The arrival of American investors in major projects of Saharan agriculture in Algeria has been a great media hype in recent months. Concretely it is the same investor, the Group called American International Agriculture Group, AIAG.
This entity has signed two memoranda of understanding in Algeria. The first with the Lacheb group, on November 08, 2015, to invest jointly in a large-scale agricultural project involving various objects between Mostaganem and Brezina in the wilaya of El Bayadh. The second protocol with the company Tifra Lait, on January 25th, with a view to associating itself on a project similar to that with the group Lacheb, but this time in the wilaya of Adrar.
We are thus faced with two contracts, which in practice haven’t changed beside Algerian side and from the site of establishment, without any variation in the projections of production or even in the nature of the products to be marketed. However, with a revision of the envelope, which went from $ 500 million for the first (with the Lacheb group), to an approximation between 250 and 300 million for the second (with Tifra Lait).
At first glance, one can say, given the slow progress of local projects in Saharan agriculture that a partnership with operators of a country, the USA, known as a first-class agricultural power, with the best research and technology in the field, is welcome if it really is question of seeing big in agricultural investments in Algeria.
One can even go as far as to say that the involvement of the United States government, through its embassy in Algiers, presents a kind of guarantee of a good end of this project, unless imponderable force majeure. But the devil is in the details, no contract to the world, cannot and should not escape a thorough study of its different aspects.
The following investigation focused on the coherence of the investors’ business plan and their identities and their ability to implement it. The results are staggering. They are presented in reverse order. The investor survey then the figures’ analyses of the investment project.
If the Algerian partners of the project appear bankable…
The Algerian side is identified in this partnership. It consists mainly of milk processors and fruit merchants, looking for foreign know-how to invest in the upstream of their usual channels. Obviously with the full support of the authorities in charge of the sector, these national parties did not hesitate in front of their US partners estimated investment up to 800 million dollars, 90 billion dinars, in the middle of an economic crisis.
They obviously did not weigh the risk of the failure of such a challenge, their own future, the country’s foreign currency finances, and especially the future of such projects, to come up.
The Lacheb Group, which claims a large share of the banana import quota to the country, had to accumulate enough capital gains to meet the initial contribution. The same applies to Tifra Lait, which operates in a sector where turnovers are large enough to generate large capital gains, helping to support part of the personal contribution in a heavy investment.
It is not at all the same for the American part, supposedly to mobilize one way or another her 49% of the contribution.
… the American partner is as stealthy as a mirage
The first part who’s CV has been verified is the famous American Agricultural Group. Its president, or more precisely one of its presidents, Dale Didion, who signed the memorandum of understanding on his behalf, presents it as the American International Agricultural Group, which proposes to create a joint venture on the basis of 51/49 with its Algerian partners.
At this stage one is tempted to understand that it is an interest grouping that has been constituted in the United States with noble intention of investing in Algeria, in an area where the entities composing this group of diverse skills have a certain technical and financial basis.
At first check, it turns out that this group has in fact only the last word of its name in English. It is an LLC, or the equivalent of a Sarl, created on June 6, 2015, at 4031 University Drive, Fairfax County, Virginia, under USVAS565945, and without any further commercial action nowadays, since its creation, with indefinite share capital, without any known bank account, or any activity known in its supposed area of activity.
Its website under the following link http://aiagus.com/, was designed and registered with reservation of domain name on August 15, 2015, at a provider in Arizona. It contains nothing but a few photographs and professions of faith about the honesty and confidence that prevail in his actions, which is likely to attract suspicion as a rule.
The telephone number on the site is N ° 703-582-2993, which corresponds to a cellular ceded to a person living in another building, than the head office of this company, still in the state of Virginia, but in a relatively dilapidated neighborhood in Washington County that has nothing to do with the federal capital, 75 km southwest of Fairfax, in an area that seems to be disinherited at will.
Ted Ayash, a US Army translator
AIAG therefore has no assets that predisposes it to invest nearly half of 800 million dollars (49 – 51) in Saharan agriculture field in Algeria. But what about its owners as persons? This company was registered in Arizona by a certain Ted Ayash, resident at 10628 Battalion Landing Court, at Burke Virginia, which happens to be one of the presidents of this limited liability company, with no previous business history, at exactly 6 Km from the company headquarters.
This same Ted Ayash, presented as an agricultural expert during a visit to the wilaya of Ghardaïa, covered by Canal Algeria last summer, happens to be a touch to everything, the only diploma presented by himself on his Linköping’s public profile is his studies at the University of Miami in an unspecified field, but it has nothing to do with agriculture, since this university does not teach this discipline.
The founder of the company Ted Ayash, worked in other sectors, according to his testimony, but also some information gleaned during the investigation on various sites. It seems certain that he was a vice-president in charge of development business in a company called the Comprehensive language center, which is apparently a translation and interpreting box, which praised its services to both civilians and To US arms business, and to all kinds of undefined services.
Ted Ayash has also worked for Hewlett Packard as Customer Manager and General Electric as Promotion Officer, or both are involved in defense and sensitive equipment. Its last declared activity, consists in the presidency of another LLC (SARL), with his home’s address and created by him, to market argan oil, which it does not seem to have done to this day.
