Kenneth Rijock

Kenneth Rijock

Thursday, December 31, 2020

MALTA'S NEW YEAR'S MYSTERY: WHAT WAS TAKEN ON BOARD THE SUPER VIP QATARI AMIR'S BIZJET IN MALTA ?


 

Question: how many secret Maltese IIM passports can the government stuff into the Amir of Qatar's VIP business jet at Malta International Airport (MLA) before it must retreat from the Secrecy Clause from the Christmas Eve-promulgated notice allowing the withholding of names from publication "for security reasons," or under extraordinary circumstances ? The Secrecy Clause was published without any Parliamentary scrutiny whatsoever. Mr. Muscat may no longer be prime minister, but his influence is seen in every nefarious act the government commits in the dark.

For the readers who wish to see the specific text; Publication of names of Maltese citizens by registration or naturalization. L.N.437 of 2020.

"3 ... provided that for reasons of Security, the Minister may IN HIS ABSOLUTE DISCRETION not publish the names of such persons." [emphasis added].

This blog attempted to reach Minister Alex Muscat, for his comments on this article, but Mr. Muscat for some reason would not take my calls. What is he afraid of ? We need to know whether he helped Joseph Muscat deliver Maltese passports to UAE bankers and Sheikhs that he owed favors to.

What you are seeing below is the Amiriflight,  the VIP airline that caters exclusively to the Royal Family of Qatar, and senior government officials. It is A7-HHJ, an Airbus A319 featuring all super-luxury first-class accommodations. It slipped into Malta between the issuance of the Legal Notice and the subsequent revocation of the Secrecy Clause.  More than one reader has asked me whether the purpose of that flight was to quietly load Malta IIP passports that will never be listed in any Gazette publication. Only the two Muscats, Joseph and Alex, know for sure, and they're not talking.

                                           Photo ©Keith Pisani, from Planespotters

Just what did the flight crew take on board ? Any readers who were at MLA and saw the activity around the aircraft are encouraged to report any information to the blog at :  miamicompliance@gmail.com   


Wednesday, December 30, 2020

READ KEN RIJOCK'S Q95 INTERVIEW ON DECEMBER 28 THAT DISCUSSED SKERRIT AND MUSCAT'S MONEY LAUNDERING

 

                                              The Monster  by Twitch                                                


If you did not hear my interview on Dominica's Q95 news program The Hot Seat,  with Matthias Peltier, where I discussed my recent article on Roosevelt Skerrit's proposed cooperation against Joseph Muscat and others,  and it is important that you review it, I can email you the audio file (20 megabytes).   

 

 

 Please email me at miamicompliance@gmail.com. No attachments, please, as I have been repeatedly targeted by hackers working for dark forces who did not want me to speak truth to power. 


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READ THE STAY ORDER IN THE HALKBANK CASE


 

 

Readers who wanted more detail regarding the efforts of Halkbank counsel defending the Iran sanctions evasion case can read the Appeals Court order staying the trial court proceeding pending the appeal of the Mandamus petition.


 


Monday, December 28, 2020

PILATUS BANK'S EFFORTS TO SECURE EVIDENCE IN THE US THROUGH COURT ACTION FAIL

 


 The controversial petition filed, by Malta's disgraced Pilatus Bank, seeking evidence its owner allegedly intends to use against the European Central Bank, and others for damages, and to reinstate the bank's EU license,  has failed for lack of personal service. 

The District Judge in Federal Court in New Hampshire, to whom the case was assigned, had given counsel until only December 22, 2020 to amend the petition, and to effectuate personal service upon Pilatus' former Competent Person, Lawrence Connell. While an Amended Petition was indeed filed, no service of process through Return of Service appears in the court file. As you can see below, the case will be now closed.




Pilatus counsel argued that they had an additional three days past the 12/22 due date et by the Court for service, but candidly, the rules cited do not support an extension of time on this set of facts. we are still wondering why Ali Sadr chose Miami counsel; his criminal case was in the Southern District of New York and he resides in the D.C. area, in the State of Maryland. Are those attorneys monitoring the Miami cases involving convicted Swiss banker/money launderer Matthias Krull ? We cannot say, but the fact that Sadr chose Miami lawyers is significant.


