Kenneth Rijock

Kenneth Rijock

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

PASSPORT AND ID FIRM ENGAGED BY DOMINICA LINKED TO BRIBES AND KICKBACKS



Semlex Group, the Belgian biometric passport and ID card firm that is currently working for the Commonwealth of Dominica, and whose goal is to create ID cards for all citizens there, has a dark reputation in Africa, where it vends passports, and provides other ID services. Simply put, it pays substantial bribes & kickbacks to government officials, to obtain the business.

Additionally, it intentionally charges individuals in those countries for whom it is manufacturing passports clearly excessive fees, and then passes on only a small fraction of its profits to the countries that it services. Some of the passport charged are so exorbitant that they are not affordable to the average individual.

We have previously detailed the scandal in the Comoros Islands, involving Semlex, and its owner, Albert Karaziwan, a Syrian national who is believed to have funds the company's startup operations through an extended period of criminal activity, a decade ago, where he sold counterfeit diplomatic passports in Europe.


Albert Karaziwan

Some of the illegal countries where bribes & kickbacks, or other illegal acts of Semlex Group,  are  known to have taken place:

(1) A $700,000 bribe paid by Karaziwan, to get the government passport business in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

(2) Collecting such clearly excessive fees, from passport applicants, in Mozambique, that the contract was terminated. The citizens could not afford the fees.

(3) Bribes paid in Guinea-Bissau.

(4) Excessive passport fees charged in Madagascar.

(5) Bribes paid in Chad.

We wonder exactly how much  Semlex, through Karaziwan, is kicking back to individuals in the government of Dominica, and whether ID cards will end up for sale to foreign nationals, at high prices, to establish a bogus identity.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

MALTA CAUGHT SELLING PASSPORTS TO OFAC-SANCTIONED IRANIAN



Malta's problems with the backgrounds of the dodgy characters to whom its scandal-ridden leadership is selling EU citizenship continue to damage its already tawdry reputation. Recently, an Iranian national gained entry into Canada, on the strength of his Maltese CBI psssport, where he sought to purchase a property containing six residences. Enhanced Due Diligence was performed on this individual by the bank, in connection with the sale, and it was learned that the person was on the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctions list.

Shortly after he was exposed as a designated OFAC national, the "Maltese citizen" abruptly left Canada. Why did the citizenship consultancy, the due diligence firm responsible for vetting applicants, and lastly, the Government of the Republic of Malta, on this compliance malpractice ?



If this is an example of the quality of applicants accepted by Malta for its passports, which carry Schengen Zone privileges, then ALL Maltese passport holders, whose place of birth is shown to be outside the country, should be subject to Enhanced Due Diligence investigation, by compliance officers, as well as customs & immigration officers when they seek entry to The United States and Canada. Perhaps Malta should suspend its CBI program, until they clean it up.


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© 2018 by Kenneth Rijock; contributed by Kenneth Rijock.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

WHO IN ANTIGUA HIRED A PROMINENT HACKER ?



Insiders in Antigua have alleged that unknown government parties there have engaged a prominent international hacking firm, which ostensibly will check Antigua's online security levels. Given the fact that a number of sitting governments in the East Caribbean have been accused of using hackers to attack their Opposition,  reports of additional covert acts must be taken seriously, noting that the ongoing corruption matters have given many other East Caribbean states a black eye, in the view of many North American-based compliance officers.

 Some Antiguans are concerned that government-funded Internet manipulation and anonymous attacks upon individuals that anyone considers a threat to elected officials might be employed to damage opposition leaders, and impact their effectiveness as whistle blowers of misconduct. There are persistent rumors that the hacking firm is not only protecting websites for clients, but is also engaged in illicit activity, as ordered by a number of their government their clients, and that this is the true nature of their engagement. This has not yet been confirmed.

It is not known what the response will be when Antiguans are fully informed about such questionable activities, it is expected that they will voice their concerns to government.Who really hired the hackers ?

Last year, we reported on similar covert (and illegal) Internet projects, targeting Opposition figures and parties, in the Commonwealth of Dominica. That illicit program is believed to be still in operation there.

