Kenneth Rijock

Kenneth Rijock

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

JUDGE HEARS MARTINELLI EXTRADITION, WILL RULE ON AUGUST 31


US Magistrate Judge Edwin Torres today heard final arguments in the extradition case against former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli. Due to a defense request to translate an affidavit from Spanish, the Court will be rendering its decision on August 31st.

Martinelli's counsel has interposed a number of procedural and substantive defenses to his extradition, on embezzlement and illegal surveillance (video and audio) charges:

(1) The Government of Panama has no evidence of embezzlement. 
(2) The Extradition Treaty between the parties is inadequate regarding the illegal surveillance charge, as that crime was not an extraditable offense when it was allegedly committed. The treaty cannot be applied retroactively.




GRENADA DIPLOMATIC PASSPORT SCANDAL CONTROVERSY CONTINUES




The story about the ordeal of a European businessman, who was told he would be provided with a diplomatic passport, for the small sum of one million dollars. and then never having received it, had to go to senior officials in Grenada to obtain a refund, has elicited comments on all sides. To respond to those who have inquired about whether there actually is evidence to support the facts, be advised that I have reviewed the emails, from and to governmental officials, at the highest level, in two Caribbean countries, documenting the sordid tale. I also received them from an additional, and official, source, thereby insuring their authenticity.

Publishing those letters would expose not only the victim,  by naming him, but also identify the original sources of the information, West Indians who were so outraged when they originally saw the evidence, that they shared it with this blog. I have no interest in exposing either of those informants, so that darker forces, who profit from illegal diplomatic passport schemes, or their highly-paid legal advisers, can attack or persecute them, but be assured: there is a factual basis for the story.

The United Nations, which adopted the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, needs to open an investigation on the member states that are selling these obscene, and completely illegal, diplomatic passports. 



 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

SOCIAL MEDIA AS THE SOLUTION TO CORRESPONDENT BANKING'S DE-RISKING PROBLEM



American financial institutions, under increasing pressure from regulators to adopt risk-based compliance programs, have terminated many of their correspondent banking relationships with Caribbean banks. The region's banks have a low volume of international transactions, and its offshore financial centers are often confused with tax havens, and information on their customers is difficult to obtain. De-Risking is the term applied to the policy of ending such relationships for compliance  and risk management reasons.

The result is a massive number of reductions in correspondent banking relationships by US banks, to the dismay of their former Caribbean respondents. Those banks, for whom a US banking relationship must be maintained, in order for their clients to trade in American markets and receive funds from family members who are expats, must now find a workable yet affordable solution.

Social media, which was first utilized by American money service businesses as a means of accessing information on their unbanked* clients, provides a solution to the US banks seeking comprehensive information on the customers of their Caribbean banks, or Know Your Customers' Customers (KYCC). It can bridge the information gap that exists regarding those customers.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) software algorithms that scan social media have the ability to extract personal data information which will satisfy the requirements of onshore banks for KYCC,  such as occupation, employment, educational background, and the assessment of individual risk levels of the bank clients, through direct and indirect relationships, located by the algorithms. Social media software can resolve the de-risking problem of foreign banks.
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* Individuals who do not have a bank account. 


CBI SALESMAN WHO RECEIVED A MILLION DOLLARS FOR A DIPLOMATIC PASSPORT IDENTIFIED


Christopher Willis
 The individual who solicited and received $1,000,000 for a diplomatic passport, from a European businessman has been identified as the Managing Director of a company that sells passports through Citizenship by Investment, through a number of East Caribbean countries. He is Christopher Willis, then the MD of Henley & Partners Caribbean Ltd., believed to be a wholly-owned subsidiary of Henley & Partners, located in Jersey, in the Channel Islands. Willis is currently listed as such on Internet websites, and has been quoted in the press, as recently as May, 2017, representing himself as such, though the company new claims he does not hold that position, but another one in another location.  

The victim, who was led to believe by Willis that he could obtain a diplomatic passport in Either Antigua or Grenada, due to the strength of his relationships there with government, was ordered to send via wire transfer the sum of one million dollars, to an account at Wells Fargo Bank in Singapore. He never received the passport, and initiated inquiries through government, at the highest level, after hearing, from another victim, similarly situated, who also made a very large payment, and did not receive a passport, on any kind or type, in return.

Correspondence received by this blog showed that Antiguan authorities have never had any file on the victim, CBI or otherwise, and advised him accordingly, which he acknowledged. We confirmed this information through other channels; Antigua was not involved. He then moved on to Grenada with his inquiries.

The victim's correspondence to Grenada resulted in an extensive exchange of emails, between him and the minister charged with CBI matters in that country. No mention appeared of any passport; it centered around the return of his fund, and how Grenada could assist him. Grenada did not deny that he was known to them, but offered to facilitate a complete refund.

 Several months later, the victim reported that he had recovered his money, but whether any part of it was received by senior government officials in Grenada has not been confirmed. Possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (payment was in US Dollars), FinCEN or TARP regulations, are under investigation.

