Saturday, February 22, 2020
UK attorney, Baroness Patricia Scotland of Asthal, the beleaguered Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations,whose term of office is now at an end, may lose her office, due to rampant allegations of conflict of interest, out-of-control spending, and other misconduct. Several Commonwealth members have withheld funding to express their dissatisfaction with her professional conduct, and a candidate from Kenya has been mentioned as a qualified replacement.
Her dark role in the acquisition, in London of a Dominica diplomatic passport, by Nigeria's former Minister of Transportation, Diezani, Alison-Madueke, when Madueke was implicated in a multi-million theft from government funds, remains an unresolved issue currently under investigation. She allegedly instructed Dominica PM Roosevelt Skerrit to hand-deliver it to London; thereafter Madueke improperly attempted to assert diplomatic immunity when UK law enforcement officers sought to arrest her for corruption in Nigeria. It is not known who, if any, received direct or indirect illegal compensation for the sale of passport.
Scotland, who was improperly nominated for the job from the Commonwealth of Dominica, although she left her native country at the age of two for the UK, defeated frontrunner, the diplomat Sir Ronald Sanders of Antigua, who was thought to be more qualified. After taking office, Scotland, her excessive spending habits, using official Commonwealth funds, especially for her residence, have been the subject of major UK media attention.
Additionally, the Secretary' General award of a lucrative £250,000 contract to a fellow Labour Party member alleged to be insolvent, without competitive bids, has drawn attention to Scotland's reputed mismanagement of her office.
|PM Roosevelt Skerrit|
Scotland's role, together with Skerrit, in the Madueke diplomatic passport scandal, focused global attention upon a covert program in Dominica, which issues diplomatic passports to foreign white-collar and career criminals, in violation of the Vienna Convention, adopted by the UN, without any oversight or control.
The Government is therefore free to introduce evidence and testimony that would appear to be seriously damaging to the defendant. The Court's rulings,entered on February 14, 2020, that were favorable to the Government:
(1) Statements of co-conspirators will be admissible.
(2) Most emails and attachments may come into evidence.
(3) Communications establishing Sadr's knowledge of US and international sanctions will be admitted.
(4) Evidence of purchase of a St Kitts citizenship will be admissible.
(5) Description of the housing project in Venezuela as "low-income."
(6) Evidence of the revocation of an OFAC "U-Turn license."
"Shell" and "front company" may not be used in Opening Argument, nor references to the the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) regarding Iran. Sadr may offer evidence about the lack of risk of harm to the banks.
The Court has not yet ruled on whether it will admit testimony on whether the purchase of a St Kitts CBI citizenship "may be used to evade sanctions. " Heshemi Nejad, and others, allegedly used their SKN passports to conceal their nationality and citizenship abroad, and to acquire shell companies.
FRENCH "FAKE DEFENSE MINISTER" IMPERSONATION EMPLOYED TRADE-BASED MONEY LAUNDERING TO CLEAN PROCEEDS OF CRIMES
Gilbert Chikli, the career fraudster/leader of a French gang that defrauded wealthy individuals of a reported €73m, by impersonating the Minister of Defense, and asking for ransom money to free purported kidnap victims in Syria, used trade-based money laundering techniques to clean the criminal proceeds.
Chikli, who donned a mask, and sat in a room decorated to appear to be the Ministry of Defense office, and claiming to be Minister Le Drian, contacted victims via Skype, asking for ransom money that, he declared, France could not be seen paying directly, appealing to the patriotism of the wealthy victims. Many of them bought into the story; more than €50 has not been recovered.
The case, which is currently on trial in Paris, with seven defendants, is of great public interest. we have reported upon the story in two prior articles. Compliance officers please note that Chikli, in an unguarded moment with a journalist, revealed how he launders the proceeds of his crimes: trade-based money laundering.
(1) Send the proceeds of his fraud to China and/or Hong Kong.
(2) Purchase 20 tons of steel.
(3) Bribe the vendor to give him a receipt for 100 tons.
(4) Send funds corresponding to what profits on 100 tons of sales would be to Israel, together with the bogus receipt.
(5) The money is thereby laundered.
