Kenneth Rijock

Kenneth Rijock

Monday, August 2, 2021

FBI SEEKS TO INTERVIEW JOSEPH MUSCAT, OTHER MALTESE LEADERS, REGARDING PILATUS BANK CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES

 

                                              JM Fears the Future  by COSIMO

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has requested to interview former Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, as well as a number of other present and former senior leaders of the Maltese government. The topic of the interviews is known to be an investigation into criminal activities at the now-shuttered Pilatus Bank of Malta, which was known for money laundering, washing the proceeds of funds diverted by corrupt foreign PEPs, and moving bribes and kickbacks paid to corrupt government officials. The source of this information has a long record of proven credibility in the past, originating from law enforcement,  and we believe it to be true.

The source of the information leading to the interview requests is known to be evidence obtained from Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejad, the Iranian former owner of Pilatus Bank, who is believed to have been granted immunity from further US prosecution, due to the significant value of his cooperation. Ali Sadr was convicted, after a jury trial, but his conviction was set aside after the court found Brady violations ( failure of US to disclose information relevant to his conviction or sentencing), in a controversial result that left many questions unanswered about what really happened. Nevertheless, it is clear that he has supplied massive amounts of information about Pilatus Bank's criminal activities.

The other individuals who are also the subject of the interviews have not been specifically identified, but they are believed to include, but not be limited to:

KEITH SCHEMBRI

CHRTISTIAN CARDONA

EDWARD ZAMMIT LEWIS

EDWARD SCICLUNA 

CARMELO ABELA

OWEN BONNICI

IAN BORG

The fact that the FBI chose not to approach Minister of Justice Edward Zammit Lewis with its request may be due to the fact that Lewis is reportedly a target of its investigation. There have been widespread calls for his resignation lately, after disclosures of the existence of hundreds of email communications with the principal target in the assassination of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

                                     Malta; Descending into Chaos by COSIMO

There has been massive public support for the expulsion of Joseph Muscat from the Labour Party, after the release of a report blaming his administration for creating a "Culture of Impunity" that allowed the participants to believe that they could commit murder and escape accountability. Muscat is still believed to be in Turkey, with his entire family, and could choose to evade the interview.  Given his long history of denying the truth, in his prior testimony in Malta, it is doubtful that he will agree to return home, for it is a felony under US Federal criminal law if an individual being interviewed commits Perjury when speaking to a US law enforcement official. He may have been ordered to remain in Turkey, on advice of criminal defence attorneys in the United States, concerned about his ability to survive such an interview intact. 

It is possible that the interviews are merely pretexts to allow law enforcement to detain and arrest Muscat and the others, for if there are any indictments pending against them already, in America, they would be sealed and unavailable to the public or the media. there have been persistent rumours that such indictment indeed exist.

The other targets are all known to reside in Malta, with the possible exception of Chris Cardona, who has set up an office in Dubai, UAE, though it is not known if this is a permanent relocation. We regret that there is no additional information available at this time, but we shall be closely monitoring the the situation, and shall report on all unfolding developments as they occur.

 



Sunday, August 1, 2021

THE WINDS OF CHANGE BLOW ACROSS THE CORRUPT CBI REPUBLICS - DOMINICA ERUPTS

 

 



 Throughout the island republics that offer lucrative Citizenship by Investment (CBI) passport programmes, a popular movement that seeks to remove the corrupt, dictatorial regimes that rule those countries appears to have taken root; it remains to be seen whether it can succeed, as recently occurred in Saint Lucia, where voters turned out the corrupt, thieving Castanet administration in national elections.  

What you see above is typical of the autocratic and authoritarian methods employed by the corrupt leadership in the CBI republics, in this case, the Commonwealth of Dominica; Watch and learn.

(1) Last week, on Budget Day at Dominica's House of Assembly, its legislative branch. The Prime Minister's Office is supposed to present its annual budget, followed by the response of the Leader of the Opposition,  but once the PM completed his presentation, all Hell broke loose in Parliament.

(2) Senator Kassani made a motion, which was seconded, suspending the House Rule allowing the Opposition Leader equal time to respond, after the Minister of Finance delivered the budget address.

(3) The Senator's motion was supported by the Speaker, who ruled that the time afforded the Opposition Speaker was a privilege and not a right. The Speaker unilaterally, and improperly, determined that the Opposition Leader forfeited that privilege when he failed to attend the House, when the PM and Minister of  Finance presented the Budget Address; A vigorous protest ensured.

(4) Thereafter, Senator Kassani motion having been passed, the Speaker then called out the Members of the Opposition, demanding that they leave the Chamber if they would not take their seats. The Speaker then had the Police remove the Members of the Opposition from the House. 

(5) The Police detained the Opposition, and threatened to kill them.  Film footage of the incident was  censored by the Government information station.

(6) The Opposition had intended to expose Misappropriation of Funds, but PM Skerrit was not going to allow them to discuss that critical issue. He clearly intended to have Opposition lawmakers shot if they voiced their objections, and his police and military were ready to carry out his orders.

Dominica has ceased to be a Parliamentary democracy; its authoritarian Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, must be removed from office, together with his corrupt government. He is a Public Enemy, and a Clear and Present Danger to the future of democracy in Dominica.


