Austria – According to information received by Recycling International, several scrap trading companies – of mainly South and East Asian origin – have lost substantial amounts of money after opening up a business relationship with an Austrian enterprise calling itself Central European Waste Management.
On the face of it, CE Waste Management was founded last year as a continuation of Paradigm Industrial Metals, an Austria registered metal processor purportedly owned by South African metals tycoon Dr Frederick von Strasser. Following a merger with a fellow Austrian firm last year, a press release from the company noted its aim of increasing annual turnover to Euro 350 million through its nine yards located in Austria, Italy, Germany and the Czech Republic. It has also been reported that Wels-based CE Waste Management has appointed key management from high-ranked metals companies such as Baosteel and ISCOR, and that it expects to open yards shortly in Asia.
Hundreds of sophisticated press releases were sent out as of December last year via a wide range of online PR outlets and have appeared on reputable news media bulletin boards. In one of these releases, for example, Dr Von Strasser denied that the company’s bid to expand its exposure to the Asian market would result in a reduction of supply to the company’s established clients in Europe.
However, investigations by Recycling International suggest that all of this background has been created to establish the business credentials of CE Waste Management and that neither it nor Paradigm Industrial Metals are actually in existence. Furthermore, Dr Von Strasser, as well as named colleagues including Dr Kristian Schmidt and also David Every, do not appear to exist.
The company’s website (www.cewastemanagement.com) features photos of yards bearing CE’s logo on buildings and vehicles but a closer look reveals excellent photoshop work. The head office address is given as Durisolstrasse 7 in Wels but a phone call reveals no company based there called CE Waste Management.
Specifically in relation to CE Waste Management, Recycling International has been contacted by three scrap traders from India, and has also been in touch with other Asian dealers. A manager of an India-based company says that his firm finalised an order for 2000 tonnes of heavy metal scrap (HMS) and that the Austrian firm forwarded all shipping documents on June 21 before collecting full payment of around US$ 830 000 from the Indian bank. All issued loading, inspection and packing documents were revealed to be fakes and the shipping line non-existent, while the containers mentioned had been retired.
Another India-based trader says he issued his Letter of Credit, but after being alerted by a trading colleague, was able to withdraw from the transaction. According to him, he knows of six other people who have lost a total around US$ 10 million while another US$ 30 million is stalled at the banks for Letter of Credit transactions.
Anyone with further information relevant to this story is asked to contact Recycling International’s editorial team at [email protected] or by phone on +31 26 3120994.