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 from:  http://members.tripod.com/~american_almanac/agents.htm

 Crown Agents - The Queen's Managers
 by Dean Andromidas
 Printed in The Executive Intelligence Review, August 22, 1997.

 Crown Agents, officially known as Crown Agents for Overseas
 Governments and Administration, occupies a non-descript office
 block in Surrey, in the suburbs of London.  According to its
 literature, Crown Agents is a not-for-profit, private corporation,
 which carries out mundane logistical and administrative
 sub-contract work for the British Overseas Development
 Administration, and various development agencies and foreign
 governments.  This is typical British understatement -- i.e.,
 strategic deception.

 Crown Agents is exactly what its name implies, an agent of Her
 Majesty the Queen.  It was founded in 1833 as Crown Agents for the
 Colonies, and historically played a vital role in the creation and
 management of what British historians call the Third Empire. [1]
 While Lord Palmerston, Cecil Rhodes, Prince Edward Albert
 ("The Prince of the Isles"), and Lord Milner were providing the
 geopolitical theory and ideology to justify Britain's global
 empire, Crown Agents ran the day-to-day affairs.  Crown Agents
 printed the stamps and banknotes of the colonies; provided
 technical, engineering, and financial services; served as private
 bankers to the colonial monetary authorities, government officials,
 and heads of state; served as arms procurers, quartermasters,
 and paymasters for the colonial armies.  In effect, Crown Agents
 administered the British Empire, which at one point in the
 nineteenth century, encompassed over 300 colonies and nominally
 "independent countries" allied to the British Crown.

 According to its charter, Crown Agents is an "Emination of the
 Crown."  This gives Crown Agents a status close to the monarchy,
 yet outside the official government structures of the United
 Kingdom.  Through much of its existence, it was overseen by the
 Colonial Secretary and, later, in the so-called post-colonial era,
 by the Minister of Overseas Development.  Although not formally
 a department of the government, Crown Agents' entire debt was
 guaranteed by the Exchequer.

 In 1996, as the British were in the process of unleashing the dogs
 of war in Africa, as the cutting edge of its final assault against
 the nation-state system worldwide, Crown Agents was "privatized,"
 under the new name, Crown Agents for Overseas Government and
 Administrations Ltd., with its own board of directors and
 management.  In turn, Crown Agents functions as a holding company
 for dozens of operating companies and joint ventures.  Its shares
 are held in trust by the Crown Agents Foundation, which is presided
 over by a board of directors and councillors, bringing together an
 impressive collection of governmental and non-governmental
 organizations, corporations, banking and business organizations,
 and so on (see article which follows) -- all from the inner core
 of the Club of the Isles and the formal Crown apparatus.


              Providing functions in "difficult areas"

 According to its 1996 annual report, Crown Agents' numerous
 subsidiaries still carry out the same wide array of governmental
 functions, from printing postage stamps and bank notes, to running
 worldwide commercial shipping and air freight operations, to
 procuring arms and other logistical supplies.  Crown Agents,
 according to spokesmen, specializes in providing these functions
 in "difficult areas."

 And, indeed they do.  Today, Crown Agents functions as "agents"
 for over 150 foreign governments and organizations, which they
 refer to as "principals."  In some instances, they manage vast
 real estate and financial portfolios, specializing in offshore
 banking "services."  According to its recent public statements,
 Crown Agents manages over $3 billion worth of projects.  Its
 asset management business alone, has a portfolio valued at over
 $1 billion.

 Typical of Crown Agent's current "discreet" operation are the

    + It manages the entire customs service for the government of

    + Through its chairmanship of a quasi-public entity called
      Europe SA, it is in charge of all economic reconstruction
      procurement for Bosnia;

    + Through a joint venture with a Monaco-based company called
      ES-KO, Crown Agents provides all of the food for United
      Nations peacekeepers in Angola and Bosnia.  ES-KO also
      provides logistical services to private petroleum and mining
      companies in such "difficult" areas as Algeria and Colombia,
      and manages the privatization of the state sector of Ghana.


                     Her Majesty's Murder, Inc.

 By now, it may have dawned on some readers that Crown Agents'
 range of "services" -- arms procurement, border controls, offshore
 banking -- also nicely fit the "administrative requirements" of
 the world's organized crime cartels.

 In fact, a careful review of some of the more sordid aspects of the
 recent history of Crown Agents, suggests that the firm has been at
 the center of the British Crown's highly sensitive patronage of
 global organized crime -- what EIR long ago dubbed Dope, Inc.

