l. Dakota Johnson

The final installment of the Fifty Shades trilogy, Fifty Shades Freed, hit cinemas last weekend.   While she may be forever synonymous with Anastasia Steele, it’s clear that Dakota Johnson is ready and willing to break away from the franchise.

Next, Johnson will star in a remake of Suspiria, which sounds comparable to Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan. It’s got a fab cast between Tilda Swinton, Grace Chloe Moretz and Mia Goth, plus all eyes are now firmly on its director, Luca Guadagnino, after his massive success with Call Me By Your Name.

Suspiria is a 1977 Italian horror film directed by Dario Argento, co-written by Argento and Daria Nicolodi, partially based on Thomas De Quincey’s 1845 essay Suspiria de Profundis

Susie Bannion, [Dakota Johnson] a young American woman who travels to the prestigious Markos Tanz Company in Berlin in 1977, arriving just as one of its members, Patricia, has disappeared under mysterious circumstances.

 

[ March 11 2015 Shakespeare’s “Cymbeline.” With Dakota Johnson. Written and directed by Michael Almereyda.]

Image result

Minority view:

Dakota Johnson is stunning as Imogen. Her portrayal is so precise and yet completely carefree. I want to see her onstage with an opportunity to tackle full text in the future. She really is a star.

[January 5 Michelle Williams’ Boerum Hill townhouse sold]

Reporters and camera  congregated outside the house.

Reporters and camera congregated outside the house.

 

Michelle Williams’ townhouse in Brooklyn’s coveted Boerum Hill ‘hood was sold in the final days of 2014 to a mysterious corporate entity for $8.8 million – $1.3 million over asking price.

 

Ledger was engaged to actress Michelle Williams, whom he met on the set of Brokeback Mountain. Their daughter, Matilda Rose, was born in 2005. The child’s godparents are Ledger’s Brokeback costar Jake Gyllenhaal and Williams’ Dawson’s Creek castmate Busy Phillips. The family home was in Brooklyn’s Boerum Hill section at the corner of Hoyt and Dean.

Writer Bar Katz

Writer Bar Katz

Director Paul Thomas Anderson celebrated the life of his close friend and collaborator Philip Seymour Hoffman by delivering a touching eulogy at the actor’s funeral in New York on Friday.

The filmmaker cast the actor in three of his films – “Boogie Nights,” “Magnolia” and “The Master” – and he helped to pay tribute to his late pal at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola service by sharing his favorite memories, many of which prompted warm laughter from mourners including Cate Blanchett, Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore and “The Master” co-stars Amy Adams and Joaquin Phoenix.

“The Wire” star John Doman, who was among the 400 guests at the memorial, tells NBC News, “It was sad, it was celebratory, it was emotional, it was inspirational, it was terrific.”

Playwright Jose Rivera, who worked with Hoffman at the Off Broadway Labyrinth Theater Company, tells the Wall Street Journal, “It was quite beautiful. He (Anderson) just had a lot of very personal and lovely memories of Phil. And he made us all laugh; he quoted Phil extensively and we could kind of hear his voice in the room.”

After the 90-minute service, Hoffman’s coffin was carried out by six pallbearers as his longtime girlfriend, Mimi O’Donnell, and their three young children looked on from the top of the church’s steps.

Other stars in attendance at the funeral included Michelle Williams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ethan Hawke, Ellen Burstyn, John Slattery, Mary Louise Parker, Jerry Stiller, Marisa Tomei and Spike Lee.

Michelle Williams visiting family of Philip Seymour Hoffman, star of Synecdoche, who died of an overdose on February 2 2014

Michelle Williams visiting family of Philip Seymour Hoffman, star of Synecdoche, who died of an overdose on February 2 2014

Synecdoche New York

Synecdoche New York

[February 6]

Heath Ledger, died January 22 2008

Heath Ledger, died January 22 2008

The father of the late actor Heath Ledger has attacked reports that Philip Seymour Hoffman helped counsel his son about his supposed “drug addiction”, calling them a “complete and disrespectful fabrication”.
The reports, which surfaced on a website called Popdust and have since been repeated by British tabloid The Daily Mail. But Ledger’s father, Kim, has rubbished the reports.
“This is a complete and disrespectful fabrication of circumstances surrounding any relationship Heath and Philip Seymour Hoffman may have had and very offensive to the memory of Heath for his family and friends,” he said.
“Heath died from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs whilst suffering severe pneumonia and sleep deprivation.
“Our thoughts are also with Philip’s family and friends during this tragic time.”
Ledger was found dead in his New York apartment in 2008. The New York City chief medical examiner ruled his death was caused by an accidental overdose of prescription medications.

