Thursday, August 29, 2019

Federal Court Australia MH 17 decision makes interesting findings about where MAS conducts its business ,and where its cash earnings go

by Ganesh Sahathevan

Displaying overview.jpg
The MH 17 tragedy raises many questions

In Gibson v Malaysian Airline System Berhad (Class Membership) [2019] FCA 1399 (28 August 2019) Perram J said, in a finding of fact:

The evidence before me shows that it was Dr Dyczynski who purchased the ticket online in his daughter’s name. Dr Dyczynski was in Australia when he did this, but the evidence shows that the ticket was issued either by the airline’s office in Amsterdam or by its head office in Kuala Lumpur. This is apparent from the face of the ticket, which shows that the issuing agency was an entity called ‘M A S E COMMERCE AMSTERDAM NL’, which is nominated as the issuing entity when the ticket is purchased online. That entity is located in the Netherlands.

The ticket also contains the code ‘RLOC MH’, which shows that the reservation was made in Malaysia. I am satisfied, therefore, that the place of business of the airline ‘through which the contract was made’ was not in Australia. Consistently, the ticket price was denominated in euros. I do not need to determine whether the airline’s place of business through which the contract was made was the Netherlands or Malaysia, but I accept that it was clearly not in Australia.

Perram J's findings would be of interest to anyone who has had reason to analyse MAS's earnings and business over the decades. The existence of M A S E COMMERCE AMSTERDAM NL is not widely known (if at all) and it does raise the question whether there are other such entities that MAS employs or has employed for the collection of its revenue. 

There are then issues of shifting revenue to jurisdictions other than those in which MAS is assumed to conduct its business; MAS has had a visible presence in Australia for many years and the finding that Australia is not the  "airline’s place of business "  will come as a surprise to many (despite the legal basis for the finding).

And finally, the question that the Malaysian taxpayer would want to answered,given the Malaysian Government funding that has propped up the airline for at least the past 30 years: is the revenue earned by entities such as M A S E COMMERCE AMSTERDAM NL coming back to Malaysia, or is it going elsewhere? Is there a discrepancy between earnings booked in Malaysia and actual cash earnings? 

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Liberal & Labor donor Minshen Zhu's Top Group will fund business with China's iFlytek using Commonwealth of Australia FEE HELP funding: iFlytek is being considered for blacklisting in the US, like Huwaei

by Ganesh Sahathevan 

A few other Australians can be spotted in footage of the event, which was attended by Xi Jinping and Politburo Standing Committee Member Wang Yang. Here is Zhu Minshen, who famously paid Sam Dastyari's travel bill, shaking hands with Papa Xi 4/-Alex Joske


China-HK protest on Australian campuses but not at Minshen Zhu controlled campuses-Are legal profession admission rules being used (again ) to suppress complaints and protests

The Sydney based Hong Kong listed Top Education Group Ltd,which is funded in part by Australian Commonwealth Government FEE HELP   courtesy of among other things the "first and only"license granted a private entity to issue LLB degrees, informed the Hong Stock Exchange  yesterday that Top had entered into a MOU with two Chinese state supported companies, iFlytek, and its associated company , Jingle Magic:  

The board (the “Board”) of directors (the “Directors”) of the Company is pleased to announce that,  
on 21 August 2019, the Company signed a memorandum of understanding (the “MoU”) on the potential cooperation of the international educational artificial intelligence project with iFlytek Co Ltd. (“iFLYTEK”) and Jingle Magic (Beijing) Technology Co., Ltd. (“Jingle Magic”). Pursuant to MoU, TOP will introduce smart classroom products and related educational artificial intelligence product systems and services from iFLYTEK and Jingle Magic, and iFLYTEK and Jingle Magic will assist TOP in evaluating the smart campus plan, work out an executable plan by leveraging the strengths of iFLYTEK and Jingle Magic, and help TOP complete the development of smart campus. 

The Board believes that this cooperation will take full advantage of the technological strength of 
iFLYTEK and Jingle Magic in artificial intelligence and assist TOP to achieve 2 its own strategic goals and build Australia's first higher education institute with full coverage of artificial intelligence, which will become one of the symbols for the integrating education with industrial production. It is also a demonstration base of an overseas joint smart campus for iFLYTEK and Jingle Magic. The extension coverage of the artificial intelligence higher education will extend to TOP’s possible expansion targets and related cooperative teaching platforms in China.

