new NY post article by christopher byron... FWIW
ACT NOW, AMEX
GLOBETEL'S GILDED NAMES CAN'T SHINE A SHAM STOCK
By CHRISTOPHER BYRON
MUSICAL CHAIRS: GlobeTel Communication has peppered its board of directors with former foreign ambassadors, but its history and operations are less impressive and could be worth a look by the American Stock Exchange. Photo: N.Y. Post MUSICAL CHAIRS: GlobeTel Communication has peppered its board of directors with former foreign ambassadors, but its history and operations are less impressive and could be worth a look by the American Stock Exchange.
May 22, 2006 -- IT'S time for plain speak ing. In the name of de cency and respect for the law, the American Stock Exchange must halt trading in the shares of GlobeTel Communications Corp.
The Amex needs to act now, and if the bosses there won't, then the National Association of Securities Dealers has to do it for them. And if the NASD won't act, then the Securities and Exchange Commission has to do the deed. One way or another, this penny stock vampire must be exorcised from the capital markets.
Over the last year, this column has devoted considerable space to chronicling the nose-thumbing antics of the GlobeTel bunch as they have pirouetted from one see-through ploy to the next to create the illusion of value in a worthless penny stock.
In the process, they have put this ridiculous hologram of a company through two complete pump-and-dump cycles that have sent an astounding 1.1 billion shares of its stock churning through the market, climbing from mere pennies to a split-adjusted February 2005 high of $5.25 a share.
The result: a bogus $350 million market value for the company, two-thirds of which has now evaporated, with $74 million of it detouring into the outstretched hands of the company's insiders.
And through it all, the regulators have done nothing. They did nothing in the spring of 2004 when the company erupted in absurd stock-hyping claims regarding a new way to relay cell-phone signals from Latin America to the U.S. The plan: bounce the phone calls off aluminum blimps 65,000 feet over the jungles of Colombia.
To prove it meant business, the company said it would put its first blimp into orbit in January 2005. But the deadline came and went without a launch - the company didn't have a blimp that could get even 3 inches off the ground, let alone reach the edge of outer space.
By last December, the missed deadlines were piling up, and the company switched from its limp blimp riff to a whole new pump-and-dump ploy, this one featuring plans to construct $600 million worth of cell-phone relay towers in Russia.
Like the firm's baloney-stuffed blimp shtick, the Russian yarn featured a group of allegedly Croesus-rich (as well as unknown) offshore moneymen, who never materialized. And in spite of all that - and a hundred other outrages - still the regulators have done nothing.
Now GlobeTel has begun a whole new fan dance, this time featuring plans to sell prepaid phone and debit cards to Brazilians looking for ways to move cash in and out of the U.S. unobtrusively.
IN keeping with each of its previous adventures, the new one features the nearly simultaneous arrival on the scene of an impressive-sounding new board member: former Italian Ambassador to the U.S. Ferdinando Salleo.
Where has GlobeTel been getting this window dressing? To judge from the company's latest round of press releases on the matter, they've mostly been coming, indirectly at least, by way of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and a London-based investment firm he supposedly founded called Rubikon Partners.
Like everything else involving GlobeTel, Rubikon Partners seems impressive. Its Web site states that the firm maintains offices around the world, and that it was founded in 2003 by Kissinger and four other individuals, including his current consulting world partner, Thomas ("Mack") McLarty, Bill Clinton's White House chief of staff.
Rubikon also seems to have a "strategic advisory board," which the Web site implies that Kissinger heads and which is said to be composed of "highly distinguished" global business leaders.
Unfortunately, beyond the bombast is the truth: Far from being a network of business world big-timers, Rubikon Partners looks to be not much more than a one-office outfit running what U.K. authorities say is an unregistered Internet bank that investors should avoid.
ONE might find it odd, for example, that Ru bikon's Web site gives a phone number and address for the firm's office in Milan, but it does not list the name of the person in charge. The reason is simple: the Milan office has no such person!
As for Rubikon's offices in New York and Washington, D.C., they don't seem to exist at all. In fact, no phone number or address for Rubikon Partners can be found anywhere in the U.S. - not even as a courtesy listing by Kissinger at his offices in New York and Washington.
Yet that hardly seems surprising given a statement by Kissinger to The Post last week that he was never a founding partner of Rubikon, and that he has no role in the firm now, either.
In fact, a search of British corporate filings shows that Rubikon Partners was actually started in London in 2001 by an ex-Bankers Trust and Merrill Lynch executive named Dorian Klein.
The filings show Klein's partner at Rubikon was another ex-Bankers Trust man in London named J. Randolph Dumas, who had worked earlier in his career as a briefing officer for the Central Intelligence Agency in Washington.
By contrast, Kissinger's name is nowhere to be seen, on those or any subsequent filings.
By the time Rubikon was set up, Dumas had already become involved as a consultant to the bunch running GlobeTel. And though the launch of Rubikon certainly must have helped him dress up his act, it doesn't seem to have led to much in the way of new business, a fact that may explain the increasing and deepening interest of both men in GlobeTel's affairs.
Simply put, GlobeTel may have been the best opportunity they had going.
Their involvement began to deepen in earnest in the spring of 2005 when Dumas began promoting GlobeTel's blimp pipe dreams around Europe.
When the company's chairman, a Polish-born moneyman named Przemyslaw Kostro, abruptly quit in September, the company surprisingly surfaced the name of Britain's recently retired ambassador to the U.S., Sir Christopher Meyer, as its new chairman of the board - no doubt with the help of the Rubikon duo.
For his part, Meyer didn't stick around long, and after six months on the job, he quit last March, agreeing to linger on only in a kind of figurehead role.
The new job: chairman of GlobeTel's so-called "International Advisory Board," a seemingly nonexistent body that the company has not said peep about since.
With Meyer's departure, the door swung open for Dumas to become chairman, while freeing up a board seat for his sidekick, Klein.
Last week, the two reached into the Rubikon bullpen for a third reliever: Italy's Salleo - one of just two men currently listed on the Rubikon Web site as members of that "highly distinguished" advisory board.
What's next for this smoke and mirrors outfit? At long last, there seems to be at least a modicum of interest from law enforcement regarding the company's activities.
Much of the fishiest selling in GlobeTel stock seems to have originated from the Boca Raton office of the brokerage Raymond James, where several of the company's top insiders maintained accounts.
In March, the broker handling those accounts was abruptly dismissed, after which the firm's compliance officials began ordering his clients to withdraw their money, close down their accounts and take their business elsewhere.
Was the action triggered by inquiries from the Feds? If so, great!
And if the Amex can permit this scam-spewing monstrosity to continue trading in the face of all that has happened, then maybe the Amex itself should be closed.
The regulators of Wall Street may lack the power to arrest the burglars, but they certainly have the right to seize the gang's burglary tools.