Saturday, July 31, 2021

HE IS THE MOST FEARED MAN IN MALTA, AND HE WORKS FOR THE GOVERNMENT

 

 

                                                How many dead ? by COSIMO

 The most dangerous man in the Republic of Malta is NOT Joseph Muscat, nor is it any of the Maltese Mafiosi hitmen. It is ALEXANDER DALLI, Lt. Col. Armed Forces of Malta, Retired. Dalli is the  Chief Executive Officer  of Malta's Correctional Services Agency. 

 Dalli is arrogant, profane, vulgar and disrespectful of others, including visiting criminal defence attorneys meeting with their clients, He illegally interfered with an attorney-client conference at the prison, which did not escape the attention of Maltese media :


                                                          Credit: Malta Today

Since he took command of Malta's notorious prison system, in 2018, a number of prisoners have passed away whilst in custody, and the cause of their deaths have been described as "suicide," though the circumstances have been questioned by NGOs and watchdog groups. If you are a criminal defendant in Protective Custody, and you were to give evidence against Malta's corrupt politicians or crooked businessmen, there's a good chance you will not survive to testify in open court or at a hearing. Allegations of mistreatment of prisoners, and rumours of torture, abound, in what many have described as a militarised prison. We wonder why it has been a decade since the last reported inspection by the Council of Europe Committee to Prevent Torture.

Last year, we wrote about the curious case of Nazzareno Mifsud, Sergeant, US Army, who was a 33-year fugitive from American justice, charged with Child Molestation and escape. Whilst awaiting extradition to the USA, he mysteriously passed way, with the official cause of death listed as Suicide. Whoever protected him during his long residence in Malta obviously did not want to be exposed, and his death was effected, and covered up as a suicide. Several other suspicious deaths remain under investigation by outside entities, but remain unsolved.

 

Should Dalli's egregious administration, which obviously violates Human Rights, be the subject of an investigation by the European Commission ? Malta's leaders apparently leave Dalli to run the prison as he chooses, but he, like government leaders, acts with total impunity. This must change, to improve prison conditions, and to eliminate the outside, dark elements that order Dalli to conduct what are really, in our opinion, extrajudicial executions of prisoners. Remove Dalli, clean up the prison, and let justice prevail.



WHY IS FORMER PRIME MINISTER JOSEPH MUSCAT STILL IN TURKEY ?


                                                 Joseph "Evil Eye" Muscat by COSIMO

While all of Malta debates the fallout from the release of the report on the effect of the country's "Culture of Impunity," which led to the assassination of its principal investigative journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia, disgraced former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat appears to be living in Turkey, raising the question of why he has chosen to do so. He seems to be artfully concealing his location from everyone.

Following upon our recent article detailing his whereabouts, we have received a second report, from eyewitnesses, confirming that two members of the Muscat family, his wife Michelle, and one daughter, were reported to be in Turkey. Our original information, that Joseph Muscat was indeed living in Turkey at this time, came from a reliable source. He is definitely there.

Let us consider why he may be in Turkey:

1. Given Turkey's strained relationship with the United States, Muscat may have been advised by counsel to relocate there, as the chances of his extradition to  America are slim. Turkey has appealed a New York           

                                       Robert "I can See the Future" Abela by COSIMO
                     

District Court's decision to proceed against government-owned Halkbank; Turkish citizen and oil-for-gold Iran sanctions evader Reza Zarrab was convicted in SDNY, before commencing cooperation.Halkbank's Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors was also convicted, and served time in a Federal Prison; Rudy Guiliani, formerly ex-president Trump's personal lawyer, was involved in trying to quash both cases, while working for Turkey, in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). It is therefore doubtful that Turkey would honor an American extradition petition for Muscat.

2. Given that Pilatus Bank, Ali Sadr's money laundering Malta-based financial institution, had a virtual branch in the UK, which facilitated the movement of the Proceeds of Crime, it is likely that Pilatus which Muscat was closely linked to, may have had an unofficial, or otherwise named, affiliate or branch in Turkey. Maltese Customs officials are regularly seizing bulk cash Euros being smuggled to Istanbul. Is Muscat working with the Pilatus successors ?

3. Has the massive organized money laundering machine that moved funds for its clients moved it operation to Turkey, where American and British investigators would be hard-pressed to investigate it, let along have any influence on suppressing it ?

Believe me, Muscat's not in Turkey for his retirement; he is engaged in something, and we shall shortly find out what it is.

 

Friday, July 30, 2021

MALTA FACES A TOUGH HOBSON'S CHOICE IN 2021

 


                              JM and his Small Circle of Friends  by COSIMO          

 

The present leadership in the beleaguered  Republic of Malta have been hit with a triple threat knockout punch: First, the FATF-imposed Greylist; Second, the UK high-risk designation; and finally, a blockbuster report exposing all the government's Mafia-style corruption and money laundering. The results should prove fatal to those in power, politically, legally, morally or otherwise. The Labour Party, which is responsible for the current mess, most likely will not survive in its current cult-like form.

Malta's government is at a crossroads; If it makes the required changes, many in the former or present Labour Party will be indicted, including for the Daphne Caruana Galizia assassination, and PL will eventually be removed from power by the people. This includes both the prior and the current Prime Ministers. Should the leaders fail to act, Malta could become the new Libya, a pariah to both the European Union Membership, and the United States, which could impose OFAC sanctions that effectively destroy the Maltese economy. 

