OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – APRIL 22

22nd April 2018

 SUPERYACHT AT THE CENTRE OF ‘BRITAIN’S BIGGEST DIVORCE BATTLE’ WAS REGISTERED IN ISLE OF MAN

On 21st April, Manx Radio reported that a superyacht at the centre of what’s being dubbed ‘Britain’s biggest divorce battle’ was registered on the Island – being first registered to a company in the Marshall Islands, before being transferred to the Isle of Man, then onto Panama and Liechtenstein.  Russian oligarch Farkhad Akhmedov is engaged in a battle with his former wife Tatiana, as tries to prevent her gaining access to his fortune.  However, he’s now been ordered to hand over his £180 million yacht, Luna, after a judge claimed he had tried to hide it from her.  It has been detained in Dubai.

https://www.manxradio.com/news/isle-of-man-news/oligarchs-yacht-was-manx-registered/

CORRUPTION INCORPORATED: THE ODEBRECHT STORY

A BBC Radio documentary first broadcast on 21st April starts by saying that Odebrecht was one of Brazil’s premier companies – the largest construction firm in Latin America. But some of its success in securing multimillion dollar contracts across the region was built on a policy of colossal bribery.  This edifice of graft began to crumble when the Brazilian authorities started to investigate the state-owned oil company, Petrobras.  The US DoJ called it “the largest foreign bribery case in history”.  After Brazilian multinational Odebrecht admitted guilt in a cash-for-contracts corruption scandal in 12 nations, it vowed to change its ways.  But Brazil’s authorities are still wrestling with an encrypted computer system used to run the firm’s illicit payment system.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3csxg1t

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-43825294

 

LATVIA SECURES HELP FROM THE US TO CLEAN UP ITS SCANDAL-TAINTED BANKS

Bloomberg on 22nd April reported that Latvia’s financial investigators will receive more U.S. help as the Baltic nation races to emerge from a money laundering scandal that toppled its third-largest lender.  It agreed technical assistance from the US Treasury for the country’s FIU.  ABLV was the third Latvian bank the US has proposed to ban from the US financial system since the Treasury Department was given authority to do so in 2001.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-22/latvia-secures-u-s-help-to-clean-up-its-scandal-tainted-banks?src=ilaw

IMF SEEKS TO CRACK DOWN ON CORRUPTION AND PROBE ROLE OF ADVANCED ECONOMIES IN FEEDING CORRUPTION

Deutsche Welle on 22nd April reported that the IMF is calling on wealthier countries to limit potential safe havens for dirty money.  The IMF announced new guidelines Sunday aimed at systematically addressing corruption and its impact on economic growth in all 189 of its member states. The announcement came at the IMF’s and World Bank’s spring meeting in Washington.  The new policy also addresses how wealthy countries contribute to corruption in developing nations by failing to prevent bribery, money laundering and by allowing anonymous corporate ownership.  The new guidelines on good governance take effect July 1st and follow a recent review of the IMF’s 20-year-old policy. The language of the outgoing policy was criticised in the review for sometimes using euphemisms addressing corruption in member states. That often left local officials uncertain about IMF concerns and expectations.  The guidelines call for the fund to discuss good governance concerns in all annual economic reviews of member countries.

Bloomberg reports that to address the “supply side,” the IMF will study the legal and institutional systems of nations that volunteer to be scrutinised. It’ll check whether countries criminalize and prosecute bribery abroad, and whether they have rules to stop money laundering.  G7 nations, as well as Austria and the Czech Republic, have volunteered so far.

http://www.dw.com/en/imf-seeks-to-crack-down-on-corruption-world-bank-boosts-lending-capacity/a-43489222?src=ilaw

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-22/imf-to-probe-role-of-advanced-economies-in-feeding-corruption?src=ilaw

See also the IMF Blog –

https://blogs.imf.org/2018/04/22/shining-a-bright-light-into-the-dark-corners-of-weak-governance-and-corruption/?src=ilaw

And the official news release –

http://www.imf.org/en/News/Articles/2018/04/21/pr18142-imf-board-approves-new-framework-for-enhanced-engagement-on-governance