HELP THE FINANCIAL CRIME BLOG REPORT ON THE NEW MONEY LAUNDERING CASES IN 2021

 

January arrives on Friday, and you can count on the filing of new criminal cases in US District Court against a number of the alleged money launderers that we are currently covering on the Financial Crime Blog. We need to expand our coverage to reach the New York, District of Colombia and Miami Federal Courts, where these cases will be filed.

Please assist us so that we can engage additional court watchers to report on all proceedings in 2021. You can find the Donation icon on the right side of this page. Please give generously, and Donate.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

WHERE IN THE WORLD IS JOSEPH MUSCAT ?

                                                             

               
Our sources are reporting that they have not been able to locate former Malta Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, either in Malta, or in the United Arab Emirates, where the last sighting was reported. If any readers can report a first-person sighting, please advise the location, date seen and circumstances to us at miamicompliance@gmail.com 

Saturday, December 26, 2020

DOMINICA'S CORRUPT PRIME MINISTER, FACING US PRISON TIME, ATTEMPTS TO IMPLICATE EVERYONE

                                                                   Roosevelt Skerrit
 

As we have predicted, corrupt senior government officials who find they are targeted for indictment by the United States are beginning to point fingers at those with whom they have engaged in a life of crime, hoping that they can obtain immunity from prosecution, while their associates,whom they implicate, end up serving long sentences. There is no honor among thieves. 

Today's information, which was received from two reliable sources, confirms rumors that our sources have been hearing of late, but which we previously have withheld, awaiting independent confirmation. We now have high confidence, and are sharing this important information with our readers.

Dominica's Prime Minister ROOSEVELT SKERRIT,  who is known to have long feared serving time in Federal Prison in the United States, where his personal safety could be an issue, has asked two of his country's senior diplomats, one posted in the UK and the other to the EU, to reach out to European law enforcement investigators, promising to supply first-hand information and evidence on European and Middle Eastern targets. The information, which is said to specifically include money laundering as well as other financial crimes, will be offered by Skerrit in exchange an agreement that provides that he serves no prison time.

The individuals who PM Skerrit has reportedly offered to supply incriminating evidence against include, but are not limited to:

                                                                   Joseph Muscat 

(1) Former Malta Prime Minister JOSEPH MUSCAT. Readers of this blog will recall that the CEO of Malta's money laundering PILATUS BANK, the suspected Iranian intelligence agent,  HAMIDREZA GHANBARI, holds a Citizenship by Investment (CBI) passport from Dominica.

                                                               Hamidreza Ghanbari

(2) MOHAMMED ASARIA, the Managing Director and Board Member of RANGE DEVELOPMENTS, as well as related corporate entities, in the United Arab Emirates and elsewhere.

                                                                 Mohammed Asaria

(3) A number of career criminals who hold Citizenship by Investment (CBI) passports issued by Dominica, including specific information on their past and present criminal activities. In the interests of justice, we are not publishing their names, so that they do not engage in unlawful flight to avoid arrest and prosecution.

Additionally, Skerrit told his diplomats that he has information to share regarding intelligence collection being conducted by the Peoples' Republic of China from the East Caribbean States. the Chinese Embassy in Dominica, which is situated in the most exclusive area of the country, near the PM's new mansion, has a staff of more than 900, which is believed to include a listening post directed at North America, with a sizable contingent of Peoples' Liberation Army ELINT and COMINT specialists. 



Subsequent to the receipt of the above information, we have received details of another offer Skerrit has made, informally and not through diplomatic channels, to the United States Embassy in Barbados, the American entity designated for Dominica, of his interest in becoming a Cooperating Individual to the Department of Justice. 

We expect that government officials in the Commonwealth of Dominica will deny that this information is true, but government spokespersons may not themselves be aware of the facts. Skerrit, who is said to be considering permanently leaving Dominica, pending the conclusion of an agreement with law enforcement, due to recurring rumors that he has already been indicted in the United States.

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Friday, December 25, 2020

APPEALS COURT DENIES MANDAMUS IN HALKBANK CASE, BUT STAYS PROCEEDINGS PENDING RESOLUTION OF APPEAL

 


 

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals this week ruled on a number of pending matters:

(1) It denied the bank's Petition for a Writ of Mandamus, (which if granted could have terminated the case0, because the bank had not demonstrated that its right to the writ was indisputable or appropriate.

