David G. Guyatt
Riches looted by the Nazis and Japanese during WWII and recovered by
the United States OSS and CIA have been used to finance secret
government projects over the decades and save major banks from
BACKGROUND ON "COLLATERAL TRADING"
Beginning in 1988 and lasting until approximately 1992, "Project
Hammer" was the latest in a series of highly secretive banking
practices - known as "collateral trading" programs - that are used
to create, as if by magic, huge amounts of unaccountable funds for
use in specific projects.
These vast pools of unvouchered slush funds are applied to finance a
wide variety of clandestine activities that include:
It is also whispered that, in the case of the
Project Hammer program at least, a percentage of the proceeds generated from this
secretive activity found its way into the pockets of VIPs and
Names associated with such corrupt behavior
are carried on the wind; but if one listens attentively, the names
George Bush, Sr, and
Jim Baker III are just discernible to the
An example of the type of project on which these funds are expended
is the trading programme known as "EFG Jacobi" - a predecessor of
Hammer - that I understand was used largely to finance military
facilities and related operations at the
top-secret US base located
at Pine Gap near Alice Springs in central Australia.
In order to maintain the secrecy that surrounds genuine activity,
these trading programmes are routinely said not to exist. Enquiries
about them are deflected and attention is instead focused on the
warnings issued by government agencies about fake programmes. This,
when combined with the numerous prosecutions that occur every year
over fraudulent High Yield Investment Programme transactions, serves
to create the impression that authorized programmes do not occur.
The reasons for this deflection are many, but not least is the fact
that the asset bases on which these programmes usually operate are
also said not to exist - at least in the quantities that they
actually do. The assets in question are large volumes of gold and
lesser amounts of platinum plundered by the Nazis and
during World War II.
The fact that gold has been the one stable commodity used to back
and support the issuance of currency over the decades means that it
has been subject to considerable government and central bank
secrecy. It was only in 1997 that the Bank of England decided to
lift this veil of secrecy and allow the London bullion market a
degree of openness. But that openness did not include coming clean
about the true amount of gold in existence, which is far larger than
official figures allow.
Because of this and the extremely covert nature of related trading programmes, comprehensive details of the programmes’ operations and
the financing techniques employed have remained hidden from public
view. At least this was the case prior to the publication of part
one of this series,
The Project Hammer File.
1 This essay is the
result of further examination of the techniques and activity of
Project Hammer, and now places additional important material into
the public domain.
Project Hammer 2
remains a high-level state secret in a number of
countries including the USA. This was confirmed de facto by the
in its refusal to release any relevant information following my
Freedom of Information Act request in February 2001. The exemption
used by the CIA to reject my request was that relevant material is
"properly classified pursuant to an Executive Order in the interest
of national defense or foreign policy".
Project Hammer also stands out because proceeds from the trading
activity were illegally diverted by major banks. Confirmation of
this is provided by
Brigadier-General Erle Cocke in his April 2000
affidavit. In this, General Cocke was asked about the involvement of
former US Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen, who was retained to
investigate what had happened to (and also to recover) the missing
Asked if Bentsen "had the government’s interest in closing
this whole problem" and if he had "ever had a discussion" with
Bentsen, Cocke replied:
Many hours just trying to find out whether any agency, any group,
Federal Reserve, Treasury, CIA,
FBI, security agencies, and so
forth, all of them put together, whether any of which would really
like to finish. And, quite frankly, nobody stepped up to the plate.
Cocke was then asked if "they would like to finish it", and he
I think they would like to finish it, but they all back away. It is
not my cup of tea, or they have spent enough time with it and are
not going to realize anything, and therefore they just quit. They
don’t confirm, they don’t deny, they just stop.
One can conclude that the banks that diverted this money were too
powerful for any agency of the US government to tackle. It also
helped that suitable and substantial "incentives" were provided to
former high-level Bush (Sr) Administration figures to bring their
influence to bear quietly to ensure that action against the banks
was not taken.
Although not part of the sanctioned plan for Project Hammer - which
was to generate funds to pay off debts on bullion certificates
issued by certain metal trusts - the funds were siphoned off
surreptitiously in order to rescue numerous major US and other banks
that by the latter half of the 1980s were tottering on the brink of
The banks only had themselves to blame for their imminent collapse.
