If you are a compliance officer at an international bank whose clients conduct business with Panamanian corporations, or who is involved in vetting wire transfers to or from Panama, it is suggested that you review the 2018 Mutual Evaluation Report of the Republic of Panama. You may access the document here.
Monday, February 19, 2018
If you are a compliance officer at an international bank whose clients conduct business with Panamanian corporations, or who is involved in vetting wire transfers to or from Panama, it is suggested that you review the 2018 Mutual Evaluation Report of the Republic of Panama. You may access the document here.
WHEN WILL EUROPEAN UNION OR USA INTERVENE TO FREE HUMAN RIGHTS VICTIM IN POLITICAL MONEY LAUNDERING CASE ?
Notwithstanding that the European Parliament has held proceedings on the illegal detention of Russian-Spanish businessman Vladimir Kokorev, and that two MEPs have come out in support of concrete action, the European Union remains passive in the Kokorev scandal. In a case more reminiscent of the Russian Gulags, the "material witness" remains under House Arrest, after more than two years of illegal detention in a Spanish prison. A bogus money laundering case holds him captive, contrary to Spain's own laws regarding pretrial release, as well as EU Human Rights principles.
Given that no charges have ever been filed against any individual or entity, and the strong suspicion that affluent Spanish business interests, obsessed with obtaining Equatorial Guinea's lucrative oil concessions, we also wonder why the United States have never taken diplomatic action to free Mr. Kokorev. After all, it is American oil firms that are currently benefiting from their contracts with EG, and a change of government there, as engineered by Spanish interests, could result in a loss of important business, and assignment of those extraction rights to Spanish companies. Where is the United States in this human rights violation ?
Sunday, February 18, 2018
Transfer Pricing is well known to students of financial crime; it occurs when a taxpayer elects to take profits from an international transaction in a lo- or zero-tax jurisdiction, by manipulating sales process through the use of controlled corporate entities. Profits only show up where there are, effectively, no taxes payable.
The crime generally manifests itself as tax fraud, or money laundering, or both. and it is responsible for the loss of literally billions of dollars in tax revenues, on a global scale. Importers and exporters are often pressured to engage in illegal price manipulation, for they are uniquely situated to alter books and records. Generally, Transfer Pricing schemes are employed to evade taxes upon sales, but there are instances where large purchases give financial criminals the opportunity to resort to Transfer Pricing.
A case study, to assist readers in understanding the issues involved. J Astaphan & Co Ltd., d/b/a/ Astaphan's, has been engaged in retail consumer sales in Dominica for decades. You are familiar with Dominica attorney Anthony Astaphan, counsel to the Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit; Anthony's extended family owns the business.
According to reliable Dominica sources, Astaphan's purchases its US-based goods from a Florida corporation named Vanste, Inc., in what purport to be arms-length transactions. In truth and in fact, the sole officer of Vanste Inc. is Neyra Beatriz Ceballos, who, notwithstanding her last name, is the wife of Jack Maurice Astaphan. Miami-Dade County Official Records searches confirm their spousal standing.
Vanste shows only one employee, Jack Astaphan, and he confirms this on his Internet postings. Vanste's "office" is a single family residence, not zoned commercial, at 15746 SW 101 Street, Miami, Florida. This real estate is owned by Jack Astaphan, and he has registered it as Homestead under Florida law, meaning that it is his primary residence. Both Astaphan and Ceballos show that property as their residence for voting purposes. The hard line telephone number at that address, (305) 386-5669, comes back to Anthony Astaphan's sister, Genevieve Astaphan.
If the purchase prices paid by Vanste Inc. for goods shipped and sold to Astaphan's in Dominica are for a lesser amount than Vanste paid for them, and therefore Dominica Inland Revenue Division will only tax the arriving goods on the stated value/purchase price, then duty is greatly reduced, and Transfer Pricing has occurred. If this is the case, Vanste's declared profits ( or losses) may constitute tax fraud in the United States, for whomever reaped the illegal benefits. Additionally, Dominica tax obligations, owed by Astaphan's, should be examined.
