OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – OCTOBER 17

Panama Covid 17 update – we are nearing the holidya season in Panama (from November through to March!), but the authorities have said there will not be the usual marches and big public displays for the 2 “independence days” (from Spain and Colombia) in November. No word yet, I think, about the big Carnival in February yet…

From 28 October, premises will be permitted 100% capacity (many, like churches, are currently limited to 80%). However, premises or facilities must fill out the form to request authorisation and will need to demonstarte how they will guarantee 100% vaccination…

Today, sees more (hopefully) encouraging statistics – “only” 102 new cases amd 1 mew fatality, with 2,295 active cases – 41 in ICU and 177 in other wards.

17 OCTOBER 2021

17 October marks 90th anniversary

CYPRUS CANCELS 45 PASSPORTS OBTAINED BY INVESTORS AND THEIR FAMILIES UNDER CASH-FOR-CITIZENSHIP SCHEME

On 16 October, Panatimes reported that Cyprus had decided to cancel passports for 39 people who obtained citizenship under a disgraced investment scheme, as well as 6 of their dependents.  It was said that the government is also investigating a further 6 cases, and has put another 47 “under continuous monitoring”.  The Government had closed its “Golden Visa” scheme from November 2020.  Under the scheme individuals would have to, at least, invest €2 million in Cypriot properties on top of a donation to the government research fund.  Around 7,000 people benefited from the scheme, and it is thought to have raised €7 billion before the government, after an investigative reporting exposé, accepted it had been open to “abusive exploitation”.

https://panatimes.com/cyprus-strips-45-passports-obtained-by-investors-and-their-families-under-cash-for-citizenship-scheme

A VICE PRESIDENT OF NATIONAL BANK OF PAKISTAN ARRESTED OVER ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT IN DOLLAR SMUGGLING

On 17 October, ANI reported that the Federal Investigation Agency is engaged in a case involving illegal currency transactions and cash smuggling, and said that a money exchange business in Karachi had also been raided, with 8 people arrested.

https://www.aninews.in/news/world/asia/vice-president-of-national-bank-of-pakistan-arrested-over-involvement-in-dollar-smuggling20211017035644/

UKRAINIAN OLIGARCH BOUGHT A MIDWESTERN FACTORY AND LET IT ROT; WHY?

An article in Politico on 17 October says that a Ukrainian billionaire sank millions of dollars into a mothballed building, and then just left it to decay, and now prosecutors have a theory about what went on.  The story involves Ukrainian banking tycoon Ihor Kolomoisky and the small town of Harvard, Illinois.  He is said to have allegedly been buying US properties to hide stolen money from PrivatBank, taking advantage of a temporary concession for real estate businesses in the US allowing them to avoid performing due diligence on the customer making a purchase.  According to the DoJ, the funds lifted from PrivatBank bounced through a number of shell companies and offshore accounts, before being injected into the Optima network, a network of shell companies overseen by 2 Americans.  Neither Kolominsky nor his American associates (who also deny wrongdoing) have been named in any criminal complaints, the allegations all arise in civil forfeiture complaints. 

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/10/17/ukrainian-oligarch-midwestern-factory-town-dirty-money-american-heartland-michel-kleptocracy-515948

2 EDINBURGH ADDRESSES LINKED TO ALLEGED MONEY LAUNDERING AND TAX ABUSE

On 17 October, The National in Scotland carried an article naming the addresses of a company formation agent, which forms and registers companies for individuals, and is linked to thousands of Scottish Limited Partnerships (SLP).  They are said to be  linked to an ongoing embezzlement case involving the Ukraine mafia, and the formation agent has also incorporated companies allegedly linked to tax avoidance.

https://www.thenational.scot/news/19652724.edinburgh-addresses-linked-alleged-money-laundering-tax-abuse/

ONLINE VIDEO GAME PLAYERS WARNED OF RISE IN FRAUD

On 17 October, The Observer carried an article saying that, after a games boom in pandemic, gangs are using phishing and malware to cheat fans out of money and reveal their personal data.  One of the UK’s biggest banks, Lloyds, is so concerned about how games are being used that it will launch a warning code for players, and a character to go with it.

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2021/oct/17/from-fortnite-to-fifa-online-video-game-players-warned-of-rise-in

SOUTH KOREA UNREGULATED DIGITAL CURRENCY FOREX TRANSFERS HIT RECORD HIGH

On 15 October, Coingeek reported that unregulated and questionable foreign currency transfers involving digital currencies has risen 2100% year-over-year, raising concerns over possible money laundering and tax evasions through digital currencies.  In the first 8 months of the year, Korea has recorded over $677 million in these transfers. 

https://coingeek.com/south-korea-unregulated-digital-currency-forex-transfers-hit-record-high-at-677m/

HUMAN TRAFFICKING TRENDS IN CANADA 2019-2020

On 14 October, the Canadian Centre To End Human Trafficking published a report using data gathered during the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline’s first year of operations.  The report is said to be the first of its kind in Canada in that it does not rely on police-reported statistics.  Findings include that the vast majority of victims/survivors were Canadian; only 14% of victims/survivors were foreign nationals

https://www.canadiancentretoendhumantrafficking.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/ENG-Human-Trafficking-Trends-in-Canada-%E2%80%93-2019-20-Report-Final-1.pdf

SPAIN AGREES TO EXTRADITE FORMER VENEZUELAN TREASURER TO THE US

On 17 October, Mercopress reported that Spanish judiciary had agreed the extradition to the US of Venezuelan national Claudia Patricia Díaz Guillén, to answer charges of money laundering and involvement in a criminal organisation.  She is said to be linked to businessman Raúl Gorrín and a plot to exchange foreign currency which earned him hundreds of millions of dollars.  Díaz Guillén, a former Treasurer under President Hugo Chávez, was arrested and later released along with her husband, Adrián José Velásquez, in Madrid, in December 2020, but both were prevented from leaving Spain.

Addendum – he is to appear in court in Maimi on 18 October.

https://en.mercopress.com/2021/10/17/spain-agrees-to-extradite-former-venezuelan-treasurer-to-the-us

AUSTRALIA: NEW CYBER OFFENCES FOR TARGETING KEY INFRASTRUCTURE, REPORTING OF RANSOMWARE ATTACKS MADE MANDATORY

On 12 October, ABC News reported that businesses hit by cyber attacks will be required to report the incidents to federal authorities, as new specific offences for criminals operating online are announced by the Federal Government.  New criminal offences will target people engaged in “cyber extortion”, using ransomware to steal private information blackmailing victims for its return.  Cyber criminals buying and selling (or using) malware will also be specifically outlawed 

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-13/government-will-mandate-business-reporting-ransomware-attacks/100534890

A Complete Visual Guide to Carbon Markets

On 14 October, Visual Capitalist provided a visual guide to carbon markets and how they work.

https://www.visualcapitalist.com/visual-guide-to-carbon-markets

TUNISIAN LAWMAKER DETAINED OVER SUSPECTED TAX FRAUD, MONEY LAUNDERING

On 17 October, the Middle East Monitor reported that a Tunisian court has ordered Mehdi Ben Gharbia, a businessman and former minister, to be detained over suspected tax fraud and money laundering – the fourth parliamentarian to be taken into custody since President Kais Saied seized near total control of the country in July.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20211017-tunisian-lawmaker-detained-over-suspected-tax-fraud-money-laundering/ 

ISRAEL: EX-GENERAL GAL HIRSCH EXPECTED TO BE INDICTED IN COMING DAYS 

On 17 October, the Times of Israel reported that he and 3 business partners accused of evading taxes on more than $11 million of income from defence deals in Georgia.  The Brigadier General left the military in 2006.  He is suspected of aggravated fraud, money laundering and alleged tax evasion.  He is as head of the defence services company, Defensive Shield.  The company that provided defence advice and military training and brokered arms sales to Georgia, and also provided services to other countries between 2007 and 2009.  The state prosecutor alleged that 4 business partners set up a network of companies and bank accounts in Israel, Georgia, Switzerland and Guernsey.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/ex-general-gal-hirsch-expected-to-be-indicted-in-coming-days-report

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Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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