Chikli is not the only white collar criminal using China for trade-based money laundering; compliance officers would be well advised to closely examine any bank client who abruptly engages in large-scale international trade of goods with companies in China, as the transactions may be a front for trade-based money laundering.
Other fraudsters employ a variant known as Chinese Flying Money. The illustration below can be used to explain how it is employed. Compliance officers who encounter either of these techniques are urged to seek out competent financial crime advisers to assist them in deciphering the puzzle.
Friday, February 21, 2020
This is ARTHUR GEHL, Germany's €100m crypto currency fraudster, who promised his victims 250% return on their money. Gehl and his wife ROXANA are reportedly planning on leaving the European Union, and securing refuge from the law in Grenada, where the couple reportedly have obtained Grenada passports, secured through the Citizenship by Investment (CBI/CIP) program.
The CBI passports are said to be in the names of aliases, not the Gehl's true names. Given the legal obstacles which European (and American) law enforcement agencies have experienced, when seeking to extradite criminals who are East Caribbean CBI passport holders, the Grenada extradition process will be lengthy, and frustrating, as local attorneys, closely linked to Government, generally handle these types of cases, and delays that take years are not uncommon dilatory tactics.
Will Gehl cheat justice by fleeing to Grenada, and hiding behind lengthy procedural delays ? We cannot say, but perhaps it would be best for his victims if he was arrested in Europe, rather than give him the opportunity to hide behind his Grenada passport. Otherwise, it may be years, if ever, before he sees the inside of German, or American, courtroom.
|Panama Attorney Ramses Owens|
HARALD JOACHIM VON DER GOLTZ, a wealthy German national that formerly resided in the United States, has entered a guilty plea to multiple counts, including money laundering, in US District court in New York, in a case that was exposed by the disclosures published in Panama Papers. Von Der Goltz formed opaque offshore shell companies, in Panama and the British Virgin Islands (BVI), using the services of Panama attorney RAMSES OWENS, then a partner at Mossack Fonseca & Co., which rendered advice to its dodgy clients, facilitating money laundering, tax evasion, placing the proceeds of corruption, and a number of other criminal acts. the Mossack firm was brought down by the Panama Papers disclosures, and the name partners charged with criminal conduct.
Von Der Goltz, who reportedly also held dual citizenship in Guatemala, was formerly a resident of Key Biscayne, Florida. he pled guilty to:
(1) Conspiracy to Commit Tax Evasion.
(2) Wire Fraud.
(3) Money Laundering Conspiracy.
(4) Willful Failure to File required reports.
(5) Making False Statements.
Readers who wish further details on this case may access the Superseding Indictment against Von Der Goltz, and others here. The case Number is 18-Cr-693 (SDNY).
SUIT BY HEIRS OF AMERICAN KILLED BY HAMAS DETAILS CLOSE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TURKEY'S BANKS AND TERRORISTS
Although not covered by major media in the United States, there is a civil suit pending, in US District Court for the Eastern District of NewYork,* that accurately describes the incestuous relationship between Turkey's banks and the global terrorist organization, Hamas. Although Turkey has done to great length in the press to make it appear that it has banned Hamas from operating within its territory, this action spells out, chapter and verse, all the ways that Turkey's KUVEYT TURK BANK facilitates Hamas' global terrorist operations.
The action was brought by the minor children of US citizen Ettam Henken, who were orphaned when Hamas gunmen killed him and his wife on a highway in the Palestinian Territory. He was unarmed, and the murders were particularly heinous, as they occurred in full view of the children.
The suit lays out the literally hundreds of ways Kuveyt bank, which services Hamas' key organizations, major donors and its leadership, facilitates the entity's terrorist agenda abroad. The Court has jurisdiction, due to the correspondent accounts that the bank maintains at (quoting the Complaint at 2):
(1) Citibank NA.
(2) HSBC Bank NA.
(3) Standard Chartered Bank.
(4) Bank of New York Mellon.
Suit was filed last September, and it appears that none of the above-mentioned banks has closed their correspondent accounts with Kuveyt. Compliance officers at those banks would do well to review their client's account history forthwith. Compliance officers who access Country Risk may want to
update their calculation of Country Risk for Turkey, based upon the Complaint.
