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Report: #123261

Complaint Review: Swiss Made Watches Swiss Watches Switzerland Scam Geneva Basel Geneve Ahci - Geneva Internet

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  • Swiss Made Watches Swiss Watches Switzerland Scam Geneva Basel Geneve Ahci Geneva Switzerland Internet Switzerland

Swiss Made Watches Swiss Watches Switzerland Scam Geneva Basel Geneve Ahci ripoff scam buyer bewar caveat emptor cheap overpriced watches con artist unethical bad morals thieves money launders Geneva Switzerland

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Don't get conned by the Swiss watch companies! They will lie to you in order to line their pockets!!! Read this information cited from authorities on the subject and then don't be fooled.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Definition and analysis of the term Swiss Made' 1
Definition and analysis of the term Made in the USA' 6
The Jaquet Scandal 18
The Franck Muller Scandal 22
The Saddam Hussein Money Laundering Scandal 26
Conclusion 31
List of some companies marking watches Swiss Made' 33


SWISS MADE' A DECEPTIVE TERM (Information cited from the nawcc.org forum and fhs.ch websites)
Here is a breakdown of what the term Swiss Made legally means (taken directly from the official website for the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry) at fhs.ch (my breakdown is in red):

Swiss Made
A general overview

Moreover, a law "regulating the use of the name 'Swiss' for watches" sets out the minimum conditions that have to be fulfilled before a watch merits the "Swiss made" label.

This law is based on a concept according to which Swiss quality depends on the amount of work actually carried out on a watch in Switzerland, even if some foreign components are used in it. The term is actually stating that Swiss assembly people in the watch industry are the best rather than the components being the best. The term Swiss Made' is actually a trademark. You can find this fact by going to the uspto.gov website and doing a trademark search. It is not a properly descriptive term, but is a trademark used to deceive you into spending higher dollar amounts for items bearing that term. It therefore requires that the assembly work on the movement (the motor of the watch) and on the watch itself (fitting the movement with the dial, hands and the various parts of the case) should be carried out in Switzerland, along with the final testing of the movement. It also requires that at least 50% of the components of the movement should be manufactured in Switzerland. The 50% term is later discussed as 50% of the value of the components.

Legally speaking

Conditions for use Case
A Swiss watch "Swiss Quartz" indication
A Swiss watch movement "Swiss parts" indication
Material extent of the use of the word "Swiss" Role of the FH
Wristlet

Conditions for use

A Swiss watch

Only when it is Swiss, may a watch carry the indications "Swiss made" or "Swiss", or any other expression containing the word "Swiss" or its translation, on the outside. According to Section 1a OSM, a watch is considered to be Swiss if:

* its movement is Swiss;
* its movement is cased up in Switzerland;
* and the manufacturer carries out the final inspection in Switzerland. Read below to see what the above terms mean. It is surprising for those who have understood this term to mean so much more or who have been deceived by the use of this legalisitc sounding but really all about marketing term.

A Swiss watch movement

As we have seen, to be Swiss, a watch must use a Swiss movement. According to Section 2 OSM, a movement is considered to be Swiss if:

* it has been assembled in Switzerland;
* it has been inspected by the manufacturer in Switzerland; and
* the components of Swiss manufacture account for at least 50 percent of the total value, without taking into account the cost of assembly. Remember that 50% of the VALUE of the components must be manufactured in Switzerland. A $10.00 Chinese movement unassembled could be sent to Switzerland and then assembled using 1 (ONE) Swiss manufactured rotor or screw or any component on the movement that cost $10.00 and this movement will qualify for legal use of the term. Remember that Franck Muller used the Poljot movements (Russian manufactured) with platinum Swiss manufactured rotors, and although it was a bit of a black eye for the Swiss watch industry and an eye opener for collectors, did not cause Franck Muller any problems because Watchland was complying with the legal use of the term on their watches.

If the movement fulfills these conditions, but the watch is not assembled in Switzerland, the "Swiss" indication may be affixed to one of the components of the movement. On the outside of the watch, may then only appear the "mouvement suisse" or "Swiss movement" indication. Section 3 3 OSM requires that the word "movement" appear in full, and be written in the same type-face, of identical size and colour, as the word "Swiss". So if I have a Chinese movement valued at $10.00, one Swiss manufactured rotor valued at $10.00, and assemble it in Switzerland, but send it to China to have the hands put on and the movement fit to the dial and have it cased up, I can legally put "Swiss Movement" on the dial of the watch.

Material extent of the use of the word "Swiss"

The word "use" is understood in a broad sense: it not only covers the application of the above-mentioned designation to the watch, but also, according to Section 3 5 OSM:

* the sale, offering for sale or putting into circulation of watches bearing such an indication;
* the application of this designation to signs, advertisements, prospectus, invoices, letters or commercial papers.

Particular cases

Wristlet

The "Swiss made" indication may only appear on a wristlet if it is of Swiss manufacture and if the watch is also Swiss. A wristlet is considered to be Swiss if it has undergone an essential manufacturing operation in Switzerland and if 50 percent of the production costs originate in Switzerland.

When a Swiss wristlet is attached to a watch manufactured abroad, it may only bear a reference to the word "Swiss" if this designation clearly shows that only the wristlet is of Swiss manufacture (for example, "Swiss wristlet").

Case

The "Swiss case" indication on a watch case betokens that the case is of Swiss manufacture. A case is considered to be Swiss if:

* it has undergone an essential manufacturing operation in Switzerland (stamping, turning, or polishing);
* it has been assembled and inspected in Switzerland; and
* over 50 percent of the manufacturing costs (excluding the value of the material) are due to operations carried out in Switzerland.

When the "Swiss case" indication appears on the outside of the case, and the watch is of foreign manufacture, the origin of the movement or of the watch must also be affixed to the outside of the watch.

"Swiss Quartz" indication

This indication is often illegally affixed to the outside of the watch, especially by foreign manufacturers wishing to show that the quartz movement used is of Swiss origin. But, according to the OSM, the use of this indication on the outside of the watch signifies that the watch is Swiss.

"Swiss parts" indication

This marking indicates that the movement is composed of movement-blanks which have been manufactured in Switzerland, but assembled abroad. This indication may only appear on the movement, and never on the outside of the watch.


Role of the FH


The FH has a double role in the protection of this indication of geographical origin;

firstly, the FH advises the companies on the lawful markings for watches and movements according to the Federal Council's Ordinance governing the use of the word "Swiss" for watches;

secondly it may act against companies which illegally use this indication, in order to protect the consumer, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the renown of this designation, which is synonymous with quality.