(2) It deferred the government motion to dismiss.

(3) It stayed the lower court proceedings, pending the bank's appeal, and required that the appeal be heard on an expedited basis.

The bank's counsel's strategy appears to focus on contesting subject matter or personal jurisdiction; while we do not know the quality or quality of the Government's evidence,  we can assume that it is substantial, including efforts of the bank to conceal the true purpose of its activities, which were arguably in violation of international and US sanctions. Clearly, the bank's attorneys know what will happen when the evidence is presented to an American jury.


MALTA'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM GETS AN "F" FOR FAILING TO CHARGE PILATUS BANK OFFICERS AND DIRECTORS WITH MONEY LAUNDERING

Neither lawyers nor their clients have an ounce of respect for Malta's  failed criminal justice system. One attorney even had the temerity to complain that a news article, appearing in the Maltese press, which was the reporting about his Iranian client, as a Pilatus Bank signatory, "does not contribute to the public interest  and has caused distress to [our] client. " 

This individual, who is surely a Person of Interest in any Pilatus Bank money laundering investigation, obviously does not fear Malta's criminal justice system. Of course not, not one bloody officer or director of Pilatus Bank will ever do a day of prison time for the most overt money laundering operation in the history of the Republic of Malta, because the system is rotten to the core with systemic corruption.

Inasmuch as Malta will not mete out justice to its money launderers, which emboldens not only the country's criminal elite, but every senior member of the government currently in power, perhaps the United States should consider more Draconian measures. I suggest:

(1) Impose OFAC sanctions on all the country's banks that facilitate money laundering, which are most of them. Clearly, de-risking is insufficient, as the banks will simply work through third-party banks.

(2) Deny ALL the senior officials in the government entry to, and financial assess at, the United States. That includes the corrupt judiciary. Sanction the judges as well.

Malta needs radical reform, including the creation of an independent, non-political judiciary. If it will not self-reform, then impose sufficient measures to eliminate it as a threat to the United States financial system.

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Thursday, December 24, 2020

MUSCAT'S EFFORTS TO UNCOVER INFORMATION ABOUT HIS INDICTMENTS IN THE UNITED STATES FAIL, AND IMPLICATE OTHERS IN THE PROCESS

 

 

Reliable sources have now disclosed important details regarding Joseph Muscat's quest to learn about the criminal charges pending against him in the United States. As you may recall, Muscat publicly stated recently that he has engaged the services of criminal defense attorneys who are former Federal prosecutors, and that those individuals, after having made the appropriate inquiries, have assured him that there are no such charges.

It is true that a former Federal prosecutor was actually engaged by the former Prime Minister, (at substantial expense greater than Muscat's declared annual income and assets), and did indeed tell him what he wanted to hear, although it was not factually accurate, nor was it based upon information gleaned from official sources. In short, Muscat was scammed by the lawyers he relied upon, in our humble opinion. We are also wondering whether the businessmen, and the officials, have exposed themselves by making inquiries.

 

Here is what really happened, according to someone in a position to know:

(1)  Three American businessmen, all of whom are known to have been large donors to a major political party, approached two elected officials to obtain, with high confidence, information about Joseph Muscat's status as an indicted criminal defendant. 

(2) Those two officials then approached prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, the District of Columbia, and the Southern District of Florida about his criminal status.


(3) Those prosecutors all replied that there was nothing there. no mention of Muscat. in truth and in fact, there are criminal charges already filed, and under seal. 

(4) Apparently,  multiple felony charges against Muscat have been kept from public disclosure; where this was unavoidable, an alias was used to conceal his identity. His associates never learned the truth.

Readers should anticipate that the charges will  unsealed by the incoming Attorney General, when the proceedings will commence. That is when the fireworks will begin. 

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HOW LONG WILL JOSEPH MUSCAT HAVE TO SERVE IN A US PRISON AFTER HIS CONVICTION ?

                                                     How much time did you say ?
 

Whilst readers in Malta, looking for good news ,were hoping to read about the unsealing of an indictment against their former Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat in the United States in December, we report that, though imminent, American Federal criminal charges against the man who was named as the European Union's Poster Boy for corruption have not yet been made public. We are closely monitoring court filings in the three US District Courts where the case will most likely be brought, twice daily, and shall bring that news to you as soon as it happens. Those courts are located in New York City, Miami, Florida, and Washington, District of Columbia.

