Firepower player has shady past

Former Regal Petroleum chief: Nolte is the chief executive of the European division of Firepower, a fuel technology company from Perth which has emerged as a major Australian sports sponsor. He joined Firepower after resigning as CEO of Regal Petroleum.

Jumped from sinking ship: Regal was briefly one of the most valuable stocks on London’s Alternative Investment market after it reported a huge oil discovery off the coast of Greece. But its share price collapsed in mid-2005 after the oil well was found to be non-commercial.

Halliburton’s man in Germany: Nolte, who resigned several months before the stock collapse, is also a former head of Halliburton in Germany – the oil company associated with the US Vice-President, Dick Cheney.

Rabbitohs, Sydney Kings sponsor: Firepower’s investors reportedly include high-profile AFL footballers. It burst onto the Australian sporting scene in November as the sponsor of the south Sydney Rabbitohs rugby league team and the Sydney Kings basketball team.

Celebrity endorsement: The West Australian reported at the weekend that the former Australian cricket captain Steve Waugh would help sell Firepower’s products in India, as would five unnamed members of the Australian Wallabies. A spokesman for Firepower was unable to confirm that report but he did confirm Nolte’s position with the company.

Austrade export grants: The Sydney Morning Herald revealed last week that Firepower had received nearly $400,000 in export grants through Austrade. Austrade also helped to get one of Firepower’s products, a machine that cleans fuel systems, manufactured in Romania under a complicated arrangement with the British arms dealer BAE Systems.

Romanian govt manufacturer: The machines were made by RomArm, the weapons branch of the Romanian Government.

The Australian Financial Review, 16/1/2007, p.5

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