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November 2011: Global Intelligence and Terror Briefing

Nov 28, 2011 (TSR)- Here is the global intelligence and terror briefing highlights for the month of November from around the world:

Intelligence Sector

US set to freeze assets linked to African state leader

According to recent reports the US Department of Justice is looking to freeze the US held assets of a family member of a head of state of a West African country. The assets are believed to be worth approximately $70 million. The head of state is also under investigation in France and Spain for corruption. French authorities have already confiscated a number of luxury vehicles belonging to the same family member.

The Global Information Grid

CEO of bankrupt soft drinks company jailed

Gregory Podlucky (UID 856789) was sentenced to serve 20 years in prison this month after his June guilty plea. He is reported to have defrauded investors, vendors and lenders out of $684 million. Podlucky was the former CEO of bankrupt soft drink maker Le-Nature’s Inc. Five other top executives at the company have already pleaded guilty to assisting Podlucky in his illegal enterprise. Online users can identify those in the network of falsified invoices and fraud by looking at Podlucky’s profile.

Swiss indict suspects with alleged mafia links

Swiss authorities have indicted 13 individuals with suspected links to the Calabrian Ndrangheta crime syndicate (UID 880042). According to reports the syndicate has been active within the region since 1994. They were indicted on charges of money laundering and drug trafficking and will also have to face charges of smuggling weapons across the border of Italy and Switzerland. Reports put the value of the money laundered in the region of SFr15 million ($17 million).

Mexico arrest and charge German for links to cartels

A German citizen who was arrested in July 2011 is reported to have links to the Beltran Leyva drug cartel (UID 880041) which has been since May 2008 an OFAC Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficking Kingpin (SDNTK). It is alleged that in 2009 the accused transported half a million US dollars and tens of thousands of euros from Mexico to Panama, allegedly the money was destined for Colombia. Mexico’s federal prosecutor’s office has stated that the suspect will face money laundering charges.

Two plead guilty in oil shipping kickback scam

Two individuals Clyde Meltzer (UID 12584) and Briton Bernard Langley (UID 1406847) who were accused of helping Jonathan Barnes (UID 1406868), a former employee at a Houston based plastics, chemical, and refining company, defraud the company out of millions of dollars, both pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Meltzer and Langley overcharged the company for shipping oil from Venezuela to U.S. refineries; the three then split the difference. Authorities have seized cash, property and other items from Barnes, Meltzer and Langley. It is reported that there are more individuals involved. World-Check research analysts will be monitoring developments and updating as necessary. 

Singapore consider tougher penalties for white collar crime

In his recent speech, Ravi Menon, the Managing Director, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), stated that “ MAS is considering a tougher penalty regime for violations of AML/CFT. In a recent announcement, the Attorney General has stated that Singapore will seek tougher penalties for white-collar criminals. MAS is in full alignment with this. We will ensure that financial crime does not pay in Singapore and that those who jeopardise Singapore’s hard-earned reputation as a financial centre of integrity face severe consequences.

Political fundraiser sentenced for fraud ?Antoin Rezko (UID 509123) was convicted in June 2008 on 16 fraud and attempted bribery counts. He reportedly used his influence to extort millions of dollars from companies for the awarding of business or regulatory approval during the former Illinois State Governor Rod Blagojevich (UID 13726) tenure. In November Rezko was sentenced to 10 ½ years in jail, less time already served. According to the judge the amount of intended losses from the schemes exceeded $9.6 million. In sentencing Rezko, US district Judge Amy St. Eve said “Enough is enough. Corruption in Illinois has to stop.” ??

Australia convicts two foreign nationals in money laundering racket ?After a raid in Melbourne suburb where 10,000 fake credit cards and sophisticated card manufacturing equipment were seized three foreign nationals were arrested. Two individuals Siew Yin Khoo (UID 1628519) a Malaysian and Yuk Chong (UID 1628507) a Hong Kong national pleaded guilty to dealing with cash ‘reasonably suspected of being the proceeds of crime’. The third individual arrested was a Malaysian national who is alleged to have deposited more than $6.7 million into foreign bank accounts since June 2007. He was charged with offences including dealing in the suspected proceeds of crime, possessing equipment for the manufacture of false credit cards and possessing a false foreign passport. He has been remanded in custody and will appear in court in March 2012. Online users can see more information on this case by accessing Khoo’s profile. ??

Indian authorities freeze alleged criminal assets ?Indian authorities have frozen assets worth an estimated Rp 43 crore of an individual and associates after accepting the Enforcement Directorate’s argument that these properties were bought using funds obtained through money laundering. The evidence is reported to state that one of the accused had notification from an offshore bank that he could withdraw $6 billion from his account; in addition the Enforcement Division produced numerous transfer instructions pertaining to that account, requesting transfers to various accounts located across the globe controlled by the accused, his associates and their associated companies. ??