After conviction, which statistically occurs 92% of the time in Federal Court,  according to the latest published figures, the maximum sentences that can be imposed for the crimes he is most likely to be charged with are:

(1) Money Laundering: 20 years and $500,000 fine, per count.

(2) Bank Fraud: 30 years and $1,000,000 fine, per count.

(3) Mail and Wire Fraud: 20 years, $100,000 fine is a bank is involved.

(4) Racketeering (RICO): 20 years; Life Imprisonment if the underlying crime provides for Life;  Fine of twice the amount of Illegal profits.

(5) Providing Material Support to A  Foreign Terrorist Organization :  The Death Penalty if there are fatalities as the result of a terrorist act.

                                                 How much time did you get, Robert  ?

Given the amount of money reportedly laundering, and the estimated hundreds of millions of US Dollars and Euros in criminal proceeds, expect a prison sentence that should keep him in custody for twenty years or more. We will be covering our estimate of the probable sentence for Michelle Muscat, Joseph's wife, in a future article. 

 

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Monday, December 21, 2020

OUR THANKS TO MALTA'S WHISTLEBLOWERS, HELPFUL GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS AND ANONYMOUS SOURCES FOR HELPING THIS BLOG

 

 Please consider this my end-of-year thanks to those whistleblowers, cooperating government officials, anonymous sources and businessmen around the world who have trusted me with first-person information about financial crime in Malta. The timely assistance of the Valletta Three Plus One is gratefully acknowledged, especially the delivery of background information going back seven years or more.

 It would have been impossible to bring our readers the inside story concerning not only what has happened, what is currently in progress, and what is planned for the future, without your help. Your anonymity will be zealously preserved. If you had qualified as whistleblowers in the United States, your identity, and the circumstances of your cooperation, would have been protected by law. Instead, whistleblowers in Malta are outed, vilified, targeted and then prosecuted.

If you have important information about financial crime in Malta, your participation is welcomed. Your identity will never be known, nor linked to any topic. If you still want to assist us, and you do not have any financial crime information or documents to contribute, become an active part of our project by making a meaningful Donation today. You will find the Yellow "Donate" icon on the right of this page. Whichever path you choose, become a part of the New Malta through this blog.


Sunday, December 20, 2020

THE BLOG WILL BE BRINGING YOU COMPLETE UPCOMING MALTAGATE COVERAGE IN UNITED STATES CASES

 


If you have been following this blog for the past few months, you are aware that indictments, in the United States, against the principal players in the Malta money laundering scandal, are expected to be unsealed in the immediate future. Whether the cases are brought either in US District Court in New York, or in Miami, or in the District of Columbia, or more than one, we intend to cover all developments as they occur. Being only one person, we must engage other court observers to report to us on day-to-day court events, as well as filings and upcoming hearings.

For that reason we must request that our readers kindly pitch in and make a Donation to help us expand our coverage. If you have benefited from our daily articles, please assist us to bring you the American cases when they are filed, from the initial indictment to the jury verdict. Please help us help you.

The Donation button is on the right-hand side of the page; please contribute. Thank you.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

READ MY REPLY TO INSIGNIA CARDS' PUSHBACK ON FIAU FINE FOR MONEY LAUNDERING VIOLATIONS


 

What follows is my letter published in Malta Today, commenting upon today's article:

Today's article, featuring push back on behalf of Insignia Cards, objecting to the fine for Anti-money Laundering failures, should not be taken seriously, assuming the facts as stated by the FIAU are true. The Compliance failures, regarding both Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) and Enhanced Due Diligence, are major issues, and to say that onboarding is subservient to transaction monitoring is inaccurate. I have been in Compliance for 25 years, and serving high net-worth clients demands extraordinary levels of investigation at account opening, especially with international clients who are from high-risk jurisdictions. This obviously was not done.

Furthermore, the source of the objections, former Malta minister Chris Cardona, is a criminal defence lawyer, and I cannot find that he has any training or experience in Anti-Money Laundering Compliance. Banking best practices were followed by the FIAU in determining that Insignia's Compliance was either ineffective, or negligent. Citing two prominent American law firms as having been retained to intervene appears to be an effort at intimidation, rather than trying to correct massive AML shortcomings.