 Crown Agents' extensive links to international organized crime
 surfaced in the mid-1970s, when the firm's over-extended real
 estate portfolio, particularly its London real estate investments,
 blew sky high.  At the time that the London commercial real estate
 market collapsed, Crown Agents was managing a portfolio of assets,
 loans, and other financial paper, totalling more than £4 billion.
 Despite the fact that Crown Agents held no banking charter, it
 owned a string of banks all over the world, including some unsavory
 outfits in some of the most notorious hot-money havens of the

 Much of the capital through which Crown Agents built up its real
 estate portfolio came from Third World governments, which made the
 unfortunate mistake of placing their trust in the Queen's favorite
 service agency.  Crown Agents heavily leveraged its investment
 capital, building up debts far beyond its resources.  When the
 1973 oil shock hit, and the real estate market was one of the first
 of the bubbles to pierce, Crown Agents, along with many other
 institutions that were heavily leveraged in the secondary banking
 markets, went broke.

 The Bank of England stepped in to bail out Crown Agents to the tune
 of several hundred million pounds -- more than a decade before the
 U.S. government would carry out a similar bailout of the savings
 and loan institutions, ravaged by similar commercial real estate
 speculation.  The collapse of Crown Agents' real estate portfolio
 led to three governmental and parliamentary investigations.

 The surfacing of a wide criminal conspiracy was averted with the
 timely death of one of the key witnesses, the director of Crown
 Agents' money market operations, who purportedly blew his brains
 out shortly before he was to face trial on charges of corruption.
 According to news accounts at the time, this fellow, whose
 signature appeared on many of the most outrageous transactions,
 happened to be a heavy gambler.  He had been a member of
 Crockfords, an elite gambling club, and two other casinos.
 He was a fixture at London casinos, often signing £1,000 checks.
 He had a home in Westminister, one of the most expensive sections
 of London, a country house, and three cars -- all on a
 middle-level civil servant's salary of £5,000 a year.


                     Part of "organized crime"

 A look at a sampling of Crown Agents' business partners at the
 time of the real estate blow out, is revealing.

 Crown Agents, up until 1983, managed the personal fortune of the
 Sultan of Brunei.  The latter has been a funder of all sorts of
 private projects of Prince Philip and Prince Charles, as well as
 funding British intelligence operations all over the world.  The
 Sultan was one of the key financiers of George Bush's Iran-Contra
 operations.  So large was the task of managing this fortune, that
 when the Sultan withdrew his £3.5 billion, Crown Agents laid off
 400 employees.

 Crown Agents provided the capital for a number of offshore banks,
 especially during the 1960s and 1970s.  One such bank that enjoyed
 the financial backing of Crown Agents was Trade Development Bank,
 then owned by Edmond Safra.  A member of Prince Philip's 1001 Club,
 Safra was a prime target of investigation by U.S. drug enforcement
 agencies for many years.  In 1990, his flagship New York City bank,
 Republic National, was identified as a favorite laundromat for both
 the Medellín Cartel and Lebanese-based heroin and hashish

 It not only lent to banks of dubious origins, but held controlling
 interests in them as well.  In 1967, Crown Agents bought a 40%
 controlling interest in the Bahamas-based E.D. Sassoon Bank.  This
 was the first of a network of banks it invested in, or created,
 throughout the Commonwealth.  This bank was founded in the
 nineteenth century by Sir David Sassoon, who founded banking houses
 in India and China, where they made their fortunes in the opium
 trade.  The bank moved to the Bahamas in the 1940s, at precisely
 the point that the British Crown colonies there were being built up
 as hot-money centers.  In 1967, it was controlled by Ralf Yablon,
 whose mother was a Sassoon.  Yablon's wife was the daughter of
 Max Joseph, who at the time owned the famous Grand Met casinos.
 The other shareholders of the bank were Continental Illinois and
 Franklin National Bank.  So dubious was the reputation of this
 bank that even the Bank of England initially refused to give its
 blessing to its purchase by Crown Agents.  When the big bust
 occurred in the 1970s, E.D. Sassoon Bank was absorbed by the giant
 Standard and Chartered Bank, which now sits on the Crown Agents
 Board of Councillors.

