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Japanese investor sues Excalibur Almaz

The billionaire investor in the company Excalibur Almaz is suing the lawyer in charge for fraud.

Using the $49 million the billionaire invested, the lawyer purchased several Soviet-era capsules and a Almaz space station module from the Russians, claiming they would use this equipment, once refurbished, to establish a commercial space company. What the lawyer, Art Dura, did not tell anyone was, as the lawsuit explains:

“The purchase contracts had to be approved by the Russian government, and unbeknownst to plaintiff … expressly excluded the right to modify the Russian hardware, thus relegating it to display uses only! The items were only museum pieces, a secret Dula would keep until well after he acquired control of plaintiff’s investment.”

Dula’s vehicle for the scheme was Excalibur Almaz Limited, an entity he set up in the Isle of Man, into which he transferred Horie’s $49 million investment, according to the complaint.

What I find amazing is that the company, Excalibur Almaz, also put out a lot of press releases describing how they were going to use this Russian equipment as part of their space effort. I reported on these releases myself. That Dura was able to keep the contract terms secret, that even the Russians didn’t publicly protest his false statements, is most interesting. Apparently, the Russians were glad to take his money and even help with the fraud, by not revealing the truth when Dura made public claims that were impossible according to the contract.

This story illustrates one of the less obvious investment risks inherent in a new industry such as commercial space. Not only can vehicles crash and burn, there are also a lot of con artists out there willing to take advantage of naive individuals who are so passionate about space exploration that they don’t look closely at what they are doing.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!

 

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

 

Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

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