19th August 2018
KENYA: MYSTERY OF ILLEGAL CARGO THAT ARRIVED ONLY QUARTER-FULL
On 19th August, the daily Nation reported that detectives probing the illegal importation of a huge consignment of cigarettes from Montenegro, and shipped from St Petersburg by Maersk, are trying to solve the puzzle of the 49 containers that were found to be only a quarter full. The consignment that was previously believed to be some 196 million cigarettes; at least 5 each for each Kenyan man, woman and child, has now put Kenya on the spot as a major illicit tobacco trading and transit point. Shipping manifest data show that the cigarettes were shipped in 2 consignments, 44 containers by Quality GS Limited registered in the name of Rose Chebet (a household help) and Xplico Insurance Limited owned by a Kenyan, Mr Patrick Ndirangu and two foreign nationals Keith David Beekmeyer (American) and Mr Altaf Husein Bhurawala (British). The smuggling ring is said to use the free zones like Dubai as they make their way into the country turning Kenya into a country used on paper to dispatch the goods from their countries of origin in the illicit trade and tax evasion racket.
ETHIOPIA HAS SEIZED MORE THAN 1,000 PISTOLS AND 37,000 BULLETS SMUGGLED NEIGHBOURING SUDAN
Ezega in Ethiopia reported that police says the weapons were made in Turkey, imported by road and were seized after tips from the public.
ARGENTINA CASINO LINK TO HEZBOLLAH FUNDING PROBE
Calvin Ayre on 18th August reported that a casino in Argentina apparently played a key role in disrupting an alleged money laundering ring connected to Islamic militant group Hezbollah, and linked to the lawless tri-border area of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. In July, Argentina’s Financial Information Unit (UIF) froze the assets of Clan Barakat, which is linked to Assad Ahmad Barakat, who is designated by OFAC. Barakat and 13 other individuals linked to the Clan reportedly paid hundreds of visits to Casino Iguazú, which is close to the tri-border area, over the past few years.
MEXICO SEIZES RECORD 50 TONS OF METH FROM SUPERLAB
Zero Hedge on 18th August reported that the Mexican Navy personnel had seized 50 tons of methamphetamine, allegedly from the Sinaloa Cartel, in the most significant drug bust of this kind in the history of Mexico. The synthetic drug was discovered in a rustic laboratory and 2 separate underground bunkers.
RUSSIAN SPACE EXECUTIVE AND 2 OTHERS CHARGED WITH FRAUD
The Seattle Times on 19th August reported that Russia’s top investigative agency says it has detained a deputy head of the nation’s top space corporation, Alexei Beloborodov – a deputy director general of the state-controlled RKK Energiya company, on fraud charges. He has been detained along with 2 associates, it is said, on charges of attempted fraud. Energiya is the maker of the Soyuz crew capsules and the Progress cargo ships that deliver crews and supplies to the International Space Station.
BELARUS PRIME MINISTER SACKED OVER CORRUPTION SCANDAL
Hurriyet Daily News in Turkey on 19th August carries an AFP report that Prime Minister Andrei Kobyakov, several vice-premiers as well as the ministers for economy and industry will also lose their posts after a corruption scandal that saw top officials arrested. Even the head of the security services in the country dubbed “Europe’s last dictatorship” called for an overhaul of the system in the wake of the arrests.