 The most notorious property investment was with the Stern Group
 of Companies, controlled by William Stern.  It was his personal
 bankruptcy in the early in 1970s, at the time the largest in
 British history, that triggered the run on Crown Agents.  Stern was
 an American businessmen, with tight business connections to Murder,
 Inc. boss Meyer Lansky.  The Stern-Lansky ties ran through the
 National Crime Syndicate boss's most trusted bag man, Sylvain
 Ferdman.  Ferdman was identified in a 1967 Life magazine exposé of
 organized crime as Lansky's liaison to a number of leading Swiss
 banks implicated in the crime boss's global money-laundering
 operations.  Indeed, Stern fit right into this picture.  His
 brother-in-law at the time was Tibor Rosenbaum, whose International
 Credit Bank (BCI) was exposed in the Life magazine story as a
 Lansky front, which also serviced the covert financial needs of the
 Israeli Mossad.  BCI went bust at the same time that Stern's bank
 and Crown Agents fell.  Stern's personal bankruptcy was intimately
 linked to the collapse of BCI, where he had invested over
 £1 million -- which, in turn, he had gotten from Crown Agents.
 The bailout of Crown Agents, and the mysterious death of its chief
 lending officer shut down any further probe of the Crown's links
 to the Lansky syndicate.

 By the end of 1974, the Crown Agents collapse was, nevertheless,
 Britain's most serious financial scandal.

 To clean up the "loose ends," and maintain Crown Agents' services
 to the Crown, Sir John Cuckney, a former high-ranking official of
 MI-5, was brought in as Senior Crown Agent.  Cuckney had already
 left Her Majesty's Service to become the "City's" leading private
 spook, in the employ of Lazard Brothers.  As soon as he took up his
 post at Crown Agents, he carried out a "reorganization" -- i.e., a
 cover-up of the scandal.  He also set the stage for Crown Agents'
 subsequent emergence as a leading arms trafficker.

 In 1974, as one of his first acts as Senior Crown Agent, Cuckney
 transferred Millbank Technical Services, the Crown Agents' weapons
 procurement subsidiary, to the Ministry of Defence.  He then
 consolidated its international networks of legitimate and
 not-so-legitimate banks and financial institutions, into what later
 became the Bank of Credit and Commerce International.  BCCI, which
 former CIA Director Robert Gates, in Congressional testimony,
 dubbed "The Bank of Crooks and Criminals International," was at
 the center of the Golden Crescent (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran)
 opium trade, which flourished during the 1979-89 Afghanistan War.
 BCCI's collapse in 1991 was the biggest financial blowout in
 modern history, with over $20 billion in bank assets disappearing
 into thin air.

 In 1978, having completed the restructuring of Crown Agents,
 Cuckney left to become a director of Midland Bank, where he soon
 established a new international division, which engaged primarily
 in financing international weapons deals.  When Margaret Thatcher
 moved into 10 Downing Street, Cuckney became a leading adviser to
 the prime minister.  He was rewarded for his services by being made
 Lord Cuckney of Millbank.  The "Millbank" in his title referred to
 Millbank Technical Services, which he untangled from the Crown
 Agents scandal.


                         Crown Agents today

 Crown Agents' British media apologists claim that the firm has been
 "reformed," and is now a shadow of its former self.  There is no
 evidence to support this claim.  Crown Agents was organizing covert
 weapons shipments into Africa well into the 1990s, helping to fuel
 the recent genocidal warfare in the Great Lakes region, and
 abetting the butcher Yoweri Museveni, in Uganda.  The current
 chairman and Senior Crown Agent is David H. Probert.  Probert has
 been with Crown Agents since 1981.  During this period he sat on
 the board of directors of the Birmingham Small Arms Company, one
 of the most famous weapons manufacturers in Britain.  Another one
 of his directorships was with a company which reportedly held a
 majority stake in Defence Systems Limited, one of the preeminent
 British "private" mercenary outfits, now running around Africa
 and Ibero-America.



 + In an unofficial history of Crown Agents, written by a former
   Crown Agent and published privately in 1958, the author talks of
   three distinct British empires.  The First Empire, according to
   this account, began in the first half of the sixteenth century as
   a by-product of England's wars with Spain, and lasted until the
   American Revolution, which left England in an extremely weakened
   position, both as a colonial and a European power.  Nonetheless,
   the period between the end of the American Revolution and the end
   of the Napoleonic wars, is considered the era of the Second
   Empire, which included the consolidation of Canada and expansion
   in Asia and Australia.  The Third Empire is dated by the founding
   of Crown Agents in 1833, and is marked by the expansion of the
   Empire throughout Africa and the Indian subcontinent.  This is
   the empire of Cecil Rhodes, Lord Milner, etc.

 + A.W. Abbot (CMG, CBE), A Short History of the Crown Agents and
   Their Office (1959).  Although printed by Eyre and Spottiswoode
   Limited, Her Majesty's Printers at The Chiswick Press, it was
   only for private circulation.



