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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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