6th April 2019
KHALIFA HAFTAR, LIBYA’S STRONGEST WARLORD, MAKES A PUSH FOR TRIPOLI – THREAT OF CIVIL WAR?
The Economist on 5th April was amongst many media sources that ran stories about Haftar and his self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) which already controls the east and took the south of Libya earlier in 2019.
NEW SAFEGUARDS TOOL BOLSTERS IAEA’S VERIFICATION OF SPENT NUCLEAR FUEL
The International Atomic Energy Authority on 5th April published an article that said that for all States with a Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement in force, the IAEA seeks to verify that all nuclear material remains in peaceful activities. It achieves this through the application of technical measures known as “safeguards”. The article is concerned with use of a technique known as passive gamma emission tomography, which it says will enable the IAEA to verify the number of fuel rods – or pins – in spent nuclear fuel assemblies, and which can also confirm the absence of missing pins from a spent fuel assembly in a closed container. Verifying that the nuclear material in the rods is not diverted from peaceful use is crucial.
BULGARIAN CUSTOMS SEIZE OVER A TONNE OF ILLEGAL HFC
Cooling Post on 5th April also reported that Bulgarian customs in southern Bulgaria had foiled an attempt to smuggle over a tonne of HFC refrigerant into the country from Turkey in illegal disposable cylinders. HFC (Hydrofluorocarbon) is non-ozone depleting and is commonly used in refrigeration and air conditioning installations.
FRANCE: CONVICTIONS IN FRENCH ‘AIR COCAINE’ SMUGGLING TRIAL
The Southlands Sun has reported an AFP story that a French court has sentenced 7 people implicated in a drug smuggling operation to up to 18 years in prison. In what has become known as the “Air Cocaine” case, 2 ex-French Air Force pilots were accused along with seven other defendants of trying to smuggle 680 kg of cocaine out of the Dominican Republic. Dominican police found the drugs packed into 26 suitcases onboard a Falcon 50 business jet as it was about to fly from the Dominican beach resort of Punta Cana to Saint-Tropez in March 2013.
GUYANA: “DIRTY CASH BEING LAUNDERED THROUGH MONEY TRANSFER AGENCIES”
On 5th April, the Demerara Waves website reported that the Director of the of Guyana FIU had said that there are increasing suspicious reports of money launderers and drug traffickers piping their dirty monies through money transfer agencies, and that it had also been discovered that those involved in predicate offences tied to drug and human trafficking and money laundering are utilising the services of ordinary people. In 2018, the FIU received 330 SAR, the majority of which came from money transfer agencies, but in 2019 to date it has received 120.
A SHAMBLE ON WHICH THE SUN NEVER SETS: HOW THE WORLD SEES BREXIT
On 6th April, the Guardian published a fascinating feature saying that “rapt” observers around the globe are confused, amused and saddened by a crisis that has torn Britain’s reputation for stability to shreds. The article looks at the reaction around the world.
LIQUIDATION AND INSOLVENCY: COMPANIES IN SCOTLAND
On 6th April, Companies House published an update (simple) guide to liquidation and other insolvency procedures for companies in Scotland.
3 RELEASED AFTER MONKEY, DRUGS, GUNS AND AMMUNITION SEIZED IN RAID ON TRAVELLER SITE IN DUBLIN
The Irish Times on 6th April reported that the raid also uncovered serious public health risks, with raw sewage running into the River Tolka. 3 guns were found during the operation; a machine pistol, a .357 Magnum revolver and a machine gun with silencer. The raid was on a “halting” caravan site for traveller people.
EUROPE: MASSIVE INTERNATIONAL ACTION AGAINST ALBANIAN DRUGS DEALERS – 55 ARRESTS IN BELGIUM
On 6th April, the Brussels Times reported that police in 5 European countries have carried out a massive strike against a gang of Albanian drugs traffickers, making 67 arrests, 55 of them in Belgium. About 650 police officers in Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Italy and the UK took part in the raids on dozens of addresses, in co-ordination with the authorities in Serbia.
AUSTRALIA: CHINESE NATIONALS CHARGED WITH LAUNDERING MONEY FOR IRISH ROOF SCAMMERS WHO PREYED ON THE ELDERLY
The Daily Mail on 6th April reported that 2 Chinese nationals have been charged in Sydney with laundering money for Irish roofing scammers who targeted the elderly. Police launched an investigation after reports that Irish nationals were targeting older residents and demanding money for roofing repairs that were not required.
EU PARLIAMENT REPORT: REPORT ON FINANCIAL CRIMES, TAX EVASION AND TAX AVOIDANCE
Available on the European Parliament website is a White Paper adopted as a Parliament Resolution on 26th March. It is the report of a special committee on financial crimes, tax evasion and tax avoidance (known as TAX3). Warning: it is 72 pages long.
ECUADOR CONTINUES TO STRUGGLE AGAINST NARCO FLIGHTS
On 6th April, Insight Crime reported that Ecuador launched an operation in early April to seize an illegal landing strip, thought to be linked to planes carrying drug shipments, but the article says, such isolated responses are unlikely to stem the flow of so-called narco flights. Between 2003 and 2019, Ecuadorean authorities have seized or downed 19 planes carrying drugs, seizing over 900 kg of drugs. However, with an estimated 2,500 private landing strips across the country, these may have been a mere a drop in the ocean.