Tvind shops for new plantations

Ekstra Bladet, Denmark/September 22, 1996
By Kurt Simonsen

Tvind has bought at least 24 plantations in Latin America in recent years. 56 employees in a luxurious administrative building in Guayquil are running the Danish colonial masters' latest conquests in Ecuador alone.

Picture caption: Tvind has bought and is running today at least 24 plantations in Latin and South America. Together the area is far bigger than Lolland [a Danish island]. The biggest is Floresta Jatoba in Brazil at 104 000 hectares. A lot of bananas are grown, and also sugarcane, rice and citrus. In many cases Tvind has bought a [processing?] plant. To develop or restructure production, and as the EU gave priority to importing bananas from South America, it only increased possibilities for profit.

Ekstra Bladet can today reveal that the Tvind business, through different wholly-owned daughter companies, has bought at least 24 plantations in Latin America....Ekstra Bladet is in possession of lots of documents, which prove that Amdi´s well-disciplined subjects, like colonial masters, have followed the orders of the Guru to go out and 'conquer' the world.

Everywhere Tvind pays its colonial slaves the same pay as all other imperialists. No messing around with giving the land workers better housing, health care or education.

As the graphics on this page show, the Danish colonial masters are able to deliver most of the exotic fruits of the world. Most of the Tvind plantations are delivering their products to Europe or the USA.

2000 Slaves in Ecuador

In the Latin American state Ecuador alone Tvind's founder and unquestioned ruler Mogens Amdi Pedersen - whose firms in Latin America are called "Grupo Danés" - has 8 farms and 2000 employees. In this country Amdi is first of all selling bananas.

In Denmark he sells Christmas trees to Swiss directors from his well-protected video- and Rottweiller-guarded private home, address Plagborgvej 8, in Grindsted (Jutland, western Denmark).

To manage the 2000 land-workers and calculate the profit, Amdi has 56 employees to work in a luxurious 8 storey building, Edif Finansur, piav 18, PO Box 15208 at address: 9 De Octobre y Los Rios, Guyaquil, Guya, Ecuador. For the sake of justice, it should be emphasised that the Tvind-bosses only own three of the eight stories in the building.

Controlled from the Channel Islands

Tvind's Latin American adventure is controlled from Guernsey and Jersey. Here Tvind has the cover firms Bahia Farming Limited and Lyle Enterprise Limited at the address: 8 Church Street, St. Helier Jersey.

The lawyer of the Tvind empire in all these trades is Kirsten Fuglsbjerg, co-founder of the most important "money-tank" "Faelleseje" in 1977 and one of Amdi's regular and alternating mistresses, over many lucrative years - since the humble start on a windy field just outside Ulfborg (town in Jutland) where the reporter himself was digging ditches in 1973 together with Kirsten.

She now presents herself on her visiting-card as Kirsten Fuglsbjerg, Lawyer, O Z, Voorlangwal 266, P O Box 503, 1000 Amsterdam, whenever, on behalf of the Tvind Empire, she asks the Brazilian farm administration for Tax breaks in connection with Amdi´s and Poul Jørgensen´s new investments in the underdeveloped country.

'Monster farm' the size of Lolland

Tvind slammed 18 million Danish krone cash on the table when buying the Brazilian farm. A local intermediary was necessary before the Tvind empire was allowed to buy the absolutely biggest plantation of the concern , that is the model-farm Floryl, today called Jatobá. With its 104,000 hectares the Tvind farm in Brazil is the size of Lolland. It was bought through a Brazilian lawyer, Ian de Porto Alegere Muniz. Names of Tvind people there: Lars Jensen and Anne Nielsen are running the farm today. Joaquim Gomes da Silva is foreman of the land-workers union in Correntina, Bahia. The farm is 200 km from the town.

Of the 104000 hectares, 34.000 are planted with eucalyptus trees, which are used to manufacture cellulose . Tvind bought the farm on 22 September 1994 for the sum of $9,250,000 (US dollars). Of this they paid $3.25 million cash, while the rest is paid in yearly instalments of $750.000.

As early as 26th June, 1992 the Tvind "Kim Bonde Andersen, Director" wrote the first letter to the estate agent Frank Endean in Vancouver, Canada, about the possibility of buying Floryl.

To give the impression of being a serious buyer, Kim Bonde Andersen outlined all the possessions of Tropical Farming. He himself inspected the farm a couple of times, and started serious negotiations to buy the farm in 1993.

The Brazilian government was however sceptical of the Danes, and therefore Tvind chose to use the known Brazilian lawyer Ian de Porto Alegere Muniz, as a regular intermediary. Muniz previously worked for Arthur Andersen Consultants in Rio de Janeiro.

With Muniz as an co-owner the deal was arranged on 22nd September 1994. By then Tvind had already begun to invest further in the farm. Reliable calculations show, that the Danes have spent 11 million krone on the plantation since 1993.

