Former Sri Lankan cop wanted over assassination linked to Aussie eco-consultancy business

December 27, 2015 – 7:16PM

Rory Callinan

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Sri Lankans protesting the 2006 shooting death of Tamil politician and human rights lawyer Nadarajah Raviraj in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankans protesting the 2006 shooting death of Tamil politician and human rights lawyer Nadarajah Raviraj in Sri Lanka. Photo: Supplied

A Sri Lankan policeman wanted in connection with the assassination of a prominent Sri Lankan politician and human rights lawyer is suspected of hiding out in Australia and running an eco-consultancy business.

The eco-consultancy is owned by a businesswoman who says she is a friend of former United States President Bill Clinton.

Sri Lankan police have confirmed asking Australian police for assistance in tracking down Fabian Royston Toussaint​ who is wanted in Sri Lanka in connection with the 2006 shooting death of Tamil politician and human rights lawyer Nadarajah Raviraj​.

Malini Ventura, who is now known as Malini Saba,  from a promotional pic used by the Ipswich Chamber of Commerce to promote her appointment to the role.Malini Ventura, who is now known as Malini Saba, from a promotional pic used by the Ipswich Chamber of Commerce to promote her appointment to the role. Photo: Supplied

​Australian Securities and Investment Commission records this month listed Mr Toussaint as being a director of Eco Support Consulting, a private company owned by a Malaysian-born businesswoman Malini Ventura which was established in May 2014, and registered in Victoria.

Ms Ventura, who has since changed her last name to Saba, has been involved in promoting charity dinners with Mr Clinton in Sydney and Brisbane that were mysteriously cancelled in 2010 leaving ticket buyers out of pocket.

Fairfax does not suggest Ms Saba is in any way connected to the political assassination or any of the allegations involving Toussaint.

Ms Saba last week confirmed that she had employed Mr Toussaint in the eco-consulting business but had fired him in January after becoming aware of the allegations levelled against him.

She also confirmed that Mr Toussaint had come to Australia “as a tourist” but said she did not know his whereabouts.

“That guy has been fired since January and I don’t keep in touch with that person. I wouldn’t know where to look for him. I had my team fire him. ”

She said the company was no longer operating.

Last week Sri Lankan Police Homicide Inspector Anuruddha Polwatha confirmed there was a warrant out for the arrest of Mr Toussaint in connection with the slaying of Raviraj.

Mr Raviraj, who was also a human rights lawyer was gunned down in the street by two men on a motorbike, a day after he led a protest demonstration over a Sri Lankan army bombing that killed civilians in 2006.

Inspector Polwatha said Sri Lankan police had contacted Australian police more than two months ago after receiving a tip-off that Mr Toussaint was living in Australia but were yet to receive any information.

He was surprised to learn of Mr Toussaint’s alleged involvement in the eco-consultancy.

“He’s (Toussaint) a cop. He is not expert in such matters” said Inspector Polwatha speaking by phone from Colombo.

“Can you please send us the details of that company?”.

Inspector Polwatha said police suspected Mr Toussaint may have been seeking asylum in Australia as he was reported to have left Sri Lanka four or five years earlier.

He said Mr Toussaint had been named in court as being a wanted suspect in the killing.

Efforts to contact Mr Toussaint were unsuccessful.

The registered address for the $500 Eco Support Consulting company is listed as being at Swaab lawyers in Hunter St , Sydney.

On Monday Swaab partner Terry Sperber​ said he could confirm that the firm had acted for a Ms Ventura in the past.

But he said: “We haven’t done so for quite some time.”

He said he had no information about the whereabouts of Mr Toussaint or a Ms Ventura.

Ms Saba has courted controversy in the past after being involved in business ventures which investors allege left them out of pocket – claims she vigorously denies.

She also says she is a friend of former Mr Clinton and donated between $500,000 and $1 million to the Clinton Foundation in the United States.

In September Ms Saba featured in local newspapers in Queensland after she was briefly appointed to head a chamber of commerce in Ipswich west of Brisbane this time using the name Malini Saba, but then left after just six weeks.

In 2010 she made headlines when using the name “Malini Alles-Ventura”, she promoted the charity dinners with Mr Clinton organised through a private company Redbrick Development Pty Ltd.

