Kenneth Rijock

Kenneth Rijock

Friday, August 14, 2020

DOMINICA IS CHARGING ITS RETURNING CITIZENS $4000 TO GET OUT OF QUARANTINE CENTERS




The Commonwealth of Dominica, in addition to requiring that its returning citizens spend time in quarantine, has the nerve to charge then EC$4000 for the privilege, in what is obviously a way to raise money. That may be bad form, but it gets worse. A number of those Dominicans who do not have all the money to pay the obscenely high administrative fee have been involuntarily returned to quarantine after their release.

This practice sounds ominously like debtor's prison, which has been illegal in the English speaking countries for centuries. Welcome home to Dominica; now, open your wallet or face the consequences.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

MALTA MUST INDICT ALI SADR HASHEMINEJAD TO AVOID MONEYVAL SANCTIONS



October is literally just around the corner, and with it comes the moment of truth for Malta; waiting for MONEYVAL's decision on whether to place the country on its Greylist, for a total and complete lack of effective law enforcement actions against money laundering. Let us humbly suggest the most direct signal that Malta can send that it intends to reform is the immediate indictment of Pilatus Bank owner and Chairman Ali Sadr Hasheminejad. It will also help if the bank's ex-CEO and a number of the directors are also named, all for their primary roles in facilitating the banks' money laundering operations.



Of course, the hint supplied recently by the senior law enforcement official, to the effect that certain unspecified criminal charges were going to filed within the next thirty days, against yet unnamed individuals, most lilely served as a warning to former Pilatus officials to leave town before then, which will allow Malta to bring charges, and not be able to hold a trial, due to their timely flight to avoid prosecution. That might save the hides of those active duty government officials who could be named & shamed, if the defendants were unable to be located and arrested.




Of course, regarding Ali Sadr himself, the ringleader, he is safely ensconsed in the United States, where he is an established Cooperating Individual, and therefore not likely to be extradited any time soon. Malta thus can prove its intentions to fight money laundering, without actually trying the offenders in court, as they are cleverly not available at this time.



So what do you say, Mr. Prime Minister, will you bring charges against Ali Sadr, and his henchmen, for money laundering, or will you ignore your duties, and suffer the MONEYVAL censure ?



FOUR REASONS WHY ALEX SAAB MORAN MUST ENTER A PLEA AND COOPERATE AGAINST HIS PARTNERS IN CRIME IN VENEZUELA AND THE EAST CARIBBEAN



For those readers who are questioning why the accused master money launderer ALEX NAIN SAAB MORAN is reportedly fully cooperating with law enforcement, in advance of his upcoming extradition to face Federal criminal charges in Miami, there are a number of facts that would lead any defense attorney to suggest that he enter a plea of guilty, and render what the US Sentencing Guidelines call Substantial Assistance.

Here are the ones that immediately come to mind:

(1) the eight-count money laundering indictment pending against Saab alleges that he laundered $350m; His Guidelines sentence, given the amount of money involved, and possible multiple aggravating factors, could place him in Federal Prison for the rest of his life.

(2) The OFAC sanctions imposed upon him are another indicator that the weight of the evidence is ovewhelming. Historically, OFAC is not known to make those decisions, which are based upon restricted law enforcement information, lightly.

(3) The US Attorney has Professor Bruce Bagley, who recently admitted to laundering money for Saab, ready as a credible witness against him; it is also believed that there are a number of other witnesses, as well as documentary evidence, lined up, as the Goverment has had years to properly prepare a case against him.

(4) Any Miami jury that Saab will face at trial will most likely include a number of Cuban-American jurors, and Saab's money laundering work for Venezuela's Maduro regime, which is supported by Communist Cuba, long opposed by Miami's Cubans, will work against him.

It is also worth mentioning that Saab has, in the past, communicated with attorneys in the United States, which confirms that he has entertained making arrangements to settle his criminal exposure. He has also made overtures to have the damaging information in the commercial off-the-shelf databases of high risk persons used by compliance officers corrected or removed altogether. He also has has retained an attorney in Miami, which also indicates awareness of his tenuous situation.

His arrest in Cape Verde reportedly was responsible for sheer panic in the East Caribbean countries where he has owned offshore banks, Antigua & Barbuda, and Dominica. Persistent rumors that certain individuals in those countries have already received immunity from prosecution from US authorities continue to be heard, causing further alarm.
We shall continue to monitor developments in this case as they unfold.




  

LITHUANIA SANCTIONS HEZBOLLAH, IMPOSES 10-YEAR TRAVEL BAN ON ENTRY


Coat or Arms and national flag of Lithuania

The Republic of Lithuania has designated the Lebanese organization HEZBOLLAH, alos known as the "Party of God", a terrorist entity. This sanction applies to the entire organization, not just the so-called "military faction," a distinction which Hezbollah uses to allow its "political faction" to freely operate in Europe. in truth and in fact, both sectors are one entity, and separating them is pure fiction.