Unfortunately, in a country where undue influence and corruption is the order of the day, we understand that Anthony Astaphan has insured that Inland Revenue is forever prohibited from auditing Astaphan's books of account, so we are unable to quantify the amount of taxes evaded, at either the US or Dominica end, but we trust that this article has given the reader additional insight into the mechanics of Transfer Pricing and tax evasion,, as it relates to sales, rather than purchases.
Posted by Kenneth Rijock at Sunday, February 18, 2018
Friday, February 16, 2018
The government's selection of Dominica attorney Anthony Astaphan to investigate Antigua's role in the massive Odebrecht bribery scandal boggles the imagination. Here's why it is a Conflict of Interest on the highest order:
(1) Astaphan was, until recently, the personal attorney for Antigua Prime Minister Gaston Browne. Antigua sources allege that Browne is one of suspects in the bribery investigation.
(2) Astaphan is married to a member of Antigua's Bird family, and has reportedly represented that family in the past. A Bird was a previous prime minister of Antigua.
(3) Astaphan has a long history of representing several East Caribbean leaders linked to corruption. How can he possibly render an objective opinion, when his career is replete with dodgy government officials under suspicion for accepting bribes & kickbacks ?
This case is a textbook example of who NOT to choose to conduct an impartial investigation into charges of corruption, on behalf of the ONDCP. Find someone neutral and truly qualified as an objective finder of fact, not an advocate for the worst that the East Caribbean has to offer its voters. It is humbly suggested that a competent investigator, from outside the region, be engaged, to uncover the truth, wherever its takes him.
The Government's appeal of the order granting bond to fugitive Panamanian president Ricardo Martinelli was followed by its motion to stay bond , pending the resolution of that appeal, and the Eleventh Circuit agreed.
Martinelli's counsels' efforts to obtain bond from the Eleventh Circuit were denied as moot, given that the District Court had stayed enforcement of its order granting bond. The appellate court did call for an expedited briefing schedule for the appeal, which will accelerate the progress of the case on appeal.
Thursday, February 15, 2018
The controversy surrounding the European trip of Asot Michael, the cashiered ex-Minister of Tourism and Investment. continues to raise questions. The people of Antigua & Barbuda are certainly entitled to some straight answers.
These issues remain unresolved:
(1) The minister was en route to a conference in Cannes; why did he not fly to an island in the French West Indies, such as St Martin, Guadeloupe or Martinique, where he could have caught a nonstop flight to France. Why travel to the UK first ? Was he intending to meet someone there, and reportedly reassure him, and was it the unnamed British national,who had allegedly paid him a bribe, but received nothing in return ?
(2) Was he carrying blank CBI passports, and for what purpose, when he was detained* on orders of the National Crime Agency (NCA), regarding the payment of an illegal "gratuity"? Though Antiguan authorities state that no passports were listed on the property receipt, our source disputes this.
(3) Why did the minister, now effectively sacked, after his detention and interrogation, travel into Central London ? His destination was the Cannes conference.
(4) Who is the other very senior Antigua government official alleged to be involved in the bribe scandal ? My sources assert that former Minister Michael did not act alone.
Until there are complete answers to these questions, we fear that the Michael scandal will remain troublesome for the Government of Antigua, and a source of concern. There may be perfectly legitimate reasons for some of these suspicious activities, and we will keep an open mind, as we seek to unravel the mystery.
* I can see no issues of diplomatic immunity in the United Kingdom, as the minister was neither assigned to the UK mission, nor was his secondment to the Embassy accepted by the UK Government. Contrary to popular belief, diplomatic immunity has strict parameters and limits, to come into force and effect.