“Mr. Heath Ledger died as the result of acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam, and doxylamine,”An initial autopsy on January 23 proved inconclusive at determining Ledger’s cause of death. Heath’s drugs
Six prescription drugs were found, including Ambien, Valium, anti-depressant Zoloft, Xanax, Zoplicone [sic] and Donormyl

Michelle Williams 2008

Ledger was engaged to actress Michelle Williams, whom he met on the set of Brokeback Mountain. Their daughter, Matilda Rose, was born in 2005. The child’s godparents are Ledger’s Brokeback costar Jake Gyllenhaal and Williams’ Dawson’s Creek castmate Busy Phillips. The family home was in Brooklyn’s Boerum Hill section at the corner of Hoyt and Dean.

Reporters and camera congregated outside the house.

Reporters and camera  congregated outside the house.

Reporters and camera congregated outside the house.

blogknowsbrooklyn comments The temperature in January was cold, often below freezing and the wind was brisk. Michelle Williams was filming and had Matilda with her. Williams, 27, made a stop in Landvetter Airport in Gothenburg, Sweden, before traveling on to New York. She arrived at her Brooklyn home January 23. Reports claim Williams was with her mother, Carla, and actress Busy Philipps. Someone is at the door in this picture.


Metal fences placed at a goodly distance from the townhouse to keep the media at bay. Photographers were equipped with long lenses. Reporters with furry hoods.

This crowd gathered outside Heath Ledger’s bachelor apartment in Manhattan’s Soho section on Broome Street at Crosbie at noon on January 25, 2008. another crowd

The apartment, where he died on January 22, 2008, is quite near Broadway and south of Houston – an area of clothing shops and restaurants.

The journalists also gathered at the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Home on Manhattan’s East Side.

Heath Ledger’s body was transported here, at Madison and 81st, after the police autopsy.

The crowds still gather at the apartment where a fan shrine continues.

[November 20 2011]

Billie Burke, 1939 Glinda

Billie Burke, 1939 Glinda

 

Michelle Williams at Cannes for Synecdoche

Michelle Williams at Cannes for Synecdoche 2008

Michelle Williams will have a ‘fresh take’ on Glinda the good witch in her new movie Oz: The Great and Powerful.
The actress is currently shooting the film, which acts as a prequel to all the previous Wizard of Oz movies, including the 1939 Judy Garland classic.
my Glinda is where she’s starting out.”

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Kenneth A. Blanco

Kenneth Blanco

Trump’s Justice Department is now raising eyebrows for handing another unit of Citigroup a non-prosecution agreement May 18 2017 for egregious money laundering violations.

jump to Banamex items

[ January 23 Kushner: suspicious monies through Deutsche Bank…denied ]

Screenshot 2018-01-09 at 9.58.01 AM

Deutsche Bank on January 22 denied a magazine report that said that the bank had reported to German banking supervisors suspicious funds associated with Jared Kushner, U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and advisor.

The Manager Magazin article, translated from German, reports. “Their finding: There are indications that Donald Trump’s son-in-law or persons or companies close to him could have channeled suspicious monies through Deutsche Bank as part of their business dealings.”