If you have any questions about "Swiss made", please do not hesitate to contact a member of our Legal staff. (See also News)

Download the text of the Federal Council's Ordinance governing the use of the word "Swiss" for watches

There have been rumors for years that many Swiss Made watches use components manufactured in the far east. I think this really clarifies that they can do so without any penalty. If ETA can produce most of a movement in Taiwan and then send it to Switzerland for assembly while utilizing the very valuable marketing tool known as Swiss Made, then they are within their legal rights. And if they can do this and produce said movement for half as much as if they produced it in Switzerland, then they undoubtedly will or are. My main problem is that the same people who so loudly endorse this marketing term "Swiss Made" also denounce their far east colleagues, and this isn't right. The Asians and Russians are doing some nice work. I'll bet you a nickel that their nicest work appears in some of the nicest mainstream watches on the market.

MADE IN THE USA' Don't mess with the FTC
Complying with the Made In the USA Standard
Introduction (information cited from the ftc.gov website)
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is charged with preventing deception and unfairness in the marketplace. The FTC Act gives the Commission the power to bring law enforcement actions against false or misleading claims that a product is of U.S. origin. Traditionally, the Commission has required that a product advertised as Made in USA be "all or virtually all" made in the U.S. After a comprehensive review of Made in USA and other U.S. origin claims in product advertising and labeling, the Commission announced in December 1997 that it would retain the "all or virtually all" standard. The Commission also issued an Enforcement Policy Statement on U.S. Origin Claims to provide guidance to marketers who want to make an unqualified Made in USA claim under the "all or virtually all" standard and those who want to make a qualified Made in USA claim.

This publication provides additional guidance about how to comply with the "all or virtually all" standard. It also offers some general information about the U.S. Customs Service's requirement that all products of foreign origin imported into the U.S. be marked with the name of the country of origin.

This publication is the Federal Trade Commission staff's view of the law's requirements. It is not binding on the Commission. The Enforcement Policy Statement issued by the FTC is at the end of the publication.
Basic Information About Made In USA Claims
Must U.S. content be disclosed on products sold in the U.S.?

U.S. content must be disclosed on automobiles and textile, wool, and fur products. There's no law that requires most other products sold in the U.S. to be marked or labeled Made in USA or have any other disclosure about their amount of U.S. content. However, manufacturers and marketers who choose to make claims about the amount of U.S. content in their products must comply with the FTC's Made in USA policy.

What products does the FTC's Made in USA policy apply to?
The policy applies to all products advertised or sold in the U.S., except for those specifically subject to country-of-origin labeling by other laws . Other countries may have their own country-of-origin marking requirements. As a result, exporters should determine whether the country to which they are exporting imposes such requirements.

What kinds of claims does the Enforcement Policy Statement apply to?

The Enforcement Policy Statement applies to U.S. origin claims that appear on products and labeling, advertising, and other promotional materials. It also applies to all other forms of marketing, including marketing through digital or electronic mechanisms, such as Internet or e-mail.

A Made in USA claim can be express or implied.
Examples of express claims: Made in USA. "Our products are American-made." "USA."

In identifying implied claims, the Commission focuses on the overall impression of the advertising, label, or promotional material. Depending on the context, U.S. symbols or geographic references (for example, U.S. flags, outlines of U.S. maps, or references to U.S. locations of headquarters or factories) may convey a claim of U.S. origin either by themselves, or in conjunction with other phrases or images.
Example: A company promotes its product in an ad that features a manager describing the "true American quality" of the work produced at the company's American factory. Although there is no express representation that the company's product is made in the U.S., the overall or net impression the ad is likely to convey to consumers is that the product is of U.S. origin.
Brand names and trademarks
Ordinarily, the Commission will not consider a manufacturer or marketer's use of an American brand name or trademark by itself as a U.S. origin claim. Similarly, the Commission is not likely to interpret the mere listing of a company's U.S. address on a package label in a non-prominent way as a claim of U.S. origin.
Example: A product is manufactured abroad by a well-known U.S. company. The fact that the company is headquartered in the U.S. also is widely known. Company pamphlets for its foreign-made product prominently feature its brand name. Assuming that the brand name does not specifically denote U.S. origin (that is, the brand name is not "Made in America, Inc."), using the brand name by itself does not constitute a claim of U.S. origin.
Representations about entire product lines
Manufacturers and marketers should not indicate, either expressly or implicitly, that a whole product line is of U.S. origin ("Our products are made in USA") when only some products in the product line are made in the U.S. according to the "all or virtually all" standard.
Does the FTC pre-approve Made in USA claims?
The Commission does not pre-approve advertising or labeling claims. A company doesn't need approval from the Commission before making a Made in USA claim. As with most other advertising claims, a manufacturer or marketer may make any claim as long as it is truthful and substantiated.

The Standard For Unqualified Made In USA Claims
What is the standard for a product to be called Made in USA without qualification?

For a product to be called Made in USA, or claimed to be of domestic origin without qualifications or limits on the claim, the product must be "all or virtually all" made in the U.S. The term "United States," as referred to in the Enforcement Policy Statement, includes the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories and possessions.

What does "all or virtually all" mean?
"All or virtually all" means that all significant parts and processing that go into the product must be of U.S. origin. That is, the product should contain no or negligible foreign content.

What substantiation is required for a Made in USA claim?
When a manufacturer or marketer makes an unqualified claim that a product is Made in USA, it should have and rely on a "reasonable basis" to support the claim at the time it is made. This means a manufacturer or marketer needs competent and reliable evidence to back up the claim that its product is "all or virtually all" made in the U.S.

What factors does the Commission consider to determine whether a product is "all or virtually all" made in the U.S.?

The product's final assembly or processing must take place in the U.S. The Commission then considers other factors, including how much of the product's total manufacturing costs can be assigned to U.S. parts and processing, and how far removed any foreign content is from the finished product. In some instances, only a small portion of the total manufacturing costs are attributable to foreign processing, but that processing represents a significant amount of the product's overall processing. The same could be true for some foreign parts. In these cases, the foreign content (processing or parts) is more than negligible, and, as a result, unqualified claims are inappropriate.

Example: A company produces propane barbecue grills at a plant in Nevada. The product's major components include the gas valve, burner and aluminum housing, each of which is made in the U.S. The grill's knobs and tubing are imported from Mexico. An unqualified Made in USA claim is not likely to be deceptive because the knobs and tubing make up a negligible portion of the product's total manufacturing costs and are insignificant parts of the final product.

