Kenneth Rijock

Kenneth Rijock

Thursday, December 14, 2017

RAISE COUNTRY RISK ON DOMINICA

The Foreign Minister of Dominica signing the $3m Military Aid grant from China
 The Commonwealth of Dominica, formerly a democracy located in the East Caribbean, has deteriorated into a strongman dictatorship, where the regime's periodic reelection is guaranteed through the rampant payment of voter bribery, and bringing in expat voters via jet airliner, is fast becoming a high-risk jurisdiction, where any foreign investment, or even the physical presence of foreign managers and staff, is dangerous.

We have previously expounded, at length, upon the sale of hundreds of Dominica diplomatic passports to dodgy foreign nationals (violating United Nations treaty law), and the persecution of Opposition leaders, be they official party members, or simply citizens unhappy with the mismanagement of their nation by obviously corrupt officers, at the highest level. The country's Foreign Minister refuses to disclose the names of the foreign diplomatic passport holders, alleging that they cannot perform their "diplomatic duties" if publicly named. This excuse is not only legally insufficient, it insults the intelligence of all Dominicans. The foreign diplomatic passports holders are not performing any diplomatic duties whatsoever.

The latest news is, frankly, the last straw. Dominica signed a number of agreements with the Peoples' Republic of China, and one in particular is extremely disturbing. It is a three million dollar military aid grant; What's wrong with this picture ?



The Chinese Embassy in Dominica
Dominica has had no standing army since the 1980s; it does have a rather large paramilitary unit, technically the special response team attached to the Dominica Police, known as the Special Service Unit, or SSU. This armed unit, when it turns out, upon the orders of senior government officials, wears battledress camouflage, carries military weaponry, and is not your typical law enforcement  SWAT Team. Its training schedule is military in nature, and not limited to crowd control or emergency response. Incidentally,  it provides security for the Chinese Embassy, which is extremely large, given that there is virtually no trade or tourism between the two countries.

The SSU already has state-of-the-art equipment and supplies, furnished by the Government of the Peoples' Republic. So why do they need a $3m military grant ? For surveillance equipment, armored vehicles, or aircraft ? We cannot say, but given the fact that the SSU has repeatedly turned out soldiers when any Opposition leaders wish to be heard in public, it may be for increased intimidation power, or if Constitutional rights are limited or terminated.

 For all of the above reasons, it is suggested that compliance officers at North American and EU financial institutions that handle Dominican transactions raise Country Risk on Dominica to High.



Monday, December 11, 2017

DID APPLEBY CONTACT BERMUDA IMMIGRATION ABOUT ICIJ JOURNALIST ?


Remember when the journalist seeking information about the bearer share companies of the British Virgin Islands was denied entry into the BVI, by local immigration authorities ? It looks like the next time a journalist from the ICIJ tries to get some straight answers in Bermuda, he'd best stay away.

An ICIJ journalist has reported that his visit to Appleby's Bermuda headquarters, where staff had refused to answer questions submitted in advance, meet with him, or even identify themselves, was a total waste of time. When he returned to DC, some officer from the Bermuda Immigration Service, armed with his direct line, contacted him and asked him questions about the purpose of his trip. It was reportedly not a friendly call. Only Appleby had received a business card from the journalist; you do the math.

So, is there any difference between the treatment the BVI-bound journalist, who was run out of town, and the "Big Brother" telephone call the ICIJ journalist received ? No much.  Only time will tell whether the Paradise Papers will have the same effect upon Appleby as the Panama Papers had on Mossack & Fonseca only time will tell.

Friday, December 8, 2017

ORAL ARGUMENT SET FOR JANUARY 9 ON MARTINELLI'S HABEUS CORPUS PETITION



A US District Judge in Miami has set January 9, 2018 for oral argument, on former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli's Petition for a Writ of Habeus Corpus, challenging the Magistrate Judge's order for his extradition. Martinelli remains in Federal custody, amid rumors that his extreme efforts to obtain bond, pending the resolution of his extradition, were made because he intended to flee to the Dominican Republic, where rampant corruption could delay any legal action to remocve him for years.