[ January 9: Putin friend Uzbek-born Lev Leviev and Jared Kushner ]

Jared Kushner’s association with Deutsche Bank is among a number of financial matters that could come under focus as his business activities are reviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is examining Kushner as part of a broader investigation into possible Russian influence in the election.
One month before Election Day, Kushner’s real estate company finalised a $285 million loan as part of a refinancing package for its property near Times Square in Manhattan.
The loan came at a critical moment. Kushner was playing a key role in the presidential campaign of his father-in-law, Donald Trump. The lender, Deutsche Bank, was negotiating to settle a federal mortgage fraud case and charges from New York state regulators that it aided a possible Russian money-laundering scheme. The Deutsche Bank loan was delivered just before the bank – which has long been under investigation by federal and state authorities – agreed to pay a $7.2 billion US penalty in December for mortgage securities fraud in its packaging of residential mortgages. The bank also paid a $425 million New York state fine in January for failing to properly track large transfers from Russia.
The Deutsche Bank loan capped what Kushner Cos. viewed as a triumph: It had purchased four mostly empty retail floors of the former New York Times building in 2015, recruited tenants to fill the space and got the Deutsche Bank loan in a refinancing deal that gave Kushner’s company $74 million more than it paid for the property.
The refinancing loan with Deutsche Bank is mentioned in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission as part of a public offering of mortgage-backed securities. It states that Kushner and his brother, Joshua, “will be guarantors” under what was called a “nonrecourse carve-out.” Such guarantees require more than a loan default to kick in. They are commonly known as “bad boy” clauses, a reference to how a lender could seek to hold the guarantor responsible for the debt under circumstances that might include fraud, misapplication of funds or voluntary bankruptcy deemed inappropriate. The terms of the guarantee, which generally are not secured by collateral, are negotiated between lender and borrower.
“The way to look at this is, so long as you’re not a ‘bad boy’ and don’t do anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about,” said James Schwarz, a real estate lawyer who is an expert in such clauses. “To the extent you would do something fraudulent, then you have things to worry about.”
The Deutsche Bank deal was one of the last Kushner orchestrated before joining the White House. It is among the dozens of complex transactions that he was involved with during his decade in the real estate business.
Although Kushner divested some properties in an effort to address potential conflicts, he retains an interest in nearly 90 percent of his real estate properties, including the retail portion of the former New York Times headquarters, and holds personal debts and loan guarantees.
The deal that led to the Deutsche Bank loan is rooted in a holiday party held in late 2014 at the Bowlmor bowling alley, which is located in the retail portion.
At the party, Kushner decided that the four retail floors of the building, while rundown, could be transformed into a thriving tourist destination, according to his associates.
The building passed through several owners after the newspaper sold the property for $175 million in 2004 to Tishman Speyer. Tishman sold it three years later for $525 million to a company called Africa-Israel Investments. (Those transactions prompted Trump a few months ago to poke fun at the Times, tweeting that the “dopes” at the newspaper “gave it away.”)
Africa-Israel’s decision to purchase the building was made by its chairman, an Uzbek-born Israeli citizen, Lev Leviev. He is one of the world’s wealthiest men, known as the “King of Diamonds” for his extensive holdings in Africa, Israel and Russia. He was then expanding his real estate holdings in New York City.
Leviev told the New York Times shortly after the building’s purchase that he was a “true friend” of Russian President Vladimir Putin, largely through his work with an influential Jewish organisation in the former Soviet Union. The newspaper wrote that he kept a photo of Putin in his office in Israel. Leviev’s company said in a statement to The Post that Leviev “does not have a personal relationship” with Putin but has met him “on a few occasions.” Leviev’s statement said he was referring to his belief that “Mr Putin has been a ‘true friend’ to the Jewish people in Russia.”
In 2008, a year after the building’s purchase, Leviev invited Trump to his Madison Avenue store, an ultra-high-end establishment called Leviev Jewelry, where they were photographed together, according to the Leviev statement. Leviev hoped to work with Trump on Moscow real estate deals, according to an article in Kommersant, a Russian newspaper. The Leviev statement said that the two “never had any business dealings with one another, contrary to speculation.”
Six years later, Kushner saw an opportunity for his own company.
Leviev, whose company was having financial difficulties, according to an Israeli press account, sold the building’s 12-floor office portion for $160 million, a transaction that did not involve the four retail floors.
Leviev’s daughter, Chagit, took charge of her father’s US subsidiary and set out to find a buyer for the retail portion of the building. The company said it would entertain offers no lower than $300 million.
Kushner’s company offered $265 million, which was rejected. Kushner himself then negotiated with Chagit Leviev and others in 2015 and succeeded with a $296 million offer, according to an official involved in the matter. “It was a very hard back-and-forth New York negotiating style,” said Kushner’s broker, Lon Rubackin. Leviev’s partner in the deal, Five Mile Capital, did not respond to a request for comment.
Few knew it at the time, but the negotiations had nearly consummated when Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, ran into Chagit Leviev on May 4, 2015, at an after-party for a Metropolitan Museum of Art gala – an encounter that was memorialised in a picture posted on Instagram.
“Such a pleasure seeing @jaredckushner and his stunningly beautiful wife @ivankatrump last night [at] the #metballafterparty,” Chagit Leviev wrote.
The deal was signed a week later and closed in October 2015. The Leviev company said in a statement to The Post that Kushner simply made the highest offer and “there was no political element to the transaction.”
Kushner took over a property that was only 25 percent leased, according to a company official. His company recruited tenants, offering some a year’s free rent to lock in long-term contracts, according to an SEC filing. As a result, the building was nearly fully leased, with higher rents, including new tenants such as National Geographic.
The strategy paid off when Kushner’s company went to Deutsche Bank for refinancing. An appraisal cited in SEC filings for the package of mortgage-backed securities placed the value at $470 million, a 59 percent increase in a year. The bank declined to release the appraisal, but a person involved in the deal said that such a rapid increase was unusual when New York real estate was rebounding from recession, and credited Kushner for finding stellar tenants.
In a statement, Kushner Cos. President Laurent Morali said the property’s value increased sharply “for a simple reason: the building’s dramatic turnaround. We had a vision for the property when we purchased it that no one else had, and are proud to say that we executed on it.”
Kushner’s company took out $370 million in new loans in October 2016, giving it $74 million more than the purchase price a year earlier. Along with $285 million from Deutsche Bank, Kushner’s firm received $85 million from SL Green Realty, where Kushner had once worked as an intern. SL Green spokesman Rick Matthews said the deal made sense because the building has been mostly leased, giving it “increased value.”