FREEZE ON ILLEGAL LOBSTER MAGNATE’S MULTIMILLIONS IN JERSEY

The Jersey Evening Post on 22nd April reported that a South African fishing magnate who made a fortune selling illegally caught lobster has been told that he cannot get his hands on millions of pounds held in Jersey.  The Royal Court has decided to maintain a freeze on the assets of Arnold Bengis, who admitted his involvement in a conspiracy to land huge amounts of the prized shellfish in excess of permitted quotas between 1999 until 2001. The illegally caught lobster were shipped to the US.  An appeal had been launched by a Lichtenstein-based trust company.  Bengis, who owned Hout Bay Fishing Industries, pleaded guilty in a South African court in 2002 to 28 charges under the country’s Marine Resources Act.  Around $23.3 million of Mr Bengis’s money was ‘held by 3 companies with SG Hambos Bank (Channel Islands) Limited in Jersey’ according a judgment issued by the Royal Court setting out its reasons for rejecting the appeal.  In July 2017, following a request from US authorities, the Attorney General granted a forfeiture order of $37.2 million.

https://jerseyeveningpost.com/news/2018/04/22/freeze-on-illegal-lobster-magnates-multi-millions/#8830eYvUD8zrrPLH.99

OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – APRIL 21

21st April 2018

US CALL TO AMEND MTCR TO ALLOW MORE DRONE EXPORTS

In Defense One on 20th April, the president and CEO of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) argues that, along with the just-announced US national policy on the export of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), the US Government needs to seek changes to the Missile Technology Control Regime which currently can classify UAS (aka UAV or RPA – remotely piloted aircraft) as if missiles.  He proposes an additional criterion to exclude from the MTCR RPA with a maximum speed of 800 kmh or less.

https://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2018/04/white-house-relaxing-drone-exports-heres-good-next-step/147611/

See also –

http://www.newsroomamerica.com/story/654389/fact_sheets_u.s._policy_on_the_export_of_unmanned_aerial_systems.html

FORMER MEXICAN GOVERNOR EXTRADITED FROM ITALY TO US

On 20th April, Swissinfo reported that former Mexican governor, Tomas Yarrington, accused of having ties to Mexican drug cartels has been extradited to the US from Italy, a Mexican security source said.  He governed the state of Tamaulipas from 1999 to 2005 for the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), and was arrested last year by Italian police pending an extradition request from a federal judge in Texas.  He has been accused by US and Mexican prosecutors of accepting millions of dollars in bribes from criminal organisations in Mexico. He is also accused of extortion and money laundering.

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/reuters/former-mexican-governor-extradited-from-italy-to-u-s—-source/44063812

MACAU MONETARY AUTHORITY ISSUES WARNING ON CRYPTO FOLLOWING CRIMINAL TIES TO ICO

Coin Telegraph on 21st April reported that the Monetary Authority of Macau has issued a warning to the public regarding the possibility “fraud and criminal activities” in cryptocurrencies.  This after the Macuau Dragon Group, a firm associated with Chinese gangster Wan Kuokoi, employed Cambridge Analytica to promote Dragon Coin, a new virtual currency for gamblers to transfer money to Macau casinos.  Wan has reportedly spent more than 10 years in prison for various crimes, including leading the “14K” triad group in Macau.  Banks and payment institutions are forbidden from direct or indirect involvement in providing services for cryptocurrency exchanges under Macau monetary regulations, but there are no rules restricting ICOs in the private casino industry.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/macau-monetary-authority-issues-warning-on-crypto-following-criminal-ties-to-ico?src=ilaw

CUSTOMS OFFICIALS RAID KOREAN AIR OVER ALLEGED IMPORT TAX EVASION BY CHAIRMAN’S DAUGHTER

The Yonhap News Agency on 21st April reported that customs officials raided the headquarters of Korean Air Lines and the residence of the chairman’s daughter to look into allegations that the heiress didn’t pay duties on luxury goods brought into the country.  It was reported the family used to airline’s aircraft to import goods misdescribed and without paying import duties.

http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/news/2018/04/21/0200000000AEN20180421001900320.html?input=rss

33 TAIWANESE FRAUD SUSPECTS DETAINED FOLLOWING DEPORTATION FROM POLAND

Focus Taiwan on 21st April reported that a group of 33 Taiwanese telecommunication fraud suspects arrested in Poland earlier this year have been taken into custody by Taiwan prosecutors.  Prosecutors are currently questioning a second group of 14 suspects who were arrested in the same case and deported to Taiwan.

