the business and its participants
The Bout – Tokoph – Sangue – Riis-connection
The late Mr. Riis, an SOE-agent,
former Norwegian Consul to
Among the late Consul Riis’ numerous fights in courts all over the world – there were quite a few – he considered the fights in the Norwegian courts to be the toughest, as he had experienced the Norwegian judges to be the most corrupted of them all.
I have represented the Riis-family in their Norwegian cases as an assistant, associate, and in-house lawyer since 1997. During this time I have won three cases against Norway in The European Court of Human Rights, Strasbourg (2004, 2007 and 2008), and I have also managed to negotiate the largest private settlement (some € 7 million) between the Norwegian Government and any private individual in this complex of cases.
The late consul Riis trusted nobody but me (at least that was the impression the family expressed to me), and he was so satisfied with my performance that he and his “wife”, Mrs. Amelia Riis – by a testamentary document of August 28 2001 as well as subsequent documents – made me an heir, in addition to appoint me as the executor of their testament.
In the aftermath of the late Consul Riis’ death another story about this family has slowly surfaced, facts that was kept secret for me during my almost ten years of engagement for this family.
Riis – an arms dealer? Could that be?
In previous articles ( I II, in Norwegian) as well as in correspondence to the Norwegian Government and to the Director General of Public Prosecution (in English), I have indicated and informed about my findings regarding the late Consul Einar Riis’ (Johannessen) illicit arms dealer business.
Norwegian financial paper Finansavisen has in a defaming article on
In this article I will bring you through small parts of the arms dealing business and in this effort provide you with a few links for further studies, this in an attempt to give you a picture of what this is all about, and to clarify whether there could be some truth in the information that I was provided with by the late Consul Riis’ former director during a meeting in Rome, Italy, April 2008.
You have all seen those horrible pictures from different African countries of maimed children (I II III IV), limping on one leg or just sitting with no legs left to carry them. You have also seen pictures of other kids armed with weapons almost the size of themselves (I II III IV), manipulated to carry out all kinds of war crimes against their neighbours.
From the promotion of former child soldier Mr. Ismael Beah’s book “A long way gone”:
“This is how wars are fought now: by children, traumatized, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s. Children have become the soldiers of choice. In the more than fifty conflicts going on worldwide, it is estimated that there are some 300,000 child soldiers. Ishmael Beah used to be one of them.”
Who and what is behind and thus responsible for the “wars” and consequently the slaughtering around the world?
back on the maimed and carved kids and the children carrying those weapons, one
has to ask: How did – and even more important: How could these weapons and the
ammunition end up in the hands of these poor kids in
A war as cruel as we know it is only possible as long as the valve of the flow of weapons and ammunition is open. Close the valve and the will/motivation/spirit behind the war will suffocate. To keep a war alive and vital it is imperative to keep the illicit arms dealing business alive as well. This business depends on certain factors that need to run smoothly and in harmony with eachother. The most important factors are: A provider of arms (seller), a buyer and his middlemen, an aircraft or a ship to transport these arms, crew for the means of transport, airports/ports (key staff included) from where the arms are to be shipped from, and of course a substantial amount of money (which can only be obtained through criminal operations and business) to buy these weapons.
In this article my aim is not to concentrate on the provider, but rather on the vendee, the buyer and his middlemen (not the end user).
years Ostend airport at the
One has to
ask: Which companies and persons own the aircrafts participating in this
lucrative but though so macabre business? Who is piloting the birds of death? Who is gaining from this
business? And finally; who is responsible and who is to blame for the fact that
this business has been able to survive and in fact has been blooming in the
Worthless opposition to the illicit arms dealing?
Most leaders of the world agree on the fact that arms dealers are the one that makes war possible. In 2003 the United Nations estimated that as many as 1.2 million people (three times the population of the city of Miami, correspoding to some 6.000 ton of human blood) had lost their lives in the most appalling circumstances in the Liberian civil war.
Former chief prosecutor of an UN-backed tribunal, Professor David Crane, has given the following statement in regards to arms dealers and the consequence of their business:
"They didn't just die, they died in horrible in agony," says Professor Crane. "Imagine standing in a mass grave of dead children. I could describe to you the horror but you wouldn't take it in, you couldn't ... People like Kouwenhoven did this."
