I'm very pleased to announce that longtime progressive blog reader and commenter Kathy G has launched a blog of her own: The G-Spot.
Check out Kathy's writings on politics, economics, feminism, labor, and culture.
I'm very pleased to announce that longtime progressive blog reader and commenter Kathy G has launched a blog of her own: The G-Spot.
Check out Kathy's writings on politics, economics, feminism, labor, and culture.
In the next installment of our ongoing series on the AEY scandal, we'll examine the paper trail on the AEY's vice president, David Packouz.
In addition to his position at AEY, David M. Packouz is the president of Intelliteran, a "world class metal commodity trader specializing in metal scrap." Intelliterran's principal place of business is 3150 Sheridan Ave, in Miami Beach, according documents filed with the Florida Secretary of State. Mr. Packouz incorporated Intelliterran in August of 2005, these records show. Very precocious of him, considering Mr. Packouz is only 25 years old today. Intelliterran's listing on the global trade website Alibaba since 1999.
In that Alibaba profile, Intelliterran claims to have 50-100 employees and an annual sales volume of $50-$100 million. Intelliterran's contact person is Mr. David Packouz, who can be reached by phone at 1-305-793-3413, or by fax at 1-305-397-2987. Adam Sofen observes that David uses the 3413 number to promote his services as a masseur on MySpace.
Intelliterran also does business as Dyna Core Industries (Also spelled "DynaCore"), according to its profile on Manta.com
The Dynacore website is unavailable, but the Google cache gives us a glimpse of Intelliterran dba DynCore, which appears to have billed itself as something altogether more grandiose than AEY:
According to the Google cache of DynaCore's website:
DYNACORE Industries is a global provider of material and logistical defense solutions. Our services include procurement, logistics, and custom manufacturing of defense materials. We are a major supplier of critical defense equipment specializing in the production and distribution of custom built and hard-to-find defense related commodities. Using our extensive global network, we assure the speedy delivery of essential defense items to even some of the most operationally difficult regions of the world. We pride ourselves in our versatility, competitive pricing, world class customer service and highly experienced staff.
We have successfully supplied critical defense materials to the following organizations:
- US Army
- US Air Force
- US State Department
- Afghan National Army
- Afghan National Police
- Iraqi Security Forces
- Iraqi Police
- Colombian National Army
- Colombian National Police
- A multitude of private companies in the US and abroad
DYNACORE Industries is fully licensed by the US Government to engage in all aspects of the defense business and is fully compliant with US and international law.
With a strong legacy and an unmatched track record in procurement and logistics, DYNACORE Industries has successfully performed on some of the most essential, urgent and complex defense logistics and materials contracts. Whatever your defense, security or police requirements may be, you can rely on DYNACORE Industries.
DYNACORE Industries is one of the world’s leading specialists in the manufacturing and procurement of defense related materials. From the soldier’s uniform, weapon and munitions to the armored vehicle that protects him and his squad, DYNACORE Industries can provide all necessary materials to successfully complete the mission. Coupled with our highly integrated logistics network, DYNACORE Industries provides for the safe and punctual delivery of wide variety defense related materials worldwide.
As well as supplying equipment, DYNACORE Industries also can arrange the sale or disposal of out-dated weapon systems and ammunition. Whether you need economically advantageous surplus equipment or require newly manufactured equipment, we offer nothing less than the highest quality at the best price.
Items Supplied/Manufactured Include:
- Ammunition (NATO / Warsaw Pact)
- Small Arms (NATO / Warsaw Pact)
- Weapon Accessories: Magazines, holsters, cleaning kits, spare parts, etc.
- Ballistic vests and helmets
- Meals Ready to Eat (MRE)
- Cold weather, jungle and desert clothing
- Tents, Rucksacks, Sleeping bags
- Utility knives
- Police and Riot gear
- Communication Equipment
- Navigation Equipment
Vehicles and Aircraft
- Armored Personnel Carriers
- Amphibious Vehicles
- Rotary Wing Aircraft
- Fixed Wing Aircraft
- All types of spare and specialty vehicle/aircraft parts
Please Note: We are constantly updating and expanding our product range. If you are interested in a product that is not listed here, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information regarding availability and specifications.
