2nd September 2018
AEROSPACE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY CORPORATION IS A MAJOR PLAYER IN CHINA’S SPACE PROGRAMME AND MILITARY COMPLEX AND IS ON THE US RADAR
On 1st September, the Asia Times carried an article about China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), which has 170,000 employees and annual revenue hovering around $34 billion. It is also involved in strategic and tactical missile systems. Through an affiliate, it is also a major shareholder in ZTE, which is subject to US export control measures. It is also responsible for Starry Sky 2 “wave-rider,” a hypersonic aircraft capable of carrying multiple nuclear warheads. The article warns CASC may face US trade measures, and CASC affiliates have been included in a list of 44 businesses subject to US export controls. One expert is quoted as saying that CASC holdings have actively facilitated weapons proliferation to rogue regimes around the world and have regularly violated US sanctions. It mentions the China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC).
IRAN MOVES MISSILES TO IRAQ IN WARNING TO ENEMIES
Kitco on 31st August reported that Iran has given ballistic missiles to Shi’ite proxies in Iraq and is developing the capacity to build more there to deter attacks on its interests in the Middle East and to give it the means to hit regional foes, Iranian, Iraqi and Western sources said. Reports say that Iran has transferred short-range ballistic missiles to allies in Iraq over the last few months, and that it was helping those groups to start making their own. The Zelzal, Fateh-110 and Zolfaqar missiles in question have ranges of about 200 km to 700 km.
IRAN REJECTS REPORTS IT HAS TRANSFERRED MISSILES TO MILITIAS IN IRAQ
Rferl on 2nd September carried a report denying stories that Iran had installed or supplied missiles in Iraq.
MORE US AGREEMENTS WITH SWISS BANKS
On 18th July, the US DoJ announced that NPB Neue Privat Bank (NPB) reached a resolution over allegations of assisting in tax evasion. NPB was to pay a penalty of $5 million. NPB is a Swiss private bank based in Zurich. Until 2012, NPB conducted a US cross-border banking business that aided and assisted certain of its US clients in opening and maintaining undeclared accounts in Switzerland and concealing the assets and income they held in these accounts from the US government.
On 31st July, the US DoJ announced that it had signed an Addendum to a non-prosecution agreement (NPA) with Bank Lombard Odier & Co., Ltd., of Zurich. Under the Addendum, Lombard Odier will pay to the DoJ an additional $5,300,000, and will provide to the DoJ supplemental information regarding its US-related account population, which now includes 88 additional accounts. The original non-prosecution agreement was signed on December 31st 2015. This followed the Swiss Bank Program, which was announced in 2013 and provided a path for Swiss banks to resolve potential criminal liabilities in the US relating to offshore banking services provided to US taxpayers. As a result, the DoJ entered into more than 80 NPA with Swiss banks in 2015-16.
WHY IS NAURU HOSTING THE PACIFIC ISLAND FORUM CONTROVERSIAL?
On 2nd September, the Guardian carried an article about a meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum, a regional intergovernmental organisation established in 1971 and held every year between the leaders of 18 countries from across the Pacific. The smallest member country is Niue, population 1,600, and the largest is Australia at more than 25 million people. The article says that, after using up its phosphate reserves (from seabird guano), Nauru was nearly bankrupted and became, at times, a money laundering hub for the Russian mafia, reduced to selling passports to terrorists and criminals or recognising breakaway states in exchange for foreign currency. The result of Nauru’s economic problems means that its major source of income is processing and holding asylum seekers and refugees sent there by Australia. Nauru is essentially off limits to journalists and external scrutiny, and is currently experiencing a slow-burning crisis in its democracy: judges have been sacked, ministers investigated for massive alleged corruption, and parliamentarians suspended and pursued through the courts for opposing the executive. Countries such as New Zealand have suspended all aid to Nauru’s justice sector.
CANADIAN BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP GUIDANCE
On 1st May, the Canadian FINTRAC issued guidance on the beneficial ownership requirements under the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCMLTFA) and associated Regulations.
INDIA BITCONNECT HEAD ARRESTED IN DELHI
Bitcoin.com on 2nd September reported that the alleged India Bitconnect head, Divyesh Darji, was arrested at an airport in Delhi as he arrived from Dubai. He and conspirators are accused of bilking millions of dollars from Indian investors seeking to find financial refuge during the government’s demonetisation campaign. It says that local media report the organisation was registered in the UK but essentially operated from the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai.
SCOTLAND’S BIGGEST BANKRUPT FORCED TO ABANDON £5 MILLION MARBELLA MANSION AS PROPERTY EMPIRE TARGETED
The Daily Record on 2nd September reported that businessman Gregory King had his Spanish mansion seized along with 2 luxury cars and a motorcycle. In 2010 Heather, a hedge fund he established to invest in property in Scotland in 2005, collapsed, with investors’ cash unaccounted for. An Isle of Man court judgment compared Heather to a Ponzi scheme. After 5 years considering the case, the Crown in Scotland this year decided not to prosecute – prompting concerns about the ability to deal with complex financial cases in Scotland. The authorities in Gibraltar moved quickly to shut down another King finance firm – Advalorem Value Asset Fund, which also offered big returns on investments via property deals in Scotland.
HOW LONDON’S STREETS ARE PAVED WITH DIRTY MONEY
On 1st September, the Daily Mail carried a long article about Kleptocracy Tours in London and the offshore ownership of so many London properties.
BULGARIA ISSUES EUROPEAN ARREST WARRANT FOR WEALTHY HOTELIER COUPLE OVER ALLEGED MONEY LAUNDERING AND TAX EVASION
The Sofia Globe on 1st September reported that Bulgaria’s Special Prosecutor’s Office said that a European Arrest Warrant had been issued for Vetko Arabadzhiev, owner of Sofia’s Marinella Hotel and the Maritsa Hotel in Plovdiv, and his wife, Marinella, in connection with alleged money laundering and tax evasion. Arabadzhiev is believed to be in France. Their son, Vulcho Arabadzhiev, was taken into custody on August 31st as police and prosecutors raided the 2 hotels, private residences, offices and bank vaults. Vulcho Arabadzhiev faces charges included involvement in an organised crime group, money laundering and tax evasion and is one of 6 people currently facing charges.
FORMER BOSSES OF COLLAPSED OIL FIRM AFREN TO STAND TRIAL IN LONDON ON CHARGES OF FRAUD AND MONEY LAUNDERING
The Daily Mail on 2nd September reported that Osman Shahenshah and Shahid Ullah, Afren’s former CEO and chief operating officer respectively, are accused of receiving secret payments in connection with oil deals in Nigeria which had a value of more than £300 million. Afren, an African oil and gas firm collapsed in 2015 under the weight of huge debts after the oil price halved. At its peak it had a value close to £2 billion on the FTSE 250 index.