How many government leaders will commit political suicide, knowing the alternative could be far worse than being arrested for money laundering, corruption, and other financial crimes ?  If the West ostracizes Malta for failure to reform, its new potential partners, Russia, Iran and China, and some other authoritarian countries, might end up controlling their new client state, and tanking its economy. Look at what has happened to Cuba since 1960, an abysmal economic failure. Does Malta want to end up a failed state ?

2021 is NOT the year for indecision, Malta. Clean up your corrupt, politically-influenced court system and start indicting all the guilty parties, and let the chips fall where they may. To do otherwise will stain the country's future in ways too painful to imagine.

 

 


Thursday, July 29, 2021

ST. LUCIA PRESENTS MALTA WITH A TEACHABLE MOMENT ON THROWING OUT A CORRUPT GOVERNMENT

 



While all of Malta is reading the government report that confirms its leaders are running a "Culture of Impunity," where the assassination of its leading investigative journalist was not only made possible, it was probable, its people can take a valuable lesson from the East Caribbean State of St. Lucia. That story offers hope for not only reform, but for meaningful change.

When St. Lucia's citizens were faced with a corrupt government that ignored the Rule of Law, stole from them, and punished any opposition in illegal ways, they acted. The results of the recent national election: the corrupt government was voted out of office, in favour of honest politicians with an agenda of Public Service, not corruption. The people chose wisely to clean up their house.

Sooner of later, Malta's people will be facing an election; whether they choose to elect the same old corrupt leaders, or select an alternative, remains an open question. As a wise man once said The people get the government  they deserve.  Are Malta's citizens going to reelect corrupt leaders, whose cozy relationship with big business feathers their personal bank accounts with bribes and kickbacks, or will it choose reformers, and turn the corner on corruption ?

St. Lucia has already made that choice; we await Malta's response.




Tuesday, July 27, 2021

ONE AND ONE-HALF YEARS AFTER HE LEFT OFFICE IN DISGRACE, JOSEPH MUSCAT STILL TRAVELS ABROAD WITH SECURITY AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE

                            Sergeant Vassallo MSS*, and Officer Vassallo, Malta Police

If you were closely watching the Instagram photos we published recently, in our series of articles on Joseph Muscat's whereabouts, you may have noticed that the Muscat family was accompanied by officers of the Malta Security Service, during their trip to Paris. Given that JM has been out of government for one and one half years, and he is not currently providing any services to the Government of Malta, how was the expense of MSS officers on a protection detail, justified ? Muscat apparently has been receiving favours from government, for free; all he needs to is to ask.

We have previously reported that, after he left public service, but was still living in his residence in Malta, that he was protected by the two  heavily armed security staff members. Their salaries were paid by government, although they were providing a strictly private service. Therefore, the public paid for Muscat's protection.

We wonder what other goods and services have been provided, free of charge, by the Government of Malta, to Joseph Muscat, and his family. Has he reimbursed government for those expenses and charges ? If not, why not. We recommend that an investigation be opened into the receipt of benefits by departed former government officials who are members of the Malta Labour Party, not just Mr. Muscat. He's not Malta's Godfather, Mr. Abela. Why are you treating him as such.

__________________________________________________________________

* I wonder what the Legat at the US Embassy in Malta would say if he found out that an officer with the Malta Police, assigned to Embassy duty, was in Paris with the former Malta PM awarded Most Corrupt EU official ?




MALTA WONDERS; WHO WILL CHARGE JOSEPH MUSCAT, AND WHEN ?

 

                                                        Devin Nunes and Joseph Muscat

 

It has become vogue of late, among Maltese discussing the current state of runaway money laundering and corruption in their country, to estimate when, if ever, their former Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat, who resigned in disgrace,will be indicted abroad. The issue, which is the subject of an at times heated debate, deserves to be covered on this blog.

Many in Malta had hoped that, once the Trump Administration, some of whose leaders were rumoured to be linked to Malta's Labour Party, left office in January, that criminal charges against Muscat, in a US court, would soon appear. They recalled, ruefully, that cases which they had expected to materialize against Maltese money launderers never were filed, and they they pinned all their hopes on the United States.

 Maltese now  fear that Muscat will, again, cheat justice, as six months after the leadership at the Justice Department there has been no indication that he will ever see the inside of an American courtroom. They are impatient,, but they do not understand that the US criminal justice system, at least for Federal cases, often takes many months, or even more, to build a bulletproof case, with both documentary evidence, and cooperating witnesses to confirm that information. There are no shortcuts at law, though the Maltese public truly wish that justice, regarding Muscat, be done, and promptly. Unfortunately, that's not always how it works.

To those who think that Muscat will, literally, get away from murder, have faith that, sooner or later, and usually later, he will have to face the legal consequences for his actions. Just when you think that his case has been passed over, you will see that he is going to be called to account for his sins in a court of law; stay tuned.

MALTA'S FAILURE TO ADDRESS AMERICAN FOCUS ON CORRUPTION COULD RESULT IN FINCEN OR OFAC ACTION VERY DAMAGING TO ITS ECONOMY

 


It appears that the present government of the Republic of Malta doesn't stay current in the world of AML/CFT. It has completely missed the new American focus on Corruption in its list of Anti-money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism National Priorities, as published by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) on June 30, 2021; That will be costly.

