Investment banker Marc Faber revealed yesterday he was behind a mystery consortium accused of training former soldiers as 'industrial mercenaries' to break the trade unions' grip on the Australian docks. But the prominent Hong Kong fund manager - known as Dr Doom for his bearish market sentiments - feared exposure of his role in the venture would make him a target of labour radicals. Mr Faber would not disclose the identity of a group of investors who he said approached him last September to arrange the leasing of a Melbourne dock and equipment. He held negotiations with an old business associate, Chris Corrigan, who is chairman of Patrick Stevedores. Mr Faber said he did not remember which party conceived the strategy to train serving and former soldiers to work on the docks, a move viewed by unions as organising a paramilitary strike-breaking force. 'Even if it was my idea, what do you think: I want to have the labour unions marching into my office tomorrow?' The militant Maritime Union of Australia last night hinted it might organise a protest outside Mr Faber's office in Central. 'It's certainly not out of the question. He might expect something,' assistant national secretary Vic Slater said. An international campaign launched by the union led to a threat of international sanctions against the United Arab Emirates, where a group of soldiers were trained to operate equipment at the port of Dubai. Mr Faber, who is not regarded as being publicity-shy, tried to avoid the media yesterday and would not have his photograph taken. 'I don't think it is a big deal. I don't want to have the unions running up and down my floor.' He indicated the project was 'on ice' because of the regional economic downturn. Mr Faber was not the only Hong Kong connection in the controversial scheme. A locally registered shelf company, Container Terminal Management Services, was used to funnel payments to Dubai. Its directors are Vietnam veterans Michael Wells and Peter Kilfoyle, who live in the Australian state of Victoria. An executive at PCS Asia Ltd, which registered the company, said he was not aware of Mr Faber's involvement. It had been set up on orders from Melbourne, said James Fulton. On whether he had supported the use of non-union labour in the scheme, Mr Faber said: 'God, I wouldn't know. I have no idea what is right or wrong, that is not my concern. I acted as an investment banker.' Asked whether the project was a union-smashing exercise or investment, he said: 'I leave that to your imagination to figure out. 'The goal of any business is to make money and I suppose that if you operate a stevedore operation without unions it would have been more efficient, less costly. 'I don't think the idea was to smash the unions but to run the business profitably.'