The Complaint, which contains a detailed history of the Hamas organization, including the US history of the Holy Land Foundation, a Hamas front, its extensive European fundraising efforts, with special attention to Turkey, and specifics regarding how Kuveyt Bank aids Hamas. Readers who wish to review the complete text of the Complaint may access it here.
*Estate of Eitam Henken et al vs. Kiveyt Turk Katilim Bankasi A.S., Case No.: 19-cv-5394 (EDNY).
Thursday, February 20, 2020
The two Las Vegas operators of a US-based unlicensed money service business, which existed completely underground, have agreed to enter plead of guilty in US District Court in San Diego. What makes the case unique is the fact that it serviced Chinese nationals who sought to circumvent China's strict currency restrictions, which limit exchange to $50,000 annually The customers received US Dollars here, and paid for them with Yuan (Chinese currency) back in the Peoples' Republic, using banking applications on their cellular telephones from casinos the USA. The US Attorney's Office noted that it was the first case filed against an unlawful underground financial institution serving Chinese nationals evading Chinese. currency controls
While the typical clients were Chinese gamblers playing in the United States, Chinese intelligence agents, and others engaged in espionage for China, could have very easily financed intelligence-gathering activities through the underground MSB. The US Attorney also voiced a concern that their illegal MSB could potentially aid narcotics traffickers.
The defendants, BING HAN and LEI ZHANG, who pled to Operating an Unlicensed Money Transmitting Business, face as maximum of five years in Federal Prison, and a $250,000 fine. the case numbers are 20-CR-369 and 370 (SDCA).
Posted by Kenneth Rijock at Thursday, February 20, 2020
Wednesday, February 19, 2020
A career criminal running a fraudulent hedge fund in New York that stole $11.2 from investors was sentenced recently to one hundred and forty months in Federal Prison. Nicolas Joseph Genovese, who ran Willow Creek Investments LP, claimed to be from a wealthy family, had a Dartmouth MBA, alleged substantial experience as a portfolio manager at Goldman Sachs and Bear Stearns, and purportedly managed $4bn in family assets.
In truth and in fact, Genovese had none of these qualifications, and he had several prior felony convictions for fraud-related offenses. He lost $8m of the victims' money trading on the stock market, and spent the rest while maintaining a high-end life style, including withdrawing $263,000 from various ATMs, and a Bentley with a chauffeur. He spun a fantastic story to investors who sought their money back, about the need for "the stars to be aligned" before he could make refunds.
In addition to the 140 months, the defendant was sentenced to three years of Supervised Release and $11.2 Restitution. If you want to learn more about this case, read the SEC civil lawsuit against him here. The style of the case is Securities & Exchange Commission vs.Nicolas Genovese, Willow Creek Investments LP and Willow Creek Advisers LLC., Case No: 18CV942 (SDNY).
Posted by Kenneth Rijock at Wednesday, February 19, 2020
Tuesday, February 18, 2020
The Deputy Attorney General of the United States has directed that, effective immediately, all Ukraine-related investigations are assigned to the Eastern District of New York, which has total command and control over all investigations, and indictments. The Memorandum, which is captioned "Law Enforcement Sensitive, " but which is an unclassified document, appears to remove prosecutorial authority from a DOJ attorneys and law enforcement heads. It is dated January 17, but apparently it was leaked to the media today.
A US District Judge in the Northern District of Florida has sentenced a Pensacola executive to forty months in Federal Prison for attempting to export a large Solar Mars gas turbine, and parts and components, to Iran. James Meharg* was convicted of violations of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, and Federal Criminal law, when he conspired to export and deliver a turbine core engine to Iran.
The defendant's plan was to route the turbine through Sharjah, UAE using falsified documents. The eqipment was later to be diverted to Iran. he received $250,000, in funds laundered through a front company in Dubai. The true end-user was an Iranian energy company, the Iran Oilfield Supply Kish Company.
Readers who require more detail may access the Factual Basis for Guilty Plea here. Meharg pled to Conspiracy, making False Statements, and Money Laundering. he could have received a maximum of 50 years for those offenses.
*United States vs. Meharg, Case No.: 19cr71/MCR (NDFL).