More importantly, Lithuania has banned any Hezbollah members from entering the country for a period of ten (10) years. Given that the organization raises funds by extorting "contributions" or "charity" from expat Lebanese, many of whom are not even Muslims, this action may serve to impact this practice, especially if other nations themsselves enact travel bans.

Whether Lithuania has imposed its sanctions upon Hezbollah due to the disclosure that the organization was the group storing volatile ammonium nitrate, as well as missiles deemed illegal by the terms of the United Nations cease fire, is not known, but the fact that the terrorist designation followed the exposure of Hezbollah's culpability in the total destruction of a major portion of downtown Beirut leads us to believe that it was the cause for the designation.  

Given that Hezbollah agents are known to carry passports from both Lebanon and Syria, there may be impact upon individuals holding such passports, who are not Hezbollah members or associates, as border and customs officials, as well as bank compliance officers, may regard them as possible Hezbollah, and deny entry, or decline to open bank accounts.

  

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

IS DOMINICA'S GEOTHERMAL PLANT PROJECT A VEHICLE FOR MONEY LAUNDERING AND CORRUPTION ?




The utter inability of Dominica to build a functional Geothermal Plant, designed to produce and export electricity, making the Commonwealth the world's first completely climate-resilient country, has caused questions to be raised about the rumored $50m already spent during the last decade, especially since qualified experts who have been on the ground in Dominica have stated uses improper procedures that are guaranteed to fail.

Did all the fifty million (a huge sum) expended on the project, which we now know came from CBI revenues, actually end up in the hands of the purported recipients, or were there kickbacks paid to the government officials who awarded the initial exploratory and develpment contracts ? We cannot believe that, in a country riddled with corruption at every level, up to the top, there were no kickbacks and illegal payments. Where's the transparency on those expenditures ?

Dominica's Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, is reportedly unhappy that the grants promised by the World Bank and the EU are insufficient to cover the quoted costs. Is that because kickbacks have already been built into these job quotes ? Additionally, why not use more CBI funds to pay for the project, Mr. Prime Minister ? In a country where over a billion dollars in CBI revenues is missing and unaccounted for, this is a relevant question.



Finally, experts in the environmental field have noted that the proposed re-injection system cannot work, because the hard water will totally calcify the heat exchangers in a very short period of time. The only thing that will be effective must be a sealed recirculating system. The entire geothermal project, which has been advertised by the Skerrit to be a creator of badly needed jobs for Dominicans, appears doomed to fail, again and again. The Sustainable and Resilient Energy Plan that received so much publicity is yet another pipedream of corrupt politicians who have their hands out for another illegal payday.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

DID LEROY KING'S TESTIMONY IMPLICATE ANTIGUA'S PAST AND PRESENT PRIME MINISTERS ?



Leroy King, the former Antigua banking regulator, whose actions allowed Stanford International Bank to steal billions from its victims, was to be sentenced on July 30, 2020. For some mysterious reason, King's sentencing not only did not take place, there are no court filings in his case to show that it has been cancelled or rescheduled. This is unlike King, whose Antigua attorneys artfully delayed his extradition for more than a decade. What is happening here ?

While he faced a possible 175 years in prison on the original, charges, he pled to a single count, and is not likely to spend a substantial time in Federal Prison; so why was he not sentenced ? The Bureau of Prisons website shows him still "in residence" at Houston Federal Detention Center (FDC).

Given the rumors circulating throughout Antigua of late, he may have given sworn testimony that will implicate a number of Antigua's senior leaders, all of whom accepted bribes from Stanford when he ran his Ponzi scheme through two of Antigua's banks. There was a reason why lawyers labored for more than ten years to keep King from being extradited: he knew who had received bribes and kickbacks in Antigua's government, he knows who the bagmen (cash couriers) that delivered the illicit cash were, and where those "Testaferros" are now.

Leroy King and R Allen Stanford


Is this why Antigua's powerful are in a uproar ? It's a perfect storm of double-barrelled trouble for Antigua's leadership, Alex Saab Moran and Leroy King, both of whom have enough first-hand information to bury many of the country's senior politicians who are currently in power. Is Leroy King now in WitSec, the Federal Government's Witness Protection Program, and what did he testify to ?  What did Leroy King testify about, and who did he implicate ?