Curiously, there is still no public access to any of the filings in the Habeus proceeding, giving rise to the suspicion that some of the facts alleged by Martinelli may reveal sensitive information about Martinelli, or Panama, that law enforcement does not want publicly released, including about ongoing criminal investigations. Court files are rarely sealed in this manner. We are still unable to analyze any of his arguments, to determine whether they are legally sufficient, or even valid arguments, to be made by his counsel.

The public, in the Republic of Panama, now fears that their former president, alleged to be the most corrupt in Panamanian history, will never see the inside of a Panamanian courtroom. The Miami proceedings have dragged on for months, and some are beginning to wonder whether some government agency, with a prior relationship to Martinelli, is involved.  

 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

WHO IS MINDING THE STORE OVER AT OFAC ?



I am still wondering why the Office of Foreign Asset Control, OFAC, never levied a Civil Penalty against Range Developers or Range Hospitality,* for offering or selling time-share investments in the US, to the Al-Randatain residences, located in Karbala, Iraq, due to the fact that the contractor, and later owner, of the project, was an OFAC-sanctioned entity named Tadbir Construction Development Group. Readers who did not see our prior article may access it here: Americans Sending Time-Share purchase deposits to sanctioned Iranian Company.

I have confirmed that OFAC received actual notice of the ongoing violation, but action was ever taken to levy a monetary fine, or name & shame the offending entity, or its officers or principals, and to compel the company to build an effective compliance program. Of course, the fact that Tadbir was an Iranian entity, and on the OFAC sanctions list, would have been apparent to anyone who Googled it.

How did the time-share deposits wind up in Tadbir accounts in Iran, I wonder ? Whether Range, which has a number of corporate identities, in different jurisdictions, ran afoul of international sanctions against Iran is yet another issue that OFAC seems to have overlooked. Who is watching the store, Mr. Director ?
_______________________________________________________________________
* Range Hospitality WLL, incorporated in Bahrain.
   Range Hospitality, ltd., incorporated in the United Kingdom.
   Range Hospitality (Cayman).



WILL EU BLACKLISTING AFFECT GRENADA & ST LUCIA CBI PROGRAMS APPLICATIONS ?



In a much-publicized manner, the European Union this week named & shamed a number of jurisdictions, for their lack of international cooperation. Grenada immediately characterized its failure to comply as " inadvertent," and hastened to clear up the problem, hoping to reverse the blacklisting forthwith, though the government's failure to act was about as accidental as Antigua's "delays" in extraditing its former (and eminently guilty) banking regulator, to face American justice in the Stanford International Bank criminal prosecution. There are no accidents in the East Caribbean, when it comes to governance.

Grenada & St Lucia may have a bigger problem than they believe; Country Risk will certainly be raised upon both jurisdictions, as the direct consequence the EU action. Compliance officers, in North America as well as in Europe, are taking note of all countries named by the EU, and irrespective of what consultancy firms say, when they trumpet the CBI virtues of both countries, their programs becomes less desirable than those of, say Antigua or St Kitts-Nevis.



Therefore, the EU action appears to have served the purpose for which it was taken, to focus compliance attention where it is sorely needed, and to stimulate jurisdictions that choose to ignore international norms, in a way that they immediately recognize, in their pocketbooks.

 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

PANAMA'S ORGANIZED CRIME SYNDICATE WAS BEHIND THE TRUMP OCEAN CLUB

 
The recent media coverage, detailing the role of reputed Russian Organized Crime members, who were purchasers of most of the condominium apartments at Panama's Trump Ocean Club, fails to explain precisely how the developer, Roger Khafif, the CEO of Newland International Properties Corp., was able to obtain $220m in construction bond financing for the project. No discussion of the Trump Ocean Club International Hotel & Tower is complete without that information, as it reveals the presence of seed money of yet an additional organized crime group.

Mr. Khafif, who was obsessed with creating a Trump building in Panama City, swapped a property he owned for the tract that became the hotel site. He then needed to convince Bear Stearns & Co. to underwrite the bond issue, and for that he had to have purchase contracts, or options to purchase, in hand, with deposits, to demonstrate that he had buyers ready to close.

Though he we do not know how he accomplished this feat, he soon had a sufficient number of signed agreements to obtain the needed financing. The trouble is, most of the purchasers have been identified as members of Panama's powerful Syrian organized crime syndicate, which hides in the shadows, but influences much of what goes on, behind the scenes, in Panama.

