Frontier Services Group

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Frontier Services Group
Native name
先丰服务集团
TypePublicly-listed SOE
SEHK500
IndustryPrivate security, logistics, and insurance
FounderErik Prince
Headquarters
Key people
Dongyi Hua (CEO)
ParentCITIC Group
Websitefsgroup.com

Frontier Services Group (FSG) is a Chinese Africa-focused security, aviation, and logistics company founded and led until April 2021 by Erik Prince, the former head of Blackwater Worldwide. Prince has described FSG's main corporate mission as helping Chinese businesses to work safely in Africa. The company operates logistical projects for shipping routes in Africa, and also conducts high-risk evacuations from conflict zones.[1] FSG's area of service has since expanded to the Belt and Road areas of Africa, Central Asia, and Southeast Asia.

Services[edit]

According to FSG in September 2017, it does not provide services involving armed personnel or training armed personnel. In some cases, it provides personnel and training to help non-military personnel provide close protection security, without the use of arms.[2] However, critics have voiced concern that Prince's work as FSG chairman has included efforts to sell paramilitary programs and services. FSG ended contracts with two of Prince's closest associates within the company after becoming suspicious that they were assisting Prince in unauthorized paramilitary contracts.[1] In addition, FSG oversees "anti-terrorist security" training programs in a school it partially owns, going so far to feature the newly trained "specialists" in a promotional video.[3]

Structure[edit]

The FSG headquarters are in Hong Kong, but the business headquarter is located in Beijing. FSG has branches in Shanghai, Kunming, Dubai, Malta, Nairobi, and Cape Town. Multiple ex-US Army officers serve in the leadership.[citation needed]

Frontier Services Group is partially owned by CITIC Group, a state-run investment fund owned and controlled by the People's Republic of China. CITIC is FSG's largest shareholder.[4]

FSG's CEO is Dongyi Hua. J. David Whittingham is FSG's Group Vice President & Head of Africa. His responsibilities include business development, corporate development, mergers and acquisitions and investor relations.[5]

History[edit]

The FSG is initially a Bermuda-registered company called "DVN Holdings Limited". DVN was renamed to FSG in January 2014 to reflect its change in direction.[6]

In May 2014, it was reported that Prince's plan to build a diesel refinery in South Sudan, in which $10 million had already been invested, was suspended. The halted refinery project was reported to be supported personally by the country's president, Salva Kiir Mayardit. Frontier Services Group was reported to be paid $23.3 million by South Sudan's Ministry of Petroleum to transport supplies and perform maintenance on oil production facilities.[7]

As part of Prince's Africa-focused investment strategy, Frontier Services Group purchased stakes in two Kenyan aviation companies, Kijipwa Aviation and Phoenix Aviation, to provide logistics services for the country's oil and gas industry.[8] In October 2014, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority denied Kijipwa Aviation an aviation license renewal.[9][10][11]

Prince also purchased a 25% stake in Austrian aviation company Airborne Technologies. In 2014, Prince commissioned the company to modify Thrush 510G crop-dusters with surveillance equipment, machine guns, armor, and other weapons, including custom pylons that could mount either NATO or Russian ballistics.[12] One of the modified crop-dusters was delivered to Salva Kiir Mayardit's forces in South Sudan shortly before a contract with Frontier Services Group was cancelled. Frontier Services Group owns two of the modified Thrush 510Gs, but since executives learned the craft had been weaponized by Prince, the company has declined to sell or use the aircraft to avoid violating U.S. export controls.[13]

In December 2016, FSG announced its plans to set up a “forward operating base” in Yunnan to provide logistics and unarmed security training services to facilitate One Belt, One Road-related projects in Southeast Asia.[14]

In May 2017, FSG acquired 25% of a Chinese private security training school called International Security and Defense College (ISDC).[15] The FSG has since overseen the school's program of training "overseas security specialists".[3]

The FSG announced plans to work with Mozambique hidden-debt companies in December 2017.[16] The FSG established operations in Iraq in 2018.[17]

