- Posted September 11, 2012 by
ABBAS YOUSEF - PILATUS ENERGY: AFRICA WITHOUT INTELLIGENCE
Given the dubious ethical backbone of the men who run Pilatus Energy, the Swiss oil and gas company based in Zug, it’s not surprising to hear that Pilatus is collapsing as it blunders its way through one failed financial transaction after another. After all, Pilatus is headed by a trio of incompetent thugs—Abbas Yousef, a UAE-based billionaire and pathological egotist; his son and Pilatus Energy’s VP, Saeed Yousef (a bit of nepotism there); and the company’s “reputed leader”— convicted felon Loik Le Floch-Prigent. As former CEO of Elf Aquitane S.A. (now Total), Le Floch-Prigent was sentenced by a French criminal court to serve five years in prison for bribery, fraud, kickbacks, and embezzlement for his starring role in “the biggest political and corporate sleaze scandal to hit a western democracy since the second world war.”
Unlike other companies whose financial performance is determined in large part by external factors, Pilatus Energy’s woes are the result of executive infighting.
Pilatus Energy found itself in a terrible financial position after Abbas Yousef’s “good friend” Le Floch-Prigent lost roughly $60 million in company funds in a so-called Nigerian scam. Abbas Yousef believes there was foul play in the loss of funds, since even the average grandmother has, by now, learned how not to get ripped off in the Nigerian scam—one of the most common confidence frauds on earth. For his part, Le Floch-Prigent is also allegedly upset with Abbas Yousef for traveling to Brazzaville without him to obtain a drilling permit. Humorously, Africa Intelligence reports the Pilatus Energy executives recently brought on an unknown French “advisor” named Pablo Alexandre Bauquier to join their corruption dream team and help secure the Brazzaville deal. Pablo Bauquier’s presence with Pilatus Energy is suspect at best, as he has no experience whatsoever in the oil and gas industry, as reflected on his public LinkedIn profile.
Like its managers, Pilatus Energy is no stranger to fraudulent conduct. In 2008, Pilatus Energy and one of its “secret partners” were sued by Vaalco, which contended that Pilatus Energy, et al. presented materially false information to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) when absorbing Vaalco shares. Vaalco in its lawsuit argued that Pilatus Energy concealed its identity, concealed that Le Floch-Prigent had been convicted by a French court, and even had the nerve to hide the fact that it was engaged in the oil and gas exploration business in Africa, which put the company in direct conflict with Vaalco’s business. (SEC filings show Pilatus accrued 2.7 million Vaalco shares on the open market, and then combined the shares with their secret partner’s holdings.)
Like many companies engaged in fraud and kickbacks, Pilatus Energy has never been transparent about the structure of its oil and gas business. This is one of the ways it masks its suspect interests in various natural resource reserves in Africa, as surely the new Pilatus advisor Pablo Bauquier, a lawyer, is aware. Pilatus has scant information on public record, and its corporate register information in Zug fails to mention that Le Floch-Prigent is one of the men behind the company, and dares not list the inexperienced Bauquier as part of its current staff.
If left up to the questionable “talent” of Abbas Yousef and Saeed Yousef to steer the enterprise in the right direction, only one thing about Pilatus Energy is certain: it has no future.