MALTA BURIES THE ONLINE EVIDENCE OF ITS SHELL COMPANIES, DENYING IT TO US AND UK INVESTIGATORS



If you are closely watching unfolding developments, you know that Malta Business Registry has deleted online records of hundreds of thousands of shell companies that have been dissolved/liquidated. readers who are familar with the tradecraft of money launderers know that they generally allow shell companies formed on their behalf to lapse for nonpayment and nondisclosure of required information at the earliest possible time, because they "Use them and lose them, " meaning that they use the newly-formed shell companies quickly and effectively for criminal activities, and then swiftly abandon them, deliberately failing to make the first annual filings. I know this because, in an earlier life, I did just that, but I digress.

What makes this action suspicious is that, for US and UK investigators probing Maltese money laundering and terrorist financing (do you remember our article about Palestinian activity in Malta ?) they will no longer be able to remotely troll online for shell company information, including financial records and liquidation accounts, as they have now been arbitrarily, but effectively deleted, or struck off. This is a problem if you are working in Washington or London. You then must travel to Malta, and very publicly visit MBR offices to request registry hard copies for information. If you don't know what you are looking for, you will be unable to conduct the random queries (fishing expeditions) that might just turn up critical evidence of money laundering, or other financial crimes. We are talking about the records of an estimated 30,000 shell companies. It should be viewed as a calculated and deliberate effort to keep evidence from foreign investigators.



You have to believe that someone highly placed in Maltese government let it be known to MBR leadeship that it would be appreciated if these records were to no longer be available online, for the use and research of foreign financial crime investigators. This is just one more brick being laid in the cornerstone of a building being erected to deny outside investigations sufficient information to bring white-collar crime charges against Malta's money launderers, some of whom just happen to be PEPs, and their clients.



Monday, August 10, 2020

ALEX SAAB MORAN'S IMPENDING EXTRADITION TO MIAMI CREATES FEAR AND LOATHING IN ANTIGUA & DOMINICA





Since a court in the Republic of Cabo Verde approved the extradition of the accused Colombian-Lebanese money launderer, Alex Saab Moran, to the United States, where he faces major criminal charges, political and financial figures in Antigua and Dominica have expressed their fears that, once Saab is in a Miami prison cell, awaiting trial, they may soon find themselves in there with him. I am talking about prime ministers and bank presidents, not minor players by any means.

Though attorneys for Saab have expressed their intentions to file additional appeals, which will obviously be filed only for dilatory purposes, since extradition inquiries are extremely limited in scope, and all they can do is briefly delay Saab's inevitable flight to the United States. Since he will be here for his trial, those in the East Caribbean who drew lucrative profits by allowing Saab to access their local financial system, selling him local offshore banks, and moving his criminal proceeds into and through them, so as to conceal their illicit origins, through adroit money laundering, will soon be called to account for their crimes.



How many Antiguans and Dominicans will be named in money laundering conspiracy charges on Saab's case ? We cannot say, because in the US, indictments against individuals outside the ready reach of American law enforcement will be sealed until the offenders are safe in US custody, and brought before a United States Magistrate Judge, at their First Appearance. Only then will they learn the consequences of breaking Federal laws, and ignoring requests from the US Marshals Service.

We shall promptly advise our readers when Saab arrives in the United States; that's when the sleepless nights of some Antiguan and Dominican businessmen will abruptly end with their arrests.




Sunday, August 9, 2020

PILATUS BANK SUING MALTA ? SOUNDS LIKE A BAD JOKE IN POOR TASTE

Pilatus Bank logo
While it is true that former Pilatus Bank Director Armin Eckermann publicly stated that he expects Pilatus Bank to sue Malta for "billions," and the topic has become a subject of conversation from time to time, surely such a case, if it ever is filed, could never succeed on the merits. Is Eckermann joking, or is there something more than meets the eye here ? (Remember, Eckermann also openly bragged, when among fellow German businessmen, that he alone vetted and approved all new bank customers. Therefore, if anyone from Pilatus belongs in prison for facilitating money laundering, he is at the top of the list).

Surely any bank that loses its charter for criminal activity, to wit: money laundering, cannot prevail in any civil suit, no matter what minor technical errors or violations that Maltese regulators or law enforcement agencies may have committed against it, on equitable grounds, such as Unclean Hands or Equitable Estoppel.  No court, applying the Rule of Law, would agree that minor infractions, even if they were committed, were of such magnitude as to excuse the bank's rampant criminal activities, which resulted in its closing for cause.

Yes, I know the argument they will make: that the American criminal case against Ali Sadr Hasheminejad, the bank's owner, was dismissed, Let me respond by stating that Pilatus Bank itself was not acquitted of money laundering, that the evidence in support of criminal activity is strong, and that Ali Sadr's deal with prosecutors, whatever it is, did NOT absolve the bank from guilt.