In July tis year the  South China Morning Post detailed iFlytek links with the Chinese Government:

iFlytek’s focus on AI technology and its state support has put the company at the forefront of the tech war being waged between the US and China, with Washington deliberating whether to add iFlytek to a blacklist that would bar it from purchasing US components or software without US government approval, Bloomberg reported in May citing a person familiar with the matter.
“Huawei and iFlytek are very similar in DNA. Both are the kind of companies persistent enough to take 10 years to sharpen one sword,” Hu Yu, who takes the title of rotating president of iFlytek, said at an public event in May.

This deal further confirms the Communist Party China links of Top Group's CEO and major shareholder, Minshen Zhu.

It raises further questions about the approvals provided him by the AG NSW Mark Speakman, whose portfolio included security.


China’s voice recognition champion iFlytek gets US$407 million funding boost from state investors

Company to invest 2.05 billion yuan in its AI speech platform, with 1.18 billion yuan coming from proceeds of the private placement

Sarah Dai

Published: 11:48am, 17 Jul, 2019

iFlytek, China’s national champion in voice recognition, has raised 2.8 billion yuan (US$407 million) via a private placement that brought in money from a state-backed industry fund and several provincial government funds.

The Shenzhen-listed company will use the proceeds to bankroll research in open platforms for smart speech, so-called next generation cognitive technology, and service robots, it said in a stock exchange filing on Wednesday.

The placement has pulled in investors including Anhui Development Investment Company, Anhui Railway Development Fund, Anhui Smart Voice and Artificial Intelligence Venture Capital, as well as an investment fund for state-owned companies under government-controlled investment vehicle China Reform Holdings.

Founded in 1999 and headquartered in Hefei, the capital of the eastern Chinese province of Anhui, iFlytek has established itself as the country’s foremost developer of advanced speech recognition, speech evaluation and natural language processing technologies.

In 2017 the company was handpicked by the Chinese government to spearhead the country’s development in voice intelligence and take the lead in building an “open innovation platform”.

The firm’s AI speech open platform is expected to be the biggest beneficiary of the new funds as iFlytek intends to invest 2.05 billion yuan in that project, with 1.18 billion yuan the amount coming from proceeds of the private placement.

iFlytek’s focus on AI technology and its state support has put the company at the forefront of the tech war being waged between the US and China, with Washington deliberating whether to add iFlytek to a blacklist that would bar it from purchasing US components or software without US government approval, Bloomberg reported in May citing a person familiar with the matter.

“Huawei and iFlytek are very similar in DNA. Both are the kind of companies persistent enough to take 10 years to sharpen one sword,” Hu Yu, who takes the title of rotating president of iFlytek, said at an public event in May.

Huawei Technologies, China’s telecoms national champion, was put on the blacklist in May although US President Donald Trump softened that stance after talks with Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in June.

China Asset Management and Harvest Fund Management, the country’s two top mutual funds, also backed the iFlytek offering, according to the filing. The new investors have a one year lock up period and cannot sell their shares until July 18 next year.

The reports below from Hong Kong' s AA Stock Financial News quote Top Education Institute's Minshen Zhu informing investors in Hong Kong that he expects to increase fees at Top by 5-10% per annum.

Top also expects  local Australian students to constitute 30% of its student population and this will provide Top with a steady Commonwealth funded cashflow for Top has been granted access to Commonwealth funding, in the form of Commonwealth student fee assistance.

The Commonwealth Department Of Education has made clear to this writer, in response to queries, that it will not object to private colleges charging any amount in fees; the Department considers only the decision by students to bear  the debt to the Commonwealth to be  of relevance.

However, despite the guaranteed Government funded cashflow Top's annual operating cash flows are barely positive,and profit margins have been declining.