Finally, Cardona's threats of litigation are disturbing, and most likely not available.  Has he never heard of Sovereign Immunity ? Insignia would best serve Malta by cleaning up its ineffective AML program, rather than trying to bully the FIAU and alleging political motives.

 

 

Friday, December 18, 2020

HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM THE FINANCIAL CRIME BLOG

 

 


To our loyal readers: I wish you a joyous holiday amidst troubled times. Having experienced both a holiday season while serving in a combat zone, as well as a couple as a guest of the government,  I understand that this season will have its trials and tribulations; hang in there, my friends. Better times are coming.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

HALKBANK COMPLAINS US ATTORNEY NOT PRODUCING DISCOVERY, INCLUDING ANY BRADY MATERIAL

 

 Attorneys for Halkbank have complained to the Court that their request for Discovery, involving documents from Treasury, is not being properly handled. They are also asserting that, if any Brady material exists, meaning information favorable to the bank, either regarding its innocence or for the purposes of sentencing, they have not received it.

 The Southern District of New York has received a number of defense complaints about Brady material not delivered, especially after the Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejad verdict was set aside, and the case dismissed, after there were  Brady violations admitted to by the US Attorney's Office.




WHAT IS FORMER MALTA MINISTER CHRIS CARDONA, NOW AFFILIATED WITH HIGH NET-WORTH CREDIT CARD PROVIDER FINED BY GOVERNMENT, DOING IN DUBAI FOR HIS COMPANY ?

 

Malta's disgraced former Economy Minister, Chris Cardona, has been in Dubai recently, according to multiple witnesses and sources, reportedly attending a conference. Inasmuch as he recently joined Insignia, a concierge and credit card provider that markets to high net worth individuals,in  senior management position,, the question arises as to what he was doing for his company. Insignia, given its purported HNW.

Insignia, which promotes its Insignia Super Card, or ISG, was reportedly fined €373,670 by Malta's Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) for multiple money laundering compliance breaches, involving Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs), Source of Funds verification failures, and failure to conduct effective Enhanced Due Diligence searches. Legal observers in Malta believe that Cardona, due to his former ministerial rank, and close association with ex-PM Joseph Muscat, was hired to insure that Maltese regulators will hereafter give Insignia a wide berth.

Readers not from Europe please note that the widespread use of former government officials to act as a buffer between Maltese regulatory agencies and private companies is a widespread practice in the Republic of Malta, and there are reports of bribes being delivered to agency employees by their former associates, to cancel investigations, and to refrain from making criminal referrals to the police or the Attorney General.  

 


Wednesday, December 16, 2020

SEARCH FOR LEAKER OF INFORMATION REGARDING MUSCAT''S DUBAI CEO POSITION SHOULD LOOK CLOSER TO HOME

 

 We are advised that management of the hotel chain/catering company Dubai joint venture being set up to gift Joseph Muscat with his dream CEO position is seeking the identity internally of the individual who leaked the story to the press. Reportedly the CEO of the hotel group was extremely angry about the release of confidential company information. Early information on the appearance of a new competitor for Dubai's hospital food service business could allow existing caterers who have that business to firm up their positions with their clients.

Company plans to take part in a trade fair in Dubai have been cancelled due to COVID. It is not known if JM attended any of the catering meetings in Dubai, apart from the Family Conference, which he did attend, according to reports.

One of our most reliable sources has located the source of the leaks about the joint venture, and Muscat's new position. It was Joseph Muscat's wife, Michelle, who divulged the details of the new Dubai catering joint venture, and her husband's role in it, to a close confident, who passed the story on to the press via a trusted third party. Apparently, there were no leaks from either the hotel group or the catering firm;  Mystery solved.




WHY JOSEPH MUSCAT WENT TO DUBAI WHEN HE WAS SUPPOSED TO BE TESTIFYING AT THE CORRUPT HOSPITAL PRIVATISATION DEAL



We  have learned why Malta's resigned Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat, opted out of his second day of testimony in the hospital hearings to travel to Dubai, UAE. He attended the Ritossa Family office Investment Summit, as an invited Guest, according to the conference website. This means that either the  summit organizer or a patron invited him, and paid for his ticket. Given Muscat's award, as 2019s Most Corrupt EU Official, we sincerely doubt that it was the organizers. Therefore, we are left with an unnamed sponsor or patron.


