On Monday, I published an article detailing how billionaire gold and silver investor Thomas Kaplan and former UN Ambassador Mark Wallace may have promoted their own business interests through work undertaken by United Against Nuclear Iran, a group that is headed up by Wallace and that shares employees with companies controlled by Thomas Kaplan.
UANI has been an outspoken critic of the White House’s efforts to reach a nuclear accord with Iran, characterizing the November interim agreement as a “disappointment” that provides “disproportionate sanctions relief to Iran.” A former Obama administration official who worked closely on Middle East policy told me, “I’m concerned that [UANI and its allies] don’t understand that failure to address this issue will ensure that Iran gets the bomb or we’re headed toward war.”
Indeed, Wallace and Kaplan, through various public disclosures about silver mines they own or have owned in the past, state that they believe the value of silver will hold steady or appreciate if there is unrest in the Middle East. Those statements raise questions about the two men’s motives in attacking the Obama administration’s diplomatic efforts.
But a filing submitted in New York yesterday by attorneys representing Victor Restis, a Greek shipping magnate accused by UANI of doing business with Iran, offers some new clues into the connections between Kaplan and UANI.
Restis, who is filing a defamation suit against UANI, suggests that Kaplan “stands to profit from UANI’s ‘name and shame campaign’” against Restis’s two companies, Enterprises Shipping & Trading and Golden Energy.
[Kaplan] got his start with help from the family of Leon Recanati, a Greek-Israeli entrepreneur whose family owns and still operates Overseas Shipholding Group (“OSG”), a rival shipping company to Enterprises Shipping and Trading. See Exs. 4, 5. OSG operates oil tankers that compete directly with Mr. Restis’ tanker company, Golden Energy Maritime Corp., whose initial public offering had to be abandoned in 2013 when Defendants launched their defamation campaign that is at the heart of this litigation. See Am. Compl. ¶ 97. OSG would stand to profit if Mr. Restis and his companies were no longer able to operate. Kaplan married Leon Recanati’s daughter Dafna Recanati and was introduced to Israeli investor Avi Tiomkin, by Dafna Recanati’s mother.
Restis’s counsel also infers from Wallace and Kaplan’s statements about silver’s value during periods of geopolitical unrest in the Middle East, that:
UANI’s hard-line campaigns against Iran contribute to the very uncertainty that, in turn, benefits Kaplan, Tigris Financial Group, Wallace, and other Kaplan-controlled companies in which Wallace is involved.
The Wallace-Kaplan connections, which I outlined in my article, are further expanded upon in the court filing. It reads: