21st July 2019
PANAMA MOVES TO STRIP TANKER OF FLAG AFTER GULF INCIDENT
On 21st July, The National amongst others reported that Panama’s maritime authority had begun the process of withdrawing the registration of an oil tanker MT Riah that was towed to Iran after it disappeared from ship tracking maps in the Strait of Hormuz on July 14th. This follows the case of the Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 which is accused of violating EU sanctions on Syria – Panama said that the Grace 1 had been removed from its registry on May 29th. Panama’s maritime authority had already said that it would withdraw use of its flag from more vessels that violate sanctions and international legislation, following the removal of about 60 ships linked to Iran and Syria from the Panamanian registry in recent months.
UK AND CAYMAN INVESTIGATE GOLD SMUGGLING SCHEME
The Cayman Compass reported on 20th July that the NCA is working with Cayman Islands authorities to investigate the of gold seized at London’s Heathrow airport on 1st June and thought to be part of South American drug cartel operation that used the Cayman Islands.
IRELAND: CHANGES TO GAMBLING LAW IS FUELLING FEARS OF MONEY LAUNDERING
An article in the Irish Independent on 21st July said that gambling bodies are concerned an increase in the maximum wager allowed on betting machines would lead to increased money laundering, and would enable criminals to place bigger bets and make greater gains on their wins if they look to conceal money generated through crime. Under the original provisions of the Gaming and Lotteries Bill, the stakes would rise from 3 cents per spin to €10. The amendment allowing for the increase was withdrawn before the Dail took its summer break but is set to be revisited in September.
‘WOLF OF WALLSTREET’ MOVIE PRODUCER RETURNS $14 MILLION WORTH OF GIFTS BOUGHT WITH 1MDB FUNDS
The Independent in Singapore reported on 20th July that movie producer Joey McFarland, who made the “The Wolf of Wall Street”, is returning to the Malaysian government millions of dollars in gifts and company funding allegedly given by Low Taek Jho in the wake of a money laundering scandal involving his movie production company, Red Granite Pictures. The items include a vintage French “King Kong” poster, a Jean-Michel Basquiat art piece and several luxury watches altogether worth $14 million. The co-founder of Red Granite Pictures, ex-prime minister Najib Razak’s stepson Riza Aziz, has been arrested and faces 5 charges of money laundering after being accused of misappropriating $248 million in 1MDB funds.
FORMER MALDIVES PRESIDENT PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO CHARGES OF MONEY LAUNDERING
Reuters on 21st July reported that Abdulla Yameen, the former president of the Maldives, has pleaded not guilty to charges of money laundering. He is accused of receiving $1 million of government money through a private company, SOF Private Ltd, which has been implicated in a corrupt deal to lease tropical islands for hotel development.
MALTA: JUDGE ORDERS PROSECUTION TO SPEED UP OIL SANDAL CASE
Malta Today on 21st July reported that a judge has ruled that the Attorney General is breaching the fundamental human rights of 2 men by delaying their case for over 6 years and ordered the prosecution to close its evidence by the end of 2019. 2 business partners in bunkering firm Island Bunker Oils had been charged with corruption and money laundering. However, although proceedings began with great momentum, this soon dwindled and no progress was registered in the case for 6 years.
MOLDOVA HAS SUSPENDED ITS CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT (CBI) PROGRAMME
On 21st July, Kenneth Rijock in his blog reported that Moldova had said on 17th July that it had suspended its new Citizenship by Investment programme, known as MCBI, “pending further review”. Applications that have already been approved will be completed, but no new application shall be accepted at this time.
CHINA TO TACKLE CORRUPTION IN BELT AND ROAD PROJECTS AND EMBED ANTI-CORRUPTION OFFICIALS
On 18th July, the FT reported that the Chinese Communist party’s top graft inspector plans to expand its anti-corruption campaign overseas by embedding officers in countries participating in projects.
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