30 July 2008

CIA Outlines Pakistan Links with Militants

New York Times article. Apparently CIA Deputy Director has been to Pakistan to present senior officials with evidence of ISI members' links with the Haqqani network, which in turn links to al Qaeda.

Drug Swoops have little impact

Report from UK Drug Policy Commission [an independent group] looks at impact of drug policy and problems of impact measurement.

26 July 2008

Report compiled on money=laundering in soccer

Courtesy of Monty: a link to a Canadian paper article on a Colombian report on money-laundering in soccer. Ah, globalisation! Let see how it all links up to other countries. After all, no-one just turns up and buys a football club with the alleged proceeds of corruption, do they?

Mexico Plan adds Police to take on Drug Cartels

Military role to be reduced. Federal police doubled in size. Drive against police corruption. Washington Post piece. May have to scroll down quite a way, because someone has messed up the html on the advert on the page.
Border controls to be tightened. No word on the armed warfare that has been going on between gangs and against the military. All a little odd.

Serial bombs hit India's IT hub

Seven small bombs set off in a coordinated attack. There have been other incidents, according to the BBC. Sounds home-grown. Another group to identify and maybe examine its overseas connections.

Yushchenko says Former Ally Responsible for his Poisoning

Yushchenko blames Zhvania, a former ally. No evidence given, according to Moscow Times. Odd little story, which may have implications for other poisoning accusations...or may not. The politics of it all shift and slide.

24 July 2008

Opium and Afghanistan: Reassessing US Counter-Narcotics Strategy

Cultivation and production of opium in Afghanistan have skyrocketed since the
Taliban were toppled in 2001 such that Afghanistan now supplies 92 percent of the
world’s illicit opium. The expanding opium trade is threatening to destabilize the
Afghan government and turn the conflict-ridden country back into a safe haven for
drug traffickers and terrorists. This paper examines the nature of the opium problem
in Afghanistan and analyzes the allied strategy to counter this growing crisis. In
analyzing the current counternarcotics strategy, it points out pitfalls including the
counterproductive aspects of opium eradication. Finally, changes to the strategy are
proposed, which include increasing troop levels and eliminating national restrictions,
substantially increasing financial aid, deemphasizing opium eradication, focusing on
long-term alternative livelihoods, aggressively pursuing drug kingpins and corrupt
government officials, and exploring the possibility of Afghanistan’s entry to the licit opium market

Mafia attempt to buy Lazio foiled by Italian police

Actually the Camorra, allegedly through Giorgio Chinaglia. Lord Steven's report soon to have results in the UK, too. [Well, maybe!] This account from the Telegraph.

E-Gold pleads Guilty to Money-Laundering

Nice piece from Security Focus with links to previous article. E-Gold agrees to regulation by the US and vows to continue in business.

Man arrested in connection with collapse of Cayman-domiciled investment funds

Slightly longer piee below:

Man arrested in failed hedge funds

Published on Monday, July 21, 2008

By Trent Jacobs

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) have arrested an unidentified 47-year-old man in connection with last month’s collapse of several Cayman-domiciled investment funds.

Detectives from the Financial Crimes Unit (FCU) arrested the man on suspicion of theft, false accounting and uttering false documents after their investigations into the collapse of four hedge funds listed under the umbrella name “Grand Island”.

In June the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) confirmed that the “Grand Island” funds were put into voluntary liquidation by the funds’ shareholders. Three of the four funds involved were registered with CIMA in 2006 and one other was an unregulated fund.

Police say that the funds were believed to have been worth millions of dollars, though it is still unclear how much money was lost and how many people are affected by its collapse.

However, it is widely speculated that the losses are up to $70 million dollars and the main commodity being traded was oil. Because of the nature of the three registered funds investors had to contribute at the very least US$100,000.

Since the funds were based in Cayman, it is believed that some of the investors may be local residents. Speaking on condition of anonymity, a financial insider with knowledge of the troubled funds said, “This fraud is solely Cayman-based and may have a profound effect on Cayman’s reputation as a financial centre. Every other hedge fund fraud has taken place outside of Cayman.”

