1 March 2020
CONFESSIONS OF A MAFIA BOSS – WHO WENT TO LIVE IN A CARAVAN PARK IN ENGLAND
A BBC Radio documentary in which the reporter gains exclusive access to an anti-mafia prison to meet one of the most important “Penitents”, a former Camorra boss and killer whose evidence was used against his former colleagues. It also involves the story of how he hid out in a caravan park near Liverpool, enjoyed his time in the UK (where he continued his criminal lifestyle) and said how much easier it was to commit some crimes in the UK than Italy.
MAN ARRESTED ‘SMUGGLING RARE AND EXPENSIVE FISH INTO AUSTRALIA BY STRAPPING IT AROUND HIS NECK’
ABC14 News in Australia on 1 March reported that a Vietnamese man allegedly tried to smuggled a scarce and high-priced fish – an endangered Thoroughly Red Asian Arowana – into Australia by strapping it close to his neck.
SOUTH AFRICA: INVESTIGATION INTO ALLEGATIONS THAT TOP ESTATE AGENCY CONTRAVENED FINANCIAL REGULATORY LAWS WHEN FACILITATING THE SALE OF PROPERTY TO PEPs
On 1 March, The South African and others reported that the Estate Agency Affairs Board of South Africa (EAAB) is launching a full-scale investigation into allegations that Pam Golding Properties facilitated the sale of property to “politically exposed people” (PEP). In a first-of-its-kind investigation, the EAAB had requested a joint probe with the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) into the allegations carried in a 21 February article in the Mail and Guardian newspaper.
REPORT: CRIMINALS IN LATIN AMERICA LAUNDER MONEY WITH CRYPTOCURRENCY
On 1 March, Cryptopotato carried an article saying that a report claims that criminals primarily use cryptocurrencies for money laundering in Latin America, and that most countries in the region lack serious security measures leading to exuberant thefts executed by organised criminal groups.
18-YEAR-OLD: LURE OF RICHES SUCKED ME INTO ONLINE FRAUD
On 29 February, an article in The Observer in the UK was concerned with, as hacking gangs use more and more young fixers for their internet scams, how one 18-year-old reveals how he and his friends made a fortune – with designer clothes, Rolex watches on their wrists, and driving around London in a Mercedes. They were used either as “money mules” – using their bank details to shift money in elaborate frauds – or for convincing others to hand over their details for use in the scams.
RUSSIAN BILLIONAIRE BUSINESSMAN ON £20 MILLION BAIL IN UK AS HE FIGHTS EXTRADITION TO US ON TAX FRAUD CHARGES
On 1 March, the Daily Mail reported that Oleg Tinkov, 52 who used to fund the Tinkoff Saxo cycling team – is on £20 million bail as he fights extradition to the US. His holding company, TCS Group Holding PLC, listed on the London Stock Exchange.
DENMARK: WOMAN STOLE $17 MILLION TO JOIN JET-SET ELITE BEFORE REALITY HIT
On 1 March, BNN Bloomberg reported that Britta Nielsen, a 65-year-old former social worker, has stunned Denmark. After 25 years of accounting fraud, she managed to channel funds to a private account. She then transformed herself into a member of a jet-set elite with access to every extravagance. She bought expensive horses for her daughter and multiple lavish properties, including a ranch in South Africa. It was there that Nielsen was finally caught.
THE OBJECTIVES OF THE PYONGYANG BLOCKCHAIN AND CRYPTOCURRENCY CONFERENCE
On 28 February, RUSI published a Commentary saying that the coronavirus outbreak has averted or postponed North Korea’s aim of hosting a gathering of blockchain and cryptocurrency experts. Last year’s event led to the arrest and indictment in the US of Ethereum developer Virgil Griffith for sanctions violations. This year’s conference was scheduled to take place again between 22 and 29 February. The article notes that the deleted website pages said that US citizens were encouraged to attend via flights to Beijing and then onward to Pyongyang, and that participants will receive a separate ‘paper visa’ to avoid having their passports stamped. The article considers the possible purposes of the conferences, giving that North Korea is already seemingly well capable of hacking, data mining etc – perhaps by around 100 relatively well-known tech entrepreneurs and developers who, whether directly or indirectly, lend legitimacy to the regime through their attendance in Pyongyang.
ISRAELI ‘MIRACLE CURE’ RABBI CHARGED WITH FRAUD
On 1 March, the Daily Mail reported that an 82-year-old Israeli rabbi, Eliezer Berland, 82, head of the Shouvou Banim ultra-orthodox sect within the Breslov Hasidic community, has been charged with incitement to violence and fraud over alleged miracle cures.
IRELAND: ALMOST 24,000 SUSPECTED CASES OF MONEY LAUNDERING OR TERRORIST FINANCING WERE REPORTED IN 2018
The Irish Examiner on 1 March reported that figures for 2018 from the Department of Justice show a total of 23,939 reports of suspicious activity were made to gardaí — a decrease of almost 2% on the previous year; 23,442 were reported to Revenue Commissioners (despite the requirement to notify both the tax authorities and Revenue of all suspect activity). The Revenue Commissioners said information generated from such reports had resulted in an additional tax yield of €4.7 million. 73 individuals being charged with 284 money laundering offences; 28 individuals were convicted of 130 money-laundering offences (up from 11 individuals in 2017); 1 person was convicted of 2 terrorist financing offences.
UK: 2 MEN CONVICTED OF FRAUD FOR PLUNDERING THE FINANCES OF A BULLYING CHARITY THEY CREATED FOR AROUND £75,000
A news release from the West Midlands Police on 1 March advised that Action 4 Bullying was established in 2014 by John Fisher and David Turner. They set up crowdfunding projects, recruited volunteers and secured grants totalling £122,000 over 3 years. However, Fisher had an insatiable online gambling habit which he funded by helping himself to donations – between September 2014 and May 2017 he squandered £31,621 playing online slots machines and other games. Turner also transferred £24,787 into his own accounts but in April 2017 he disclosed what was going on to another charity trustee who contacted West Midlands Police. Both men were arrested in 2017. Action 4 Bullying has since folded.
US TO LIFT SANCTIONS ON TALIBAN LEADERS UNDER PEACE AGREEMENT
On 1 March, the Washington Times reported that the US will free up to 5,000 prisoners and begin to remove economic sanctions on top leaders under the terms of the just-signed agreement with the Taliban. In exchange for the removal of US troops, the lifting of sanctions and the freeing of prisoners, the Taliban has agreed to permanently sever all ties with terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda and to never allow Afghanistan to be used as a home base for extremist organisations.
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