Approvals from the Chairman TEQSA,Nick Saunders  and the LPAB NSW,which is overseen by the AG NSW  and chaired by Chief Justice of the Supreme Court NSW  are critical to Top's business success. Both have refused to answer queries regarding TOP.
The AG's evasion is particularly troubling for he and his LPAB can and have  used  Rule 19  of the Legal Profession Uniform Admission Rules 2015    under the Legal Profession Uniform Law to discredit any complaint from law students enrolled at law schools in NSW, and it particular private law colleges. The story below from The Australian 17 January 2019 provides an example.Documents provided readers will show that the background to what was reported in The Australian was a series of complaints and stories about another private college, the College Of Law Sydney,

 As with the College of Law, the AG and his LPAB appear not to have taken any action against Top with regards the issues raised in this story in 2016. 
See also 

Monday, August 26, 2019

Peter Hall QC & ICAC seem obsessed with Huang Xiangmo, even while Chinese donors are happy to admit that all of them made donations to both sides of politics ; Minshen Zhu will not be called to give evidence

by Ganesh Sahathevan

ICAC Chief Commissioner Peter Hall will head an inquiry that involves NSW Labor.
ICAC Chief Commissioner Peter Hall

These are the parameters of ICAC's inquiry announced on 31 Jul 2019 , in its own words:

Public inquiry into allegations concerning political donations

The ICAC will hold a public inquiry starting Monday 26 August 2019 as part of an investigation it is conducting into allegations concerning political donations, the NSW Branch of the Australian Labor Party (ALP), members of Chinese Friends of Labor and others.

From even the first day of hearings, it is easy to see that ICAC Chief Commissioner  Peter Hall QC & ICAC seem concerned with only one donor in particular, Huang Xiangmo.

Here are but two examples of how Hall is attempting to narrow the focus of the inquiry onto Huang

The Icac chief commissioner, Peter Hall, asked Cheah why Huang would bring in a shopping bag full of money.
“If the cash came from multiple donors, can you explain to me, why Huang Xiangmo, said to be an extremely wealthy individual, would be carrying cash in a shopping bag on behalf of donors? Can you explain that to me?” Hall asked.
“Why would a man of his stature be undertaking such a task of a delivery man?

The answer to the above was provided by Labor’s then community relations director, Kenrick Cheah,who did not see anything extraodinary with Huang delivering cash on behalf of his friends. 
And then there was this:
Explosive evidence has already been given to Icac by Kaila Murnain, the current NSW Labor general secretary, who was an assistant secretary of Chinese Friends of Labor in 2015. She has told Icac that the former Labor state MP Ernest Wong had told her Huang was the true source of the $100,000.
“Of course, Ms Murnain’s statement as to what Mr Wong is said to have told her is not, of itself, conclusive proof that there were one or more ‘straw donors’ or ‘pretend donors’ associated with the Chinese Friends of Labor function in 2015 or that there was a scheme to conceal the fact that Mr Huang was the true source of funds,” Icac counsel assisting, Scott Robertson, told the inquiry.
“I anticipate though, that other evidence bearing on that issue will be presented during the course of this public inquiry.”

Meanwhile, Minshen Zhu, one of the most high profile donors ,will not be called ;his name does not appear on the witness list.
In 2016, it was reported that ...... Minshen Zhu, had written a $2000 cheque for NSW Labor candidate Chris Minns as a donation for the 2015 election — yet Mr Zhu had apparently never met Mr Minns. The cheque was not cashed.
Given the above one would think that the Inquiry would want desperately to hear from Zhu, but no.Instead the focus remains on Huang Xiangmo who has been effectively expelled from Australia. Any findings made against him will be worthless.



Sunday, August 25, 2019

Premier Berejiklian has no choice but to "comment on national security matters or briefings": Her AG and Government have given the appearance that they have been compromised by the Communist Party China

by Ganesh Sahathevan

Note that Berejiklian speaks of the Lunar New Year's significance to Koreans, Vietnamese and others,but that the only community representatives mentioned are those from the Chinese community

Well and good for Premier Gladys Berejiklian to say,as reported by the SMH that she “does not comment on national security matters or briefings”.

Meanwhile her Attorney General, the Member For Cronulla Mark Speakman who has responsibility for security and intelligence issues has clearly compromise himself:

Indeed he may have misled Parliament with regards the Berejiklian Government's dealings with Zhu and his Top Group:

Berejiklian Government fails to disclose action/inaction against NSW Liberal Party donor Top Education Group, claims harrassment by journalist querying non-disclosure

The Premier, her AG, and other members of her Government have compromised themselves. What is needed is an explanation of their actions, which happen to concern national security.

Chinese influence in NSW :Tensions among MPs suggests division between haves and have nots

by Ganesh Sahathevan

The 2016 ACETCA annual gala dinner, attended by several Labor and Liberal MPs.