In 2019, FSG signed contracts to support China's One Belt and One Road initiative, including building a series of bases in China's Xinjiang, where the internment camps of ethnic Uyghurs attracted widespread allegations of human rights abuse.[18][19] Chinese Communist Party officials in Xinjiang reported that FSG's work would enhance the paramilitary Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.[19] FSG's CEO, Dongyi Hua, was the key driver in investing the re-education camps.[citation needed]

Effective April 13, 2021, Erik Prince resigned from his positions as executive director and deputy chairman of the company.[20][21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Scahill, Jeremy (2016-03-24). "Erik Prince in the Hot Seat". The Intercept. Archived from the original on 6 September 2017. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  2. ^ Clover, Charles. "Blackwater founder Erik Prince eyes opportunities with China". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 6 September 2017. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  3. ^ a b "A U.S. warrior goes to China: Did Erik Prince cross a line?". Washington Post. May 4, 2018.
  4. ^ Roston, Aram. "Betsy DeVos's Brother, The Founder Of Blackwater, Is Setting Up A Private Army For China, Sources Say". BuzzFeed News. Archived from the original on 10 September 2017. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  5. ^ "Our Team". fsgroup.com. Archived from the original on 22 March 2018. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  6. ^ "DVN (HOLDINGS) LIMITED board announcement" (PDF). The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong.
  7. ^ Gridneff, Ilya (December 18, 2014). "South Sudan Hires Ex-Blackwater Chief to Restore War-Damaged Oil Facilities". Bloomberg News. Archived from the original on December 18, 2014. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
  8. ^ Gridneff, Ilya (May 28, 2014). "South Sudan Chaos Halts Prince's Plan for Oil Refinery". Bloomberg News. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  9. ^ Herbling, David (October 27, 2014). "State denies American company aviation licence". Business Daily Africa. Archived from the original on October 28, 2014. Retrieved December 6, 2014.
  10. ^ Lamothe, Dan (October 28, 2014). "Blackwater founder Erik Prince: Combative, secretive and expanding in Africa". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on November 11, 2014. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  11. ^ "Kenya refuses to renew Blackwater founder's Kijipwa Aviation ASL". ch-aviation. November 6, 2014. Archived from the original on November 7, 2014. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  12. ^ Cole, Matthew (April 12, 2016). "Report: Blackwater CEO Tried to Sell Armed Planes to South Sudan". The Takeaway. WNYC. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  13. ^ Scahill, Jeremy; Cole, Matthew (2016-04-11). "Echo Papa Exposed: Inside Erik Prince's Treacherous Drive to Build a Private Air Force". The Intercept. Archived from the original on 26 January 2017. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  14. ^ Horton, Chris. "The American mercenary behind Blackwater is helping China establish the new Silk Road". Quartz. Archived from the original on 6 September 2017. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  15. ^ Martina, Michael (30 May 2017). "Blackwater founder's FSG buys stake in Chinese security school". Reuters.
  16. ^ "Erik Prince to Partner With Mozambique Hidden-Debt Companies". Bloomberg.com. 12 December 2017.
  17. ^ Adams, Rosalind (2019-04-26). "Blackwater Founder Erik Prince's New Company Is Operating In Iraq". Buzzfeed. Retrieved 2019-07-31.
  18. ^ Rappeport, Alan; Wong, Edward (May 4, 2019). "In Push for Trade Deal, Trump Administration Shelves Sanctions Over China's Crackdown on Uighurs". The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 7, 2019. Retrieved September 7, 2019.
  19. ^ a b Shepherd, Christian (2019-02-02). Birsel, Robert (ed.). "Erik Prince company to build training centre in China's Xinjiang". Reuters. Archived from the original on 2019-09-01. Retrieved 2019-09-07.
  20. ^ https://www.marketscreener.com/quote/stock/FRONTIER-SERVICES-GROUP-L-6165919/news/Frontier-Services-nbsp-RESIGNATION-OF-EXECUTIVE-DIRECTOR-AND-DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN-32967589/
  21. ^ http://lignesdedefense.blogs.ouest-france.fr/archive/2021/04/16/erik-prince-le-fondateur-de-l-ex-blackwater-a-demissionne-de-22051.html

External links[edit]