Monday, February 17, 2020
LEROY KING, ANTIGUA'S FORMER FINANCIAL REGULATOR, PLEADS GUILTY IN STANFORD INTERNATIONAL BANK PONZI SCHEME
Leroy King, the former CEO of the Financial Services Regulatory Commission (FSRC) of Antigua, has entered a plea of guilty in US District Court, ending the final chapter in the Stanford International Bank Limited Ponzi scheme scandal. He is the last defendant to be sentenced in the case. King fought extradition from his native Antigua for more than a decade, a case that seriously weakened Antigua's reputation and standing in the global community as a Rule of Law state. The US Attorney in Texas acknowledged the assistance of the Government of Antigua in the case.
The defendant pled guilty to relatively minor charges; he was facing a potential life sentence, given his age, due to the severity of the counts in the indictment. He entered a guilty plea to:
(1) Conspiracy to Obstruct Justice.
(2) Obstruction of Justice.
According to reports, King is a dual citizen of Antigua & Barbuda, and the United States. He reportedly received bribes from Allen Stanford in excess of a half million dollars, plus other perks and benefits. He actively obstructed an ongoing investigation of the bank that was conducted by the Securities & Exchange Commission.
King will be sentenced on April 24, 2020. The maximum sentence for the two counts is ten years plus a substantial fine. It is not known whether the size of the $7bn Ponzi scheme perpetrated by Stanford will be an aggravating factor in his sentence. While Stanford is serving a 110-year sentence, the other defendants only received sentences ranging from three to twenty years.
This is Malta's former Minister of Energy/Minister of Tourism, Konrad Mizzi, involved up to his neck in a corrupt scheme, together with the similarly disgraced Ex-Prime Minister and his former Chief of Staff, Keith Schembri, who all benefitted from kickbacks paid in connection with the new Electrogas Powerstation project, though Mizzi was reportedly enriched the most, due to his Energy portfolio.
|Ex-PM Joseph Muscat|
Sunday, February 16, 2020
What the banking industry refers to as de-risking, the process by which onshore banks in North America and the European Union terminate their correspondent relationships with overseas banks deemed to be high-risk, and which result in relatively small income to them, is regarded as a serious problem in the Caribbean. Many North American banks have summarily closed out their Caribbean correspondent accounts, and more are believed to be under consideration.
Why are Caribbean banks targeted ? We can offer some of the reasons cited by compliance officers at major North American financial institutions:
(1) AML/CFT compliance programs that do not meet minimal onshore banking best practices standards.
(2) Compliance staff whose training, education and experience are deemed to be inferior to that of onshore banks.
(3) Leftover, and still worrisome, connections to the laundering of the proceeds of narcotics sales.
(4) Rampant corruption by senior government officials at all five of the East Caribbean states ( St Kitts & Nevis, Antigua & Barbuda Dominica, St Lucia & Grenada).
(5) The flow of suspicious Citizenship by Investment (CBI/CIP) application money through Caribbean banks.
(6) The failure of Caribbean banks to acquire, and periodically update, the latest hardware and software technology necessary for effective AML/CFT.
(7) Continued, and probably excessive, local bank secrecy laws and regulations, which interfere with onshore law enforcement investigations, as well as bank inquiries from abroad.
Until, and unless, Caribbean banks adopt some serious reforms to alleviate the above issues, onshore banks will continue to practice de-risking, until most or all of the correspondent relationships are terminated, which will force Caribbean banks to use third party banks abroad, or non-bank financial institutions, doubling or tripling the costs to their customers of onshore transactions, and incurring substantial delays in the process. Unless these issues are resolved, a number of Caribbean banks may soon find themselves without any direct correspondent relationships at all.
Saturday, February 15, 2020
DOMINICA'S PRIME MINISTER THREATENED INTERNATIONAL MEDIA FOR EXPOSING THE COUNTRY'S DIPLOMATIC PASSPORT SALES SCANDAL
When one of the world's largest and best-known investigative media outlets recently exposed the sordid truth about the massive illegal sales of diplomatic passports by Dominica's senior officials, the country's prime minister threatened a suit for libel. Given that Dominica's court system is notoriously corrupt, and ignores the Rule of Law, it is required to follow and is especially sensitive to the demands of senior government officials. Any libel suit brought in Dominica against foreign media would most likely result in a swift judgment, irrespective of the facts or the law.
