Saturday, June 17, 2017

CCC's Failure Tied to Cobalt Energy's Sweetheart Angola Deal for Government Officials?

The Carlyle Group's $1 billion Guernsey lawsuit is yet to be decided.  Several Carlyle chiefs testified last summer in the failure of Carlyle Capital Corporation.  Crown Dependency and British Overseas Political News shared a WSJ piece::

In testimony that provided flashes of Carlyle Group’s rarefied perch in the investment world, Mr. Conway said the Angolan government, CCC’s biggest investor, considered putting $500 million in the fund. The West African country ended up taking a $150 million stake.

Several CCC investors, including former Republican U.S. congressman Michael Huffington and Kuwait’s National Industries Group, later brought lawsuits against Carlyle Group, but only the liquidators’ case made it to trial. The other suits were all thrown out or dropped and are no longer active.

The liquidators were appointed by the Guernsey court in 2008 as part of the island’s insolvency procedures.

After raising $600 million privately in late 2006 and early 2007, CCC prepared to offer shares on Euronext Amsterdam in the summer of 2007. But alarm bells began to sound on U.S. subprime mortgages, and other mortgage-related assets were hit. It was touch and go whether CCC’s initial public offering would go ahead, according to emails shown in court.

CCC’s Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bonds had fallen in value, and banks wanted more cash and collateral to keep providing loans. CCC borrowed around 30 times its equity to increase returns and had little wiggle room.

“Pulling the deal will be a public black eye,” Mr. Rubenstein wrote in an email to Mr. Conway at the end of June 2007, according to court filings. “On the other hand I’m at a loss to say how the whole market can be wrong about the product at this time and we are right,” he wrote.
After CCC imploded Carlyle asked Michael Huffington for the chance to make his $20 million back and more.   Huffington declined and sued Carlyle for his losses.  Carlyle plead a puffery defense in another equity investor lawsuit (SemGroup).

The information about The Carlyle Group's close ties with Angola's flies in the face of Carlyle's defense regarding Cobalt Energy, which effectively partnered with government officials via subsidiary corporations, Alper Oil and Nazaki Oil and Gas.  An SEC investigation produced nothing.

In light of Carlyle's plea to Huffington to make good his CCC investment, did something similar happen in Angola?  After losing $150 million in Carlyle Capital Corporation any government would be hard pressed to partner with an affiliate of that same firm.   What inducements did Carlyle indirectly offer, if any, to keep Angolan government leaders in their PEU camp?

In 2015 Carlyle affiliate Cobalt Energy sold the Angola offshore fields back to its local partner, minus the shady add on companies.  That chapter is closed but CCC testimony on Carlyle's close ties with the Angolan government makes one wonder what happened between the $150 million debacle and Cobalt's exit of Angolan offshore oil and gas fields.

This story is important as Carlyle co-founder David Rubenstein is the new Chairman of the Board for the Council on Foreign Relations, the Western oriented group of global tamperers and profiteers.