ENVIRONMENTAL INVESTIGATORS EXPOSE ILLEGAL TIMBER SMUGGLING BY VIETNAM
Ekklesia on 3rd June reported that, a year after the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) exposed how corrupt Government officials and military personnel in Vietnam are complicit in smuggling huge quantities of illegal timber from Cambodia, new investigations reveal the industrial-scale theft continues. The ongoing theft, timber laundering and smuggling operations in Cambodia and Vietnam are exposed in London-based EIA’s new report. EIA investigators have identified 3 key areas in Cambodia where illegal logging is occurring on an immense scale. In 2 of these, companies are using existing permits to launder their timber. Vast amounts of timber are being illegally smuggled into Vietnam, with hundreds of trucks avoiding official border gates and Cambodian customs checks. Cambodia has numerous timber export bans in place, including a specific ban on timber trade with Vietnam dating from 2016, and is also responsible for this forest crime.
The EIA report is available at –
CLEANING UP ASIA’S CASINOS
Money Week on 2nd June carried an article saying that Asia now has all 10 of the world’s largest casinos by gambling revenue – but some of the growth has been built on unsavoury foundations. It says that the gross gambling yield (GGY) of casinos around the world – income from gambling minus its payouts on successful bets – was more than $150 billion last year, roughly double the level at the start of the century. That growth is largely due to the boom in casinos in Asia. The Chinese Special Administrative Region of Macao is the largest single market. It points out that in China betting is banned and operates strict controls on how much money can be taken abroad. However a system of “junkets” developed to serve the gambling market – typically involving a lavish all-expenses paid trip to take high-net-worth individuals on holiday to the Macao casino tables, where they are then extended lines of credit to gamble. It says that the sole casino on the tiny US Pacific territory of Saipan has also been raising eyebrows since it opened in 2015.
COURT RECORDS REVEAL ZTE ALLEGED CORRUPTION SCHEME IN LIBERIA
On 3rd June, Epoch Times reported that court documents from a civil lawsuit filed in Dallas has revealed how Chinese telecoms giant ZTE allegedly bribed Liberian officials to win a contract to provide telecommunication service. It is claimed that ZTE began lobbying Liberian officials to cancel the contract with a US company and instead award it to ZTE.
DELAWARE HAS BECOME THE FIRST STATE TO LEGALISE SPORTS BETTING IN THE US
Intergame on 1st June reported that Delaware has become the first state to legalise sports betting in the US after the Supreme Court ruling.
UK LOOKS TO EXPAND ITS DORMANT ASSETS SCHEME
On 3rd June, a news release from HM Treasury and other government departments about the Dormant Accounts scheme – where bank or building society accounts that have been left completely untouched for more than 15 years could be used for good causes. Each of 4 recently-appointed “champions” will work with stakeholders and Reclaim Fund Ltd on expansion plans and will report to Ministers. They have been chosen to look into the expansion of the scheme across their respective sectors.