Example: A table lamp is assembled in the U.S. from American-made brass, an American-made Tiffany-style lampshade, and an imported base. The base accounts for a small percent of the total cost of making the lamp. An unqualified Made in USA claim is deceptive for two reasons: The base is not far enough removed in the manufacturing process from the finished product to be of little consequence and it is a significant part of the final product.

What items should manufacturers and marketers include in analyzing the percentage of domestic content in a particular product?

Manufacturers and marketers should use the cost of goods sold or inventory costs of finished goods in their analysis. Such costs generally are limited to the total cost of all manufacturing materials, direct manufacturing labor, and manufacturing overhead.
Should manufacturers and marketers rely on information from American suppliers about the amount of domestic content in the parts, components, and other elements they buy and use for their final products?

If given in good faith, manufacturers and marketers can rely on information from suppliers about the domestic content in the parts, components, and other elements they produce. Rather than assume that the input is 100 percent U.S.-made, however, manufacturers and marketers would be wise to ask the supplier for specific information about the percentage of U.S. content before they make a U.S. origin claim.

Example: A company manufactures food processors in its U.S. plant, making most of the parts, including the housing and blade, from U.S. materials. The motor, which constitutes 50 percent of the food processor's total manufacturing costs, is bought from a U.S. supplier. The food processor manufacturer knows that the motor is assembled in a U.S. factory. Even though most of the parts of the food processor are of U.S. origin, the final assembly is in the U.S., and the motor is assembled in the U.S., the food processor is not considered "all or virtually all" American-made if the motor itself is made of imported parts that constitute a significant percentage of the appliance's total manufacturing cost. Before claiming the product is Made in USA, this manufacturer should look to its motor supplier for more specific information about the motor's origin.
Example: On its purchase order, a company states: "Our company requires that suppliers certify the percentage of U.S. content in products supplied to us. If you are unable or unwilling to make such certification, we will not purchase from you." Appearing under this statement is the sentence, "We certify that our ___ have at least ___% U.S. content," with space for the supplier to fill in the name of the product and its percentage of U.S. content. The company generally could rely on a certification like this to determine the appropriate country-of-origin designation for its product.

How far back in the manufacturing process should manufacturers and marketers look?

To determine the percentage of U.S. content, manufacturers and marketers should look back far enough in the manufacturing process to be reasonably sure that any significant foreign content has been included in their assessment of foreign costs. Foreign content incorporated early in the manufacturing process often will be less significant to consumers than content that is a direct part of the finished product or the parts or components produced by the immediate supplier.
Example: The steel used to make a single component of a complex product (for example, the steel used in the case of a computer's floppy drive) is an early input into the computer's manufacture, and is likely to constitute a very small portion of the final product's total cost. On the other hand, the steel in a product like a pipe or a wrench is a direct and significant input. Whether the steel in a pipe or wrench is imported would be a significant factor in evaluating whether the finished product is "all or virtually all" made in the U.S.
Are raw materials included in the evaluation of whether a product is "all or virtually all" made in the U.S.?
It depends on how much of the product's cost the raw materials make up and how far removed from the finished product they are.

Example: If the gold in a gold ring is imported, an unqualified Made in USA claim for the ring is deceptive. That's because of the significant value the gold is likely to represent relative to the finished product, and because the gold an integral component is only one step back from the finished article. By contrast, consider the plastic in the plastic case of a clock radio otherwise made in the U.S. of U.S.-made components. If the plastic case was made from imported petroleum, a Made in USA claim is likely to be appropriate because the petroleum is far enough removed from the finished product, and is an insignificant part of it as well.
Qualified Claims

What is a qualified Made in USA claim?
A qualified Made in USA claim describes the extent, amount or type of a product's domestic content or processing; it indicates that the product isn't entirely of domestic origin.

Example: "60% U.S. content." "Made in USA of U.S. and imported parts." "Couch assembled in USA from Italian Leather and Mexican Frame."
When is a qualified Made in USA claim appropriate?
A qualified Made in USA claim is appropriate for products that include U.S. content or processing but don't meet the criteria for making an unqualified Made in USA claim. Because even qualified claims may imply more domestic content than exists, manufacturers or marketers must exercise care when making these claims. That is, avoid qualified claims unless the product has a significant amount of U.S. content or U.S. processing. A qualified Made in USA claim, like an unqualified claim, must be truthful and substantiated.

Example: An exercise treadmill is assembled in the U.S. The assembly represents significant work and constitutes a "substantial transformation" (a term used by the U.S. Customs Service). All of the treadmill's major parts, including the motor, frame, and electronic display, are imported. A few of its incidental parts, such as the handle bar covers, the plastic on/off power key, and the treadmill mat, are manufactured in the U.S. Together, these parts account for approximately three percent of the total cost of all the parts. Because the value of the U.S.-made parts is negligible compared to the value of all the parts, a claim on the treadmill that it is "Made in USA of U.S. and Imported Parts" is deceptive. A claim like "Made in U.S. from Imported Parts" or "Assembled in U.S.A." would not be deceptive.

U.S. origin claims for specific processes or parts
Claims that a particular manufacturing or other process was performed in the U.S. or that a particular part was manufactured in the U.S. must be truthful, substantiated, and clearly refer to the specific process or part, not to the general manufacture of the product, to avoid implying more U.S. content than exists.
Manufacturers and marketers should be cautious about using general terms, such as "produced," "created" or "manufactured" in the U.S. Words like these are unlikely to convey a message limited to a particular process. Additional qualification probably is necessary to describe a product that is not "all or virtually all" made in the U.S.

In addition, if a product is of foreign origin (that is, it has been substantially transformed abroad), manufacturers and marketers also should make sure they satisfy Customs' markings statute and regulations that require such products to be marked with a foreign country of origin. Further, Customs requires the foreign country of origin to be preceded by "Made in," "Product of," or words of similar meaning when any city or location that is not the country of origin appears on the product.
Example: A company designs a product in New York City and sends the blueprint to a factory in Finland for manufacturing. It labels the product "Designed in USA Made in Finland." Such a specific processing claim would not lead a reasonable consumer to believe that the whole product was made in the U.S. The Customs Service requires the product to be marked "Made in," or "Product of" Finland since the product is of Finnish origin and the claim refers to the U.S. Examples of other specific processing claims are: "Bound in U.S. Printed in Turkey." "Hand carved in U.S. Wood from Philippines." "Software written in U.S. Disk made in India." "Painted and fired in USA. Blanks made in (foreign country of origin)."