Also, are Malta's citizens worried that such a suit will be settled, for a large monetary sum, as the plaintiffs, bank directors and officers most likely, will blackmail or extort Malta, due to the fact that Ali Sadr paid bribes to senior government officials to get the bank charter, and current officials, protecting their political allies, do not want that information released ? That would mean admitting to multiple felonies, and who would wilingly agree to self-incrimination. That's not going to happen.

Of course, should the unthinkable happen, and a civil suit for damages is filed, Ali Sadr as the sole owner would be the only proper party plaintiff, and should he do so, his deposition would be promptley scheduled, and his arrest on money laundering charges surely would occur when he showed up in Malta. Remember, he who chooses the forum must eventually appear in person for deposition, or the case will be dismissed. He will never show up in Malta, upon pain of arrest, if not an attempt to harm him, in true Maltese style, so the risk that suit will be filed must be low. He's not coming.

A final note; any civil suit should result in the filing of a multi-billion dollar counterclaim, against all the officers & directors, for failure to effectively screen new bank customers, failure to monitor PEP bank accounts, and for allowing many millions in dirty money from Venezuela to transit the bank. what will Herr Eckermann do then, leave Malta permanently, to avoid a judgment ?

It is doubtful that Ali Sadr will want to appear in Malta for any reason, and as he is an indispensable party, no suit could survive if the Rule of Law is observed. In closing, like everything else in Malta, the Statute of Limitations will run out eventually on a possible Pilatus cause of action.








RENEWED INTEREST IN FRAUDSTERS VICTOR AND NATALIA WOLF DUE TO GRENADA BITCOIN LEADS

VICTOR and NATALIA WOLF,  formerly Miami's most artful fraudster couple, still ranking high as fugitives on the FBI Most Wanted List, due to their whirlwind $20m campaign of mortgage fraud, theft and document forgery in South Florida, may be safe from extradition in Germany, where they are citizens, but increased interest in their movement of stolen assets via cryptocurrency, into Grenada, to be laundered among Russian organized crime-sponsored investment projects, has come to the attention of law enforcement tracking other Persons of Interest, and finding familiar faces at the end of the money trail. Unfortunately, we cannot obtain any information regarding pending criminal investigations. 


Additionally, specific information regarding the reputed assistance of OLEG FIRER and ARTHUR GEHL in washing the proceeds of the Wolfs' criminal activities, into real estate projects in Grenada, has focused the attention of private sector investigators seeking to recover assets on behalf of certain angry Russian and Russian-American clients. Investment projects in Grenada, including those approved for Citizenship by Investment (CBI) passports, and being scrutinized for links to the Wolfs as are certain US real estate holdings not previously linked to the Wolfs, but held by third parties.



 Although precisely how the Bitcoin transfers were made, and through what facilitating entities they were achieved, is not publicly known, it is understood that this information has now been secured by representatives of some of the creditors, who plan to seize real estate assets, both in Grenada and in the United States. We cannot say whether the Wolfs will ever see the inside of an American courtroom for their crimes, but representatives of some of their victims are looking to recover their losses, and enforcing their creditors' rights, against their assets, wherever they be found.


HEZBOLLAH INTERACTIVE MAP IS A VALUABLE RESEARCH TOOL ON TERRORIST FINANCING



Dr. Matthew Levitt, the author of Hezbollah: the Global Footprint of Lebanon's Party of God,  has published, on the Washington Institute for Near East Policy website, His "Lebanese Hezbollah Worldwide Activity Map and Timeline" gets my personal recommendation as a research reference.

 It is a searchable open-source resource which includes information obtained from:
(1) Criminal Complaints and Indictments.
(2) Trial testimony.
(3) FBI information.
(4) Treasury Department designations.
(5) Rewards for Justice information.



Readers who wish to download this valuable tool map acceess it here.





Saturday, August 8, 2020

MALTA THROWS A BONE TO MONEYVAL; WILL IT TAKE THE BAIT ?




As the October date in which MONEYVAL will most likely add Malta to the regulatory agency's "Greylist," fast approaches, you can expect some fast moves from Malta's law enforcement agencies, including attempts to showcase what will be billed as high-profile arrests for money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism, before the elections.

We saw such an act this week; the Malta Police Force arrested a man, TERENCE CLINI, who has  prior convictions, including narcotics trafficking, and his girlfriend, AMANDA FARRUGIA after a mysterious "anonymous tipster" advised that she had a bank balance of €1m. Her boyfriend, who has a criminal record, joins her in custody as both have been accused of money laundering.

It seems strange that such an obvious career criminal is being arrested at this time, based upon a purportedly anonymous tip, on money laundering charges, just when Malta is desperately seeking to prove that it strictly enforces its money laundering laws. It is as if the government has tossed out a sacrificial lamb, one of the country's known drug dealers, in an effort to appear tough on financial crime.Will MONEYVAL be convinced ? We doubt it.


