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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
04KATHMANDU624 2004-04-05 09:20:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kathmandu
Cable title:  

NEPAL: MAOISTS ISSUE AN EXTORTION DEMAND TO

Tags:   CASC BEXP ECON PTER NP 
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KATHMANDU 000624 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SA/INS
STATE ALSO FOR DS/IP/SA AND DS/DSS/OSAC
LONDON FOR POL/GUERNEY
NSC FOR MILLARD

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/04/2013
TAGS: CASC BEXP ECON PTER NP
SUBJECT: NEPAL: MAOISTS ISSUE AN EXTORTION DEMAND TO
AMERICAN LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY

Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Robert K. Boggs for reasons 1.5
(B,D)



1. (SBU) SUMMARY. The regional president of the American
Life Insurance Company (ALICO), a member of the American
International Group, Inc. (AIG), approached the Embassy on
April 1 indicating that the ALICO branch office in Nepal
received a threat and an extortion demand from an individual
claiming to be a Maoist. Emboffs, including Assistant
Regional Security Officer, have spoken to ALICO's local
General Manager & CEO about the incident. Based on the
information provided by the representative, it is unclear
whether this threat is actually from the Maoists or a local
"copycat" group. Emboffs encouraged ALICO's representative in
Nepal to obtain more detailed information from the caller in
an effort to verify the credentials of the threat. In
addition, on the afternoon of April 5th, Ambassador
Malinowski, DCM and ARSO spoke by conference call to
senior-level ALICO regional and headquarters representatives.
END SUMMARY.



2. (SBU) On April 1, the regional president of the American
Life Insurance Company (ALICO), a member of the American
International Group, Inc. (AIG), called the Embassy and
reported that ALICO's Nepal branch office, including the
General Manager, received an extortion demand for NRs. 1
million (equivalent to about USD 14,000) from someone
claiming to be a Maoist. On April 2, Emboff met with ALICO's
general manager to discuss the situation and the ARSO met him
on April 5 to recommend personal security measures like
varying travel times and routes. In addition, on the
afternoon of April 5th, Ambassador Malinowski, DCM and ARSO
spoke by conference call to senior-level ALICO
representatives, including the new regional president and the
vice president for international operations, Ambassador Frank
Wisner. Ambassador Malinowski and DCM have shared comments
included in paras 5 and 6.



3. (C) ALICO's GM reported that an individual claiming to
be a member of the "Armed Revolutionary Maoists Group" made
the extortion demand by calling the GM's and ALICO's senior
executives' cell phones during the week of March 18. The
caller (appears to be the same caller each time) does not
speak English, so the GM, a Bangladeshi national, has not
directly heard or understood the threats. ALICO's two senior
executives, both Nepalese, have spoken to the extortionist
over the phone on several occasions. On either March 25 or
26, these two senior executives met the caller at a
per-determined location in the center of Kathmandu and were
led to a local restaurant. During a meeting there, the
purported Maoist demanded that ALICO pay about USD 14,000 by
April 6th, for which the company would receive a "receipt"
and a two and a half year exoneration from future payments.
The ALICO senior executives explained that the company, as a
service provider, could not pay that amount of money. The
individual stated that if ALICO did not pay, he would be
forced to report this to the Maoist "headquarters" and it was
"likely that the Maoists would target ALICO's general
manager." In addition, the individual claimed that other
companies and government offices have paid the Maoists,
including Nepal Insurance Board, which is the government
agency with oversight over ALICO's work. (NOTE: There is no
way that this information can be verified. END NOTE.)



4. (SBU) ALICO's GM does not feel directly threatened and
thinks that whoever is making this threat is "just trying to
get some money." Emboffs have encouraged ALICO's GM to take
immediate measures to ensure his personal security, such as
varying travel times and routes and taking special note of
his surroundings. Emboff also advised the GM to reconfirm
the contact details about the suspected Maoist and
recommended a method of verifying the threat's source.
ALICO's GM will be back in touch with the Embassy once
further details are available. In addition, Emboffs
indicated that ultimately delaying tactics might be necessary
because ALICO could not accede to the demand since the
Maoists have been designated on the USG asset freeze list.



5. (C) COMMENT. It is unclear whether the threat is
actually from the Maoists. The Embassy recently has heard
rumors about "copycat" extortion threats targeting local
businesses. The threat ALICO received is a "low" dollar
figure in comparison to demands made to large local
companies. In addition, the secretive meeting with ALICO's
senior executives is out of the norm; all other such
encounters reported to the Embassy have been direct "office
calls" on the business in question. Moreover other extortion
demands from verified Maoists usually warn of vague
"consequences," rather than direct threats of violence
against company personnel, especially foreigners.



6. (C) COMMENT CONTINUED. Emboffs have encouraged ALICO's
GM to extract proof from the contact that he is actually a
Maoist and to obtain more details prior to using delaying
tactics. ARSO will conduct a security survey of the ALICO
branch office and the GM's residence this week. In addition,
the Embassy will contact the local police and request a
visible security presence outside the ALICO office and the
GM's residence. ARSO will provide a list of local security
guard contact information to ALICO's GM. Finally, Embassy
has advised ALICO representatives that payment to the demand
is not an option under the US terrorist watch list
designation and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. END
COMMENT.
MALINOWSKI