Panama Covid-19 update – Independence Day (from Spain in 1821), with tomorrow also a Public Holiday…
Menawhile, as one waits with bated breath to see what effects the new Omnicron variant will have and when (or if) it is discovered here, the number of active cases has risen again, by 33 to 2,693 (possible the after-effects of the holiday week at the start of the month?), with 208 new cases and 1 new fatality reported today. There are 21 patients in ICU and 97 in other wards.
28 NOVEMBER 2021
MACAU ARRESTS 11 PEOPLE FOR ALLEGED ILLEGAL GAMBLING AND MONEY LAUNDERING
On 28 November, Saltwire in Canada reported that Macau police have arrested 11 people in an investigation into an illegal gambling and money laundering syndicate. Other sources allege that one of the arrested is Macau’s best-known junket mogul, Alvin Chau Cheok Wa – the founder and CEO of Suncity, one of Macao’s major casino junket operators.
CROATIA’S SOCCER SUPERSTAR, THE FORMER BOSS … AND A SPORT DOGGED BY SCANDAL
On 28 November, The Observer carried an article featuring corruption allegations and Zdravko Mamić, once the most powerful figure in Croatian football, who fled to Bosnia-Herzogovina on the eve of his conviction for fraud 3 years ago.
BVI LEADER PUSHES BACK ON UK CORRUPTION PROBE
On 27 November, Politico reported that the premier of the BVI is pushing back against allegations of deep-seated corruption in the Caribbean territory even before an official inquiry has finished its work – with a report expected in January. It began after ex-BVI Governor Augustus Jaspert went public with accusations ranging from mismanagement and graft to organized crime and cocaine trafficking with the participation of senior officials.
INTERPOL HAS ELECTED A TOP CHINESE PUBLIC SECURITY OFFICIAL TO ITS EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE IN THE FACE OF WIDESPREAD CRITICISM
On 26 November, RFA reported that Interpol had elected ministry of public security official Hu Binchen serve for a 4-year term on the committee, although the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been known to abuse the Interpol “red notice” arrest warrant system to track down peaceful critics of the regime.
8 PEOPLE CHARGED AFTER PROBE INTO CORRUPTION AROUND SCOTTISH NHS CONTRACTS WORTH MILLIONS
On 27 November, the Daily Record reported that a major investigation into corruption around multimillion-pound NHS contracts in Scotland has resulted in 8 people – including senior health board figures – being charged. Former IT and communications chiefs and Irvine-based telecoms company Oricom are said to be involved.
AUSTRALIA: COMPANY WORTH JUST $8 WHEN AWARDED $385 MILLION NAURU OFFSHORE PROCESSING CONTRACT
On 25 November, the Guardian reported that a Brisbane construction company had only $8 in assets and had not started trading when it was awarded a government contract – ultimately worth $1.6 billion – to run Australia’s offshore migrant processing on Nauru. It has been revealed that while KPMG undertook a pre-contract assessment of Canstruct International Pty Ltd, the government has since confirmed the assessment was actually undertaken on another company, Canstruct Pty Ltd.
AUSTRALIA: $1 BILLION AND COUNTING – POKER MACHINE CRIME
On 28 November, an article from The Age said that state and federal authorities have evidence New South Wales’ 95,000 poker machines are being used as laundering machines for illicit cash that is “easily in the hundreds of millions” of dollars, with allegations that, nationwide, more than $1 billion from the proceeds of crime is likely being cleansed through pubs and clubs with gaming machines. It reports on a syndicate effectively commandeering the pokies venue to launder tens of thousands of dollars, with a large number of people apparently involved in the co-ordinated scheme. It also says that, since January 2018, only 5.5% of NSW venues with electronic gaming machines have submitted a STR to money laundering agency Austrac, despite evidence and intelligence suggesting the problem involves many more venues.
1 IN 6 VLCC HAS CARRIED IRANIAN OR VENEZUELAN OIL OVER THE PAST 2 YEARS
On 26 November, Insurance Marine News reported that, of the 853 very large crude carriers (VLCC) currently afloat, 141 have been involved in Iranian and/or Venezuelan oil trades during the past 2 years. It also said that many ageing tankers had moved into sanctioned Iranian and/or Venezuelan trade during the pandemic.
HONDURANS VOTES FOR NEW PRESIDENT, AS CURRENT ONE FACES EXTRADITION
On 28 November, The Week reported that the election could remove the governing National Party from office for the first time since it took power in a 2009 military coup. The leader in the polls is the wife of the man ousted in 2009, the National party candidate has been hit by allegations of embezzlement whilst a major, and the third candidate only returned to the country in 2020 after serving a jail sentence in the US for money laundering. Current President Juan Orlando Hernández has been accused by US prosecutors of funding his campaigns with drug money and could be extradited to the US if his party loses power.
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