Canadian Friends of Burma dispute information on lobbyists’ applications.Complaint filed with Commissioner regarding Ivanhoe’s lobbyists

from Canadian Friends of Burma

The Canadian Friends of Burma have filed a formal complaint with the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada concerning the recent lobbyist registrations of Eddie Goldenberg and Allan Gotlieb, two high powered lobbyists hired by Ivanhoe Mines to lobby the government of Canada regarding foreign investment in Mongolia.

CFOB’s complaint raises questions whether information in both Mr. Gotlieb’s and Mr. Goldenberg’s registrations in the Registry of Lobbyists is completely accurate. The Lobbying Act requires that registrations be complete and accurate.

“Mining companies are registered in Canada like ships are registered in Liberia.”

Both Gotlieb and Goldenberg stated in the lobbying registrations that their client Ivanhoe does not have any subsidiaries that could benefit from their lobbying regarding investment in Mongolia. In fact, Ivanhoe’s latest Annual Information form filed with the SEC lists several “principle subsidiaries” that could be affected by their lobbying — these include Ivanhoe’s fully owned Mongolian subsidiary Ivanhoe Mines Mongolia Inc and SouthGobi Energy Resources Ltd which is 80 percent owned by Ivanhoe and has substantial coal interests in Mongolia.

Mr. Goldenberg was seen as a key member of former Prime Minister Chretien’s brain trust. He served as a senior policy advisor to Chretien from November 1993 till June 2003 when he took over as the Prime Minister’s Chief of staff, a role he served till the end of Chretien’s tenure as prime minister.

Mr. Gotlieb was as an important senior civil servant in Ottawa during the Trudeau era before his appointment as Canadian Ambassador to the US in 1981, a position he held UNTIL 1988. Mr. Gotlieb also served on the board of directors of Hollinger, the defunct media giant controlled by now jailed tycoon Conrad Black.

Mongolia is the site of Ivanhoe’s planned Oyu Tolgoi development, a controversial mining project which has attracted strong protests from many in Mongolia. In April 2006 Ivanhoe’s Chairman Robert Friedland was burned in effigy at a massive protest in the Mongolian capital.

Friedland angered many Mongolians when he boasted about the benefits of Ivanhoe’s Mongolian plan, “The nice thing about this, there’s no people around. …There’s no NGOs….You’ve got lots of room for waste dumps without disrupting the population.” (“DESERT STORM” York, Geoffrey The Globe Report on Business Magazine 30 Sept 2005).

In 2007 Ivanhoe’s partner in Mongolia, Rio Tinto acquired a 9.95 percent stake in Ivanhoe Mines in a deal that stated that Ivanhoe was withdrawing from Burma. Despite Ivanhoe’s claims that they withdrew from Burma, the firm (by way of a blind trust created in February 2007) continues to own a 50 percent stake in Myanmar Ivanhoe Copper Company Limited (MICCL), the joint venture created by Ivanhoe with the Burmese military regime to operate Burma’s largest mine the Monywa copper project.

The “blind trust” is extremely convenient for Ivanhoe because the firm can continue to own a 50 percent stake in the mine and claim they’ve pulled out of Burma. Residents living near the Monywa mine believe that Ivanhoe has refused to address toxic pollution caused by the mine which has severely impacted neighboring farmland. Just days before President Bush left office this past January the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) added (MICCL), the joint venture now held by the blind trust, to the US government’s Burma sanctions list. Ivanhoe has so far declined to comment publicly on this major development.

Ivanhoe’s Robert Friedland recently boasted to Financial Post reporter Diane Francis that “mining companies are registered in Canada like ships are registered in Liberia” (page 179 “Who owns Canada Now” by Diane Francis 2008.) Like a Western owned vessel flying the Liberian flag for financial convenience, Ivanhoe is in fact only nominally associated with Canada and the Yukon where it is registered.

The majority of Ivanhoe’s board members and employees live overseas, all of its mining ventures are overseas and, by using subsidiaries registered in offshore tax havens like the British Virgin Islands, the firm contributes little to the Canadian tax base. “Many Canadians would likely be shocked to learn that Ivanhoe’s senior staff and its chairman Robert Friedland use the good name of Canada to criss-cross the globe making billion-dollar mining deals in war torn countries like Burma and the Congo, only leaving toxic mining waste behind and sullying Canada’s reputation in the process,” Said Tin Maung Htoo, Executive Director of CFOB.

Full text of Complaint Letter

May 14 2008

The Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada 255 Albert Street 10 Floor Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0R5

It has come to our attention that Edward Goldenberg (783104-238982-1) and Allan Gotlieb (776731-238803-1) have indicated in their registration with the Commission of Lobbying that they will be lobbying Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAITC ) and the Canadian Ambassador to Mongolia regarding the “Government of Canada’s position regarding foreign investments in Mongolia”. The registrations are presently listed as “active” and started March 23 2009. Both Mr. Gotlieb and Mr. Goldenberg have indicated in their registration that their client Ivanhoe Mines “does not have any subsidiaries that could be affected by the outcome of the undertaking.”

In fact Ivanhoe Mines latest Annual Information form filed with the SEC lists several “principle subsidiaries” that could be affected by Mr. Gotlieb and Mr. Goldenberg’s lobbying; these include Ivanhoe’s fully owned Mongolian subsidiary Ivanhoe Mines Mongolia Inc and SouthGobi Energy Resources Ltd, which is 80 percent owned by Ivanhoe and has substantial coal interests in Mongolia.

As you know, it is illegal under the Lobbying Act to file a registration that does not contain accurate and complete information. As a result, the registrations by Mr. Goldenberg and Gotlieb raise serious questions about whether they have violated the Act. We are therefore deeply concerned and request that the office of the Commissioner of Lobbying investigate this matter immediately.

We look forward to receiving your response very soon, and if that is not possible please let us know when you estimate you will be responding.

Thank You Kevin McLeod Member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Friends of Burma

The Canadian Friends of Burma (CFOB) is federally incorporated, national non-governmental organization working for democracy and human rights in Burma since 1991. Contact: Suite 206, 145 Spruce St., Ottawa, K1R 6P1; Tel: 613.237.8056; Email: cfob@cfob.org; Web: http://www.cfob.org

Related addresses:

eMail 1: cfob@cfob.org
URL 1: http://www.cfob.org

http://www.straightgoods.ca/2009/ViewFeature.cfm?Ref=342

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