RECHERCHE - SALMAN RAOUL SALMAN - HEZBOLLAH - $7 MILLIONS DE DOLLARS DE RECOMPENSA


MALTA'S GOVERNMENT LEAVES MILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF ALI SADR'S CASH ON THE TABLE



The attorneys who are advising the Government of Malta on the Pilatus Bank scandal are guilty of professional negligence, more commonly known as malpractice. If you take the time now to review the Order Exonerating Bonds, which appears below, you will note that the US District Court in Manhatten has now released all the collateral that secured the appearance bond of Pilatus Bank owner Ali Sadr Hasheminejad.

That collateral included $1,420,000 in cash, that was pledged to permit Ali Sadr to be released pending trial. All that cash has now been ordered released back to the defendant, together with bonds totalling around thirty million dollars, and other assets.

Cash held as collateral by the District Court can be frozen pursuant to the authority of a Writ of Garnishment or Writ of Attachment. Creditors with valid claims that are due owing and unpaid can directly access assets of a debtor through either of these writs. It has been two years since Pilatus Bank self-destructed, and yet it does not appear that any civil suit has been filed against Ali Sadr anywhere to recover money damages. Didn't any of Malta's prosecutors ever take Creditor's Rights in law school ?

Readers who doubt whether such action could be taken, please note that the SDNY recently froze bond funds of defendant Lev Parnas, in the case involving Rudy Giuliani's efforts to find dirt on Presidential Candidate Joe Biden. Parnas owed money in Florida, and a Writ of Attachment was issued by the Clerk of Court in the Southern District of Florida, Case No.: 19-MC-80024 (SDFL), ans filed in the New York case.



Additionally, while it would more complicated, Malta could also pursue the $30,000,000 in bond money. We must assume that New York case was intensely monitored in Malta, with the possible assistance of the US Department of Justice or Legal Attache´ in Valletta at the embassy.

 The fact that there was a huge amount of collateral, some of it in cash, pledged in the New York case was public information. So why didn't Malta act on it since 2018 ? Probably because Ali Sadr's bribes to senior government officials in Malta would possibly have been revealed if Malta moved against Ali Sadr's assets. That's one more nail in the coffin for Malta with MONEYVAL.







THE LATEST SCAM PURPORTING TO BE FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY



This email, demanding $580 from recipients, after which they will allegedly receive two "consignment boxes" from the International Monetary Fund, is one of the most arrogant that we have ever seen. it actually threatens to have the recipient arrested as a terrorist if he or she does not pay the sum demanded.


TWO KOREAN-AMERICANS CHARGED WITH ILLEGAL EXPORT OF TECHNOLOGY WITH MILITARY APPLICATIONS TO CHINA



Two Americans of Korean extraction were arrested by Federal authorities in New York, in connection with the illegal export, to China, of dual-use electronics components that are used in missile and nuclear technology. CHONG SIK YU a/k/a CHRIS YU and YUNSEO LEE sent the
restricted items through Hong Kong, as later, through South Korea, where they were illegally transshipped (re-exported) to the Peoples' Republic of China. The items they sent to china all have military applications.

The defendant were charged with:
(1) Money Laundering.
(2) Violation of the Export Control Reform Act of 2018.
(3) Wire fraud.
(4) Bank Fraud.

Readers who wish more details may review the Criminal Complaint here.




Friday, August 7, 2020

GRENADA'S UNOCCUPIED MOSCOW EMBASSY, WITH ITS CBI SALES OFFICE FOR RUSSIANS, INCREASES COMPLIANCE RISK



The pictures of the historic building that houses Grenada's Russian Embassy in Moscow, as shown on the country's website, are impressive. Unfortunately, there's no staff on duty there. Our sources have reported that the building is only used to direct market, to Russians, Grenada's Citizenship by Investment (CBI) passports. Whether the use of the facilities by private businesses engaged as CBI consultants violates the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations is a fine point that I leave to United Nations legal advisers, but there are other disturbing issues.






More importantly, the commercial sale of CBI passports by the resident Grenada Ambassador, Odessa-born OLEG FIRER (who is neither a native-born nor naturalized citizen to the country he represents as a diplomat, which is another Vienna Convention violation; see Article 8) is clearly illegal, for diplomats are not allowed to profit, directly or indirectly from their position.(See Articles 41 & 42). When Firer takes profits from the sale of passports by a private company located on the premises of his embassy, he is in violation.

