UN – Emblem on top of a former Parliament Office Tower in Bonn, now housing various agencies of the United Nations Organization.
During the last weeks the former Capital of Germany went through „rough air“.
Bonn especially the City Council and the administration was shaken by different unannounced turbulences.
Once the government left Bonn for Berlin, the complex changed its name from IKKB (Internationales Kongress und Konferenzzentrum Bonn) to UNCC (United Nations Conference Center) and finally became the WCCB (World Conference Center Bonn), an agglomeration of older buildings and a new structure or rather brandnew, because the project has not been finished yet. To date inoperative WebCams symbolize the building freeze.
This will remain so for an indefinite time, due to insufficient investment by the construction firm of SMI Hyundai Europe and a totally unresolved ownership case between Arazim Ltd. Cyprus and South Korean Incurance Companies led by Dongbu Insurance Co. Ltd.
The catastrophy most probably would have not occured, if „Lady Mayor“ Bärbel Dieckmann, in the meantime Honorary President of the Welthungerhilfe WHH (German Aid against World Hunger), would have stuck to the rules: no start, not even for a one – familiy house without an adeaquate balance of equity and debt capital. Now leaving office after 15 years, the impeachment of the political majority for her pulling off the dubious WCCB-Deal came too late.
As it turned out, "investor" number one, Dr. ManKi Kim, head of SMI Hyundai Construction (here engaged in a small talk with Matthias Schultze in Martin Schilling´s "Rheinlobby"), in fall 2006 had neither the one nor the other. But this did not seem to bother Bonn´s city official Bärbel Dieckmann shortly before the groundbreaking ceremony, and not even during the laying of the foundation stone, half a year later on May 25th, 2007.
(For further background information see:"WCCB: World Conference Center Bonn – The Odyssey of SMI Hyundai")
In the meantime after two years of building process, three individuals, German lawyer Dr. Michael Thielbeer from Düsseldorf, South Korean lawyer Ha-Sung Chung, from Frankfurt and architect Young-Ho Hong, from Berlin were taken into custody.
Shortly afterwards all three companies (SMI Hyundai Europe, UNCC and the WCCB Management Inc.) became insolvent, due to lack of investment money. Before that, Bärbel Dieckmann offered to resolve the problem with her administration alone, but the City Council of Bonn had enough of more than two years of single handed actions. Council members decided to cancel the agreement with SMI/Hyundai/UNCC by September 2009.
Later the local savings bank accelerated the loan of 104 Mio. Euros which turned the whole operation into a scandal somewhat „bigger than life“.
But sometimes, condemned persons live longer.
Several days ago, the SMI Hyundai web-pages became locked, obiously someone was working „behind the wall“ and changed content.
In fact, careful observers of these websites noticed, that due to the detention of the architect Young – Ho Hong, his CEO rank of European Director was downgraded to architect and general contractor. Finally his image dissappeared (1) from the executive page, but his position remained reviewable within the main context (2).
Also disappeared from the CEO page, the photo of Choong – Hong Cho, president of SMI Hyundai Remodeling Inc. who can be seen at the groundbreakin ceremony far hand right.
Within the same time the link to the groundbreaking page – the shovel – scene of the Bonn – City websites did not work either. By controlling the Bonn city homepage one finds all before 2007 is obviously condemned to remain yesterday´s bad memories. This image has also been erased from the SMI Hyundai pages as if one would not like to recall this German – South Korean cooperation.
In fact Wilfried Klein, leader of the Bonn-Partei (SPD parliamentary group), from Dransdorf village, brakes down the highly complex situation of hope, money, ego, visions and corruption to a straightforward one – dimensional reading: „we got screwed, good and proper".
Cheated too, feels every inhabitant of Bonn´s „UN – City“ who activates by one click the video of KBS News with the title: „ UN – City Built by SMI Hyundai“.
A lot of things are not very well balanced: the UN – symbol is shown at the very beginning and Hong is talking of the building beeing the symbolic center of UN – City. But physically there is none, just one medium size UN – Skysraper, conference facilities and auditoriums.
Together with the emblem, the UNCC letters indicate, that there is no sensitivity in terms of UN branding regulations.
Given the fact that South Korean Mr. Ban – Ki – Moon, Secretary General of the UN is also shown on one page with Dr. ManKi Kim (see photo at bootom below with Schultze from SMI) who is now sought with an international warrant, these websites seem to be superfluous, since the firm seized to exist.
So far nobody of the official administration in Bonn has seen the double impact of economic and political implications of words like: „SMI HYUNDAI endeavours to have a continued and intensified active cooperation with the UN. For this end already today conventions of the United Nations are being hosted by the facilities of SMI HYUNDAI.“
Basically the websites tell planning and „event“ – stories and show a lot of pictures, videos and images of the former office of SMI Hyundai in Bonn, which reminds of another unresolved „crime“ story in the web, the „former offices od SMI Hyundai in Lybia“
Wether these aerial „snaps“ illustrate a true story or not, remains unknown. Fact is, that the story in Lybia is almost identical to the one in Bonn, with the exception, that the building stands upright, nearly finished to about 80 %.
Even if the „Lybian fraud“ would be false accuse of a fired employee, the political implications are analogous. The WCCB from the very beginning was a piece within the political tour, when foreign guests, partyleaders or government officials came to Bonn.
UN Secretary General Ban – Ki Moon, Chancellor Angela Merkel (3) and Minister of Defence Franz Josef Jung (4) visited the WCCB (former SMI – UNCC, which was misleading due to the UN – UNCC), to name a few.
