Insight Crime on 18th October reported that drug trafficking routes out of Peru have taken a new direction in recent years. Peru is the second largest producer of coca in the world. It is said that trafficking groups use Bolivia as a bridge, transporting drugs in small planes overseas or by terrestrial routes to markets in neighbouring Brazil, but only about 10%t of the drugs produced in Peru end up in the US – most of the drugs produced here end up in Europe. Serbian groups are starting to have a really formidable presence in Peru and authorities seized 1½ tons of cocaine from Serbian mafias in Peru. Serbian groups are believed to work in conjunction with family clans based in the coca-growing region. This new market growth is due to a rise in global salaries and economic growth in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe.
The South China Morning Post on 19th October reported that 3 former chairmen of Hong Kong-listed companies are among the 10 most wanted people on a new list of suspected fraudsters published by the city’s financial watchdog. The regulator is also urging people to come forward if they suspect fraud, insider dealing, false trading or any other type of market misconduct using an online form. The 10 “key suspects” on the wanted list include 3 missing chairmen, 2 former executive directors, 3 people accused of insider-trading, a market manipulator and a fund manager.
HKTDC on 18th October reported that the US has announced that it plans to leave the UPU, saying that the multi-lateral system that sets international mailing rates unfairly gives mainland China a competitive edge. UPU was originally founded in 1874 and now covers 192 countries. Since 1969, developing countries — including mainland China — have been assessed lower rates than wealthier countries under this system. The article gives the example of 2 kg package – if shipped within the US the charge would typically be $19-$23, while China Post pays $5 to ship a similar package to anywhere in the US. According to UPU rules, members have 1 year to renegotiate new terms before the withdrawal becomes permanent. White House officials indicated the US would prefer to stay within the union if more favourable terms can be negotiated.
The Guardian on 18th October carried an interesting article about the proposed takeover of Blackpool football club by Latvian bank mogul, Valeri Belokon and saying that nearly a year on from a High Court decision, the previous owner of the club, Owen Oyston, remains in charge despite the ruling that he “illegitimately stripped” the club of £26.77 million after its 1 jackpot season in the Premier League, and must pay that huge sum to Belokon, plus the Latvian’s original £4.5 million investment and costs. However, Belokon faces the sport’s “fit and proper person” test, which bars people who have a criminal conviction involving dishonesty. Belokon does have one, for money laundering, in Kyrgystan, following a court hearing in his absence last year. While questioning the true worth of that conviction, the newspaper details the background to the situation, and Belokon’s connections with Kyrgysttan, and the 2017 decision of a French court that in favour of the Kyrgyz government, finding that Belokon had bought a local bank in a rigged process.