"These were thugs," says Professor Crane of Mr Taylor and his Dutch business partner. "Small-time crooks and bit-players who took advantage of the absence of law. They were nobodies. But they became mobsters who will go down in history as horrors. They thrive on the corruption and greed in the dark corners of the world."
Professor Crane, the author of the indictment against Mr Taylor, who is now in jail in Sierra Leone, awaiting probable trial at The Hague, adds: "(Mr Kouwenhoven) represents the kind of financier that has ruined large parts of West Africa for personal gain. He was a close intimate of Charles Taylor. We exposed the rule of blood diamonds, rainforest timber and guns. What we found was horrendous."
"I applaud this because financiers and companies working in the shadows of African wars are now on notice that they may be held accountable,"
In the District Court of Hague Mr. Guus Kouwenhoven was sentenced to 8 years in prison for arms smuggling. On March 10 2008 the Dutch Court of Appeals overturned this judgement and aquited Mr. Kouwenhoven of all charges. The Dutch prosecutor have appealed the decision. The decision in the Dutch Court of Appeals might show you in what degree this business is protected.
Think, and then come back
said this I encourage you to ask your self a few questions: Weapons and
military equipment used in conflicts in
My point is to get your attention, to get you aware, to get you to accept that the one involved in this business are humans. They could be your neighbour, or someone that you know of. Hence don’t be surprised if I am naming persons that you know. A normal reaction from a person who has been told that someone that he/she knows about has committed a crime is; no, that can’t be! Well, who did it then? Is it always someone else?
The “Merchant of Death” – back to
Victor Bout, (Victor Bout’s official website) dubbed “the Merchant of death”, is accused of breaking UN embargoes since the early 1990s by selling arms to conflict-torn regions in Africa and elsewhere around the world. Ostend airport seems to have been a hub for Mr. Bout’s business. Several other airline companies involved in illicit arms dealing have also been operating from Ostend airport. One of those is Aero Zambia.
Aero Zambia moved their office from the airport to the Ostend Jet Center where
Mr. Bout had started his business in 1995. It seems that Aero Zambia also has
established an office as far away as at the
Tokoph and the North-connection – Iran-Contra
of Seagreen were two Jewish/American/Italian brothers David Paul and Gary
Tokoph from El Paso, Texas, USA. David Paul Tokoph is both a pilot as well as a flight instructor back in
On December 5 1985 Mr. North proposed a refurbished plan with two major amendments: 1) The executive branch (the President) was to sell weapons directly to the Iranian group as a payment/fee for the release of the hostages, and 2) the profit from this illicit arms dealing was suggested to be channelled to fund counter revolution activities in Nicaragua, or what you rather could call; funding of democratic terrorist actions. Profit from the sale of weapons that was aiming on Iraqi soldiers and civilians went into Mr. North’s Swiss bank account and by the hands of Mr. North the US was – from this account it seems – funding Nicaraguan terrorists groups and their actions with more than $30 million.
According to the vast majority of independent observers, the 1984 Nicaraguan elections were perhaps the freest and fairest in Nicaraguan history. Hence it seems undoubtedly that Mr. Daniel Ortega had been legally elected. President Reagan, though, stubbornly stated that the election was a “Soviet-style sham” thus he could continue to support terror actions in Nicaragua arguing that this multimillion-dollar support through the CIA was a justified assistance to the “democratic resistance.”
In 1994 Zambia Airways went bankrupt. The Tokoph-brothers bought what was left of it and established Aero Zambia, which is the carrier mentioned above involved in illicit arms dealings from Ostend airport.
was entered on
“Before coming to Zambia, Katumbi Lived in Italy for a few years that is where he met up with another Jewish Italian named David Tokoph. Katumbi’s elder brother Katebe Katoto jointly owned an airline known as Sea Green which was a cargo airline. The airline was banned to fly to the USA and most European countries after it was discovered that it was involved in the transportation of drugs. Sea Green later emerged in Zambia as Aero Zambia with Tokoph as chairman and Katumbi later becoming vice chairman. Aero Zambia was involved in illicit transportation of Arms and Diamonds between Angola, Zambia, Eastern Congo and Eritrea. Airstrips in Mwansabombwe, Solwezi and Lilayi were used in Zambia.”