This organization, whose members are descended from immigrants who came to Panama from a specific area in the Middle East, consists of seven major families, whose intermarried reach extends into every major bank, and every government agency. Roger Khafif's family is reportedly from Aleppo; connect the dots.

These individuals later sold their contracts at a huge profit, after Alex Ventura suggested that prices at the Trump be doubled. Without their seed money, and support, the Trump Ocean Club would have never been built.   

This is the first of a series of articles exposing details of the Trump Ocean Club International Hotel & Tower project that have not been covered by conventional media.



  




EAST CARIBBEAN CBI & DIPLOMATIC PASSPORT HOLDERS FACING SCRUTINY UPON ARRIVAL IN NORTH AMERICA



It is being reported that customs & immigration officers in the United States and Canada are detaining holders of CBI and Diplomatic passports from the East Caribbean countries participating in Citizenship by Investment programs. Passports are being photocopied, mobile telephones inspected, and questions asked about business activities of the holders. Some reports state that the delays were extensive.

Readers who wonder how immigration officers can identify CBI passport holders, the answer is simple. If the holder's listed place of birth is found to be NOT in the country from which he or she has a passport, in most cases the passport is CBI. Commentators in the Caribbean have long warned that CBI & diplomatic passports issued to career criminals, individuals from sanctioned nations, and those from high-risk countries, will result in increased scrutiny, by North American law enforcement agents. When they photocopy your entire passport, and cross-examine you in depth, you have become a Person of Interest to law enforcement.  Their question: Are you using the CBI passport to evade detection of your true identity and nationality ?



Whether all nationals, entering the US & Canada from CBI jurisdictions will ultimately face extended questioning, and temporary detention, while their possessions are searched, is the question being asked. That lucrative CBI income may come with a price that is to be paid by every national from those countries, when he engages in international travel. We have repeatedly advised that this might occur, but to date our warnings have fallen on deaf ears. Perhaps now they will be taken seriously. 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

AMERICANS SENDING TIME-SHARE PURCHASE DEPOSITS TO SANCTIONED IRANIAN COMPANY ; WHERE WAS OFAC ON THIS ?



Al-Randatain residences, Karbala, Iraq.
Most of us know where Karbala is in Iraq; in 2003, the 101st Airborne Division shed a lot of  American blood when taking the city from the Republican Guard. Karbala is an important destination for Shi'ite Muslim pilgrims, and several years ago, the Dubai-based project developer, Range Developments/Range Hospitality broke ground there for a timeshare project, a $100m hotel, called Al-Randatain Residences.

Range, which is familiar to those of us who focus upon the Caribbean, as the developer of several 5-star hotel and resort projects, in jurisdictions where Citizenship by Investment laws require investments of some kind, such as in St Kitts and Dominica, chose as its principal contractor in Al-Randatain the Tadbir Construction Development Group, which is an Iranian company. What's wrong with this picture ?

Tadbir is not only owned by the senior leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran, it is part of an elaborate Iranian plan where profits are kept from the Iranian government treasury, and distributed to those groups at the top of Iran's power structure, and yes, it is also OFAC-sanctioned.

How does a non-US corporation, with a project outside the United Stated, run afoul of American sanctions ? it's simple:



(1) First,  Range offered investments, in Al-Randatain, to American Muslims, from two of its US-based offices, and through at least seven sales promotions, all conducted inside the United States. Purchasers were sending pre-construction deposits, some of which were obviously turned over to Tadbir, for constriction costs. Was American money going into the accounts of an OFAC-sanctioned entity from Iran ? Tadbir was to receive units in the project, as part of its compensation.

(2) Then, Range ran into serious cash flow problems, at the Al-Randatain site. Some reports allege that the financial difficulties were due to corruption, and the illegal diversion of funds, but Range ultimately sold its entire interest to Tadbir. Were the deposits of American purchasers not now flowing into Tadbir's accounts, with Tadbir an OFAC-sanctioned entity ? Of source they were.

(3) Other analysts fear that, when cash flow became a real problem at Al-Randatain, some of the deposits, made by Americans, for the Park Hyatt (St Kitts) might have found their way into the Karbala project, and its Iranian contractor. We cannot confirm whether this occurred, but a routine audit would certainly put to rest this nagging question.

