29th November 2018
INDIA: SMUGGLING PROBE AFTER 50 HUMAN SKELETONS SEIZED
The Hindustan Times on 29th November reported that 50 human skeletons (16 human skulls and 34 skeletal remains) were discovered on a train at the Chapra junction in Bihar’s Saran district. The involvement of skeleton smugglers from neighbouring countries could not be ruled out because Nepal and Bhutan currencies had been found with the arrested man. This followed the seizure of a bag in October containing human skulls. An official is quoted as saying that human skeletons were exported to China and Bhutan, where they were used for manufacturing aphrodisiacs, and that skeletons were also in demand among medical students in these countries. They can also be used in black magic rituals, said the official.
JORDAN RETRIEVES ANCIENT ARTEFACTS FROM CANADA
ANSA Med on 28th November reported that Jordan announced it has retrieved dozens of smuggled antiquities seized by Canadian authorities at Toronto airport. The antiquities included oil lamps, pottery, glass jars and statues dating back to various eras of Jordan’s history.
ITALIAN POLICE SEIZE SAMPDORIA OWNER’S ASSETS FOR ALLEGED FRAUD AND MONEY LAUNDERING
Calciomercato on 28th November reported that the Sampdoria football club owner, Massimo Ferrero, is being investigated for alleged offences of embezzlement, fraud, money laundering and more. Italian tax police have seized more than €2.6 million from Serie A club Sampdoria, its president Massimo Ferrero and 5 other people as part of a fraud investigation.
ONE OF CANADA’S BIGGEST MONEY LAUNDERING PROBES HAS COLLAPSED
The Star in Canada on 28th November reported that the high-profile case into suspected drug money circulating in Vancouver-area casinos had “collapsed”. The investigation by the RCMP, which began in 2015, was set to go to trial in January. It is said to be unclear to provincial officials why the federal government stayed — or discontinued — the criminal charges.
ILLEGAL TRADE IN WASTE: OVERVIEW OF WCO OPERATION DEMETER IV
A news release from the WCO on 28th November provided some details of Operation Demeter IV, which targeted illegal transboundary movements of waste. A total of 75 Customs administrations participated in the joint global operation, the biggest Customs operation targeting illegal trafficking of waste to date, which yielded over 326,133 tonnes and 54,782 pieces of different types of waste. The most frequently seized commodities included mineral slag (283,671.925 tonnes), plastics (9,816.018 tonnes), e-waste (245.277 tonnes and 14,826 pieces), waste rubber (1,032.970 tonnes), municipal waste (518.420 tonnes), clothes (5,371.804 tonnes), paper (25.705 tonnes), batteries (62.226 tonnes), and metal scraps (8,212.226 tonnes). The largest seizure was a shipment of smelting slag (approximately 180,000 tonnes) from Spain, intercepted by China Customs. Participants relied on the CENcomm, the WCO’s secure and encrypted communication tool, to exchange crucial intelligence and information and coordinate their operational activities during the course of this global enforcement initiative.
RUSSIAN BANK SAYS IT ASSIGNED $12 BILLION ‘LOAN’ TO POOR AFRICAN STATE BY MISTAKE
KYC 360 on 29th November reported the Central African Republic landed a windfall, at least on paper, when Russian state bank VTB reported it had lent the country $12 billion — but the bank then said it was a clerical error and there was no such loan. The loan was mentioned in a quarterly VTB financial report published by the Russian central bank.
WEAPON SUPPLIES INTO SOUTH SUDAN’S CIVIL WAR
Conflict Armament Research has published a new report, based on 3 years of fieldwork, which shows how military equipment has reached all sides of South Sudan’s civil war: through the intermediation of neighbouring states, through networks of brokers and intermediaries, and via air and land logistics. South Sudan’s warring sides signed the peace agreement in September to end a 5-year civil war that has killed nearly 400,000 people. Amongst the findings of the new report are that a key broker of the latest deal to end South Sudan’s civil war diverted European weapons to South Sudan’s military despite an EU arms embargo, and a US military jet ended up deployed in South Sudan in possible violation of arms export controls. Uganda bought arms and ammunition from at least 3 EU members — Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia — that were diverted to South Sudan’s military and armed allies in Sudan. A network of “jointly owned Ugandan and US companies — controlled by UK, Israeli, Ugandan, and US nationals — procured a military jet from the US and an Austrian-made surveillance aircraft.