Reckless lending to Third World nations for over a decade or more,
combined with the raw greed of senior bank executives, had caused
unparalleled damage to the world’s banking system. The inability of
indebted Third World nations to repay their massive debts could have
been - in fact, was - foreseen, but was ignored.
The spiral of gluttony had taken prisoner the faculty of prudence
and reason as bank executives, seeking their next bonus and
promotion, pleaded with sovereign nations to take loans they did not
need and ultimately could not repay. Nor was it unusual for some of
the funds on loan to find their way into the private bank accounts
of corrupt state officials - "diversions" that were known about in
the boardrooms of the top banks, but ignored as "business as usual".
By the end of the 1980s, big banks including Citibank,
Manhattan, the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC),
England’s Midland Bank and many, many others were in dire straits.
In all but name, they were bankrupt. The possibility of a prolonged
series of collapses of the world’s top banks - a sort of "domino
theory" of finance - was regarded in some quarters with palpable
fear. The entire Western banking system was rocking when it should
have been rolling along nicely.
Somewhere, someone - nobody knows who (or at least no one is
saying) - took the decision to bail out the banks and save the
banking system by diverting Project Hammer funds for this purpose.
Those banking executives who caused the problem in the first place
weren’t confronted by their mistakes or held to account by their
shareholders but, instead, continued to collect their million-dollar
pay cheques, boost their bonus payments and profit shares, flick ash
off their Cuban cigars, quaff bottles of expensive Cheval Blanc and
slap each other on the back in delighted relief.
One of those
sighing relief was almost certainly Citibank’s John Reed. Another
one quite likely to have been cultivating a quiet exhalation was Hongkong and Shanghai Bank boss Sir William Purvis.
Meanwhile, many investors who had placed their money into Project
Hammer in return for an agreed profit, as well as all those
middle-men who had worked hard for their promised commission, were
relieved of their money in a twisted version of the well-known
axiom, "One man’s loss is another banker’s gain".
STEALING FROM THIEVES
The sanctioned purpose of Project Hammer was of a macro-economic
nature, which is a nice way of saying that it was all to do with
"repatriating" the assets stolen earlier by someone else - except
that when nations steal valuable assets during wartime, it’s called
"plunder"; but when the victors in that war grab those same assets,
they call it "recovery".
The assets in question were a vast horde of gold and lesser
quantities of platinum plus not inconsiderable amounts of loose
gemstones which had been grabbed by the Nazis and the
during World War II.
A large volume of this loot found its way to
the Philippines where it was hidden in numerous treasure sites by
the Japanese occupiers, who planned to recover it after the war.
But it didn’t quite work out the way the Japanese had planned. They
lost the war, along with the Philippines - which, it seems, they had
been fairly confident of being allowed to keep in a negotiated truce
with the Allies.
In their place, the OSS - the wartime forerunner of America’s spy
agency, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) - began recovering the
bullion plundered from a dozen or so nations. This bullion formed
what became known as the "Black Eagle"
fund, which was part of a
secret agreement eclipsed behind the 1944 Bretton Woods Agreement.
Consequently, the metal was placed under the care of OSS (and later
CIA) operative Severino Garcia Santa Romana, who put it under the
control of numerous corporate entities he formed for the purpose.
These entities, in turn, proceeded to establish 176 bank accounts in
42 different countries in which to deposit these assets under
private treaty agreement.
Confirmation of this came from General Cocke, after this was put to
"I have been advised that a chunk of the
Hammer Project funds
that were used to trade, to invest and reinvest, came from a large
block of assets that CIA put into the bank [Citibank]."
replied: "And they pulled that several times from several sources.
Nobody is going to confirm it."
Santa Romana died in 1974, and following his death his former
attorney and trustee was able to "acquire" considerable portions of
Santa Romana’s estate by illicit means.
The lawyer was Ferdinand
Marcos, who went on to become President of the Philippines and a
favorite friend of the United States until his overthrow in 1986.
The acquisition of these assets helped give rise to stories of
"Marcos gold" - a legend that was supplemented by additional later
recoveries of WWII gold and other loot using a Filipino Army
battalion under the overall command of Marcos henchman General
But Marcos was not the sole illegitimate beneficiary of war loot
once controlled by Santa Romana.