So, the question remains, where was OFAC in all this ? They were alerted, I can tell you from personal knowledge. Americans sending funds to Iraq would certainly ring bells in my shop, I assure you. Were Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) filed in some of these transactions ? Were the US sales promotions, of an Iraqi project publicly known to be under construction by an Iranian contractor, red flagged by anyone in US law enforcement ? Obviously not, because there have been no OFAC Civil Penalties levied in this matter, against Range, or any other entity.

We wonder whether there were political considerations involved; Iraq is stated to be an ally of the United States, though realistically, it is now within the Iranian sphere of influence. We hope this was not some well-intentioned State Department decision that resulted in Americans funding Iran.

Tadbir group in Iranian network






THE SMOKING GUN PART THREE: TEXT MESSAGES FROM THE GRENADA CBI HEAD

As promised, below you will find the third of three groups of images displaying actual text messages from Grenada head Kaisha Ince's telephone. Please be warned that they include crude and discriminatory statements, which are grossly insulting to the people of of Grenada. No public servant, elected or appointed, should ever remain in office after venting such anti-Black prejudice, whether in the Caribbean, or elsewhere.

These messages are between Kaisha Ince, and a trusted friend.



Kaisha Ince is not serving the people of Grenada well as CBI head; demand her resignation, and send her back to Trinidad, so that she can face the issues she left behind there.

Monday, December 4, 2017

THE SMOKING GUN PART TWO: MORE INCRIMINATING GRENADA TEXT MESSAGES

We do not ordinarily discuss marital infidelity on this blog, but when it involves a married Prime Minister and his CBI protege, and these arrogant individuals attempt to censor news about Grenada's illegal diplomatic passport sales scheme, and threaten defamation suits, when we literally have the smoking gun in hand, the evidence is going to be published.



Is this what we call "Sexting" ? Read it and judge for yourself what these two people are planning.

HACKERS SEEKS TO CRASH WEBSITES CARRYING OUR THREE ARTICLES ON GRENADA CORRUPTION



Computer hackers, reportedly based in the United Kingdom, and in Grenada, have sought, over the weekend, to crash websites carrying this blog's articles on official corruption in Grenada, centering around the role of the Prime Minister, and the head of the country's CBI program. Fortunately, those attacks were unsuccessful, and the articles remain available to the public, on this blog, and elsewhere in the World Wide Web.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

THE SMOKING GUN: INCRIMINATING TEXT MESSAGES FROM GRENADA'S TOP OFFICIALS

Christopher Willis, the cashiered Managing Director of Henley & Partners Caribbean, Ltd.




Government-controlled media in Grenada is claiming that the quotes from recent articles, exposing an illegal diplomatic passport scheme, rampant corruption, marital infidelity, and anti-Black prejudice, are not genuine. Readers should judge for themselves, after reviewing the images appearing below.

The Prime Minister sends CBI head Kaisha Ince a hyperlink to my original article, detailing the $1m charge for the purchase of a Grenada diplomatic passport, naming Willis as the central figure. The PM demanded to know how this blogger obtained the information. The PM orders her to speak to Chris [Kallin], as Mitchell "cannot afford this kind of information to come out before the election."

 

Ms. Ince indicates that she has already spoken to people at Henley, who are " already aware of it and will put pressure on this blog writer [yours truly] to take the article down." I will leave it to the opinions of attorneys in Grenada to decide whether Ince, and indeed the PM himself, committed three criminal acts, or only two. Grenadians deserve honest public servants, not these two manipulators.


WILL TURKEY'S SEIZURE OF ZARRAB'S ASSETS MEAN MORE NEW INDICTMENTS ?


 After Reza Zarrab, the Iranian trader who used Turkish banks to evade international oil sanctions against, testified that his criminal acts were approved at the highest levels of Turkish Government,  including Erdogan, Turkey acted to seize all of Zarrab's assets in that country. What effect, if any, will the seizure have on who is indicted next, by US prosecutors, for facilitating the sale of billions of dollars of sanctioned oil, and covert payment for that contraband. Zarrab is now effectively banned from returning to Turkey, and he certainly has taken offense to this betrayal.