The Australian Financial Review reported the proposed dinners as taking place as part of the Asia Pacific Global Issues forum raising awareness and money for disadvantaged women and children. The paper reported Ms Alles-Ventura was a personal friend of Mr Clinton.

Prominent business people in Brisbane and Sydney bought tickets which were priced in some cases up to $15,000 to attend the events that included a special round table personal dinner with the ex-president to raise money for charity.

One ticket buyer prominent Brisbane businessman John MacTaggart confirmed his organisation Brisbane Angels which represents private investors looking for new technology ventures paid $5000 for tickets to the proposed Clinton dinner in Brisbane in 2010.

“It just started to become obvious things weren’t right. She disappeared.”

Mr MacTaggart said Brisbane Angels had been successful in getting a judgement against Red Brick Development but had not received any refund

“Our legal advice was that that’s about as good as you are going to get. It wasn’t much, about five grand and we weren’t going to spend any more,” he said.

Ms Saba has denied any impropriety in business dealings and said the dinners did not go ahead because Mr Clinton had cancelled.

She denied the ticket sale was a scam and said her “attorneys were still handling” issues with the money being refunded.

When asked who the lawyers were she declined to provide their name.

She said any claims that she had caused individuals to lose money were “all false”.

She said one business in Queensland that was the subject of complaints about losses had been organised by a former partner.

“That’s got nothing to do with me,” she said.

A spokesman  for the Australian Federal Police refused to comment on whether officers were assisting Sri Lankan authorities in the hunt for Toussaint.

He said the AFP “did not confirm who it may or may not be investigating nor does it discuss requests for assistance from overseas law enforcement agencies”.

The Immigration Department declined to comment on the grounds it does not make statements on individuals’ immigration status or investigations.

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Source : Sydney Morning Herald

Continued oil price fall may spell uncertainty for Korean refiners

Despite strong refining margins, inventory valuation losses may be high

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Korean refiners — among the major beneficiaries of a prolonged drop in oil prices this year — are facing an uncertain profit outlook as the recent price decline is expected to have driven up their inventory-based losses.

The country’s major oil refiners are forecast to see their net operating profits exceed 5 trillion won ($4.4 billion) this year, thanks to high refining margins linked to low crude import prices and heightened global demand for oil products.

At the same time, industry watchers say the sharp decline in crude prices may have hampered their profitability in the fourth quarter, as refiners were pushed to sell their products at below input costs, with market prices falling after to crude was bought at higher prices.

An oil refinery (123rf)

As of 2014, SK Innovation, the segment leader, processed 1.11 million barrels a day, while GS Caltex processed 775,000 barrels, S-Oil 669,000 barrels and Hyundai Oilbank 390,000 barrels. Together, the four refiners reportedly process around 2.5 million barrels daily.

Because it takes around 25 days for crude shipments to arrive from the Middle East to Korea, refiners keep around 25 times as much crude as their daily production output in their stockpiles — or some 62.5 million barrels.

When crude oil prices drop heavily, as they have in recent months, refiners face significant valuation losses on stockpiles purchased at a higher price ahead of delivery.

So for every $1 drop in crude oil prices, Korean refiners lose a total of around $62.5 million, or around 65 billion won, in inventory value.

Dubai crude, which makes up around 80 percent of Korea’s total oil imports, fell to $31.83 per barrel on Dec. 24, the lowest level in 11 years, according to the Korea National Oil Corp. It reflects a drop of around $7 from Nov. 27 ($40.37) and $14 since Oct. 1 ($45.92).

Accounting for such oil price fluctuations, refiners may have posted inventory losses of some 455 billion won this month, or some 910 billion won since October.

Crude prices are forecast to further plunge in the months ahead, as the U.S. newly begins exporting its oil, OPEC members have refused to cut production, and Iran will resume oil supplies after U.S.-led sanctions are lifted, perpetuating a global oil glut.

“Financial stress may prove too little too late to prevent the market from having to clear through ‘operational stress,’ with prices near cash costs to force production cuts, likely around $20 a barrel,” Goldman Sachs said in a report released after the OPEC decision this month.

