Archive for March, 2009

Speaking of interesting people

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

One of the larger-than-life characters caught up in the Firepower saga was, of course, Warren Anderson. Most people need little introduction to one of Australia’s best known property developers. He is a rich man who is said to have got richer through Firepower and it seems he is rarely out of the news, as was proved again most recently in the West Australian.

Time to juice it up

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

One of the more interesting characters caught up in the Firepower saga is Frank Timis, a person twice convicted of heroin offences in Australia who later went on to found a series of rather successful companies around the world. Tim Johnston is said to be working for him in London. They are supposed to be starting the new Firepower – a company called Green Power Corporation, that will incorporate the same products and logos as Firepower. And all the investors in Firepower will be most pleased because they will finally get a return. Yeah, right!

Timis belongs to a loose group of individuals and businessmen around the world, one of whom recently made news in Britain. It is the Labour peer, Lord Truscott. Yep, that’s him in the video allegedly prepared to accept cash to change laws. The former Labour government minister – once a special envoy for Tony Blair – is now a director of oil and mining companies controlled by Timis. Truscott is a director of two Timis ventures. One, African Minerals, is active in Sierra Leone, the world’s biggest source of blood diamonds (African Minerals was formerly called the Sierra Leone Diamond Company). In September 2008 the Sunday Times reported that Timis was facing the prospect of a court case over disputed mineral rights. The other company, Eastern Petroleum, is involved in oil prospecting in the former Soviet Union. Truscott is also a director of Gulf Keystone Petroleum, a company involved in oil exploration in northern Iraq, run by Bush/Cheney campaign contributor Todd Kozel. In addition, Truscott works for Gavin Anderson, a PR firm with strong links to the government of Russia.

A lasting record

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

Some people have complained to me that Tim Johnston is history – literally. Well, history has a way of leaving its mark and I see from this piece in the West Australian that Johnston’s former little pile is the up-market Perth suburb of Mosman Park still holds the record for being the most expensive house in West Australia. Not bad, considering the mining boom that state has just experienced. How can it be that a man selling a magic pill is allowed to own a $16 million house and is then allowed to disappear overseas without Australian authorities lifting a finger to stop him?

What $40 will buy

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

Fascinating story in The West Australian on Saturday that unfortunately isn’t posted on the internet. It tells the tale of a Perth internet cafe owner Henk Beugelaar who purchased a job-lot of items at the Firepower liquidation sale. One of the items was a computer that, when fired up, spat out about 9,000 emails and documents – a small glimpse of the early history of Firepower in Perth. The newspaper devoted three pages to the saga, emphasising the continuing interest in Australia’s most spectacular fraud.  Lots of pervy detail but you will need to read my book to understand the characters talked about. People like the Chinese gentleman who played a key role in the unfolding drama. Haven’t you ever wondered why Firepower’s symbol was a fire-breathing dragon? For the sake of a link, here’s more on the disintegration of the Western Force.