One of the most politically-connected yet scandal ridden vaccine companies in the united states, with troubling ties to the 2001 anthrax attacks and opioid crisis, is set to profit handsomely from the current coronavirus crisis.
by Whitney Webb and Raul Diego
Part 5 - House of fraud
By the time the sale closed, Haydon-Ballie — once the 50th richest man in England — was on the brink of being forced out of Porton International over accusations of illicit enrichment. Around the same time, the anthrax vaccine was set to enter a bull market and Porton International was now in a prime position to reap the full benefits.
A year earlier in 1989, Ibrahim El-Hibri, a Venezuelan citizen who had made a fortune working for US telecommunications companies, had become a silent partner in Porton International. His son, Fuad El-Hibri, was made director of Porton Products, Ltd, a Porton International subsidiary, which was the conduit by which the El-Hibri family had made a killing selling anthrax vaccines to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states at $300 to $500 a dose. Fuad El-Hibri had previously been an intelligence contractor for Booz Allen Hamilton and an executive at the Wall Street giant, CitiGroup.
The elder El-Hibri had a knack for business that ran back decades to the 1970s when he lived in Qatar, where he befriended the then-head of US Central Command, Admiral William Crowe. The career military man kept in touch with El-Hibri through the years and perhaps even gave him a few business leads at a time when Crowe was also serving on the board of pharmaceutical behemoth, Pfizer. Crowe would later pick up the phone in late 1997 (officially at least, but probably well before) to make a proposition to his old friend.
In 1997, then-US Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen announced a plan to vaccinate every single member of the US Armed Forces against anthrax, which ultimately resulted in the vaccination of approximately 2.4 million troops by 2003. Admiral Crowe, who was serving as the US ambassador to the UK at the time, quickly contacted El-Hibri to discuss the US government anthrax vaccine market in light of this new Pentagon policy.
The only obstacle was getting his son, Fuad El-Hibri, a U.S. passport so that he could run the business stateside. To easily and quickly circumvent this issue, the politically-connected Admiral — with his deep ties to the Pentagon intact — was made a director of BioPort and given 10% of company stock, despite not having put a single penny into the company.
The stage was set to bring Porton International into the exclusive government contract business in the United States as BioPort, Inc. As luck would have it, Porton International’s president, Zsolt Harsanyi, had just received a ten-year DoD contract worth roughly $322 million through DynPort Vaccine Company, LLC, and — thanks to Michigan’s governor — the only licensed anthrax vaccine manufacturing plant in the country was back on the auction block.