Saturday, February 11, 2012
Is Gilbert Bigio the richest man in Haiti?
January 1, 2004: First Investment Bank Launched in Haiti; Some Shareholders Have Dubious Pasts Seventy wealthy Haitians and Haitian-Americans officially launch Haiti's first investment bank, PromoCapital. The bank, a 50/50 joint-venture between Haitian and US shareholders, consists of two institutions: PromoCapital Haiti, SA—incorporated in Haiti as a "Societe Financiere de Developpement" —and PromoCapital USA, Inc,—a corporation registered in the state of Delaware.
The bank's headquarters are in Petionville, Haiti with representative offices in Washington, DC, and Aventura, Florida. Its founder, Dumarsais Simeus, who owns a large food-processing business in Texas, says the bank's investors hope to see annual returns on their investment in the mid- or high teens. He is also the chair of PromoCapital USA. Henri Deschamps, a prominent Port-au-Prince printing and media executive, is the chairman of PromoCapital Haiti.
Of the 70 names included on the list of PromoCapital shareholders, nine—Frederic Madsen, Gilbert Bigio, Gregory Brandt, Marc-Antoine Acra, Monique Bigio, Olivier Acra, Ronald Georges, Reuven Bigi, and Sebastien Acra—appear on a US Treasury Department list of people and organizations whose assets had been blocked by the US Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control under the Clinton Administration, until 1994. And one of them, Hans Tippenhauer, had told The Washington Post on February 23 that the Haitians had enthusiastically greeted the paramilitary rebel forces as "freedom fighters."