Unless Malta's deliberately dilatory and improperly influenced court system gets off the dime and moves forward with a broad-based programme of bringing money laundering charges against its former leaders, and their close associates, we can expect FinCEN and/or the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to impose sanctions and restrictions upon the country's principal offenders. This would include, but not be limited to, senior government leaders, the principal financial institutions involved, and the targets themselves. American national security, as well as financial, interests, have been affected by the country's rampant corruption, and resultant money laundering, since 2013, when the present government came to power.

Such action would effectively push Malta into the unofficial high-risk position equivalent to that of North Korea, a financial pariah in global commerce. Such actions would amount to the blacklisting of its financial institutions, and kill any chance to be removed from the FATF Greylist in the short term. The country's economy would suffer a major blow, resulting in widespread unemployment, and an increase in crime.


                                                                     What, me Worry ?

 

Unless Malta's Prime Minister, Robert Abela, orders his Attorney General to remove the obvious blocks in effect, preventing the filing of new cases or expediting of pending money laundering charges against many present, and former, members of the Labour government, you can expect sanctions to be imposed, and when that happens, Malta's economy will be in free fall downward. Abela will preside upon a Maltese economy headed straight for disaster.


 


Monday, July 26, 2021

MALTA IS ILLEGALLY SELLING CBI PASSPORTS TO EUROPEAN WHITE COLLAR CRIMINALS

 


If you thought that Malta's Citizenship by Investment, or CBI, passport sales programme, which intentionally sold passports without performing any effective due diligence, to Russians, Iranians and North Koreans, was Europe's Big Problem, there's an aspect of its programme that Member countries of the European Union must regard as a Clear and Present Danger:  The sales of Malta's passports, which give Schengen Zone access, to a number of Europe's major financial criminals. 

Sales to European nationals is an illegal act, but that apparently doesn't deter Malta's government. it simply requires that the applicants present an identity card from a jurisdiction outside the EU, and it find a  way to issue the passports. Of course, a premium is charged, not appearing on any official records. Oh, and the applicants apply under aliases, none of which can be verified using even rudimentary due diligence methods. Obviously, Malta Doesn't care about the details. Do you have a fabricated name ? We'll issue you a passport, just pay a premium over the published fees and costs, and it had better be in cash.

We regret that we cannot name the Euro-criminals using their Malta passports to commit money laundering, fraud, extortion, and a host of other crimes, hiding behind their aliases, because we do not want to alert them that they are known, but if this isn't a valid reason for compliance officers at international banks to insist upon Enhanced Due Diligence for all Maltese passports holders applying to open accounts, I don't know what is. Perhaps it is now time for all individuals presenting a passport from the Republic of Malta to be carefully examined prior to allowing them to open an account at your bank.The risk levels are now just too high to do otherwise.



FUGITIVE ALEX SAAB MORAN, WHO MOVED MONEY THROUGH MALTA, HAD A PARTNER WHO ALSO HAD MALTA COMPANIES


                                                         Saab Moran & Pulido Vargas

 The disclosure that ALVARO ENRIQUE PULIDO VARGAS, the known partner in crime of the fugitive Colombian accused money launderer to Venezuela's criminal elite, ALEX NAIN SAAB MORAN, owned two Malta  corporations, under an alias known to be linked to criminal activity, further establishes Saab's connections with Malta's money laundering machine. 

Saab, who lost his final appeal in the courts of the Cape Verde Islands, where he is fighting extradition to face multiple money laundering charges in US District Court in Miami, has been a key player in Malta's highly organized money laundering scheme, wherein money embezzled or stolen from Venezuela was cleaned through Maltese banks and non-bank financial institutions, and then invested in Europe and the United States.  His ties to two of Malta's most senior former officials, specifically Joseph Muscat and Keith Schembri, have long been rumoured. In Malta, since 2013, there have been no major criminal operations without the express permission of corrupt officials, who always receive a financial incentive.

His frantic efforts, which have failed thus far, to avoid a US trial, based upon bogus claims of diplomatic immunity, which are currently on appeal to the Eleventh Circuit, betray his fear of a probable conviction, both with evidence, as well as witnesses who will testify against him. Those witnesses include a former American university professor who allegedly laundered money for him, and has entered a guilty plea to those charges. He is, curiously enough, a noted authority on Latin American narcotics trafficking, and will made a compelling witnesses at trial.

Additionally, Saab's attorneys filed an appeal with a West African regional court, whose decision Cape Verde courts declined to recognize. There was also a scandal about social media posts in Nigeria, purportedly in support of Saab, which were later exposed as paid trolls.  Saab definitely is pulling out all the stops to delay or deny the extradition process, but to date all have failed.

The Saab trial, when it is eventually held, will give the public, for the first time, details of precisely how Saab moved millions through Malta's banks, who assisted him, who were his advisers there, and how bribes and kickbacks were paid to facilitate his scheme, and that of his partner, Pulido. The Bank of Valletta most likely lost its USD correspondent banking relationships as the consequence of the Saab case.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

NEW NONSTOP FLIGHTS FROM TAX HAVENS INTO MIAMI MAY FACILITATE LAUNDERING FROM IRAN AND VENEZUELA

                                                           Maiden flight DXB-MIA
 

If you are an avid reader of aviation news, you know that last Thursday the first scheduled nonstop Emirates flight from Dubai UAE landed at Miami International Airport. Flights will be arriving and departing four times each week. While the 15-16 hours flying time is a bit long for many tourists, the new service will directly connect Miami and Dubai.