Posted by Kenneth Rijock at Thursday, February 15, 2018
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
The Federal Judge who ordered Ricardo Martinelli released on bond, while his attorneys appeal the Court's order denying his Habeus Corpus petition, has stayed the release of the former president of Panama. The Attorney General objected to his release, and the Court thereafter agreed that the United States would be unable to extradite him to Panama, if he subsequently became unavailable, in a well-reasoned opinion, that, unlike most of the pleadings in the case, is available to the public for review.
We still have no confirmation concerning precisely what grounds Martinelli's able legal team alleged in their petition. Were the extradition papers procedurally defective, or the Panama extradition statute itself fatally flawed ? We cannot say, but perhaps the appeal will settle those questions in the negative.What about the Panamanian allegations about damaging bordello visit videos of Trump, taken by Martinelli's National Security Agency spies, when trump visited the Trump Ocean Cliub ? So many issues, so little time.
Do you remember what happened to the Tamil Tigers ? Defeated on the battlefield, they continues to employ their agents overseas. Well, ISIS is doing the same thing. It has expanded its recruiting and "enlistment" program throughout the Caribbean. Unemployed and penniless youth in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Trinidad & Tobago, and other East Caribbean nations are clothed, given money, converted, trained, assisted with passports, and brainwashed about ISIS' fabled Middle Eastern "Caliphate."
The next stop is transport eastbound, with airfare, through a third country, all handled by ISIS agents. Why the governments of the region are failing to deport ISIS cadre, and disrupt their financial operations cannot be understood. Bribes are most likely employed to insure that corrupt officials ignore their activities.
The long-term effect of these covert programs cannot be minimized, for those ISIS soldiers who survive combat will eventually return to the region, bringing their radical perspectives with them, together with experience in the field of asymmetric warfare. Will they destabilize the home countries upon their return, or agitate for Shariah laws to be enacted at home ? Will they engage in terrorist financing ? Either way, the Caribbean states will eventually reap this whirlwind, and they are certainly not now capable of dealing with it.
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
The US District Court Judge who denied fugitive former Panamanian president Ricardo Martinelli's Habeus Corpus petition has entered an order allowing him to be released on one million dollars cash bond, to Home Confinement (House Arrest). The Attorney General's representative has objected, and taken an appeal of that order.
The Court has not yet ruled on whether to stay the release order, while the Government's appeal of that order is pending. The Court file remains unavailable, so we still do not know the details of Martinelli's petition.
There are serious concerns, coming from sources with first-hand knowledge, that due diligence procedures being performed upon St Lucia CBI applicants are below the minimums deemed acceptable for individuals from high-risk jurisdictions. This is a significant issue, as indications are that a large percentage of the applicants are from countries located in the Middle East.
Due Diligence investigations are being conducted, but there is no information available to confirm that the special compliance problems of transliterating from Arabic into English are being addressed by qualified experts, to rule out identity manipulation. Furthermore, this class of applicants rate enhanced due diligence treatment, and there is no indication that it is actually being performed upon these high-risk individuals.
On a Country Risk basis, repeated rumors, regarding the existence of a terrorist training camp inside St Lucia*, believed to be operated by Hamas, which is a Specially Designated Global Terrorist Organization (SDGT), raises questions about the presence and influence of foreign entities. In its zeal to catch up with the other four East Caribbean CBI jurisdictions' programs, St Lucia should remember to prudently address risk issues, for once dangerous elements gain possession of those prized CBI passports, it will be hard, if not impossible, to put the genie back in the bottle.
* There have been camps, manned by a number of Middle Eastern terrorist groups, including Al- Qaeda, on nearby Margarita Island (Venezuela), since 2001.
©2018 Kenneth Rijock; Contributed by Kenneth Rijock.
Gaston Browne, the Prime Minister of Antigua & Barbuda, was recently in the Middle East, looking to generate foreign investment in his hurricane-damaged nation, as well as promoting Antigua's Citizenship by investment program. Given that Hezbollah is the dominant political, as well as military, force in that country, will that visit ring alarm bells in those nations that have sanctioned it as a global terrorist organization ? You bet it will.
