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Peru - The Curse of Inca Gold

 


Related Features THE STORY
Synopsis of "The Curse of Inca Gold"

WEB EXCLUSIVE:
MONTESINOS'S WEB
The high-stakes battle to control the world's richest gold mine.


ALL THAT GLITTERS
Gold's place and power in society

THE TOXIC SHIMMER OF GOLD
The environmental costs of gold mining

FACTS & STATS
Peru's rich history and natural resources

LINKS & RESOURCES
From the Conquistadors to President Fujimori's reign

MAP

REACT TO THIS STORY

 


Interviews and bios of the key players:

VLADIMIRO MONTESINOS

LARRY KURLANDER

ROBERT CHAMPION DE CRESPIGNY

PATRICK MAUGEIN

ROQUE BENAVIDES

RONALD GAMARRA

PETER ROMERO

ANTOINE BLANCA


THE PLAYERS
Meet the players in the battle for the world's richest gold mine

THE DOCUMENTS
Text and scanned versions of documents relevant to the Yanacocha case

THE TIMELINE
The timeline of events in the the largest commercial dispute in Peruvian history

 
 

Players: Patrick Maugein

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Interviews and bios of the key players:
Montesinos Kurlander Blanca Romero Benavides Crespigny Maugein Gamarra

 

Patrick Maugein

Patrick Maugein had already amassed a fortune of his own when he was recruited by Normandy Mining chief, Robert Champion de Crespigny, in 1996 to help stop Newmont and its Peruvian partner from taking possession of the French share of the Yanacocha mine. Maugein is an international commodities broker with offices in France and the United Kingdom and trades in oil, steel and other commodities.

An alumnus of the prestigious French business school INSEAD, Patrick Maugein has been described as a "maverick," with a passion for bull fighting and opera. He has a wide range of business associates -- from former high officials of Saddam Hussein's regime to the venerable Jacques Mayoux, the head of Goldman Sachs Europe, the billionaire American expatriate Marc Rich and France's President Jacques Chirac.

In the battle between the French and the Americans over the Yanacocha gold mine, Australia's Normandy Mining was allied with the French. Normandy had agreed to buy into the French mining company, which would give them an interest in the mine. Normandy and Maugein made a verbal pact in 1996. If Maugein could help reverse the Peruvian court decisions, which had gone in favor of Newmont, he would receive a percentage of whatever additional money was recovered. Or if the stock was returned to the French government-owned company BRGM, he would get part of Normandy's share in the gold mine.

Maugein, along with two business partners, set to work. They arranged audiences with President Chirac for both Normandy and Santiago Fujimori, President Fujimori's brother. Chirac himself wrote a letter to President Fujimori asking for his intervention in the gold mine dispute. Maugein wrote a series of provocative letters and faxes to the heads of both Newmont Mining and their Peruvian partners, Buenaventura, warning of criminal prosecutions and public humiliation if they did not stop using what he implied were illicit means to influence the Peruvian case.

The entry of the hard-charging Frenchman into the case resulted in unfavorable publicity for someone who had previously remained largely out of public view. Stories appeared in the French and Peruvian press alleging that Maugein had conspired to kill his wife's lover and that he was involved in the United Nations' Oil for Food scandal. In a letter responding to FRONTLINE/World's numerous requests for an interview to get his response to these allegations, Maugein stated: "You are perfectly well aware that these accusations come from people who have been paid to make them."

After the Yanacocha case was settled in favor of Newmont and Buenaventura Maugein gathered materials, including the Kurlander/Montesinos tape recording (video), to file a civil lawsuit in federal court in Denver against Newmont and its partner Buenaventura. The lawsuit detailed an alleged conspiracy by Newmont to bribe and corrupt the Peruvian court, defame Maugein, and deprive him of his commission in the Yanacocha case when they settled the dispute with BRGM and Normandy in 2000. Maugein wanted $25 million.

The trial court dismissed Maugein's lawsuit in January 2004, a decision Maugein appealed. Then in March 2005, for reasons that have never been made public, Newmont paid Maugein an estimated $8 million, according to a source who spoke to Newmont's attorneys about the matter. While Newmont refused to comment, Maugein said in a fax that the settlement (PDF file) was "to his satisfaction."

 

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