The following known Tvind people are known to having been at the Floryl since 1992:

Thomas Vaeth, Tove Birkoe, Kirsten Fuglsbjerg, Bodil Sejeroe Olsen, Kim Bonde Andersen, Anne Hansen, Christian Fenger, Freddy Per Olsson, Ingerlise Jepsen, Birgitte Kron, Pia Lykkehøj Madvig, Steffen Hjalmer Joergensen, Lars Jensen and Anne Nielsen. The two latest mentioned are running the eucalyptus-plantation today

No contact with unions

As early as 1991, Ekstra Bladet visited four of the five Tvind plantations in the Latin American state of Belize. One thing in common for all of them was that unions were forbidden on the Tvind farms. Land workers were [....owning the half app. Of the officially permitted lowest payment].

Even if Tvind's development organisation "Humana" officially claims that they make development aid at the farms, there was no education or medical care.

Everything seemed to show that the conditions are the same at the plantations of the Tvind-concern in rest of Latin America, even if Tvind is doing everything to prevent the public to have real insight.

Anyway it is a fact that the land-workers at the 104.000 eucalyptus farm AFTER the Tvind takeover do not have any contact with their union. Before the Danes came, Floryl was a model farm, where employees were treated really well. "But after that, we have had no contact at all with the workers", said Joaquim Gomes da Silva , president of the land-workers union in Correntina, Bahia (to which district the Tvind farm belongs).

"Have you been denied access to the farm ?"

"No I would not say it like that. Because we have not tried to visit the farm since the Danes took over. But what has happened is that the land-workers do not any longer come to us. And we cannot afford to go there. The farm is 200 km from here, there are no good roads and the union has no money" Joaquim Gomes da Silva said.

TVIND Boss Without Responsibility

Well - I have heard of the plantations, but I don´t know them, the Tvind Empire spokesman Poul Jørgensen says.

Although Kirsten Fuglsbjerg has been Tvind boss Poul Jørgensen´s close friend for 25 years, and as a lawyer for several Tvind companies she been deeply involved in buying 24 plantations of the empire in Latin America during the last five years, Jørgensen himself disclaims any responsibility or knowledge of the plantations.

Yesterday Ekstra Bladet outlined to Poul Jørgensen, the names of the four Tvind Companies which together own plantations all over the world: Tropical Farming Pacific, Tropical Farming Carribean, Tropical Farming Atlantic, and South China Sea Farming.

Ekstra Bladet: "Do you know these companies?"

Jørgensen: "I don't know them, but I have heard of them. More I'm not going to say."

Ekstra Bladet: "Maybe you don't know Kirsten Fuglsbjerg any more?"

Jørgensen: "I am quite glad that I know Kirsten Fuglsbjerg, so there is nothing wrong in that. I have seen her several times in the last year. It is also correct that she has been studying Law at Århus University."

Ekstra Bladet: "I have documents which prove, that she as a lawyer for the Tropical Farming companies has negotiated the buying of several plantations and sent applications to authorities in, for example, Brazil." 'I cannot confirm that I know'.

Jørgensen: "That is possible. I don't know anything about that. I cannot confirm that I know that Kirsten Fuglsbjerg is lawyer for the companies you mentioned. And I only speak about things which I know about. That is an year long tradition - the Tvind boss is massing." [? ed]

Tvind´s so-called "Humanitære Fond" (Humanitarian Fund) has for a couple of years generously given money to, for example, the Tvind 104.000 ha big plantation in Brazil "Floryl Florestadore Ype S.A", which recently changed its name to "Floresta Jatoba S. A."

The Humanitære Fond Chairman is - Poul Jørgensen

Ekstra Bladet: "Poul Jørgensen - do you know Floryl, which has just been renamed Jatobà?"

Jørgensen: "The project I don't know, but the name I know &. (long pause)& or rather, I know that there is a project in Brazil by the name Floryl, but I have no closer knowledge of the practical arrangements or the organisation, but know a little of the aim of the place."

Ekstra Bladet: "What is it, then?"

Jørgensen: "I'm not going to tell you that straight out here.

Ekstra Bladet: "Why are we always having to play ping-pong with you? Why can't you tell the public what purpose Tvind has with buying all these plantations? Is it maybe developing aid?"

Jørgensen: "I can only talk about things which I am working with."

Ekstra Bladet: "Stop it now. We are talking about plantations which your very close friends over 20-25 years, co-founders of Tvind's 'Faelleseje', have bought and are running. Let me just mention a few of the people which it is possible to prove are shareholders and directors of your plantations in Latin America: Tove Birkoe, Bodil Sejeroe Soerensen, Kim Bonde Andersen, Thomas Vaeth, Lars Jensen, Steffen Hjasmar Joergensen, Kirsten Fuglsbjerg."

Jørgensen: "You don't have to mention more names. I do know them, but I do not speak on their behalf."

Ekstra Bladet: "Why can't you say what Tvind want with the many plantations in developing countries?"

Jørgensen: "But that would have the presumption that I am working with these things. I don't, and as I mentioned I only talk about things which I am dealing with."

Ekstra Bladet: "Then give me the address or telephone number of Kirsten Fuglsbjerg or Bodil Sejeroe."

Jørgensen: "I can't do that. Did you have more to ask about?

Ekstra Bladet: "Yes, it's more than a year since we talked together. Have you missed me?"

Jørgensen: "No, actually."

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