http://focustaiwan.tw/news/asoc/201804210003.aspx?src=ilaw

PODCAST: PATRICK HO, CHINA MONEY AND THE SEARCH FOR RESOURCES

Episode 837 of Planet Money on National Public Radio in the US is a 22½-minute podcast about why FBI agents arrested Patrick Ho, charging him with money laundering and bribery.  In the show, we follow the money around the world, his connections in Africa and get a rare look into how China is scrambling for resources in Africa.  Always interesting.  For example, why are there more Chinese barbers in Uganda?

https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2018/04/20/604463930/episode-837-the-belt-the-road-and-the-money?src=ilaw

HOW A NUCLEAR BLAST WOULD AFFECT YOUR LOCALITY

An interactive tool enables you to see what effect a nuclear weapon blast would have on where you live.  For example, a 300 KT (Minuteman III W87 warhead) ground burst on central Isle of Man (where mostly hills) would yield only immediate 138 deaths and 5,600 injuries.  However, an air burst in the same place would kill an estimate 1,965 and injure 21,462.

https://outrider.org/nuclear-weapons/interactive/bomb-blast/

INDIA TO SEIZE PROPERTY OF SUPER-RICH FUGITIVES

Reuters on 21st April reported that Indian authorities will be empowered to seize properties of super-rich fugitives whose economic offences or crimes involve sums over $15 million, according to a government document seen by Reuters.  The move comes as the country reels from a series of banking scandals, including a $2 billion fraud at state-run Punjab National Bank.

https://in.reuters.com/article/india-crime-fugitives-nirav-modi/india-to-seize-property-of-super-rich-fugitives-document-idINKBN1HS0H6?src=ilaw

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Full-size poster available on eBay.

US STATE DEPARTMENT CRITICISES BULGARIA ON PRISONS, JUDICIARY, CORRUPTION, PEOPLE-TRAFFICKING AND VIOLENCE AGAINST MINORITIES

The Sofia Globe reported on 21st April that the most significant human rights issues in Bulgaria in 2017 included harsh conditions in prisons and detention facilities; lack of judicial independence; corruption in all branches of government; trafficking in persons; and societal violence against ethnic minorities, according to the US State Department’s annual report on human rights practices.

https://sofiaglobe.com/2018/04/21/us-state-dept-criticises-bulgaria-on-prisons-judiciary-corruption-people-trafficking-and-violence-against-minorities/?src=ilaw

POKERSTARS PARENT TO ACQUIRE SKY BETTING AND GAMING

Calvin Ayre on 21st April reported that the Stars Group, parent company of online gambling giant PokerStars, has reached a $4.7 billion deal to acquire Sky Betting and Gaming (SBG).

https://calvinayre.com/2018/04/21/business/stars-group-buys-sky-betting-gaming/

ILLEGAL WASTE TRAFFICKING: HOW TO MAKE €1.8 MILLION FROM 200,000 USED TYRES

On 21st April, a news release from Europol reported that, as part of Operation ROTAMM, the Guardia Civil dismantled a criminal group operating from Spain that acquired used tyres and sold them illegally in Africa, America and Europe.  The operation involved 17 countries from the 3 continents.  It is estimated that the criminal organisation could have obtained net profits amounting to nearly €2 million.  The network acquired the used tyres in Spain and other European countries, particularly where tyres are generally changed early.  Once in Spain, the tyres that were meant for disposal were instead sold to low-income third countries to be reused on vehicles.  Outside Europe, the sale of tyres reached as far as Bolivia, Colombia, Congo, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Ghana, Mauritania, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico and Senegal.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/illegal-waste-trafficking-how-to-make-eur-18-million-200-000-used-tyres

IRAQ TO WORK WITH IRAN ON MILITARY INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT

Janes.com on 21st April reported that Iran and Iraq are to collaborate on reviving Iraq’s military industrial capabilities, Iraqi news media reported.  The agreement covers the transfer of technology to Iraq and the localisation of military and civilian products, as well as efforts to “improve and expand future co-operation in military and civilian industrial projects”.  Specific projects were not detailed, but it was stressed that Iraq was seeking to improve its self-sufficiency in military equipment manufacturing, particularly on systems such as ammunition, mortars, artillery, unmanned aerial vehicles, and communications systems.

http://www.janes.com/article/79466/iraq-to-work-with-iran-on-military-industrial-development