24th November 2018
HOW A VENEZUELAN OFFICIAL BECAME A BILLIONAIRE AS HIS COUNTRY CRUMBLED
WRAL on 23rd November reported that the opulent lifestyle of the Andrade family was as spectacular as the economic collapse of the country it left behind. The family patriarch, Alejandro Andrade, had been a bodyguard of the late-president Hugo Chávez before rising to powerful positions in his government. Now he is expected to be sentenced in Florida for taking bribes as Venezuela’s treasurer, in a money laundering scheme that made him a billionaire. Andrade collected a stunning array of bribes, the documents assert, including three private jets, a yacht, horses and “numerous high-end watches”. In his guilty plea, Andrade admitted to receiving more than $1 billion in bribes. The case against Andrade is, in fact, built around another Venezuelan billionaire, Raúl Gorrín, who owns the news network Globovisión and has been living in Miami.
DUNDALK MONEY TRANSFER BUSINESS LOSES HIGH COURT CASE AGAINST BANK OF IRELAND
The Irish Times on 23rd November reported that the High Court has dismissed an application by a Dundalk-based money transfer/bureau de change business (Blue Diamond Sports Ltd, t/a Dundalk Bureau de Change, and a related firm, Blue Diamond Sports No 2 Ltd) for injunctions preventing termination of its business arrangements. The Bank of Ireland said it was entitled to terminate the banking relations based on its suspicions Blue Diamond may be involved in money laundering activities. The judge pointed out that the Bank or Ireland was not saying that the company has been engaged in money laundering but that it had reasonable grounds at the time it decided to terminate the banking relationship with Blue Diamond for believing it might have been.
ISLE OF MAN: MAN JAILED FOR MONEY LAUNDERING
isleofman.com reported on 23rd November that an island resident, Elton Edwin Sheldon has been sent to prison for 3 years and 2 months for money laundering and demanding property on forged documents. In 2015 he opened 4 bank accounts with a bank in the Isle of Man telling staff he was self-employed and involved in development, but he actually used the account to launder the criminal proceeds of a €301,752.00 fraud committed in France. He deposited €301,752.00 in 2016 and then tried to remove €230,000.00 of the funds from the Isle of Man to China. When the bank asked for proof of a legitimate business relationship with the company in France, that would explain the payment, he produced a forged agreement purporting to show a genuine business relationship.
NIGERIA: UK TO REPATRIATE $73 MILLION FROM MALABU OIL SCAM
Vanguard in Nigeria on 24th November reported that the UK has returned $73 million linked to Oil Prospecting Lease 245, which was sold to ENI/Shell by the Malabu Oil and Gas Company. It is said that recovery proceedings are also underway elsewhere, in the US, Jersey, Ireland and France.
FORMER RUSSIAN DEFENCE MINISTRY OFFICIAL ARRESTED ON BRIBERY CHARGES
Rferl on 24th November reported that Mikhail Baryshev, a former Russian Defence Ministry official and ex-official at Moscow’s CSKA sports club, and who organised the Third World Army Games in 2016, has been arrested on bribery charges. Investigators say Baryshev accepted bribes from private companies who received contracts to provide services for the World Army Games, held in Sochi. Several former CSKA employees are also said to be currently being investigated for fraud and bribe-taking.
HONDURAN PRESIDENT’S BROTHER ARRESTED IN MIAMI FOR DRUG OFFENCES
Telesur on 23rd November reported that Juan Antonio Hernandez, 40, former ruling party lawmaker and brother of the Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernandez, was arrested in Miami’s airport and has been accused by the DEA of drug trafficking and plotting to kill the US ambassador. He is the latest in a string of prominent Hondurans, including 3 congressmen, who have been charged in the US for involvement with drug trafficking.
THE $144 MILLION IN DIRTY CASH THAT NO MONEY LAUNDERER IN CHINA WOULD TOUCH
The South China Morning Post on 24th November reported that Shenzhen official Li Huanan, 59, deputy Communist Party chief of Shenzhen, offered up to half of his haul to any underground banker willing to move his illicit fortune abroad – but found no takers.
FORMER PERU POLICE CHIEF ACCUSED OF ROLE IN BABY TRAFFICKING NETWORK
On 23rd November, Insight Crime reported that authorities have charged Peru’s former national police director Raúl Becerra, and his partner, Cinthia Carolina Tell, a businesswoman who is accused of leading the criminal organisation, with organising a baby trafficking network. 14 people have been arrested for taking part in a child trafficking network. A gynaecologist and a paediatrician are amongst those arrested.
CHINA IS SAID TO RESUME IRAN OIL IMPORTS AFTER RECEIVING WAIVER
Hellenic Shipping News on 24th November reported that China, Asia’s largest buyer of Iranian oil, is said to have resumed purchases following a one-month hiatus, a move that will help allay fears that US sanctions will constrain global supplies.
“FLOODING IN BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS DESTROYED FILES ON INDIAN TAX DODGERS”
Money Control on 24th November reported that the Income Tax department of the BVI has informed its Indian counterpart that it cannot provide information on Indians with off-shore investments on its territory, citing destruction of files due to floods in August 2017. The inability of BVI officials to furnish the requisite documents could also stall the efforts of tax sleuths who are concurrently probing those named in the Panama and Paradise Papers leaks.
BANK OF TANZANIA FREEZES LICENSING OF FOREIGN EXCHANGE BUSINESSES
The East African on 24th November reported that the Bank had placed a moratorium on licensing exchange bureaux in a clampdown on money laundering and other illegal operations.