Willis in Dominica
It is important to note that none of the five CBI programs being administered in the nations of the East Caribbean provide for the purchase of diplomatic passports, which do NOT confer citizenship, and which are strictly regulated by the Vienna Convention, in which all the CBI-issuing nations are members. Any distribution of a diplomatic passport to non-nationals, of any country, is a violation of the Convention, are are generally regarded as void, as a matter of international law. Several Caribbean countries have been rocked by diplomatic passport scandals, involving international financial criminals, notably Dominica.

Finally, we should consider Wells Fargo Bank, whose acceptance of those funds flies in the face of  generally-accepted compliance procedures, regarding both high-risk customers, as well as, high-risk jurisdictions. Wells Fargo is reportedly the correspondent bank for foreign financial institutions that bank a number of companies that sell CBI products. Its participation in the transaction which is the subject  of this article call into question the effectiveness of its global compliance program, including but not limited to, Know Your Customer (KYC), and Know Your Customer's Customer (KYCC) regulations, as well as Banking Best Practices.
     

PANAMA'S EX-MINISTER OF THE ECONOMY & FINANCE HELD IN PREVENTIVE DETENTION


 Panama's Anti-Corruption Prosecutor has ordered that Frank Georges de Lima Gercich, who was Minister for the Economy and Finance under President Ricardo Martinelli, be held in preventive detention indefinitely. It is believed that de Lima intended to leave the country, to evade the criminal charges pending against him since 2015.  The former minister allegedly participated in the diversion of funds involving the National Assistance Program (PAN); His attorney has publicly denied his involvement.

 A number of former members of the Martinelli Cabinet, and other senior officials and businessmen implicated in several corruption matters, have engaged in flight to avoid prosecution; others have simply disappeared, and their current whereabouts are unknown to the authorities.

Monday, August 21, 2017

TURKISH BANKER FILES HIS REPLY MEMORANDUM IN ZARRAB IRAN OIL SANCTIONS CASE



Counsel for Mehmet Atilla, the Turkish bank deputy CEO charged with facilitating the multi-billion dollar international oil sanctions syndicate lead by Reza Zarrab, Babak Zanjani & Alireza Monfared, filed their Reply Brief today. The brief, in support of Atilla's pending Motions to Dismiss, Motion to Sever, and Motion to Examine Grand Jury Minutes, basically did not cover any new issues, and served to do little more than quote from the original brief. The defendant's motions do not appear to have a strong chance of success.

A sealed document was filed with the Court, which could indicate a possible change of plea from one of the defendants, or a sealed indictment of a new defendant, but it could also merely be classified evidence being deposited. Should there be any significant developments in this case, we shall promptly post them to this blog, as we are monitoring the court file.  

Sunday, August 20, 2017

WHAT IS THIS CELEBRITY-OBSESSED PSEUDO-DIPLOMAT FROM DOMINICA, FRIEND OF DONALD TRUMP, DOING AT THE UNITED NATIONS ?

President-Elect Trump, his wife,and Paolo Zampoli
 By far the strangest story to emerge from the Caribbean's "play for-pay" diplomatic passport sales programs, where foreign nationals acquire a diplomatic passport, is the tale of an Italian businessman from New York, Paolo Zampoli. According to reliance sources in the Commonwealth of Dominica, in 2011 Zampoli approached Vince Henderson, the UN Ambassador, and offered to pay $250,000, in cash, for a diplomatic appointment, and passport.

At the same time, Zamboli also approached the UN Ambassador from Grenada, with a similar request, which was reportedly declined, but reports show his subsequent appointment, ion August, 2012, as Grenada's Minister of Tourism, and his wife, Amanda also appointed to a diplomatic post in Grenada.

Over the reported objections of his advisors, Dominica PM Roosevelt Skerrit, who traveled to New York in March 2011, met Zampoli, who introduced him at that time to his close friend, President Donald Trump. Zampoli, who had owned a New York modeling agency, claims that he made the initial introduction between Trump and his current wife, the First Lady, Milania.  Zampoli has continued his close ties to the Trumps, appearing at the Mar-A-Lago resort with the Trump family, since his election.

PM Skerrit appointed Zampoli  to the diplomatic rank of Minister Counsellor for Dominica, and named him as Ambassador Henderson's deputy, in the UN Mission of Dominica, as of November, 2011. In October, 2013, Zampoli was additionally appointed Ambassador for Oceans and Seas, which appears to be basically a symbolic position, with little, if any, actual duties and responsibilities. Dominicans say that Zampoli has never visited the country he purportedly represents as a diplomat.

Zampoli, since his ambassadorial appointment, has been a fixture at the United Nations; the Internet is full of photographs of him with some of the world's most influential diplomats and statesmen. What he actually does at the UN is another story, other than mix and mingle. Some observers believe his primary goal is to cultivate relationships with powerful international leaders, but on whose behalf is not known, as Dominica's role at the United Nations is small, though its current government is closely aligned with China, Venezuela and Cuba. His end game remains a mystery; Why is he trying to win friends and influence people ?
Paolo Zampoli
What we are seeing is most likely a celebrity-obsessed businessman, who bought his way into the private halls of the United Nations, with a diplomatic passport from Dominica,  which allowed him to participate in the deliberations of that august body. As long as individuals can purchase diplomatic status, through programs that violate the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, these abuses will continue. We do wonder, who got the $250,000 ? It certainly did not end up in the National Treasury of the Commonwealth of Dominica.