4045 Sheridan Ave #331
Miami Beach, FL 33140
United States of America
URL address: www.Dynacore-Ind.com
A local telephone directory for Miami Beach has a listing for DYNACORE INDUSTRIES at 3150 Sheridan Ave, Miami Beach, Florida.
Notice that Dynacore claims to have many of the same clients as AEY, including the Afghan National Police and the US State Department. (DynaCore Industries should not be confused with well-known private security firm DynCorp, a totally separate entity.)
Dynacore's websites are no longer available, but the usage statistics for dynacore-ind.com are still available. Here's the current WHOIS data for the domains dynacore-ind.com and dynacoreindustries.com. If anyone has access to historical WHOIS for these domains, please send me an email, or post in the comments below.
The house on Sheridan Avenue is a veritable hub of commercial activity. SSN, Inc. also lists 3150 Sheridan as its primary address. The president and registered agent of SSN is Elimelech Packouz, David Packouz's younger brother.
Eli Packouz celebrated his Bar Mitzvah in 2004, according to his father's website. So, Eli is about 17 today. SSN was registered with the Secretary of State in mid-2007. So, we seem to have a lot of very young entrepreneurs in AEY's orbit, not just 22-year-old AEY president Efraim Diveroli.
The house itself is a single family residence owned by Kenneth M Packouz and Rhonda W Packouz. The elder Packouzes use the their two-story single family home as an address for several non-profit ventures. We can assume the Packouzes also live there because they claim a $25,000 homestead exemption on their Miami Dade County property taxes.
More on the Packouzes philanthropic ventures later.
(Original reporting. Please credit Lindsay Beyerstein.)
New York City wants to know who used TXTmob during the Republican National Convention in 2004. So, the creator of TXTmob, Tad Hirsh, has been hit with a subpoena. Hirsh's lawyer calls the subpoena "vague and overbroad."[NYT]
How did an unknown firm with a 22-year-old president secure US defense contracts worth over $300 million?
AEY, Inc. won, and subsequently lost a multi-million dollar contract to supply ammunition to Afghanistan, The New York Times reported on Thurdsay. The firm's president, 22-year-old Efraim Diveroli, is scheduled to testify before Congress in April.
Efraim Diveroli probably didn't land those contracts all by himself, public records show.
Efraim's dad, Michael Diveroli, told the media that he had nothing to do with his son's arms trading.
"I would prefer he became a nice Jewish doctor or lawyer rather than an arms dealer. He's never asked for my approval on the company. He doesn't always take my advice, I don't influence him. As a father of a boy genius he's hard to control," Michael Diveroli told WFOR-TV.
That's hard to believe. Fedvendor.com lists Michael Diveroli as AEY's sales manager and its government business contact. The elder Diveroli incorporated AEY in 1999 and installed his son as president in 2005. Michael Diveroli also has two businesses of his own that get government contracts for police equipment and office supplies.
The House Oversight Committee will hold hearings on April 17th to investigate AEY's history, past performance, and compliance with US and contracting law. Efraim Diveroli, AEY vice president David Packouz, and AEY general manager Levi Meyer have been invited to testify, along with senior officials from the Departments of State and Defense. Neither Michael Diveroli nor his arms dealing brother-in-law, BK Botach, is scheduled to testify.
Efraim Diveroli's uncle Bar Kochba Botach is in the weapons business. According to the New York Times, Efraim Diveroli worked for his uncle BK at Botach Tactical, a purveyor of police and military supplies, headquartered in Los Angeles:
The younger Diveroli’s munitions experience appeared to be limited to a short-lived job in Los Angeles for Botach Tactical, a military and police supply company owned by his uncle, Bar-Kochba Botach.
Mr. Diveroli cut off an interview when asked about Botach Tactical. Mr. Botach, reached by telephone, said that both Michael and Efraim Diveroli had briefly worked for him, but that after seeing the rush of federal contracts available after the wars began, they had struck out on their own.
“They just left me and took my customer base with them,” he said. “They basically said: ‘Why should we work for Botach? Let’s do it on our own.’ ” [NYT]
At left, you'll see the Botach Defense/Botach Tactical logo, a red Star of David and a sword, emanating lighting bolts.
