Kenneth Rijock

Kenneth Rijock

Wednesday, August 15, 2018


Trump and Martinelli at the Trump Ocean Club
 While corruption prosecutors in the Republic of Panama joust with Ricardo Martinelli's criminal defense team, there's some nasty unfinished business back in Federal Court in Miami, where Martinelli's closed Habeus Corpus extradition case remains strangely unavailable to the press and public. What are they hiding ?

The Martinelli District Court case, which he filed to stop the enforcement of a Federal court order requiring his extradition, to face criminal chages in his native Panama, where he had served as perhaps the country's most corrupt president, was, from the beginning, not available to view. It was not done through a sealing order, but through a curious administrative act: someone at the District Court simply denied total access to the public, to the pleadings and documents on file.

Observers in Panama have long asuspected, ands have repeatedly alleged, that there are two embarrassing reasons why the United States doesn't want the press, and the public to see this information in Martinelli's petition. Exactly how Martinelli was able to enter the US, due to the rampant corruption allegations in Panama is also an open question. The allegations:

(1) Ex-President Ricardo Martinelli was a confidential informant for a US law enforcement agency, or an intelligence service, and he detailed that relationship in his petition, and in subsequent filings.

(2) Then private businessman Donald Trump, when visiting Panana City in support of the Trump Ocean Club Hotel and Resort, participated in certain "extra-curricular leisure activities" which Martinelli's national security agency had captured on video, and Martinelli disclosed this fact in the petition.

(3) Martinelli also holds recordings of actions taken by US Government agencies in Latin America that would severely damage American diplomatic relations with its regional allies.

Is the public being denied access to the court file, long after it is closed, to save embarrassment to President Trump and/or US Government agencies ? We cannot say, but there has never been any mainstream press coverage of the mere fact that the file has never been available. It makes you wonder what is in that file.


When looking for ways to achieve an effective Enhanced Due Diligence solution, regarding Ctizenship by Investment (CBI/CIP) programs, we must be mindful of the profiles of the applicants:

(1) If you are aware of the public statistics, released by the five East Caribbean CBI states, you know that one-half of the CBI passports issued by Antigua & Barbuda have been to applicants from China, and allmost one hundred per cent of the CBI passports issued by Grenada have gone to individuals from China.

(2) Many of the other successful applicants for CBI passports, whether they choose European or Caribbean jurisdictions, are from countries using non-Latin alphabets, such as the Middle East (Arabic and Farsi), and East Asia (Korean, Malaysian and Thai, to name a few).

(3) When transliterating applicant's names, from the non-Latin characters, into the English language equivalent, there are universally accepted translation norms to guide us. Therefore, any number of correct variations on an English language name are deemed acceptable, which is a recipe for disaster.

CBI applicants, most of whom come from countries of elevated risk, often include financial criminals, assorted other bad actors, fugitives from justice, and international  sanctions evaders. Others are PEPs, Politically Exposed Persons, who are artfully concealing their PEP status, whether because they are corrupt bribe or kickback recipients, or tax evaders at home, or are closely associated with one who is such. He may have even come to you with an alias, all properly documented by his government, but accomplished through corrupt payments for a bogus passport.

So, you end up with an individual being arbitrarily assigned what you hope and trust is the genuine English equivalnt to his original name, which may mean that his high-risk status is never discovered through normal data inquiries. How do we identify him ?

The answer is to employ a facial recognition software platform, which will cull through news photographs, passports, social media images, newspaper and magazine articles, CCTV footage and other sources, and extract from them your target's image, verifying his stated identity, or show him to be a completely different person altogether. Without facial recognition confirmation, the chances that the CBI jurisdiction has issued a passport, under a clean alias, to a career criminal, foreign intelligence agent, or other unsuitable party, is unfortunately good. Due to the elevated level of risk with CBI applications, it has become a necessary, and yes, even mandatory, element of their Enhanced Due Diligence efforts. Let us hope that the agencies operating these programs get the message, as facial recognition software is the only effective solution.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018


Industry reports confirm that the European Commissioner for Justice, Vera Jourová, has made a public announcement that the upcoming agency report on Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programs has been advanced several months. There are rumors that the new report will attempt to set down specific guidelines, for national security reasons, for CBI programs.

Nonprofits and industry advocacy groups are expected to present comprerhensive responses to any negative findings and conclusions, especially in the area of due diligence, which to most objective observers has been an intentional failure, allowing career criminals, terrorist financiers, international sanctions evaders, and other unacceptable risks to acquire CBI passports. Without Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD), unsuitable applicants will continue to acquire CBI passports, and use them to launder the proceeds of crime.

We hope that the Commissioner's recommendations result in the passage of regulations that will result in the actual imposition of EDD requirements on all CBI passports, whether they are issued in the European Union, or the Caribbean, and in the event that this is not strictly adhered to, visa-free entry will be terminated, and visa procedures will be strict.


Former Fort Lauderdale attorney/fraudster Scott Rothstein, who is currently in the Federal Witness Protection Program (WITSEC), and serving a fifty year sentence for  a billion dollar Ponzi scheme, simply refuses to face the fact that he will not be receiving a Rule 35(b) sentence reduction in his case. He has filed an appeal from the District Court's order granting the Government's motion to reduce his sentence, and to also deny him an evidentiary hearing on the matter.