[January 4 Preet Bharara was fired and Prevezon case was dropped. Trump helping Russians? ]

Prevezon is a holding company with links to Russian elites that has been accused of laundering hundreds of millions of dollars through New York City real estate. It’s also part of Hermitage Capital, an investment fund that was being investigated by Magnitsky (the Russian lawyer who was killed in a Moscow prison in 2009) more than 10 years ago.
Several months after Trump takes office, the Prevezon case is dismissed. So what happened? The U.S. attorney was carefully preparing a case against Prevezon Holdings. They were all set to go forward, and then suddenly the case was settled. Prevezon’s own lawyers were kind of shocked. We know they paid something like $6 million, which is a fraction of what the lawsuit was about. So they were extremely happy about it.
But it’s not even necessary for him to have any direct connections here. They’re only asking for some relief in this case, in return for certain compromising documents. So the interesting thing for me [Seva Gunitsky, politics professor at the University of Toronto] is, was there pressure placed on the U.S. Attorney’s Office by the administration, by the Department of Justice? What we know is that Preet Bharara, the attorney in charge of the case, was fired in early March, and shortly thereafter the Prevezon case was dropped.

Congressional Democrats have openly expressed concerns about what happened here. They want to know why it was settled so quickly. Was pressure being applied from above? In any case, we can see the possible motivations of the people approaching Trump for favors. When I say the collusion starts with financial interests, this is what I mean.

It’s not that obstructing democracy wasn’t important; it’s that it was potentially a happy byproduct of these financial relationships.

I’m not saying the political dimension is unimportant — surely it is. But if we’re talking about the roots of the collusion, we have to look at where Trump’s links with Russia begin. And it begins with money. [These roots] don’t start with the election; they start with money, and namely Russian oligarch money. This doesn’t start with the election; it starts with Russian oligarch money pouring into Trump’s real estate and casino businesses. Many of them Trump has been working with for years, well before he developed any serious political ambitions. And we’re not talking about small change here; we’re talking about hundreds of millions of dollars. Possibly even enough to keep Trump out of another bankruptcy.

