Thursday 20th of February 2020

Maximising Your Firepower

A convoluted trail is emerging that involves allegations of Russian-based international money laundering, direct government dealings with the administrators of Saddam's Australian wheat bribes, and a government representative taking up a position in a cloudy corner of the corporate world.

The Australian Trade Commission has published claims made by Firepower, a Perth based company that its technology provides reductions of environmentally harmful emissions of thirty to sixty percent,, Firepower claim they've been checked by "several world leading independent testing institutes" but don"t say who they are. Austrade refer to testing carried out in Russia... though the sources of the testing are not mentioned on the company's website.

The allegations of corruption directed at Firepower's Russian emissary would be, you'd think, enough to raise a "red flag". Here's the SMH background on him.:

He was photographed at a White House fund-raising dinner with then-president Bill Clinton in October 1993, but the claims did not stop. The Times repeated allegations that Nordex may have been involved in the smuggling of nuclear material.

The newspaper also accused Luchansky [ of being linked to one of the world's biggest money-laundering investigations - an alleged plot to launder $US7 billion in Russian organised crime proceeds through the Bank of New York.

The sole (virtually anonymous) testimonial on Firepower's site clams that buy buying a fifteen dollar pill pack you'll profit by $37 through petrol savings. I assume you spend $15 on another pack, and through this cycle continue to generate twenty dollar surpluses. Anyway, it's the only endorsement they provide, and without even providing the author's name. There's nothing to back up the massive emission reduction claims, not even from Russia.

Firepower's page on corporate information consists of a whole three paragraphs. I would have thought that DFAT's trade arm might prefer a company that they're endorsing so highly to have a little more public information.

Austrade's director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa has become Firepower's CEO. Forget about where he went for a minute- what;s interesting here is that John Finnin was talking to Alia after Saddam was deposed. This means, at the very least, that Downer's Department was in direct contact with the bribe-handlers well before the UN Oil-For-Food Inquiry.

There is one important line of inquiry that needs to be eliminated.. the one hypothesising that a government representative was using a government agency to "fund raise" for his own commercial interests while promising to line Saddam's pockets with profit from money that was known to be ill-gotten. Also, borrowing from Michael Pascoe's question on Crikey yesterday, how much, if any, due diligence did Austrade do before getting into bed with the Firepower mob? Also, how much did Austrade know about Firepower's Russian liaison's exposure to allegations of massive amounts of money laundering? You could be excused for thinking that the whole thing was a very dodgy situation. Why didn't any relevant official raise suspicion?

For any government department to not have appropriate checks and balances in place to avoid such scenaria would be disconcerting. To give any organisation $400,000 in export grants while such questions were unclarified would be scandalious.

Mr Finnen will answer questions regarding his interaction with Alia at a media conference today.

Postscript: If the Australian Trade Commission reckon that Australian technology is away for Russia to fulfill it's Kyoto Protocol obligations why hasn't our government been extolling it's virtues as much cheaper way of becoming environmentally friendly than, say, nuclear reactors?

Nigel, are you out there?

Could we have our indent button back? I miss it terribly.

BTW thanks heaps for fixing up the HalBlog

Firepower and Hallibuton

Wouldn't you know it, the former head of Hal Germany is now a Firewpower exec.

Gerard Ryle broke this info in the SMH a couple of days ago, but there's a lot more to it than just that.

I'm just trying to pin together exactly how those involved in Hal and Firepower were trying to sabotage and then acquire the Romanian petroleum industry. Suffice for now to say that I wish Australian paperwork was so easy to find.