Kenneth Rijock

Kenneth Rijock

Monday, January 22, 2018

SPOILING FOR A FIGHT, LEBANON'S PRO-HEZBOLLAH PRESIDENT CONTESTS ESRABLISHED BORDER WITH ISRAEL



The risk of yet another armed conflict, between the State of Israel, and the global terrorist organization, Hezbollah, which was elevated recently when Hezbollah objected to Israel building a fence between it and Lebanon, has been further elevated, thanks to bogus territorial claims, made by the country's pro-Hezbollah president, Michel Aoun.

The President of Lebanon has publicly stated that his country has objections to twelve areas of the international frontier with Israel. That border, known as the Blue Line, which was designated by the Treaty of Sevres in 1923, and was further mutually affirmed in 1949, 1978, and most recently in the year 2000, is NOT in dispute. This is simply a pretext, a bogus premise, to increase tension, but it could very well end up starting a bloody military action. which would certainly damage, or even destroy the Beirut banking industry.

Israel has made it very plain that, if Hezbollah starts another war, it intends to level Lebanon's infrastructure, via aerial attacks. Lebanon's banks are the economic glue that confers prosperity upon the nation. Should they be closed, when their brick-and-mortar facilities are damaged, Lebanon would certainly be seriously damaged, economically.

Therefore, playing war drums along the Blue Line, will only end up causing severe damage to Beirut's banks, and thereby inflict a serious blow upon the people of Lebanon. Scale down the rhetoric, please, Mr. President. Otherwise you may destroy Lebanon's best asset.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

ARE COCAINE ARRESTS BEING STAGED IN JAMAICA BY LAW ENFORCEMENT ?



Recently, we saw the latest in a series of arrests for possession of substantial amounts of cocaine in Jamaica. Akim Loctor, a 25-year old dishwasher, off a cruise ship in port, was taken into custody after allegedly attempting to board the vessel with a pound of cocaine. The seizure took place at Falmouth Pier in Trelawny.

 Loctor, a native of St. Lucia, has been charged with cocaine possession, cocaine trafficking, and attempting to export cocaine. The curious circumstances of the case, involving an individual with no reported prior criminal history in his country, and of minimal financial capability, when paired with a number of repeated rumors of drug arrests created by the Jamaica Constabulary Force, are disturbing. Are individuals within Jamaica law enforcement setting up narcotics arrests, and drug seizures, to make JCF enforcement look good, especially to the United States  ?



Rumors about individuals who were entrapped, or intimidated into participating in staged arrests, have appeared from time to time, in Jamaica. These are apparently not bona fide arrests, but were allegedly created to build statistics favorable to Jamaica law enforcement, which would be useful ammunition in its relationship with the US, which has been critical of Jamaica's drug interdiction program.

This arrest, as well as other suspiciously similar cases, requires scrutiny, by an outside law enforcement agency that does not report to the JCF, to determine whether there is a factual basis to these rumors.  


  

HAMAS TERRORIST OPERATIONS FROM NEW LEBANON BASE INCREASES RISKS ON BEIRUT BANKS



Hamas' new operational presence in Lebanon has consequences for international banks in the West. While there were previously only a token number of Hamas agents in Beirut, a newly-arrived substantial contingent of terrorists, whose mission is to conduct offensive operations in Israel, is a game-changer for international financial institutions who have regular business with Beirut's banks.

Remember, while the US Treasury has aggressively cautioned Lebanese bankers about any transactions with Hezbollah, it has not yet caught up with the fact that Hamas is now there, on the ground, seeking to commit terrorist acts in Judea & Samaria (the "West Bank"). Beirut's banks have not been "scared straight" about Hamas, and as a result, the lucrative business it offers will most likely have at least a couple of takers. Treasury should talk bluntly to the Association of Banks in Lebanon.

Bankers in the European Union, and Latin America would be wise to increase their monitoring of charitable entities sending funds to Lebanon, especially those who have no prior history of wires to Beirut. They should also look at transfers from countries where Hamas has operational detachments in place, such as Turkey, and the UAE. Hamas agents in Lebanon who are recruiting and paying West Bank sympathizers require operational funds, and the4 money has to come from somewhere, and end up in Beirut; Watch for it.  

Saturday, January 20, 2018

JUDGE IN REZA ZARRAB TRIAL WANTS DETAILS OF CONTACTS BETWEEN ATTORNEYS AND TURKEY


The trial judge in the Iran Oil-for-Gold sanctions evasions case, where gold trader Reza Zarrab entered a plea, and Halkbank deputy CEO Mehmet Atilla was found guilty, has made a special request to all counsel of record. He has demanded specific details of all contacts between counsel and both the Turkish and the American governments, where not attorney-client related.

The complete text of the order follows:

                   "In connection with the upcoming sentencings in this case, and the Court's 18 USC  §3353 (a)*  analyses, the parties are directed to include in their written submissions a description of all non-attorney client privileged contacts  (i.e. meetings, calls, texts, emails, etc.)  by all counsel, including Turkish counsel, with any officials or the United States and/or Turkish governments, and relating to the prosecution and/or disposition of this case. Please include 1) the date of such contact(s); 2) t   the names of those present, or otherwise involved or copied; 3) the purpose of the contact. and; 4) the outcome of such contact." Order entered January 18, 2018.   

