OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – DECEMBER 1

1st December 2019

2 AMERICANS TRY TO ENTER COSTA RICA WITH OVER HALF A MILLION DOLLARS IN CASH

On 29th November, the Costa Rica Star reported that 2 American men, said to be named Skees and Howze, tried to enter Costa Rica through the Juan Santamaria International Airport carrying a total of $644,344 in their carry-on luggage.  Anyone entering Costa Rica with more than $10,000, or its equivalent in securities or in another currency, in cash must voluntarily declare the amount they are carrying or else face immediate seizure and loss of the money.

https://news.co.cr/americans-try-to-enter-costa-rica-with-over-half-a-million-usd-in-cash/80748/

MAIL ON SUNDAY ALLEGATIONS ABOUT PRINCE ANDREW LINKS TO TAX HAVEN COMPANY AND PRIVATE LUXEMBOURG BANK

On 1st December, the Mail on Sunday carried an exposure claiming the Duke of York had exploited his position and connections to benefit himself and “controversial multi-millionaire financier” David Rowland.  The allegations includes the Prince having a 40% stake in a firm based in the BVI called Inverness Asset Management that was in existence until March 2019, a company owned by Rowland’s family business, Blackfish Capital Management.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7742249/EXPOSED-Prince-Andrews-deals-tax-haven-tycoons.html

ESPORTS LAWS OF THE WORLD

On 21st November, DLA Piper published a report saying that gambling, sports, and prize promotion/advertising rules might apply to esports events, impose restrictions or grant exemptions, depending on how and where they are organised; and there are several different actors in the esports market – from event organisers to media companies, including online platforms, to sponsors and video game publishers which have different roles and responsibilities.  The 180-page report looks at a large number of countries in turn, discussing such things as governing law, extra-territoriality and local requirements.

https://www.dlapiper.com/en/us/insights/publications/2019/11/esports-laws-of-the-world/

VIETNAMESE CRIME GANGS IN PLYMOUTH

On 1st December, Plymouth Live in the UK carried a feature relating what it described as the inside story of how Vietnamese organised crime gangs arrived in Plymouth – and how they took over swathes of the city’s drugs trade with, in 2008, cannabis being grown in industrial quantities.

https://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/news/plymouth-news/inside-story-foreign-crime-gangs-3581022

FORMER VICE-PRESIDENT OF PANAMA HAS EMBEZZLEMENT AND MISAPPROPRIATION OF LAND CASE REACTIVATED

Newsroom Panama reported that a court has reopened the case against former Vice-President Felipe Pipo Virzi for alleged embezzlement and illegal appropriation of land.  He has faced a number of accusations over the years, and in 2015 was arrested following allegations that he received a $5 million payment for winning an irrigation system contract for an Ecuadoran company, Hidalgo & Hidalgo.  He was a business partner of former President Martinelli, who himself endured extradition from the US and is currently seeking to have money laundering charges against him in Panama dismissed.  Virzi was the Vice-President of Panama from 1994 to 1999 during the Martinelli administration.

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/case-against-bullet-dodging-ex-vice-president-reactivated

REPORT ON CORRUPTION IN NAMIBIA’S FISHING INDUSTRY UNVEILED

News 24 in South Africa reported on 1st December that, in “Anatomy of a Bribe”, Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit exposed corruption in Namibia’s fishing industry, implicating the country’s now former minister of fisheries and marine resources, Bernhard Esau, as well as Geingob’s personal lawyer.  Posing as Chinese investors, Al Jazeera journalists attempted to enter the Namibian fishing industry to acquire highly lucrative fishing quotas for a proposed joint-venture with Namibian fishing company, Omualu.  A “donation” of $200,000 was to be laundered to the SWAPO party, under the guise of a foreign investment in a real-estate.  The, as Al Jazeera’s undercover reporters negotiated a partnership with Omualu, they say that they were asked to make a $500,000 payment and give a 20% share of the joint-venture to the CEO of the state-run fishing company Fishcor.  The article refers to the so-called “Fishrot Files”, published by Wikileaks, comprised of emails, memos, PowerPoint presentations, company financial records, photos and videos, appearing to show how Samherji, one of Iceland’s largest fishing companies, colluded with senior political and business figures in Namibia to gain preferential access to the country’s lucrative fishing grounds.  On the day of Namibia’s general election on 27th November, 6 were arrested on fraud and corruption charges and deny all wrongdoing and, in a press statement, Samherji claims it has “nothing to hide” from any investigation.

https://www.news24.com/Africa/News/corruption-in-namibias-fishing-industry-unveiled-20191201

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/anatomy-bribe-deep-dive-underworld-corruption-191201083510578.html