Example: A company advertises its product, which was invented in Seattle and manufactured in Bangladesh, as "Created in USA." This claim is deceptive because consumers are likely to interpret the term "Created" as Made in USA an unqualified U.S. origin claim.
Example: A computer imported from Korea is packaged in the U.S. in an American-made corrugated paperboard box containing only domestic materials and domestically produced expanded rigid polystyrene plastic packing. Stating Made in USA on the package would deceive consumers about the origin of the product inside. But the company could legitimately make a qualified claim, such as "Computer Made in Korea Packaging Made in USA."
Example: The Acme Camera Company assembles its cameras in the U.S. The camera lenses are manufactured in the U.S., but most of the remaining parts are imported. A magazine ad for the camera is headlined "Beware of Imported Imitations" and states "Other high-end camera makers use imported parts made with cheap foreign labor. But at Acme Camera, we want only the highest quality parts for our cameras and we believe in employing American workers. That's why we make all of our lenses right here in the U.S." This ad is likely to convey that more than a specific product part (the lens) is of U.S. origin. The marketer should be prepared to substantiate the broader U.S. origin claim conveyed to consumers viewing the ad.

Comparative Claims
Comparative claims should be truthful and substantiated, and presented in a way that makes the basis for comparison clear (for example, whether the comparison is to another leading brand or to a previous version of the same product). They should truthfully describe the U.S. content of the product and be based on a meaningful difference in U.S. content between the compared products.
Example: An ad for cellular phones states "We use more U.S. content than any other cellular phone manufacturer." The manufacturer assembles the phones in the U.S. from American and imported components and can substantiate that the difference between the U.S. content of its phones and that of the other manufacturers' phones is significant. This comparative claim is not deceptive.
Example: A product is advertised as having "twice as much U.S. content as before." The U.S. content in the product has been increased from 2 percent in the previous version to 4 percent in the current version. This comparative claim is deceptive because the difference between the U.S. content in the current and previous version of the product are insignificant.

Assembled in USA Claims
A product that includes foreign components may be called "Assembled in USA" without qualification when its principal assembly takes place in the U.S. and the assembly is substantial. For the "assembly" claim to be valid, the product's last "substantial transformation" also should have occurred in the U.S. That's why a "screwdriver" assembly in the U.S. of foreign components into a final product at the end of the manufacturing process doesn't usually qualify for the "Assembled in USA" claim.

Example: A lawn mower, composed of all domestic parts except for the cable sheathing, flywheel, wheel rims and air filter (15 to 20 percent foreign content) is assembled in the U.S. An "Assembled in USA" claim is appropriate.

Example: All the major components of a computer, including the motherboard and hard drive, are imported. The computer's components then are put together in a simple "screwdriver" operation in the U.S., are not substantially transformed under the Customs Standard, and must be marked with a foreign country of origin. An "Assembled in U.S." claim without further qualification is deceptive.

The FTC and The Customs Service
What is the U.S. Customs Service's jurisdiction over country-of-origin claims?

The Tariff Act gives Customs and the Secretary of the Treasury the power to administer the requirement that imported goods be marked with a foreign country of origin (for example, "Made in Japan").

When an imported product incorporates materials and/or processing from more than one country, Customs considers the country of origin to be the last country in which a "substantial transformation" took place. Customs defines "substantial transformation" as a manufacturing process that results in a new and different product with a new name, character, and use that is different from that which existed before the change. Customs makes country-of-origin determinations using the "substantial transformation" test on a case-by-case basis. In some instances, Customs uses a "tariff shift" analysis, comparable to "substantial transformation," to determine a product's country of origin.

What is the interaction between the FTC and Customs regarding country-of-origin claims?

Even if Customs determines that an imported product does not need a foreign country-of-origin mark, it is not necessarily permissible to promote that product as Made in USA. The FTC considers additional factors to decide whether a product can be advertised or labeled as Made in USA.

Manufacturers and marketers should check with Customs to see if they need to mark their products with the foreign country of origin. If they don't, they should look at the FTC's standard to check if they can properly make a Made in USA claim.

The FTC has jurisdiction over foreign origin claims on products and in packaging that are beyond the disclosures required by Customs (for example, claims that supplement a required foreign origin marking to indicate where additional processing or finishing of a product occurred).

The FTC also has jurisdiction over foreign origin claims in advertising and other promotional materials. Unqualified U.S. origin claims in ads or other promotional materials for products that Customs requires a foreign country-of-origin mark may mislead or confuse consumers about the product's origin. To avoid misleading consumers, marketers should clearly disclose the foreign manufacture of a product.

Example: A television set assembled in Korea using an American-made picture tube is shipped to the U.S. The Customs Service requires the television set to be marked "Made in Korea" because that's where the television set was last "substantially transformed." The company's World Wide Web page states "Although our televisions are made abroad, they always contain U.S.-made picture tubes." This statement is not deceptive. However, making the statement "All our picture tubes are made in the USA" without disclosing the foreign origin of the television's manufacture might imply a broader claim (for example, that the television set is largely made in the U.S.) than could be substantiated. That is, if the statement and the entire ad imply that any foreign content or processing is negligible, the advertiser must substantiate that claim or net impression. The advertiser in this scenario would not be able to substantiate the implied Made in USA claim because the product was "substantially transformed" in Korea.

Other Statutes
What are the requirements of other federal statutes relating to country-of-origin determinations?
Textile Fiber Products Identification Act and Wool Products Labeling Act Require a Made in USA label on most clothing and other textile or wool household products if the final product is manufactured in the U.S. of fabric that is manufactured in the U.S., regardless of where materials earlier in the manufacturing process (for example, the yarn and fiber) came from. Textile products that are imported must be labeled as required by the Customs Service. A textile or wool product partially manufactured in the U.S. and partially manufactured in another country must be labeled to show both foreign and domestic processing.

On a garment with a neck, the country of origin must be disclosed on the front of a label attached to the inside center of the neck either midway between the shoulder seams or very near another label attached to the inside center of the neck. On a garment without a neck, and on other kinds of textile products, the country of origin must appear on a conspicuous and readily accessible label on the inside or outside of the product.

Catalogs and other mail order promotional materials for textile and wool products, including those disseminated on the Internet, must disclose whether a product is made in the U.S., imported or both.
The Fur Products Labeling Act requires the country of origin of imported furs to be disclosed on all labels and in all advertising. For copies of the Textile, Wool or Fur Rules and Regulations, or the new business education guide on labeling requirements, call the FTC's Consumer Response Center

(202-382-4357). Or visit the FTC online at www.ftc.gov. Click on Consumer Protection.

