(ANGOLA) International Tribunal Report: Isabel dos Santos ordered to return $500 million in shares ‘tainted by illegality’ by oil stake #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Aug.10: Isabel dos Santos, at one time the wealthiest woman in Africa, must surrender one of her last remaining major assets, a stake in the Portuguese energy company Galp worth an estimated $500 million, an international tribunal in the Netherlands has ruled….

#AceDailyNews says ICIJ Investigation reports that an international tribunal ruled that the billionaire and her late husband corruptly obtained a lucrative stake from the state oil company Sonangol.

ICIJ REPORT:

August 2, 2021Isabel dos Santos and Sindika Dokolo at a gala in France in 2015.

In its 2020 Luanda Leaks investigation, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists revealed that dos Santos and her husband Sindika Dokolo had obtained the stake for just a $15 million initial deposit, in a controversial deal made with Angola’s state oil company — overseen at the time by dos Santos’ father, Angola’s then-president Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

The deal “cannot be explained but for grand corruption by the daughter of a head of state and her husband,” the tribunal ruled, declaring it “null and void.” The ruling, made public last week, was first reported by Dutch newspaper and ICIJ partner, Het Financieele Dagblad.

Luanda Leaks reporting showed how insider deals, political connections and an army of Western enablers helped dos Santos amass a fortune. The exposé revealed how the billionaire and her allies benefited from lucrative deals in diamonds, telecommunications, banking and real estate.

The investigation had a profound impact on the dos Santos family. Angolan and Portuguese authorities froze dos Santos’ assets and bank accounts and launched criminal investigations. The business empire was largely dismantled.

The inside dealmaking that led to the acquisition of the Galp shares, revealed in part through leaked documents, was featured in the Luanda Leaks reporting.

In 2006, Angola’s state oil company, Sonangol, sold 40% of its interest in joint venture company Esperaza to Exem Energy, a Dutch firm owned by Dokolo. Sonangol then sold to Dokolo’s company a $99 million stake for an initial $15 million deposit. That same stake is now worth more than $500 million.

The deal was “tainted by illegality, enabling Ms dos Santos directly or through her husband Mr. Dokolo, while using her position as daughter of the Angolan President … to reap an extraordinary financial gain to the detriment of … Angola,” according to the ruling.

“This is a landmark decision,” Yas Banifatemi, one of Sonangol’s attorneys told ICIJ. “It is not something you see often that a tribunal like this recognizes embezzlement and corruption. They called a spade a spade.”

Banifatemi said that the Luanda Leaks investigation was critical to the case, making critical information public. “I’m thankful for the Luanda Leaks,” Banifatemi said. “It allowed us to fight corruption.”

In a statement, Exem Energy’s London representatives said that the company will appeal. Its attorney, Dan Morrison, noted that the panel is not a court and said that it failed to comment on Exem Energy’s evidence. “The political narrative clearly superseded the legal analysis,” Morrison said.

In separate cases related to the transaction, a Dutch court froze Exem Energy’s assets last year and removed a key dos Santos ally from the board of the joint venture company. Dutch prosecutors also launched a criminal probe into the deal. Dos Santos is also facing criminal charges in Angola.

Dos Santos denies wrongdoing and has previously claimed that legal actions against her amount to a “witch hunt.” Dokolo also denied wrongdoing. He died in a scuba diving accident last year.

#AceNewsDesk report ……….Published: Aug.10: 2021:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#corruption, #angola, #tribunal

(TEHRAN) President Raisi Report: Swearing in ceremony for office as Khamenei embeds his chosen elite and directs his actions from behind the scenes #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Aug.06: In a post-Trump world, Iran continues to be emboldened: “Iran’s incoming President Ebrahim Raisi has promised to take action to lift harsh sanctions imposed by the United States.” “Iran says US agreed to remove 1,040 sanctions from Trump era in nuclear talks,” Times of Israel, June 23, 2021:

#AceDailyNews says on Thursday Raisi takes office as president as Khamenei calls for ‘competent, jihadi, intelligent, courageous management’ and promises to lift sanctions, improve public trust,” by Maziar Motamedi, Al Jazeera, August 3, 2021:

But Raisi has ordered the killing of thousands in mass executions and the torture of pregnant women. But he calls himself a ““Iran’s president-elect says he won’t negotiate over missiles,” Associated Press, June 21, 2021:

Iran has been celebrating its “victory” and vision in the face of Biden’s impotent leadership. This is only the beginning. Raisi threatened in his speech that “he will enact that change based on revolutionary tenets outlined by the supreme leader.”

Today, our dear country is thirsty for valuable service & it needs competent, jihadi, intelligent, courageous management that can use the manifest and hidden capabilities of the nation, which are much greater in scope than the problems, for constructive work and endeavor.

— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) August 3, 2021

I thank the Omniscient, Omnipotent God Who helped Iran again with His grace & benevolence, to be honored in the test of elections. Our esteemed nation displayed the authority of its vote over the country’s affairs with its honorable presence in complex, difficult circumstances.

— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) August 3, 2021

Tehran, Iran – Iran’s incoming President Ebrahim Raisi has promised to take action to lift harsh sanctions imposed by the United States and bridge the gap with dissatisfied Iranians but said he will not tie the country’s future to the West.