Roosevelt Skerrit, the PM of the Commonwealth of Dominica, openly and publicly threatened Aljazeera, after the news network's investigative reporters filed stories detailing how white-collar criminals have easily purchased prized diplomatic passports in Dominica, and gone on to commit major criminal acts, using the passports to shield them from arrest, as well as customs inspection of their illicit possessions, when they appear at international ports of entry. The sale of those passports to dodgy foreign nationals, who thereafter do not perform any diplomatic functions or duties, is a violation of the United Nation's Vienna Convention on Diplomacy. They are to be considered void as a matter of law, which a number of law enforcement agencies have done, when arresting the holders.
Skerrit, who is suspected of actually profiting from cash sales, for millions of dollars each, of diplomatic passports, alleged that Aljazeera was working on behalf of his country's opposition party, and its leader, though he offered no evidence in support of that claim, which has no basis in fact. Skerrit further alleged that the stories were part of an attempt to "destabilize" Dominica. The network's presentation actually showed how the dark world of Dominica's diplomatic passport sales operates, by having a journalist pose as an interested purchaser. Attacking the messenger, which is a favorite tactic of corrupt politicians exposed by media in the Caribbean, rather than responding on the merits of the issues, operates as additional confirmation of the truth presented.
So long as Dominica engages in the illegal sales of its diplomatic passports, transnational crime will continue to be facilitated by those individuals, and criminal organizations, who covertly purchase them from senior officials.
Thursday, February 13, 2020
|Jho Low Cyprus passport|
The Republic of Cyprus has announced that, among the twenty-six CBI passport holders it intends to revoke is that of the Malaysian fraudster, Jho Low, currently a fugitive from justice in his native Malaysia, having allegedly stolen $4.5bn from the 1MDB Malaysia Development Berhad, a sovereign wealth fund. Jho, who led a flashy global lifestyle with Hollywood celebrities, is believed to be in hiding in China; he faces a probable life sentence in Malaysia, where he is considered the number one fugitive.
We have previously covered this case in depth, due to the fact that Jho Low holds a St Kitts & Nevis CBI passport, and there are concerns that he will eventually attempt to relocate there permanently, as most legal authorities have stated that Kittitian citizens are rarely extradited to face criminal charges abroad. His SKN passport was reportedly revoked by the authorities, but whether proper procedures were followed by government have not been established. The passport may still be valid.
In US District Court in Texas, a Nigerian who led a Business Email Compromise (BEC) fraud was sentenced to 135 months in Federal Prison, and ordered to repay $5m. A codefendant received 78 months. Restitution, in the amounts of $5m and $1m, respectively, were also ordered. It appears that, finally, a member of the Federal Bench has let the punishment fit the crime. The defendants' crew stole over $10m.
The Council of Europe's AML/CFT arm, MONEYVAL, has issued its Fifth Mutual Evaluation report on the Republic of Cyprus. If you wish to examine the 269-page report, you may access the complete text here.
Wednesday, February 12, 2020
Ecuadorian authorities have reported that they arrested a husband and wife team of what are most likely Iranian intelligence agents, when they attempted to board a flight for Madrid, and presented fake Israeli passports.After their luggage was searched, their authentic Iranian passports were discovered. Their names have not been disclosed.
Iran has flooded Latin America with intelligence agents; they may be engaged in collecting information on defense installations, networking with, and funding, local terrorist groups, cooperating with the Socialst regimes in the region, especially Venezuela, identifying soft civilian targets for subsequent attacks, enrolling local Cooperating Individuals, collecting extortion money, and other categories of espionage. It has not been made public what specific activities these two agents were engaged in.
For those readers who question why the agents choose to use counterfeit passports from the State of Israel, please note that Israels have visa-free entry into Ecuador.
If you follow the new filings of Federal criminal cases, you know that there has been a steady stream of arrests of Iranian government agents, who reside in the United States and Canada, for violations of American and international sanctions existing against Iran. What is disturbing is that the defendants generally are lawful permanent residents of North America. What's wrong with this picture ?
We understand that it is the public policy of the two North American democracies to encourage emigration by Iranian nationals for human rights, and political, reasons, but it appears that intelligence agents are slipping through the cracks, and installing themselves in our midst, where sanctions evasion operations are most easily accomplished.