Finally, we arrive at the most dangerous aspect of the in-house CBI consultancy within the embassy; given that the premises are inviolate, and immune from search and seizure (see Article 22) , CBI applicants who deliver the Proceeds of Crime as payment for their Grenada passport and citizenship, do not have to worry about their payment being seized or forfeited by either law enforcement or regulators, for the embassy property, and courier shipments to and from Grenada cannot be opened or seized, even when in transit, as it qualifies as diplomatic traffic. Dirty money can therefore be protected, and hidden; the applicant need not even appear in Grenada; he can receive the passport, in total secrecy, in the embassy, which is little more than a CBI sales office, but protected as being within sovereign territory of Grenada.

When such abuses of diplomatic privilege occur, and the net result is an increase in risk, compliance officers at international banks should consider instituting enhanced due diligence on every Grenada CBI passport that is presented at account opening, lest Russian organized crime profits get laundered through their institution. Ignore any listed names, because in the transliteration from the Cyrillic alphabet, expect at least minor changes from the original when it appears in Latin script, if not a completely new identity. Was the holder born outside Grenada ? If so, you know what do.
_________________________________________________________________________
For Further Reading: Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (United Nations website)
 




MALTA PROMISES INDICTMENTS : TO LITTLE, TOO LATE, ON PILATUS BANK ?

Malta: EU's very own Banana Republic
The Police Commissioner of Malta, clearly responding to public pressure to take action against those who operated Pilatus Bank as a major money laundering center, has gone on record and stated that unspecified criminal charges, in an unspecified case, will be filed within the next thirty days. He deliberately failed to name Pilatus Bank, though most Malta watchers believe his intention was to give that impression. (We will be seriously disappointed if some other obscure case is named).

Four years after money laundering allegations first appeared against the bank, and a full two years after it was shut down, we are made to believe that Malta's law enforcement and regulatory community, is about to finally bring indictments. Unfortnately, it appears that whatever action does take place is only happening due to the imminent imposition of MONEYVAL sanctions, meaning any charges are politically motivated. Any of those charged may never go to trial, given Malta's abysmal record on important criminal cases, which often linger for years for no apparent reason other than corruption in the courts.

We also beleive that only minor players in Pilatus' operation will actually be indicted; the foreign nationals (read: directors) who supervised the movement of the proceeds of crime of corrupt Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) will most likely escape justice, as they could potentially roll over, meaning cooperate, on very senior former Maltese government officials that the local power scturcture is intent upon ignoring, lest they themselves expose certain individuals in the business community.

Look for minor participants in the Pilatus operation to be named, together with some of them already gone from Malta, or immune from criminal prosecution in countries where extradition is not probable. Don't expect miracles, expect only window dressing actions, as a feeble attempt at damage control at Europe's only Banana Republic.

Only significant indictments in the United States and/or the United Kingdom can save the day. Let's hope they come soon.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

NAMES OF ACCOUNTS OF BEIRUT PORT OFFICIALS FROZEN BY SPECIAL COMMISSION OF INQUIRY



These are the names of the individuals at the Port of Beirut and Lebanese Customs whose accounts have been frozen by the Special Investigation Commission, in the aftermath of the explosion at the port:

(1)  HASSAN QUREITEM, Chairman of the Board of Directors at the Port of Beirut.
(2) SHAFIQ MERHI, Former Director-General of lebanese Customs.
(3) BADRI DAHIR, Director-General of Lebanese Customs.
(4) NAYLA EL HAJ.
(5) MICHEL NELL
(6) GEORGE DAHIR
(7) [One individual whose name apparently does not translate from Arabic.]

 



OFFICIAL CORRUPTION IS THE REAL CAUSE OF THE BEIRUT DISASTER




If you were closely following the news about the explosion at the Port of Beirut this week, you may have noticed that the entire port staff were immediately taken in custody in the aftermath of the blast. That's not strictly because of the allegations of negligent and improper storage of highly compustible material; it is because the port is mired in rampant corruption, and the real reason that the shipment was seized while enroute to Mozambique is due to demands for illegal bribes that were not met.

In truth and in fact, so-called "port fees" that the vessel was charged included lucrative, and illegal, fees that amouned to bribes. The additional "vesssel safety deficiencies" that port officials then damanded payment for were also thinly disguised bribes. The vessel's owner actually met the initial demands for illegal payments, but each time he made a payment, port officials required more money, in a vicious cycle of corruption.

Finally, the port staff offloaded the cargo into a nearby hangar, to gain additional leverage upon the cargo owner. Reports from Beirut say that some of the payments went to senor officials inside the government, at the highest level. The owner eventually stopped paying, and abandoned his propertty.

Who is to blame for the death and destruction ? The corrupt government of Lebanon, who killed its own people, and ruined the capital for years to come. With the sharp decline in value of the Lebanese Pound versus the US Dollar, property owners are unable to import construction materials to rebuild.

