Colombian drug money, NATO and other tales

Firepower went in so many directions it was impossible to get all the strands into my book. So I thought I would share some of the  research that never made it, the cuttings that fell on the floor, so to speak. Probably the most intriguing was an incident that took place back in 2003 when a man was arrested by Dutch police on suspicion of laundering USD$250 million allegedly belonging to a Colombian drug cartel. He was a Dutch NATO officer called Willem Matser. Not just any old officer. Matser was an advisor to the head of NATO at the time, Lord Robertson, and was a former officer in the Dutch intelligence service. It became a huge scandal in Europe and one of the names dragged, albeit indirectly, into the affair was Ovidiu Tender, a prominent Romanian.

According to the Romanian Centre for Investigative Journalism, Tender had joined up with Matser and the United States firm Halliburton – the firm associated with former US vice president Dick Cheney – to try to get control of Petrom, the Romanian national oil company. One of the others working behind the scenes trying to take over Romanian oil interests at the time was Frank Timis, the Romanian-Australian convicted of heroin possession now said to be working with Tim Johnston, from Firepower fame, setting up Green Power Corporation in London. Timis was said to have business links with Tender.

Also working around the edges of the various business deals – real or imagined – at the time was Guenter Nolte. Readers of my book will also recognise Nolte, the one-time head of Halliburton in Germany and one-time head of Firepower’s European operations, such as they were. 

Again according to the Romanian Centre for Investigative Journalism, Ovidiu Tender and the Canadian Stephen G. Roman and his father Stephen B. Roman, were involved, in the late 70s-early 80s in the Romanian-Canadian project that built the only Romanian nuclear plant in Cernavoda, near the Black Sea. During those years, the Romans, father and son, travelled in Romania as the Canadian government representatives and as directors of the Canadian Zemex and Denison Mines corporations. In an interview, Frank Timis told the Centre that: “After 1990, when I came back to Romania with Stephen Roman I was amazed how well he kenw Bucharest, He knew it better than me. He’s been here many times”.  

There is no direct connection between Roman and Firepower but there is an indirect link. You will notice the name Michael van Rens on the boards of several of Roman’s companies. Readers of my book will recognise van Rens – a former Channel 7 journalist from Perth – as one of the interesting people who figures in Firepower.

I am not suggesting wrong-doing by anybody. Just pointing out what a small world it is. Make of it what you will.

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