Sunday, December 10, 2017

Vatican must strengthen fight against financial crime, says Moneyval

Catholic accountability business corruption crime

The Vatican has earned praise from Council of Europe experts for its updated legislation against money laundering and its vigilance in flagging suspected cases.

But the committee said the effectiveness of the Vatican efforts could not be proven until Vatican courts actually prosecuted someone for a crime.

Moneyval – the Council of Europe’s Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism – released a progress report on the Vatican’s efforts on December 8.

The experts said the Vatican Financial Information Authority “seemed to be working efficiently”, but although the Vatican court had frozen the assets of several accounts at the Vatican bank, “the Holy See had still not brought a money-laundering case to court.

While considerable amounts of money continued to be frozen, no criminal case had yet produced a confiscation order”, a Moneyval press statement said.  (more...)


Catholic accountability business corruption crime

Disney Music Executive Charged with Child Sex Abuse

Jon Heely, the director of music publishing at Disney, has been charged with three felony counts of child sexual abuse.

Heely, 58, of Santa Clarita, is accused of sexually abusing two underage girls approximately a decade ago. He allegedly victimized the first girl when she was 15. According to the charges, he began abusing the second when she was about 11 years old and continued until she was 15.

In a statement, a Disney spokesman said the company suspended Heely late on Friday, after being informed of the charges.

“Immediately upon learning of this situation tonight, he has been suspended without pay until the matter is resolved by the courts,” the spokesman said.

Heely was arrested on Nov. 16 by deputies from the Santa Clarita station of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department. Booking records indicate he was later released on $150,000 bail.

On Wednesday, prosecutors charged him with three counts of lewd and lascivious acts on a child. Heely pleaded not guilty at his arraignment at the San Fernando courthouse on Thursday. He is due back in court on Jan. 10. If convicted, he faces up to nine years and three months in prison.  (more...)

More recent stories:

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Poland will line up against Ireland in Apple tax appeal

accountability business politics
This'll rival the arguments at the Knights of Columbus
Poland will side against Ireland in the court appeal against the ruling that Apple owes the State €13 billion in taxes and that Ireland effectively engaged in state aid to the benefit of the American tech giant.

Poland has sought permission to make representations in support of the European Commission in the court case, according to Department of Finance briefing notes obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

Poland is the only country to indicate it will make a representation in court against Ireland. In August 2016 the commission ruled that an Irish tax arrangement with Apple amounted to state aid, and that the US multinational must repay Ireland €13 billion in back tax.

Luxembourg has requested to intervene in support of Ireland’s appeal to overturn the ruling in the General Court of the European Union.

Poland will make a written submission outlining its support of the commission’s case against Ireland to the court, and may be given the opportunity to speak at a hearing in the case. Ireland will be allowed to respond to any points raised by Poland. Any member state can request to make a representation to the EU court in a case.  (more...)

Mueller issued subpoena to Deutsche Bank for documents on Trump and family

USA America corruption accountability business politics Trump
Yep yep yep gotta be the Ruskies
Special prosecutor Robert Mueller zeroed in on President Donald Trump’s business dealings with Deutsche Bank as his investigation into alleged Russian meddling in U.S. elections widens.

Mueller issued a subpoena to Germany’s largest lender several weeks ago, forcing the bank to submit documents on its relationship with Trump and his family, according to a person briefed on the matter, who asked not to be identified because the action has not been announced.

“Deutsche Bank always cooperates with investigating authorities in all countries,” the lender said in a statement to Bloomberg Tuesday, declining to provide additional information.

Deutsche Bank for months has rebuffed calls by Democratic lawmakers to provide more transparency over the roughly $300 million Trump owed to the bank for his real estate dealings prior to becoming president. Rep. Maxine Waters of California and other Democrats have asked whether the bank’s loans to Trump, made years before he ran for president, were in any way connected to Russia. The bank previously rejected those demands, saying sharing client data would be illegal unless it received a formal request to do so. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.  (more...)


Friday, December 8, 2017

Blacklist May Affect Portugal-Macau Relations

accountability business corruption crime politics
Fearsome things come in small packages
Macau’s inclusion on a European Union (EU) tax blacklist of 17 countries and regions has made the front page in the Portuguese financial daily “Jornal de Negócios”, which indicated that bilateral relations between Portugal and the MSAR could be affected.

Deputy secretary of state Ricardo Mourinho Félix was quoted as saying that the Portuguese tax haven list – which does not include Macau – “must be collated with the European list.” According to “Jornal de Negócios”, trade between Portugal and the listed countries and regions could be disrupted and affected by higher taxes.

Reference newspaper “Público” also reported on the list, claiming that “Macau’s image as a place that favors gambling and tourism, and where the casino neons are omnipresent, is going to have the burden of another image, less beneficial to its reputation.”

The EU said that the listed countries and regions could potentially face sanctions for failing to bring their standards in line with the bloc, at a time when the bloc is seeking to step up its fight against opaque practices that facilitate tax avoidance by multinationals and individuals.

The European Commission – the EU’s executive arm – says that the threat of being on the list can itself incentivize countries to bring their tax systems in line with EU standards, for fear of being named and shamed. The countries that make commitments to tax transparency will be subject to monitoring by the EU over the coming year. The bloc plans to update the list at least once a year.

But some countries, including France, have said that listed jurisdictions should also face sanctions. Potential countermeasures applicable at the national or EU level could be introduced, including the freezing of some EU funds.

“We want this list to be complete and effective. No state should escape responsibilities when it doesn’t firmly combat tax evasion,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on his way to the meeting where the blacklist was approved. “This list needs to be effective, meaning that it needs to allow us to impose sanctions so that those who don’t respect rules will change their behavior.”  (more...)

It's not news that Macau (Macao) is the world's money-laundering capital:

Heh... Macau can open many doors. Bet ya didn't know this stuff:

Wow.  Just wow.

Ex-national ski coach Bertrand Charest gets 12-year prison sentence for sexually assaulting teen girls

abuse crime education pedophilia rape sports

SAINT-JEROME, QUE.—A judge sentenced former national ski coach Bertrand Charest to a 12-year prison term Friday for sexually assaulting teenage girls he trained, calling his actions “inexcusable and criminal.”

“This behaviour is not acceptable in 2017, it wasn’t in 1998, just as it wasn’t in 1950 or any other era,” Judge Sylvain Lepine said in his ruling.

“It is criminal in Quebec, in Europe and in every country in the world.

“These young women were at an important stage of their personal development. Their entire adult life has been shaped by the accused’s acts.”

All but one of the victims and alleged victims were under the age of 18 at the time of the offences, with the youngest being 12.

With time already served in detention since his arrest in 2015, Charest has seven years and 10 months left in the sentence.

His lawyer, Antonio Cabral, said he will look at the sentence in detail before deciding whether to appeal, as he is doing for last June’s convictions on 37 of the 57 charges Charest faced.  (more...)

Gymnastics Canada suspends coach amid sexual abuse allegations

abuse crime education pedophilia rape sports

MONTREAL—Gymnastics Canada suspended an Edmonton-based coach on Thursday amid allegations he sexually abused some of his former students.

The decision to suspend Michel Arsenault came after CBC’s French-language network reported he sexually abused at least three gymnasts in Quebec when they were minors in the 1980s and early ’90s.

“Our hearts go out to everyone affected by this situation, in particular the athletes and their families,” said Richard Crepin, the organization’s chair of the board of directors.

CEO Peter Nicol said Gymnastics Canada is committed to providing a safe environment for its athletes.

An Edmonton gym where Arsenault was based has also barred him from its premises and said he will no longer be involved in any of its activities.  (more...)