The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that Clive Hamilton who has become known as a . Chinese foreign influence expert,  "has called for Australian intelligence agencies to share more advice with politicians as some MPs voice concern they’re “completely lost” with how to deal with organisations and their donations."

The paper also reported:
Despite growing concerns of foreign interference in politics, several NSW MPs said they had never received a briefing from intelligence agencies on which organisations to look out for.
“I’ve never received a briefing from ASIO, we are completely lost,” one MP said.
“I’m walking around like a blind person going ‘I don’t know, is this a legitimate organisation’.”
Another said many politicians were nervous to attend community or fundraising events for organisations they hadn't been briefed about.
"No one knows what functions they should be saying yes or no to ... it's making a lot of people very nervous. Considering the environment, it's really risky to not be briefed," one MP said.

Against these concerns however are these statements which were reported in the same story:
In a 2018 submission to the Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, Professor Hamilton named the Australia China Economic, Trade and Cultural Association (ACETCA) for it’s “close ties” to the Chinese government.
More than half a dozen NSW Liberal and Labor MPs have attended ACETCA events in recent years, with Liberal MP and Legislative Assembly speaker Jonathan O’Dea travelling with the association to China in June.
ACETCA has donated close to $40,000 to state political parties since 2013, with most of the cash ($29,000) given to the Liberal Party through events attended by premiers, treasurers and MPs.
Mr O’Dea travelled to Fuzhou on China’s southeastern coast for an ACETCA conference this year.
The speaker and former p arliamentary secretary for trade said while he paid for the international airfare, he received “assistance with travel, accommodation and some meals” from ACETCA on the trip, which he said he declared.
“I have for many years supported ACETCA activities and its objectives in promoting trade links between NSW/Australia and China as well as greater cultural and social understanding,” Mr O’Dea said in a statement.
ACETCA also donated close to $8000 to the Labor Party, including $1500 for an “election countdown dinner” for Ms McKay in May 2018.
A spokeswoman for Ms McKay said she would continue meeting with Chinese community groups “without fear or favour” given the cultural diversity of her electorate.
ACETCA donated towards two fundraising dinners for Liberal Member for Oatley Mark Coure, who is a ‘patron and honorary adviser’ to the organisation.
Mr Coure said he stood by his “staunch representation and advocacy” of multicultural groups in his diverse electorate.
Member for Drummoyne John Sidoti was also named twice in the donation disclosure logs to the Liberal Party.
A spokesman for Mr Sidoti said “donations are processed through the NSW Liberal Party and any inquiries about donations should be made to the NSW Liberal Party”.

Clearly there is some tension between party leaders who would have better access to the Chinese funds,and the rank and file (including lower levem MPs) whose access to that funding is determined by the leadership. 


Saturday, August 24, 2019

NSW Dept of Education expels Confucius Institute from schools, but Minshen Zhu and his law school continue to receive preferential treatment from the AG NSW Mark Speakman and his LPAB

by Ganesh Sahathevan

A few other Australians can be spotted in footage of the event, which was attended by Xi Jinping and Politburo Standing Committee Member Wang Yang. Here is Zhu Minshen, who famously paid Sam Dastyari's travel bill, shaking hands with Papa Xi 4/


China-HK protest on Australian campuses but not at Minshen Zhu controlled campuses-Are legal profession admission rules being used (again ) to suppress complaints and protests

In the words of the ABC

The New South Wales Department of Education has expelled a Chinese Government language program from the state's public schools due to fears of potential foreign influence

The Confucius Institute program is overseen by Chinese Government agency Hanban and teaches Mandarin in 13 public schools across Sydney and on the mid-north coast.

Meanwhile, one of the most high profile promoters of the Confucius Institute in NSW, Minshen Zhu, continues to receive preferential treatment from the NSW's most senior judicial officer, the Attorney General Mark Speakman SC, and his Legal Profession Admission Board. As this writer has asked (and keeps asking for no answer has been provided):

It has been reported here previously that that Speakman has granted Zhu powers not only to issue law degrees but also, in effect, the power to determine if graduates of his Sydney City School Of Law can be admitted to practise in NSW and in Australia. 

The LPAB is chaired by the Chief Justice of NSW, Mr Thomas Bathurst.