Botach Tactical doesn't advertise guns or explosives on its Yahoo-hosted website, but they will sell you plastic training guns and real magazines. Body bags, too. (Before you whip out your credit cards, be advised that Botach seems to have a lot of bitterly dissatisfied customers.)
In 2005 Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Ca) and some of her constituents confronted Botach at his at unmarked establishment at 3423 W. 43rd Place in Los Angeles. Local residents and city officials became concerned when they found out that Botach had quietly converted a former pawn shop into a gun dealership 12 years earlier. Botach has many other business interests in California, including Botach Management, also at 3423 W. 43rd Place, and a cold storage warehouse around the corner from his tactical store/gun dealership/property management company.
Kley Zion is Botach Tactical's sister firm. Arguably, Kley Zion and Botach Tactical are the same company. According to the masthead on its homepage Kley Zion is "Your Professional Specialist Serving the World[:] Law Enforcement - Military - Public Safety Special Operations - Corporate Security."
Botach and Kley Zion not only share quarters at 43rd Place in Los Angeles, they also have the same federal tax ID number, the same DUNS number, and the same GSA contracting number, according to their respective websites. The klezion.com domain is registered to Bar Kochba Botach. The fictitious business name "Botach Tactical Kley Zion" was filed at the Los Angeles County Recorders office in 2006. "Botach Tactical" is a separate fictitious name for a California partnership between BK and Schlomo Botach.
According to their respective websites, both Botach Tactical and Kley Zion are pre-approved to supply goods to the federal government, including the GSA and the Defense Department. However, only Botach appears to have been awarded federal contracts.
Over the past 8 years, Botach Tactical amassed federal contracts worth over $10.8 million.
Botach sells various weapons and ammunition to a handful of federal clients, but these products account for a relatively small share of the company's business with the federal government. Botach makes most of its federal money by filling large numbers of small orders for products classified as "individual equipment," including specialty clothing, boots, and headsets. They also do a brisk business in night vision goggles and other optical equipment.
On Fedvendor.com, Botach Tactical has two profiles. One of them lists physical and mailing addresses in California. The other says that Botach Tactical's mailing address is the same Miami Beach address as AEY, down to the suite number:
925 41ST. SUITE 306 MIAMI BEACH, Florida 33140-3339 3423 W 43RD PLACE LOS ANGELES, California 90008, USA Tel: 305-534-0777 Fax: 305-534-1297 Contact
Information: Michael Diveroli 3423 W 43RD PLACE LOS ANGELES, California 90008, USA Tel: 305-534-0777 Fax: 305-534-1297
Note that Botach's contact person is Michael Diveroli, Efraim's father. Michael Diveroli's stated address, above, is Botach Tactical's LA headquarters. One old company profile I found on Lexis-Nexis lists Michael Diveroli as the owner of Botach Tactical, probably incorrectly.
The Miami Beach address also shows up on a handful of Botach contracts awarded between 1999 and 2004--as the only address. These contracts also specify that the work will be performed in Florida. So, it appears that Botach Tactical had a significant presence in Florida for several years.
There's no indication that BK Botach had anything to do with the ammunition contract that got AEY in trouble.
The media are captivated by the idea that a boy genius and his twenty-something buddies cooked up a $300 million arms deal. No doubt, Efraim has a very impressive CV for an arms dealer his age. (He was allegedly caught on tape negotiating with Albanian officials.) Yet, the record suggests that members of Efraim's family probably had a much greater role in this enterprise than they're letting on. At the very least, family connections help explain Efraim's extraordinary success in securing contracts.
Now that Efraim has left the country, the Michael Diveroli appears to be shifting the blame to his absent son.
How did Diveroli manage to do business with the federal government on such a massive scale?
Maybe it's a family affair.
Records from the Florida Secretary of State show that Efraim's father, Michael Diveroli, is the manager and registered agent of Worldwide Tactical, LLC, located at 925 41 St. (Ste. 106), Miami Beach, Florida. Diveroli was also the registered agent and president of the now-defunct Advantage Police Supply, LLC, principal office 925 41st St. (Ste. 306).
Efraim Diveroli's company, AEY, gave the same address to the Miami Dade County procurement office.
AEY also provided that address, down to the 306 suite number, when it was awarded a multi-million dollar contract with the Army in 2007.