Another was the late
who, I have been told, also gained access to some of these assets.
Meanwhile, it is worth mentioning that Santa Romana, prior to his
death, was apparently associated with former US President and head
of the CIA,
George H. W. Bush, and "had some contact" with
the Governor of Florida.
In any event, this bullion has collectively given rise to a whole
class of gold and platinum certificates issued over the decades,
mainly by top-drawer European banks.
The certificates bear the names
of prominent, and in some cases infamous, individuals - usually heads
of state - as beneficiaries. However, these named owners were and are
not the legal beneficiaries but, rather, were cat’s-paws used to
muddy the waters concerning the true origin of the bullion. Nor did
the banks that held the assets own them, but they could and did use
them in support of their off-balance sheet activity - to the point of
It should not be forgotten that this gold and platinum hoard was
stolen and that, under international law, every effort should have
been made to return it to its rightful owners - rather than secretly
stash it in bank vaults for use in Cold War covert operations. And
although it can reasonably be argued that the true owners could
never be traced - since the greater quantity of the bullion was
privately owned (rather than being central bank bullion) - it is
clear that the ends dictated the means.
And even though numerous nations around the world were to benefit
from post-war reconstruction based on the use and application of
this war booty, the price of this apparent largesse was for these
nations to be moulded into Uncle Sam’s image. As they say in
America’s boardrooms, "There’s no such thing as a free lunch".
In examining the techniques employed in setting up Project Hammer,
one is struck not just by the complexity of it but also by the way
the banks and intelligence agencies involved structured things to
shield themselves from responsibility (and lawsuits, no doubt) by
utilizing subterranean networks, each working at "arm’s length".
Piecing these techniques and networks together has been an arduous,
painstaking task, but the process has further unveiled a shadow
world of parallel finance usually only known to those initiated into
THE EMPIRE STATE CONNECTION
During his April 2000 deposition, just days before his death from
cancer, Brigadier-General Erle Cocke, when asked about the overall
objective of Project Hammer, replied:
Well, it was mainly to bring back monies to the United States from
all types of activities, both legitimately and illegitimately. Not
that they were in the smuggling business per se, but they were all
in the arms business, they were all retracing dollars of one
description or another that had accumulated all through the ’40s and
’50s, really. And that probably is as broad a definition as I can
General Cocke then added that involvement in
Project Hammer extended
the CIA, the FBI, the
National Security Agencies of all types,
Pentagon in the broad sense of it and as such, the
Reserve. Nobody got out of the act, everybody wanted to get in on
Cocke’s involvement with clandestine CIA activities dates back many
years. At the very least, he is known to have been involved with the CIA’s Nugan Hand Bank. For example, US Treasury records obtained by
veteran journalist and author Jonathan Kwitny show Cocke as the
registered "person in charge" of Nugan Hand’s Washington office.
Cocke also indicated in his affidavit that he was regularly
contacted by the CIA for expert assistance over the years and was
usually debriefed by them following overseas travel. Despite this, a
Freedom of Information Act request to the CIA made on behalf of this
writer was dismissed with the statement that "no records responsive
to your request were located" - which is not entirely the same thing
as saying that no records exist.
It also appears that the CIA is not the only one that cares to deny
knowledge of General Cocke. Another is former Citibank CEO and
Chairman John Reed, who, in a sworn affidavit dated 5 December 2000,
stated he had "no knowledge of any persons named Erle Cocke, Jr, or
Barrie D. Wamboldt". Both the CIA and Citibank’s John Reed hold at
least one major advantage over General Cocke: they are alive and he
is dead; and while it is true that the dead can’t lie, it is also
true that they can’t rebut anyone’s testimony--sworn or otherwise.
In his deposition, Cocke states that although he had never "met"
John Reed, he had attempted on numerous occasions to speak with him,
but was continually rejected:
We did our best to make the normal approaches, but I can see the
President of the United States with no trouble. I cannot see Reed.
The "we" Cocke was referring to, besides himself, was
Paul Green, a
"long-time real estate lawyer in New York" with "50 years practice",
who "had done most of his real estate dealings through Citibank".10
Green also did some of his banking business with Citibank at its
Fifth Avenue, New York, branch under account FOCUS #946 963 94.