 

Why would a a disgraced former PM from Malta attend a seminar extolling the virtues and advantages of utilizing a Family Office, we wonder. Muscat has no financial or legal training or experience, or professional credentials that qualify him to operate such a facility, which is an office where attorneys, accountants and financial advisors invest and grow the wealth of High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI). he knew about his testimony for months, but still flew off to Dubai, an insult to the people of Malta, whom he was supposed to be serving for seven years.

There are only two possible reasons that Muscat is in attendance:

(1) He is about to move his illicit millions of Euros and Dollars out of hiding, and he is arrogantly looking for a firm to invest it for him, and secure growth. Reports of up to €300m taken down by PL members in government have been repeatedly cited by reliable sources, and if only a portion is correct, there is a huge amount of illicit wealth in JM's hands.

(2) He has an individual, or organization, from his government days, who wants him to act as a front man, and launder the proceeds of crime somewhere where "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is the order of the day. Who could that possibly be ?

 Either way, he is up to no good in Dubai,  and we intend to find out precisely what it is. Stay Tuned.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

UNITED STATES SANCTIONS TWO IRANIAN INTELLIGENCES AGENTS RESPONSIBLE FOR ABDUCTION AND PROBABLE DEATH OF RETIRED FBI AGENT BOB LEVINSON


 

The Department of the Treasury has announced that MOHAMMAD BASERI a/k/a SANAI and AHMAD KHAZAI a/k/a KAZA'I, two Iranian intelligence agents at the Ministry of Intelligence and Security have been sanctioned for the kidnapping, imprisonment and  presumed death of retired FBI Agent Robert Levinson. They are believed to have planned and executed the scheme on Kish Island, Iran, as part of a larger operation to seize Americans and hold the hostage for political leverage.

Baseri: DOB 19 Sept 1972 POB Semnan, Iran. Khazai DOB 30 MAR 1960. No photographs publicly available.

For further information:

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20201214

 

Monday, December 14, 2020

MALTA'S POLICE TRY TO RUN OVER ONE OF THE WHISTLE BLOWERS WHO PROVIDED EVIDENCE ON MUSCAT

 


 We have regularly been in touch with one of the individuals who has been providing the authorities with evidence of criminal activity in Malta, and his analysis of the role played by former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat in this activity. He has requested that his identity be concealed, as he has well-placed fears for his personal safety, which you will agree have merit.

While he has been harassed, both at his place of residence, at restaurants, and at other locations, he recently was a pedestrian on his way home when a vehicle he knows is used by Malta's police attempted to physically injure him on the road. Fortunately he anticipated the danger, and was able to evade injury. I have photographs to prove it. He is now seeking to acquire personal security, as well as legal counsel, to protect his legal rights, as well as physical safety.

What makes this case relevant is that the whistle blower is known to Joseph Muscat, and he believes that his problems with the Malta Police are happening due to his direction to them, notwithstanding that he is no longer in the government. It is extraordinary that this is happening in a member country of the European Union. His identity will, sooner or later, be revealed, and his evidence or testimony, as well as his analysis of that evidence, and it may be critical to the prosecution of the Malta money laundering targets. Muscat is behind the threats, because he regards the whistle blower as a clear and present danger to his future freedom.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

NOTE TO MALTA: FCPA IS NOT A TYPE OF ACCOUNTING DEGREE


 

We understand that many people in Europe are not familiar with the American criminal statute dealing with corruption, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, more commonly abbreviated as FCPA. Certain government officials in the Republic of Malta would do well to pay close attention to this article, as their futures may involve a collision with the FCPA, and if it happens, there will be consequences, and it will get nasty for them.

Briefly, the FCPA, more formally known as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, as amended, located at 16 USC §§ 78dd-1 et seq,  prohibits American firms and individuals from paying bribes, or any other form of benefit, from obtaining or further retaining business deals or transactions.