Michael Diveroli's Worldwide Tactical, LLC has been awarded over a million dollars in federal contracts since 2000, records show. Worldwide Tactical also got an emergency two-year contract in 2006 to supply cots to the State of Louisiana. Worldwide Tactical recently renewed a contract to provide cold weather search and rescue gear for Lincoln/Lancaster County, Nebraska.
Another Michael Diveroli company with headquarters at 925 41st St. (Ste. 106) is Business Products Depot Corp. Federal procurement records show that AEY is doing business as Business Products Depot Corp.
Let's hope Congress has some questions for Michael Diveroli, too.
(Original reporting by Lindsay Beyerstein, please credit.)
Update: The New York Times reports that Efraim Diveroli worked briefly for his uncle, Bar-Kochba Botach, proprietor of the LA-Based Botach Tactical. Botach is an established firm that has won many federal contracts to supply military and police gear. According to the NYT, Efraim left his uncle's company to strike out on his own as an defense contractor.
Update 2: Michael Diveroli business is even more diversified than I thought. Here's an online ad from Business Products Depot offering a diaper plant for sale: "One of a kind, modern automated diaper-making machine, available for sale. The machinery is in excellent working condition. Includes over 500k in spare parts !!!"
Update 3: Steve Sailer has unearthed some remarkable details about Botach Tactical, which operates out of an unmarked building in South Central Los Angeles.
Henry Waxman wants 22-year-old Efraim Diveroli to testify about how his company, AEY Inc., landed over $300 million in government contracts between 2004 and 2007.
In a letter dated March 25, the Army informed Diveroli that he and AEY were debarred from future federal contracts because Army investigators concluded that AEY had passed off old Chinese ammunition as Hungarian-made. The US military is not allowed to buy from Chinese military companies.
Many news accounts have remarked on the age of the ammo--some of it was manufactured over 40 years ago. Note that the Army knew it was buying some pretty old rounds. AEY said that the ammo was made between 1965 and 1975. Most of it was actually produced between 1962 and 1974.
I reviewed some government contracting records and learned that AEY wasn't just a defense contractor. The firm had contracts with the IRS, the EPA, the DOE, the State Department, and other agencies.
AEY contracted to provide the following goods, in addition to weapons and ammunition for the Army, the Navy, and the Coast Guard:
-Small arms to a branch of the Department of Energy that protects nuclear installations
-Commercial printing for the EPA
-Computer phone cords to the IRS
-Sporting goods for the air force
-Cartridge and propellant devices for the US Embassy in Bogata, through a State Department contract
-Miscellaneous weapons for the US Special Operations Command
-Equipment for the Diplomatic Security/Anti-terrorism Assistance office of the State Department
AEY also had federal contracts to supply body armor, scopes, scaffolding and concrete forms, composite food packages, forklifts, and many other items.
Diveroli is also the president of the Florida company Ammoworks, according to Nick Juliano of Raw Story. Ammoworks, shares office space in Miami Beach with AEY, but does not appear to have received any federal contracts.
The Army investigated the sketchy ammunition that AEY sold them, but it's not clear whether any other agencies are checking the quality and source of the materials they got from Diveroli and AEY.
The National Nuclear Security Administrative Services Center should probably take a good look at the guns they bought from AEY to defend nuclear reactors.
Former Alabama governor Don Siegelman is set to be released from prison today, by order of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals:
A federal appeals court on Thursday ordered Siegelman released pending the appeal of his corruption case. Prison spokeswoman Tammy Jarvis said he cannot be released until court documents are received, but the papers were expected sometime Friday.
In its ruling, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the former governor had raised "substantial questions of fact and law" in challenging his conviction. [TIME]
Siegelman will go free pending an appeal of his conviction for bribery. For some reason, Richard Scrushy, Siegelman's co-defendant (who allegedly offered the bribe), will not be released pending appeal.
The House Judiciary Committee wants to hear Siegelman's testimony about his alleged selective prosecution by US Attorneys.
Attention, terrorists, drug dealers, and corporate criminals: The Republic of Uzbekistan has legalized money laundering until 2013.
