by Judi McLeod
February 21, 2005
With far-reaching tentacles cropping up in the most bizarre of places, the UN Oil-for-Food scandal has leached all the way into an all-american football team.
Topping the list of the true-life-stranger-than-fiction category, the high-flying NFL Houston Texans have a behind the box office link to Oil-for-Food.
In a p.r. world that never tells a feckless public the whole story, it starts with a rags to riches tale. Only, the rags in this version are reeking, oil-soaked ones.
Up and coming Houston businessman, Javier Loya is a new limited partner of the Houston Texans. Football fans can tell you that their home team is as all-american as the chili served up at tailgate parties.
Recently named Hispanic Male Entrepreneur of the Year by the Houston Chamber of Commerce, Loya was a four-year member of Columbia University's varsity football team.
Before emerging as an owner of the Houston Texans, Loya, p.r.'s story had him making millions as an oil trader for an unnamed company. His rising star in the world of business was so meteoric that he has been described as "Javier alger". The moniker is in memory of those who make it rich in the Land of the Free, as chronicled for posterity in the inspiring Horatio alger stories.
In this rags-to-riches saga, Javier has an older brother by the name of Michael, who has an MBa from Harvard. Michael is listed as the president of a Switzerland-based oil-and-gas trading company that is among the world's largest, right up their with France's TotalFinaElf. The name of Michael's company is--Vitol Sa.
Vitol Sa was a major holder of permits allowing it to buy Iraqi oil through the controversial Oil-for-Food program.
"Working through a former senior French diplomat, Vitol bought 21 million barrels of oil under the program which has come under criticism for the way it was administered by the UN before a U.S.-led invasion toppled Hussein in 2003." (Workapolis.com)
Vitol, in February's headlines for its acquisition of a remotely located and unlikely named Newfoundland refinery called, Come by Chance, ranked No. 2 in Forbes Magazine list of privately-held, non-U.S. companies in 2002. The next year it recorded revenue of $46.7-billion (U.S.).
In essence, Come by Chance gave Vitol access to crude oil.
"Buying that refinery was a stroke of genius," says arthur Millholland, President of Oilexco Ltd, of Calgary, whose firm also participated in the Oil-for-Food program. "They could buy oil from the Saudis, from the Iraqis, from anybody."
So there is no doubt that Vitol Sa was way up there when it came to dealing with Oil-for-Food.
Back to Mike's kid brother, Javier.
One of Javier Loya's clients is El Paso Energy, a company that bought Coastal, one of he Wyatt and Chalmers companies. This company has also been named in the Oil-for-Food probe.
a Hispanic Houston Chamber of Commerce article posted to the Internet ponders, "How did Loya accumulate so much so quickly?"
an intelligent line of questioning. (The COC was doing its job to promote Hispanic success stories, a noble enough cause, and could hardly be expected to know anyone's connections to Oil-for-Food.)
as Loya himself tells it, when he was hitting the books in college at Columbia university, he was one day picked up in a limo by one of brother Mike's associates, and the two of them happily went off to do a little clubbing.
It seems that Javier, now married but back then fancied himself, as something of a ladies man. Despite constant rejection, he never quit trying.
The unnamed associate of his brother, who noticed all this while socializing, told Javier he could make it as a trader because Javier could "Take rejection well".
Fairytales in modern-day Houston would give Sam Houston a run for his money in a saga, success of which came so fast Javier could be Hollywoodized as Pretty Woman in shirt and trousers.
Next, the unnamed clubbing chum offers Javier a part-time job.
Timeline speeds up to now where we find Javier with so many millions that he can buy himself a big chunk of an NFL team.
a story sidebar sees Javier and the unnamed "you-can-make-it-as-a-trader" mentor starting their very own joint company, called CHOICE! Energy.
Moving on, the mentor went into the dot.com/Internet Wars and was eventually bought out by Javier.
It is the notion of Saddam Hussein and French President Jacques Chirac being off-book owners of the NFL's Houston Texans that turns this modern-day fairytale into a waking nightmare.
There must be thousands of in-the-dark fans turning out to root the Texans, or should that more aptly be, the "Tikritans"?
Canada Free Press founding editor Most recent by Judi McLeod is an award-winning journalist with 30 years experience in the print media. Her work has appeared on Newsmax.com, Drudge Report, Foxnews.com, Glenn Beck. Judi can be reached at: [email protected]