It is an unfortunate reality, but in essence Hezbollah is in de facto control of Lebanon. The United States has gone to great pains to warn Beirut banks of the consequences of having any business relationship with the terrorist entity, and any possible Hezbollah investment, including the purchase of CBI passports, could result in intense scrutiny from those nations who fear terrorist financing could occur into or through Antigua's economy, including the US, Canada, and the UK, if funds from Lebanon begin to move there.
While the Government of Antigua & Barbuda has every right, and probably an obligation, to attract foreign investment, in the aftermath of the hurricane, Lebanon is one jurisdiction that is a minefield, through which one must tread very carefully, if at all. The consequences of even one discovered Hezbollah agent holding as CBI passport should not be underestimated.
Monday, February 12, 2018
If you are a wealthy businessman, living in the Middle East, the Peoples' Republic of China, or Russia, and the international CBI consultancy firm you are working with tells you that you might also acquire a diplomatic passport from one of the East Caribbean jurisdictions, kindly pay close attention to this article. Otherwise, you may end up purchasing, at great expense, an identification document that not only fails to meet United Nations treaty requirements, it could mark you as a target, conferring a level of international law enforcement attention that you will definitely not appreciate.
To comply with the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, to which all United Nations members are signatories:
(1) Diplomats, with rare exceptions, are to be nationals of the country in which they are diplomats.
(2) Diplomats must not be involved in either commercial or professional endeavors in the host country.
(3) Diplomats must be posted and assigned to a specific jurisdiction, have a specific work mission there, and be accredited to, and accepted by, the country to which they are posted.
(4) Their diplomatic immunity only extends to the host country, and to other jurisdictions while actually in transit to and from their work assignments, but nowhere else.
Therefore, any notion of global immunity from criminal prosecution, as hyped by eager consultants who are neither attorneys admitted to practice in the jurisdiction, nor lawyers competent in the fields of diplomacy and international law, is flat out wrong. Unless you want to have an expensive book to decorate your den, obtaining a diplomatic passport, when you are not actually performing actual diplomatic duties, on behalf of a foreign power, is a real waste of your money.
Sure, perhaps you can impress an airport customs official, in a remote part of the world, and thereafter skip the line, but the moment you start believing the hype, and attempt to evade customs inspection, or arrest, elsewhere, after filling a diplomatic pouch with bearer financial instruments, you may experience a rude awakening, and a very embarrassing, or costly, incident.
© 2018 Kenneth Rijock; contributed by Kenneth Rijock.˙
Israeli security agencies uncovered an organization, based in and operated by Turkey, that utilized a front company to bulk cash smuggle Euros into Judea & Samaria (West Bank), for Hamas terrorist activities. A Turkish national was expelled, and a Palestinian arrested, after slightly less than one one million Euros, in cash, were seized form the suspects.
A front company, operating from Turkey, is believed to have moved millions of Euros into Israel, as part of a Hamas terrorist financing syndicate based there. Turkey gives Hamas leaders a safe haven in its country, from which it plans and launches terrorist operations. The Hamas presence there is part of the reason why Country Risk remains elevated for Turkey.
Sunday, February 11, 2018
When British law enforcement arrested Antigua's Minister of Tourism & Investment, Asot Michael, upon his arrival in London en route to an investment conference in Cannes, they detained him for questioning about allegations that he accepted bribes from a UK national, to illegally facilitate a business matter in his country. What they reportedly got was a bit more than they expected. In Asot's bags & baggage were allegedly a number of blank, valid Antigua passports, a fact not released to the media*. Was that why Antigua's Prime Minister, Gaston Browne, immediately relieved Michael of his ministerial portfolio, or was this sensitive information restricted, and not communicated to Antigua ? We cannot say, but the matter demonstrates a major problem, repeatedly originating in the Caribbean.
