Kenneth Rijock

Kenneth Rijock

Thursday, February 22, 2018

RICARDO MARTINELLI HABEUS CORPUS FILE REMAINS MYSTERIOUSLY SEALED


 The fugitive former president of Panama, Ricardo Martinelli, may have lost his Habeus Corpus petition, but the court file remains sealed, through a loophole not designed to hide the truth from the public and the media, but employed in a deceptive manner nevertheless. Martinelli, whose illegal video surveillance of Panama's elite resulted in major criminal charges being filed against him, has still not been extradited, although he has lost twice in the Federal court system, and he should be on a night flight to face Panamanian  justice, he's still in Miami. Wonder why ?

We cannot tell what his grounds were for filing the Habeus petition, after a Federal Judge ordered him deported, because the relevant pleadings are curiously not available, as we do not have "permission" to view them. This is not some secret plea agreement, where some law enforcement agent's undercover identity needs to be protected, nor is it a Pre-Sentence Investigation Report (PSIR). The file is not sealed, just strangely made unavailable to all of us, thanks to someone's wishes.  Don't you wonder what embarrassing information Martinelli placed in his petition ? Law enforcement misconduct ? Trump's Panama hi-jinks at a bordello ? Covert US operations in Latin America ?

Somebody needs to let us in on the joke, because we are not amused.

WILL THE NORTH KOREAN USD$100 SUPERNOTE ENTER THE US THROUGH CHINA'S EXPANDING EAST CARIBBEAN FOOTPRINT ?


Korean bank technician examining Supernote
 If you follow the world of financial crime, you probably know that the so-called "Supernote," the North Korean-manufactured USD$100 bill, has recently resurfaced, this time in November, 2017 in South Korea, where a virtually flawless new version appeared in Seoul. Its status as a counterfeit was only confirmed after a team of bank experts closely examined the bill, and determined it to be bogus. This is the first known sighting of a previously unknown variation, and it is extremely troubling.

This iteration of the $100 note, of the old 2006 Series, which cleverly does not include the additional anti-counterfeiting features included in subsequent modifications. If you are not familiar with the 2006, it features the signatures of Ana Escobedo Cabral, as US Treasurer, and Henry M Paulson, as Secretary of the Treasury.

Given that the Series 2002 and Series 2003 version of the Supernote were distributed through North Korean Embassies, to tourists visiting North Korea, and extensively through banks and businesses in the Peoples' Republic of China, you can expect that similar methods will be employed in 2018 or 2019.  Given China's expanded presence in the English-speaking republics of the East Caribbean, with unusually large embassies(which appear to be electronic surveillance listening posts), and economic programs directed at providing developmental aid to those countries, there is a well-founded fear that it will assist its DPRK ally in covert distribution of the counterfeits.

For political and diplomatic reasons, China was not identified or criticized for its role in Supernote distribution, but the involvement of its financial sector was a major factor, and it must be assumed that it was with government approval and support.

It is not known precisely how many Chinese nationals hold CBI or Diplomatic passports from the East Caribbean countries, St Kitts & Nevis, Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, St Lucia & Grenada, but they represent an alternative method of placement of the counterfeits in the region. One Chinese holder of a Dominica diplomatic passport is known to be a major trading agent for North Korea, operating out of Hong Kong, and it is estimated that there are others not heretofore identified. Due to the opaque nature of the various diplomatic passport programs, it is not known how many North Korean agents presently hold Dominica, St Kitts or Grenada CBI and/or diplomatic passports, especially if they hold themselves out to be Chinese, Taiwanese, or South Korean nationals.

Chinese Embassy, Dominica

Given the fact that the new Supernote appears to have passed the usual, perfunctory checks, it could appear in the casinos, or even as payment for CBI passports, without being immediately discovered, and end up in the economy, including local banks, and enter the US without prior warning. I have not seen any alerts from the US Secret Service, which has jurisdiction over counterfeit currency investigations, but there has not been any news of this Supernote being seen in the United States.

It might be prudent, however, for US bankers to be alert for any deposits of $100 bills, where the majority are Series 2006, in uncirculated or mint condition. If there are any other reports of this bill surfacing, we shall promptly notify our readers.

 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

PETRO - VENEZUELA'S NEW CYBERCURRENCY



Compliance officers who wish to learn about Venezuela's new oil-backed cyber currency, PETRO, might want to read the 22-page White Paper on the subject here. A note of caution: This is a Venezuelan government document.


ORAL ARGUMENT TAPE ON WAKED OFAC APPEAL IS AVAILABLE ONLINE



It has been a month since the DC Circuit held Oral Argument in the Waked appeal of the unfavorable judgment in the OFAC case we have been reporting on, but still, no decision has been filed. If curiosity has gotten the better of you, you may listen to the hearing online here. The case is Abdul Waked Fares vs. John Smith et al.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

UNITED NATIONS REPORTS GRENADA AND DOMINICA SUSPENDED FOR NONPAYMENT OF DUES


The United Nations has suspended the Commonwealth of Dominica and Grenada from General Assembly voting privileges, for chronic nonpayment of member dues and required contributions.. The information was released at the end of January;  no other Caribbean nations were cited for non-payment. When dues are two years' delinquent, the UN imposes voting sanctions.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Grenada released a public statement to the effect that payment had recently been transmitted, but this has not been confirmed. No statements regarding payment have been made from, or on behalf of, Dominica.

Though there are exceptions available, for a country's inability to pay, both Grenada & Dominica operate Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programs, and the proceeds from only one completed application would be sufficient for those nations to cover their annual UN dues and charges. It is known  that CBI income. as to both countries, is substantial.

Monday, February 19, 2018

2018 AML/CFT MUTUAL EVALUATION REPORT ON PANAMA


 If you are a compliance officer at an international bank whose clients conduct business with Panamanian corporations, or who is involved in vetting wire transfers to or from Panama, it is suggested that you review the 2018 Mutual Evaluation Report of the Republic of Panama. You may access the document here.

WHEN WILL EUROPEAN UNION OR USA INTERVENE TO FREE HUMAN RIGHTS VICTIM IN POLITICAL MONEY LAUNDERING CASE ?


Notwithstanding that the European Parliament has held proceedings on the illegal detention of Russian-Spanish businessman Vladimir Kokorev, and that two MEPs have come out in support of concrete action, the European Union remains passive in the Kokorev scandal. In a case more reminiscent of the Russian Gulags, the "material witness" remains under House Arrest, after more than two years of illegal detention in a Spanish prison. A bogus money laundering case holds him captive, contrary to Spain's own laws regarding pretrial release, as well as EU Human Rights principles.

Given that no charges have ever been filed against any individual or entity, and the strong suspicion that affluent Spanish business interests, obsessed with obtaining Equatorial Guinea's lucrative oil concessions, we also wonder why the United States have never taken diplomatic action to free Mr. Kokorev. After all, it is American oil firms that are currently benefiting from their contracts with EG, and a change of government there, as engineered by Spanish interests, could result in a loss of important business, and assignment of those extraction rights to Spanish companies. Where is the United States in this human rights violation ?