After being officially endorsed on Tuesday by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as Iran’s eighth president, the 60-year-old signalled that he will continue talks to restore the country’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers from which the US unilaterally withdrew three years ago.

“We will certainly be after lifting cruel sanctions, but we will certainly not make the people’s livelihoods and the economy conditioned, and won’t tie it to the will of foreigners,” he said during his speech at the televised ceremony in the capital, Tehran, which was also attended by other top officials and military commanders.

A sixth round of negotiations with deal signatories in the Austrian capital ended in June, after which Iran signalled that talks can only continue after Raisi assumes office this week.

Enrique Mora, the European Union’s top representative in the Vienna talks, is expected to attend Raisi’s inauguration on Thursday, a move heavily criticised by Iran’s regional rival, Israel.

While there are expectations a day may be set to resume the talks following Raisi’s swearing-in, rhetoric by Iran and the US over the past week has suggested the two countries’ demands are at odds and both may need to make major compromises for the talks to lead to an agreement.

Focus on corruption, economy

Raisi will also take power days after the US, the United Kingdom and Israel accused Iran of targeting an oil tanker linked to an Israeli businessman with a drone, killing two crew members, including a British and a Romanian national.

Iran has rejected the allegations, saying it would “respond decisively” if other countries decide to attack its interests.

In his speech on Tuesday, Raisi said the people of Iran wish for a change in the status quo, and that he will enact that change based on revolutionary tenets outlined by the supreme leader.

“The people have called for a government that would make up for their damaged trust, return that trust and bridge the gap between the people and the government,” he said, while also pledging to fight corruption….

Raisi’s victory in the controversial June 18 presidential elections was also a central talking point during Tuesday’s ceremony.

Raisi said the people created a “glorious spectacle” on election day, sending a message of support to the Islamic Republic and calling for justice and an end to inequality and corruption.

According to official figures, turnout was 48.8 percent, the lowest in any presidential race since the 1979 revolution that birthed the theocratic establishment. Also for the first time since the revolution, the share of void votes was the second-largest after Raisi, who won by a landslide.

The election cycle was also marked by the wide disqualification of reformist and moderate candidates, several of whom protested against their disqualification but encouraged the people to vote nevertheless…..

#AceNewsDesk report …Published: Aug.06: 2021:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#corruption, #iran, #israel, #raisi, #tehran

(NETHERLANDS) ICIJ REPORT: Dutch court sides with report calling dos Santos-linked energy deal an ‘act of corruption’ #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – June.30: A deal that gave one of the wealthiest families in Africa a lucrative stake in a large Portuguese energy company could be a step closer to dissolution, following a new ruling from a Dutch court.

Dos Santos partnership with Angolan state oil company ‘null and void,’ court-appointed director says, following an inquiry prompted by ICIJ’s Luanda Leaks.

ICIJ REPORT:

June 28, 2021Angolan businesswoman Isabel dos Santos and her husband, Congolese art collector and businessman Sindika Dokolo in 2018.

The ruling validates a damning report from a court-appointed director of Esperaza Holding BV, a vehicle used by Angola’s state oil company, Sonangol, to buy shares in Galp, the Portugese energy firm. That report concluded that the 2006 sale of 40% of Esperaza to Exem Energy BV, a company owned by Congolese businessman Sindika Dokolo, was “an act of corruption” and should be voided.

At the time of the acquisition Dokolo was married to Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of Angola’s former autocratic president. He died in 2020.

The details of the acquisition were first reported by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists as part of Luanda Leaks, a global investigation into a decade of inside deals made by the dos Santos family at the expense of Angola, one of the poorest countries in the world.

Last year, following the ICIJ investigation, a special division of Amsterdam’s Appeal Court ordered an inquiry into the Exem deal with Sonangol. The court also froze Exem’s assets and removed Mario Silva, a key dos Santos business associate, from Esperaza’s board, appointing Camilo Schutte, a lawyer, as director. The inquiry is ongoing.Dutch court documents included this diagram on the relationship between the entities involved in a controversial shareholding deal now being investigated. 

In his report, Schutte concluded that Dokolo’s company had obtained its stake in Galp at a steep discount, ultimately paying less than 10% of the share’s value.

Lawyers representing Exem challenged the report and claimed that Schutte was not sufficiently independent and should be replaced, according to Dutch court records first obtained by Het Financieele Dagblad, an ICIJ partner. The Dutch court rejected that argument.

Schutte’s assessment shows that the purpose of the transaction was to give Dokolo and dos Santos “a very sizeable and unjustified advantage to the detriment of the Angolan State,” a five-judge panel said.

After being appointed Esperaza director, Schutte examined company records and court filings to make sure they were in compliance with the law, he told ICIJ. He determined the acquisition was clearly designed to favor the dos Santos family. “It’s a travesty of a real business transaction.”

“Exem has been revealed to be a front company with the sole goal to be part of a money laundering scheme to embezzle funds” ultimately belonging to the Angolan people, he said.

The unlawful nature of the transaction makes Exem’s shareholding in his company “null and void,” he said.

