Published On: Tue, Jun 23rd, 2020

Banking with NIBanc comes to an end

Banco di Caribe - Simpson Bay head office - 2020062301 JH

PHILIPSBURG – The owner of NIBanc, Hushang Ansary, has requested the Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten to withdraw the banking license. After thirty years, the curtain falls on the investment bank that is a subsidiary of Banco di Caribe.

With his private equity firm Parman International, 93-year-old American Hushang Ansary owns ENNIA, Banco di Caribe and National Investment Bank (NA) NV, known as NIBanc. The St. Maarten offices are located at Banco de Caribe and will remain open for advice on investments.

NIBanc began operations on March 30, 1990, as a part of the Dutch investment bank NIB Capital. From the start, NIBanc offered large syndicated loans, project financing and direct equity investment in different sectors such as aviation, shipping, infrastructure, telecommunication, hotels and hospitality. During the first eighteen years, NIBanc arranged more than fifty transactions with a total value exceeding USD 1.5 billion.

In November 2006, NIBanc was purchased by Parman International, a Houston based private equity firm with holdings in financial services, petroleum-related, and resort industries. Parman and Ansary have come under scrutiny of the Central Bank of Curaçao and Sint Maarten (CBCS) as to financial misappropriations regarding insurance company Ennia. The CBCS has stated that ENNIA Caribe Holding and ENNIA Caribe Investments had appropriated 1,5 billion Antillean guilders (approximately $838 million) from ENNIA.

Since he fled from Iran in 1978, first to Europe and then to the United States, the ‘multimillionaire refugee’ Ansary made an even bigger fortune by what Forbes called ‘Creative Financing’. He established partnerships and companies with American luminaries as Henry Kissinger. After he had purchased SunResorts in St. Maarten, which consisted of two hotels, a casino, and a car rental agency, Ansary added Kissinger to the board of directors of the resort. Using ‘creative financing’, SunResorts ended up with a paper value of 50 million dollars.
In the case of ENNIA, according to the CBCS, Parman had ENNIA Caribe Holding and ENNIA Caribe Investments invest in shares in another Parman subsidiary, Stewart & Stevenson Inc. When these shares were sold in 2017, although the insurance companies had held 74% of the shares and should have received $558.7 million, they only received $282.2 million and thus lost approximately $273 million.

In another transaction, land at Mullet Bay was put in the books of the insurance company for 771 million guilders (just under $431 million). But according to Cushman & Wakefield, one of the largest appraisers in the world, the value is only 89 million guilders ($49 million).
NIBanc’s Executive Board consists of Ildefons Simon and Percival Virginia. The Supervisory Board is formed by Faroe Metry, Dave Liqui Lung and Cornelis “Cees” Rokx.

NIBanc boasts of a team with more than 75 years of combined financial advisory and transaction experience gained from working throughout the Caribbean, North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. “The professional background of the team members includes banking, investment firms, internationally-recognized consulting and accounting firms, private wealth management, and private equity firms, as well as university faculty and government-related positions,” states the company website. “Team members have been the advisors to national governments, as well as the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the United States Agency for International Development.”

Employees of NIBanc have been offered redundancy payment, writes Antilliaans Dagblad. Although no longer a bank, NIBanc will continue to offer “integrated financial solutions and strategic advice tailored to its clients’ needs.”