There have been many incidents where blank passports, in bulk, have been discovered in the possession of individuals not entitled to have possession, under circumstances that appear to show they were being sold illegally, most likely for large sums of money. Such criminal acts pose a clear and present danger to international banks, and they complicate the tasks of compliance officers charged with identifying, and rejecting, bogus methods of identification at account opening, not to omit increasing serious terrorist financing threats. Blame rampant corruption in the East Caribbean, but it remains an unresolved problem, so long as officials there fail to imprison violators like Asot Michael.
Here are a couple of the more egregious Caribbean examples:
(1) Right after 9-11, when US military forces attacked the Taliban in Afghanistan, they seized a treasure trove of blank, totally valid, passports from the Republic of Haiti. America restricted this information, the public disclosure of which would have proven extremely embarrassing to the struggling Government of Haiti. A subsequent investigation revealed that a Palestinian businessman had purchased the passports, for cash, in Port-au-Prince in the summer of 2001, from a corrupt member in government.
(2) Passports from the Commonwealth of Dominica, found in the possession of Syrian nationals, were traced back to a large amount of blank passports delivered to individuals in Morocco. Although Dominican officials denied that any of their passports were unaccounted for, the country was doing business with the Belgian-based Semlex group, which is owned by a dodgy Syrian national, accused of major misconduct throughout Africa. Semlex prints passports for several countries in the developing world.
Compliance officers in North America now routinely initiate enhanced due diligence investigations of passports holders from Caribbean countries, in large part, because they must insure that the holder is not what he or she appears to be, a Caribbean national. This is reinforced every time a law enforcement agency seizes a hoard of bulk blank passports from one of the countries in the region. The Caribbean nations will never become a part of America's Visa Waiver Program as long as this issue, and other passport issues, remain unresolved.
* The Government of Antigua, through its representative, has denied that he possessed any passports at the time of his arrest, and who stated that no such passports appear on the receipt for his personal property.
Posted by Kenneth Rijock at Sunday, February 11, 2018
Saturday, February 10, 2018
|David Algernon Joseph|
The offender's name is David Algernon Joseph, wanted since 1999 in the United States, for cocaine trafficking, and other related offenses; he also has a prior weapons conviction, and violated Parole in that case as well. While his co-defendant received a life sentence, Joseph has cheated justice, never having served a day in prison for his crimes. Though he appears on the INTERPOL wanted list, Antigua advises that he has never been the subject of an extradition, and law enforcement authorities there state that they will act if they receive a warrant seeking his extradition. What happened here ?
The answer is most likely whether the Leroy King case, where all the dodges and excuses have been employed to delay King's extradition, has so poisoned America's faith in Antigua's court system, that it no longer desires to waste time & money chasing another fugitive. Repeated judicial reassignments ad nauseum, allowing the defendant file bogus appeal after appeal, sitting on the case for months and even years without rulings, all tricks more common to a court in the Banana Republics, than an English Common Law jurisdiction, have frozen the 2009 extradition in place.
It is doubtful that he will ever see the inside of a Texas courtroom, as his probable disclosures there about Sir Allen Stanford's payments to Antigua's political elite might implicate powerful individuals in corrupt activities they prefer to keep hidden permanently. Therefore, David Joseph remains free as a tropical bird in Antigua. A reliable source on that island reports that he continues to be engaged in drug trafficking, and we wonder where he is placing his criminal profits in Antigua's banks.
©2018 Kenneth Rijock; Contributed by Kenneth Rijock.
Posted by Kenneth Rijock at Saturday, February 10, 2018
Friday, February 9, 2018
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Linde vs. Arab Bank can be accessed here. If you are not familiar with the facts, there are several articles on this blog to bring you up to speed, before you wade into this 39 page decision.
These flow charts were employed by the gold & oil trader, Reza Zarrab, to explain the complex movement of funds in his massive, billion dollar Iran oil sanctions evasion case, where he testified against his former Halkbank banker. We do not ordinarily display trial exhibits, but in light of reader interest in the proceedings, we feel it will help unravel the complex money laundering scheme.