 Additionally, American Airlines has announced that, beginning in December, it will be offering twice-weekly flights to Miami from the Commonwealth of Dominica. Previously, travelers to or from Dominica were required to access the United States from airports elsewhere in the East Caribbean.

While as a longtime resident of Miami (50+ years)*, I have seen MIA go from an airport with few international nonstop destinations outside the Caribbean and Latin America, to becoming a centre of global aviation, two of the new connections pose a problem for American law enforcement and regulatory agencies that are trying to stem the tide of criminal proceeds from abroad entering the American financial structure to be laundered, and thereafter invested here.

Dubai is a well-known destination for Iranian capital, particularly in US Dollars, seeking to enter the US banking system for a wide variety of reasons, all of which are strictly prohibited by American sanctions imposed by OFAC, and the President of the United States, in his executive capacity. This covert activity is facilitated by the large number of Iranian expats residing in the UAE, as well as other nationals with no fear of breaking US regulations and laws.



The Commonwealth of Dominica, one of the five East Caribbean States that offers Citizenship by Investment (CBI) passport sales programmes, and which accepts US Dollars in payment, has a dysfinctional and ineffective CBI programme, rampant corruption at the highest level, and is a clear and present danger to US financial institutions, due to their exposure to American Anti-money Laundering laws.

While cash and cashier's cheques payable to the bearer are prohibited from entering America without being disclosed in writing upon arrival, financial instruments payable to third parties or entities can be easily, and legally, carried on the person of individuals entering American Ports of Entry, such as MIA, and subsequently quietly and effectively placed in cooperating US bank accounts. Giving money launderers, as well as corrupt PEPs ,a nonstop means of entering the USA, from known tax havens, makes the job of American law enforcement harder. 

We understand that, in a global economy, facilitating international travel is a must, but we hope and trust that US Customs and Border Enforcement ramps up their on-arrival investigation techniques, so as to insure that those who would place dirty money into America are identified and interdicted, and that US bank compliance officers, particularly in Florida, be alert for any new deposit patterns that may indicate a possible money laundering pipeline operating through these new aviation routes. 

Compliance officers must at all times remember that money launderers are constantly on alert for new techniques and travel routes, and they quickly adjust and modify their methods to take advantage of what they regard as new opportunities to successfully  place and integrate their clients' criminal profits. Their success is at your expense, ladies and gentlemen of compliance.

___________________________________________________________________

*In the old days, if you wanted to fly nonstop to Paris, your only choice was an Aeromexico flight Mexico City to Paris' Orly (ORY), which made a stop at Miami; Times have certainly changed.


Friday, July 23, 2021

NEW UK SANCTIONS AGAINST MALTA IN THE AFTERMATH OF FATF GREYLISTING ARE JUST THE BEGINNING

 

 


 

 The FATF Greylisting of the Republic of Malta has, as we expected, and warned our readers about, consequences in other jurisdictions. If you look at the above website of the new United Kingdom listing of High Risk Countries, from the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Regulations, you will notice that MALTA has been added at number 11.  Do not underestimate the impact this will have on Malta.

Maltese media is busy minimizing the story, but it will directly impact individuals and businesses in Malta. This will cause problems for any Maltese national or resident who maintains accounts in the UK, and especially those who are engaged in international trade with Britain. High Risk usually requires compliance officers to initiate Enhanced Due Diligence, which is both time-consuming and expensive to conduct, and which will surely delay account opening, wire transfers, letters of credit issuance, and many other time-sensitive business transactions, all to the detriment of Maltese businessmen and their businesses. Accounts that have been routinely accepted will hereafter be declined in the City.

The UK designation will also most certainly cause British investors to give Malta a wide berth, when considering moving overseas entities into tax havens. Why bother opening an offshore business, when your funds transfers might be blocked at a very inopportune time, prohibiting you from accessing or repatriating your profits ? Malta's expanding financial services sector will contract; the only question is how much.

 

Finally, Maltese banks worry about the most powerful sanctions regime, the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which could now choose to designate Maltese banks, non-bank financial institutions, or major companies linked to money laundering or corrupt activities, based upon the FATF sanctions. That could disconnect Malta from the US financial structure, which local banks depend upon. Is Malta due to be isolated from mainstream international commerce ? Remember what happened to Libya. Things could get much worse for the Maltese economy. 

Thursday, July 22, 2021

MALTA RELEASES ITS PEP LIST, BUT ONLY THE TITLES, AND NOT THE NAMES, WHICH IS NO HELP FOR THE WORLD'S BANKS


The Government of Malta (FIAU) has published its list of Politically Exposed Pesrons, or PEPs, government officials, those in government-owned entities, and other positions that are generally classified as PEPs, which require increased monitoring by bank compliance departments. The list can be found by accessing No. 437 here.

 The problem is, the list is next to useless for the world's bank compliance officers, because the FIAU only published the  job titles, and not the names, and many of the titles are only partially described. Was this intentional ?

Compliance officers at international banks need the actual names of the PEPs; they search the Internet, and commercial off-the-shelf databases when a new client comes in the door, to determine whether he or she is a PEP,and who might be concealing that fact from the bank. Most of the PEPs in Malta are NOT on any English-language government or private website, identifying them as such, and as Maltese is the official language of the Republic of Malta, which means foreign compliance officers most likely will be unable to find the client's name in the local media, local online newspapers offer little help.