An Exem lawyer told ICIJ that Schutte’s findings were incorrect and that the company continues to pursue legal actions regarding his conduct.

Exem’s acquisition “was carried out in a transparent manner” and “the transaction has been hugely beneficial to Sonangol and – thus – the Angolan taxpayers,” Dan Morrison wrote in an emailed response.

Representatives for dos Santos didn’t immediately respond to ICIJ request for comment.

Schutte said he plans to notify the Dutch commercial register that Exem is no longer a shareholder of Esperaza, a move that could further imperil the dos Santos family’s stake in Galp.

In the meantime, Sonangol and Exem are embroiled in separate arbitration proceedings on the lawfulness of Exem shareholding. Sonangol lawyers expect a decision by September, they told ICIJ.

“There’s a difference between the old Sonangol and the new Sonangol,” said Maarten Drop, one of the legal counsels representing the company in the Dutch action. “The new Sonangol is trying to clean up the past and there’s a lot to be cleaned up.”

Criminal investigations into dos Santos and her companies are ongoing in a number of countries, including Angola where the government alleges she embezzled more than $1 billion in public funds.

Dos Santos has maintained her innocence and denied any wrongdoing.

#AceNewsDesk report ……Published: Jun.30: 2021:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#corruption, #angolan, #luanda-leaks, #netherlands, #oil

(SOUTH AFRICA) Court Report: Former President Jacob Zuma has been sentenced to 15-months after he pleaded not guilty #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – June.29: Mr Zuma’s time in power, which ended in 2018, was dogged by graft allegations: Businessmen were accused of conspiring with politicians to influence the decision-making process.

South Africa’s top court sentences ex-President Jacob Zuma as pleads not guilty over ‘corrupt’ arms deal and came after the Constitutional Court found him guilty of contempt after defying the court’s order to appear at an inquiry into corruption while he was president.

Jacob Zuma
Jacob Zuma stepped down from the presidency in February 2018

The former president made one appearance at the inquiry into what has become known as “state capture” but then refused to appear subsequently.

The inquiry – headed by Justice Raymond Zondo – asked the Constitutional Court to intervene.

It is not clear if Mr Zuma will now be arrested.

In a separate legal matter, Mr Zuma pleaded not guilty last month in his corruption trial involving a $5bn (£3bn) arms deal from the 1990s.

#AceNewsDesk report …………Published: Jun.29: 2021:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#corruption, #south-africa, #zuma

(PAKISTAN) Breaking The Silence Report: A new report on the murder of journalist Zubair Mujahid finds significant errors in the official police investigation. Leading press freedom organisations now call for an independent re-investigation of the case to bring the killers to justice #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – June.16: Working as a correspondent for the Daily Jang – Pakistan’s largest Urdu language newspaper – in the southern city of Mirpurkhas, Zubair Mujahid’s reporting exposed local corruption and human rights abuses. Zubair Mujahid was murdered in November 2007 during the turbulent downfall of the regime of Pervez Musharraf:

REPORT: “Breaking the Silence: An Investigation into the Murder of Zubair Mujahid” was published as part of A Safer World For The Truth,an initiative by Free Press Unlimited (FPU), Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

https://elefantmedia.b-cdn.net/aswftt/ZM-Report-Cover-For-download-link.png?mtime=20210615235623&focal=none

Strikingly, some of his most impactful stories exposed wrongdoings by the local police in Mirpurkhas, which led to the dismissal of various police officers. As a consequence, Zubair Mujahid received threats from individuals within the police department. This very same department was tasked with investigating the murder.

The report reveals serious errors in the official police investigation. Specifically, it finds that police investigators did not analyse the bullet with which Zubair was shot and did not search for eye witnesses around the crime scene.  

Cycle of impunity

The report calls for an effective and impartial investigation team to re-investigate the murder. This must be done under the auspices of the High Court of Sindh.

“Zubair Mujahid was murdered for exposing the truth. The murder must now be adequately investigated and justice must be achieved,” said Christophe Deloire, Secretary General of RSF.

“Killing a journalist is the world’s safest crime: in nine out of ten cases the killer goes free,” said Leon Willems, Director at FPU. “To break the cycle of impunity, Pakistan’s authorities must step up their efforts to ensure justice for Zubair Mujahid.”

“Pakistan has seen almost total impunity for the murder of journalists over the past decade,” said Joel Simon, Executive Director of CPJ. “Re-investigating the  case of Zubair Mujahid is an important step towards breaking the cycle of impunity.”

Pakistan is one of the most dangerous countries for journalists. According to research by the CPJ, at least 61 journalists have been killed since 1992.  On the most recent World Press Freedom Index published by RSF, the country ranks 145 out of 180.

The report “Breaking the Silence: An Investigation into the Murder of Zubair Mujahid” was published as part of A Safer World For The Truth, an initiative by FPU, RSF and CPJ), to pursue justice for murdered journalists worldwide. The report is the second in a series of investigations into unsolved murders of journalists worldwide.

The full investigation and its recommendations can be found at https://www.saferworldforthetr…

The first investigation of the Safer World For The Truth program, about the murder of Mexican journalist Regina Martínez Perez, was published in March 2021.

