11th January 2019
USE NATURAL ACIDS ON HUMANS TO DETECT TRAFFICKING, SMUGGLING VICTIMS IN CARGO
On 4th January, Homeland Security Today carried an article about a research study which examined the use of specific organic acids emitted from humans being monitored as an effective method to discover the presence of hidden people in enclosures like containers and trucks. The method involves sampling the air from the inside of the enclosure through the air vent and enriching the collected vapor trace on a nano-carbon-coated sample card. The enriched sampled is immediately analysed for the specific acid metabolites lactic and pyruvic acids and the results reported in a span of 1-2 minutes.
ECONOMIC SUBSTANCE CHANGES – BVI AND CAYMAN LAWS IN FORCE
On 11th January, law firm Harneys published 2 articles, one each for the BVI and Cayman Islands changes.
CALCULATING THE FATAL DOSE OF NOVEL PSYCHOACTIVE SUBSTANCES
On 10th January, the Pharmaceutical Journal published an article following on from an earlier article about the use of so-called “legal highs”, or New/Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS), saying that one problem is that many of these NPS have very limited or no data on which to base assessments of their toxicity. The article claims to provide a method to measure such toxicity.
See also –
NEW PSYCHOACTIVE SUBSTANCES – QUICK REFERENCE GUIDE
Issued by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, a summary factsheet of the guide is available to non-members –
12th January 2019
US PROBES BOEING SATELLITE DEAL BACKED BY CHINA
On 11th January, the Wall Street Journal reported that SEC and the Department of Commerce are investigating Boeing’s relationship with a satellite start-up company, Global IP, backed by a Chinese government-owned firm. The SEC requested that the company retain all documents about its work with Boeing and a number of other individuals and entities, including state-owned Chinese lender, the China Orient Asset Management Company. In December, Boeing cancelled an order for a geostationary satellite, ordered in 2016 and designed to provide internet services across Africa from this year, citing Global IP’s inability to pay. Global IP was said to be funded, and allegedly controlled, by the Chinese state-owned entity. Global IP’s founders, who had left the company, had said in a lawsuit filed last year that they were concerned the Chinese government could gain access to sensitive, export-controlled technologies through the Boeing contract.
ISRAEL SELLS “SUICIDE DRONE” TO AZERBAIJAN
On 11th January, the Jerusalem Post reported that Israeli defence company, Elbit Systems, had sold Azerbaijan its latest combat UAV, SkyStriker, said to be capable of long-range “kamikaze strikes”. The very quiet UAV has an electric motor, can loiter for 2 hours, and has a warhead of up to 10 kg. Azerbaijan is the first international customer for the UAV. In 2018, another Israeli company, Aeronautics, was said to have engaged in a “live firing” demonstration of another UAV in Azerbaijan against an Armenian target. Azerbaijan was also reported to have used “suicide drones” against Armenian targets in 2016. Azerbaijan and Armenia are involved in the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, and Azerbaijan is reported to have doubled its military expenditure since 2016.
KENYA AT CENTRE OF DONKEY SMUGGLING RACKET
All Africa on 11th January reported that Kenya has been identified as a conduit for smuggling donkeys from neighbouring countries. It says that demand for donkey skin, which is used in China for making traditional medicine, has been blamed for halving Kenya’s donkey population, but that donkeys remain crucial to rural economies. In China, they are used in production of ejiao, a traditional medicine made from gelatine extracted from boiled donkey hides.
GOLD SMUGGLING INTO INDIA FROM REFINERIES IN MYANMAR BY JEWELLERS
The Times of India on 11th January reported that the arrest of 2 jewellers in Hyderabad, said to be behind the use of “mules”, with 3.3 kg of gold seized.
