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Davignon also played a role in the Lernout & Hauspie scandal, which centered around a company that made by far the best voice recognition / language translation software on the market (although it wasn't perfect). According to one of the founders of the company, Jo Lernout, it went wrong in 1999/2000 when L&H started to buy up US companies who were working for the CIA and the Pentagon, especially because the L&H software worked almost the same as the NSA's Echelon spy system. The Wall Street Journal accused L&H of fraudulent book keeping in August 2000 and the 2 founders, Jo Lernout and Pol Hauspie, were arrested in April 2001. According to Business Wire, Davignon became a director of Lernout & Hauspie in May 2001. Within 3 weeks, in early June, he already resigned because Fortis, the bank he is a vice-chairman of, is the largest creditor of L&H. Jo Lernout and Pol Hauspie were released in early July of 2001 and L&H went broke in October 2001, its technology sold to the US for a fraction of its actual worth. Jo Lernout later claims that board members must have been pressured by the US intelligence agencies to destroy the company, because of all the incomprehensible mistakes they made.
AXA (Euronext: CS, NYSE: AXA) is a French global insurance companies group headquartered in Paris. AXA is not the name of a single company but a group of companies independently organized and operated according to the regulations of many different countries.
The AXA group of companies are engaged in life, health and other forms of insurance, as well as investment management. The AXA group operates primarily in Western Europe, North America and the Asia Pacific region and the Middle East.
Barclays plc is a major global financial services provider operating in Europe, North America, the Middle East, Latin America, Australia, Asia and Africa. It is a holding company that is listed on the London, New York and Tokyo stock exchanges. It is also a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. It operates through its subsidiary Barclays Bank plc.
Barclays PLC is ranked as the 25th largest company in the world according to Forbes Global 2000 (2008 list) and the fourth largest financial services provider in the world according to Tier 1 capital ($32.5 billion). It is the second largest bank in the United Kingdom based on asset size, although its share price, having fallen by 60% in the past year as of 14 April 2009 (2009 -04-14)
George Pratt Shultz (born December 13, 1920) is an American economist, statesman, and businessman. He served as the United States Secretary of Labor from 1969 to 1970, as the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury from 1972 to 1974, and as the U.S. Secretary of State from 1982 to 1989. Before entering politics, he was professor of economics at MIT and the University of Chicago, serving as Dean of the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business from 1962 to 1969. Between 1974 and 1982, Shultz was an executive at Bechtel, eventually becoming the firm's president. He is currently a distinguished fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.
According to an article in the May 5 issue of New Yorker magazine, several bin Laden family members -- part of a large, Saudi Arabian family that made a fortune in the construction business -- invested about $10 million in a private equity fund operated by former subsidiary of Bechtel before Sept. 11.
Fremont Group, a San Francisco-based private investment firm, once was a unit of Bechtel, and its board still includes Bechtel CEO Riley P. Bechtel and former U.S. Secretary of State and former Bechtel President George P. Shultz, along with several current Bechtel directors.
Fremont spokeswoman Pat Harden confirmed bin Laden's family had invested $10 million in a Fremont fund, but she said the family had no ownership stake in Fremont and its investment was made "well before the events of Sept. 11."
During the 1980s, current Bush warlord Don Rumsfeld acted as a paid shill for a Bechtel pipeline project in the Middle East, operating with the blessing of the Reagan-Bush administration's secretary of state, George Schultz --Bechtel's former president (and now "senior counsel" to the company).
Shultz was well known for outspoken opposition to the "arms for hostages" scandal that would eventually become the Iran Contra situation. In a 1983 testimony before the U.S. Congress, he said that the Sandinista government in Nicaragua was "a cancer in our own land mass", that must be "cut out". He was also opposed to any negotiation with the government of Daniel Ortega: "Negotiations are a euphemism for capitulation if the shadow of power is not cast across the bargaining table."
George Shultz left office on January 20, 1989, but continues to be a strategist for the Republican Party. He was an advisor for George W. Bush's presidential campaign during the 2000 election, and senior member of the so-called "The Vulcans", a group of policy mentors for Bush which also included among its members Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz and Condoleezza Rice. One of his most senior advisors and confidants is former ambassador Charles Hill, who holds dual positions at the Hoover Institution and Yale University. Shultz has been called the father of the "Bush Doctrine", because of his advocacy of preventive war. He generally defends the Bush administration's foreign policy.