There's a reason Lebanon's youth regularly protest the endemic corruption that pollutes their country; it exists all the way up to the Office of the President, and shows no signs of reform. Some commentators are now referring to Lebanon as a "Failed State." Whether anyone who was truly responsible for all the dead and injured ever faces justice is doubtful, given Lebanon's long history of assassination investigations that never result in the filing of criminal charges. We expect that port staff and government officials with their hands out for bribes will literally get away with murder.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

BOGUS ARTICLE CLAIMED ALEX SAAB WAS EXTRADITED TO MIAMI



Compliance officers, watch out for that clickbait. An article last week "alleged" that the master Colombian money launderer for Venezuela's Amduro regime, ALEX NAIN SAAB MORAN, had been extradted to Miami, to face massive criminal charged in US District Court. It was all bogus; the aim was to make you click through to an unknown website, solely to drive traffic there, which earns money for some domain owner.

Apparently, the whole thing was a fabrication. Multiple sources confirm that Saab was NOT flown to Miami from the Republic of Cape Verde; Absolutely false. Compliance officers, never use unknown information sources, as they may contain disinformation or misinformation. Do not make compliance decisions based upon such fabrications. 

Monday, August 3, 2020

JUDGE IN HALKBANK CASE ADMONISHES DEFENSE LEGAL TEAM



The District Judge in the Iran sanctions evasion case against HALKBANK,  the government-owned Turkish bank, has denied bank counsel the right to present oral argument in the bank's pending motion to recuse the judge, and warned the attorneys that "They will need to (much) better adhere to the Court's Individual Rules and all applicable cases and Federal Rules..."

The Court noted that it "reserves the right to dismiss and/or disregard (in while or in part) submission which do not conform to applicable practice, procedure and case law." Was the judge perhaps signalling that the conduct of previous and bank counsel was dilatory ? Possibly, because some of the prior arguments advanced by counsel, which were not supported by case law, might have irritated the Court. I realize that counsel was acting on the orders of the bank, but perhaps the bank might want to move the case forward on the merits, and not waste time with procedural roadblocks.

BREXIT WILL TAKE A BITE OUT OF THE ATTRACTION OF MALTA'S CBI PASSPORTS FOR RUSSIAN CLIENTS




On January 31, 2021, visa-free access to the United Kingdom by EU passport holders expires. I you are a Russian Oligarch, and you have been using that Maltese CBI (Individual Investors Program) passport to go to London, your door to the UK will abruptly close, forcing you to apply for a visa, which you cannot qualify for, due to your "colorful" (meaning criminal) background and sordid current associations.

The question of the day: how will the inability of wealthy Russian nationals & Oligarchs to enter the UK visa-free, by acquiring a Maltese CBO passport, affect sales of Malta's IIP passports ? Obviously, the Russians will be going elsewhere, such as Cyprus, but Malta's Western location makes it a target. They may also choose one of the five East Caribbean States that offer CBI passports and citizenship.

Will the bottom fall out of Malta's IIP program ? Without Russian nationals, which are the majority of the individuals applying, there may be a steep drop in sales. The new actual residency requirement will also cause many typical applicants to look elsewhere.

To a lesser degree, wealthy Chinese businessmen and PEPs, who have also been relying upon that Malta CBI Passport to enter the United Kingdom, they will also now be looking elsewhere, due to Brexit. If I was an Iranian looking to move sanctions evasion funds, I might want that Maltese passport to entré into the City, but now I will be unable to come into London without a visa.

I wonder if the individuals who run Malta's IIP saw this coming ?

Saturday, August 1, 2020

LE DIX FUGITIFS LES PLUS RECHERCHES PAR LE FBI - MEURTRE - JASON DEREK BROWN


APPEALS COURT AFFIRMS CONVICTION OF HALKBANK DEPUTY GENERAL MANAGER ATILLA



The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has confirmed the conviction of former Halkbank Deputy GM MEHMET HAKAN ATILLA. He was sentenced to 32 months' imprisonment, and was released on July 19, 2018, and later deported to Turkey

.The defendant was convicted in SDNY of:

(1) Money Laundering.
(2) Conspiracy to Violate the IEEPA.
(3) Bank Fraud.

On appeal, the defendant's issues:
(A) The IEEPA Jury Instruction were in error.
(B) The evidence was insufficient to support the conviction.
(C) His conduct did not reach the statute regarding Defrauding the United States.
(D) The District Court abised its discretion in excluding a jailhouse telephone call.


The Court held that the jury instruction was harmless error, that the evidence support's Atilla's convictions, the IEEPA chage was valid,  his conviction for Defrauding the United States was proper, and the exclusion of the telephone call was harmless error.

What this opinion does to the pending case against Atilla's former employer, Halkbank, is not known, but the trial judge in that case can certainly take Judicial Notice of the evidence intoduced at the Atilla trial. This decision is clearly a setback for the bank; whether it continues its hardline appraoch to defending its interests, or seeks damage control by a plea agreement is possible, but given the tactics of the bank to date, we doubt that a peaceful settlement is possible.

