Abell to Vaz

Meet David Abell, “a passionate Leicester Tigers supporter for more than thirty years” — now a non-executive director for the Tigers – who, this year, was ranked number 26 in the Leicestershire Rich List. You might also know Mr Abell as the fella who presided over the vile attacks on trade unionists in the late 1970s, as a result of his work (mis)managing British Leyland. In relation to this, even the Leicester Mercury’s adoring comments in their rich list observes that Mr Abell “became rich through being what some people might describe as a corporate raider.” Although they feel it necessary to add: “Others would call him an astute share dealer.”


Mr Abell is currently the chairman of Jourdan plc, a holding company whose principal subsidiaries are Westfield Medical and Clinipak — which are specialists in providing sterilized packaging for all manner of goods used on a daily basis in hospitals. This company thus enables Mr Abell to go on reaping exorbitant profits from the taxpayer and the NHS. This is because instead of his company being nationalised — which would save the public tax payer millions of pounds — Westfield Medical enjoys a monopoly on profiteering from ill health, and boasts that it “is now the sole UK manufacturer of a full and comprehensive range of sterilisation products for use in hospital sterile service departments.” According to the Mercury: “In the year to September 2013 Jourdan posed revenues of £23 million and a pre-tax profit of £3.334 million – seven per cent up on the previous year.”

Another long-serving board member of Jourdan is a mining industrialist named Jon Pither, who also works with Mr Abell at St Helen’s Private Equity. Mr Pither is also a board member of investment banking group called Marechale Capital (formerly known as St Helen’s Capital plc), where he works alongside Lord Flight, an advisor for the right-wing think tank that developed the blueprint for privatizing the NHS (see “Thatcher’s Legacy of NHS Butchery”).

With such profiteering interests, Mr Abell’s close associate Mr Pither is a busy man, and is the chairman of the global engineering company, Tanfield Group plc, which prior to 2011 used to own the world famous bus manufacturer Optare plc (which is based in Sherburn-in-Elmet, North Yorkshire): this bus manufacture now being owned by the London-based multinational powerhouse known as the Hinduja Group. This transfer of assets is interesting because of the Hinduja Group’s connections to Keith Vaz here in Leicester. Simple profiteering is not the word for the Hinduja Group, and as the Times of India reported earlier this year:

“London-based Indian family – Srichand and Gopichand Hinduja of the Hinduja Group, a multinational conglomerate with a presence in 37 countries with businesses as diverse as trucks and lubricants to banking and healthcare, are among the five richest families in the UK which have together amassed more wealth than 20% of entire British population.”

And as the Indian section of the Committee for a Workers International pointed out as early as 2001:

“The Hindujas mainly amassed their wealth by being middlemen in arms deals with neo-colonial countries. They have controlling stakes in Ahok Leyland [owner of Optare] and Indus (Global) bank. They’re very close to infamous arms dealer Adnan Kashogi and other shady characters.”

As already mentioned, the Hindujas brothers have their own Leicester connection because of their past liaisons with Labour MP for Leicester East, Keith Vaz. Indeed the brothers grim, and Vaz, were all at a political socialising event for super-rich elite friends of the Labour Party in 1999, that is just before Vaz became an MP and had to then retire from the board of directors of the dubious Luxemburg based General Mediterranean Holdings, which was founded and is still run by the billionaire Nadhmi Auchi. Vaz’s connection to this latter individual is particularly noteworthy in the context of his good working relationship with the Hindujas brothers because in 2003 Auchi “was convicted – in what was France’s biggest postwar corruption scandal — of accepting illegal commissions on the purchase of a Spanish oil refinery in the early 1990s on Elf’s behalf and then handing back some of the money to the company’s senior directors.” Moreover as this article from the Guardian continued, “Mr Auchi ‘s business empire is now at the centre of a £28m civil action by the NHS, related to alleged overcharging of the health service for the drug warfarin.”

Finally, if such allegations were not enough given Keith Vaz’s intimate working relationship with Mr Auchi, in 2008 a former senior official of the US Defense, State, and Commerce departments wrote a review of the extent of Mr Auchi’s deeply corrupting influence upon global affairs. Here is just one short passage from that document:

Billionaires can buy anonymity at the same time they buy influence and politicians. In 2000, although Nadhmi Auchi had spent two decades as Saddam Hussein’s broker in the international oil and armament worlds, he was seen from the United States as essentially a European go-between, who worked the highest levels of the Italian and particularly the French and British governments. He had bought an aura of respectability by buying senior politicians and favorable press, and threatening any critics, a pattern he had begun to introduce in the United States with British assistance a decade earlier. I first began to fathom the extent of Nadhmi Auchi’s reach and corrupting influence when I was given responsibility for monitoring illegal transfers of technology and munitions to Iraq as well as overseeing all coalition transportation and communications reconstruction in Iraq.”

If you think all this sounds pretty bad and you want to support an alternative to all the mainstream party’s of the super-rich (be they UKIP or Labour) then be sure to get involved with the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition in the forthcoming elections.


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