Vegan Soap Company Has Ties to Blackwater

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When Blackwater went up for sale this summer, it wasn't clear who would buy it. The private mercenary company's many scandals have included bribing Iraqi officials, stealing U.S. weapons, and killing innocent civilians, none of which is seen as especially attractive to investors. But the New York Times' Andrew Ross Sorkin and Ben Protess now report that Blackwater has buyers. They say the two lead investors are Jason DeYonker, who "has a long relationship with [Blackwater founder Erik] Prince and Blackwater," and an investment firm called Manhattan Growth Partners.

The Times story focuses primarily on DeYonker and his background, but what about "Manhattan Growth Partners"? Who are they? The blog War Is Business finds out, and it's not what you might expect.

Manhattan Growth Partners is led by Dean Bosacki and Patrick McBride. Bosacki serves on the board of "the world's largest commencement photography business," among other companies. Manhattan Growth Partners, which describes itself as "a progressive thinking private equity firm," also holds a majority interest in Hugo Naturals, a line of organic, vegan-friendly soaps, lotions, scents and soy candles sold at Whole Foods and other greenwashed retailers.

The blog even finds the vegan soap company's mission statement: "Being respectful of the earth's natural resources, and being a steward of this wonderful planet is what Hugo Naturals is all about."

If and when this deal goes through, every bar of Hugo Naturals vegan soap you buy at Whole Foods will fund the world's most infamous mercenary company. Or, if you prefer a more positive view, every terrorist snatch-and-grab contract Blackwater fields will help to pay for vegan soap.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.