Thursday, February 8, 2018
The US District Court Judge presiding over the Iran oil-for-gold sanctions evasion case has denied the Rule 29(a) Motion for a Judgment of Acquittal, filed by the sole defendant being tried, Halkbank Deputy CEO Mehmet Atilla. Atilla's counsel made an ore tenus motion at the close of the Government's case, and later filed a written motion.
Readers who require a summary of the issues should review the 28-page Decision and Order, as it is an excellent summary of the proceedings, the counts filed against Atilla, and the defense presented at trial. See United States of America vs. Mehmet Hakan Atilla, Case No.: 15cr867 (SDNY). The Order was filed on February 7, 2018. You may access the order here.
LAWYER CHARGED WITH STEALING CLIENT ASSETS, AND FRAMING HIM FOR MONEY LAUNDERING, SENT CONFIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS TO SPANISH GOVERNMENT
Panama attorney Ismael Enrique Gerli Champsaur, who is facing criminal charges in Panama City, for forging documents and illegally taking title to his client's real estate, reportedly gave attorney-client privileged communications and documents to representatives of the Spanish Government, to bolster a bogus case against the client, who has been detained for more than two years, as a material witness on a money laundering case that has never been filed.
Gerli's testimony, given in the Canary Islands, has since been discredited, but the client, Vladimir Kokorev, remains in custody, and is presently under house arrest, though no charges have been brought against him, or any other individual, in an obviously political case, which has cast doubt on the Spanish Government's ability to control its prosecutors.
According to reliable Panamanian sources, Gerli bought his law degree from a corrupt university official, and since Panama still has the diploma privilege, which allows law school graduates immediate admission to the bar, without taking an examination, he has legitimate credentials, through he would be lost in a real courtroom. He employs bona fide attorneys to practice law on his behalf.
Gerli's longtime client, Gary James Lundgren, is embroiled in a major dispute with the Trump Organization, over several issues relating to the Trump Ocean Club, over charges Lundgren embezzled millions, while managing the hotel/condominium project. Trump has filed a formal complaint against Lundgren with the International Chamber of Commerce, according to reports from Europe. Lundgren has been barred for life, by FINRA, regarding the sale of securities, or working with any registered securities broker.
|Gary James Lundgren|
Tuesday, February 6, 2018
Suggested reading from the Congressional Research Service:
Trends in Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering Enforcement
The Government of the Netherlands announced yesterday that it has imposed Direct Rule upon the Dutch Caribbean territory of Sint Eustatius, upon the grounds of corruption and neglect.
The tiny island, more commonly known as Statia in the East Caribbean, may be obscure and remote, but compliance officers not familiar with the Netherlands Antilles will want to alert their staff to this Dutch action, which may result in bulk cash movement, the appearance of a new, affluent customer from that island, who offers lucrative new business to your bank, or some other plausible reason for large deposits. Could it be that money is the proceeds of corruption ?
Be alert for any newly-arrived clients from the Netherlands Antilles this month; they may claim that they are from Sint Maarten or Saba. Look for their place of birth & ask for a driver's license.
The judge in Ricardo Martinelli's failed Habeus Corpus petition has extended enforcement of the extradition order for one week, until February 13, 2018. His motion for bond is still pending, and the Court noted that his failure to file a Notice of Appeal as of yet may be due to the fact that it may lose jurisdiction, should his counsel file, before the bond motion is decided. The Court indicated that a ruling would be made.
The order was literally the first pleading not sealed in the entire Habeus case, and accessible to the public and to media. Unfortunately, there is no information in the order, regarding Martinelli's Habeus grounds, and that may be why it was released. Will the Court finally release that critical information for public viewing, considering how sensitive the topic is ? Stay tuned.
