Panama Covid-19 update – today saw another 119 new cases and 3 new fatalities reported. The 2,605 active cases include 42 in ICU and 174 in other wards.
However, the headline in my day was spotting a pair of crocodiles as we walked back from a trip to the Canal’s visitors’ centre…
10 OCTOBER 2021
DEATH OF CONTROVERSIAL PAKISTAN NUCLEAR SCIENTIST AQ KHAN
On 10 October, various media reported the death at 85 of AQ Khan. Abdul Qadeer Khan was a Pakistani nuclear scientist who acknowledged being part of a nuclear proliferation ring that gave Pakistan its nuclear weapons, and who was at the centre of a global nuclear proliferation scandal in 2004 that involved sales of nuclear secrets to North Korea, Iran and Libya.
ZIMBABWE: 68 BUSES IMPOUNDED OVER SMUGGLING
On 10 October, Pindula reported that the National Security Taskforce has over the past 30 days intercepted 68 buses suspected to be transporting smuggled goods from South Africa. It quoted the example of one bus that was intercepted loaded with various goods we believe had been smuggled. It said it had been half-full with the goods, mainly bales of new clothes, and its trailer was also loaded to capacity.
CHINESE CUSTOMS PROBE 923 CASES OF SMUGGLING ENDANGERED WILDLIFE IN NEARLY 3 YEARS
On 10 October, Macau Business reported that Chinese customs probed 923 criminal cases of smuggling endangered wildlife from January 2019 to September 2021. This is said to have involved 1,552.7 tonnes of endangered wildlife and its products.
AUSTRALIA: GAMBLING WATCHDOG UNAWARE OF CRIMINAL INFILTRATION OF STAR CASINOS
On 10 October, the Brisbane Times reported that the New South Wales gaming regulator was kept in the dark about confidential reports commissioned by gaming giant Star Entertainment which found it was failing to properly combat the risk of organised criminals or terrorists exploiting the company’s Sydney and Queensland casinos. This was despite the regulator having helped expose near identical behaviour involving Crown Resorts via the Bergin inquiry last year. It is said that Star is facing an investigation by Austrac into Australia’s casinos and which was launched after TV and newspapers exposed criminal infiltration of Australian casinos in August 2019.
UK: MIKE LYNCH EXTRADITION DECISION OVER $5 BILLION FRAUD TRIAL DELAYED
On 10 October, City AM reported that a decision to extradite British entrepreneur Mike Lynch has been pushed to the end of the year. Lynch, a billionaire, faces accusations he flattered his own company, Autonomy, accounts to extract a better price when it was sold to Hewlett-Packard in 2011.
CYPRUS: 7 YEARS SINCE FBME BANK CLOSED STRICKEN DEPOSITORS STILL IN LIMBO
On 10 October, the Cyprus Mail said that it was 7 years since the Central Bank (CBC) closed the Cyprus branch of a Tanzanian lender named a financial institution of primary money laundering concern by the US. It says that Cyprus and Tanzania need to agree to cooperate, thus unfreezing some €1.3 billion held by foreign banks abroad. It says that a group of UK-based depositors have urged the CBC to take control of the funds in FBME and return them to their rightful owners. FBME was based in Tanzania but according to FinCEN, it transacted 90% of its global banking business through branches in Cyprus. Attempts to liquidate the bank in Cyprus saw the Supreme Court upheld a lower court decision in 2018, saying FBME Bank Ltd could not be subject to liquidation proceedings because it was a foreign bank with a branch in Cyprus and not a Cypriot bank, and the matter is still bogged down in lengthy legal processes.
SOUTH KOREA: CORRUPTION OFFICE INVESTIGATION INTO FORMER PROSECUTOR GENERAL, A FRONT-RUNNING PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, AND NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE SERVICE DIRECTOR
On 10 October, an editorial from Korea JoongAngn Daily said that the Corruption Investigation Office for High-ranking Officials (CIO) has gained impetus in its investigation into criminal charges against former Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl, a front-running presidential candidate of the opposition People Power Party (PPP), over power abuse when he was top prosecutor. It has also embarked on an investigation of Park Jie-won, National Intelligence Service director, on suspicion of orchestrating the exposure on former Prosecutor General Yoon.
MALABU OIL SCANDAL: NIGERIAN BUSINESSMAN RE-ARRESTED
On 8 October, Sahara Reporters reported that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had rearrested Nigerian businessman, Alhaji Aliyu Abubakar, Chairman of AA Oil. The trial of Abubakar and former Attorney-General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke for corruption and money laundering in the Malabu oil deal continues. The long-running case centred around the $1.3 billion purchase of an offshore oil block in 2011, and prosecutors had alleged that the majority of the money was paid as Bribes to Nigerian politicians and officials. However, a court in Milan said the 2 companies, and 13 defendants, including past and current executives, had no case to answer.
THE SAND DOLLAR: DIGITAL CURRENCY OF THE BAHAMAS
On 7 October, Global Finance published a report about the launch of the world’s first officially issued and central bank-backed digital currency (CBDC) – the Sand Dollar. The programme launched in October 2020 but is only now starting to be implemented in earnest, with several commercial banking systems and payment providers connecting to mobile Sand Dollar wallets, and a renewed push to enrol individuals on the various platforms. It is said that because it is an extension of the country’s fiat currency, the Sand dollar carries the same guarantees as the regular Bahamian dollar, which is pegged at a one-to-one ratio to the US dollar.
WHO WAS BEHIND THE CHEMICALS THAT DESTROYED THE PORT OF BEIRUT IN 2020?
On 10 October, PortSEurope said that a chemical-trading network controlled by Ukrainians and hidden behind a veil of proxies and shell firms was the owner of the 2,700 tonnes of unsafely stored ammonium nitrate that exploded in the port of Beirut, according to an investigation by OCCRP.
HONG KONG: $55 MILLION LOAN SCAM BUSTED
On 10 October, The Standard reported that police believe they have smashed a syndicate that conned over 520 victims of HK$55 million by luring them into joining 2 loan schemes. 32 suspects, 29 men and 3 women aged 18 to 55, were arrested for money laundering and conspiracy to launder money.
IRAN’S POWER COMPANY WARNS OF CUTS DUE TO ILLEGAL CRYPTOCURRENCY MINING
On 10 October, Rferl reported that Iran’s state electricity company has warned that illicit cryptocurrency miners in the country could cause new power cuts this winter. Illegal cryptocurrency mining will account for at least “10 percent of electricity outages this winter”, the power company.
HOW US STATES HELP RICH FOREIGNERS SHIELD THEIR ASSETS
On 10 October, the Globe & Mail in Canada says that the Pandora Papers have detailed how world leaders and some of the planet’s wealthiest people hide their riches has drawn new scrutiny to the growth of tax havens in the US. Along with the familiar offshore havens, the report also disclosed secret accounts in trusts scattered throughout the US, including 81 in South Dakota, 37 in Florida and 35 in Delaware.
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