UPA (Utanian Press Agency)
Release: September 16, 300 AP.

Belson Chief says "Vote LNP"

In a shock political development, the Chairman of the Û43 billion Belson Corporation, Mark J Belson, grandson of the company's founder, has encouraged voters at a Business Forum luncheon to vote for the Liberal Nationalist Party.

Mr Belson, who owns almost 20% of the multi-billion pund company, said that Utanians must protect the Utanian way of life, and should vote to ensure that the benefactors of Utania's vast natural resources are Utanians. He was critical of the Conservative Party for not providing "sufficient legislative protection" for Utanian industry and endeavour, and of the Peoples Party for it's lack of business acumen, but reserved the real criticism for the Burovians, whom Mr Belson accused of being "foreign business spies intent on exploiting Utania".

Mr Belson is a well-known business figure in Utania, being linked to the country's richest business dynasty, and a well-known philanthropist, personally over seeing the running of the Belson Charitable Trust which, last year, gave away Û90 million to worthy charities. In addition, Mr Belson gave away another Û30 million of his personal fortune to charity.

However, the company is not without its critics, who assert that the company is responsible for the mass exploitation of thousands of Utanian farmers, that it completely dominates the food production industry to the detriment of all Utanians, and that these riches go into the pockets of the Belson family. Furthermore, criticism has been levelled at Belson for its close links to Dusko I, the Guwimith Tsar, who was a 33% shareholder in the corporation (now owned by the Utanian government), claiming that the company's success is "purely sycophantic gain at its worst".

Critics cite that Mark Belson alone earnt Û930 million last year from dividend payments, and that his charitable donations of Û30 million were less than 1/3rd of his tax bill for that dividend income. The Utanian government also benefitted from the Belson Corporation's profitability to the tune of Û1.5 billion in dividends (the federal government is the largest shareholder, inherited from, former owner, the Guwimith Tsar), plus 600 million in corporate taxes to the state governments.

"The Company is simply too large for anyone to try to take it on", complains Belson's chief critic, Samual B'jara, President of the Utani Farmer's Federation. "They can simply buy parliament, if they choose, and it makes perfect sense that they advocate people vote Liberal Nationalist who has already sworn to uphold Utanian industry above all."

Utania's agricultural economic sector is estimated to be worth Û180 billion, of which Belson Corporation earnt last year Û32.8 billion. Over one half of Utania's agricultural produce is said to pass through Belson hands. Utania's largest crop is cotton. Utania's economy is estimated at Û500 billion, or about ChC170 billion, or about ChC 4,000 per person.

Note; 1 ChC = Û3.00

©UPA, 300 AP.

©Mike Ham, 2000. All rights reserved. No reproduction without, at least, tacit approval. ;-)