Monday, February 5, 2018
An order, entered on February 5, by the trial judge in the Reza Zarrab case, has scheduled sentencing for the Turkish banker, Mehmet Atilla, on April 11, 2018. Atilla does have a pending Motion for a Judgment of Acquittal (Rule 29[a]), and the Court did note that it will be resolved "expeditiously" prior to that date.
XENOPHOBIC SPANISH COURT, AFTER TWO YEARS IN CUSTODY, RELEASES KOKOREV TO HOUSE ARREST, BUT STILL NO CHARGES OR TRIAL DATE
After he spent more than two years in a Spanish prison, a controversial, and prejudiced, judge in the Canary Islands transferred Vladimir Kokorev to house arrest, neither the filing of money laundering charges, nor a trial date. The Kokorev family has been held, ostensibly as Material Witnesses, though apparently they are targets of a yet incomplete investigation in unfiled money laundering case. Country Risk on Spain has been twice elevated as the result of what is a purely political case, seeking to seize assets of foreign nationals, without legal cause.
Both Members of the European Parliament, human rights advocates, and this blog, have all sought Kokorev's release, and the termination of what seems to be an indefinite re-investigation, of possible money laundering from more than a decade in the past, which was long ago cancelled by the Spanish Government. The actions of xenophobic members of the Canary Islands judiciary, which have seized assets of innocent foreign nationals before, has not been reigned in by Madrid, resulting in a massive human rights violation. Kokorev is ill and infirm, and may not survive this ordeal.
No charges have been filed, and no trial date set, after two and one-half years. The court system has been abused for purely political purposes. As powerful business interests, coveting Equatorial Guinea's oil, believe this case will result in their acquiring lucrative oil rights there.
Sunday, February 4, 2018
What is going on with St Kitts former Prime Minister, Denzil Douglas ? Saint Kitts media is reporting that he has been accused of holding real estate in Dominica, and the inference is that he received it after he diverted foreign investment from SKN, after he left office. Could this be true ?
Douglas was removed from the National Assembly, after issues regarding his possession of a Dominica diplomatic passport surfaced, and whether he owed allegiance to Dominica, which reportedly disqualifies him for elected office, as a dual national. That passport states that he is a Dominica national. Was the diplomatic passport payment in kind for Douglas' assistance in directing foreign investment originally intended for St Kitts, to Dominica ? These backroom deals, if confirmed, indicate a deep-seated culture of corruption, that violates US & UK law on foreign corrupt practices.
Whoever issued that document deserves a term of imprisonment, to deter other corrupt officials from disregarding international law.
The delivery of a diplomatic passport to a foreign national (Douglas), without any actual diplomatic mission and responsibility, violates several provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, making the passport void as a matter of international law. Unless this type of diplomatic crime is curbed, those governments that engage in it may find themselves isolated, in ways that will damage their national economies.
Posted by Kenneth Rijock at Sunday, February 04, 2018
Saturday, February 3, 2018
Posted by Kenneth Rijock at Saturday, February 03, 2018
Friday, February 2, 2018
The Superintendency of Securities (SMV) has intervened in Panama Wall Street SA, a Panama City brokerage firm whose foreign clients have reportedly sustained major losses, and where securities fraud is alleged to have occurred. The SMV actually took over the firm's website, and posted its Notice of Intervention there. it appears below:
The company is controlled by a Dutch national, Jochem Bernard Buse, and it has been linked to the American expat, Gary James Lundgren, who was recently banned for life from securities trading by FINRA. Buse's previous securities firms, Thaler Traders SA and Thales Securities SA, were both involved in selling bogus High Yield Investment Programs, (HYIP) ficticious schemes that promise extraordinary returns, but, in truth and in fact, are merely Ponzi schemes.
Felipe Fuentes, the Panamanian judge who illegally removed all the court files from the massive insider trading Financial Pacific/Petaquilla Gold Mine, was been suspended for a period of six months. Judge America Vergara, acting upon information provided by the country's anti-corruption prosecutors, issued a suspension order, effective for a period of six months, and ordered a criminal investigation to begin against Fuentes.