We know because they’ve told us. We can talk about specific cases in a minute, but Donald Trump Jr. has already admitted the importance of Russian money to their business ventures. He said publicly in 2008 that “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.” It doesn’t get much clearer than that.

[January 4 Fire and Fury Deutsche Bank ]

Stephen Kevin Bannon,media executive, political activist, and former investment banker, speaking to author Michael Wolff, “It’s as plain as a hair on your face.”

Last month it was reported that federal prosecutors had subpoenaed records from Deutsche Bank, the German financial institution that has lent hundreds of millions of dollars to the Kushner property empire. Bannon continues: “It goes through Deutsche Bank and all the Kushner shit. The Kushner shit is greasy. “
Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,

[ December 5 2017 Learn money laundering via Trump ]

[August 21]

trump20tower20batumi

Robert Mueller has assembled a team of sixteen lawyers. One of them is fluent in Russian, and five have extensive experience investigating and prosecuting cases of money laundering, foreign corruption, and complex financial conspiracies. The path from Trump to Putin, if one exists, might be found in one of his foreign real-estate deals.
A stalled 2011 plan to build a Trump Tower in Batumi, a city on the Black Sea in the Republic of Georgia, has not received much journalistic attention. The deal, for which Trump was reportedly paid a million dollars, involved unorthodox financial practices that several experts described to me as “red flags” for bank fraud and money laundering; moreover, it intertwined his company with a Kazakh oligarch who has direct links to Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin. As a result, Putin and his security services have access to information that could put them in a position to blackmail Trump. (Sekulow said that “the Georgia real-estate deal is something we would consider out of scope,” adding, “Georgia is not Russia.”)

The developer that had paid Trump and invited him to Georgia—a holding company known as the Silk Road Group—had been funded by a bank that was enmeshed in a giant money-laundering scandal.

Trump Tower Batumi was going to be funded not by Trump but by businesses with ties to Kazakh oligarchs, including Timur Kulibayev, the son-in-law of Kazakhstan’s autocratic ruler, Nursultan Nazarbayev, and a close ally of Putin.

The Financial Action Task Force, headquartered in Paris, is led by representatives from thirty-seven nations. In 2007, the task force issued a report about the use of real-estate projects for money laundering. The report makes note of several red flags. It warns of “complex loans” in which businesses “lend themselves money, creating the appearance that the funds are legitimate.” It also warns of the use of offshore shell companies and tangled corporate legal structures, especially those in which third parties are hired to administer a company and conceal its true ownership. These intertwined companies can then trade property among themselves, in order to create inflated valuations: “An often-used structure is, for example, the setting up of shell companies to buy real estate. Shortly after acquiring the properties, the companies are voluntarily wound up, and the criminals then repurchase the property at a price considerably above the original purchase price. This enables them to insert a sum of money into the financial system equal to the original purchase price plus the capital gain, thereby allowing them to conceal the origin of their funds.”
The report states that money launderers often find that “buying a hotel, a restaurant or other similar investment offers further advantages, as it brings with it a business activity in which there is extensive use of cash.” Casinos—like the one planned for the Trump Tower Batumi—are especially useful in this regard. The casino was to be owned by the Silk Road Group and its partners.
Alan Garten, the chief legal officer for the Trump Organization, declined to describe the due diligence behind the Batumi tower. When the deal was signed, the general counsel for the Trump Organization was Jason Greenblatt, who is now President Trump’s envoy to negotiate Middle East peace. (The White House declined to comment for this story, referring me instead to Sekulow, Trump’s lawyer, who also declined to discuss the specifics of the Batumi deal.)

