5th August 2018
ST LUCIA: AG’S CHAMBERS AND WORLD BANK HOST NATIONAL RISK ASSESSMENT WORKSHOPS
The Voice on 5th August reported that the St Lucia Attorney General’s Chambers recently hosted a National Risk Assessment with experts from the World Bank held over 3 days with representatives of the public and private sectors. CFATF officials also gave a presentation on the NRA process. The NRA report will be presented to the CFATF 6 months before its evaluation visit.
DUBAI TO HONG KONG: FOLLOW THE MONEY LAUNDERING
On 5th August, the South China Morning Post carried a feature following the C4DS report on money laundering in Dubai and links from there to Hong Kong. Hong Kong’s real estate sector was identified as being among a group (including Dubai, New York, Los Angeles and London) that saw “large amounts of illicit money flowing through their systems, constituting a global security threat”. 3 sanctioned individuals with links to China who were suspected of money laundering and offshoring their assets in Dubai and their networks are thought to have links to North Korea, Iran’s missile programme and the Hezbollah. It provides examples of local properties and companies linked to Lebanese sanctions by the US for links to Hezbollah, and other links to the Iranian missile programme.
IRELAND: REVENUE COLLECTS OVER €1 MILLION IN EXTRA TAXES FROM CASINOS WITH UNLICENSED GAMING MACHINES
The Journal on 5th August reported that the number of licensed machines jumped from 6,088 in 2016, generating €1.8 million in tax to 9,612 in 2017, generating €2.7 million following the launch last year of a national compliance project by Revenue targeting the gaming and amusement machine sector.
EU REPORT DETAILS INTERNATIONAL WEB OF HEZBOLLAH TERROR FUNDING
The Jerusalem Post on 5th August carried a report based on the Europol European Union Terrorism Situation and Trend Report 2018. The newspaper says it has reviewed the 70-page EU report and found it did not provide any more specifics on Hezbollah’s activities in Europe. It says that Hezbollah has played a key role in aiding Syrian dictator Bashar Assad in the Syrian civil war that has resulted in the deaths of more than 500,000 people, but that the EU only designated Hezbollah’s so-called military wing a terrorist entity in 2013. It says that some 950 Hezbollah operatives are in Germany, according to numerous German intelligence reports and the Hezbollah members raise funds and recruit new members.
WEST AFRICA: MASTER OF DISGUISE BRINGS DOWN HIGH LEVEL CRIMINALS
The East African on 4th August carried a feature saying that the acclaimed multi award-winning Ghanaian undercover investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas uses prosthetic masks, wigs, and hidden-cameras as he exposes corruption, organised crime and human-rights abuses in Africa. It says that he has dressed up as a rock to film cocoa smugglers along Ghana’s western border, has tackled prostitution and the sex trade, corruption in the Ghanaian judiciary, child adoption, abuse and trafficking, illegal gold mining, and trafficking in albino body parts, among other issues. “Betraying the Game” is Anas’s most controversial film to date. Anas and his team used hidden cameras to show more than 100 football officials — most of them West African referees — receiving money to influence the outcome of football matches. Some of Anas’s exposes have received critical acclaim over the years. His other award-winning documentaries include “Inside Ghana’s Madhouse” (2010), in which Anas feigned madness to infiltrate Ghana’s largest psychiatric hospital and exposed human-rights abuses of patients. Anas also travelled to Thailand to infiltrate its prisons disguised as a Catholic priest. Anas posed as a rich businessman to expose officials within Ghana’s passport office who provided passports to non-citizens for a fee. He made hundreds of passports using fake identities. This led to the introduction of biometric passports for Ghanaians.
AZERBAIJAN: A RIVER OF ILLEGAL DRUGS RUNS THROUGH IT
Rferl on 4th August carried a report saying that while officials in the energy-rich Caucasus country of nearly 10 million deny that Azerbaijan is experiencing a drug crisis, residents of Astara and its northern neighbour, the Lankaran district, tell another story. Astara borders Iran and the Caspian Sea and makes up Azerbaijan’s southernmost corner. Drugs are said to mainly come from Iran. A 2016 US report is cited saying that said that Azerbaijan was increasingly a top transit country in the illegal international drugs trade, as it lies in the middle of one of the major routes from Afghanistan – producer of 90% of the world’s opium supply – and Iran to Europe.
JAPANESE GAMING TYCOON KAZUO OKADA ARRESTED IN HONG KONG
GMA News Online quotes Hong Kong media as saying that Japanese billionaire and gaming magnate Kazuo Okada was arrested in Hong Kong by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) over supposed conspiracy to defraud Okada Holdings.
MALTA: ‘UNIQUE CHALLENGE OF PILATUS CASE COULD HAVE BEEN HANDLED BETTER’ – FIAU
The Malta Independent on 5th August reported that the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit has acknowledged that its supervision of Pilatus Bank presented “a particularly unique challenge”, with the unit conceding that it could have done a better job with its supervision of the bank in 2016, after the European Banking Authority’s (EBA) investigation, found “general and systematic shortcomings” in the FIAU’s application of AML law with regard to the bank.
SUPERYACHT HANDOVER `ILLEGITIMATE,’ 1MDB SCANDAL FIGURE SAYS
Bloomberg on 5th August reported that Low Taek Jho, described by U.S. investigators as central to the 1Malaysia Development Bhd scandal, says a decision by Indonesia to hand over a $250 million yacht to Malaysia violates U.S. and Indonesia laws.
BELGIAN BUSINESSES SENT €129 BILLION TO TAX HAVENS IN 2016
The Brussels Times on 5th August reported a 57% increase compared to the €82 billion declared the year before. Businesses that send €100,000 or more to tax havens have to inform the tax department, with the exception of banks and Stock market companies. Authorities have drawn up a list of 30 tax havens, but it does not include Panama, Delaware, Singapore, Hong Kong or Luxemburg. The UAE, which includes Dubai and Abu Dhabi, is the most popular tax haven with Belgians (€43.8 billion).
BULGARIAN MAFIA BOSS ARRESTED IN ISTANBUL
Hurriyet Daily in Turkey on 5th August reported that Dimitar Zhelyazkov, a Bulgarian mafia boss, his 6 men and his girlfriend were apprehended by the Turkish police in Istanbul. He was also sought by the Interpol. Bulgarian authorities had obtained information that the crime boss fled Bulgaria and appealed to Interpol.
IRAN RECEIVES MORE AIRLINERS AHEAD OF RENEWED US SANCTIONS
Rferl on 5th August reported that Iran has received 5 new ATR 72 commercial aircraft just before the US starts reimplementing sanctions that had been lifted under the nuclear accord with world powers. The aircraft are made by ATR, a firm jointly owned by Airbus and Italy’s Leonardo, and based in the French city of Toulouse.