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Mutombo involved in African gold smuggling
Tags:  africa, basketball, bills, dikembe mutombo, government, houston, houston rockets, mutombo, nba, republican, texas, trade, university, war crimes Tags
da1 is offline Old 01-15-2012, 06:14 PM   #1
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U.N. report says Houston exec organized illicit gold deal
By MIKE TOLSON, HOUSTON CHRONICLE
Published 09:40 p.m., Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Kase Lawal, the politically connected head of a local energy company who also serves as a commissioner on the Port of Houston Authority, was the main organizer of an illicit gold smuggling operation that went awry last February in the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to a United Nations report on the nation's natural resources and their misuse by various militia groups.

Lawal, chairman of CAMAC International and a prominent Houston philanthropist, used company money to finance a scheme to take approximately 475 kilograms of gold out of Congo for resale despite a national ban on gold exports, which often have been used to finance paramilitary activities and ethnic strife, stated the report, which was publicly released last week. The scheme originally called for the transaction to be conducted in Kenya, where the export of gold is legal, but was belatedly moved to Goma, Congo, at the insistence of the sellers.

Lawal is reputed to be one of the nation's richest African-Americans, parlaying a chemistry degree from Texas Southern University and an entrepreneurial bent into a billion-dollar company and a place on numerous boards and commissions, including trade advisory groups for Democratic and Republican presidents.

Team sent on jet

The proposal for buying the gold originally came from Dikembe Mutombo, a retired NBA star who played for the Houston Rockets for several seasons at the end of his 18-year career, the report says. Mutombo was born in Congo and is involved in a number of humanitarian projects there, including a hospital. His motivation, those involved said, was to help fund some of his projects.

Lawal involved a family friend, Carlos St. Mary, as a facilitator and go-between among various parties involved in the scheme. St. Mary hired a Kenyan attorney to prepare paperwork and arrange inspection of the gold in Nairobi. When time came to complete the transaction, Lawal sent his brother, CAMAC executive Mickey Lawal, to Congo on a CAMAC corporate jet along with St. Mary and security personnel. Also on board were bags containing about $6 million in cash.

By this time, Kase Lawal had learned that the actual owner of the gold was Gen. Bosco Ntaganda, the leader of a military faction in the Kivu province that is home to much of Congo's mining industry. Ntaganda was indicted for alleged war crimes by the International Criminal Court. At the time, Ntaganda denied any involvement in the gold deal.

"According to St. Mary, Ntaganda introduced himself as the true owner of the gold and promised to obtain all the necessary paperwork," the U.N. report states. "St. Mary told (investigators) that both he and Mukaila (Mickey) Lawal had informed Kase Lawal about the General's ownership, providing his name. Nevertheless, Lawal was concerned only to the extent that this presented another twist in the already convoluted deal."

The jet was prevented from leaving Congo and St. Mary, Mickey Lawal and several others, including the plane's crew, were detained in the eastern city of Goma for more than a month while authorities investigated the transaction. The bags of cash that had been given to Ntaganda were turned over to government officials, but the money had been replaced by obviously counterfeit bills, according to the report. St. Mary and others were charged with money laundering, among other crimes.

The crew and airplane were released in mid-March after various "fines" were paid. U.N. investigators claim that Lawal, who did not cooperate in the investigation, ended up paying more than $30 million to extricate himself and his intermediaries from the mess.

Efforts to reach Lawal for comment were unsuccessful. A spokesman for the company offered a brief statement: "CAMAC is a law-abiding company and we disagree with the representations made in the report. We have already answered questions on this and see no reason to address it further." In a statement released last year, after the detainees and corporate jet were allowed to leave by Congo authorities, the company also stated it had done nothing wrong and that it had no financial interest in the gold transaction.

Thought deal was legal

The U.N. report, however, claims that Lawal supplied the money for the venture and was to receive 40 percent of the profit when the gold was sold.

St. Mary said in a brief interview Tuesday that all involved in the purchase of the gold believed the deal was legal.

"We all acted to put together a legitimate deal," St. Mary said. "We all went there with that intention, which is why I went to see a lawyer and the ministry of mines. I've known (Kase) Lawal for 31 years. Anything that seems like it's going to be a public detriment to him, he's going to walk away from. He wants no part of public scandal."

Mutombo could not be reached for comment.

mike.tolson@chron.com

http://www.chron.com/news/houston-te...it-2439644.php
 
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ToyCen428 is offline Old 01-15-2012, 06:16 PM   #2
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da1 is offline Old 01-15-2012, 06:17 PM   #3
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There is actually a more damning piece on the front page of today's Chronicle. I can't seem to find it online though.
 
Carl Herrera is offline Old 01-15-2012, 06:17 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by da1 View Post

Mutombo could not be reached for comment.

My God! The bad guys got Deke!

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pge71188 is offline Old 01-15-2012, 06:19 PM   #5
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Shaud is offline Old 01-15-2012, 06:23 PM   #6
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flamingdts is offline Old 01-15-2012, 06:35 PM   #7
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Seems like Robin Hood-est action from Mutombo.
 
v3.0 is offline Old 01-15-2012, 06:35 PM   #8
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Last edited by v3.0; 01-15-2012 at 06:40 PM.
 
HPD is offline Old 01-15-2012, 06:41 PM   #9
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I knew he was dirty
 
Dreamin is offline Old 01-15-2012, 06:45 PM   #10
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Mutumbo probably wanted to do it legit but the other guy screwed him over.
 
Pizza_Da_Hut is offline Old 01-15-2012, 07:21 PM   #11
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Sexing Mutumbo aint cheap.

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redwhiteone is offline Old 01-15-2012, 09:14 PM   #12
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Oh damn. He's rubbing elbows with the wrong people.

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Apps is offline Old 01-15-2012, 09:20 PM   #13
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And that right there is the problem with Africa. Even the good people who want to make a change inevitably run into a bad crowd, because the bad crowd is the only crowd with any real control.
 
knote32 is offline Old 01-15-2012, 09:30 PM   #14
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This is awesome...
 
Billionzz is offline Old 01-15-2012, 10:05 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HPD View Post
I knew he was dirty
I always thought you were dirty also.
 
emcitymisfit is offline Old 01-15-2012, 10:16 PM   #16
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two dollars bill.

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HTown_TMac is offline Old 01-15-2012, 10:34 PM   #17
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I knew he was dirty
the irony

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crossover is offline Old 01-15-2012, 10:49 PM   #18
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Who wants to sex Mutombo?
 
mylilpony is offline Old 01-15-2012, 10:55 PM   #19
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i cant believe i repped toycen but it happened.

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J.R. is offline Old 01-16-2012, 12:44 AM   #20
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'Mutombo’s role in $10 million 
gold scam only now coming to light'

quote:
Not only had Mutombo initiated the deal, St. Mary said, but he and his family played a key role from the onset, one not revealed until recently with the release of a United Nations report on Congo’s militia activity that recounts the incident.

Mutombo would not talk about his involvement. “I have nothing to say,” he replied when reached by phone in Atlanta. But the extent of it became clear through lengthy interviews with St. Mary, who kept records and copies of text messages throughout the ordeal, and the report by U.N. investigators. Through a spokesman, Lawal declined to comment.
 

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