Hefeydd was a mythical Welsh king. He had a daughter named Rhianna. She wanted to marry her paramour Pwyll. But the romantically disabled king Hefeydd don’t want. So through guile, and subterfuge by Rhianna ,and her dreamy boy Pwyll , Hefeydd is forced to marry them in his court. And how is this relevant to Yara International and their bid to build Mine Arnaud, the largest open pit mine in Canada, above the city of Sept Iles, Québec?
Its relevance lies in the fact that Hefeydd is also the name of a Cypriot registered company who’s actually ownership Okrim ( Norway’s National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime)and Interpol have not been able to trace . In the fall of 2011 Yara International ,through its Swiss subsidiary, quietly moved 99 million Euro’s worth of value in the company Apartite to a mysterious company in Cyprus called Hefeydd . According to Okorim 70 million Euro’s went into the pockets of two Russian middlemen. Apatite ,the mineral Yara seeks to extract from Sept Iles was also the name of a huge Russian Apetite mining company in the Kola peninsula that Yara owned 8.2% percent of before the Cypriot transfer. Yaras interest in “Apatite” the company was picked up by PhosAgro, a company that Yara had been hotly pursuing for years to obtain exclusive supplier contracts in order to turn the product of its mines into fertilizer at a price that would greatly pad YARA’s bottom line. And imagine that ,PhosAgro subsequently granted the supply contract.
Well at least some one involved has a sense of humor a fact not seemingly picked up on by the finical papers that reported on the 2014 conviction in Norwegien courts leading to the company being forced to pay the Largest criminal fines in Norways history for corrupt buisness practices in Russia , Lybia and India. forcing it to pay the equivalent of 48 million dollars. The company ,according to Okorim had been engaged since since 2004 in a patterned behaviour of procuring contracts by offering bribes to everyone from Khaddafi and his family to people conected to India”s state oil company. And the showdown figures in the Russian deal “We believe we can prove that individual executives approved those deals,” said public prosecutor Marianne Djupesland.
Begining in 2008 Yara International is hotly pushing a supply contact with PhosAgro a Russian fertilizer mining giant, partly owned by a Russin senator, Andrei Guryev, a billionaire who resigned from the Russian senate in May 2013 in the wake of a Russian anti corruption drive,
In May 2011 Sven Ombudstvedt joined the board of directors at Phosagro, according to Phosagro’s website
“Ombudstvedt was born in 1966 and worked at Norsk Hydro between 1991 and 2003. Since 2003, he has been employed by Norwegian fertilizer producer Yara International. Between 2006 and 2008, he served as Yara’s CFO and sicne 2009, the head executive director at Norske Skog.” He was re-elected in February 2014 for a second term as PhosAgro’s chair.
That fall Yara International ,through its Swiss subsidiary, quietly moved 99 million Euro’s worth of value in the company Apartite to a mysterious company in Cyprus called Hefeydd . This represented 8.2 percent of Apatites stock. Now in 2014 according to the Barents Observer, PhosAgro holds almost 100% of Apatite.
Yara International began its life in 1905 as Norsk Hydro. This company used Norway’s Hydro-Electric power to produce the first direct nitrogen fixation for agricultural fertilizers thus boosting crops all over the world. Norsk Hydro has a bit the relationship with Norway who own it at 36.6 percent of it, that Québec Hydro has with Québec in the sense that something originally intended to bring wealth to the people of Norway is now more tightly focused in increasing the wealth of a few. And to be sure the people that run Yara, Norsk Hydro’s post 2004 incarnation are among Norway’s Elite class politically and economically. The company first shipped to China , the envisioned market for mine Arnuad, in 1913 and have maintained a curiously close relationship, undisturbed whether China was ruled by the Western controlled Kuomintang or Mao Tse Tung’s Red Guard,as long as everyone gets paid on time one assumes.
To be clear this company Yara International was never expected to foot the bill for the infrastructure, or most of the cost of building the Mine Arnuad, that was always intended to be the Québec taxpayer through Investment Quebec. Although initially only at 30 % initially not at the current 60+%,. With no investors in sight it would seem that if the project is started the Québec taxpayer will be cheerily informed they are now footing 100% of the bill and are the proud part owners of a hole in the ground the size of the Plateau Mont Royal with very questionable economic benefits
This though is the character of the company that the Coulliard Government seems poised to give stewardship over an project that will have cost the taxpayer of Quebec some ?? million dollars. And given Yara’s track record in other jurisdictions serious questions should be asked about how Investment Québec’s share went from 30 to over 60%. Perhaps some checking should be done of Cypriot registered companies .Even without the horrifying prospect of building a tailing pond on the high ground above a city of 25 000 people, the environmental devastation caused by building an open pit mine the size of 5?? football fields and half a kilometer deep. Before the dubious economic prospects and demonstrated social consequences. Maybe the Coulliard Government or their PQ predecessors should have had a very close look at who they sign taxpayer funded agreements with or we the people should have a closer look at who our politicians really get paid by.
Report of an investigation into Norsk Hydro, parent company to Yara , contracts in Lybia
Tales of corruption at Investment Québec