When Ali Sadr Hasheminejad, the CEO and owner of Malta's now-closed Pilatus Bank, was arrested in the US, we asked ourselves how was it that he was here. We do not have access to classified information, but how a 32-year old man with no banking background owned a bank with €300m in deposits, and is suspected of being an intelligence agent for Iran, obtained a "Green Card," was puzzling. Wasn't he thoroughly investigated by US Government agencies ? It appears that public filings confirm that there had been a long-term investigation of Sadr, prior to his indicment and arrest. Didn't Immigration find it ?
It turns out that his second wife, Amitis Darabnia, is a Persian-American attorney, and before he divorced her, he obtained Permanent Residency in America. Obviously, whoever conducted the usual background investigation upon his, prior to the issuance of the Green Card, failed to uncover the truth. Now multiply that case times a few hunded, and you will arrive at the estimate that there are a large number of Iranian intelligence agents operating in North America, with impunity.
We note that the Canadian media recently warned of the presence of Iranian agents living within Canada ; our recent story about the US arrest of sanctions evader Bahram Karimi, who is a legal Canadian resident, confirms the story.
How many Iranian intelligence agents are living and "working" among us in the US & Canada, we wonder, moving dual-use products circuitously into Iran, selling oil, and acquiring US Dollars ? We cannot say, but the matter deserves immediate attention.
Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Compliance officers in North America and the EU seeking information on individuals or entities located in the Caribbean should be extremely careful when accessing Caribbean media for Customer Identification purposes, as much of its self-censored, intentionally misleading, or sponsored by private entities whose marketing goals result in skewed reporting, most of which cannot be relied upon.
First of all, remember that local Caribbean media, fearful of losing invaluable government official advertising revenue, will ignore controversial subjects, especially where they involve corruption, illegal conduct of the ruling and business classes, and especially negative news regarding the local Citizenship by Investment (CBI/CIP) program. Do not expect to obtain truthful data regarding Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) or present or former senior government officials. The media will not lose the revenue, coming from Government, that keeps them open, for an investigative article. As a result, they practice self-censorship.
Second, The international CBI consultancies whose profits depend upon new CBI passport sales, ensure that business will continue by sponsoring a huge number of favorable articles, the majority of which generally paint a rosy, but deceptive, picture of the five East Caribean states, conveniently omitting any negative topics.
Finally, remember that many of these countries are ruled by corrupt leaders who bribe voters and otherwise fix elections, solely to stay in power, so that they may continue to receive bribes and kickbacks. Their money laundering activities are NOT reported by local media; to the contrary, they are lionized in media, in what we might call a Cult of Personality.
Therefore, compliance officers simply cannot trust even the most elementary facts appearing in Caribbean media, with rare exceptions. Make your own independent inquiries, using your own sources, or develop some.
Posted by Kenneth Rijock at Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Monday, February 10, 2020
Bernard "Bernie" Madoff has filed a Motion for Compassionate Release from his 150 year sentence. The grounds are (1) Terminal kidney failure, and (2) A Life Expectancy of eighteen (18) Months. Whether the most reviled white-collar criminal in American history has a chance of release remains an open question. Madoff has only served eight years of his sentence. Additionally, given that the calculation of a person's Life Expectancy is not an exact science (see SEC vs. Mutual Benefits Corp.), the defendant's attorneys' assessment of his remaining years of life is suspect at best, and most likely are completely inaccurate. Qualified assessments may vary wildly, and there are no uniform guidelines.
Given that victims are being solicited by the Court to weigh in on the motion, as the above Notice to Investors shows, the odds of his motion being granted are fair, at best. Far too many individuals lost their life savings to Madoff for any District Judge to fail to take their losses into consideration, when considering the motion.
Readers who wish to review the complete text of the 27-page Motion for Compassionate Release may access it here.
Posted by Kenneth Rijock at Monday, February 10, 2020
Sunday, February 9, 2020
Schembri, who attended the wedding of the prominent businessman (and suspected Iranian intelligence agent) Ali Sadr Hasheminejad, is believed to have the been instrumental in securing the banking license for Sadr's Pilatus Bank, for which he was reportedly richly compensated. His alleged role in corruption in Malta's energy sector is also under investigation.
