23 February 2020
LIBERIA IMPOUNDS GHANAIAN VESSEL SMUGGLING MINING EQUIPMENT AND BEER
On 23 February, Ghana Web reported that authorities also confirmed that an assortment of mining equipment believed to have been smuggled into the West African nation for illegal mining activities were seized. The mining equipment were reportedly bought by Liberians who paid all the required taxes in Ghana, and hired a Ghanaian-owned vessel to smuggle them to Liberia. The country’s Immigration Service said that out of 176 entry points with its neighbouring countries, only 46 of these are guarded; and experts were said to blame porous borders for illicit trades in Liberia. These trades range from illegal arm trade, drug trafficking, human trafficking, among others.
POLICE SMASH MAJOR ALCOHOL SMUGGLERS NETWORK IN GREECE AND BULGARIA
On 23 February, Ekatherimini reported that 14 people were arrested as members of a suspected criminal network smuggling large quantities of alcohol from Bulgaria and reselling it in Greece. The arrests include 10 Greek nationals and 4 foreigners, with 2 others still at large. It is alleged that they transported the product to 2 illegal distilleries and 4 warehouses in central Athens where they then relabelled it as Greek-manufactured.
MAJORCA: TOP FOOTBALL AGENT UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR MONEY LAUNDERING
On 23 February, the Majorca Daily Bulletin reported that football agent Fali Ramadani has reportedly been placed under investigation by the Audiencia Nacional in Madrid in connection with the multi-million money laundering case that started outside Spain. Originally from Albania, Ramadani’s Berlin-based Lian Sports is reckoned to be the 5th most valuable in the world of agencies dedicated solely to football.
FORMER MAYOR IN BRAZIL ACCUSED OF ALLEGED MONEY LAUNDERING WITH BITCOIN
Cryptocurrency Marketing on 23 February reported that the Federal Public prosecutor’s office have announced that José Edivan Felix, former mayor of Catingueira, already is serving a prison sentence for fraud and embezzlement of public funds, has been accused of being involved in an alleged money-laundering scheme using cryptocurrencies as bitcoin and megacoin.
EGYPT UPHOLDS SENTENCE OF TOP CUSTOMS OFFICIAL ON CORRUPTION
On 23 February, Associated Press reported that Egypt’s top appeals court has upheld a 10-year jail term for the head of the country’s customs authority, Abdel-Azim, who was arrested in June 2018 and then convicted of corruption. The article also mentions that, amongst relatively few such corruption cases of senior officials, authorities also arrested the governor of the Nile Delta province of Menoufia in 2018. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison for accepting bribes to award public works contracts. The deputy governor of Alexandria was also arrested in 2017, and sentenced last year to 12 years in prison for bribery, profiteering and squandering public funds.
VAST ILLEGAL RIDE-SHARING NETWORK DISMANTLED IN FRANCE
The Connexion on 23 February reported that 5 men have been arrested in western Paris on suspicion of running a vast ride-sharing network that exploited illegal workers as drivers. They are said to have run 2 companies, through which they employed hundreds of illegally-working drivers.
BOEING MANOEUVRES TO HEAD OFF WTO SANCTIONS
On 20 February, AIN Online reported that Boeing has asked Washington State lawmakers to draft legislation that would rescind tax breaks to the company introduced more than a decade-and-a-half ago, in a move designed to head off retaliatory tariffs planned by the EU on Boeing aircraft and other goods from Washington, that would effectively counter tariffs placed on Airbus products by the US. This is the latest development in the (very) long-running US-EU dispute over alleged subsidies given by both sides to their respective aircraft manufacturers.
PROSECUTIONS OF INTERNATIONAL TERRORIST SUPPORTERS IN THE US CONTINUE: WINTER 2019 UPDATE
On 21 February, Lawfare published an article which provides an update on recent international terrorism prosecutions in the US and highlight new and ongoing cases, both of individuals allegedly associated with the Islamic State and of those with ties to other groups.
CIVIL DAMAGE ACTIONS FOR CORRUPTION: POSSIBILITIES OFFERED BY THE MOZAMBICAN HIDDEN DEBT SCANDAL
A post on the Global Anticorruption Blog on 18 February was concerned with the consequences of the April 2016 disclosure that Mozambican officials accepted large bribes to secretly guarantee hundreds of millions of dollars in loans. The Mozambique government has brought a criminal action against a number of the alleged perpetrators in its own courts and has filed a civil suit for damages against others in London. The author of the article says he has published a paper in which he considers who in Mozambique might be able to bring a damage action, for what and where, and the additional legal and factual research required before one or more suits are filed.
FORMER FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE FRANCOIS FILLON ACCUSED OF MISUSING MORE THAN €1M TO EMPLOY WIFE IN ALLEGEDLY NON-EXISTENT ROLE
On 23 February, the Guardian reported that Fillon, 65, who was on track to become President in 2017, will appear in court with his Welsh-born wife, Penelope.
BULGARIAN PM BORISSOV REPORTEDLY TARGETED BY SPANISH MONEY LAUNDERING PROBE
On 23 February, BNE Intellinews reported that police in Catalonia is investigating whether Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Boyko Borissov is involved in a money laundering case related to a luxury house purchased in Spain. This is the latest scandal to affect his time as PM, he has been forced to replace 9 ministers so far after various corruption scandals.
IRAQ’S OFFICIAL ANTI-CORRUPTION AGENCY SAY THAT IT RESTORED $2.38 BILLION TO THE TREASURY IN 2019
In its 24 February edition, Iraq Business News carried an article saying that Iraq’s official anti-corruption agency, the Federal Commission of Integrity, stated in its latest annual report that it restored 2.84 trillion Iraqi dinars ($2.38 billion) to the Treasury in 2019; with 10,143 persons accused of corruption – including 50 officials who were government ministers or holding equivalent positions.
“MORE MONEY THAN DRUGS”: A DEEP DIVE INTO AD FRAUD
An article in Forbes magazine claims that the average individual ad fraudster makes $5 to $20 million dollars a year. It is said that Ad fraud ranges from app install farms, which feature hundreds or thousands of smartphones on which people click ads and install apps endlessly, to electronic simulated versions of the same thing, to sophisticated spoofing of ad measurement platforms. The article refers to the methods used, including malware, “cookie stuffing” and “ad stacking”, as well as the use of bots.
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