Paul David Tokoph is the Chief Executor Officer of Interair South Africa (and here) an airliner which he seems to be the owner of. Mr. Tokoph’s company is a member of the International Air Transport Association (I.A.T.A), and Mr. Tokoph himself is a member of The Corporate Council on Africa (CCA).
In 2004 a pilot was looking for a job and he came over an ad in Nairobi where Mr. Tokoph was seeking pilots. The pilot seemed to have got some bad feelings about this company and Mr. Tokoph, hence he looked for some additional information about this person on the Internet, and here is the answer he got.
Tokoph – Sangue-connection
As you can see through this link, Mr. Tokoph’s right hand, the Managing Director, was from the very start a Mr. Alessandro Sangue. Mr. Sangue’s last name is by the way rather odd as it in English means “blood”. But ok, Mr. Sangue is an Italian. He studied to be a pilot in the US in the early 1980’ and holds a commercial pilot certificate (multiengine and helicopter), a flight instructor certificate as well as an aircraft dispatcher certificate, at present living at the outskirts of Rome.
In the arms dealing business it is, understandably, hard to find pilots that are willing to crush the wall of law to make their way away into virgin territories and thus let go of all moral. For most of us, a moral struggle you couldn’t defeat. Hence it becomes imperative for the leaders of the arms dealing business to get hold of “promising youths” and “educate” those people at the earliest stage possible.
For example when you are selling a military helicopter or a jetfighter to one of the warlords in Africa, you might find it hard to get hold of a pilot or a specialist to do the transport, the checks and tests etc. But if you have educated and moulded your own staff, then you have no problem. Mr. Sangue holds all certificates needed for this business, and as you will see below; so did his best friend.
The Riis-connection – link established
Mr. Alessandro Sangue is Mr. Kenneth Patrizio Riis’ best friend. Mr. Kenneth Patrizio Riis is allegedly the son of the late Consul Riis. The two friends grew up together in Italy in the 1960’, and according to the late Consul Riis they seem to have shared the same political fascist thoughts.
Sometime in the 1980’ Mr. Sangue joined his best friend Kenneth Patrizio and started working for the late Consul Einar Riis in his aircraft broker business, E. Riis & Co (Italy) S.R.L. and by this we have an unbroken link established from Victor Bout through Mr. Tokoph and Mr. Sangue to the Riis-family. The circle is closed.
In an earlier article (you might find this article somewhat understandable by translating the text with Google language) I have documented that this aircraft broker company was used as a buffer and a decoy in order to have the profit channelled into the late Consul Riis’ private bank accounts in Switzerland and Monaco and thus to avoid Italian authorities, especially Italian tax authorities.
Both Mr. Kenneth Patrizio Riis as well as his best friend Mr. Sangue soon adopted the concept of “Salami”, meaning bribery and corruption in the Riis-sphere, which is documented and described in the above mentioned article. In several telexes and handwritten notes you will find how E. Riis & Co, as well as the named persons, corrupted high rank officials in different African countries.
In this document Mr. Sangue suggests to bribe some Ugandan Ministers. As you can see in Mr. Riis’ reply, he doesn’t oppose to the suggestion, of course, but rather wants to discuss Mr. Pecci and the DC-10.
In this handwritten note Mr. Sangue discusses Riis’ evaluation of the situation and how to pay some $50.000 into Uganda Airlines Corporation Secretary Mr. O. O. Osende’s pockets.
In this handwritten note Mr. Sangue states that the Danish which was involved in this lease-deal, refused to contribute to corruption: “Danesi say no bribe money”, Mr. Sangue concludes. In the same document it seems that Riis suggests to put some $5.000 of the $35.000 salami that is to be paid, into his own pockets. As you can see Mr. Sangue discusses several alternatives on how to solve this deal with Salami.