According to Cocke, Paul Green was an outside counsel for
and went back,
"30-odd years with large transactions through that
bank, buying and selling big buildings. He was very much involved
buying and selling the Empire State Building one time."
Green was involved in the purchase and sale of collateral
instruments, Cocke replied:
Probably not as an individual. But he represented the clients that
certainly wanted to do the same thing.
News in late March 2003 revealed that the
Empire State Building had
just been sold by casino king Donald Trump and the heirs of shady
Japanese billionaire Hideki Yokoi for US$57.5 million.
at the time, was serving a prison sentence and had secretly
negotiated the transaction through a middleman) and his partner
Trump had gained ownership of the building in 1991 for US$42
million. Little is known about Yokoi’s World War II activities.
The building last changed hands four decades earlier in 1961, when
it was acquired by real estate tycoon Harry Helmsley from the
Prudential Insurance Company in a sale-leaseback deal. The
world-renowned skyscraper was built on land owned by the
family and sold to
the DuPonts in 1929.
Construction of the Empire
State Building began in 1930. John Jacob Astor was one of the first
Americans to become involved in the opium trade, from which his
later fortune derived. This he invested in Manhattan real estate.
The architects of the Empire State Building were Shreve, Lamb &
Harmon Associates - designers of One Bankers Trust Plaza, the
Bankers Trust, together with the Credit Lyonnais building in
It is of more than passing interest that one law firm represents
many of the "actors" who appear in this story. That firm is
Case. Amongst numerous notable achievements listed on its website
background/history is its representation of the DuPont Group in its
sale of the Empire State Building in 1954 for the princely sum of
As we noted earlier, almost 40 years later, in
1991, the building sold for the less than princely sum of US$42
million. I am not certain how the real estate investors define
investment performance over the years, but an aggregate loss of
US$9.5 million over the course of 37 years doesn’t usually
constitute an investment accomplishment by any standard I know.13
Meanwhile, a brief review of White & Case’s client list tell us that
they also represented,
the First National Bank (the forerunner of
Astor Trust Company
J. P. Morgan & Co.
Swiss Bank Corporation
Seagram Company Ltd of
Canada, controlled by the Bronfman family - regarded by some as the
kings of the Canadian mafia
But White & Case’s most "enduring"
client is Bankers Trust Company, a J. P. Morgan-controlled bank
which the law firm was "centrally involved" in forming back in 1903.
The ancestor of all trust companies is England’s Foreign & Colonial
Investment Trust, which dates back to 1868 and was conceived by one
of the foremost legal minds of the day, Lord Westbury. The current
Lord Westbury, Richard Bethell, will appear later in this story.
But first, let’s step through the looking glass and examine one of
the early Hammer deals, which General Cocke believed:
It was one of the very early transactions, as far as I am concerned,
with Hammer. I think he [Dan Hughes] is the one who expanded Hammer
in the sense that we moved from one hundred million [dollars] to a
billion-type movement, and now we are doubling, about a trillion. He
is the one who enhanced it, is the best way of saying.
THE HUGHES PORTAL
Dan Hughes, Jr, the nephew of US Representative William J. Hughes
from New Jersey, made a considerable fortune in the construction
business in Florida during his early working life.
By the mid-1980s,
with paper assets nearing US$100 million, he became involved in collateral trading and by late 1989 entered the realm of
During the autumn of 1989, Hughes was approached by Peter Seaman,
the President and Chairman of a small investment bank called
Nantucket Holding Company. Seaman had developed an arrangement with
Ecoban Limited, a small merchant bank with offices in London and New
York City that specialized in emerging market-debt and the A’forfait
Seaman, using Nantucket Holding Company, concluded an
agreement by which Ecoban would purchase US$100 million worth of
documentary letters of credit issued by the head offices of
NA and the Chase Manhattan Bank NA. Hughes had access to these bank
credits via a US$50 billion "commitment" extended to him by the
Bankers Trust Company.