AUSTRALIA: OVER 100 RACEHORSES IN LIMBO AFTER ASSETS FROZEN

On 1st December, Channel 9 News reported that more than 100 racehorses with links to allegedly corrupt public servant Paul Whyte and his co-accused Jacob Anthonisz have been located across Australia and New Zealand, and are currently in a legal limbo after the Corruption and Crime Commission froze the pair’s assets amid allegations they had defrauded the State of millions of dollars using a fake invoicing scheme.

https://www.9news.com.au/national/wa-news-political-corruption-paul-whyte-racehorses-in-limbo/0508930b-d577-485e-8ff4-bcb90ffff884

FRENCH AUTHORITIES RAID ADOBE OFFICE OVER IRISH TAX CLAIM

On 1st December, the Irish Independent reported that a judge has thrown out firm’s case that Paris office raid last year was illegal.  The was raided in April 2018 by French tax officials looking for evidence the US company had dodged tax by shifting revenue to Ireland.

https://www.independent.ie/business/technology/french-authorities-raid-adobe-office-over-irish-tax-claim-38741708.html

AFGHANISTAN: ACTING FINANCE MINISTER ACCUSED OF MONEY LAUNDERING

The Afghanistan Times on 1st December reported that, as the Afghan senate committee held a gathering to approve the annual national budget, a number of senators have accused the Acting Finance Minister, Hamayoun Qayoumi of money laundering.

http://www.afghanistantimes.af/acting-finance-minister-accused-of-money-laundering/

 

This blog is primarily for my own use, to keep informed and up to date. However, if you would like to say thank you (and perhaps help me get a new, better laptop when I am away…) you can “buy me a coffee” at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

REPORT ON CORRUPTION IN NAMIBIA’S FISHING INDUSTRY UNVEILED

News 24 in South Africa reported on 1st December that, in “Anatomy of a Bribe”, Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit exposed corruption in Namibia’s fishing industry, implicating the country’s now former minister of fisheries and marine resources, Bernhard Esau, as well as Geingob’s personal lawyer.  Posing as Chinese investors, Al Jazeera journalists attempted to enter the Namibian fishing industry to acquire highly lucrative fishing quotas for a proposed joint-venture with Namibian fishing company, Omualu.  A “donation” of $200,000 was to be laundered to the SWAPO party, under the guise of a foreign investment in a real-estate.  The, as Al Jazeera’s undercover reporters negotiated a partnership with Omualu, they say that they were asked to make a $500,000 payment and give a 20% share of the joint-venture to the CEO of the state-run fishing company Fishcor.  The article refers to the so-called “Fishrot Files”, published by Wikileaks, comprised of emails, memos, PowerPoint presentations, company financial records, photos and videos, appearing to show how Samherji, one of Iceland’s largest fishing companies, colluded with senior political and business figures in Namibia to gain preferential access to the country’s lucrative fishing grounds.  On the day of Namibia’s general election on 27th November, 6 were arrested on fraud and corruption charges and deny all wrongdoing and, in a press statement, Samherji claims it has “nothing to hide” from any investigation.

https://www.news24.com/Africa/News/corruption-in-namibias-fishing-industry-unveiled-20191201

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/anatomy-bribe-deep-dive-underworld-corruption-191201083510578.html

This blog is primarily for my own use, to keep informed and up to date. However, if you would like to say thank you (and perhaps help me get a new, better laptop when I am away…) you can “buy me a coffee” at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

WHITE PHOSPHORUS: WHEN IS ITS USE A WAR CRIME?

A fascinating post on the Lawfare blog on 26th November follows reports that Turkey used white phosphorus munitions during its military operations in Syria.  It says that many of the reports on the use of white phosphorus are overly broad, confusing it with either a “chemical” weapon or an “incendiary” weapon, and at least one article suggested it as a “banned” weapon – the article explaining why it is not any of these.  Instead, the article argues that its use raises several legal issues that remain poorly understood.  The article says that, as a starting position, white phosphorus munitions are a lawful weapon that can be used against the enemy consistent with the normal laws of targeting but, like any otherwise lawful weapon, they can be used in numerous unlawful manners, such as to specifically target civilians or launch attacks indiscriminately.  The article also provides a brief explanation, saying that white phosphorous, aka tetraphosphorus, is a toxic, colourless, white or yellow waxy solid with a garlic-like odour.  It does not occur naturally and is manufactured from phosphate rocks.  It ignites when it reacts with oxygen, producing thick clouds of white smoke and reaching temperatures high enough to burn through metal.   The article calls on a focus on the use of weapons, and actions of the military, rather on the weapons themselves, if one is to properly determine if a war crime has been committed.

https://www.lawfareblog.com/jus-bello-white-phosphorus-getting-law-correct

This blog is primarily for my own use, to keep informed and up to date. However, if you would like to say thank you (and perhaps help me get a new, better laptop when I am away…) you can “buy me a coffee” at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y