THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JULY 4

Panama Covid-19 update – next week, further “essential workers” being vaccinated en masse at the huge Albrook Mall shopping mall – workers in hotels and restaurants in the capital…

Meanwhile, despite another 793 new cases being reported, and 7 new fatalities, and with there now being 13,256 active cases, the numbers of those in ICU, other wards and the so-called “hospital hotels” remain unchanged today.

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

4 JULY 2021

INDIA: GOLD SMUGGLING CASE PROBE OPENS A CAN OF WORMS

On 4 July, The Hindu reported that gangsters were involved in gold smuggling and their counterparts committing robbery to snatch the contraband gold smuggled by carriers through airports in the Kozhikode region, including the Calicut international airport. It is said to involve deep-set ties among gangsters, people convicted in cases of political murders, and local political functionaries.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/smuggling-case-probe-opens-a-can-of-worms/article35130166.ece

PHILLIPINES: SMUGGLED LUXURY CARS WORTH £900,000 DESTROYED BY MECHANICAL DIGGER

On 4 July, the Irish Sun carried a photo article on how a collection of 21 vehicles worth a total of £900,000 including a Bentley Flying Spur, Porsche 911 , Mercedes SLK , Lotus Elise and ultra-rare McLaren 620R , were destroyed.  They were seized as illegal imports by Philippines customs and publicly destroyed as a warning.

https://www.thesun.ie/news/7237835/luxury-cars-crushed-philippines-duterte/

WASTE DISPOSAL AND DIRTY MONEY: THE NEXT MONEY LAUNDERING FRONTIER

On 4 July, Malta Today reported that illicit waste disposal and the ‘dirty’ money it generates are the next frontier for law enforcement.  Waste trafficking is one of the environmental crimes with a money laundering dimension listed in a report released last week by FATF.  The other 2 are illegal forestry and mining.  From a Malta perspective, the article refers to In a case study from Italy in which a transnational criminal group was dismantled and people prosecuted for illicit waste trafficking, tax crimes, money laundering and self-money laundering.

https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/110581/waste_disposal_and_dirty_money_the_next_money_laundering_frontier#.YOGdbzOSmM8

SPANISH POLICE ORDERED TO RETURN ‘MOULDY’ BULLETPROOF VESTS TO KINAHANS AFTER MONEY LAUNDERING CASE COLLAPSES

On 4 July, Dublin Live reported that a Spanish judge has ordered police to return “mouldy” bulletproof vests to the Kinahan alleged crime family after the 11-year-old money laundering case against them collapsed. They are among a number of paramilitary-style items which police have been told to hand over after accusations of money laundering against Christy, Daniel and Christopher Kinahan Jr were withdrawn.

https://www.dublinlive.ie/news/world-news/kinahan-cartel-spanish-police-courtcase-20965743

GLOBAL CORPORATE FRAUD COSTS HIT $5 TRILLION, SAY EXPERTS

An article in Trade Arabia on 4 July reported on the first-ever symposium on Benchmarking in Internal Audit in Dubai.  Experts said that internal auditors have a major role to play in detection and prevention of the fraud.  It was said that there are 2 types of frauds: employee fraud and corporate fraud. Internal auditors are focusing on the wrong fraud; they look at employee frauds first, but they should also look at corporate fraud – internal auditors have a responsibility to detect fraud in first instance. It all starts with good governance.

https://www.tradearabia.com/news/BANK_384287.html

IN WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD AN EU ANTI-COERCION TOOL BE TRIGGERED?

On 2 July, the European Council on Foreign Relations issued a podcast interview.  It says that Europe faces ever greater threats of economic blackmail, sanctions against its lawmakers, and consumer boycotts of its companies. Later this year, the European Commission will launch the Anti-Coercion Instrument, a tool that could enable the EU to protect citizens and businesses by countering economic blackmail from China, Russia, and Turkey – and even the US.  It is asked in what circumstances could such a tool be triggered? 

https://ecfr.eu/podcasts/episode/the-strike-back-against-economic-blackmail/#

See also –

HOW TO DESIGN A EUROPEAN INSTRUMENT AGAINST ECONOMIC COERCION

This podcast from the ECFR on 23 June.

https://ecfr.eu/publication/measured-response-how-to-design-a-european-instrument-against-economic-coercion/

CHINA AND OTHER ASIAN NATIONS CITED AS STATE SPONSORS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN US GOVERNMENT REPORT

On 1 July, Radio Free Asia reported that the US State Department named China, North Korea, and Myanmar as state sponsors of the trafficking of persons for the second consecutive year in its annual report on human trafficking, citing the use of forced labour and the recruitment and use of child soldiers in Myanmar.

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/trafficking-report-07012021193642.html

AUSTRALIA: WESTPAC ALLEGES FOOTBALL TYCOON’S FIRM ENGAGED IN $200 MILLION FRAUD

On 2 July, the Australian Financial Review reported that the bank says it has discovered “significant potential fraud” involving a finance company controlled by the owner of the Sydney Olympic Football Club that could cost it $200 million.  It is reported that Westpac has launched legal proceedings in the Federal Court against Sydney-based firm Forum Financial, which is run by Sydney Olympic chairman and entrepreneur Basile Papadimitriou, commonly known as Bill Papas. 

https://www.smh.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/westpac-sues-firm-run-by-soccer-entrepreneur-over-alleged-200m-fraud-20210702-p586ck.html

https://www.afr.com/companies/financial-services/westpac-alleges-football-tycoon-s-firm-engaged-in-200m-fraud-20210702-p586bc

EU AND OECD HALF-MEASURES FAIL TO DETECT LUXEMBOURG’S SHADOW TAX RULINGS 

On 1 July, the Tax Justice Network carried a report on the “Lux Letters” investigation, saying that it reveals the existence and application of secret tax practices in Luxembourg that breach EU transparency rules. Revelations are described as a damning indictment of the EU and OECD’s non-committal approach to tax transparency.  It says that the laxity allows multinational corporations to circumvent transparency measures that Luxembourg was pressured to adopt specifically in response to their corporate tax abuses exposed by the “LuxLeaks” scandal in 2014.  It is said that Luxembourg’s ability to bypass EU law and OECD rules without detection can be directly attributed to the EU and OECD’s resistance to building public transparency into global tax rules.

https://taxjustice.net/press/eu-and-oecd-half-measures-fail-to-detect-luxembourgs-shadow-tax-rulings/

‘LOOTING’ RUSSIA STRIKES GOLD DIGGING UP CRIMEAN ANTIQUITIES

An article in Rferl on 4 July said that Russia wasted little time staking its claim to Crimea’s archaeological bounty when it seized control of the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine in March 2014.  By the end of the year Russia had launched a series of new archaeological digs and placed the museums, cultural sites, and scientific institutions of the region under its administration.  However, Ukraine contends that the digs, sites, and institutions are being stolen by Russia, whose claim to Crimea is recognised by only a handful of countries.  It is said that more than 1 million artifacts alone were found during the construction of the Crimean Bridge, which crosses the narrow Kerch Strait. 

https://www.rferl.org/a/crimea-archaeological-treasures-russia/31339510.html

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y