To fund the purchase, Ecoban needed the support of a bank and turned
to Midland Bank Aval Limited (MidAval), the forfaiting subsidiary of Midland Bank Group International Trade Services (MiBGITS).
once wholly owned by Midland Bank, had, shortly before commencing
with the Hammer transaction, concluded a private agreement with
William Purvis, Chairman of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking
Corporation, wherein HSBC purchased a controlling equity stake in
MidAval. This meant that MidAval was 60% owned by HSBC and
by Midland Bank.17
Accordingly, on 12 October 1989, MidAval issued a letter agreeing to
purchase "$100 million with rolls until funds are exhausted of
documentary letters of credit"18
An earlier MidAval letter (dated
25 September 1989) stated that they,
"irrevocably commit to purchase
the above letters of credit and pay the amount agreed between you
and Ecoban Limited (’the purchase price’) to Citibank NA,
The reference to "Lugano" was deleted in later letters at the
specific request of Nantucket’s Peter Seaman, as detailed in his 11
October 1989, letter to Brian Fitzpatrick, the Managing Director of Ecoban Limited. Lugano was of some considerable importance
- as we
shall see later - but not least because it was at Union Bank of
Switzerland in Lugano where, according to Dan Hughes, the actual
trading of the Hammer programme took place.
Meanwhile, MidAval’s letter was addressed to Jardine, Emett &
Chandler, New England, Inc., in Boston, USA, which acted as an agent
for MidAval. On the strength of MidAval’s signed and
letter, Jardine, Emett & Chandler issued its own "Request for
collateral instruments" under its letterhead. This letter, dated 12
October 1989, bore the reference "Midland Bank Aval Limited for
To close the circle, Dan Hughes had earlier instructed his attorney,
Oswald (Ozzie) Howe, Jr, of the Miami law firm
Johnston, Dunwoody & Cole, to cause to be issued a sight draft,
dated 6 October 1989, drawn on the Southeast Bank NA, Miami, and
payable to Bankers Trust Company, for the sum of US$50,000. A
further sight draft was issued in the amount of US$25,000, at the
request of Bankers Trust.
Following this sequence of events, nothing
happened and no draws were made against the sight drafts issued by
Southeast Bank in favour of Bankers Trust.
But on 18 October 1989,
Hughes received a time and sequence confirmation from Joan Johnson,
Vice President and Operations Manager of the Security Pacific bank
in Los Angeles, which Hughes believes activated his transaction
through a "back door" arrangement which would cut him out of his
Peter Seaman point-blank and inexplicably
refused to speak with Hughes again.
General Cocke was an experienced banker from a long line of bankers
and was a former full-time US representative at the World Bank.
Intimately familiar with the operational techniques of trading programmes, he was asked:
"Can you explain in a general way how it
[Hammer] functioned, that it was a trade programme, for those of us
that are not familiar?"
The stock way all big banks, all central banks, change within
themselves and curtail their balances, build up their peaks and then
He went on to explain that "most of it is done in a four-week
program to be technically correct" and involved the trading of
banking instruments - usually known as "collateral" - that are heavily
discounted and then sold off.
MAPPING THE COVERT CONNECTIONS
To appreciate the subtleties of how the diversion of this particular
"portal" into Project Hammer may have occurred, it is instructive to
look at the connections and associations of the principal players.
In addition to Ecoban Limited in London, there was the
affiliated Ecoban Finance Limited that conducted business out of an
address on Third Avenue in New York City.
A one-time President and CEO of Ecoban Finance Limited in New York
was Jim Demitrieus, who more recently was the President and Chief
Operating Officer of Ixnet/IPC, which was acquired by Global
Crossing in June 2000.
Global Crossing was one of the US firms that
recently suffered a spectacular collapse together with Worldcom,
Enron and the accountancy firm Arthur Andersen. All were subjected
to a welter of media attention for what was believed to have been
unparalleled insider trading activities by senior executives.
Earlier in his career, Demitrieus,
"served as senior vice president
and chief operating officer of the Commodity Division of Drexel
Burnham Lambert, Inc., responsible for the precious metals, energy
products, foreign exchange trading subsidiary and institutional
Of interest here is the little known fact that
Drexel, Burnham, Lambert, New York, was a recipient of gold bullion
from Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos in January 1984.