Cayman Net News has learned that Close Brothers (Cayman) Ltd was the funds’ administrator and prominent local businessman Naul Bodden was a director of at least one of the funds.

After it became apparent that there were serious irregularities in the funds’ trading activities, David Walker and Nick Freeland of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) were appointed by shareholders to be in charge of liquidating the fund. In a statement to the press PwC said that they are currently working to recover an undisclosed amount of money from a Canadian bank.

“We confirm that on 11 July PwC Corporate Finance & Recovery (Cayman) Ltd, a company wholly owned by PricewaterhouseCoopers Cayman Islands, was appointed as receiver over various accounts held at ScotiaMcLeod in Canada. รข€¯The purpose of the receivership appointment is to facilitate the repatriation of monies currently held in accounts at ScotiaMcLeod back to the Cayman Islands and for these monies to be held in custody by the receiver, until such time the various parties who may have an interest in the monies can determine the proper allocation of the monies.”

PwC also said in their statement that they have applied to the Grand Court to put the liquidation process under court supervision and expect the application to be heard by next week.

While the police continue their investigation, CIMA has said that they are conducting their own investigation into the matter and will work closely with both the courts and the liquidators to resolve the situation and recover lost funds.

Police said that the man in question is currently on bail pending further investigations. The RCIPS is asking anyone with information or knowledge to come forward by contacting Detective Sergeant Claire Jackson on 949-8797.

Smugglers try to use Dolly for cover, officials say

CNN story. Moving marijuana and immigrants in a hurricane. Rather them than me!

FSA to Launch Second Insider Trading Case Today

FSA could do with winning one! Our City correspondent draws my attention to this piece of breaking news. More will be revealed this afternoon! Reuters, however, alleges an ex-Cazenove partner is involved. http://tinyurl.com/5knvfc

Fund Manager Alleges Russian Tax Fraud

As I read this, the allegations are that documents removed by Ministry of the Interior officials later were used to steal three investment companies and then commit tax fraud. Going to be difficult to prove, I suspect. There has been a great deal of company heft using false documentation in Russia, developing from the use of the same technique to steal buildings and building sites. Western regulators and legislators need to ensure legal measures are in place in the EU, because the techniques will certainly be transferred here before too long.

23 July 2008

EU anti-fraud office targets Brussels and Romania

OLAF's Annual Report is out! http://ec.europa.eu/anti_fraud/press_room/pr/2008/7/en.html

EU to suspend funds to Bulgaria

Well they signalled it very clearly. Only two agencies blocked so far from receiving funds, but warning also to Romania and to the next round of applicants. More has to be done about corruption.

18 July 2008

BoNY Mellon profits down

Hidden away in this Guardian article is a reminder that there is still a lawsuit outstanding in Russia over money-laundering. BoNY has settled with the US authorities, but Russians not ready to settle.

16 July 2008

Mafia feels heat from feds, rivals

CNN piece in series on FBI. Overview of various ethnically-based groups. Very popular in tone.

15 July 2008

Court throws out "annoyance" law

Update on Australian story. Something is very odd about a country where the judges have a better sense of humour than the politicians. unfortunately, the Guardian gets rather public schoolboyish in its coverage here. But I supposed there's nothing politicians fear more than not being taken seriously. No longer a crime to be silly in New South Wales, then

In '06 Bomb Plot Trial, a Question of Imminence

Not a lot of organised crime reports out there, so this New York Times piece on the accused in the liquid bomb trial in London is timely. Good to get an outside perspective and a review of what the prosecution and defence cases have been.

10 July 2008

Nigerian Militants end ceasefire in oil region

MEND, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Nigerian Delta, ends its ceasefire over comments by Gordon Brown. These guys attack pipelines and have cut Nigerian oil production by 25%. Washington Post here has a very brief article on them. Funding? Connctions?