#AceNewsDesk report ……..Published: June.16: 2021:

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#corruption, #free-press, #journalist, #murder, #pakistan, #truth

(ZIMBABWE, S.A) LATEST: The secretary-general of African National Congress (ANC) has refused to comply with his suspension after being charged with corruption #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – May.07: The president warned that any ANC members facing corruption charges would also face suspension if they did not leave their posts within 30 days:

SOUTH AFRICA: Top ANC official refuses to step down: ‘Ace Magashule denies the charges and said that he, as head of the ANC, had suspended President Cyril Ramaphosa as the dispute illustrates a power struggle within the governing party’

9 hours ago

Ace Magashule, the secretary general of South Africa's ruling African National Congress, addresses university students during a protest in Johannesburg
Magashule is the most senior ANC official who risks prosecution since President Ramaphosa took office

The ANC tougher code of conduct is being seen as a test of whether the party of Nelson Mandela is serious about ending years of corruption within government.

On 30 March, Mr Magashule was given a 30-day ultimatum to step down after being charged with embezzling public funds while he was premier of the Free State province. He refused to resign voluntarily, which resulted in the ANC suspending him.

A party letter on Monday said the decision to suspend Mr Magashule would be “in the best interest of the organisation”.

Getty ImagesPresident Ramaphosa (right) led the ANC to victory in the 2019 general election

But on Wednesday, he responded in a letter to President Ramaphosa and his deputy Jessie Duarte that he was “appealing this unconstitutional suspension” and would stay in the job while his appeal was ongoing. 

He then vowed to suspend the president, but the ANC called on Mr Magashule to “respect” the party decision. 

Mr Magashule is the most senior ANC official who risks prosecution since President Ramaphosa took office in 2018. Mr Ramaphosa promised to tackle corruption and promote good governance, describing his predecessor Jacob Zuma’s time in office as “nine wasted years”.

Mr Ramaphosa and Mr Magashule come from rival factions.

David Lewis, head of the Corruption Watch NGO, said Mr Magashule’s removal was the “first really strong sign that the ANC is prepared to clean up its own ranks”, according to the AFP news agency. Thapi and Sankara, youth activists from South Africa.

#AceNewsDesk report ………Published: May.07: 2021:

Editor says #AceNewsDesk reports by https://t.me/acenewsdaily and all our posts, also links can be found at here for Twitter and Live Feeds https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/ and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#corruption, #anc, #ramaphosa, #south-africa

(ROME) Vatican Gift Cap Report: Pope Francis set a 40-euro ($48) gift cap for all employees Thursday and issued a new law requiring, cardinals & managers to periodically report on their compliance with clean financial practices in one of his biggest efforts yet to crack down on corruption in the Holy See #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – May.01: The crackdown comes as Vatican prosecutors are nearly two years into a corruption investigation involving the Vatican’s investment in a London real estate venture. Francis has preached about cleaning up the Holy See’s murky financial practices for eight years, but the new law marks his biggest step yet to ensure his own cardinals and managers are clean:

Pope sets 40-euro Vatican gift cap in corruption crackdown: ‘The law requires Vatican superiors to declare every two years that they aren’t stashing money in tax havens and aren’t under criminal investigation for tax evasion, money laundering or other crimes: They also must declare that any investments they hold are in funds consistent with Catholic doctrine’

AP News

The most striking part of the law is a measure that, if broadly applied, would amount to a revolution in curial culture: It prohibits any Vatican employee from receiving work-related gifts with a value of over 40 euros ($48). 

While “work-related” will likely be open to some interpretation, the prohibition is clearly aimed at cutting down on the sometimes lavish gifts that Vatican officials are accustomed to receiving from wealthy benefactors, friends and fellow clerics.

The practice was highlighted by the recent scandal over ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was defrocked in 2019 after the Vatican determined he sexually abused minors as well as adult seminarians. McCarrick was a successful fundraiser and was known for giving checks to Vatican officials, leading to speculation that his largesse helped him avoid punishment for his sexual misconduct, which was known in the Holy See as early as the 1990s.

The Vatican’s 2020 in-house investigation into McCarrick’s rise and fall said while his fundraising prowess weighed heavily in his advancement and nomination as archbishop of Washington, there was no evidence that his “customary gift-giving and donations impacted significant decisions made by the Holy See.”

In the preamble to the law, Francis wrote that the regulations were necessary “because corruption can manifest itself in different forms and ways.” Vatican superiors, he wrote, “have the particular responsibility of making concrete the fidelity of which the Gospel speaks, acting according to principles of transparency and the absence of any conflicts of interest.”

The Rev. Robert Gahl, vice chair of the Program of Church Management at Rome’s Pontifical Santa Croce University, said the pope is aiming to end conflicts of interest, patronage and corruption in the Holy See hierarchy and beyond. 

“Most importantly, by limiting gifts to 40 euros, the pope is shutting down the main on-ramp for greed, corruption, and clericalism in the church,” he said in an email, calling the law a “courageous” and “giant step” toward real financial reform in the church.

The pontiff decreed that any new hires must sign a declaration attesting that they have never been convicted of a crime and aren’t currently under investigation for offenses that include money laundering, corruption, fraud, exploitation of minors or tax evasion.

