Blackwater founder likely under investigation by Justice Department

Erik Prince, founder and former chief executive of military contractor Blackwater, is facing the possibility of indictment for money laundering, connections to Chinese intelligence services and orchestrating prohibited security and consulting services to Libya.

Blackwater, now known as Academi, has provided security services to the U.S. government since 2003 and has been awarded contracts for its services in excess of $1 billion.

Prince left Blackwater, then known as Xe Services, in 2010 and formed Frontier Services Group in 2014.

Frontier Services Group’s chief investors are China International Trust and Investment Corporation (CITIC), a Beijing-owned investment firm and Hong Kong-based entrepreneur — Chun Shun Ko (Johnson Ko) — who also serves as chairman of Shen Yuan Holdings and executive chairman of Varitronix International Limited.

At the intersection of Prince’s and Ko’s relationship lie the problem: Prince’s and Frontier Services’ affiliation with Ko has led Justice Department investigators to allege Prince was abetted by Chinese intelligence to create a bank account with the Bank of China to expand Frontier Services’ business operations in Africa, according to The Intercept.

Similarly, Prince is under scrutiny for a series of business trips to African nations to market Frontier Services’ assistance. Regarding Libya, a country under restrictions from the State Department, Prince is alleged to have solicited defense services.

Seeking to distance himself and Frontier Services, the firm’s CEO, Gregg Smith, told The Intercept:

“FSG has no involvement whatsoever with the provision of — or even offering to provide — defense services in Libya. To the extent that anyone has proposed such services and purported that they were representing FSG, that activity is unauthorized and is not accepted or agreed to by the company.”

Because of alleged double-dealing, Prince has been stripped of most of his duties as chairman of Frontier Services late in 2015.

Refusing to be identified, a close associate of Prince described Frontier Service’s founder as “a rogue chairman . . . operating a secret skunkworks program.”

“Erik wants to be a real, no-s**t mercenary. He’s off the rails exposing many U.S. citizens to criminal liabilities. Erik hides in the shadows . . . and uses [FSG] for legitimacy,” the source added.

 

[RT News] [The Intercept] [fsgroup.com] [Photo courtesy AP/Susan Walsh]