1st April 2018
CASABLANCA STILL AN ELDORADO OF COUNTERFEITING AND PIRACY
The Arab Weekly on 1st April reported that counterfeiting and pirated products in Morocco are worth $1.27 billion, which represents more than 1% of the country’s GDP. It says that the overwhelming majority of the fake items come from China but some are made locally. It is said that the government is boosting enforcement capabilities to meet its international commitments in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy.
OIL SMUGGLING IN SYRIA ALMOST CUT OFF
Al-Manar in Lebanon reports on 31st March information originating with the Russian Foreign Ministry that illegal oil trade channels exploited by terrorists in Syria have been almost completely severed.
GUPTA FIGHT GOES TO DUBAI
On 1st April, News 24 reported that South African National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has asked the UAE government to preserve an amount of R169 million that the Gupta family allegedly stole and transferred out of South Africa.
EX-VENEZUELAN TREASURER CLOSE TO CHÁVEZ IS TARGET OF FLORIDA MONEY LAUNDERING PROBE
The Miami Herald on 31st March reported that federal authorities are building a massive money laundering case against a former high-ranking Venezuelan official close to late President Hugo Chávez, Alejandro Andrade, a former bodyguard to Chávez who rose to the rank of national treasurer between 2007 and 2010. The probe also targets other former senior officials and financial figures who collaborated with them. Andrade’s acquisitions in South Florida and other parts of the US do not show up in public records because the purchases were made through shell companies that allow him to keep his ownership hidden, sources said.
TURKEY: REPORTS OF FRAUD IN SPENDING EU’S AID FOR REFUGEES
ANF News on 1st April carries a story saying that projects financed by the EU within the frame of the Refugee Pact are broke and the finances are misused by Turkey, German magazine Der Spiegel has reported. It says that, as a part of the Refugee Pact, the EU has already transferred €3 billion to Turkey. Another €3 billion will be made available for Turkey soon.
NO CYPRIOT ARREST WARRANT FOR EFIMOVA AND GIVES INTERVIEW FROM GREEK PRISON
The Malta Independent on 1st April reported that Greek newspaper Kathimerini says that there is no pending arrest warrant against Russian, Maria Efimova, the Pilatus Bank whistleblower, in Cyprus. The Cypriot authorities are said to have attempted to lodge a Red Notice for the Russian, but Interpol’s general secretariat dismissed the request saying the evidence submitted had been insufficient. Efimova handed herself in to Greek authorities on 20th March.
LIMERICK PENSIONER AND FORMER COMPANY DIRECTOR FACING JAIL OVER FALSE INVOICES
The Limerick Leader on 1st April reported that Mary Donnelly, 71, a former company director in Limerick who generated false invoices resulting in the fraudulent payment of more than €600,000 is to begin a 12-month prison sentence at the beginning of May. The defendant was one of the directors of a family-owned business – Shannonside Audio/Video Limited – established in 1979 and liquidated in November 2013, which provided “audio/visual services” to clients across the country and had a “prestigious list of clients”.
SINGAPORE LAUNCHES BLOCKCHAIN CHALLENGE WITH FUNDING PRIZES
Customs Today on 1st April reported that Singapore’s government is launching a challenge that will reward successful blockchain projects with funding. Its Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) said the challenge aims to boost blockchain innovation as part of a wider goal of the digital transformation in the city state. According to the fact sheet for the challenge, the bureau is specifically targeting 2 categories of blockchain applications: “enterprise” and “transformation”.
TAIWAN FINDS 2 TONS OF DRUGS HIDDEN INSIDE MACHINERY FROM CHINA
Customs Today on 1st April reported that customs authorities found 2 tons of raw materials enough to make ketamine for 5 million people hidden inside machinery imported from China. The Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau said it found 240 kg of ketamine and 1,884 kg of hydroxylimine hydrochloride, the raw material for the drug, hidden inside machines.
THE TALIBAN HAS GONE HIGH-TECH
The New York Times reported on 1st April that, once described as an ill-equipped band of insurgents, the Taliban are increasingly attacking security forces across Afghanistan using night-vision goggles and lasers that US military officials said were either stolen from Afghan and international troops or bought on the black market. The article claims that, with this new battlefield visibility, the Taliban more than doubled night time attacks from 2014 to 2017.