holdings, a consortium of Singaporean company, Winning International Group (50%) and Weiqiao Aluminium (part of the China Hongqiao Group) (50%). On 19 June 2024, Baowu Resources completed the acquisition of a 49% share of WCS mine and infrastructure projects with WCS Holdings holding the remaining 51%. In the case of the mine, Baowu also has an option to increase to 51% during operations. After Closing, Simfer will hold 34% of the shares in the WCS infrastructure entities during construction with WCS holding the remaining 66%.
3 WCS holds the mining concession for Blocks 1 and 2, while Simfer S.A. holds the mining concession for blocks 3 and 4. Simfer and WCS will independently develop their mines.
4 A true-up mechanism will apply between Simfer and WCS to equalise most of their costs of constructing the co-developed rail and port infrastructure. The figures shown here are pre-equalisation.
5 The estimated annualised capacity of approximately 60 million dry tonnes per annum iron ore for the Simandou life of mine schedule was previously reported in a release to the Australian Securities Exchange dated 6 December 2023 titled “Simandou iron ore project update“. Rio Tinto confirms that all material assumptions underpinning that production target continue to apply and have not materially changed.
6 Ownership of the rail and port infrastructure will transfer from CTG to the Guinean State after a 35 year Operations Period, with Simfer retaining access rights on a non-discriminatory basis and at least equivalent to all Third Party Users.
7 By the end of 2023, Rio Tinto spent $0.5 billion (Rio Tinto share) to progress critical path works. Rio Tinto’s share of expected capital investment remaining to be spent from 1 January 2024 was $5.7 billion.

This announcement is authorised for release to the market by Andy Hodges, Rio Tinto’s Group Company Secretary.

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20240621382292/en/

Contacts

Please direct all enquiries to media.enquiries@riotinto.com

Media Relations,
United Kingdom
Matthew Klar
M +44 7796 630 637
David Outhwaite
M +44 7787 597 493

Media Relations,
Australia

Matt Chambers
M +61 433 525 739
Jesse Riseborough
M +61 436 653 412
Alyesha Anderson
M +61 434 868 118
Michelle Lee
M +61 458 609 322

Media Relations,
Americas

Simon Letendre
M +1 514 796 4973
Malika Cherry
M +1 418 592 7293
Vanessa Damha
M +1 514 715 2152

Investor Relations,
United Kingdom
David Ovington
M +44 7920 010 978
Laura Brooks
M +44 7826 942 797

Investor Relations,
Australia

Tom Gallop
M +61 439 353 948
Amar Jambaa
M +61 472 865 948

Rio Tinto plc
6 St James’s Square
London SW1Y 4AD
United Kingdom
T +44 20 7781 2000
Registered in England
No. 719885

Rio Tinto Limited
Level 43, 120 Collins Street
Melbourne 3000
Australia
T +61 3 9283 3333
Registered in Australia
ABN 96 004 458 404

riotinto.com

Category: Simandou

 

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BlackRock Pulls Ad Featuring Trump Rally Shooter Thomas Matthew Crooks

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A screengrab of Thomas Crooks from the BlackRock ad that aired in 2022.

Thomas Matthew Crooks, the 20-year-old who shot at former president Donald Trump at a rally in Pennsylvania, had briefly appeared in a 2022 advertisement for BlackRock Inc, the world’s largest money manager.

The ad, filmed at the Bethel Park High School in Pennsylvania, featured Crooks and several other unpaid students in the background, said the investment giant in a statement. Crooks graduated from the school in 2022.

BlackRock said it has pulled the ad but the video will be available to authorities. The ad, however, is being widely shared by social media users.

“The assassination attempt on former President Trump is abhorrent. We’re thankful former President Trump wasn’t seriously injured, and thinking about all the innocent bystanders and victims of this awful act, especially the person who was killed,” the company added in its statement.

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BlackRock, whose earnings figures are expected today, has faced scrutiny after shooting incidents since some of its index funds own shares in gunmakers.

Trump Assassination Attempt

Trump survived an assassination attempt on Saturday after a gunman opened fire at him at a rally in Pennsylvania ahead of the Presidential elections. The attack left him with a bloodied face as the former president said the bullet pierced his “upper part of right ear”.

Latest and Breaking News on NDTV

A bystander died in the attack while shielding his family and Crooks – a registered Republican – was shot dead by a Secret Service sniper.

Trump, whose Republican candidature will be finalised today, shared a message of unity after the attack and said Americans must not allow “evil to win”. “It was God alone who prevented the unthinkable from happening,” he said on social media.

Biden, too, appealed to the nation to “lower the political temperature” in a rare Oval Office address. “Politics must never be a literal battlefield, God forbid a killing field,” he said.

The US markets are expecting Trump trades to gain momentum after the attack. It has already been pinning hopes for the return of Republicans, especially after Biden’s poor performance in last month’s debate. Those trades are likely to take deeper hold as the attack sparks a wave of sympathy and support for Trump.

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