American Automobile Labeling Act Requires that each automobile manufactured on or after October 1, 1994, for sale in the U.S. bear a label disclosing where the car was assembled, the percentage of equipment that originated in the U.S. and Canada, and the country of origin of the engine and transmission. Any representation that a car marketer makes that is required by the AALA is exempt from the Commission's policy. When a company makes claims in advertising or promotional materials that go beyond the AALA requirements, it will be held to the Commission's standard. For more information, call the
Consumer Programs Division of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (202-366-0846).

Buy American Act Requires that a product be manufactured in the U.S. of more than 50 percent U.S. parts to be considered Made in USA for government procurement purposes. For more information, review the Buy American Act at 41 U.S.C. 10a-10c, the Federal Acquisition Regulations at 48 C.F.R. Part 25, and the Trade Agreements Act at 19 U.S.C. 2501-2582.

What To Do About Violations
What if I suspect noncompliance with the FTC's Made in USA standard or other country-of-origin mislabeling?
Information about possible illegal activity helps law enforcement officials target companies whose practices warrant scrutiny. If you suspect noncompliance, contact the Division of Enforcement, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC 20580; (202) 326-2996 or send an e-mail to MUSA@ftc.gov. If you know about import or export fraud, call Customs' toll-free Commercial Fraud Hotline, 1-800-ITS-FAKE. Examples of fraudulent practices involving imports include removing a required foreign origin label before the product is delivered to the ultimate purchaser (with or without the improper substitution of a Made in USA label) and failing to label a product with a required country of origin.

You also can contact your state Attorney General and your local Better Business Bureau to report a company. Or you can refer your complaint to the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus by calling (212) 754-1320. NAD handles complaints about the truth and accuracy of national advertising. You can reach the Council of Better Business Bureaus on the web at adweb.com/adassoc17.html.
Finally, the Lanham Act gives any person (such as a competitor) who is damaged by a false designation of origin the right to sue the party making the false claim. Consult a lawyer to see if this private right of action is an appropriate course of action for you.

Your Opportunity to Comment
The Small Business and Agriculture Regulatory Enforcement Ombudsman and 10 Regional Fairness Boards collect comments from small business about federal enforcement actions. Each year, the Ombudsman evaluates enforcement activities and rates each agency's responsiveness to small business. To comment on FTC actions, call 1-888-734-3247.
JAQUET SCANDAL
Wild west-methods in the watch world
The watch forger-affair around manufacturer Jean-Pierre Jaquet from La Chaux de Fonds expands
An unprecedented watch forger-scandal shakes the Neuenburger law: along with manufacturer Jean-Pierre Jaquet sit also a dozen persons in pre-trial detention. Jaquet is charged with robbery, receiving of stolen goods, goods forgery and also hijacking.

By Markus Steudler and Daniel Hug

It was a unique action when about twenty officials of the Neuenburger canton police appeared on Tuesday morning on the grounds of the watch firm Jaquet SA in La Chaux de Fonds then bolted the entrance and searched the building. Head of the company Jean-Pierre Jaquet was arrested, the company Jaquet SA with its 160 employees was closed for two days.

The hard inquiry method, explained examining magistrate Sylvie Favre, has taken place within the scope of a wide investigation to watch and precious metal thefts . Favre supposed to find tips to the production of phoney luxury watch in the Jaquet SA or her sphere. In the knowledge around the risks for the region the examining magistrate pushed after: Everything is risked that the economy of the region is not impaired by the current and perhaps future inquiries. The fear of an image loss may dwindle in the Neuenburger law which lives to a great extent from the watch branch, however, not so fast. The affair expands: Meanwhile there are a dozen people in pre-trial detention , says Favre. Possibly half of them have confessed.

Shots at the factory
Not confessing is 57-year-old Jean-Pierre Jaquet who stands in the center of the inquiries. The watchwork designer could be the head of a well organized forger and fence ring. Favre suspects him of the robbery, the instigation to robbery, the receiving of stolen goods, the goods forgery, the attempted instigation to arson and also of the freedom deprivation and hijacking. During the last weeks Jaquet has become meanwhile a victim of threats of force; in the end, a possible power escalation, so sphere is supposed in Jaquets, has been a release for the police action.

My client and his family have received murder threats during the last weeks , says Jaquets lawyer Freddy Rumo. One has shot at his office, and once he had to be treated in the hospital, after him three persons had knocked him down. Trusted sources from the sphere of the Jaquet SA tell of two cars which have driven up one night at the factory and have been fired shots at the chief office. Shot holes in Jaquets office should testify of it. Of the cowboy's methods in - wild - Swiss west, however, not enough is known: Once Jaquet should have escaped on the run before the aggressors with a jump in the Doubs. Hence, the charge of the hijacking says that Jaquet one of the aggressors who sits now in pretrial detention has invited home and laid, besides, a pistol on the table , says Rumo.

About the reason for the aggressions there are several hypotheses. I believe, the people wanted to blackmail money. At least, Jaquet has done very good business , says Rumo. However, this is not what the investigation authorities believe in, as the lawyer confirms: The investigators charge my client; the aggressors would have committed robberies and thefts by his order for which he has still owed money to them. He has seen proofs of it?, according to Rumo, none.

Dubious theft series
Against it statements of imprisoned Jaquet mount. Among the arrested is the head of the foreman's work Miranda in La Chaux de Fonds. This firm, respectively one of her instructed courier's service, became in 2002 victims of a robbery raid. Several strangers carried off golden Rolex cases to the value of half a million francs. A 35-year-old Bosnian was arrested and was condemned to 5,5 years of prison. His accomplices and principals are not determined. The Rolex cases from which perfect forgeries can be made, remained disappeared.

Another unsettled case is the burglary in the watch firm RSM in Le Locle from June, 2002 when two armed employees demanded to open the safe deposit and ten kilograms of gold vanished. There was, according RSM manager Ivano Magistrini, further thefts in other firms. The last of the dubious series is that at the watch firm Ulysse Nardin in Le Locle. Before a watch auction on the 19th March, 2003 in New York in the catalog of the firm Antiquorum a Ulysse Nardin model appeared which was not yet on the market. Our searches proved that an employee with us had stolen the watch, says Ulysse Nardin patron Rolf W. Schneider. All together the man has stolen about 20 watches, mostly very expensive pieces with retail prices to 40,000 francs. It turned out that he had stolen watch already with his two earlier employers - and resold to people in the sphere of Jaquet , says Schneider. Jaquet had earlier owned a small pawnshop and with it has had always an excuse when with him when he has been charged that he puts on the market stolen watches.

