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Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project: This Week’s Highlights From OCCRP


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Malta, A Modern Smugglers’ Hideout

From the Daphne Project: Malta’s central Mediterranean location makes it prime smuggler territory, but it has other charms as well. Shell companies proliferate there. Vessels change names and ownership with ease, swapping national flags from Togo to Tanzania to Belize.

Investigators say the smugglers innovate constantly, scouting new routes and implementing new techniques, from masquerading as fishermen to interspersing legitimate cargo with illegal wares. The trade crosses many borders around the Mediterranean, from the ports of Spain all the way east to the island of Cyprus.

The accused smugglers have one thing in common: connections in Malta.

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News Highlights

The Latest In Organized Crime & Corruption

The Passport King who Markets Citizenship for Cash

In the Caribbean, they call Kalin, 46, the passport king – he has transformed a small firm of wealth advisers into the leading player in a US$3 billion global industry. His company, Henley & Partners, tells small countries how to transform passports into cash – a legitimate and legal business.

“Golden Passports” Threaten European Security, Warns EU Commissioner

Europe’s security is being put at risk by so-called “golden passport” schemes that have allowed states to sell citizenship or residency to potentially “dangerous” individuals, the EU justice commissioner has warned.

Daily Beast: Danske Bank Scandal Whistleblower Allegedly Killed

In 2006, the first deputy chairman of the Russian Central Bank, Andrei Kozlov, attempted to tell authorities in Estonia about a money-laundering scheme that had been created in the Baltic financial system. Three months later he was dead, at age 44, and the scheme would later be revealed as the US$200 billion Danske Bank scandal.

Azeri Woman is First Target of UK’s New Anti-Corruption Law

The UK’s first target under the new anti-corruption law is Zamira Hajiyeva, 55, who owns a US$15 million home in London and spent $20 million on shopping at Harrods.

Guatemala Ex-VP Jailed Over Massive Environmental Fraud

Guatemala’s Former Vice President Roxana Baldetti was sentenced to 15 years in prison for her part in a fraud that saw millions of dollars embezzled from the state budget to “decontaminate” a lake with a fake “cleanup solution.”

Myanmar: Three Reporters Arrested in Crackdown on Media

Police in Myanmar detained three journalists from Eleven Media Group for allegedly reporting false rumors about the transparency of the Yangon regional government budget.

US Focus on Immigrant Families Lead to Less Drug Prosecutions

Because Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy flooded federal courts with illegal entry cases, border drug prosecutions have fallen to their lowest levels in decades.

Gupta Friend Will Testify if S. Africa Pays US$12,000 for His Flight

An associate with close ties to the Indian-South African Gupta family is set to testify at the family’s naturalization hearing, but first, he has a few demands – a return business class airline ticket for himself from New Delhi, which the South African Parliament estimates will cost a whopping $12,100.

US Sanctions Four Yakuza Bosses

The US Treasury targeted two companies and 21 individuals, including four alleged crime leaders, tied to Japan’s largest crime syndicate, the Yamaguchi-gumi.
The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) is a joint program of a number of regional investigative centers and independent media from Eastern Europe to Central Asia and beyond. We constantly strive to help the people of the regions we work in to better understand how organized crime and corruption affect their lives.

Copyright © 2018 Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, All rights reserved.

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