2nd April 2018
MALTA: NGO SECTOR ‘VULNERABLE TO MONEY LAUNDERING’, NON-REGISTERED NGO ARE FUNDRAISING WITH “IMPUNITY”
The Times of Malta on 1st April reports that Malta’s voluntary sector continues to face “needless” vulnerability to money laundering and terrorist financing, according to the Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations in his annual report. He said he had been unable to persuade the government of the urgency to introduce amendments to the Voluntary Organisations Act, which would give the Commissioner more powers to police the sector – the enrolment of voluntary organisations remained optional, with no means to ascertain how many non-enrolled organisations were currently active, fundraising with “impunity” and operating under the radar with zero accountability.
EX-GUATEMALAN DICTATOR RIOS MONTT DIES
Reuters on 1st April and other media reported that former Guatemalan military dictator Efrain Rios Montt had died at the age of 91. At the time of his death he was again on trial for genocide for his role during one of the bloodiest phases of the Cold War-era conflict that lasted from 1960 until 1996, with Rios Montt ruling 1982-83. In March 1982, he headed a junta that removed President Angel Guevara from power.
DUBLIN PROBE OVER ‘RUSSIAN DIRTY MONEY’ HOMES
The Irish Independent on 1st April reported that a UK anti-corruption outfit that campaigns about suspicious Russian investment in the London property market has turned its attention to a cluster of high-end properties in leafy Dublin 4. The Committee for Legislation Against Moneylaundering in Properties by Kleptocrats (Clamp K) has assigned a team of researchers to investigate the ownership of an unusually high number of vacant properties, examining whether the ownership follows a pattern that it claims is used by kleptocrats from Russia and other countries who funnel “dirty money” through chains of off-shore shelf companies.
SCHEME IN UK OPENS TO HELP COMBAT VAT EVASION BY NON-EU ONLINE TRADERS
On 1st April, registration for the Fulfilment House Due Diligence Scheme is launched, and it is intended to ensure that fulfilment houses play their part in reducing abuse of VAT rules by online traders based outside the EU. If you run a business in the UK, such as a warehouse, that stores goods imported from outside the EU that are owned by, or on behalf of, someone established outside the EU, you will need to apply to register for the scheme.
PRIVATBANK OF UKRAINE SUES PWC FOR $3 BILLION, ALLEGING FRAUDULENT AUDIT
Kyiv Post on 2nd April reported that State-owned Ukrainian lender, PrivatBank, is suing auditor PWC for $3 billion, alleging that it failed to detect massive fraud at the bank when it was owned by billionaire oligarch, Igor Kolomoisky. The bank filed the lawsuit in Cyprus on March 30th, a PrivatBank spokesman said. National Bank of Ukraine officials have accused the bank’s former owners – Kolomoisky and Gennadiy Boholyubov – of embezzling billions from the bank through a series of insider lending schemes, in which the bank would loan out millions of dollars to shell firms with faulty collateral.
LIBERIA: PRESIDENT WEAH GIVES JUSTICE MINISTER 2 WEEKS TO INVESTIGATE GLOBAL WITNESS REPORT
All Africa on 2nd April reported that President George Weah has instructed Justice Minister Musa Dean to investigate reports of alleged grave acts of corruption on the sale of Oil Block 13 to US petroleum company ExxonMobil. London-based Global Witness released a report on March 29th, which claimed that Exxon’s 2013 purchase of Liberia’s Block 13 oil licence more likely than not enriched former government officials who may have illegally owned the block. The National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) also made unusual, large payments to senior government officials who authorized the 2013 deal, Global Witness said in a report entitled, “Catch Me If You Can.”
JORDAN TO CREATE ANTI-SMUGGLING DIVISION TO PROTECT ANTIQUITIES
Customs Today on 23rd March reported that the new unit will start operating once the administrative law comes into effect. The department will work in co-operation with the security bodies and the Jordan Customs Department to control smuggling and trading of antiquities. It will also be be responsible for organising archaeological excavations, documenting and registering antiquities, operating ticket offices at sites and museums, and implementing the state policies related to agreements and protocols, issuing licences for local and international scientific institutions and archaeological missions, which run excavations, surveys and archaeological studies in Jordan, and will supervise the establishment of archaeological institutes and museums.
FRENCH COMPANY, BOLLORÉ LOGISTICS, TO INVEST €300 MILLION IN AFRICA IN 2018
Lloyds Loading List on 29th March reported that French freight company, Bolloré Transport & Logistics, is planning to invest €300 million in Africa this year. Plans include construction of a second container terminal at the port of Abidjan in Ivory Coast, jointly financed with Maersk. The newsite says that one of the niche markets developed by Bolloré in Africa is in logistics operations for “soft commodities”. Last month, it inaugurated a new 10,000 sq m warehouse in Abidjan dedicated to cocoa exports, the Ivory Coast being the world’s leading producer of the commodity.
US FINTECH START-UP CHARGED BY SEC WITH DEFRAUDING INVESTORS
Market Watch on 2nd April reported that Michael Liberty, the founder of fintech start-up Mozido Inc., has been charged by the SEC with a scheme to defraud investors. The SEC alleges Liberty and others tricked “hundreds of investors” in his shell companies, then stole most of the more than $48 million that was raised. As of February 2018, Mozido was valued at $2.4 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal’s list of billion dollar start-ups.