The inquiries to the Ulysse Nardin case brought the authorities obviously on Jaquets track. The phone of my client was monitored for one year , says lawyer Rumo. Examining magistrate Favre explains: It is an object of the inquiries whether there is a connection between the various cases and whether Jaquet has to act a little bit with it. The man who should often carry a pistol on himself and be previously convicted because of a property offense has the call of a clever designer, however, he also counts as audaciously and cold-blooded. Jaquet was known in the branch for the fact that he set down luxury watch above the gray market abroad. Besides, one has with the Swatch Group clues for forgeries: We have found phoney watch in which a work was inserted by Jaquet , says Anton Bally, head to the Swatch subsidiary eta.

On Wednesday evening Jaquet has withdrawn with his Jaquet SA from all functions. He still remains a stockholder. The new head Frdric Wenger stresses that the firm whose capital majority has gone over in the first semester in 2003 to new investors is not under suspicion of the investigators. The investigation authorities have found no clue for any offenses with us , he says.

Supplier of the big watch brands
The Jaquet SA been based by former antiquarian Jean-Pierre Jaquet is specified to refine so-called raw watchworks (Ebauches) of the Swatch subsidiary eta, to do alterations and to extend complicated mechanisms; big date, split seconds, perpetual calendar or Seconde Foudroyante (which measures fractions of one second). Today Jaquet in the possession is the holding company which belongs by the majority Frdric Wenger, Eric Loth, Rudolf Bohli and about five other investors. Jaquet should still hold 40% of the capital. In 2001, Jaquet according to a proficient presentation a turnover of 22 Mil. Frs of most important customers were Franck Muller (17% of sales interest), Girard Perregaux (12%), sense (9%), Maurice Lacroix (8%), Journe (6%), Eberhard (5%), Richemont (5%). (dah).

Business with Ernst Thomke
The affair around Jean-Pierre Jaquet throws a shade on the Swiss entrepreneur and earlier Swatch manager: Ernst Thomke is a long-standing business partner of Jaquet. In 1995 Thomke had helped to found the firm British master (BM) in La Chaux de Fonds. Thomke and Jaquet hold 25% in the share capital of the society, above all under the name Arnold & Son and Graham luxury watches in the top price segment produces and markets. Another block of shares is held by BM manager Eric Loth. The English Masters watch are produced practically exclusively in the studios by Jaquet.

Besides, Frdric Wenger, present finance head and since the last week is a head of the company of the Jaquet group, a good friend of Thomke. Once he worked at the bank on the Bellevue, is connected with the Thomke since his time as Sour-Sanierer. Ernst Zngerle, also he a Thomke confidant, has organized the whole logistics for Jaquet. Zngerle tried before together with Thomke the renovation of the shoe manufacturer Bally and today sits together with him in the administrative council of themedical technology company Nobel Biocare.

Also the Eric Loth who was performed in August, 2001 as a manager by Jaquet SA cooperates for many years with Thomke (in the bases for Jaquet investors with ET called). Thomke was not able to be reached this week for a statement. Trusted sources around Thomke in August have expressed heavy doubts in the integrity of Jaquets. Nevertheless, he has obviously undertaken nothing to remove Jaquet from his positions. Only the intervention of the examining magistrate led to this step.

Thomke, the long-standing opponent of Swatch patron Nicolas G. Hayek, also remains as a majority owner of Metalor with the watch industry: the enterprise with about 1000 employees is the biggest manufacturer of golden cases in Switzerland. (dah).

FRANCK MULLER SCANDAL (Information cited from http://www.badbusinessbureau.com)
The following informations show the scandals occuring in the swiss watch industry and the theft and using of Aisan components in genuine Franck Muller watches.
According to today's Tribune de Geneve newspaper, Franck Muller Watchland has confirmed the arrest on November 10th of two of its employees, one of them identified as the uncle of Mr. Franck Muller himself. He had been laid off by the company on August 29th due to reorganization of the firm, after the departure of Mr. Muller.

At this gentleman's house in Genthod, the Neuchatel police found great quantities of spare parts and partially assembled Franck Muller watches. In addition, confidential technical plans for new watches were also found.

The firm has expressed its shock and surprise at this development. The uncle of Franck Muller had access to all areas of Watchland for the past eight years.

More information to follow.

The large office of Mr. Franck Muller, in Genthod, is empty. The rays of the racks are strewn with some curios and other photographs that l?horloger left. On l?une d?elles, it takes the installation beside Johnny Hallyday. But for the remainder, plus any document or computer n?encombre its work table. Two forgotten coffee cups have simply recalled that for several months l?endroit s?est transformed into occasional room of conferences. A strong image of the divorce between Franck Muller and Vartan Sirmakes, its associate. Since nearly nine months, the famous clock and watch maker deserted Watchland, the vast property which is the stronghold of the watches which bear its name. The revelations of the Platform of Geneva, these last days, l?ont thorough to leave the dumbness in which it is terrait. It gives its version of the facts (see below). It does not want to guarantee any more what occurs to Genthod, it feels betrayed, it has d?ailleurs deposited felt sorry for in June against its associate for unfair management. This last denies in block, ensures that the company is better than well, and also deposited to him felt sorry for, counters Franck Muller of course, for slandering and request of the damages. Without forgetting proceedings brought in front of a guardian court, always against its associate. The conflict beats its full with, in addition, l?arrestation of l?oncle of Franck Muller within the framework of l?affaire Jaquet (see our editions d?hier). But behind this surging divorce, there is nearly 500 employees who are destabilized. And of the customers who are dcontenancs by l?affaire. For a long time, the watches Franck Muller were the symbol d?une fulgurating success. Aujourd?hui, at the time when the two founders of the group return themselves the minutes of their "lawsuit", the movement loses its precision. With each one its truth.
Tour of Mullers WAtchland


Posted By: Jeff Hess
Date: 11-21 06:23

We were at the opening of Watchland three years ago. It was big "to do"
with a huge orchestra, tons of people and lots of fancy wine and food to show folks the new working factory that Muller had opened. Top notch party and topnotch facility.

My wife and I went as journalists and pretty much wandered about with no supervision.

We were amazed at how clean the watchmakers benches were. We jokingly commented that perhaps NO WORK was done there! It was THAT clean. EACH table and workspace and watchmakers bench that we saw had nary a spot, a tool or a part on them. Sterile. The floors were buffed to a high polish with no tracks or evidence of anyone walking on them.

