Frontier Services Group

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Frontier Services Group
Native name
先丰服务集团
Publicly-listed SOE
Traded asSEHK500
IndustryPrivate security, logistics, and insurance
FounderErik Prince
Headquarters,
Key people
Erik Prince
ParentCITIC Group
Websitefsgroup.com

Frontier Services Group (FSG) is an Africa-focused security, aviation, and logistics company founded and led 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]

According to FSG, 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 concerned 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]

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.[3]

Frontier Services Group has ties to the 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 has signed contracts to support China's One Belt and One Road initiative including building a series of bases in China’s Xinjiang, where over a million ethnic Uyghurs, a Muslim minority in China, are being incarcerated in so-called re-education camps by the government, considered by many Americans one of the most egregious human rights abuses by China.[5][6] Communist Party of China officials in Xinjiang reported that FSG's work would enhance the paramilitary Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.[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]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Scahill, Jeremy. "Erik Prince in the Hot Seat". The Intercept. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  2. ^ Clover, Charles. "Blackwater founder Erik Prince eyes opportunities with China". Financial Times. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  3. ^ "Our Team". fsgroup.com. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  4. ^ Roston, Aram. "Betsy DeVos's Brother, The Founder Of Blackwater, Is Setting Up A Private Army For China, Sources Say". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  5. ^ 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. Retrieved September 7, 2019.
  6. ^ a b Shepherd, Christian (2019-02-02). Birsel, Robert (ed.). "Erik Prince company to build training centre in China's Xinjiang". Reuters. Retrieved 2019-09-07.
  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. 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. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  13. ^ Scahill, Jeremy; Cole, Matthew. "Echo Papa Exposed: Inside Erik Prince's Treacherous Drive to Build a Private Air Force". The Intercept. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  14. ^ Horton, Chris. "The American mercenary behind Blackwater is helping China establish the new Silk Road". Quartz. Retrieved 5 September 2017.

External links[edit]