The declaration must be reaffirmed every two years, with possible firing foreseen as the penalty for lying.

Also included in the declaration is the pledge that neither the manager nor third parties hold investments in offshore tax havens and that all investments are in line with the Catholic Church’s social doctrine. Such ethical investments would, for example, exclude holdings in weapons manufacturers.

Pia de Solenni, president and executive director of the Global Institute of Church Management, which aims to spread best financial practices throughout the church, said she hoped the law’s implementation plan would be made public so the church can be better served. 

She welcomed the new law as “a step towards living the transparency and accountability that the Catholic Church should be modeling for the world.”

The gift cap is perhaps the most significant reform, since cardinals and Vatican monsignors routinely receive financial gifts to supplement their relatively modest salaries and pay for the secretaries and domestic staff who help them. 

It is not unusual, for example, for Vatican higher-ups to receive Christmastime checks from fellow clerics from wealthier dioceses, or for a new cardinal to have his red cassock paid for thanks to a donation from his flock or a benefactor. If the cardinal is a Vatican manager, presumably, such sartorial gifts must now be renounced.

There have long been stories of powerful Vatican cardinals receiving outrageous gifts from fellow prelates, most famously the money and gifts from the disgraced founder of the Legion of Christ to key Vatican cardinals, despite decades of documentation that he was a drug addict who sexually abused his seminarians. 

The law was published the same day that the Holy See’s adherence to international standards to fight money laundering and terrorism financing was reviewed by the Council of Europe’s Moneyval committee. The report will be released in a few weeks.

#AceNewsDesk report …….Published: May.01: 2021:

Editor says #AceNewsDesk reports by https://t.me/acenewsdaily and all our posts, also links can be found at here for Twitter and Live Feeds https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/ and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#corruption, #gift-cap, #rome, #vatican

(HOUSTON) Justice Dept Report: A dual US-Venezuelan citizen & former official of Citgo Petroleum Corp has ‘pleaded guilty’ on Monday in connection to ‘International Bribery & Laundering’ during 2013 – 2019 of at least $7-million in contracts #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Mar.24: According to court documents, between approximately 2013 and 2019, Jose Luis De Jongh Atencio (De Jongh), 48, a former procurement officer and manager in Citgo’s Special Projects Group, accepted more than $7 million in bribe payments from businessmen including Jose Manuel Gonzalez Testino (Gonzalez), a dual U.S.-Venezuelan citizen, and Tulio Anibal Farias Perez (Farias), a Venezuelan national and Houston resident, and others in exchange for assisting the businessmen and related companies in procuring contracts with Citgo, and providing them with other business advantages:

Former Venezuelan Official Pleads Guilty in Connection with International Bribery and Money Laundering Scheme: ‘A dual U.S.-Venezuelan citizen and former official at Citgo Petroleum Corporation, a Houston-based subsidiary of Venezuela’s state-owned and state-controlled energy company Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA), pleaded guilty Monday in connection with his role in laundering millions of dollars in bribes and corruptly providing business advantages to multiple individuals who obtained contracts with Citgo and PDVSA’

De Jongh admitted to directing bribe payments from Gonzalez, Farias, and others into bank accounts in the names of shell companies that he controlled in Panama and Switzerland. In some instances, he also directed the creation of fake invoices to justify the payments. De Jongh laundered the bribe proceeds through U.S. and international bank accounts and used the funds to purchase real property located in the Houston area. In addition to monetary payments, De Jongh also received bribes in the form of gifts and other things of value from Gonzalez, Farias, and others including tickets to a 2014 World Series Game, Super Bowl XLIX in 2015, and a U2 concert. Gonzalez and Farias also entered guilty pleas in connection with the case.

“Jose Luis De Jongh Atencio accepted millions of dollars in bribe payments — placing law-abiding individuals and companies at a competitive disadvantage — and then laundered those bribe payments into the United States to fund his lavish lifestyle,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “This guilty plea demonstrates the commitment of the department and our law enforcement partners to hold accountable individuals who engage in corruption and use our financial system to promote and launder the proceeds of their crimes.”

“Foreign bribery schemes like this pose a significant threat to the public trust and fair-trade practices,” said Special Agent in Charge Mark Dawson of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Houston. “This plea is a step in the right direction, but we will continue to level the playing field for companies and consumers by aggressively investigating individuals and corporations who violate the FCPA and misuse our financial system.”

De Jongh pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. He is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gray H. Miller on Aug. 19, and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Judge Miller will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. In addition, as part of his plea, De Jongh also agreed to forfeit over $3 million seized from his bank accounts and 15 properties that he purchased with his corrupt proceeds.

To date, the Justice Department has announced charges against 28 individuals, 22 of whom have pleaded guilty, as part of a larger, ongoing investigation by the U.S. government into bribery at PDVSA.

HSI Houston is conducting the ongoing investigation with assistance from HSI Boston and Miami.

Trial Attorney Sarah E. Edwards and Assistant Chief Sonali D. Patel of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert S. Johnson and John P. Pearson of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas are prosecuting the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristine E. Rollinson is handling the forfeiture aspects of the case.

The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs, the Swiss Federal Office of Justice and the Office of the Attorney General of Panama also provided assistance.

