Back in 2003, a South African mining engineer, Michael Smith, and a West Australian tax fugitive, Robert Nelson, were sitting in London's Carlton Towers Hotel foyer.It all sounds a lot like Mark Thatcher's foiled coup attempt in Equatorial Guinea, doesn't it?
They were trying to figure out how to find enough money to prove that their abandoned African diamond mine was worth reopening.
In bounced Bondy, whom Nelson knew from Perth, and bingo, the problem was solved. Bond agreed to raise the money, in return for a 25 per cent share.
Soon after, Smith and Nelson asked for Bond's help on another juicy deal - a massive oil prospect in Madagascar. Once again, Bond picked up a big stake in the project as a reward for raising the dough.
Since then, to the dismay of his original partners, Bond has somehow managed to deal himself a far bigger share of the action.
Today, his grubstake in the two deals is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. And if things go right, it could be worth a billion. So, what exactly is he sitting on?
Bondy likes to call it, "My diamond mine in Africa" - and that's roughly half-true.
The Kao mine is in the Maluti Mountains in Lesotho, three hours from the South African border, and it can be reached only by helicopter or four-wheel-drive vehicle.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Bond. Alan Bond.
Corrupt fat rich bastard Alan Bond - convicted in 1997 of the biggest corporate fraud in Australia's history, $1.2 billion, and after serving just three years in jail before returning to #157 on our nation's rich list - just lost a defamation court case against News Ltd and journalist Paul Barry. Here's the story he was trying to kill: