18th February 2018
NEW EARTH LIQUIDATORS ASSESSING LEGAL OPTIONS
International Adviser on 16th February reported that liquidators of the failed New Earth Recycling and Renewables (NERR) fund now have more than 200,000 documents in their possession and want to establish if there is a case to take legal action against any party deemed liable for the collapse. The article reminds one that The fund collapsed in 2016 after the High Court of Justice of the Isle of Man granted a wind-up application for the 3 unregulated funds, known collectively as the New Earth Group of Funds, which had 3,249 investors and were collectively valued at $292.22 million, though at the time of winding up, the value of its investments was close to zero. The funds invested in three UK-based companies involved in recycling and waste management. Isle of Man taxpayers have been paying for the liquidation through the Financial Services Authority (FSA).
MUNICH SECURITY REPORT 2018
This report was issued for the Munich Security Conference in February 2018. Entitled “To the Brink and Back”, provides an overview of major security policy issues and features data, analyses, maps and infographics. As a companion and impulse for the 54th edition of the Munich Security Conference, the Munich Security Report serves as background reading for conference participants, but is also made available to the general public. This year’s main topics include the crisis of the liberal international order and the impact of the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency. The report also covers the new momentum in European defense policy and the potential impact of Brexit. In addition, the report analyses regional developments in Central and Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. It also provides insights into the state of global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation efforts, the issue of environmental and climate security as well as cyber security. Highlights include –
- Previously unpublished data by the International Institute for Strategic Studies show the military expenditures and procurement priorities of select African countries. The data show that patrol boats and helicopters, for example, are in demand, whereas there is no procurement contract for systems like submarines, cruisers, destroyers, frigates or corvettes;
- The James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies and the Nuclear Threat Initiative provide an assessment of the state of the North Korean nuclear program and an analysis of what a cancellation of the Iranian nuclear deal would mean; and
- Unpublished projections by UNEP show the correlation between drought and low intensity conflicts in a world map.
TERROR RISKS IN EUROPE TO INCREASE IN 2018 AS ISLAMIC STATE’S FOREIGN FIGHTERS RETURN
On 13th February, Janes.com announced a new report from Jane’s Terrorism & Insurgency Centre (JTIC), and a quote says that in the 5- to 10-year outlook, European countries will face an elevated terrorism threat posed by radicalized convicts, returned foreign fighters and other returnees who have direct ties to the legacy of the Islamic State. Key findings of the report
- Islamist militancy will remain the primary terrorism threat in Europe, with international operations becoming increasingly important for the Islamic State as it seeks to maintain its relevance among supporters globally.
- Returning foreign fighters will drive an increase in the terrorism threat, particularly via the potential transformation of radical Islamist support networks into operational structures directly involved with attack plots;
- Though low-capability methods will remain prominent, it is likely that new and more destructive methods will emerge in the next 2 years in Europe, including the use of car bombs and the adoption of new technologies such as drones;
- JTIC’s analysis of European prison sentencing reveals that between 2019 and 2023, a substantial number of terrorism convicts who have been active supporters of Islamist militant groups are likely to be released into the general population; and
- Security services will struggle to monitor adequately a combination of returning militants, an increased number of radical Islamist networks involved in the propagation of terrorism, and the radicalisation risks associated with a substantially increasing Islamist prison population.
FOREX BANKS UNEARTHED PNB SCAM, NOT ANY WHISTLEBLOWER: SOURCES TELL INDIA TODAY
On 18th February, India Today claims that the scandal at the PNB Bank was detected by other forex banks, and not by PNB or a whistleblower.
2 NETANYAHU CONFIDANTS ARRESTED IN ISRAELI TELECOM GIANT GRAFT CASE
On 18th February, Haaretz in Israel reported that police have arrested several senior officials at Bezeq, the Israeli telecommunications giant, as part of the ongoing corruption investigation involving the company and its possible relationship with Netanyahu. It says that among those arrested were 2 close associates of Netanyahu. A gag order has been placed on all of the details of the arrests, including the identity of those arrested.
FURTHER INFORMATION ON CYBER ATTACK ON UNION BANK’S SWIFT SYSTEM
On 18th February, the Union Bank issued a news release providing a little more details of the theft via the SWIFT system, and reassuring that the bank’s SWIFT payment system is back to normal after ensuring adequate enhanced security is in place.
See previous posting –
INDIA’S CITY UNION BANK SAYS HIT BY FRAUDULENT REMITTANCES VIA SWIFT SYSTEM
Reuters on 17th February reported that India’s City Union Bank said it had suffered 3 “fraudulent remittances” of nearly $2 million that had been pushed through the SWIFT financial platform. It said the transfers had been made through correspondent banks even though the Indian lender had not requested the transfers. The Indian lender said it had been able to block one remittance of $500,000. One for €300,000 was routed through a Standard Chartered Bank account in Frankfurt to a Turkish account, while a third totalling $1 million was sent through a Bank of America account in New York to a China-based bank.
US SEEKS TO DOUBLE AK-47 SUPPLY TO SYRIAN PARTNERS
Al-Monitor via Real Clear Defense on 17th February reported that the Donald Trump administration is seeking to more than double the number of assault rifles it provides to Syrian Kurds and other US-backed fighters despite rising anger from NATO ally Turkey. It claims that the Pentagon plans to give its Syrian partners — including the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) — more than 25,000 AK-47. The low cost and accessibility of the Kalashnikovs make them easy for US-backed troops to sustain. It says that the request more than doubles the 12,000 assault rifles the DoD requested for Syrian forces in the current fiscal year, even as the US plans to dole out fewer machine guns, mortars and sniper rifles. Many of the US-supplied weapons used in Syria, including AK-47s, are sourced from Eastern European countries such as Bulgaria, Bosnia and the Czech Republic.