In this handwritten note Mr. Riis himself is discussing corruption,
and how to solve this “problem” with the Africans. While he considers the
African mentality he also consider how his staff is thinking of this corruption
deal, listing KP’s (his son), AX’s (Mr. Sangue) and his own (ER) thoughts. This
corrupted deal could involve Norway, as he is mentioning bribery in Oslo (the
capital) in his considerations.
What is it with the Riis-family and this Mr. Sangue?
On several occasions the late Consul Riis told me how much he disliked this friend of his son. But then again he didn’t speak nice about his own son either. Why? Why did he always drag his own family as well as his directors, like Mr. Sandum, through the dirt, like he did? Was it to keep me away from them, and thus away from the true Riis-story? It’s not unlikely. Documents that I recently have been provided with tell another story about the late Consul Riis’ and Mr. Sangue; that the late Consul Riis protected and treated him as his own son as well as talking warmly about him. In a telex to an Uganda Airline official, Mr. Kaggwa, the late Consul refers to Mr. Sangue as “…the most kind and correct person I ever met.” The late Mr. Riis’ description about Mr. Sangue to me was 180 degrees in the other direction. It’s absurd. Why did the late Consul Riis tell all these lies to me, then? Could it be, as I’ve mentioned, that he wilfully protected his family-secret by dragging them through the dirt, and thus manipulated me to have a certain opinion which he wanted me to have?
Kenneth Patrizio Riis and the Italian Fascism
In August 2005, following a hard battle in Monaco with his family, Consul Riis told me that one day, early in the eighties, he got a phone call from a high rank Carabinieri-officer warning the late Consul that they were about to carry out a raid at his premises looking for his son and weapons. Mr. Kenneth Patrizio Riis was “granted” just a few hours to leave the country where he had been born and raised. Merely getting such a phone call gives strong signals about the late Consul Riis’ connections right to the top of the Italian administration and to the secret Italian societies, which in turn made sure that the late Consul Riis’ son escaped from terror allegations, interrogations and most likely a criminal trial.
The reason for this raid and arrest warrant on his son was according to the late Consul Riis, Mr. Patrizio Riis’ involvement with arms/arms dealing and his connection with a political far-right wing (Fascist) organisation that had been accused of several terrorist attacks and murders in northern Italy. Only months before Mr. Kenneth Patrizio Riis’ arranged escape, Italy had been hit by two of the eighties’ worst terror attacks; the downing of Itavia Flight 870 (Strage di Ustica, casualties 81), and the bombing of the Central Station of Bologna (Strage di Bologna, casualties 82, more than 200 wounded).
By chance the late Consul Riis was a co-founder and one of the major shareholders of Aerolinee Itavia. Only months before this downing, an old conflict escalated between the Riis-family and the late Consul Riis’ companion and fellow co-founder and president of Aerolinee Itavia, Dr. Aldo Davanzali. According to one of the late Consul Riis’ directors, Mr. Nils Sandum, Dr. Davanzali inconveniently fell into an elevator shaft after the downing and barely survived.
Fleeing Italy to become an African farmer
After this agonizing family-meeting in Monaco, the late Mr. Riis revealed to me that he was in doubt whether his son had killed or been involved in killing people – as he put it – through his involvement in this right wing organisation in Italy. Nevertheless the 20 year old Patrizio fled Italy within minutes before the Carabinieri-raid and his upcoming arrest, and hence he escaped from both interrogations on possibly war crimes, crimes against the humanity/terrorism as well as a presumed criminal trial.
For several years Mr. Patrizio Riis lived as a fugitive in safe havens like South Africa, South America, USA (1980/81 to 1986/87) and Norway (April 1988 to June 1991), just waiting for his father to succeed in manipulating Italian officials in Norway and prosecutors and the judicial system in Italy. This struggle seems to have been solved in favour of Riis in 1992, when Kenneth re-entered the country after more than ten years on the run.