Friday, January 12, 2018

COUNTRY RISK FOR DOMINICA NOW AT HIGHEST LEVEL



Compliance officers at international banks know that a major component of Country Risk calculation is a country's court system. Will a foreign financial international institution, or its clients be able to trust a nation's courts to follow the Rule of Law.  Is justice consistently served there regarding bad actors, financial criminals, or corrupt officials who break the law, in the event a civil suit, or criminal action becomes necessary to protect interest, or recover losses ?

We regret to report that, in an action in the Commonwealth of Dominica this week, a sitting judge released criminal proceeds, previously frozen at the request of the US Securities & Exchange Commission, in a case against the prominent international fugitive and fraudster, Spanish national Pedro Fort Berbel. Berbel, who operated a major Ponzi scheme in Florida and Spain, has been literally hiding out in Dominica, having fled there to evade justice, after defrauding investors of $38m. He is now protected by the corrupt local government, which has repeatedly given safe harbor to career criminals on the run, most recently international sanctions evader, the Iranian Alireza Monfared, whose case permanently gave Dominica a black eye.

Ponzi schemer Pedro Fort Berbel
  Monfared is believed to have been an intelligence agent of Iran, who went rogue, and stole billions in illicit oil profits from his country, with Reza Zarrab and Babak Zanjani. Monfared had an illegally-obtained diplomatic passport, in violation of a United Nations treaty on diplomats. There are an estimated five hundred such illicit Dominica diplomatic passports in the hands of financial criminals, Middle Eastern terrorists, and Chinese & Russian Organized Crime members.

The SEC, which has a major civil suit* pending against Fort Berbel, in US District Court in Miami, sought to recover funds for investor victims, by obtaining an order from the High Court of Justice, without notice, to freeze funds in several accounts in Dominica banks.**The funds had apparently been hastily transferred to accounts of Fort's local attorneys, including Kondwani Williams, whom we have covered in earlier articles. Williams allegedly represents fraudsters who own Inter-Oceanic Bank of the Caribbean, a virtual bank whose headquarters is actually located within Williams' seedy law offices in downtown Roseau. The bank closed up its website as soon as we reported on its activities; it was seeking investor capital of a minimum of USD$100,000, but it appears to also be a Ponzi scheme.

The judge in Dominica, who by reputation is closely associated with the corrupt local government of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, unfroze the accounts, in clear disregard for the massive amount of incriminating evidence, and the Rule of Law. The claims of Dominica attorneys linked to the regime, that the SEC failed to controvert self-serving affidavits, filed by Williams and others, is merely an attempt to justify what was truly a political ruling, intended to favor the sitting government, who has reaped lucrative profits, by its relationship with Fort, who allegedly holds both CBI and diplomatic passports from Dominica.

PM Roosevelt Skerrit & Attorney Kondwani Williams
 
The action of the Court is not only a setback for the SEC enforcement and collection action, it demonstrates that the judiciary, as we have seen repeatedly in Venezuela, an ally of Dominica, acts according to the demands of government officials, and not pursuant to the Rule of Law. What subsequent action the United States takes, including but not limited to OFAC sanctions, passport restrictions on Dominica passport holders, or criminal indictments, is not known at this time, but expect some blowback to the unexpected, and utterly corrupt, court decision.

Judge Birnie Stephenson


Since we cannot trust the court system to be fair and impartial, and to follow decisional and statutory law, we must now raise Country Risk to its highest level, into the plateau where no financial transactions should be either initiated, or even contemplated, due to the clear and present dangers present in Dominica at this time.
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*Securities & Exchange Commision vs. Pedro Fort Berbel, et al, Case No.: 17-cv-23572-FAM (SDFL).
**  All the banks that accepted Fort's Ponzi profits were subsidiaries of Canadian banks:  Nova Scotia Bank, First Caribbean International Bank, and Royal Bank of Canada. Serious questions have been raised by compliance officers familiar with the region, as to how these banks allowed funds from a known Ponzi schemer to be accepted, and why the attorneys accounts were not closed.


Thursday, January 11, 2018

WILL THE UNITED STATES DECLINE TO EXTRADITE MARTINELLI TO PROTECT ITS SECRETS ?


 Don't be surprised if Panama's extradition request for Ricardo Martinelli is further delayed, or even declined, on procedural, rather than substantive, grounds, later this month. Rumors flying around Panama state that the fugitive former president has classified information about US operations in Latin America, the public disclosure of which could severely damage diplomatic relations between America and several Central & South American nations.