We went up and down the elevators in the two "back castles" (they were modeled on the estate up front that served as the showroom) and no one tried to stop us.

It was amazing.
One wonders.... Jeff
Not a translation, just a precis: F. Muller was a senior Franck Muller Watchland employee, who was entrusted with the keys to various key areas within the business and was responsible for the stock of parts. During the restructuring of FM Watchland suspicions were raised when he would not account properly for the inventory.

In his and another watchmaker's house they found a large number of genuine and counterfeit FM parts, including cases with FM reference numbers, plus watches in a partially constructed state. They feel it is certain that some have been sold on the market as genuine.

The investigation is under the direction of the same magistrate who is invetigating the Jaquet Droz affair. Some 'fake' Franck Muller watches were discovered at Jaquet in the course of their inquiries, some using genuine parts and some using asian fakes.

They are continuing the inquiry to determine whether other employees have participated and have interviewed Franck Muller himself three times. He is remaining silent in public, but it is reported that he feels the image of the marque he created is in danger.

High school level French 40 years ago, so sorry for any mistakes.

INDUSTRY NEWS Franck Muller Russian Movement Admission! Dec 19, 2003 - 02:18 PM

Notwitstanding the fact that both Mr. Franck Muller and Vartan Sirmakes (co-owners of Franck Muller Watchland FM, Pierre Kunz, ECW) are suing each other in court for breach of trust, now the saga of the Russian movements has turned a new page.

After the Geneva newspaper Le Temps reported that FM Watchland ordered thousands of Russian made movements, Vartan Sirmakes denied it and sued the newspaper for libel.

Now, according to the research done by another Swiss newspaper, Le Matin, documents have been unearthed that show that indeed Mr. Sirmakes purchased from Poljot, 1,500 movements. A contract dated 1994 and signed by Mr. Sirmakes' other company, Technowatch, shows the purchase order to Poljot for the movements states that these will be deprived of any engraving marks that will identify them as Poljot!

Vartan Sirmakes denies vigorously that these movements ended up in Franck Muller cases, and gives an other explanation for their use: "Yes, it sometimes happens that we order Russian, Japanese or Chinese movements. But we used them for research, to know what the competitors are making. There is nothing but Swiss movements in the watches of the Franck Muller group".

Here is a report from the JCK that includes information regarding illegal Armenians working at WatchLand on Franck Muller timepieces. The obvious interpretation is that this means that at least some Swiss Made' watches are assembled in Switzerland by people who should not even be in the country. This seems to be a clear fraud on the public. Watch specialists find it astonishing that 1,500 movements were purchased simply to study them!
The start of 2004 was bumpy for Swiss luxury watch firm Franck Muller Watchland S.A., whose brands include Franck Muller, Pierre Kunz, and European Company Watch. A dispute between watchmaker Franck Muller and Vartan Sirmakes, who co-founded the company in 1991, helped spark a government investigation and delay the company's first stock offering. Muller left the company in 2002.
On Jan. 5, Daniel Zappelli, attorney general of the Swiss canton of Geneva, began a preliminary investigation of claims that Watchland had used undocumented workers. Officials of Watchland, located in the Geneva suburb of Genthod, denied the accusation.

According to Swiss press and radio reports, Zappelli acted on complaints by Franck Muller, two Geneva government officials (Micheline Spoerri, minister of justice, and Carlo Lamprecht, minister of economics), and a major trade union, FTMH. Muller allegedly questioned Sirmakes last April about 20 supposedly unlicensed Watchland employees, most of them reportedly Armenian, and about cars and apartments allegedly provided to them by the company.

In August, after leaving the company, Muller reportedly went to Spoerri and also contacted FTMH, which press reports say gathered information about allegedly questionable dismissals at Watchland. Just before Christmas, Muller filed a formal deposition with Geneva's attorney general, say the reports. The prosecutor said he'd wait for results of the preliminary investigation before deciding how to proceed.

On Jan. 8, Groupe Franck Muller issued a statement accusing co-founder Muller of "bitter and cutthroat tactics" intended to "destroy his partners and the group" and "damage the image" of both them and the brand. The accusation of illegal workers was "totally unfounded," said its statement, which also expressed "dismay" that Geneva officials aided "a smear campaign" against a company providing almost 500 local jobs.

An arbitration proceeding, separate from the Geneva investigation, was under way in January to settle disputes involving Muller, Sirmakes, and the company. The two sides also had filed legal suits against each other. The group statement, though, claimed Muller wanted to liquidate the company and settle the dispute "not through mediation, but absolute confrontation."

After leaving his former company, Franck Muller opened an office in Geneva. On Jan. 7, watch industry veteran Jean-Claude Biver, former president of luxury brand Blancpain and a top executive of the Swatch Groupthe world's largest watchmaker and distributortook a year's leave of absence to "help" Muller in "various activities," said a Swatch Group statement. In response, Groupe Franck Muller warned that Muller was "bound by non-competition and confidentiality commitments" and couldn't develop "any activities in the watchmaking field without prior consent of his partners."

Meanwhile, the group's plan for its first public offering of stock apparently was delayed by the dispute. Miguel Payr, the group's chief financial officer, has spent several months consolidating accounts and introducing new accounting standards in preparation for the IPO. However, documents for the banks and investors had to be signed by both Muller and Sirmakes, and as of January Muller allegedly hadn't signed anything concerning the company for several months.

Well-heeled Saddam has global stash (cited from washingtontimes.com)
By Jay Bushinsky
SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES
GENEVA If Saddam Hussein is indeed orchestrating an anti-American guerrilla campaign from a hideout somewhere in Iraq, he can count on the billions of dollars he stashed away all over the world to finance his hit-and-run operations.
The latest evidence of the fugitive Iraqi ruler's ability to return to power by covering the costs of the requisite arms acquisitions and operational outlays is the discovery of a cache of gold bars in a Swiss metallurgic firm $5 million worth ready for meltdown.

It has been "frozen" by Switzerland's government and the executives of Metalor who are reported to have engaged in illicit business dealings with Saddam's half brother and finance chief, Barzan e-Tikriti. Several Metalor executives are being questioned by the Swiss police and Mr. e-Tikriti is under interrogation in Baghdad, where he surrendered to the U.S. military authorities.

Swiss law enforcement officials were not able to act against Mr. e-Tikriti during the two decades in which he ran Saddam's financial network from this international banking center because simultaneously he enjoyed diplomatic immunity as Iraq's chief delegate to the United Nation's local headquarters.

