The crusading founder of Xe (formerly Blackwater) is selling the company and stepping down from leadership duties to ensure future defense contracts.
According to the New York Times, Erik Prince has secured a deal with a group of investors to keep Blackwater, or Xe (or whatever name the mercenary group is calling itself today) working into the 21st century for the American people.
Prince’s life and the creation of Blackwater was investigated thoroughly by Jeremy Scahill in his explosive book “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army.” In 2009, Scahill reported that civil lawsuits had been filed against Blackwater by two former employees. John Doe #1 gave sworn testimony about Blackwater misdeeds, adding that he feared retaliation for doing so and that one or two persons who gave information against Prince and Blackwater “have been killed in suspicious circumstances.” He added that Blackwater management had threatened him with “death and violence.”
John Doe #2, a former Marine, swore in an affidavit that he worked for Prince and Blackwater for four years, and in that time worked for a web of companies created by Prince to obscure and hide “wrongdoing, fraud and other crimes.” According to John Doe #2, Blackwater engaged in money laundering and tax evasion through a company called Greystone.
John Doe #2 added in his sworn testimony, ”Mr. Prince is motivated to engage in misconduct by two factors: First, he views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe… Second, Mr. Prince is motivated by greed.”
That two former employees have come forward with these allegations is telling. Perhaps they have an axe to grind after a perceived wrong done to them by Prince and Blackwater. But, the two are not benefitting monetarily from the allegations nor are they becoming famous for battling Prince.
Yet, despite these allegations and past wrongdoings by the Prince’s mercenary group (defense contractors), investors still see potential profitability in Xe.
According to the New York Times, those involved in the deal include Jason DeYonker of Forté Capital Advisors (a friend of Prince and former financial advisor to the family), Manhattan Growth Partners and Bank of America, which helped finance the transaction. Apparently Bank of America doesn’t mind some additional bad press before WikiLeaks drops financial documents into the public sphere.
What is amazing about this deal is that even considering the shady dealings and questions of excessive force in Xe’s past, Prince’s company is valued at about $200 million.
Apparently Xe wants to rework its business into an organization that trains foreign as well as U.S. forces. That Obama’s State Department would even consider this arrangement is insulting to just about everyone in the world. It does not seem likely that Prince will just simply disappear from the mercenary business.
Someone like Erik Prince, a true believer, doesn’t just walk off into the sunset with blood-stained dollar bills spilling out of his pocket. He will be involved in Xe on some level with the help of investors and Bank of America.
So much for Obama’s commitment to ethics in banking and investment.