Friday, April 24, 2015

ARMED IRANIAN DRONES FLYING FROM HEZBOLLAH AIRFIELD COULD PLUNGE LEBANON INTO A COSTLY WAR

Aerial photographs of a new, operational UAV airfield, constructed by Hezbollah, in Eastern Lebanon, could result in attacks upon Israel, which could result in massive counterattacks that would damage Lebanon's critical infrastructure. Israeli bombardment could effectively disable Beirut's international banking center for an extended period, and create economic chaos.




The new Hezbollah Airfield, which is 10km. south of Hermel, appears to be providing aerial surveillance for Hezbollah's support of the Syrian regime's attacks upon opposition forces engaged in a civil war in Syria. The active runway is far too short* to handle transport aircraft, and the equipment seen suggests a drone facility. The problem is that the latest Iranian armed drone technology boasts a large, armed drone, with a range capable of attacking targets throughout Israel. Given Hezbollah's latest muscle-flexing actions, an unprovoked drone attack upon Israel becomes a distinct possibility in 2015.

Additionally, Iran has reportedly developed "kamikazi" or suicide drones, for the IRGC, and such aircraft could easily be deployed against Israel, with no warning, drawing a major attack upon sites throughout Lebanon, disabling airports, bridges, major roadways, and ground transportation systems, with disastrous results. Senior Israeli military officers have repeatedly stated that, should Lebanon fail to control Hezbollah military adventures against their country, that they will level the buildings in the south of Lebanon, and destroy infrastructure.

Under the circumstances, and given the present unstable situation in the Middle East, and with Hezbollah losing favor, and supporters, in the Arab countries, due to its support of Assad, yet another war, between Hezbollah and the State of Israel, could erupt this year. Compliance officers at banks that have financial exposure in Lebanon should consider raising Country Risk for Lebanon, as well as seeking to reduce their holdings there, forthwith.

_______________________________________________________________________
* The runway is estimated to be 2198 ft. (670m). Small STOL aircraft might be able to operate there, but conditions generally do not favor anything but drone flights.







PANAMA'S CORRUPTION PROSECUTORS INEXPLICABLY DISCLOSE THAT THEY MUST DELAY PROBE OF SUPREME COURT JUDGE WHO THREATENED TO EXPOSE POWER STRUCTURE



Panama's corruption authority has advised that it is unable to proceed with an investigation of Magistrate Judge Victor Benavides, of the Supreme Court of Justice. Benavides' former chief of security disclosed this week that he deposited large sums of cash, at Benavides' direction, into the judges' accounts, and that he had personal knowledge that the money came from bribes paid by litigants who had cases before the high court.

There were also powerful allegations that Benavides had spent much of this bribe money entertaining very young men, and that he was deeply involved in Pedophilia. The news shocked many in Panama, and there have been calls for an immediate investigation, especially of the corruption charges.

Following the release of the incriminating information, Judge Benavides made multiple telephone calls, to the remaining judges on the Supreme Court, and to certain prominent members of the National Assembly, threatening to expose their corruption, if criminal charges are filed against him. Immediately after that, the corruption prosecutors announced that they would be delaying the initiation of an investigation into Judge Benavides' misconduct.

While there are, admittedly, major ongoing corruption investigations pending in both the PAN and Martinelli cases, observers of Panamanian politics are wondering aloud whether Benavides' threats have caused powerful forces in government to order prosecutors to call off any investigation of Judge Benavides. If so, Panama's new reform movement may be doomed, especially if sitting politicians fear their dark pasts will be exposed. Does reform have a chance in Panama ?

BANK PRESIDENT ARRESTED IN KANSAS FOR MONEY LAUNDERING REMINDS US THAT REGULATORY DETERRENCE HAS FAILED


When I see news, like yesterday's announcement, that a bank president in Kansas charged with money laundering, was among those indicted in a Federal criminal case, I am again reminded about the utter failure of current government policies regarding the war on money laundering. The case involved a Mexican cartel; why is it we only see one of these a year ?

When regulators levy civil fines & penalties upon a bank that was engaged in money laundering, and law enforcement fails to indict those greedy bankers who actually committed the crime, or who were guilt of willful blindness, they fail to deter other bankers from engaging in those offenses. Deterrence only works when individuals who might be considering criminal activity fear the consequences of those possible actions, and they are not afraid, because bank fines are the worst thing that will happen to them.

Considering that most of the world's biggest banks have been guilty of repeated money laundering, and only suffered civil fines and penalties, it is clear that their directors are not afraid of individual accountability for their sins; they do not fear prison, because nobody in the bank will be arrested and charged. It is time to change that; otherwise the United States will never be able to sufficiently suppress the rampant money laundering that poisons the financial system, and makes criminals rich.  

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

DOES PANAMA'S FORMER PRESIDENT HAVE A MONEY LAUNDERING INDICTMENT WAITING FOR HIM IN THE UNITED STATES ?