 

Therefore, an individual who is a minor government official, but still important enough to handle substantial government funds, or be exposed to the payment of bribes or kickbacks in the conduct of their position, will not be identified by the compliance officer at a foreign bank, meaning that account monitoring, especially after six months, will be minimal or non-existent. That gives the hidden PEP  an opportunity to launder the Proceeds of Crime  through the accounts.

Whenever a government agency fails to identify, by name, its PEPs, it open the door for criminally-inclined PEPs to use bank abroad to move and conceal their criminal proceeds, and Malta's FIAU has now done just that. This is no way to get off the FATF Greylist, my friends.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

HOW MANY FINANCIAL CRIME INDICTMENTS WERE INTENTIONALLY SHELVED BY TRUMP APPOINTEES AT DOJ FOR POLITICAL REASONS ?

 


Today's reports, regarding the back story behind this week's indictment of Thomas Barrack, the chairman of Trump's 2017 Presidential Inauguration Committee, is extremely disturbing. The US Attorney for EDNY allegedly blocked Barrack's indictment for purely political reasons, long after it should have been filed. To add insult to injury, that individual was actually promoted by then-AG William Barr, to a senior position at Main Justice in Washington. Should he be removed, if the evidence proves the allegations are correct ?

This raises the question: just how many major financial crime cases were prevented from being filed, by Trump political appointees in the Department of Justice, just because the targets included:

(1) Present or former Trump administration officials.                                                                                     

(2) Major contributors to Donald Trump's 2016 Presidential Campaign.                                                        

(3) financial supporters of the Republican Party.                                                                                            

(4) Individuals who have ongoing, or prospective, business relationships with the Trump Organization.

While we understand that present Attorney General Garland has gone out of his way to distance himself from political issues connected to the former President, he had better create an internal task force to examine whether legal or ethical policies of the DOJ were violated, concerning political decisions to give criminals a pass, due to Donald Trump's orders.


MYSTERY SOLVED; WHILE JOSEPH MUSCAT'S FAMILY THROWS HIS BRIBE MONEY AROUND IN PARIS, HE HIDES OUT IN TURKEY, FEARING UNCLE SAM'S REACH

 

                                                                       Public Enemy          

Our article Where in the World is Malta's Disgraced Prime Minister Joseph Muscat ?  has caused many of our readers to advise that he & his family are lighting cigars with €100 notes in the City of Light:

                                               @etoilemuscat is Michelle Muscat's daughter
 

 "His wife and daughters are boasting all over Instagram about being there [Paris], with a friend and her parents - AMANDA VASSALO, MANUEL VASSALLO  & their daughter Emma. Muscat, on the other hand, like his co-conspirators, opts for a low profile. "


 

 These are Instagram postings we have received. Notice there are NO photos of JM. 



There are no current Instagram photos of JM because he's not in Paris. It's a cleverly designed disinformation programme, intended to mislead the reader. In truth and in fact, Joseph Muscat is presently in Turkey, where he believes he can anticipate any American moves to take him into custody, or initiate extradition proceedings, allowing him to relocate to another jurisdiction, one step ahead of the long arm of Justice. 


 

Trust Muscat to artfully conceal his whereabouts from Maltese law enforcement agencies.where he has become, for all intents and purposes, a Public Enemy. as well as American agents tracking him, in connection with an ongoing criminal investigation. Will JM elude the Agents of Justice ? Stay tuned to find out.

 

 

                                                   Note; @michmuscat

Is JM seeking another hair transplant in Istanbul ?

Sunday, July 18, 2021

WHERE IN THE WORLD IS MALTA'S DISGRACED PRIME MINISTER JOSEPH MUSCAT ?

 

                                            Where's Joseph  Muscat run off to ?

  It's a true to life version of the film Take the Money and Run; Malta's cashiered former Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat has not been seen since he travel to Hungary recently, ostensibly to watch the football matches. While most Mlata watchers believe he is in Dubai, UAE, where a no-show job, as a CEO at a new catering company created by his associates in Malta, evaporated, after the US Government expressed concerns to management, but where he believed he can defeat any American extradition efforts.

He is believed to have accumulated €200-300m in illegal bribes and kickbacks whilst in office, and will be staying in luxury accommodations. He generally travels with bodyguards; do not approach him; attempt covertly to take a photograph, using your smartphone. Kindly send the photo to us at: miamicompliance@gmail.com. If there is a reward posted by a law enforcement agency, for information leading to his arrest, we shall notify it, protecting your identity. 




Height: 5'7"

Weight: 78 kilos

Eyes: Blue

Hair: Bald; he had a failed hair transplant. he may be wearing a wig.

Scars & Tattoos: "Invictus" on bicep. Other tattoos exist, but their location and type are not known.




NOTE: he may be  traveling in the company of his wife, MICHELE MUSCAT. her photograph can be found on this blog.


                                                              Catch me if you Can.


WHEN WILL MALTA'S COURT SYSTEM ADMINISTER JUSTICE IN THE BANK OF VALLETTA AND TIMES OF MALTA CASES ?

 

             The man who called the EU "The Europe of Cain." and nationalized NBG(BOV).

 

In the eyes of the European Union, the failure of Malta's notoriously corrupt court system to follow the Rule of Law is one of its most egregious shortcomings. To be specific, there are two unresolved major matters, which until justice is finally achieved, will continue to expose the country's courts as controlled by Malta's politicians and wealthy businessmen.