The question remains: will Malta's notoriously corrupt government actually complete its money laundering investigations of Schembri, and charge him, or will it engage in a cover-up ? The European Union, already unhappy about Malta's dodgy CBI applicants, Revoked Pilatus Bank's license, and was critical of the country's CBI/CIP program, is watching. Will Malta disappoint again ?
Saturday, February 8, 2020
Ali Sadr Hasheminejad, The Iranian national who controlled the now-closed Pilatus Bank in Malta, and who is awaiting trial on serious charges in his American Federal criminal case, employed as many as five different names when conducting dodgy international banking business. He apparently also has his name legally changed, which was duly reported to Companies House in the United Kingdom, in connection with his British company, Pilatus Capital. These suspicious tactics, which he artfully employed to confuse or frustrate any investigation, are more the hallmark of a successful money launderer, rather than the bank CEO that he professes to be. Or is he really an intelligence agent for Iran ?
Information gleaned from court filings in his US criminal case, and some excellent investigative reporting in Malta, has revealed:
(1) Hasheminejad used two different Dates of Birth.
(2) He held residency permits or visas for the UK, US, UAE Belarus and Switzerland.
(3) In truth and in fact, he used different SKN CBI passports on each leg of his international travel, meaning that he exited a country using a St Kitts passport different than the one he entered upon.
(4) While he claimed to be a full-time resident of the USA, his filings in other countries claimed residency elsewhere; he was not actually living in the US.
Whether Sadr is, or was, an agent of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence, has long been suspected though not confirmed. His father is also rumored to have formerly been an intelligence agent, through which he acquired a substantial fortune. A number of other individuals in the Pilatus Bank case are also known to have links to, or actually be identified as, Iranian intelligence agencies. His use of commonly-used trade craft associated with the intelligence field appears to confirm his association with intelligence.
Friday, February 7, 2020
|Typical Bulk Cash Smuggling method|
A religious leader from the Palestinian Territory of Gaza has been indicted in the Beersheba District Court of Israel, for multiple bulk cash smuggling of Dollars, from Malaysia into Gaza. The Imam, Walid Div, allegedly took several trips to Malaysia, reputedly to give religious lectures, over a period of years, since 2013, and then smuggling Dollars into Gaza on the return trips. Funds were seized from him by Israel.
He is accused of illegally bringing in USD $3000 on each trip. The funds reportedly came from two Malaysian-based charities: AMAN PALESTINE and MAPIM. The recipient was Hamas which governs Gaza with an iron hand, diverting resources badly needed by the civilian population for arms and ammunition, bombs, and other tools and instruments of terrorism.
Malaysia's role in training, supplying and funding Hamas has appeared on this blog before, and is done quite openly; due to the strategic location of the country, its allies among the Western nations seems to have overlooked the fact that it provides a safe haven outside the Middle East for Hamas to receive support.
CARIBBEAN RESTAURANT OWNERS ALLEGE FRANCHISOR ENGAGED IN TACTICS DESIGNED TO PUT THEM OUT OF BUSINESS
According to the franchisees who have alleged corporate misconduct, after an investor, at great expense, set up a turnkey operation, the parent began to stop providing support, failed to restock supplies, did not maintain equipment, and failed to provide the promised employee training, all of which was required in the franchise agreement. In some cases, the parent company actually set up a competing restaurant nearby, and intentionally sold at lower prices, so as to attack all the franchisee's remaining customers. Then, the franchisor comes in, and takes possession of a valuable asset. In other cases, the franchisor improperly revokes the franchise agreement, and then proceeds to sue the restaurant owner for breach of the Golden Krust trademark and service mark rights, in Federal Court.
To prevent the investors from reporting this illegal conduct to US law enforcement, the parent allegedly employed Jamaican gang members to reportedly intimidate them, including threats made to family members in the Caribbean. Most of the investor/restaurant operators are expats from the region, living in the United States. Some of the victims are placing blame upon new American management, who took over when the founder, a West Indian, facing huge unpaid taxes, took his own life. Some employees are alleging improper labor practices, involving non-payment for overtime.
