Canoro defends partner Mass Financial

Vol 14, PW 1 (01 Jul 10) People & Policy

Canoro Resources has issued a ringing defence of its decision to allocate 18% of the company’s equity to Mass Financial Corporation, saying it is not a Chinese company and poses no threat to India’s national security.

“Just because you have an office in Hong Kong does not make you a Chinese company,” Robert Wynne, Canoro chief executive, tells PETROWATCH from Calgary. “One of the largest investors in Mass Financial is a well recognised figure on Wall Street with Goldman Sachs,” adds Wynne.

“Does that make Goldman Sachs a Chinese company Some Indian companies have offices in Hong Kong. Does that make them Chinese companies” Wynne says 68% of Barbados-incorporated Mass Financial, an offshore financial services company headquartered in Vancouver, and with offices in Dubai and Hong Kong, is owned by wealthy US nationals.

“To be a Chinese company you should be majority owned by the Chinese government or a Chinese business,” says Wynne. “At Mass Financial the CEO (Michael Smith) is a British national who lives in Hong Kong.

One of the directors (Ravin Prakash) is an Indian national living in Delhi. And a third director (Eugene Chen) is an American national living in Shanghai.

This board of directors is not Chinese.” Amguri, the producing oilfield Canoro operates in India with Assam Company, is too small for any Chinese company, says Wynne.

“Chinese companies go after assets with billions of barrels,” he adds. “Not fields like Amguri!” Despite this, Wynne is acutely sensitive to Delhi’s concern of any covert Chinese encroachment into the troubled north east, where in 1962 India fought a brief but bloody war with China, which to this day occupies parts of Arunachal Pradesh.

“Everyone knows Beijing describes Arunachal Pradesh as ‘southern Tibet,” admits Wynne. “I fully understand why the bureaucrats in Delhi are playing safe and asking us for more details about Mass Financial.