               Directors, councillors of Crown Agents

 In 1996, Crown Agents was fully privatized.  Its relationship to
 the official British government, particularly to the Department of
 Overseas Development, for the first time in its history, became
 contractual.  This latest incarnation was renamed Crown Agents for
 Overseas Governments and Administrations Limited.  The new entity
 has its own board of directors and board of management.  All of
 its share capital is held in trust by the Crown Agents Foundation,
 which has its own board of councillors, dominated by figures in and
 around the Royal Household.  The British government is a special
 member of the foundation.

 Here are some of the leading figures in the Crown Agents structure

    + D.H. Probert, chairman, Commander of the British Empire:
      Probert has been with Crown Agents for many years, and was
      appointed to the rank of Crown Agent in 1981, deputy chairman
      in 1985, and chairman in 1990.  In the 1970s, he was a
      director of Birmingham Small Arms Ltd., which was one of the
      most well-known British arms manfacturers.  It later produced
      machine tools, which were sold to Iraq for the production of
      weapons systems.  He also held the directorship of Rockwool
      Ltd., a British subsidiary of a larger Danish firm, which
      reportedly once held the majority share of capital of
      Defence Systems Limited.

    + A.K. Stewart-Roberts, director:  A Crown Agent since 1990,
      and deputy chairman since 1994, he was formerly vice chairman
      of S.G. Warburg & Co.,  one of the City's most famous
      merchant banks.

    + P.F. Berry, director of the board and managing director:
      Following a career in the private sector, Berry became a
      director of Crown Agents in 1982, and has been its managing
      director since 1988.  He is on the advisory board of
      Transparency International (see below).

    + F. Cassell, director:  A Companion of the Bath, Cassell was
      former executive director of the International Monetary Fund
      and World Bank for Great Britain.


                      Crown Agents Foundation

 Sir David Rowe-Ham, Knight, Grand Cross of the British Empire,

 Corporate members:

    + Barclays Bank.

    + Standard and Chartered Bank.

    + Unilever, a major agricultural products cartel.  Like Shell
      Oil, the company is Anglo-Dutch.

    + Tate and Lyle, Britain's leading sugar cartel, which has close
      corporate links to the American firm Archer Daniels Midland.
      Both Tate and Lyle and ADM are currently under investigation
      by the U.S. Department of Justice for illegal monopoly
      practices; several ADM executives have already been indicted.

    + Securicor plc.:  This is a giant private security company
      specializing in bank security.  It handles contracts to run
      Britain's privatized prisons, and operates throughout the
      world, including in Africa, South America, and Asia.

    + Manchester Airport plc.:  In addition to being the private
      operating company for the Manchester Airport, it has been
      involved in purchasing airports in other countries now being
      privatized.  They are reportedly interested in purchasing
      airports in Mexico.

    + British Telecommunications plc.:  Britain's privatized
      national telecommunications company, which has been bidding on
      newly privatized telecommunications firms all over the globe.

 Other organizations on the foundation board:

    + Prince of Wales Business Leaders Forum:  Chaired by Prince
      Charles, this organization sponsors tours and seminars
      throughout the world.  Its vice chairman is Sir David Simon,
      chairman of British Petroleum, and currently Minister for
      European Cooperation in Prime Minister Tony Blair's

    + Aga Khan Foundation:  Founded by His Highness the Aga Khan,
      29th Imama of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims.  Prince
      Sadruddin Aga Khan, a cousin of the Imam, is one of the
      leading members of Prince Philip's World Wide Fund for Nature.

    + Transparency International:  Under the cover of exposing
      alleged corruption, Transparency International has been used
      to destabilize governments throughout the world (see EIR, July
      25, 1997).  As a further indication of the close relationship
      between Crown Agents and Transparency International, the Crown
      Agents managing director sits on TI's board of advisers.

    + London School of Oriental and and African Studies:  Formerly
      the London School of Colonial Studies.

    + Christian Aid:  The official charity organization of
      40 British and Irish churches.

    + The Royal Commonwealth Society and the Caribbean Council of
      Europe, two of the most elite foreign policy organizations
      of Britain.

    + Also, the Chartered Institute of Building; the Chartered
      Institute of Purchasing and Supply; the International Chamber
      of Commerce U.K.; the Royal Society for the Encouragement of
      Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce; the British Chamber of
      Commerce; the British Consultants Bureau; and the British
      Standards institution.

 Miscellaneous other member entities:

    + Concern Worldwide; Intermediate Technology Development Group
      Limited; the International Development Law Institute (Rome);
      and Leeds Metropolitan University.

 The preceding article is a rough version of the article that
 appeared in The American Almanac.  It is made available here with
 the permission of The New Federalist Newspaper.  Any use of, or
 quotations from, this article must attribute them to The New
 Federalist, and The American Almanac.

 For questions or comments:  [EMAIL PROTECTED]

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