They are:


 

(1) The failure of the courts to adequately compensate the original shareholders of the Bank of Valletta, formerly known  as the National Bank of Malta, which was nationalized in 1973 by then Prime Minister Dom Mintoff. After more than 40 years of intentional delays by government officials at the highest level, either the shareholders must be paid, with interest, or their shares must be restored to them, together with control of the bank. In that care, present shareholders must themselves be compensated. Either way, justice must be served, and the original families in Malta who lost their ownership rights be made whole. The Government of Malta received illegal payments when it sold off the bank, and this wrong must be redressed. I don't care that it has been fifty years. The injustice in this matter must be rectified.


 

(2) The ownership of the Times of Malta must be restored to the designated Strickland family heir, together with the assets of Mabel Strickland, the bank's original owner. There was obvious criminal activity involved in Ms Strickland's case, including undue influence exerted upon her in her final days, and her intentions regarding who shall thereafter control the Times after her demise were interfered with; other dark forces ended up controlling the newspaper group, and have  profited immensely since then. Justice demands that ownership and control be awarded to its rightful heir, and those guilty of criminal conduct should be held to account, no matter how powerful and affluent they may now be.


Unless these two open wounds are  attended to, Malta will forever he known as a jurisdiction where the Rule of Law means nothing, and where the rich and powerful make the rules in the courtroom. If Malta cannot abide by the Rule of Law, then it doesn't deserve to be a member of the European Union.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

IRS PLACES MALTA ON ITS "DIRTY DOZEN" OF TAX SCAMS; WILL US NOW CANCEL ITS TAX TREATY ?


 Malta and the United States currently are parties to The Convention between the United States of America  and the Government of Malta for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion  with respect to Taxes on Income, the current Tax Treaty, signed in Valletta on August 8, 2008, ratified by the US Senate on June 30, 2010, and effective January 1, 2011. The treaty, in essence, prohibits double taxation of the same income by both nations.

This week the Internal Revenue Service published the latest edition of its "Dirty Dozen" of abusive tax practices, and named Malta as one of the offending jurisdictions. What follows is the complete text of the IRS section on Malta, which can be found in its website:

                        Potentially Abusive Use of the US -Malta Tax Treaty

" Some US citizens and residents are relying on an interpretation of the US-Malta Income tax treaty (Treaty) to take the position that they may contribute appreciated property tax free to certain  Maltese pension plans, and that there are also no tax consequences when the plan sells the assets, and distributes proceeds to the US Taxpayer. Ordinarily, gain would be recognized upon disposition of the plan's assets, and distribution of the proceeds. The IRS is evaluating the issue to determine the validity of these arrangements.and whether Treaty benefits should be available in such instances, and may challenge the associated tax treatment. (emphasis supplied)."

Whether these abusive tax practices case the United States to terminate the present tax treaty is a distinct possibility. Readers who are familiar with US-Maltese relations will recall that the previous tax treaty between the two counties "was terminated by the United States on January 1, 1997, due to concerns that changes to Maltese tax laws provided an incentive for "treaty shopping" and that Malta was unable to satisfactorily exchange tax information." Report on Tax Convention with Malta at 2.

Given the obviously strained state of diplomatic relations between the US and Malta, due to the unsatisfactory result of the meeting lat year, between the then-US Secretary of Defence and Malta PM Robert Abela, concerning the SOFA matter, the IRS may enter a ruling rejecting the validity of the Maltese technique as legitimate tax avoidance, or the US could, as a result, terminate the present 2010 Tax Treaty. Obviously, PM Abela did not consider the possible adverse tax consequences of his reportedly rude and abrupt rejection of the US offer, after making seemingly friendly overtures to the US, resulting in the arrival of the US Sec Def, with a full compliment of his staff, in Malta.

 We shall be closely monitoring the IRS position on its 'Dirty Dozen" of tax abuses, and shall report back to our readers  should a ruling be handed down, or some official action be taken on the Tax Treaty.

 



Tuesday, July 13, 2021

MALTA'S SINGULAR MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION FOR 2021

                                                            

                                                   PC Angelo Gafa and Silvana Gafa
 

The Question of the Year was directed, in Malta's Parliament,  by MP Jason Azzopardi, to the new, but obviously already corrupt, Commissioner of Police, Angelo Gafa, regarding why none of the Labour Party officials have yet to be charged with money laundering:

  What is the Police Commissioner waiting for, to arraign CHRIS CARDONA, KONRAD MIZZI, EDWARD SCICLUNA, CARMELO ABELA, SILVIO VALLETTA, KEITH SCHEMBRI, HEATHCLIFF FARRUGIA, JOSEPH MUSCAT and DIANE IZZO, among others ? 

Until Justice is Done, Malta will be relegated to being indefinitely Greylisted

                                     JM and his Small Circle of Friends  by COSIMO
 

Will the last person leaving Malta remember to turn out the lights ? 

 

Sunday, July 11, 2021

THE BLOG IS ON SUMMER SCHEDULE

  

Here in the dead of Summer, when courts scale back their schedule, to allow judges and lawyers to take their annual vacations, we are scaling back our coverage. Only important new financial crime cases will be the subject of our reporting, together with any new and significant development relevant to our readers. There will probably not be new articles each day, so our readers may wish to access the website twice a week, to ensure that they do not miss any important news.

