27th October 2019
SOLOMON ISLANDS VETOES CHINESE ‘LEASE’ ON PACIFIC ISLAND
On 27th October, the Daily Star in Bangladesh and others reported that the Solomons government had said that a Chinese company’s attempt to lease an entire island in the Solomon Islands was unlawful and will not be allowed to go ahead. The deal between the Solomons’ Central Province and the state-owned China Sam Group was “unlawful, unenforceable and must be terminated with immediate effect”.
SWEDEN’S GAMBLING REGULATOR TO INTRODUCE NEW AML MEASURES
On 26th October, Gambling News reported that Sweden is to launch a new AML/CFT compliance initiative for the gambling sector. The new system will take effect from 13th January, with companies able to apply for new licences from 9th December, and the existing DAR portal will close on 1st March. It is said that what the regulator wants to achieve is a streamlined process of submitting reports that are accurate, accessible and helpful to the respective authorities using them to track illicit payments and potential terrorist links. Confirmation of the launch comes as Spelinspektionen continues to clamp down on unlicensed and unregulated gambling activities in the country, following the opening of its regulated market earlier this year.
SRI LANKA: ATTORNEY GENERAL TO FILE 10,000 INDICTMENTS ON CHARGES OF CORRUPTION BEFORE 31ST DECEMBER
On 27th October, the official news portal for the Sri Lankan Government reported that there will be a total of 10,000 indictments filed on charges of corruption, fraud and other crimes. The Attorney General’s Department also informed the committee that it has filed 7,800 indictments within the first 8 months of the year.
THE IMPACT OF MAFIA PENETRATION IN THE LEGAL ECONOMY IN ITALY
On 26th October, an article on VOX, the policy portal of CEPR (the Centre for Economic Policy Research), estimates the impact of mafia penetration in the legal economy in Italy, looking both at the micro-level effects on firms infiltrated by ‘ndrangheta members and at the more aggregate long-run effects on local economic growth. It finds that infiltrated firms are disproportionately in the utilities and financial services sectors and that infiltration has a strong negative effect on local long-term employment growth.
Also worth a listen, this 2018 podcast looks at how the Mafia came to be, and its impact on Sicilian growth since its inception. The threat of Peasant Fasci organisations in the 1890s led landholders and politicians to turn to the Mafia to combat pressure from the peasant class. Since then, the Mafia’s existence seems to have reduced literacy and health outcomes, and limited the provision of a variety of local public goods.
VISIBLE POLICING SEES A DROP IN ABALONE POACHING IN SOUTH AFRICA
Defence Web on 25th October reported that inshore and landbased operations against abalone poaching in the Overberg region of the Western Cape has yielded good results in line with one aim of the initiative Operation Phakisa. Action saw “a noticeable reduction in illegal harvesting activities and importantly ensured natural resources remain in the ocean” a statement said, and that the most important part of the operation is poachers are kept out of the water.
EX-FORMULA ONE BOSS BERNIE ECCLESTONE IS SET TO SETTLE HIS RECORD £1 BILLION TAX DEMAND WITH HMRC AFTER A 20-YEAR BATTLE
The Daily Mail reported on 27th October that Bernie Ecclestone is said to be about to settle a record-breaking £1 billion tax bill after fighting with the HMRC for more than 20 years. He has continually denied owing up to £1 billion and there is no suggestion he has broken tax laws, but he has faced long-running questioning about a Liechtenstein trust set up by his wife, Slavica, in 1997, which is thought to have raised £3billion from selling Formula One stakes.
SCOTTISH OIL GIANT WOOD GROUP PROBED OVER ALLEGED UNAOIL BRIBERY LINK
The Sunday Post on 27th October reported that one of Scotland’s biggest companies is being probed over its links to a Monaco-based firm suspected of alleged bribery. It is being investigated by the Crown Office in Scotland about payments to oil contractor Unaoil. This follows the reporting of the findings of the internal investigation to the Crown Office in September 2017.
UGANDA: SHUKLA MUKESH, OF SHUMUK ALUMINIUM INDUSTRIES LIMITED FACING 13 COUNTS OF FORGERY, UTTERING FALSE DOCUMENTS AND CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT A FELONY
On 27th October, New Vision in Uganda reported that the case relates to events in which Mukesh, reportedly one of the richest men in Uganda, is accused of forging the documents for the handover of a hotel in Muyenga. Mukesh and the Katatumba family have been battling over ownership of the property since 2012, and the allegedly fraudulent documents were said to have been signed by members of that family.
THE BATTLE AGAINST ALBANIAN MAFIA FLOODING BIRMINGHAM WITH COCAINE
On 27th October, Birmingham Live in the UK carried an article claiming that there is the ongoing battle between NCA officers and the Albanian mafia trying to flood Birmingham with cocaine. It is a battle which the NCA say it is winning, having helped to bring a number of Albanian crime lords to book. An NCA spokesperson is quoted as saying that criminals from Albania have established a high profile and degree of influence within UK organised crime and are increasingly expanding their network of influence, with considerable access to the UK drug trafficking market, particularly cocaine, and involvement in other crime, including people trafficking, firearms trafficking, corruption, and money laundering.
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