Also Frank – Walter Steinmeier, German Minister of Foreign Affairs came to see the construction site….Uhhpps…. where is the link to the SMI Hyundai page?
Also 09/2007 Newsletter of the German Convention Bureau (GCB) in Frankfurt gives proof that F.W. Steinmeier was there with Bärbel Dieckmann, Evi Zwiebler and Arno Hübner. They spoke with „Young – Ho Hong, President of Europe Operation, SMI HYUNDAI Corporation and with Matthias Schultze, Vice-President of SMI HYUNDAI Management Inc. both here depicted in an official session of the communal parliament in Bonn, while interrogated by politicans, shortly before SMI Hyundai Europe Inc. went insolvent.
F.- W. Steinmeier learnt a lot about the WorldCCBonn by visiting the site, looking at the architectural model and watching a video. Despite his crammed appointment pad, Steinmeier had a quiet and extensive information round."
SMI Hyundai`s contract was cancelled by vote of the city council, both firms are insolvent, the – now. honourable – chairman of SMI Hyundai is on the run, Young Ho Hong, downgraded President of SMI Hyundai is no longer in custody because he confessed bribery to lawyer Thielbeer (still imprisoned).
"Mayoress" Bärbel Dieckmann (here as "helpful actress" during the groundbreaking ceremony) with project coordinator Zwiebler and project manager Hübner now have to assist the district attorney to find out why the „investors“ could so easily „cheat“ the City of Bonn for over two years.
Bärbel Dieckmann ordered assistance by lawyers and penelogists for this interrogation.
To resolve the mystery of the disappearance of Frank Walter Steinmeier´s visit on the SMI Hyundai website, one ist certainly led to an ironic story, which was part of the election battle of Urich Kelber.
Working with the Web.2.0, twittering and sometimes attacking bloggers in a rambo – like manner, Kelber (SPD) did not answer why he, as member of the Deutsche Bundestag, never took a profound stance on the WCCB/SPD – scandal in his hometown Bonn.
In fact there was no obvious assistance nor outspoken solidarity for SPD party member Bärbel Dieckmann.
The „missing link“ to Steinmeiers visit was found in the blog entry with the German pun „No answer – an answer of Ulrich Kelber“.
„Zum Glück war Doppelagent Penderok nicht bei der Besichtigung der Werftanlagen mit Außenminister Frank – Walter Steinmeier dabei, das sind ja sensible Bereiche, zu denen nur Kapitän Kim, der 1. Offizier Hong, Frau Zwiebler und der Chef der Stabsabteilung Arno Hübner Zutritt haben“
(As it turned out much later, Penderok indeed was part of the entourage of the Steinmeier visit, as it can be seen in a photo of Barbara Frommann in the Bonner Generalanzeiger)
The click on the words: „tour visit to the dockyards“ (standing for the WCCB construction site) leads to nowhere! The whole story is rather critical and cynical towards the election slogans of Ulrich Kelber („strong in Berlin, good for Bonn“).
Therefore the only rational explanation for blocking the website is to get rid of this scandalous WCCB issue before the forthcoming election of the SPD chairpersons commitee. Kelber is running for it and can´t use any turbulences within his party.
The rigid importance of this career cornerstone shows up in Bärbel Dieckmanns interview in WorldMayors magazine.
„Since joining the SPD in 1972 Bärbel Dieckmann has served at local, regional and national level within the party structures. Since November 2005 she has been one of the SPD’s three deputy chairpersons. She has served as a member of the party’s national executive committee since 2001. In 2005 Mayor Dieckmann was short-listed for the World Mayor Prize".
One way or the other, more important question is, who has access to the websites of SMI Hyundai?
Who was always there, but never really spotted within the amalgamation of Dieckmanns administration and SMI people, as kind of double or triple agent, first on the payroll – and also on the websites – of the insolvent European branch of SMI Hyundai.
Who gave large volume interviews in local newspapers to create a good and warm atmosphere in terms of the WCCB project, but did not manage to gurantee the money flow of the second South Korean investor?
Working in close cooperation with Arno Hübner and the inner circle of mayoress Dieckmanns „think tank“ behind closed doors, Christoph Penderok, a said to be Swiss financial expert, was perhaps „weaving a web“ in the RhineLobby, monitored by SPD city council member Martin Schilling, who was "caught" by the German TV as "rent-free" next door neighbour of the WCCB (with an offspring of the GCB?) when the scandal broke loose. With his KK-advertising agency he was said to be somehow part of the Million-Euro-Deal "sponsored" with governmental money.
Beeing most probably a project developer, who is getting paid, when a new investor is found, the rather banal manipulation of the SMI Hyundai website might have a severe background: it indicates the never really straightforward and mingled process of the administrative procedure which once started with an investor who looked neat, had no money, but was appraided enthusiastically in public "for its willingness to invest in the congress destination Bonn".
This operation which might be called „Grayzone“ ended with the operation „Gold“ by the state office of criminal investigation.
The ghosts of this communal nightmare will only vanish, once a sound and stable democratic basis is constructed in terms of working together, city council with administration. The „russian doll“ system, the admistration as state within a state, a lobby within the lobby sometimes hovering above law and order grounds has to disappear soon.
In that respect, fifteen years under City-Mayor B. Dieckmann can be a very long and frustrated time…
If nothing happens, UN – City will turn more and more into "UNCity".