If you need more, there are 6336 articles published on this blog, of which several hundred deal with financial crime in Malta. Feel free to access the articles by topic through the white search engine box at the top left-hand of the page.

Thank you for supporting Kenneth Rijock's Financial Crime blog.

WHAT'S THE MYSTERY SURROUNDING THE FEDERAL PRISON SENTENCE OF THE MONEY LAUNDERING SWISS BANKER MATHIAS KRULL ?

 

 

When the former Swiss banker, Matthias Krull, had his Federal sentence reduced from ten years to just three and one-half years, that court order got the attention of a media that usually ignores sentence reduction decision, because they generally are not for more than 50% of a cooperating individual's original sentence, and are not regarded as newsworthy. Krull's case was covered by major media because it was, frankly, extraordinary. and unusual. It appears that it was granted due to the fact that he had cooperated  extensively against a number of Venezuelan money launderers, for whom he moved and cleaned $1.2bn in criminal proceeds.

There is a question, however, about his current status; when Krull surrendered, to commence serving his sentence, the public record on his status appearing on the Bureau of Prisons website showed his Release Date, the date his sentence was up, to be late in 2029, which would be the computation of his release had he NOT received that huge sentence reduction. The information on when a Federal inmate is eligible for release is maintained in the BOP SENTRY Inmate Management System, and I guarantee you that, when Krull received that sentence reduction, his eminently qualified attorney would have insured that his records were updated, forthwith.

 If the Bureau of Prisons is strict about one thing, it is maintaining correct records on inmate Release Dates, lest someone be released early in error, which can have major consequences to the careers of government officials who make that mistake.  One important case, in which an error was discovered years after an inmate was released in error, held that an inmate was not required to serve his sentence in installments, and denying the BOP and DOJ the right to return him to prison.

So what's going on here ? Is Krull to be released in just under three years (with the 15% Good Time), or is he doing the eight and one-half years that is what a ten year sentence ends up being ? 

There's one more element to this mystery; there is a sealed document in Krull's court file that is not scheduled for public release until early 2023. Are their conditions on his sentence reduction, or some other factor that the Department of Justice does not want known, regarding his future obligations to testify against additional targets, or some other condition precedent to his reduction ? Some legal observers have opined that he is a key witness in the movement of a portion of that $1.2bn through banks and financial service companies in the Republic of Malta, and that he will required to help obtain convictions of the guilty parties through his trial testimony.

It could also be that Krull is involved in the seizure and forfeiture of significant criminal proceeds abroad, and his ultimate sentence is contingent upon a success in that operation, if it exists. We cannot say, as the document remains sealed.

Another possibility is that the second. sealed order, reduces his sentence to Time Served, meaning whatever short amount of time he serves in 2021 will be all he is obligated to do. In essence, it will be the proverbial Get-out-of-Jail-Free card, which may not serve as a sufficient deterrence to other considering money laundering.

So what's the story ? At this moment, it remains a mystery; We shall be monitoring Matthias Krull's case, and when we have the answer, you will read it here first. Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

THE US TAKES DOWN IMAGES OF OPPRESSORS; WILL MALTA FOLLOW SUIT ?


                                                        (photo courtesy Getty Images)
 

As you can see from the image above, this week, a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee was removed from a public place in Charlottesville, Virginia, after national public sentiment insisted that America's icons from its dark past be eliminated, lest they continue to intimidate those in the present, and encourage  the small minority who wants to turn back the clock on democracy, civil rights, and justice.

We recently published an article entitled After Domestic Abuse Allegations appear, will Malta now finally Take Down his Statue,  referring to the island nation's first Prime Minister since Malta became a Republic, Dom Mintoff, whose rule was characterized by a retreat from democracy, violence, corruption  anti-intellectualism, and toadying up to Communist dictators abroad. A virtual dictator himself, his statute, which dominates the public space,  is a disgrace to democracy, and should be removed forthwith. This man, who was the subject of cult adulation, should not be idolized and glorified, as he would be found guilty today of Crimes Against the State.

                                     ( Photo courtesy Getty images)
 

Malta, please join the Europe of the twenty-first century, and remove this national stain on your honour. To do any less marks you as a relic of the criminal past.   

Friday, July 9, 2021

PROSECUTOR IN DOMINICA DROPS CORRUPTION CASE AGAINST GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS

 The Public Prosecutor in the Commonwealth of Dominica has announced a Nolle Prosequi (discontinuance or abandonment of criminal prosecution) in the pending Treating (Corruption) case against Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, Minister of National Security Rayburn Blackmoore, and other officials. Victims alleged that illegal favours and gratuities were given to voters ahead of a National election, for the sole purpose of influencing their votes, and the evidence was sufficient to take the case to trial, in the opinion of legal observers, many of whom predicted that the Skerrit regime would see that it was dismissed., after a regional appeals court held that the case could proceed.

This action, which is contrary to the evidence, and the Rule of Law, is merely the latest court ruling obviously influenced by senior government officials. Dominica's ruling Labour Party, which violently suppreses dissent and public protest, governs the country with an iron hand, with logistical support of the Peoples' Republic of China, whose large embassy serves as a base for intelligence and surveillance operations in the East Caribbean region. Civil and Human Rights are severely restricted by the government, which is increasingly influenced by China and Venezuela, and which constitutes a Clear and Present Danger to the adjacent East Caribbean States.


The decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions appears below.




Below is the public statement released by the defendants' attorneys.