The Fraud Section is responsible for investigating and prosecuting all Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) matters. Additional information about the Justice Department’s FCPA enforcement efforts can be found at www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/fcpa.

#AceNewsDesk report ……….Published: Mar.24: 2021:

Editor says #AceNewsDesk reports by https://t.me/acenewsdaily and all our posts, also links can be found at here for Twitter and Live Feeds https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/ and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#bribery, #corruption, #contracts, #houston, #laundering, #texas

TURKEY: ‘ PM BRANDS CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS AS A COUP ATTEMPT NOT A GRAFT SCANDAL ‘

#AceWorldNews – TURKEY:Jan.06:Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has branded corruption allegations against four ex-ministers as part of a coup attempt and has denied that the government made attempts to spare them prosecution, Reuters reports.

A parliamentary commission, mostly consisting of ruling AK party members voted on Monday not to commit the ex-ministers embroiled in the graft scandal for trial.

The allegations of corruption were put forward in December 2013. The opposition has condemned the decision not to go on with the investigation, seeing it as an attempt to cover up one of Turkey’s major political scandals.

#ANS2015

#corruption, #ak-party, #coup-attempt, #graft-scandal, #trial

VIRGINIA: ‘ JUDGE SENTENCES BOB MCDONNELL TO TWO YEARS IN PRISON FOR CORRUPTION ‘

#AceNewsServices – Featured Post:VIRGINIA: Jan.06: ​Bob McDonnell, the former governor of Virginia, was sentenced by a federal judge on Tuesday to two years in prison for accepting lavish gifts from a wealthy donor while holding office.

United States District Court Judge James R. Spencer announced his ruling just shy of 3 pm local time early on Tuesday, four months and two days after a jury there found Mr McDonnell and his wife guilty of public corruption charges. The Twitter account for the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia confirmed the ruling shortly after.

“I stand before you as a humble and heartbroken man,” McDonnell told the court on Tuesday ahead of the judge’s decision, according to journalist Jeff Goldberg.“I can’t fathom any deeper humiliation for me and my family”

Going into court on Tuesday, McDonnell faced a maximum sentence of 12 years. Judge Spencer unexpectedly reduced the outcome range during the hearing, however, and said the governor would only face upwards of eight years behind bars since he did not obstruct justice or accept more than a certain amount of bribes, according to Washington Post’s Matt Zapotosky. According to Kathy Hieatt, a reporter for The Virginian-Pilot, Judge Spencer sentenced McDonnell to two years on each of the 11 charges he was convicted of, but said he could serve them concurrently, citing the governor’s military service and calling him a “good and decent man.” After he is eventually release from prison, McDonnell will be on supervised release for another two years, Hieatt tweeted from court.

Prosecutors sought a sentence of at least 10 years for the former governor, while Mr McDonnell’s attorneys hoped the court would consider probation and community service. His wife, Maureen, was found guilty of nine counts and is expected to learn her fate next month.

READ MORE: Former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell found guilty of corruption

Mr McDonnell’s counsel filed a ruling on Monday this week in which the court was asked to preserve the former governor’s freedom pending appeal since they planned to challenge the sentencing as soon as possible. According to the Washington Post, McDonnell’s lawyers said their appeals will raise “substantive legal questions” during what the paper predictedto be a sure-to-be-lengthy ordeal before the Fourth Circuit.

According to Zapotosky, the Virginia Republican will have to report to prison by February 9.

In September, the former governor was found guilty on 11 of 13 counts of corruption concerning exchanges he had while in office with Jonnie Williams Sr., the former chief executive of a dietary-supplement business who showered the McDonnells with roughly $177,000 in extravagant gifts and loans in exchange for government favors.

Mr McDonnell, 60, served as a Republican member of the House of Delegates from 1992 to 2006, then served one term as the state’s attorney general before successfully running for governor in the 2009 elections. McDonnell’s only term as governor of the commonwealth concluded on January 11, 2014, and a grand jury indicted him and his wife only 10 days later.

Since September, Judge Spencer has received nearly 450 letters urging leniency with regards to sentencing the governor,according to Politico, and appeals from the likes of US Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) and former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a Virginia Republican.

“I can say with no uncertainty that Bob McDonnell is the most ethical, honest and faithful public servant I have ever worked with,” Phil Cox, a former McDonnell aide who later led the Republican Governors Association, stated in a letter to the court, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“His promising political career is over, he is virtually bankrupt, his family is in a shambles and he and his family have endured more public humiliation than any family should have to endure, regardless of what they are accused of doing,” pleaded Joseph F. Damico, a friend of the governor’s since high school.

But Robin Trujillo, a juror during the corruption case, told WVEC that she was disturbed by the pleas.

“We talked, we went through documents about the testimony and looked at all the evidence. It was just overwhelming. It was also just staring us in the face,”Trujillo said.“It was not just some small little thing. It was major and it went on for a very long time.”

Source:

#ANS2015

#corruption, #prison, #sentenced

‘ PALESTINE AUTHORITY WANTS TO JOIN INTERPOL AFTER THREE YEARS AS AN OBSERVER ‘

#AceWorldNews – PALESTINE:Jan.05: The Palestinian Authority wants to join Interpol after having been accepted as an observer but not a full member three years ago because it did not have control of defined borders Jewish Press reported.