RAISE COUNTRY RISK ON GRENADA FORTHWITH




The recent flap in the East Caribbean State of Grenada is extemely troubling. The abrupt termination of funds being sent into the island from the United States, which resulted in confirmation that the government is indeed using German spyware to monitor all communications among Grenadians operates as an automatic increase in Country Risk for that Caribbean nation. If foreign investors, North American compliance officers, journalists and businessmen must fear that their private commnications will be reviewed, in real-time, and possibly acted upon to the damage and detriment of the caller, then Grenada poses a danger that cannot be mitigated.

When you add to that the increased presence of what appear to be a substantial  number of Russian organized crime elements as investors in Grenada, the arrival of a controversial CBI developer, and the government's refusal to prosecute SOREN DAWODY, who defrauded foreign CBI investors to the tune of $ 19.25m, you have a perfect storm of high risk that cannot be ignored.

Under the circumstances, compliance officers at international banks who are charged with calculating Country Risk should seriously consider raising it to an elevated level at this time, Furthermore, they should cease and desist from contacting any Grenada sources by unsecured commnications, when conducting Enhanced Due Diligence investigations, as their inquiries may be monitored and communicated to financial criminals, or government officials, for illicit gain.



  

FULL APPEALS COURT WILL HEAR MICHAEL FLYNN DISMISSAL CASE

The DC Court of Appeals has entered an order agreeing to have the court en Banc ,  meaning the full Court,  rehear the case of Michael Flynn. The Attorney General dropped the chages, even though flynn had twice pled guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with Russian diplomats, but the Court sought clarification on whether he could be charged with perjury. A three-judge panel of the Court had previously ruled to end the case.

Here is the DC Appeals Court order, agreeing to have the full court hear the case.

NINE MONTH DELAY IN GRANTING PARDON TO COOPERATING INDIVIDUAL MEANS MALTA'S POWER ELITE DON'T WANT TO BE IMPLICATED IN CORRUPTION AND FINANCIAL CRIME



An unusual and very vocal complaint, from one of the key players in the Daphne murder case, has focused attention upon what is really happening behind the scenes in Malta's government: a deliberate effort to delay testimony that will implicate some very powerful people in or out of office, so that they may themselves secure immunity from prosecution for their crimes, ahead of certain very damaging disclosures.

Victor Muscat, who has been charged in the assasination of the crusading journalist and whistleblower, alleges, in a judicial filing that his country's senior officials have delayed since last November to grant him the promised Presidential Pardon, so that he may testify in not only the Daphne case, but other crimes as well. It is believed that Muscat will implicate several present and former members of government, as well as a number of other Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs), including lawyers and corporate services consultants.

The witness is casting blame upon the country's President, but the role of the Minister of Justice, as well as police inspectors, who are excusing the delayas upon the Corona Virus, staffing shortgages, and anything else they can hand their hat on, have been pointed to as prima facie evidence of intentional delay, to allow specific Maltese time to negotiate, and obtain, immunity from prosecution. Running out the clock on the Statute of Limitations, which has ben seen before in Malta, has also been cited by legal onservers as another possible reason for the inexplicable delays.

Obviously, we are not just dealing with allegations of corruption, but specific financial crimes as well, for whenever individuals in government conceal bribes and kickbacks, or earn illegal profits, when they thereafter move them through the global banking system, they become guilty of money laundering. Given that the Panama Papers scandal demonstrated that offshore activities are a not infrequent method employed by dirty Maltese government officials at the highest level, it can be inferred that Muscat's information will most definitely implicate a number of individuals in that crime.

Finally, the admissibility of Muscat's information, and any sworn testimony that he gives in Malta, to make criminal cases in the United States, the United Kingdom, and the EU, should not be ignored. Rumors have swirled around Malta for months about the presnce of American Federal criminal investigators in Malta, and whether they are collecting evidence for a US prosecution. American judges do not give out Probation, or suspended sentences, for money laundering.

Malta's clever law enforcement tactic of conducting investigations for years, and then abandoning them, or neglacting to bring any charges at all, has not gone unnoticed in the United States, and you cshould expect to see some action from the Department of Justice. The guilty should remember what happened to General Noriega or Panama, and the then-Prime Minister of the Turks & Caicos Islands.

Let's hear what Victor Muscat has to say. I am sure that the former Prime Minister,  the ex-Chief of Staff,  the ex-Police Commissioner, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, will all be paying attention.


RECHERCHEE PAR LE FBI - PIRATAGE DE L'AIR - CATHERINE MARIE KERKOW - PARLE FRANCAIS