TUNISIAN FOREIGN FIGHTERS IN IRAQ AND SYRIA
A Policy Notes from the Washington Institute says that over the past few years, the influx of Tunisian fighters to Iraq and Syria has rendered Tunisia practically synonymous with a phenomenon that is still not well understood. This new Policy Note seeks to remedy this gap by quantifying the flow of Tunisian fighters, in particular the recruitment push within Tunisia from 2011 to 2013, and exploring the history of their networks in Iraq over the last decade. It looks at their motives and roles.
EU COURT DENIES YANUKOVYCH AIDE’S BID TO SUSPEND EU SANCTIONS
Rferl on 29th November, reported on the decision of the EU General Court that dismissed Andriy Klyuyev’s attempt to have the bloc’s sanctions against him suspended. Klyuyev was the head of the administration of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. His assets in the EU were frozen in 2014 after the collapse of the government amid pro-Western street protests.
DEUTSCHE BANK OFFICES RAIDED IN MONEY LAUNDERING PROBE
The Wall Street Journal on 29th November reported that offices were raided by German federal police and prosecutors seeking evidence in connection with suspected money laundering, the Frankfurt prosecutor’s office said. Officials said they seized documents during searches through 6 different Deutsche Bank properties. The investigation emerged from an analysis of documents leaked from tax havens in recent years, including the 2016 Panama Papers, with Deutsche Bank helping clients set up so-called offshore companies in tax havens. It is focused on 2 Deutsche Bank employees, aged 50 and 46, and possibly other not-yet-identified suspects.
UK – CONTROLLED DRUGS AND PRECURSOR CHEMICALS: THEFTS OR LOSSES
On 29th November, the Home Office published information and a form for reporting losses of controlled drugs or precursor chemicals that can be used make controlled drugs.
200 PEOPLE, INCLUDING 17 TAIWANESE FRAUD SUSPECTS, ARRESTED IN CAMBODIA
Focus Taiwan on 29th November reported that more than 200 people, including 17 Taiwanese, have been arrested in Cambodia on suspicion of telecoms fraud. More than 200 Taiwanese telecom fraud suspects arrested in other countries have already been deported to mainland China, despite objections from the Taiwanese government.
SELF-STYLED “TRADER” JAILED OVER BRITISH INVESTMENT SCAM
Reuters on 29th November reported that a self-styled British trader who conned financial experts and some of his closest friends out of millions of pounds in a 9-year investment scam has been sentenced to 5 years in jail in London. Mark Starling, 57, pleaded guilty to fraud and operating a collective investment scheme without authorisation.
FBI ARRESTS ARISEBANK CRYPTOCURRENCY CEO, INDICTED FOR FRAUD OF OVER $4 MILLION
The Coin Telegraph on 29th November reported that Jared Rice Sr, 30, was previously the subject of a civil action by the SEC. Prior to that, in late January, Texas regulators had issued an unconditional Emergency Cease & Desist Order to the self-described “cryptocurrency bank”.
CYPRUS: TROUBLE IN OLIVEWOOD AS FILM SCHEME FAILS TO START ROLLING
The Financial Mirror on 29th November reported that efforts to promote Cyprus as a filming location, dubbed “Olivewood”, has hit a brick wall as a law offering reimbursements and tax incentives to entice film companies was sent back to parliament.
RAIDS OF FAKE INDIAN TECH SUPPORT CENTRES
The BBC on 29th November reported that more than 50 people have been arrested in India for their alleged involvement in fake security warning scams, with Delhi police raiding 26 call centres linked to the scam, and with support from Microsoft.
CUSTOMS OFFICIALS AT JFK AIRPORT DISCOVER COCAINE WORTH $1.3 MILLION IN UNCLAIMED BAG
Illicit Trade on 29th November reported that the bag, which went unclaimed after arriving at the airport on a flight from Quito in Ecuador, was found to contain 38 bricks of cocaine that weighed more than 45 kg.