In January 2006, an Ansary company, Parman International BV, acquired ENNIA Caribe Holding BC and Banco di Caribe, a Curaçao financial institution. ENNIA controlled large parts of the insurance market in the former Dutch Antilles, including the market for retirement pensions.
According to the complaint, Ansary used roughly $90 million from his new acquisition and $5 million from still another Ansary company, Parman Capital, to purchase a Houston-based oil company, Stewart & Stevenson. The complaint alleges that some of the proceeds from this investment improperly went to Ansary and his daughter Nina, a director of multiple Parman companies and until recently a director of ENNIA.
From 2006 to 2009, Ansary and his associates downgraded the value of ENNIA and Banco di Caribe stake in Stewart & Stevenson and moved the two Caribbean companies’ assets into newly created holding companies that were not subject to supervision from local regulators, the complaint asserts. Ansary then took complete control over their financial decisions. In 2012, ENNIA transferred its interests in Stewart & Stevenson first to a Cypriot company and then to EC Investments International in Luxembourg, the complaint says.
The 2012 annual report for EC Investments — the first filed report — records $279 million in assets. The last filed report from 2019 shows that that value had risen to $303 million. The assets reported in that time period included loans to Stewart & Stevenson and Parman Capital Group and full ownership stake in the Cypriot company, Onafield Limited. Ansary is listed as owning a 77.1% stake in EC Investments International, according to the Luxembourg registry.
Hopscotching jurisdictions — as ENNIA did when it moved its assets from Curaçao to Cyprus to Luxembourg in a short span — can be a red flag to regulators, said William H. Byrne, a law professor at Texas A&M University specializing in global taxation and money-laundering prevention.
“When you leap-frog, there is really no reason for a business to do that,” he said.
The civil complaint says Ansary, through Parman, reaped the full benefit of investment in which ENNIA had actually contributed more capital.
The complaint says that when Stewart & Stevenson was sold in June 2017, ENNIA received $286 million while Ansary and his other entities made considerably more: $458.5 million.
During the period of Ansary’s control of ENNIA, internal and external auditors voiced solvency concerns that were ignored by directors, according to the complaint.The Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlevi, and his wife, Empress Farah Diba, in 1979. RANDY TAYLOR AP
All the while, the complaint alleges, Ansary used private jets, paid for with ENNIA funds, for personal use and spread money, also originating from ENNIA, to “American political institutions and charitable organizations.” This allegedly included:
$800,000 in 2011-2013 to the Points of Light Institute, a nonprofit founded by former President George H.W. Bush.
$550,000 that went between 2010 and 2013 to Rice University’s James Baker Institute, a public policy research center based in Houston.
$6.5 million that went in 2010-2011 to the U.S. Peace Institute, a Washington-based think tank established by Congress in the 1980s for which Ansary is a benefactor.
$3.4 million spent from 2006 to 2017 on advisors to Ansary and Parman International for services not related to ENNIA, and roughly $6 million to people on ENNIA’s payroll who did not actually work for the company but were employees of Ansary or his other firms from 2008 to 2018.
$8 million spent by ENNIA between 2009 and 2018 in “excessive” remuneration to supervisory directors who were, the complaint alleges, “confidants of Ansary.”
$2.5 million spent by ENNIA on travel and accommodation for meetings of the supervisory directors at luxurious hotels, and around $15 million for two private jets that Ansary used for trips not related to ENNIA.
The Points of Light Institute confirmed receiving donations from Ansary and his foundation but stated that he had never held any formal position with the organization. The James Baker Institute declined to comment. The Peace Institute did not respond. https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article248949799.html