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCen) warned American banks about the threat on March 20:
The Government of Uzbekistan has taken a series of legal actions that undermine the jurisdiction's AML/CFT regime. Uzbekistan had made progress in addressing AML/CFT deficiencies by enacting an AML/CFT law that went into effect in January, 2006. However, the Government of Uzbekistan subsequently suspended implementation of the law through a series of decrees until January 1, 2013.
Among other things, the decrees suspend the authority of Uzbekistan's financial intelligence unit to collect and analyze information on, and monitor, financial and property transactions; identify possible money laundering and terrorist financing mechanisms and channels; share information on identified crimes with law enforcement agencies for criminal prosecution; and cooperate and exchange information with foreign agencies and international organizations on AML/CFT issues based on international obligations and agreements of Uzbekistan. The decrees also suspend reporting, programmatic, and customer identification/due diligence requirements for covered entities. Moreover, the decrees subject reports to secrecy legislation and call for the General Prosecutor to strengthen bank secrecy "to prevent interference with activities of banking and other credit organizations" (Presidential Decree No. PP-565, January 12, 2007). The most recent decree (No. PP-3968, February 20, 2008) prohibits financial institutions, law enforcement, and other supervising bodies from inquiring about the sources of cash deposits in any amount, upon threat of civil or criminal penalty.
Following the latest presidential decree, which criminalizes official inquiries about the source of cash transactions, a global anti-money laundering body known as the Financial Action Task Force issued the following statement:
"The FATF is particularly concerned that a series of presidential decrees in Uzbekistan has effectively repealed the anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime in that country and generates a money laundering/financing of terrorism (ML/FT) vulnerability in the international financial system." [FATF, February 28, 2008 (.pdf)]
These stark warnings have generated remarkably little media attention.
In the global financial system, loopholes in one jurisdiction can have repercussions worldwide. For example, if a wealthy Saudi Arabian wanted to discreetly sponsor some jihadis bound for Afghanistan, lax anti-money laundering laws in neighboring Uzbekistan might make his life easier. Or, suppose someone with suitcases of cash from the opium trade wanted to bank that money to buy some weapons. Uzbekistan might be a good place to do that.
This week, the US is sending a diplomat to Uzbekistan for talks:
But, in a possible sign of political relaxation in a country the West says tolerates little dissent, the government has pardoned six jailed human rights activists this year.
President Islam Karimov, ruling Central Asia's most populous nation since 1989, has also promised to liberalize Uzbekistan's rigid financial system and he has softened his critical stance towards the West.
Some Tashkent diplomats have linked the shift in Uzbekistan's stance to Karimov's bid to emerge from global isolation.
Uzbekistan has large gas and oil reserves and is also among the world's top 10 gold producers and the No. 2 cotton exporter.
Acting U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Central Asia Pamela Spratlen was due to arrive in the Uzbek capital Tashkent for talks later on Thursday, an embassy statement said.
"We are convinced that the involvement of the Uzbek government in a discussion on a broad range of topics that are on our bilateral agenda," the statement quoted U.S. Ambassador to Uzbekistan Richard Norland as saying.
He listed potential topics as regional safety, trade and investment, cultural exchange and human rights. [Reuters]
It's not clear whether the timing of the US visit had anything to do with the recent changes in Uzbekistan's money laundering laws.
Last week, the Los Angeles Times reported that associates of Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs murdered rapper Tupac Shakur in 1994.
Yesterday, the Smoking Gun revealed that the Times had been duped by an incarcerated forger:
The Times appears to have been hoaxed by an imprisoned con man and accomplished document forger, an audacious swindler who has created a fantasy world in which he managed hip-hop luminaries, conducted business with Combs, Shakur, Busta Rhymes, and The Notorious B.I.G., and even served as Combs's trusted emissary to Death Row Records boss Marion "Suge" Knight during the outset of hostilities in the bloody East Coast-West Coast rap feud.
The con man, James Sabatino, 31, has long sought to insinuate himself, after the fact, in a series of important hip-hop events, from Shakur's shooting to the murder of The Notorious B.I.G.. In fact, however, Sabatino was little more than a rap devotee, a wildly impulsive, overweight white kid from Florida whose own father once described him in a letter to a federal judge as "a disturbed young man who needed attention like a drug." [TSG]
The Times has since issued an apology. (Scroll down to read the story as it appeared on March 17.)