Financial Pacific/Petaquilla Gold Mine is the largest corruption case pending in Panama. The fugitive former president of Panama, Ricardo Martinelli, used inside information about the company to make massive illegal profits, by covertly trading in the stock, along with most of the members of his cabinet, his political allies, and even individuals in the group loosely described as Panama's Syrian organized crime syndicate. Many Canadians and Americans lost their entire investment in Petaquilla, when the grossly-inflated priced stock eventually crashed. If that case failed to end in a judgment against the conspirators, Panama's image will be forever tarnished, in the eyes of foreign investors.
One of Panama's dark secrets of late is that the entire Financial Pacific (FP) court file was missing, obviously stolen, to allow the perpetrators of the fraud to escape justice. This is, unfortunately, a common occurrence in the corrupt Panamanian court system. The files are stolen, and the judge then orders production of all original evidence from the plaintiff, while all such records, which were in the court file, are gone, and never recovered. The case is eventually dismissed, and justice is not served.
Judge Felipe Fuentes was reportedly in a motor vehicle accident, and one of the missing court files was literally found on the public highway. Though not reported in Panama's unofficially censored media, a total of seven FP files were recovered, from property under his control. He has been charged with the Theft of Public Documents, a Crime Against Public Administration. Whether he is ultimately convicted will demonstrate if Panama is truly sincere regarding its very public reform process.
Thursday, February 1, 2018
DIDN'T ST KITTS FORMER PRIME MINISTER LIE ON THE APPLICATION FOR A DIPLOMATIC PASSPORT FROM DOMINICA ?
After the former St Kitts Prime Minister, Denzil Douglas, was ejected from the National Assembly over the controversy regarding his reported possession of a Dominica Diplomatic passport, his attorney stated, on the record, that Douglas owes no allegiance to Dominica, due to the passport. True or false according to existing law, there's a bigger problem; Douglas had to have made a material misrepresentation of fact to get that passport.
Mr. Douglas, on the application, would have been required to specify precisely HOW he acquired Dominican citizenship. Since we know he is definitely not a Dominica national, he lied to get that passport, by any objective reading of the facts. His attorney, Anthony Astaphan, who is himself said to be a Dominica citizen, though he has never held elected office, can talk about whether he owes any allegiance to Dominica, but how can he possibly explain away the irregular circumstances surrounding how his client obtained a Dominica diplomatic passport ? And how did Dominica allow his passport to state that he was a Dominican ?
Look at the documents and determine for yourself what the truth is. Can politicians in the East Caribbean just pick up the telephone and acquire passports from their neighbors ? No wonder US & Canadian compliance officers are now treating all holders of passports from CBI countries as potential foreign nationals with dark backgrounds, hiding behind a new identity.
José E. Ayú Prado Canals, the president of the Supreme Court of Justice of Panama, the republic's court of last resort, abruptly tendered his resignation this week, amid rumors that criminal charges may be brought against him. His tenure as leader of the highest court has been marred by a large number of civil suits filed and pending against him, alleging misconduct, corruption, malfeasance in office, and just about every other improper act that a senior judicial official is able to commit from the bench.
Many reformers in Panama see his resignation as an important step in the right direction, and foreigners and expats have long experienced corruption in the Panamanian judicial system, where their efforts to assert legal rights and privileges are often frustrated by unexplained delays and decisions contrary to the Rule of Law. This deters foreign investment, due to increased Country Risk.
As an organized crime prosecutor, earlier in his career, Ayú Prado was known to leak sensitive information about active US law enforcement investigations to Panama's powerful organized crime syndicate. He was also, as president, accused of interfering with, and delaying the multiple criminal investigations into Panama's fugitive former president, Ricardo Martinelli, since he left office. Both Panamanians & Americans are happy to see his power diminished.