South Africa? What was Kenneth Patrizio doing there? The late Consul Riis told me that he was very disappointed with his son and about the fact that his son had chosen to be a farmer in South Africa together with Mr. Sangue instead of building up his competence to be able to take over his father’s business in Rome. Now, why should this be true? I mean, the late Consul Riis has lied about just about everything to me, so why not about his son’s farming business together with Mr. Sangue in Africa as well? By the way, according to the late Consul Riis the friends left behind their farming business in Africa to continue as farmers in South America, followed by a stay in the US when the “farming business” in South America was done.
Working with their hands or with arms?
Well, we now know that Mr. Kenneth Riis left Italy early in the eighties together with Mr. Sangue, and that they according to his father were farmers in South Africa and in South America. But taken into consideration Patrizio’s friend’s (Mr. Sangue) occupation during the 1990’ and his as well as the late Consul Riis’ connections in Africa, which was far from related to farming – on the contrary this business was set out to kill farmers and other fellow Africans – it is more likely that the Italian friends were building up E. Riis & Co’s business relations with African countries and their leaders as well as their own skills as arms dealers, than educating themselves to be farmers.
As I have mentioned above, the late Consul Riis was very disappointed with his son and his reluctance to educate himself. At one point, the late Consul Riis told me, he bought an airplane for his son in an attempt to force him to learn something in his life. This aircraft was bought in Florida early in the eighties, at a time when Mr. Kenneth Patrizio Riis was farming somewhere in the African bushes. These documents (I II III IV) show that Mr. Kenneth Riis was living in Florida, taking flight lessons, at the time he according to his father was farming in South Africa and then in South America together with his friend. Again: What is the story here?
As you might have discovered Mr. Kenneth Patrizio Riis was attending the flight school at the same time as his friend, Mr. Sangue. But not only that. Mr. Tokoph’s wife also attended flight school at the same time, and at the same date as Mr. Sangue.
According to the Riis-family Mr. Kenneth Patrizio Riis is employed as a Captain with the Verona-based airline, Meridiana. Having experienced Mr. Kenneth Patrizio Riis and his mental problems the last few years (the latest incident from the court in Monaco is described in this criminal complaint), I find it hard to believe that he is piloting any airplane, let alone a commercial aircraft with passengers aboard. This reflection is supported by the updated FFA-registry which confirms that his medical certificate expired almost 12 years ago.
I have already mentioned that Mr. Tokoph is a flight instructor, and that he has close connections to the African continent in regards to his arms dealing business as well as having a well built network. Could it be that Mr. Kenneth Riis and Mr. Sangue were taken under Mr. Tokoph’s wings in the US and that they were shipped back and forth to Africa to learn the business, and that all this was planned and paid for by the old man, Consul Riis? In a phone conversation between Mr. Kenneth Patrizio Riis (living in Miami, Florida) and his mother in March 1985, Kenneth strongly complains about his situation in Florida and about “the case” against him in Italy which he sees no end to. Among other things he wants his father to pay for 1.500 flight hours in a multi engine aircraft instead of paying for keeping open the pro forma office he had established in the US in order to build a safe haven around his son while waiting for the Italian solution.
It is a fact that Mr. Sangue and Mr. Kenneth Patrizio Riis went to flight School in America at the same time and together. Most likely the late Consul Riis paid for them both; the school, the flat, food, everything for a period of at least three years. Why was it so important for the late Consul Riis to have both these kids to learn to handle helicopters and multiengine aircrafts as well as the aircraft dispatcher’s profession? After all, wasn’t the late Consul Riis interested in having his son to take over the aircraft broker company? In that case there was no need to learn to fly helicopters and multiengine aircrafts, neither was it necessary to learn the aircraft dispatcher’s profession. So, why on earth did the late Consul Riis spend all this money on those two friends on an education that was hardly imperative to his broker business? Could it be that there was made a plan for these two kids, a plan that was formed in the context of the business of arms dealing?
Arms dealing and Political protection?
Mr. David Paul Tokoph’s wife, Carolyn Denise Tokoph, has for years – as the rest of the Tokoph-family – been an active campaign donor to any party likely to come in power, thus she has donated funds to both Mr. George W. Bush (R) campaign as well as to Mr. Barack Obama’s (D). Quite convenient if you should be in need of special assistance sometime.