 Though government officials may not think the FCPA, which targets (and punishes) American corporations and individuals, applies to them, FCPA violations are a felony, and as such are a  "Specified Unlawful Activity" (SUA)  for the purposes of the Money Laundering Control Act of 1986, which prohibits individuals from engaging in any financial activity with proceeds generated from an SUA. Even passing bribe money from one person to another, with the intent to disguise the source, has been ruled a sufficient financial activity to invoke the Act. Some authorities refer to it as a Predicate Act. One need not even deposit the money in a bank; you receive bribe money to steer business to an American company, and you move that money anywhere, you are guilty of that 20-year felony.

A Recent SDFL case, United States vs. Natalino D'Amato, (Case No,: 20-20241-CR-WILLIAMS) involved bribes paid to secure grossly overprised contracts with PDVSA, the Venezuelan oil monopoly, which resulted in approximately $160m in illicit profits. The Government did not even file FCPA charges. Instead it brought an eleven count indictment, eight of which were money laundering counts. That's a potential maximum sentence of 160 years, on the money laundering counts alone. 



We are aware of two major FCPA investigations pending, involving government officials in Malta, who accepted compensation that violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. It is not known whether these investigations have resulted in indictments in US District Court, though we suspect it is either in SDNY, DDC, OR SDFL. Given the strict enforcement history of the Department of Justice, regarding FCPA cases, it is reasonable to assume that one or more will be unsealed in 2021. We trust that defense attorneys in Malta will advise any of their clients caught up in the Malta money laundering scandal accordingly.


JUDGE ORDERS SDNY IN HALKBANK IRAN SANCTIONS EVASION CASE TO PRODUCE DISCOVERY FORTHWITH

 

If you were wondering what the Court would do with Halkbank's complaint about the failure of the US Attorney in Manhattan to turn over specific information regarding 1.3m emails produced in Discovery, here is your answer. The District Judge ordered the material to be produced by Monday. Obviously,  the issues with the dismissal of th defendant in the Ai Sadr Hashemi Nejad case are still fresh on everyone's mind. Brady violations, or even a hint of one, are forbidden. See the endorsement below.




Friday, December 11, 2020

613 KILOS OF COCAINE SEIZURE CONFIRMS MALTA'S STATUS AS MAJOR PLAYER IN INTERNATIONAL DRUG PIPELINE

 

 The seizure, by Malta's Department of Customs, of 613 kilograms of Cocaine, arriving from Colombia and Ecuador, is yet another indicator that the Mediterranean EU country has become one of the principal players in the international Cocaine drug distribution network into Europe and beyond. The seizure, conservatively estimated by the authorities as valued at €69m, dwarfs all prior seizures in Malta in 2020, and if it is an indication of what has not been interdicted, confirms that organized crime elements in Malta are ramping up their transnational narcotics operations.

One source stated that the contraband, which was hidden in a legitimate commercial shipment of material being exported, was destined for Libya, but its ultimate port of entry into Europe is not known. It was concealed within pallets of cooking oil.


Thursday, December 10, 2020

FORMER MALTA PRIME MINISTER STAYS AT 5-STAR HOTEL RESORT IN DUBAI, SKIPS TESTIMONY AT HEARING

 

In a direct insult to the judicial system, as well as the voters of Malta, who elected him, former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, who was supposed to testify a second day in Malta, abruptly left for Dubai, where he is living the life of luxury at a five-star hotel resort. He left the country to avoid having to answer the hard questions about corruption, and his role in the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, flying there indirectly so as to confuse anyone tracking his movements.

 Government officials played along with the charade, asserting that Muscat has given adequate prior notice; we do not believe it for one moment, and even if true,  testimony compelled at an official hearing trumps a pleasure trip abroad with his party companion, another of the deplorables, Chris Cardona.

Given what Muscat legally earned, and reported, as Prime Minister, he is not supposed to have sufficient income to pay $1135 a day at the resort, and that's the cheapest room. What if he is in a suite with servants ?

A Word to the Wise: A Black Swan Day is coming for Muscat.

HALKBANK ATTORNEYS CLAIM GOVERNMENT FAILED TO PROVIDE 1.3m EMAILS IN DISCOVERY

 

  Sounding like the Brady problem from the Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejad case, Halkbank's lawyers say that the Government has not produced all the required discovery. Apparently, there is custodial information for 1.3m emails produced in Discovery. Here is the correspondence.