18th March 2018
MAURITIUS PRESIDENT RESIGNS OVER CREDIT CARD FRAUD ALLEGATIONS
UPI reported on 17th March that Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, Mauritius’ first woman head of state, resigned her position over credit card fraud allegations and will leave office March 23rd. The allegations relate to her joining the Planet Earth Institute (PEI) in 2015 to further develop the scientific field in Africa, and in 2016 she received a credit card from PEI to pay for work-related travel and other expenses. However, she is accused of buying jewellery and clothing, spending $26,000 on the credit card for items not related to her work for PEI. She claims use of the card was accidental, saying she got the card mixed up with a personal credit card issued from the same bank.
NLB BANK INQUIRY IN SLOVENIA TOLD THAT POLICE LACKED INFO ON IRANIAN MONEY LAUNDERING
The STA news agency in Slovenia reported on 15th March that the police parliamentary inquiry looking into alleged laundering of Iranian money through the NLB bank in 2009 and 2010 heard that the police were unable to obtain data from abroad that would make it possible to substantiate their suspicions.
SMUGGLING OF US TECHNOLOGY IS OUTPACING COLD WAR LEVELS, EXPERTS SAY
The Straits Times, the New York Times and others on 18th March reported that smugglers are trying to ship US technologies, which can be used for weapons and spy equipment, to China, Russia and other adversaries at rates that outpace shadowy and illegal exports during the Cold War, according to US officials and experts. For example, a a smuggling ring run by a Pakistani-born American citizen, Peter Zuccarelli, in Texas was paid $1.5 million to buy special radiation-resistant circuits for space programmes in Russia and China. In another case, Chinese citizen Sun Fuyi sought to buy M60 carbon fibre, which is used in military drones, from undercover federal agents. Since 2013, nearly 3,000 people have been swept up by Homeland Security Investigations alone for trying to smuggle weapons and sensitive technologies – including circuits or other products that can be used in ballistic missiles, drones or explosive devices, and federal agents also seized more than 7,000 items, including microchips and jet engine parts. Russia, China, North Korea and Iran are some of the countries most active in trying to illegally acquire US military technology, officials said.
MONERO IS THE FAVORITE CRYPTOCURRENCY OF CYBER CRIMINALS, STUDY FINDS
News BTC on 17th March reported that a study found that cybercriminals launder $80-$200 billion a year and are moving away from Bitcoin as Monero offers greater anonymity. Virtualisation technology-focused security firm security firm Bromium announced the findings of an independent study into the macroeconomics of cybercrime. “Into the Web of Profit”. The study also found that in-game purchases and currencies are spurring a rise in gaming-related laundering, as China and South Korea become hotspots for gaming-currency laundering; PayPal and other digital payment systems are employed by cybercriminals to launder money; and digital payment systems laundering often involves the use of micro-laundering techniques where multiple, small payments are made so laundering limits aren’t triggered.
PERU PRESIDENT SAYS HE USED OFFSHORE FIRM TO LEGALLY AVOID US TAXES
Reuters on 18th March reported that President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski told a congressional investigative committee that he used a company in the BVI to legally avoid paying US taxes. A former Wall Street banker who is married to an American, Kuczynski told the committee that the offshore company, Dorado Asset Management Ltd, was controlled by his daughter and helped him sidestep US taxes on his properties in Peru. Kuczynski held US citizenship before renouncing it to run for president in 2016, when he was elected on hopes he would use his private sector experience to clean up government corruption.
SENIOR ISRAEL SHIPYARDS FIRM OFFICIAL SUSPECTED OF BRIBERY
Y Net news on 18th March reported that a senior official of one of a shipbuilding and repair facilities in the eastern Mediterranean, along with 2 others, is suspected of bribing a foreign representative to allow defence export deals worth tens of millions of dollars. Israel Shipyards, now owned by the Shlomo Group, provides both military and civilian services.