5th January 2019
CAIRO ASKS ABOUT PART OF GREAT PYRAMID PLANNED TO BE DISPLAYED AT SCOTTISH MUSEUM
Egypt Today on 4th January reported that the Ministry of Antiquities has contacted the Foreign Ministry to take all necessary measures to contact Scottish authorities and the National Museum of Scotland to check on ownership documents and export certificates of a casing stone from the Great Pyramid of Giza which the museum said it plans to display next month. If it is proven that the ancient block was looted and smuggled outside Egypt, all necessary measures will be taken to restore it.
MANCHESTER FRAUDSTER WHO CREATED £10 MILLION PROPERTY EMPIRE WITH HELP OF CRIMINALS
On 4th January, the Manchester Evening News reported that Scott Rowbotham, 37, a fraudster who created a £10 million property empire totalling 88 properties in Manchester with the help of the criminal underworld including convicted drug dealer Billy Black has to pay back more than £3.5 million or face more jail time.
WHY THE SWISS WON’T STOP CAMEROON PRESIDENT’S STAYS
On 4th January, Swissinfo carried an article about the repeated stays of Cameroon President Paul Biya in Geneva, said to have cost some $65 million since 1982 – not including food, entertainment and the rental of a private plane. According to the Wall Street Journal, Biya pays for everything in cash and a normal stay costs several million US dollars, according to Christian Penda Ekoka, who was Biya’s chief advisor before moving to the opposition. He told the Wall Street Journal that the money came directly from the Treasury, and that everything was paid in cash to prevent the trips appearing in the state account. Biya has been in power for 36 years. The article suggests that Switzerland could do more, starting with tighter checks on visas and on cash coming into the country – unlike the EU, Switzerland does not automatically require a declaration when importing large amounts of cash. As a head of state, Biya enjoys diplomatic immunity, and anyway he is not wanted by Interpol or the ICC.
FRAUDSTER WHO OWES £66 MILLION IS ‘TOO POOR TO PAY’… DESPITE FLYING ROUND THE WORLD ON LUXURY HOLIDAYS
The Evening Standard reported on 4th January reported that fraudster Gerald Smith, who owes taxpayers more than £66 million is preparing to claim he is too poor to pay despite taking hundreds of flights all over the world in an “extraordinary” spending spree. He faces a £40.9 million confiscation order imposed by a judge 11 years ago and which remains unpaid. His debt now totals more than £66 million because of interest charges running at £8,000 a day. He who was jailed for 8 years following his 2006 conviction for a £35 million fraud against tech firm Izodia. He had explained his non-payment by arguing that millions of pounds worth of his assets were tied up in a legal battle at the High Court that would not end until 2020 at the earliest.
IRELAND: GOOD YEAR’S WORK FOR REVENUE AS IT BRINGS IN €572.5 MILLION IN UNPAID TAX
The Irish Times on 5th January reported that results from Revenue efforts to uncover unpaid tax almost neatly average at €100,000 per case. The authority’s report lumps this work, including investigations and audits, under the heading “compliance interventions”. Revenue officials “intervened” a total of 572,785 times during the year, yielding €572.6 million in unpaid tax.
UKRAINE SEIZES COPIES OF RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH LEADER’S CHRISTMAS ADDRESS
On 5th January, Customs Today reported that Ukrainian customs officers have seized copies of an address by Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill that was to be read out in Ukrainian churches when Orthodox Christians mark Christmas (on 7th January), the spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church said.
NEW ZEALAND: 1.5 MILLION SMUGGLED CIGARETTES, $2 MILLION CASH SEIZED
On 31st December, Customs Today reported that about 1.5 million smuggled cigarettes and more than $2 million cash have been seized in what Customs says is New Zealand’s largest-scale alleged tobacco fraud. 5 garbage bags full of cash were discovered by investigators, alongside 1.5 million cigarettes, when search warrants were executed in Auckland. Police have also frozen a number of assets, including 2 properties worth several million dollars, 2 luxury cars and several bank accounts.
INDIAN COURT DECLARES TYCOON MALLYA A ‘FUGITIVE ECONOMIC OFFENDER’
Reuters on 5th January reported that a court in India set up under AML laws has declared liquor and aviation tycoon Vijay Mallya a “fugitive economic offender”, paving the way for the government to seize his assets. India has been trying to extradite Mallya from the UK after the collapse of his defunct Kingfisher Airlines. A London court has ruled that Mallya should be extradited to India.
IRISH GOVERNMENT SUPPORT FOR LEGAL SERVICES SECTOR BREXIT INITIATIVE
On 4th January, law firm Matheson reported an announcement by the Minister for Justice and Equality that the Government has agreed to support the joint initiative of the Bar of Ireland, the Law Society and the wider legal community in promoting Ireland as a leading centre globally for international legal services. The initiative will now form a component of the Government’s Brexit strategy.