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Jan 16, 2007

Austrade disquiet about Firepower while another colourful business connection surfaces

Gerard Ryle is proving in the SMH that there are plenty of angles yet to pursue in the Firepower story while the rest of the media ignores it. Today he adds another colourful business connection, this time not West Australian, not Russian, but Romanian.

Gerard Ryle is proving in the SMH that there are plenty of angles yet to pursue in the Firepower story while the rest of the media ignores it. Today he adds another colourful business connection, this time not West Australian, not Russian, but Romanian.

And Crikey can add that there was a level of disquiet within Austrade about the Firepower relationship well before the many questions hit the fan last week. There is of course nothing wrong with Austrade employees leaving to work for a client, but alarm bells did unofficially ring about the size of the defection.

So far the names of two former Austrade employers now employed at Firepower have been published – CEO John Finnin and Gregory Klumov, former senior trade commissioner in Moscow.

We can now add Robert Boylan, former senior trade commissioner in Frankfurt and Austrade Victorian state manager. But wait, there are more, “several” more, we hear, which led to an amount of concern within Austrade about such an unprecedented movement.

Meanwhile, there’s a good deal more available on the web about the very colourful Australian-Romanian Frank Timis who Ryle refers to as the founder of Regal Petroleum which collapsed spectacularly in 2005. Ryle reports Guenter Nolte, Firepower’s European division chief executive, was CEO of Regal but left before it crashed.

Paul Cristian Radu of the Centre for Investigative Journalism, has filed some fascinating stuff about the controversial Timis and his Romanian dealings, such as this piece on the Regal collapse.

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