It would seem that there is attempt to hide the 90% ownership of Riveroak Strategic Partners as the Partners seem to want to hide behind a smokescreen of offshore shell companies.
Why is the most pertinent question but I have no idea as they haven't actually decided on a plan for Manston (well if they have they aren't setting out their plan for scrutiny) neither have they explained where the money is coming from. I suspect MIO Investments Limited is a shell to hide the source of the funding.
So what has their tame MP said about this obfuscation of ownership? well nothing really, I produce his latest statement below:
"Mr Paul Francis, who writes for this newspaper, is a competent journalist bedevilled by a headline writer with an eye for sensationalism rather than fact!
A couple of weeks ago we were treated to the front page suggestion that ' Development Plans Kill Off Airport Hope'. Last week we were told that ' RiverOak has pulled out of Manston'. Neither, as anyone who actually attended the recent Planning Inspectorate hearings in Thanet Council Offices will know, is true.
Thanet's Draft Local Plan is deeply flawed both in content and in process and will be subjected to rigorous public scrutiny and, I suspect, condemnation when it is considered by a planning inspector. The proposals put forward by Ms Gloag's Lothian Shelf company are, as was exposed by the planning inquiry, lightweight and lacking in substance.
It is correct that two of RiverOak's senior main Board Directors, Niall Lawlor and George Yerrall, have left the RiverOak Corporation of America. They have bought out that company's interests (at a million bucks or so not bad for a company that Mr Wells would like us to believe has no money!) to establish RiverOak UK as a British enterprise with a Head Office in London and to devote their entire energies to the re- opening of Manston Airport. Hardly " pulling out of Manston"!
While this paper's headline was landing on your doormats RiverOak was hosting a breakfast briefing at the House of Commons, in the presence of those who intend to finance the acquisition and rebuilding of the airport via a Development Consent Order (DCO), for the Chairman and members of the Transport Select Committee and other MPs. This event detailed in terms the Company's intentions and the timelines for the process that will lead to literal and economic take- off.
Contrast that approach, if you will, with TDC's commissioning of a report to get the Council out of the election pledge made by Cllr Wells and the subsequent further 'study' allegedly being carried out by The Disruptive Finance company (with whom Craig Mackinlay and I spoke about a year ago) upon which Mr. Wells is now staking his County Council election hopes.
As I told the Planning Inspector recently we shall, post- Brexit, need every inch of airport capacity in the South East if we are to develop new markets in Asia and the Far East and to build the economic success that we seek as a nation. Trying to re- furnish an operational airport would have been a nightmare. With adequate funding, which is now readily available to RiverOak UK, we instead have the exciting prospect of creating, practically from scratch, a brand new, world class, state-of- the-art freight hub and subsequent passenger airport to serve the needs of UK Ltd. and to bring business lost to mainland Europe back to Britain. That surely, is a project that ought to have the full support of Government at every level.
One final comment. I am asked, occasionally, " what's in it for you"? Apart from the satisfaction of securing the future of a national asset for my Country I have, indeed, made one - and only one- request of RiverOak. I have asked that the first aircraft to land again at Manston, alongside a plane representing Sue Girdler's TG Aviation (in memory of the founder of the firm, her Father, Ted) shall be a Spitfire. This is a Battle of Britain that we have to win."
So what is the truth? Well who knows is the answer. Gale provides no truth of $1M or so paid to Riveroak Investments LLC just words. Well Lawlor and Yerrall have nothing to do with any USA companies therefore Riveroak Investments LLC aren't the mystery Investors and so far neither Freudmann or Gale have enlightened anyone. Smoke and Mirrors spring to mind.
I am not alone in wondering what is going on:
"Either Sir Roger is very easy to bamboozle, or he thinks that we are. He's nattily conflated in his recent piece in the Thanet Extra the company he calls ""RiverOak Corporation of America" with RiverOak, the company set up by Mr Freudmann. He claims that "RiverOak" is "hardly pulling out of Manston".
We'll repeat it again.
As Mr Yerrall, once of RiverOak Investment Corporation LLC (registered in Delaware) said at the Planning Inquiry recently, he has left the US company. Mr Lawlor has also left the US company. There is no link between the US company and the new UK company, RiverOak Strategic Partners. It's as plain as the nose on yer face - Stephen DeNardo and RiverOak Investment Corporation LLC have pulled out of the Manston project. They're gorn. They have nothing to do with a future DCO appliction for Manston. Yerrall and Lawlor and Freudmann are going it alone.
Interestingly, since the news broke that RSP was a company owned by Mr Freudmann, things have changed rather rapidly. There's a new ownership structure in town. RSP is now owned 10% by RiverOak Manston Ltd. Who's the person who controls RiverOak Manston Ltd? Er, Mr Freudmann.
So what of the other 90% of RSP? Well, that's listed as being controlled by MIO Investments Ltd. And who are they? You may well ask. There's a company of that name that was dissolved in Feb 2012, but otherwise, there's not a trace.
Hardly transparent, is it? Looks as if we're in for another dose of murk and mystery figures and fantasy investors while our Tone and the boys have a bit of a whip round for the dosh to get the DCO on the road.
Hilariously, the great business brains over on SMAa are busy telling the plane faithful to fret not, this is quite normal behaviour, and it's the sad old "antis" who don't understand. We don't know what country you're used to doing private equity deals in, guys and gals, but it's not one we recognise. Mind you, we're relying on our own experience of deals rather than on what Mr Freudmann tells us. Perhaps that's the difference?"
"We share your determination! The creation of RiverOak Strategic Partners meets our long held commitment to have a UK operating company. Our investors are represented on the RSP board by Nick Rothwell, Rico Sykes and Gerard Heusler. M.I.O Investments Limited has been established by our investors as a specific funding vehicle for their financial interests in the Manston project, which is standard practice. M.I.O Investments Limited is a company registered in the Commonwealth territory of Belize.
We have provided all required details of our company ownership structure to Companies House and also informed the Planning Inspectorate of the creation of RSP. Additional, comprehensive details of our funding partners and investment arrangements will be provided to PINS as part of the DCO application, providing solid evidence of our ability to meet all of the financial obligations associated with the acquisition, reopening and operation of the airport"