Hosting a Monte Carlo banker
To duly emphasize Gumbiner’s importance, after every two or three days, Masood’s boss telephoned me to look after this important banker He said that Gumbiner was a very important to them, as he had bought their Hotel for about $ 200 million or so. He would remind me that it was very thoughtful of Masood to offer my assistance. As every now and then Masood and his employer were on telephone to plead to look after this great banker.
I thought I should go to Bali, meet him and see whom he was. May be there was a hint that Gumbiner wanted to do some business with Pakistan. So I decided to go my self to Bali and meet him. Although under the rules an Ambassador can travel any where in his jurisdiction on government expenses and his travel expenses and stay in hotel is paid by the Government, I decided to treat this trip as a personal travel paying my air ticket to Bali which was 1200 miles from Jakarta and stayed in a five star hotel paying for the accommodation from my pocket. But I decided to send my Commercial Attache, Nasir Abbas a very amiable person , to Bali to continue my negotiations with Bali Chamber of Commerce , to promote Pakistani exports.
To return to the Gumbiners , as I landed at the Nusa Dua Bali Air Port , Gumbiners plane also arrived from Australia. I did not have any idea how Gumbner looked like and closely looked at every old couple coming out of the plane I thought Gumbiner must be an old man which one expects a multi-million banker to be. After I failed to locate Gumbiners I saw a young couple also sort of waiting for some one to come for them. Hesitatingly I went to them and asked him: Are you Gambiner? And he retorted “Are you Dr Koreshi”. So we met and came out of the Air Port. He was booked in the most expensive hotel then Bali Beach Hotel, in the suite in which President Regan had stayed daily rate as I learn was $ 1,700 per day. Gumbiner must have been around 40/45. His wife was a French lady about 35. I remarked accompanying him to his hotel, that I thought he must be an old man since he was heading a multimillion bank but I forgot that people also inherit. He immediately contradicted me “Oh no, this is all my own acquisition. I am from East Europe and came as a refugee to UK. In early youth I was a rebel and leading demonstrations against US war in Viet Nam. I started as a Resue Banker. I asked what is that? He said he buys sinking business but after making through research on the reasons why the institution was sinking. Only after knowing that the enterprise still has much life and learning that its failure was due to bad administration he goes to buy the institution. Normally he finds in the administration of that institution some President or a few top managers were the cause of the sinking he removes those bad administrators and buys the institution.
Any how next day I went to his hotel which was very far from mine and took them to Nusa Dua Bali Hotel next to their Bali Beach Hotel and entertained to tea and eats. Gumbiner wanted to pick the bill and put the amount on the table. I told the Hotel boy to return his money. I told Gumbiner you are in my jurisdiction. Nobody picks the bills for any food or service . I may be poor but I am ambassador in Jakarta. I learnt by chance why he wanted the Pakistan Ambassador to look after him in Bali. We were sitting in a restaurant. He remarked Here we have believers of four faith, The Ambassador is Muslim, I am Jewish, my wife is a Roman catholic and the Hotel manager sitting with us was a Hindu. Then I thought why the hospitality of Ambassador of Pakistan to him was sought as it was a safety device. In Indonesia Jews are not welcome by the Muslims. I had a standing with all the Muslim groups in Indonesia and Pakistan is a respected name among Indonesians. That was kind of safety device although he did not have an Israeli passport. The Hotel staff refused to receive money from him. “Duta” asks us not to accept your money. We cannot refuse his instructions. He is “Duta” in our country. We then went to other places for lunch and dinner and repeatedly I stopped him from paying as I could not allow any body to pay for what I order in my jurisdiction. This happened at many places. I took him to Bali Artists Colony for buying world famous Bali Paintings renowned world over. He wanted to present me a big Bali painting which I refused saying I was prohibited by the rules to take a present from him. Finally for the days he remained in Bali I paid for the restaurant bills where he accompanied me, tipped at the various places etc.. On return to Monaco he wrote me a letter of thanks saying after meeting me I learnt what Muslim hospitality is. His visiting card he gave me read “Anthony Gumbiner, Chairman, The Hallwood Group, Inc, 24 Ave Princess Grace, Monte Carlo”.
He asked me to visit him in Monaco, but I told him it was not easy for me. It was too far.. I recall that a Jute exporter from East Pakistani in the last days of united Pakistan came to me seeking my help to get five million dollars released by the State Bank of Nigeria, which was the amount of his exports to Nigeria, despite certification of the authorities and completion of all formalities. I telephoned Clement Isong Governor of the State Bank who was a thorough gentleman. He sent him to Otiti a short thin person from Ibadan. I telephoned Otiti also well known to me to expedite payment. Some time later the Pakistani exporter came to me with a gift –gold ornaments “for your wife” I told him my wife has “too much jewellery” and needs no more. I was happy his work has been done and happy over release of his dues. He may please take the gift back. I asked him to please leave my office right away with “the gift” which he did. I am inclined to think that it was normal for Government officers to act thus.