Clearly, there are multiple violations of the law, in what has been described by victims as a Racketeering scheme, requiring intervention by state Attorneys General, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Department of Justice, Criminal Division. We trust that they are reading this article, and will respond with the appropriate action.
Thursday, February 6, 2020
For those readers who were curious as to why the two individuals identified only as "CC1" and "CC2" in the recently-filed Iran sanctions evasion case against BAHRAM KARIMI, they are the previously-indicted Pilatus Bank owner, Seyed Ali Sadr Hasheminejad, who is a co-defendant in Karimi's case, and Sadr's father, MOHAMMED SEYED HASHEMINEJAD, reportedly one of Iran's wealthiest men.
It appears that Hasheminejad was able to secure St Kitts CBI passports for the others in his immediate family,his two sisters, and his mother, all of whom are known to reside in the District of Columbia. A copy of one of the sister's SKN CBI passports can be seen above. The document seems to indicate that her Place of Birth was "Irn", which is the internationally- recognized abbreviation for Iran.. Many CBI passports issued by the five East Caribbean states falsely recite that the foreign-born holder was born in the Caribbean, which is a blatant, and illegal, effort to hide the true nationality of the holder.
Why Karimi's indictment fails to name Hasheminejad's family as not only the SKN CBI passport holders, and why they are not named as co-defendants, for their roles in concealing the true nature of the sanctions-violating transactions, is not known. They may have received immunity from prosecution, by having been unwitting conspirators in the scheme to send hundreds of millions of dollars from Venezuela to Iran.
Wednesday, February 5, 2020
The indictment charges BAHRAM KARIMI with several offenses:
(1) Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud.
(2) Bank Fraud.
(3) Making False Statements.
The maximum penalty for the above counts is 65 years in Federal Prison.
To quote the indictment:
"On or about 2010, CC-1 and CC-2, incorporated two entities outside Iran using
St. Kitts passports and a Dubai, United Arab Emirates address, for the purpose
of, inter alia, receiving US Dollar payments related to the Venezuela project."
United States vsd. Bahram Karimi, Case No,: 18CR-224 (AJC) (SDNY).
The abuse of Citizenship by Investment (CBI/CIP) passports continues to raise risk levels
at banks handling international transactions, as they are unable to correctly identify the
nationality, and at time the name, or bank clients using CBI identity documents. Please note that the two principal jurisdictions where CBI passport holders use them to evade identification as Iranians are DOMINICA, and ST KITTS. Compliance officers at financial institutions who service clients from those countries would be well advised to consider ALL those customers to require Enhanced Due Diligence, at account opening, and during transaction monitoring.
Readers who wish to review the indictment may access the complete text here.
Posted by Kenneth Rijock at Wednesday, February 05, 2020
Tuesday, February 4, 2020
CANADIAN APPEALS COURT RULES THAT WIDOW OF PALESTINIAN TERRORIST CANNOT RECOVER ON HIS LIFE INSURANCE POLICY
The Ontario Court of Appeals, the Province's highest court, has held that the widow of a Palestinian terrorist may not recover upon his life insurance policy, due to the fact that her husband failed to disclose his violent terrorist history when applying for coverage. The Court, in overturning the decision of the Superior Court of Justice, ruled that the insured intentionally withheld his criminal past, which was sufficient to establish fraud.
The deceased insured, Mahmoud Mohammad Isa Mohammad, was a Palestinian PFLP terrorist who participated in the hijacking of an El Al airliner in Athens, Greece in 1984, which resulted in death and injuries to passengers, and the destruction of the aircraft. While serving a sentence in Greece for Manslaughter, Mohammad was freed in a subsequent terrorist action.
The insured later emigrated to Canada, but failed to disclose his criminal history and terrorist past on his application; years later when his terrorist history became known, he was deported to Lebanon. After he died of cancer, his widow sought to recover on a $75,000 life insurance policy issued by Manufacturers Life Insurance Company.
When the insurance company denied coverage, declaring that the insured's failure to disclose his criminal conviction and terrorist organization membership voided the policy. The appeals court held that Canadian insurance law required him to disclose all material facts in his past, and his failure to disclose his history increased the risk of insuring him.
The complete text of the 7-page decision may be accessed here.