According to Nicolas Giannakopoulos, head of Organized Crime Observatory (OCO), Saddam is a multibillionaire whose worldwide financial grid trades in gold, diamonds and drugs, and has links to important Russian and U.S. companies. The OCO is an independent Geneva-based investigative group specializing in dubious banking and money-laundering operations.

Saddam's funds not only have been deposited in Swiss banks but also in banks and off-shore companies in Liechtenstein, Panama and the Bahamas, among other countries, Mr. Giannakopoulos said. The money derived from Iraq's prewar and pre-sanctions oil revenues, 5 percent of which was skimmed off the top by Saddam for his personal fortune throughout the 1980s and to the extent that Iraq could dodge the U.N.-sponsored embargo, during the 1990s as well.

Mr. e-Tikriti funneled it to banks here and abroad which either did not ask any questions, which is the Swiss way of doing business, or did not divulge whatever sensitive information they were able to deduce or gather.

At the Banca del Gottardo's branch in the Bahamas, for example, the money was reportedly kept in Account Number 70531, known as the Satan Account, according to an article published in the Sunday Times in April.

Money was never deposited anywhere in Saddam's name. According to the article, the account was said to have been managed for Saddam by Elio Borrodori, 75, a Swiss attorney who was employed by him for 10 years. Banca del Gottardo issued a news release in Nassau categorically denying the Sunday Times report.

The OCO's attorney, Francois Membrez, contends that Saddam's financial agents in Switzerland operate "beyond the limits of Swiss laws," implying that it is virtually impossible to indict them in this country's courts.

"Our judicial authorities cannot deal with this," he said. "They are not authorized under our constitution to handle such problems as criminal cases."

Mr. Membrez said legal proceedings cannot be initiated "unless it can be proved that the funds discovered in Switzerland are the result of criminal activities, such as corruption, theft, violation of legal obligations."

"In this case, investigations for money laundering could be opened against Saddam's financial agents as well as against the Swiss banks and Swiss agents where funds are discovered."

This was borne out in a statement by Hansjurg Mark Wiedmer of the Swiss attorney general's office. He confirmed that Swiss law enforcement personnel are invetigating the activities of Islamic and other banks suspected of funding Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda organization, but not Saddam Hussein's financial activities here.

A Swiss government source said this investigation began "one day after the 9/11 attacks." Mr. Wiedmer confirmed that it is being conducted in close cooperation with the U.S. authorities, including the FBI.

Distinguishing between "criminal" and "political" cases, Mr. Wiedmer said the latter, such as violations of the U.N. sanctions regime, are within the purvey of the secretary of economic affairs.

According to Othmar Wyss, an expert who works in the office of the secretary of economic affairs, Switzerland could not freeze the assets of any Iraqi person prior to May 22. On that date, the U.N. Security Council formally authorized such action by passing Resolution 1483, he said. Beforehand, Switzerland "was not obligated to confront these persons," he said.

Mr. Wyss pointed out that it was not until the end of June that his office received the names of 55 persons whose assets were to be frozen at the request of the U.N. body.

Turning to the treatment of companies whose activities might be deemed illicit or controversial, such as the 300 belonging to Saddam's financial network, Mr. Wyss said the U.N. Security Council called for action against Iraqi companies immediately after the invasion of Kuwait in 1990. "This was specified in Paragraph Four of Resolution 661," he went on, "but to date the U.N. has not published the names of these companies."

The OCO's Mr. Giannakopoulos said Switzerland was chosen as the hub of Saddam's network because "the Swiss didn't ask questions; they just let his agents do whatever they wanted to do."

Paolo Fusi, an Italian investigative reporter, has spent nearly two years on Saddam's money trail. He began his research immediately after the September 11 attacks on

"Saddam's financial network was modeled on that of the late President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt," Mr. Fusi said.

"Saddam fled to Cairo in 1959 after having participated in an abortive coup d'etat [during which he was wounded, arrested and escaped] and became an admirer of the Egyptian regime and its charismatic leader. His goal was to turn Iraq into a replica of Nasser's Egypt." The Egyptian president relied on substantial sums of money that were deposited in foreign banks and controlled by a special emissary based in Milan, Italy, Mr. Fusi went on to say.

Its purpose was to pay for weapons purchases and to provide a financial cushion in case he were overthrown and forced into exile, Mr. Fusi said. Mr. Fusi, who has exceptional access to the Italian judiciary and police, managed to penetrate the dealings of Saddam's secret brigade of business agents with European industrialists. He also cut through the web of bank transfers, money-laundering activities and dummy companies that enabled Iraq's fallen Ba'athist leader to turn his totalitarian state into a regional military power.

The Iraqi network's financial activities were anchored in Lugano, Switzerland's Banca del Gottardo, in conjunction with which one of its component firms, Mediterranean Enterprises Development Projects (MEDP) moved $5 billion annually. The MEDP had developed into one of Switzerland's biggest companies by the end of the 1970s.

Returning from self-imposed exile after spending five years in Cairo, Saddam took over Iraq in 1979. He had sent his half-brother, Barzan e-Tikriti, to Geneva nearly a decade before his seizure of power to set up the network, Mr. Fusi said.

The network's financial power reached a peak of $31 billion annually, Ernst Backes, an international banking expert based in Luxembourg, estimated. Mr. Backes, who specializes in international clearing houses which expedite interbank money transfers worldwide, said that funds allocated by Saddam from 1979 to 2002 for the purchase of weapons or raw materials for their manufacture totaled $100 billion.

The network had the wherewithal to buy or obtain controlling shares in various industrial firms on three continents.

German manufacturers topped its list of industrial investments. Contracts were signed by the network with several of them for raw materials ostensibly to be used in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals in Iraq but that were earmarked for military purposes such as chemical weapons.

Israel's Mossad intervened at least twice, Mr. Backes said, recalling that it tried to scuttle major Iraqi military acquisitions: Condor-2 missiles from Switzerland's Consen AG and poison gas from two German firms, WET and H-H Metallform.

One of the network's boldest exploits was laundering millions of Iraqi and Kuwaiti dinars (the latter plundered by Iraqi troops during the 1991 Persian Gulf war for recycling back to the Levant).

"The money was packed into suitcases, which were transported by truck from Bled, Slovenia, to Zurich, where a fair exchange was guaranteed by Youssef Nada of El-Taqwa

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 12/16/2004 07:33 PM and is a permanent record located here: https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/swiss-made-watches-swiss-watches-switzerland-scam-geneva-basel-geneve-ahci/internet/swiss-made-watches-swiss-watches-switzerland-scam-geneva-basel-geneve-ahci-ripoff-scam-buy-123261. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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