Fund manager charged for $11 million share scam ?A Florida based fund manager who ran a fund registered in the British Virgin Islands has been accused of masterminding an $11 million fraud where he allegedly falsely promoted access to shares of two social networking sites prior to their initial public offering (IPO). Investors reportedly placed over $11 million into what was described by the accused as escrow accounts in a Florida bank. He is reported to have spent nearly $4 million of the misappropriated money on personal expenses. He has been charged with securities fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. ?

Promoter ordered to pay $30 million restitution ?In November Miko Dion Wady (UID 1190716) pleaded guilty to five counts of wire fraud and five counts of transactional money laundering in connection with a scam to defraud investors in various concert-promotion companies. He reportedly falsely stated that he had secured contracts with nationally and internationally known entertainers, arranged concerts and tours across the globe and greatly profited by them. He reportedly used $3 million of the finds invested for his personal use. The court sentenced him to nine years in jail and ordered him to pay restitution of $30 million to the investors. ??

Accused pleads guilty in $670 million insurance scam?Jorge Castillo (UID 1423172), one of two individuals who were charged with conspiracy, wire fraud and mail fraud in an insurance scam which is stated to have defrauded individuals out of $670 million, pleaded guilty to one count of mail and wire fraud. The company they worked for sold bonds guaranteeing funding for life settlement companies. Reports state the defendants misled clients and investors about the company’s financial stability, its credit rating and whether its books had been audited. Castillo will be sentenced in May 2012. His co-accused has entered a plea of not guilty and is scheduled for trial in February.

Terrorism

Five men guilty of raising money for Tamil Tigers

A court in The Hague in the Netherlands has found five individuals guilty of money laundering and running illegal lotteries to raise funds for the Tamil Tigers aka LTTE (UID 3219) in Sri Lanka. None of the acused were found guilty of any terrorism offence. According to reports approximately 130 million euro has been raised for the LTTE in the Netherlands..

US designate Terror network commander?In November Haji Mali Khan (UID 1594048) a senior Haqqani Network leader, in US custody since the end of September 2011, was named by the US State Department as a specially designated global Terrorist (SDGT).” Mali Khan has provided support and logistics to the Haqqani Network, and has been involved in the planning and execution of attacks in Afghanistan against civilians, coalition forces, and Afghan police,” reads the State Department statement.

Legislations

India’s crackdown on ‘black money’ showing results

India’s Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has said that the government’s investigation into so called ‘black money’ is already showing results. Tax authorities have obtained 9,900 leads from foreign banks about suspicious overseas transactions involving Indian citizens. They are also reportedly looking at data on another 30,700 domestic transactions for suspected tax evasion and money laundering. A special committee has been set up under the chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to examine ways to strengthen the country’s laws to curb the generation of black money in the country and its illegal transfer abroad.

FinCEN proposal on prepaid access cards and instruments

In a proactive stance to curb the movement of illicit funds across its borders, US regulatory body FinCEN has proposed new rulings on pre-paid cards, gift cards and other instruments which can be loaded with monetary value, and could be used in the anonymous trasnfer of illcit funds into the US. To read in full the release ‘FinCen Proposes Reporting Requirement of International Transport of Prepaid Access Products at U.S. Borders’

Improve AML effort urges Reserve Bank Governor

Governor of the Reserve Bank of Fiji Barry Whiteside has urged financial institutions to improve their efforts to curb money laundering activities. In addition he said the Reserve Bank would be making sure that the Financial Transactions Reporting Act was being adhered to. We do have the laws to prosecute money laundering activities. We also have laws to trace the proceeds of crime and confiscate these proceeds. “We have the ammunition but we fall short in key areas when it comes to implementation.”

Afghanistan advised to make progress on AML and CFT measures

The International Monetary Fund has approved a new credit programme for Afghanistan. However the Deputy managing director and acting chairperson of the IMF said, ‘It is important that the authorities accelerate measures to enhance governance, including strengthening the banking law and financial sector supervision as well as the framework for anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism.”

$6.5 billion collected in last fiscal year

According to reports the US Attorneys’ offices collected a total of $6.5 billion from cases during the 2011 fiscal year. “During this time of economic recovery, these collections are more important than ever,” said U.S. Attorney Rose. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is dedicated to protecting the public and recovering funds for the federal treasury and for victims of federal crime. We will continue to hold accountable those who seek to profit from their illegal activities.” 

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