You may remember that the Government asked that the pending, generic motion for reduction of Rothstein's sentence be withdrawn, on the grounds that he engaged in misconduct, in connection with his former wife's efforts to hide their jewelry from being used to reimburse victims of the Ponzi. Considering the Government's sole discretion, in considering whether to reduce a sentence, Rothstein's contract argument was weak at best, and now he is appealing what appears to have been a sound judicial decision, based upon the rule of law. Nevertheless, the appeal is proceeding.

While the Appellate Brief has not yet been filed a proposed draft, presented to the Court in connection with a request to file it late indicated these are the issues presented:

(1)  The Court erred when it rules that the Governmen's sole discretion to file a Rule 35 motion includes the discretion to withdraw it.

(2) The Plea Agreement does not give the Government the right to withdraw a previously-filed Rule 35.

(3) The Court erred when it refused to give the appellant an evidentiary hearing on the issues.

Rothstein's counsel has requested Oral Argument.

Monday, August 13, 2018


The Government has filed its brief in the the 11th Circuit appeal it brought after the trial judge declined to enter an Order of Forfeiture against convicted Panamanian money launderer Nidal Ahmed Waked Hatum. It claims that the Court committed reversible error, by refusing to order Sr. Waked to forfeit properrtty, or by failing to enter a forfeiture money judgment, even through he had laundered over $10m.

The issues presented on appeal:

(1) Criminal Forfeiture is mandatory pursuant to US law. The Court apparently considered that the statutory $520m sum would violate the 8th Amendment's Excessive Fines Clause.
(2) The fact that Waked no longer possessed the funds involved in the money laundering conspiracy does not preclude forfeiture judgment of an equivalent amount.
(3) a forfeiture amount for Waked's money laundering conspiracy cannot be reduced or eliminated merely because Waked had repaid the defrauded bank. (The banks sustsained no losses).
(4) The District Court's subsequent misinterpretation of language in the Plea Agreement to forego entry of a forfeiture order against Waked also is reversible error.

The brief detailed how Waked moved funds, through wire transfers, from Panama to Miami, and back to Panama, outward bound from International Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) to Ocean Bank of Miami, and return to ISBC. He gave bogus invoices to the banks in support of the criminal money laundering scheme, in an amount in excess of $10.4m, to draw on lines of credit.

At sentencing, the Government requested 51 months' imprisonment, but the Courrt only imposed a sentence of 27 months, noting that the banks had suffered no losses, and that Waked's role was not paramount. Legal observers have been puzzed about the length of the sentence, the fact that he was not obligated to testify against any other individuals, and the lack of a forfeiture judgment against an individual who is known to have been a major player in the Waked Money Laundering Organization.

The Waked MLO operated openly* for more than a decade in Panama, and Central America, reportedly cleaning narco-profits for Colombian and Mexican cartels. Waked has since served his short sentence and returned to Panama, through still personally sanctioned by OFAC. Why was a member of a prominent money laundering organization not sentenced to 20 years ? Justice does not appear to have been served in this case, as the punishment did not fit the crime.
* The authorities in the Republic of Panama had overwhelming evidence of money laundering in the Waked companies for at least eight years prior to Waked's arrest in Colombia on US charges,, but corrupt officials in government there protected him and his associates.


The District Judge in the DC case involving Russian-linked companies involved in the social media campaign to affect the 2016 Presidential Election, Concord Management & Consulting LLC, has refused to dismiss the charges, due to the alleged unauthorized appointment, (and therefore lack of authority) of the Special Counsel.

 Above are the first and last pages of the 41-page Memorandum Opinion.

Sunday, August 12, 2018


Although there has been no press coverage of the New York Federal case against Reza Zarrab since his Turkish banker, Mehmet Atilla, was convicted earlier this year, the investigation continues. The fact that Zarrab, months after he agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, has not yet been sentenced, speaks volumes about the extensive debriefings that he must be undergoing, and those are strictly for the purpose of obtaining indictments against others in the multi-billion dollar oil sanctions evasion conspiracy.

If you need an indicator of the zeal with which the Government continues to act in this case, look at this. Although it has not been reported, a search of the docket of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reveals that The United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York has quietly appealed the 32-month sentence handed down against Zarrab's Turkish banker, Mehmet Atilla. Only if Atilla is facing a long prison term will be be more inclined to implicate others.

Whether Zarrab's information has resulted in additional indictments is not known, but there are a large number of sealed filings in the case, which can mean indictments of individuals out of the reach of the long arm of the US Justice Department, be they in Turkey, Iran, or elsewhere.

(A) The sanctions evasion syndicate, in which Zarrab was a principal player, has a number of members active oustide Iran.Who are the other members, and have they been indicted yet ?

(B) No further information has been made public exactly how the syndicate was able to accomplish its goals of covert sales, outside of the details appearing regarding Alireza Monfared, the Iranian holding a Dominica diplomatic passport, and working out of Labuan. Are there other counterfeit diplomats in the network, and what Diplomatic and CBI poassports are they employing to cover their operations ?

We will continue to look for signs of progress in the continuing investigation of the Iran Oil-for-Gold sanctions evasion scandal.