39 Reputed Mobsters Detained on Yacht

But almost all were released. Alleged to have been a meeting of "thieves-in-law" [vory v zakonye] at which a dispute between Oniani and Usoyan was either to be settled or war declared. Sounds fascinating, if true. It's all "alleged". Happened on a yacht in a reservoir near Moscow. Police commandos rapelled down from a helicopter. Cabaret?

Is the Hollow State still Hollow?

Agreement between G8 leaders: does it restore the status quo ante the internet, or is it a massive government invasion of personal privacy for the benefit of the multinationals? And what are the opportunities it presents for organised crime? By now we all should know, all new laws do is put up the price of illicit pleasures...Discuss.

09 July 2008

Police operation against the Licciardi clan of the Camorra in Naples

Thank goodness for la Repubblica! I was beginning to wonder if the police of Europe had declared the war on organised crime a draw, there has been so little in the newspapers. 40 individuals arrested and goods worth 300 million euros seized.

08 July 2008

The Axioms of Evil

Nice appeal to get rid of that dreadfully unhelpful word "terrorism" by a lecturer from Monash, tying it to Nelson Mandela's de-designation, if that's the right word. Nice finish: it is entirely possible to be both terrorist and freedom fighter.

Joint Police Stations in Tourist Areas Proposed

Another headline grabber from the same meeting. I love the idea of a French cop "escorting" a French drunk back to his/her hotel in Prague. I mean that's exactly what they would do in Paris...isn't it? Dear old William Hague chuntering into his brandy about wasting police resources. Does he know where abroad is? Anywhere outside Yorkshire, I suspect. Time he made his guest appearance in Last of the Summer Wine...oh wait! he's going to be Foreign or Home Secretary in two years time.

EU won over to France's Hard Line on Immigration and Asylum

Informal meeting of EU Interior Ministers yesterday. Theyre looking at agreeing guidelines....Ho hum, they've been doing that for years. Great headline, but wait until October to see if anything happens.

Police Target Rising Metal Theft

Church roofs used to be raided in the past. Is it "developing countries" demand or one of those economic cycle phenomena? 38 police forces involved in a coordinated response. Fine, but what happens after the two days are over?

05 July 2008

Hackers crack cash machine PIN codes to steal millions

This is totally disturbing. New level for hackers. What it means for us punters will not be clear until the banks come clean.

Police blitz on gangs puts 40 behind bars

Liverpool is my home city, so I check the local paper regularly. Report on the aftermath of the murder of Rhys Jones. Firearms incidents up, but from 5 to 9 over a six month period. Huge effort at disruption from the figures given

03 July 2008

18,000 women and children trafficked into UK sex trade

Report on Operation Pentameter 2. Lots of figures for researchers. Couldnt find the BBC link, although the story was on the radio yesterday. Small print says 6,000 to 18,000.
Guardian version at http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2008/jul/03/childprotection.internationalcrime concentrates on internal trafficking.

01 July 2008

Britain facing terrorist threat for another 30 years, warns Lord Stevens

Ho Hum. I do believe Tupman and O'Reilly pointed this out a little while ago. This is more about Conservative party policy for a new border police than a serious discussion on the future of terrorism

Nigeria Arrests ex-air Ministers

Ripples from a plane crash. Money to but air safety equipment alleged to have disappeared. Sum of $160 million alleged.

Australia bans annoying behaviour for Pope visit

My mind reels with ironic comments. But it would be annoying to somebody and therefore illegal to voice them or write them down.

EBay Ordered to pay $61 million in sale of Counterfeit Goods

EBay to appeal French Court's judgement that it must pay LVMH [Moet Hennesy Louis Vuitton] for sale of counterfeit goods. EBay arguing that other issues are involved. Article outlines what these are.

A Ragtag Insurgency Gains an al Qaeda lifeline

Looks like the New York Times is running a series of articles. This is on the Algerians and their resurgence since setting up links with al Qaeda in Iraq. Potentially a bridge to Europe, providing training camps and recruits both to iraq and from Europe as well as Algeria. Estimates of numbers given. Again, warnings not to exaggerate the threat, but warnings equally given as to what could build from the present situation, which is not quite at a tipping-point.