It is not
clear from Mr Demitrieus’s available vitae if this was the same time
period he was the Senior Vice President of Drexel’s bullion
business, but I am informed this is probably the case. Before that, Demitrieus "held senior-level financial positions with
Freeport-McMoRan, ITT and Arthur Andersen".
Significantly, Freeport-McMoRan, back when it was
positively heaved with CIA and elite heavy-hitters - not to mention
persistent whispers of its involvement in the recovery of plundered
gold stashed in Indonesia, where Freeport had the world’s largest
copper mining operation.
Over the years, the Freeport senior
management has included such luminaries as Augustus "Gus"
Chairman of Texaco, who did "prodigious volunteer work for Columbia
Presbyterian Hospital" - which has been described as a "hotbed of CIA
Another director was Robert Lovett, who has been described as a
"Cold War architect" and was once an executive at the old
Street bank of Brown Brothers Harriman. He also served as an Under
Secretary of State, Assistant Secretary of War and Secretary of
Defense. He was a best friend of Chase Manhattan Bank Chairman (and
Warren Commission member) John J. McCloy.
The Chase Manhattan and Citibank connection to
Freeport was further
enhanced by the board appointment of Godfrey Rockefeller, brother of
James Stillman Rockefeller who was appointed Chairman of Citibank
(then known as First National City Bank, or FNCB for short) in 1959.
(Note, too, that Chase Manhattan and Citibank are the exact same two
banks that were to issue the Project Hammer documentary letters of
Godfrey Rockefeller was a one-time trustee of the
Foundation that financed a variety of CIA "fronts". Meanwhile,
David Rockefeller, was Chairman of
Manhattan and regarded as the "goliath of American banking".
By a strange coincidence of fate, it was Robert Lovett and John J. McCloy who, together with
Robert B. Anderson, formed Secretary of
War Henry L. Stimson’s team of financial experts concerned with
tracking WWII gold looted by the Axis powers.
Indeed, Lovett and
McCloy were responsible for negotiating the secret agreement hidden
behind the Bretton Woods Agreement concerning the establishment of
Black Eagle trust that was to make use of plundered WWII bullion
in the postwar years.
When looking at MidAval’s parent, Midland Bank Group
International Trade Services (MiBGITS), one could do worse than read
the very informative book by former arms company chairman Gerald
James, entitled In the Public Interest. James recounts numerous
chilling accounts of Her Majesty’s intelligence service
involvement with the MiBGITS special defense unit.
details of Stephan Kock, who James claims to have been a former head
of the Foreign Office’s so-called assassination squad, Group 13.
Another intelligence-connected individual named in James’s book is
Sir John Cuckney, who was a non-executive director of
from 1978 until 1988 and was responsible for having formed the
defense unit in the first place.
Gerald James and his munitions
company Astra also had dealings with, and a private account at,
Kock’s boss at Midland was Comte Herve de Carmoy, a Frenchman and a
leading light on the
Trilateral Commission. He left
Midland in 1988
to take up the position as the most senior executive of Belgium’s
massive transnational company, Société Générale.
He was replaced as
head of Midland International by John Louden, a multilinguist who
had an unfortunate speech impediment - leading wags in the bank to
say of him that he could stutter in seven languages. De Carmoy’s
departure was followed by that of both Cuckney and Kock, after what
Gerald James describes as "funny practices" relating to a loss of
£100 million involving all three men.
Although a similar amount to the MidAval’s Project Hammer
transaction, this sum of £100 million cannot have been the same
money for two reasons. Firstly, the Hammer amount was in dollars and
not pounds, and was discounted at approximately 4% over the
prevailing one-year interest rate (LIBOR--the London Interbank
For US banks of the standing of Chase and
at that time a market rate of perhaps one quarter of 1% - or, at
most, one half of 1% - was applicable. Four per cent was unheard of
by a very long shot indeed. Secondly, at least a year separated the
two movements of money.
Even so, there are notable connections between the MidAval CEO
Guild and Herve de Carmoy (who was known in the bank as "Herve the
Firstly, de Carmoy was Guild’s overall boss.
shortly after de Carmoy moved to Société Générale, a valued employee
of MidAval (also a Frenchman, referred to in-house by the
affectionate nickname of "Froggy") left MidAval employment to take
up the post of Chef du Cabinet at the specific invitation of de Carmoy.