The former Panamanian president, Ricardo Martinelli, appears to have intentionally avoided entering, or even transiting, America, since leaving office last year. Are the rumors true, is he under indictment, for money laundering, in the United States ? Criminal charges against former heads of state are rare in the the US, but are not unknown, as we know, especially when Panama is involved.

Here is why there is a strong chance this is true:

(1) Martinelli pointedly sent his private jet into, and through, the US, while his supporters were advising the media that he was in America, yet he was not on board, nor did he arrive in Miami, on that plane, which continued on to Europe. He has engaged in a campaign of disinformation regarding his whereabouts. Is he afraid of arrest and extradition to the US ?

(2) When the target is not in US jurisdiction, the indictment remains sealed, and not available to the public, so that the target can be apprehended upon arrival, not suspecting that charges exist.

(3) David Murcia Guzmán, the Colombian pyramid fraudster, padded his Ponzi profits with narcotics profits, to the tune of $3bn, and much of that money was laundered through Martinelli's Super 99 market chain. Murcia, who is not longer in the Federal Prison system, and thought to be in Witsec (the Federal Witness Security[protection] program). Murcia is said to be cooperating with US law enforcement, and his testimony alone is thought to be more than sufficient to convict Martinelli of drug money laundering.

(4) Millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks, paid to Martinelli by a publicly-owned corporation in Italy, to secure lucrative contracts in Panama, was reportedly transferred to a number of overseas accounts. The dollar transactions were transferred through New York; the acceptance of bribes and kickbacks were predicate acts.

(5) There are credible rumors of a large cash reward for information leading to his capture, being circulated by law enforcement.

Will the United States, to set an example, arrange to capture Martinelli, in South America, and bring him to the United States for trial ? We cannot say, but many in the US are hoping that they will have the opportunity to see their corrupt former president, in District Court in Miami, facing American justice.  

FIFTH CIRCUIT AGAIN LECTURES ALLEN STANFORD ON LAW AND PROCEDURE


The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has once more scolded Allen Stanford, lecturing him on both Federal law, and civil procedure. After having reprinted the District Court gag order currently still in full force and effect, in the 5th Circuit court file, apparently Mr. Stanford, and the individual who is ghost-writing his appellate filings for him, failed to get the message.

The Court has now entered this order, which was filed on April 16, 2015:

PER CURIAM:
"Appellant moves to vacate the District Court's gag order, and to be granted permission to speak with the media, concerning the status of his appeal. We currently lack jurisdiction, under the Collateral Order Doctrine*, to decide appellant's motion; appellant's earlier motion to vacate the gag order was denied by the District Court without prejudice, and Appellant has not re-filed his motion in the District Court.[citation omitted]

     IT IS ORDERED that Appellant's motion, requesting that the District Court's gag order be vacated, is dismissed, without prejudice to Appellant moving to vacate the gag order in the District Court in the first instance".

Perhaps Mr; Stanford, and his paralegal assistants, whoever they may be, should actually research the law, as well as both the rules of civil and appellate procedure, before filing any more motions before the Fifth Circuit. Prison law libraries are there for that reason; use them.

__________________________________________________________________________
* Stanford filed a motion to vacate the District Court's gag order, which appeared to be an underhanded attempt to file an appeal of that order, but which is barred because it is neither a final judgment, nor in the class of rulings that conclusively decide an issue separate from the merits of the case, and which would be effectively unreviewable after the entry of a final judgment. That is why the Court cited the Collateral Order Doctrine.

PANAMA'S FUGITIVE EX-PRESIDENT IS NOT RELAXING IN MIAMI



This is the Atlantis Condominium, located in Miami's pricey Brickell Avenue waterfront residential area, immediately south of the city's international banking district. Contrary to what has been published, it is NOT the current residence of the fugitive former president of the Republic of Panama, Ricardo Martinelli. The purported interview of Martinelli in Miami is a total fiction. Most observers have him, and a large number of his entourage, hiding out on an estate that he purchased in Paraguay. Anything else you read is merely disinformation. 

SUPREME COURT JUDGE, UNDER FIRE FOR CORRUPTION, THREATENS TO EXPOSE OTHER JUSTICES


Magistrate Judge Victor Benavides, under criminal investigation after his former security chief stated, in a video and sworn statement, that his ex-boss took bribe money to fix Supreme Court cases, and also engaged in pedophilia, has responded, by threatening exposure of Panama's widespread corruption.

Benavides telephoned all the other members of the Supreme Court of Justice, as well as several prominent members of the National Assembly, Panama's Parliament. He bluntly threatened to expose:

(1) Rampant corruption among the Supreme Court Justices.
(2) The identities of judges and Assembly members who kept mistresses, and their names.
(3) the names of government officials who engaged in acts of sexual depravity and deviance.
(4) Who received bribes and kickbacks in Panamanian government agencies, and the courts.

Clearly, Judge Benavides is desperate; whether his threats will have an effect upon his criminal prosecution is not known, but Panamanians are sick of the corrupt system that operates government and the courts in Panama, and they may demand that this information be aired.