Is the Court going to take the actions of defense counsel's "outside consultants," the former US Attorney General and the former Major of the City of New York & ex-US Atty., who met with Turkish government officials, seeking a possible political solution to a Federal criminal case ? We cannot say, but expect the unexpected at the time of sentencing, and it may prove costly for the defendant.

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* The factors involved in sentencing determinations.


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

COMOROS ISLANDS REVOKES 170 SEMLEX PASSPORTS, CANCELS ALBERT KARAZIWAN'S DIPLOMATIC PASSPORTS

 
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Comoros Islands, Souef Mohamed El-Amine, has revoked and cancelled 170 Comoros passports, all issued by Albert Karaziwan's Semlex Group, to foreign nationals, on the grounds of abuse. Additionally, he has cancelled Karaziwan's diplomatic passport, which names Karaziwan as a traveling Ambassador and Counselor to the President of the Comoros Islands. as well as all those passports issued to his wife and child.

El-Amine, whose announcement was carried on public media of the Comoros Islands, also cancelled all appointments of Honorary Consul, Vice Consul, and Investment Counselor, that were illegally conferred by Karaziwan and Semlex Group, his company, which printed and sold the passports to foreign nationals, including the brother of Iran oil sanctions evader, Reza Zarrab, who recently pled guilty in US District Court in New York.
Albert Karaziwan, owner of Semlex Group

All revoked passports were cancelled of record as of January 15, 2018. The Government of the Comoros Islands has demanded further information, from Semlex, on 158 passports it issued and delivered to foreign clients. It is not known whether criminal charges will be brought.

We recently published an article detailing Karaziwan's dark past, and the fact that a large number of bribes and kickbacks have been reportedly paid, by Semlex, to obtain lucrative passport and ID card business in several countries in Africa. Many of the passport applicants in countries where Semlex operated reported clearly excessive fees being charges to consumers, with little of those fees ending up in the treasuries of each country that granted Semlex the contract.

We wonder whether the Commonwealth of Dominica will now cancel its massive ID card project with Semlex, due to this new development. It is suspected that a very large bribes or kickbacks were paid to insure acceptance of the contract, and we are curious about who in Government signed that contract.


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© Kenneth Rijock 2018. Contributed by Kenneth Rijock.


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

PASSPORT AND ID FIRM ENGAGED BY DOMINICA LINKED TO BRIBES AND KICKBACKS



Semlex Group, the Belgian biometric passport and ID card firm that is currently working for the Commonwealth of Dominica, and whose goal is to create ID cards for all citizens there, has a dark reputation in Africa, where it vends passports, and provides other ID services. Simply put, it pays substantial bribes & kickbacks to government officials, to obtain the business.

Additionally, it intentionally charges individuals in those countries for whom it is manufacturing passports clearly excessive fees, and then passes on only a small fraction of its profits to the countries that it services. Some of the passport charged are so exorbitant that they are not affordable to the average individual.

We have previously detailed the scandal in the Comoros Islands, involving Semlex, and its owner, Albert Karaziwan, a Syrian national who is believed to have funds the company's startup operations through an extended period of criminal activity, a decade ago, where he sold counterfeit diplomatic passports in Europe.


Albert Karaziwan

Some of the illegal countries where bribes & kickbacks, or other illegal acts of Semlex Group,  are  known to have taken place:

(1) A $700,000 bribe paid by Karaziwan, to get the government passport business in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

(2) Collecting such clearly excessive fees, from passport applicants, in Mozambique, that the contract was terminated. The citizens could not afford the fees.

(3) Bribes paid in Guinea-Bissau.

(4) Excessive passport fees charged in Madagascar.

(5) Bribes paid in Chad.




We wonder exactly how much  Semlex, through Karaziwan, is kicking back to individuals in the government of Dominica, and whether ID cards will end up for sale to foreign nationals, at high prices, to establish a bogus identity.
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©2018 Kenneth Rijock; contributed by Kenneth Rijock.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

MALTA CAUGHT SELLING PASSPORTS TO OFAC-SANCTIONED IRANIAN



Malta's problems with the backgrounds of the dodgy characters to whom its scandal-ridden leadership is selling EU citizenship continue to damage its already tawdry reputation. Recently, an Iranian national gained entry into Canada, on the strength of his Maltese CBI psssport, where he sought to purchase a property containing six residences. Enhanced Due Diligence was performed on this individual by the bank, in connection with the sale, and it was learned that the person was on the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctions list.

Shortly after he was exposed as a designated OFAC national, the "Maltese citizen" abruptly left Canada. Why did the citizenship consultancy, the due diligence firm responsible for vetting applicants, and lastly, the Government of the Republic of Malta, on this compliance malpractice ?



If this is an example of the quality of applicants accepted by Malta for its passports, which carry Schengen Zone privileges, then ALL Maltese passport holders, whose place of birth is shown to be outside the country, should be subject to Enhanced Due Diligence investigation, by compliance officers, as well as customs & immigration officers when they seek entry to The United States and Canada. Perhaps Malta should suspend its CBI program, until they clean it up.


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© 2018 by Kenneth Rijock; contributed by Kenneth Rijock.