The Abbas regime thinks it now has a majority of Interpol’s members to be accepted.

Palestinian Authority Minister of Interior Ahmed al-Rabie told the Bethlehem-based Ma’an News Agency, joining Interpol will give the PA the ability to take part in fighting cross-border crimes and fighting terrorism, money-laundering, corruption, arms-trade, and human-trafficking.

The question remains which terrorism the Palestinian Authority would fight, or aid …?

#ANS2015

#corruption, #arms-trade, #crime, #human-trafficking, #interpol, #money-laundering, #terrorism

TURKEY: ‘ TRIAL OF 13 POLICE OFFICERS ACCUSED OF SPYING ON ERDOGAN STARTS ‘

#AceWorldNews – TURKEY:Jan.02:The trial of 13 Turkish police officers began in Ankara on Friday.

The officers are accused of setting up bugs to spy on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan when he was prime minister during the corruption scandal in December 2013.

However, only eight of them will be present at the court as five others are on the run.

If found guilty, they face over 30 years in prison.

Erdogan said their actions were concocted by his political rival Fethullah Gulen to bring down his government.

#ANS2015

#corruption, #anakara, #court, #scandal

VIRGINIA: ‘ FEDERAL JUDGE REJECTS RETRIAL FOR GOV.MC DONNELL & WIFE ‘

#AceNewsServices – UNITED STATES – Dec.01 – A federal judge on Monday rejected a bid from former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, for a new trial or outright acquittal on public corruption charges, though he threw out the first lady’s conviction on an obstruction of justice charge Washington Post reported. 

'Governor Mc Donnell & Wife Found Guilty - Screenshot from 2014-12-01 21:38:33

‘Governor Mc Donnell & Wife Found Guilty – Screenshot from 2014-12-01 21:38:33

The outcome was mostly an expected one; U.S. District Judge James R. Spencer had rejected similar arguments from the former first couple several times before.

The couple can — and very likely will — raise the same issues on appeal, but that won’t come until after they are sentenced early next year.

Spencer’s dismissal of the obstruction of justice charge against Maureen McDonnell was the only surprise, and its rationale is deep in the legal weeds of the case against the former first couple.

The judge ruled, essentially, that prosecutors did not prove sufficiently that Maureen McDonnell intended to obstruct the grand jury’s investigation into her and her husband’s public corruption — even though she took steps to throw off the investigation.

The McDonnells were convicted in September of public corruption after a jury decided unanimously that they lent the prestige of the governor’s office to Richmond businessman Jonnie R. Williams Sr. in exchange for $177,000 in loans, vacations and luxury goods.

The McDonnells argued soon after that the guilty verdicts stemmed from “insufficient evidence” and “numerous legal errors during the proceedings” and asked Spencer to throw out their convictions — or at least order they be given a new trial.

#ANS2014 

#corruption, #justice, #retrial

‘ OMBUDSMAN OPENS FRESH ENQUIRY INTO CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS AT EULEX ‘

#AceNewsServices – BRUSSELS – Nov.30 – Europe’s Ombudsman has opened a fresh enquiry into the EU’s handling of corruption allegations at Eulex, its rule of law mission in Kosovo.

Emily O’Reilly, who heads the watchdog, notified Patrick Child, the top official in the European External Action Service (EEAS), which runs Eulex, about her “own-initiative” probe in a letter last Friday (14 November).

Citing press articles on the furore, she said “there are doubts” as to whether “EEAS/Eulex Kosovo has properly investigated/is properly investigating the allegations of serious irregularities reported by the … Eulex prosecutor”.

The prosecutor – a seconded British official, Maria Bamieh – complained to her superiors that her colleagues took bribes to shut down criminal cases and stymied an internal affairs probe.

She was later fired on suspicion that she leaked documents to a Kosovo daily, Koha Ditore.

But both she and the paper deny she leaked the files.

O’Reilly’s letter notes that EEAS/Eulex “have stated that a joint investigation was launched in 2013”.

It also notes the EEAS recently appointed a French academic, Jean Paul Jacque, to “assess the matter”.

The EU last week asked the UN to partly lift the immunity of one of the Eulex suspects, Italian judge Francesco Florit.

But with Bamieh claiming the 2013 internal investigation is “a lie … a complete joke”, O’Reilly complained that: “EEAS/Eulex Kosovo appear to have repeatedly declined to provide any information on what exactly the scope of this investigation was or what stage it has reached”.

O’Reilly added that Jacque’s mandate – to “check whether Eulex has adequate procedures to prevent corruption and whether it followed due process” – is so limited that she wants to make her own assessment “notwithstanding” his efforts.

She underlined that she will not look into Bamieh’s allegations as such, but will “verify whether EEAS/Eulex have taken all the necessary steps to examine” them.

She also asked Child to forward her “all the documents” related to the affair, promising to protect files which he “identifies as confidential” from “third parties”.

The EU Ombudsman, a Strasbourg and Brussels-based body, has around 90 staff and oversees “maladministration” in EU institutions.

Its reports are non-binding, but EU bodies have a track record of following up on its recommendations.

