Happy Christmas to one an all!
However, the first case of avian flu (bird flu) reportedly detected here, in a pelican…and menawhile the dispute between the Government and the massive, and valuable, copper mine is to go to arbitration.
25 DECEMBER 2022
PANAMA SEIZES RECORD NUMBER OF DRUGS FOR SECOND CONSECUTIVE YEAR
On 25 December, Infobae reported that Panama seized a record 126.5 tons of drugs, mostly cocaine, in 2022. About 23 tons were found in containers on the Atlantic coast destined for the US and Europe.
MALDIVES: FORMER PRESIDENT YAMEEN CONVICTED OF BRIBERY AND MONEY LAUNDERING
On 25 December, The Edition in the Maldives reported that the Criminal Court had convicted former President Abdulla Yameen of bribery and money laundering. Yameen had been charged with accepting $1 million in bribes and laundering said money, while a former MP, Yousuf Naeem, was charged with bribery in the case. Yameen was President of the Maldives from 2013 to 2018.
FISHERMEN RETURN TO IRAN YEARS AFTER SOMALIA KIDNAPPING
On 25 December, Rferl reported that 14 Iranian fishermen seized by the Al-Shabaab militant group in Somalia, some as long as 8 years ago, have returned home. The fishermen were abducted in international waters near Somalia and are said to have been released after “lengthy negotiations with government officials, tribal chiefs, and Somali elders”.
ISLAMIC COUNTRIES ADOPT MAKKAH AGREEMENT FOR COOPERATION IN COMBATING CORRUPTION
On 21 December, Asharq Al-Aswat reported that the anti-corruption agencies of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states have adopted the Makkah Agreement aimed at strengthening cooperation and preventing corruption crimes. The Makkah Agreement looks to enhance cooperation between the enforcement authorities of anti-corruption laws in an efficient and speedy manner. It encourages joining the Riyadh Initiative, provides a legal framework for the exchange of information and investigations directly and quickly, and contributes to preventing corruption crimes and limiting safe havens for the corrupt.
UN AND EU CRITICISE WEAKENING OF GUATEMALA ANTI-CORRUPTION EFFORTS
On 20 December, AP reported that the UN and EU have condemned attacks on prosecutors and the weakening of anti-corruption efforts in Guatemala. The administration of President Alejandro Giammattei has brought charges against a number of former anti-corruption officials and judges, leading many of them to flee the country.
CLAIMS OF MONEY LAUNDERING AND NEPOTISM AT NGO RUN BY THE INCOMING ISRAELI HOUSING MINISTER
On 25 December, Haaretz reported that until 2015, some of the NGO managed by newly-elected Israeli lawmaker Yitzchak Goldknopf served as a kind of go-between for obtaining public funds – receiving roughly $35 million from the state to operate kindergartens and elementary schools for ultra-Orthodox boys. One source of the family’s livelihood, responsible for at least some of the accumulated wealth, is the network of family-run educational institutions, one of the largest in Israel. The annual turnover of the associations is estimated at over $114 million – most of which comes from the Education Ministry. The report includes what it calls an unbelievable story of alleged money laundering through bank accounts intended for the operation of 4 kindergartens funded through Goldknopf’s pipeline.
A GLAMOROUS YOUNG MUM HAS BEEN JAILED FOR HER ROLE IN A CYBER CRIME SYNDICATE THAT STOLE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS FROM INNOCENT AUSTRALIANS
On 25 December, the Daily Mail reported that Jasmine Vella-Arpaci, 24, was sentenced to 5½ years, with a non-parole period of 4 years. She was sentenced for her central role in a multimillion-dollar fraud syndicate which stretched from Hong Kong to the US, preying on some of the most vulnerable Australians. She was arrested in April 2019 at Melbourne Airport on her return from getting cosmetic surgery in Turkey.
OR EVEN A cHISTMAS COFFEE…