The company, whose domain name has been booked with the same provider in Arizona, shares the same slogans and affirmations on trust and honesty, as its younger AIAG, with a page designed on the same model and with the same templates. Without any customer interface, and not bearing an address nor a phone number, outside a mailbox.
Dale Didion, the academic without CV in the business
Dale Didion is the signatory of the two partnership agreements with the Algerian parties, as president of this famous group, a Sarl that seems to have two presidents. He is an academic, trainer at the University of Washington where he was even awarded in 2013, for service to this university, where he taught public policy, and foreign affairs.
He appears to have also participated in a number of public programs, both inside and outside the United States, with the endorsement and on behalf of the US authorities. Most of Dale Didion’s skills lie in the management of initiatives and not in a particular field of specialties. In no case agriculture.
The investigation shows that he tried to initiate various public projects, in and out of the US, in hydroponic agriculture, with Led lighting in the night. It does not seem to have given results in the United States itself, despite the public support of a US senator in 2013. Nevertheless Dale Didion seems to be the one who is mandated to pilot the partnership projects in Algeria, both signed by him and not by the founder of this company; Ted Ayash.
Mason’s Disturbing Sponsorship of US Veterans University
The company, created by Ted Ayash, was domiciled at 4031 University Drive in Fairfax Virginia, 22 km from the Algerian-American business council, in a building that houses another entity called University Georges Mason, Click on the link, gives this page http://mentorprotege.gmu.edu/index.php .
It happens that this famous university, installed on a floor of a building of some floors on a plate of 1200 M2 on 05 floors, is a reintegration organization of US security veterans in all civilian life, including modest funding for the initiation of activities, in line with their initial training or the recycling received in that organization.
The interface of the site of this university presumed, carries in the banner a slide show where all the firepower of the American army is highlighted. Nothing prevents, a priori, a company dedicated to agriculture and created in 2015, to cohabit in a rental, with an organization linked to the US military.
But after looking closely to this organization’s website, you’ll find that among the entities that helped to create, and which are part of its assets, there is a certain company AYABROS INTERNATIONAL, belonging to a certain TED AYASH . Officially, this LLC, hosted at Ted Ayash’s home in Burke, is proxy-registered by a New York entity dedicated to Argan oil trading.
It happens that she has never exercised in this activity or even realized the least turnover, whereas this Mason University, registered it on its table of achievements and cites it as a company dedicated to all kinds Of trade, and also a cultural rapprochement with Arabic speakers.
And it is presented as part of the companies of the Mason business center, which seems to be the hosting place for all these companies, dedicated globally to the same vocation. Without being actually hosted there, as long as there is no Ayabros, but AIAG, which does not appear to be hosted where the trade register says so.
Virginia, DC, Maryland: Smail Chikhoune recruits investors in her neighborhood
AIAG was created too quickly to be able to draw up a study and sign an agreement within five months on a project in Algeria, between 18 June and 08 November 2015. AIAG seems to have been created specifically to give a juridical legitimacy to what was negotiated and agreed previously with Smail Chikhoun, the president of the Algerian-American Business Council.
Without having, however, the time, or even the will, to seriously prospect the American market to find reliable partners to present to the Algerian side. The president of the Algerian-American business council, Smail Chikhoun, has not left the 200-square-kilometer quadrilateral where he resides and where his board is housed, and the Ayash-Didion LLC, to select American project promoters to invest in Saharan agriculture in Algeria.
How, therefore, in the United States, on an area of 8 million km2, housing the most successful agricultural activities and innovations in the world, an entity regrouping the interests and projections of These three characters, in such a small quadrilateral, and in a zone of the USA, where the only vegetables that grow are politicians ?
Curiously, some defense companies in the United States, declared as clients of this famous Mason center, are also members of the Algerian-American business council, 22 kilometers to the east.
It is therefore easy to conclude that it is not the economic utility, where the specialization in the agricultural field is almost non-existent, let alone an ability to invest that brought together all this beautiful people but what seems Perhaps, a coincidence of geography, which itself seems to conceal other hazards, which owe nothing to the topography of the places.
A local slate for a local bank
The Algerian-American business council can be considered as a kind of business facilitator for American companies wishing to penetrate the Algerian market, but when one sees the portfolio expanded, and the few investments made through this Organizations, such as Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and KBR, we are perplexed.
The Algerian and American official bail to the American investors Dale Didion and Ted Ayash, partners of the Algerian investors looking for a partnership with reliable American actors without verifying their reliability, poses a serious problem and a big threat.
It poses a risk for Algerian banks. Under the complementary Finance Act of 2009, foreign partners finance their investment with the Algerian banking sector, once capitalized the joint venture created with their local partner. The scheduled failure of this project will leave a local bill.
The second part of this survey will show how projections of production of this investment are unrealistic, and why this operation will function as a currency pump financed by the bank – necessarily public – which will accept to accompany it. Who will benefit from these net transfers of foreign exchange promised at the launch of these projects?
Article wrote originally in French by Mr Ferhat Aït Ali, translated by our team.
This Article should not be published without Mr Ferhat Aït Ali or our previous consent.
Part two of the Investigation : https://themaghrebtimes.com/02/18/algeria-american-aiag-can-benefit-unrealizable-investment-part2/