O’Reilly herself is an award-winning Irish journalist, who was also Ireland’s Ombudsman from 2003 to 2013.

Source: EUobserver Report – EEAS – EULEX

#ANS2014  

#corruption, #alleged, #ombudsman

WASHINGTON: ‘ RISING TIDE OF FRAUD IN THE MILITARY ‘

#AceNewsServices – WASHINGTON – Nov.16 – The rising tide of fraud in the military and ways to make fast cash has begun to alarm the Department of Defence.

One such story of how a man called Fabian Barrera found a way to make fast cash in the Texas National Guard, earning roughly $181,000 for claiming to have steered 119 potential recruits to join the military, was highlighted by AP in a recent report.

Though the bonuses were ill-gotten because the former captain never actually referred anyone.

Barrera’s case, which ended last month with a prison sentence of at least three years, is part of what Justice Department lawyers describe as a recurring pattern of corruption that spans a broad cross section of the military.

#ANS2014 

#corruption, #cash

‘ TWENTY SEVEN PEOPLE ARRESTED BY BRAZILIAN POLICE OVER PETROBRAS CORRUPTION CASE ‘

#AceWorldNews – BRAZIL (Rio De-Janeiro) – Nov.15 – Twenty-seven people were arrested by Brazilian police in connection with a corruption case involving state-owned oil giant Petrobras.

'Brazilian police arrest 27 in Petrobras graft case '

‘Brazilian police arrest 27 in Petrobras graft case ‘

Among the arrestees is the former director of engineering and services, Renato Duque, AFP reported.

Thirty police teams took part in the arrests that swept the country.

Police also searched 11 companies during the operation and seized $277 million worth of assets belonging to 36 individuals and three companies.

The breakthrough in the case against Petrobras reportedly came after former official Paulo Roberto Costa made a plea deal with the prosecutors, revealing that the firm gave out millions of dollars to politicians of the ruling Workers Party between 2004 and 2012.

According to police, a total of around $3.9 billion was paid out during that time.

#ANS2014 

#corruption, #arrested, #oil, #police, #scandal

CHINA: ‘ REQUESTS WESTS HELP WITH SHARING DATA ON CORRUPTION CASES ‘

#AceWorldNews – BEIJING – Nov.08 – China’s graft busters want foreign help in their “fox hunt” for corrupt officials who have fled the country and stashed their ill-gotten loot abroad AP reported.

Though misgivings about Chinese justice may deter the U.S. and other nations from wholeheartedly joining the chase.

When leaders of Asia-Pacific countries meet Monday and Tuesday in Beijing, they are expected to endorse a network for member nations to share information on corruption cases and help recover assets that have been moved across borders illegally.

#ANS2014

#corruption, #information, #sharing

‘ Sarkozy Corruption Case Suspended Days After He Announces His Political Come-Back ‘

#AceNewsServices – PARIS – September 24 – A French court has suspended an investigation launched in July against former French President Nicolas Sarkozy for corruption and influence-peddling, AFP reported on Wednesday.

The Paris appeals court decided the previous day to drop the probe and does not have to give a reason, a source close to the inquiry said.

The decision came days after he announced his political comeback.

Sarkozy still remains mired in several other judicial matters, including for alleged corruption.

His announcement ended months of speculation about the intentions of the conservative former president, who vowed to give up politics after he failed to be re-elected in 2012.

The UMP party elections are due to be held in November.

Although Mr Sarkozy has kept a low profile since leaving office, he has faced a series of investigations that involve him in some capacity.

The suspended case relates to an alleged attempt to influence judges who were looking into his affairs.

The suspension could last several months, according to AFP news agency.

Other inquiries include one into his links with late Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi and another into illegal campaign funding in 2012.

Mr Sarkozy denies wrongdoing.

BBC – AFP – RT – AP

#ANS2014

#corruption, #france, #french, #judicial, #paris, #president-nicholas-sarkozy

` Turkey’s Court Annuls Parts of the Law Tightening Governmental Control of the Judiciary Dealing a Blow to Erdogan’s Plans ‘

#AceWorldNews – CAIRO – April 11 – Turkey’s Constitutional Court annulled parts of a law tightening government control of the judiciary, Reuters said, citing local media reports.

Articles granting the justice minister powers over the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors were reportedly cancelled.

The move deals a blow to a reform seen as part of a bid by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to snuff out a corruption scandal.

#ANS2014

#corruption, #cairo, #prime-minister-tayyip-erdogan, #turkey

` Voters Waited in Long Queues to Cast their Ballots in the Third Stage of ` India’s Nine-Phase ‘ Elections ‘

#AceWorldNews – New Delhi – April 10 – (ALJ) – Voters in New Delhi waited in long queues to cast ballots in the third stage of India’s nine-phased parliamentary elections, with hopes of controlling inflation, ushering in development and ending corruption.

Residents of the capital on Thursday started gathering at the poll stations in the early hours under the watchful eye of thousands of police and election authorities.

An estimated 12.7 million voters will decide the outcome of seven lower house seats for which 150 candidates of several political parties are contesting.

#ANS2014

#corruption, #ballots, #indias, #new-delhi, #political, #voters