Though falling oil prices are expected to benefit the local refining sector in terms of import costs and product demand, some market analysts cite concerns that sudden price falls may cause large-scale inventory losses.

“Amid a decline in oil prices (which have been a boon for the industry), Korean refiners are faced with a burden of high input costs in the fourth quarter, particularly in December,” said SK Securities analyst Son Ji-woo. “We will have to wait until the end of December to determine the profitability of the (Korean) refining sector.”

Meanwhile, refining margins — the final profit that refiners can take away by processing one barrel of crude into commercial oil products — have generally remained high throughout the year and is expected to stay positive next year.

As low oil prices have raised demand for oil products, local refining margins have stood at an average $7.7 this year, the highest since 2011, peaking at $10.70 in November. A margin of around $4 is widely considered the break-even point for Korean refiners.

SK Innovation, the industry leader, GS Caltex, S-Oil and Hyundai Oilbank have already posted combined operating profits of 4.05 trillion won from January to September, according to their regulatory filings.

By Sohn Ji-young (

Source : The Korea Herald

Soccer legends and dignitaries converge in Dubai

Moni Mathews/Dubai
Filed on December 27, 2015 | Last updated on December 27, 2015 at 08.45 pm

Shaikh Mohammed, Messi attend opening Dubai International Sports Conference.

Die-hard soccer fans waited anxiously for over three hours to get a glimpse of their favourite super-star – the one and only Lionel Messi – before the start of the 10th Dubai International Sports Conference (DISC) at the Madinat Jumeirah Resort, on Sunday afternoon.

All they wanted was to say hello to their dearest sports idol and they would not even have bothered to trouble Messi for an autograph on the script pads, soccer balls and T-shirts they carried in their backpacks.

Messi, a nominee for the Best Player of the year Award at the Globe Soccer Awards function later in the night, appeared briefly for a few minutes when the afternoon sessions of the DISC began, and a bigger dimension was given to the occasion when His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, joined the elite list of soccer dignitaries and shaikhs, again for a short while.

The Barcelona mega star and his club were the strong favourites to win the top awards in their categories among the various other honours and prizes on offer at the awards function at the same venue.

Other football legends like Frank Lampard and Diego Maradona will also be present along with the elite panel of coaches, referees and senior administrators of the sport during the conference mainly themed ‘Challenges and Achievements’.

The two-day seminar opened in the morning where Michele Uva, general manager, Italian Football Federation and Umberto Gandini, director, AC Milan took the top table for the discussion on ‘Professional Football Club Model’ at the hall adjacent to the event’s main venue.

During the pre-lunch discussion on ‘Football’s Future Challenges’, Gianni Infantino, secretary-general Uefa; Josep Maria Bartmeu, president, FC Barcelona; and Prince Ali bin Hussein, president of the Jordanian Football Association and a candidate for the Fifa presidency elections next year, talked at length on the subject.

Bartomeu, said: “One hundred and sixteen years in existence to the mostly widely followed club in the world – this is a huge honour for us and we have been lucky to have had players of immense class and character to help us through the long journey. Right now the players we have form a wonderful combination, and in defeat and victory, we keep learning every day from our experiences.

“This sport has given us the direction to move forward with a great amount of conviction that we can encourage the youth in their educational and sports careers. We give enough priorities in the allround character building process we have developed and keep improving at our academies in Spain and elsewhere.”

Uva said: “Club licensing has many plus points, so the difficulties we may encounter are more or less fully neutralised in the long run. The European bodies looking after the sport’s various needs and regulations under the Uefa umbrella need to get all the clubs on a single stage despite the different cultural backgrounds. United we need to be and we need standardisation instead of each club going in different ways to achieve their goals. The focus has to be on proper technique and time proven methods to keep everyone in the ‘one family’ format.”

“The Asian and European outlooks may differ fundamentally sometimes but we can all get together to share our experiences for mutual benefit. The need has come in our global approach to set aside conflict and let Fifa play the motivator’s role,” said Gandini.

“The creation of a common base is the vital ingredient to get on to a higher gear for all of us to survive the tough moments and keep aside our own agenda aside, for the general good of the sport and the fraternity.”


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