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WSJ

Updated March 28, 2012, 10:09 p.m. ET

By MARK MAREMONT

Just after Philippe Wells took a job in 1998 at Bain Capital, then run by Mitt Romney, he recalls hearing an unusual boast from a partner. The man’s individual retirement account had jumped tenfold in five years.

Mr. Wells soon learned how this was possible. Bain, like many other private-equity firms, allowed employees to co-invest in its takeover deals. This posed a risk they could lose their whole investment, as they sometimes did. But because of the firm’s success during the Romney era, employees ended up able to share in returns for Bain investors that averaged 50% to 80% annually.

Bain added a couple of unusual twists that made co-investing even more rewarding. It allowed employees to co-invest via tax-deferred retirement accounts, and to do so by buying a special share class that cost little but yielded much larger gains than other shares when deals proved successful, according to former employees and internal Bain documents analyzed by The Wall Street Journal.

In one particularly successful deal, Bain increased the equity value of a company it had acquired by 36-fold in 20 months. But some Bain employees saw a 583-fold increase over the same period on IRA money they invested in the special share class of that company. Being in an IRA, the gain could then be rolled over, without initially subtracting taxes, into fresh Bain deals, for years of compounding.

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…the FBI has no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11.” Rex Tomb, Chief of Investigative Publicity for the FBI, June 5, 2006

We’ve never made the case, or argued the case, that somehow Osama Bin Laden was directly involved in 9/11. That evidence has never been forthcoming.” Vice President Dick Cheney, March 29, 2006

Acknowledgment: For facts on Operation Flavius, I have drawn from the Wikepedia article on the subject

Shell petrol station at Winston Churchill Avenue in Gibraltar where McCann and Farrell were shot by the SAS

Events last week have brought to mind a similar incident which took place more than twenty years ago involving the killing of three members of a terrorist organisation on Gibraltar, in which there are a number of disturbing parallels.

On 6 March, 1988, an SAS (the UK’s equivalent, more or less, to the United States SEALs) team stopped three members of the IRA as they walked near the Shell filling station in Winston Churchill Avenue, the busy main road leading to the airport and the frontier with Spain.

The three, Danny McCann, Sean Savage and Mairead Farrell, were planning to detonate a car bomb where a military band assembled for the weekly changing of the guard at the governor’s residence.

The SAS team had been informed – incorrectly – that the IRA members had already placed their bomb and were ready to detonate it.

(more…)

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