The questions now to be considered:

1. Will more Turkish bankers be implicated by Zarrab, and indicted ?

2. Will Turkish cabinet members be charged ?

3.  What other nationals (Iranian, Chinese, Malaysian or Dominican) will be charged sooner, rather than later ?

The case has become even more interesting to students of global financial crime.


Saturday, December 2, 2017

BLANKET DENIAL OF GRENADA CBI HEAD IS NOT A RESPONSE



Kaisha Ince, the head of Grenada's CBI program, has issued a blanket denial of the damaging facts presented here on this blog yesterday, entitled Will Grenada Sack its CBI Head for Misconduct and Corruption ?, choosing to attack this blogger, rather than reply on the merits. The truth obviously hurts.

Shoot the messenger will not work here, especially since Ince's previous message to the Prime Minister clearly indicated that she was trying to bring pressure to bear upon me, to remove these articles. Ince was more concerned about the source of the leaks, and neither individual denied the truth contained in the articles.

We do not make statements without a factual basis; this blog has screenshots showing ALL the statements quoted in the last article, and we will make that information available to any US law enforcement agency investigating corruption in the CBI and diplomatic passport programs. It is certainly not "fake news" in any form.



These arrogant Grenadian government officials obviously do not care that their telecommunications are not secure, especially at the receiving end, when they discuss corrupt activities, marital infidelity, kickbacks & bribes, and anti-Black prejudice. Does the Prime Minister know where his telephone is at this moment ?

Perhaps the voters in Grenada will take note of this scandal in the next election. While I have no interest in any political party on Grenada, or its officials and candidates, I am opposed to the "Banana Republic" corruption that the CBI and diplomatic passport programs has spawned in Grenada.

Friday, December 1, 2017

WILL GRENADA SACK ITS CBI HEAD FOR MISCONDUCT AND CORRUPTION ?



In addition to the information contained in yesterday's article, Grenada's Prime Minister tried to have our Article Exposing Million Dollar Diplomatic Passport Fee taken down, there are a number of other acts of misconduct or corruption, attributed to CBI Head Kaisha Ince, which, when taken together, justify her immediate removal for cause. Confirmation of these conversations can be easily obtained, through either the telephone utility, or Ms. Ince's telephone itself.

These are some of the grounds, which have surfaced of late, together with verbatim statements she made, via text message, with either the country's Prime Minister, or a close personal friend of Ince. You are warned that some of these conversations may be disturbing, vulgar or crude, but the offensive language needs to be seen. It appears that they are reluctant to discuss personal issues on the telephone; one conversation included a query regarding whether a voice telephone call was appropriate ("PM can I call you ?").

(1) There is a ongoing intimate affair between the Prime Minister, Keith Mitchell, a married man, and CBI Head Kaisha Ince:

PM:  ... "When are we going for another meeting then ?"

Ince:  "Ha ha, that's what we are going to call it 'Meeting ?'
          I was thinking Tuesday, let's do
         You'll have free house".

PM:  "Yes, dinner at mine ?
          I like the sound of that
          Will there be my special dessert ?"

Ince:  "Pick up where we left off last week ?"

PM:   "You are funny".

Ince: "Funny ?"

PM:  "You know, naughty, funny."

Ince: "Call me."

(2) Ms. Ince, who is of East Indian origin, originally from Trinidad, is prejudiced against Black Grenadians. This is a conversation between Ince and a friend: WARNING- DISTURBING.

Ince:  ... "this place drives me [Emoticon for crazy]".

Friend:  "U stressed with it ?"

Ince:  "Just lot of work, and they're not professional."

Friend: "Yep, I know that - local workforce got bad attitude."

Ince: "Damn, surrounded by them "!

Friend:  "Why do a black man drive with his windows up ?
              They think the smell is coming from outside. 
              That'll cheer you up [Emoticon]."

Ince:  "It smells in my office, too."

Friend: "What are the three things you can't give a black person ?
              A black eye, a fat lip, and an education."

Ince:  "LOL" [ laughing out loud].

(3) Grenadians also have two unanswered questions about their CBI chief:
 (A) Is it true that her daughter's British education is being paid by Henley & Partners ?
 (B) Is the reason Ince is retaining outside professionals for the CBI agency, kickbacks she receives ?

Will Grenada terminate Kaisha Ince as CBI Head,. given the seriousness of the above violations ? We cannot say, but we shall continue to cover the issues.