MEXICAN NARCOS ARE USING CHINESE CRYPTO MONEY LAUNDERING SYNDICATES
Coin Central on 11th January reported that a US Senate Judiciary Sub-Committee has heard that Mexican drug cartels are now more than ever relying on Chinese cryptocurrency money laundering networks. It says that the co-operation in obtaining precursor chemicals used to process drugs such as methamphetamine (meth). It says that China is a major supplier of controlled substances such as ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, which are vital ingredients in the production of methamphetamine. It is also a major exporter of Fentanyl. The Chinese Underground Banking Systems (CUBS) is an intricate network of money and cryptocurrency brokers who move currencies in and of the economy while sidestepping the country’s banking system – and is estimated to have over 10,000 clients and believed to launder over $100 billion every year. As a result, cash seizures are said to be in decline, with a 90% drop on the Arizona-Mexico border since 2011 cited as an example.
MPs ATTACK MINISTERS OVER DELAY TO TAX HAVENS’ PUBLIC REGISTERS
The Guardian on 11th January reported that the UK Government has been accused of defying parliament by delaying plans to require British tax havens such as the BVI to bring in beneficial ownership public registers. The FCO has told the Overseas Territories that they did not need to introduce compulsory public registers until 2023 – 3 years after the date MPs had thought they had set by law. It says that ministers appear to have backtracked after the 2020 deadline caused outrage in the overseas territories, which are reportedly worried that this timetable for disclosure requirements would lead to a flood of business decamping to other more secretive tax havens.
ETHIOPIA CHARGES FORMER MILITARY FIRM BOSS WITH CORRUPTION
Defence Web on 11th January reported that Ethiopia has charged Kinfe Dagnew, the former head of military-run industrial conglomerate METEC, with corruption almost two months after he was arrested.
NEW ZEALAND FRAUDSTER WHO RIPPED OFF $1.3 MILLION FROM VICTIMS DECLINED PAROLE IN FRANCE
Stuff in New Zealand in its 13th January edition reported that Ian Ludwig, who fleeced 7 people of $1.3 million will remain in jail for now after he appeared before the Parole Board in December. Ludwig, a New Zealand Homes Loans franchisee, convinced friends to invest in his business but took the money and spent it on lifestyle-gambling, buying properties, and taking holidays. He is now acting as a problem gambling counsellor in jail.
RUSSIA: COMPANY OF PUTIN-CONNECTED OLIGARCH WINS STATE ANTI-CORRUPTION TENDER
Rferl on 12th January reported that Granat, a company owned by Russian billionaire oligarch Arkady Rotenberg, has been awarded a state grant to conduct training on civil-society development and combating corruption. Rotenberg is a childhood friend and former judo partner of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
HIZBOLLAH IN SOUTH AMERICA
A report from Infobae on 11th January is concerned with Hizbollah links to drugs gangs in the tri-border area of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, where it is said to be raising funds to finance terrorism, with Lebanese families said to control much of the trade.
INTERNATIONAL HACKER-FOR-HIRE JAILED FOR CYBER ATTACK ON LIBERIAN TELECOMS
On 12th January, an NCA news release advised that Daniel Kaye, a British cyber criminal has been sentenced to 2 years and 8 months for conducting attacks that disrupted a Liberian telecommunications provider, resulting in losses estimated at tens of millions of US dollars. He had pleaded guilty to creating and using a botnet and possessing criminal property. He was living in Cyprus when he began carrying out intermittent Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks on the Liberian telecommunications provider Lonestar MTN in October 2015 using rented botnets and stressors. The company spent some $600,000 as a result of the attacks. A European Arrest Warrant was issued for Kaye and when he returned to the UK in February 2017, he was arrested by NCA.
5 REASONS WHY LATIN AMERICAN ORGANISED CRIME WILL STRENGTHEN IN 2019
An article in Insight Crime on 11th January reports on what it says are the 5 reasons why organised crime in Latin America will get stronger this year – There is no no integrated or transnational response to organised crime; repetitive and tired responses by national governments to organised crime threats; Top-level corruption (the number of current or former Latin American presidents under investigation, or condemned, on charges of corruption it describes as “staggering”); Booming criminal economies (cocaine production is at a record high and the US is in the grip of its deadliest drug crisis with opioids); and Agile and increasingly clandestine transnational organised crime.