 Keeping those secrets is apparently more important than letting Martinelli face Panamanian justice; Panama's reformers will be unhappy, especially since Martinelli allegedly has incriminating evidence against the country's current president, Juan Carlos Varela, who was Vice President, and Minister of Foreign Relations under Martinelli.

There were a number of defects, ostensibly under Panamanian law, that Martinelli's attorneys have asserted could provide the legal basis for a Federal Court ruling rejecting Panama's extradition request. Most legal observers in Panama City has opined that they are without any merit, but it may provide some cover for a ruling. Did he have diplomatic immunity from extradition, due to his contrived appointment in the Latin American Parliament ?

Exactly how did Martinelli acquire this classified information is not known, but his illegal electronic surveillance program reportedly included the US Embassy in Panama City. There's got to be a violation of US law in there somewhere. Why hasn't he been charged in the United States, where he has been living since Panamanian justice starting making a move against him ? Perhaps he was a Confidential Informant for a US agency after all.

DOMINICA'S INTER-OCEANIC BANK TAKES DOWN ITS WEBSITE AFTER OUR ARTICLE APPEARS



Readers who have accessed our recent article Alert on Dodby Brass-Plate Bank in Dominica offering "Investments," might be interested to know that, right after our article appeared, the bank took down its entire website. It seems that these fraudsters could not handle being exposed. I wonder if they have fired their sleazy Dominica attorneys, who are now Persons of Interest to the US Securities & Exchange Commission, due to their representation of the fugitive Spanish fraudster, Pedro Fort Berbel ?

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

ALERT ON DODGY BRASS PLATE BANK IN DOMINICA OFFERING "INVESTMENTS"




An investor from Singapore, who has inquired about placing his money into Inter-Oceanic Bank of the Caribbean, Inc., an offshore bank organized and reportedly operating in the Commonwealth of Dominica, has exposed a newly emerging* financial entity, but one with more Red Flags than compliance officers will ever be comfortable with.


This is the principal office of the bank, as listed on its website, which is quite professionally done, but which tells the visitor absolutely nothing about the bank, its officers and directors, history or correspondent affiliations. There is no sign, or other indication that there is a bank on the premises, meaning that it is what we used to call a brass-plate, and now designate a virtual, bank. There is a sign there, as you can see below, but it is not a banking sign.


the Shingle at 24 Hillsborough



It is the chambers of a local law firm,  Williams & Horsford; Partner Kondwani Williams has been in the news of late, as the reputed lawyer of the fugitive international fraudster, and SEC target, Pedro Fort Berbel. Readers who are unfamiliar with that case may wish to access this article: Kondwani's Neck in the Noose.

Roosevelt Skerrit & Kondwani Williams


The property, by the way, fronts on two streets, and also has an address of 30 Great Gorge; the tyre store appears to come back to Lennox Lawrence, a lawyer known to represent the Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit, whose sins & transgressions have appeared on this blog many times,

Does this look like a bank??
 
 Getting back to the bank itself, there is no information available as to the identity of Inter-Oceanic's beneficial owners, but reliable Panama sources assert that it is Russian Organized Crime, and point to its deceptively similar cousin, Inter-Oceanic Bank of Panama, a fraudulent institution whose banking license was revoked. The Panama bank, now defunct, was owned and controlled by Russian Organized Crime.

The UK telephone number listed on the bank's slick website betrays the fact that it is a virtual bank, run from the United Kingdom, by person or persons unknown, and therefore immune from prosecution. This is a bank that is asking foreign investors for $100,000 minimums, paying interest only for two years, with the entire principal to be returned at that time. Can anybody say Ponzi scheme ? Risk levels are through the roof, if not in the Stratosphere.

Should anyone be foolish enough to risk their capital by investing at Inter-Oceanic Bank of the Caribbean, given this information ? Caveat Emptor.

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* The bank was reportedly organized and incorporated in 2015, but never listed on the government website until recently. Was this a shelf bank, incorporated earlier, and sold by Williams' law firm in 2018 ? Aged entities are used by many fraudsters to confer legitimacy upon very new operations.