Thirdly, Guild and the other two senior executives, plus
some other staff, left Midland in 1990 to form IndoSuez Aval
Limited. IndoSuez Bank was directly owned by Société Générale and
negotiations between de Carmoy, his Chef du Cabinet - the former MidAval employee
- and the three senior MidAval executives had been
ongoing for almost a year before satisfactory terms were settled.
Following the takeover of Midland Bank by HSBC,
MidAval had its name
changed to HSBC Forfaiting Limited. It was dissolved in February
2000. Former staff had long since scattered with the four winds. IndoSuez Aval Limited is likewise now defunct.
Documents and other exhibits in support
of this story are available
Project Hammer part one, "The Project Hammer File",
3. Information about Project Hammer has been garnered from numerous
sources. Those sources that I am able to name are named in the text.
The remainder remain confidential.
4. Page 51 of General Cocke’s affidavit. One of the CIA "sources"
was the slush fund controlled by Japanese Liberal Democrat Party
bosses and known as the "M-fund", after General MacArthur’s economic
supremo in Tokyo, General Marquat.
5. General Cocke’s
67-page affidavit can be seen in
6. See Jonathan Kwitny’s excellent book, The Crimes of Patriots
(Touchstone Books, New York, 1987), for a detailed background on the
Nugan Hand Bank affair.
http://www.deepblacklies.co.uk/cocke-news.html for a copy of
the CIA’s letter.
http://www.deepblacklies.co.uk/cocke-news.html for a copy of
the cover sheet of John Reed’s affidavit.
9. See page 43 of Cocke’s deposition at lines 11, 12 and 13.
10. From Cocke’s affidavit.
11. See pages 40 and 41 of Cocke’s deposition at lines 19 through 21
and 1 through 6.
12. ibid., page 41 at lines 9 and 10.
13. If one includes the inflationary effect over this time period,
it would reveal that the sale price is, in fact, a great deal less
now than it was almost 50 years ago, which is more than curious. Nor
does the leasing agreement over this same period seem especially
14. It is not clear from the banking records I have viewed online,
but it looks as though the Astor Trust Company was absorbed into an
entity that formed part of the Bankers Trust Company.
Dope, Inc. (EIR, 1992).
16. Forfaiting is the discounting of bank-guaranteed receivables
(Aval) on a non-recourse basis.
17. I use the term "private agreement" under advice--following a
recent telephone conversation with a representative of Companies
House, who told me that no change of ownership notification had been
made for MidAval at that time. MidAval had first been registered as
a limited company under the shelf registration name of "Diplema
Twenty Nine Limited" in June 1983. A change of name to Midland Bank
Aval Limited was formally notified to Companies House in April
1996--although the firm had been trading in the name of Midland Bank
Aval Limited from day one. Following the full buy-out of Midland
Bank PLC by the HSBC Group, MidAval had its name changed to HSBC Forfaiting Limited. The company was dissolved in February 2000.
18. Italics are mine.
19. Sworn and
notarized affidavit of Dan Hughes, dated December 31,
20. There are believed to have been numerous different "portals"
providing access into Project Hammer over the period of its life.
The Dan Hughes transaction was one of these--albeit a significant
and "early" one, according to the testimony of General Erle Cocke.
21. Demitrieus’s vitae is drawn from that published on the Global
22. For details concerning the Freeport Board of Directors, see
Internet report entitled "Freeport Sulphur’s Powerful Board of
23. See Phillip Zweig’s massive book, Wriston (Crown Publishers, New
York, 1995) for comprehensive background on Citibank and Chase.
24. For details of these three gentlemen’s involvement in the Black
Eagle Trust, see Seagrave’s self-published book, Gold Warriors;
details are available on my website, under the heading of "The Seagrave Affair"
25. I know much of the inner workings of MidAval for the simple
reason that I was the Treasurer and an Associate Director of that
firm until 1991. However, I knew nothing of the Project Hammer deal
that was strictly handled by the three principal executive
26. See details on page 164 of Gerald James’s book,
In the Public
Interest (Warner Books/Little, Brown, London, 1996).
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