The daughter and campaign donor, Ms. Daniela Tokoph, has also been bred into the family-business, as she holds the position of administrator of Aero Zambia Ltd. Having in mind the IPIS’ investigation on arms trade and this report, it is interesting to observe that the whole Tokoph-family are donating funds to Mr. Donald M. Payne in New Jersey, far away from New Mexico where the Tokoph-family is established.
Having in mind Mr. Tokoph’s “business” in Africa and the fact that Mr. Payne has been active in issues relating to Africa (particularly that of the current conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan) and that he is a member of Congress to serve as a Congressional delegate to the United Nations, it could obviously be a smart move to support this congressman.
is also a member of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, where he
serves as Chairman of the United States House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on
Africa and Global Health and as a member of the Subcommittee on the United
States House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere and the
United States House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International
Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight. Congressman Payne has been at the
forefront of efforts to restore democracy and human rights in nations
throughout the globe. He was one of five members of Congress chosen to
accompany President Bill
Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton on their historic six-nation tour of
On June 22, 2001 Payne was arrested after protesting against the Sudanese government at its Embassy in Washington, D.C. He is a supporter and has endorsed the Genocide Intervention Network.
In 2003, President George W. Bush appointed Payne as one of two members of Congress to serve as a Congressional delegate to the United Nations and reappointed him in 2005 to an unprecedented second term. In this role, he has met with the U.N. Secretary General, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. and regularly attended sessions of the U.N. General Assembly and other high level meetings.
In the light of the above copied information from wikipedia, it seems quite odd as well as controversial that this Congressman is receiving thousands of dollars (year after year) from a family in which according to what is mentioned in this article and its sub links seems tightly connected to illicit arms dealing, with especially heavy impact on the African people in which Mr. Payne allegedly is trying to help. In the 2006-election the Tokoph-family contributed with more than $17.000 to Mr. Payne’s campaign, a relatively considerable amount.
It seems that Mr. Paul David Tokoph remains untouchable as I can’t find any international investigation on him in regards to the severe allegations on illicit arms dealing. The only information I have found yet is an incident where Mr. Tokoph lost his license for a few months after playing with his F-100F Super Sabre. One reason to this Teflon-like existence might be the fact that he is married to the great granddaughter of one of the signing founders of the New Mexico Constitution, Capt. John Clancey, once one of the richest men in New Mexico who’s wealth was built up from a sheep ranch. David Paul’s brother Gary is married to David Paul’s wife’s sister, coincidently the same family situation which the late Consul Riis put himself into when he married the sister of his brother’s wife, a daughter of one of Norway’s richest ship owners. Ships, aircrafts, transport of weapons. Controlling this part of the business, and you are in charge of it.
This article was meant to awaken you and your awareness of what is going on, not just around your own yard, not just within the walls of your office, but elsewhere in the world. The illicit arms dealing have an hideous impact on citizens in the war zones, but it has also an impact on you and your life. Unnecessary amounts of fuel is burnt every day not only in order to ship all the weapons but also during the use of the weapons. Immense funds are channelled away from the known national and international economies, and later on after a few handshakes the same funds are channelled back into this same economical system through huge money laundering machines (I will not mention the cities where you will find theme, here). The means of transport could have been used in more sensible ways. Peace in Africa and elsewhere would definitely have increased the production of food and thus increased the export of food to the benefit of all. The cost of transport would obviously decrease, as well as the length of transport, with a peaceful Africa. This goes for the rest of the war zones in the world as well. Most important though: Think of what it could do to a people and to their nation stabilising their daily life – from war to peace - to have a full night sleep without thinking of the constant threat of being tortured, maimed and killed. All the doctors, nurses, blood, medicine, hospital-beds etc, even the judiciary, could have been put into “normal mode” saving immense amounts of money, resources, lives and above all the horrific mental struggle. Bout, Tokoph, Sangue, Riis and other families in the arms dealing business is the reason why small armies are able to prosper and grow into crazy uncontrollable entities which are struggling with the same problem every morning: “We need more weapons and ammunition”. Put these people out of business (offer them a normal job) and the valve from where the war is fed, is closed.
Herman J Berge