Ross Delston, a prominent anti-money-laundering attorney in Washington, D.C., told me that, if one of his clients approached him with the possibility of entering a licensing relationship with the people involved in the Batumi deal, he “would tell him not to walk away but to run away—to run like hell.” He explained, “There are too many aspects of the deal that don’t make sense, and there’s no way, as an outsider, that you could conduct sufficient due diligence to figure out if it is criminal.”
So many partners of the Trump Organization have been fined, sued, or criminally investigated for financial crimes that it is hard to ascribe the pattern to coincidence, or even to shoddy due diligence. In criminal law, there is a crucial concept called “willful blindness”: a person can be convicted of a crime even if he was unaware of certain aspects of the crime in which he was engaged. In U.S. courts, judges routinely explain to juries that “no one can avoid responsibility for a crime by deliberately ignoring what is obvious.” (When the Trump Organization cancelled the Batumi deal, it noted that it held the Silk Road Group “in the highest regard.”)

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/08/21/trumps-business-of-corruption

[June 5 2016 Hank Greenberg can be sued for hiding insurance company’s losses]

AIG Broadway

American International Group

The New York Court of Appeals ruled that state officials can try to recover millions of dollars in bonuses and interest from Former American International Group CEO Maurice “Hank” Greenberg , 91, and his co-defendant, Howard Smith, 71, former AIG chief financial officer.In 2005, then-Attorney General Eliot Spitzer accused Greenberg and Smith of using fraudulent transactions to hide the insurance company’s losses and mislead investors about its financial condition.

Greenberg’s lawyer, David Boies, later tried to get the charges dismissed, arguing that a $115 million settlement between AIG executives such as Greenberg and a group of shareholders should have ended the case. But the court rejected that argument and ordered the trial to proceed. More than $55 million may be at stake. In addition, the court said the state could seek to ban Greenberg and Smith from the securities industry and from serving as officers or directors of public companies. The U.S. government in a separate case last August appealed a judge’s ruling that sided with Greenberg on a legal claim over AIG’s bailout and found that the Federal Reserve exceeded its authority in the insurer’s bailout.
The case centers on a transaction with General Re, a unit of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. The New York suit claims Greenberg orchestrated a $500 million transaction that boosted loss reserves without transferring risk. A second transaction, with Capco Reinsurance Co, allegedly hid a $210 million underwriting loss in an auto-warranty program
The People of the State of New York by Eric T. Schneiderman v. Maurice R. Greenberg

[April 4 Americans in Panama Papers: ‘Wait. Just look at what’s coming…’ ]

7889e35adfa42e0da5f8f622a853051b7f5de6d5-1459707563-57015eab-620x348

Americans later

Jen Mills for Metro.co.uk   But weirdly, considering it’s the world’s largest economy, there was nobody from the USA   .Stefan Plöchinger, digital editor of German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung which obtained the leaks, shot out this teaser earlier today, saying: ‘Wait. Just look at what’s coming…’

many items below

 

 

 

 

 

[August 17 2015 Carlos Hank Rhon and Banamex under DoJ subpoenas ]

Justice Department is examining anti-money laundering practices at Banco Nacional de Mexico, Citigroup’s Mexico unit known as Banamex, to see if any of its clients were involved in money laundering, Justice wanted Citigroup (C.N) to provide information on accounts tied to four businesses affiliated with Hank Rhon, two units each of Grupo Financiero Interacciones SA (GFINTERO.MX) and Grupo Hermes SA, which are controlled by Hank Rhon and his family as well as a fifth firm, Banco Monex, that’s not connected to Hank Rhon. Hank Rhon, a businessman involved in banking, construction and heavy industry, is the son of Carlos Hank Gonzalez, a longtime force in Mexico’s ruling party who died in 2001.
more Banamex

Carlos Hank Rhon’s fortune includes assets in the financial, industrial, real estate and transportation industries. His best-known company is bank holding company Grupo Financiero Interacciones, where he and his family own a 74% stake. In 2014 his son, Carlos Hank González, left the company when he became chairman of the board of another banking conglomerate, Grupo Financiero Banorte, in which his mother’s family has a 12% stake. In addition to Interacciones, Hank Rhon owns Grupo Hermes, an industrial conglomerate with interests in construction, infrastructure projects, energy, transportation, tourism and auto dealerships. He is the son of one of Mexico’s best-known politicians, the late Carlos Hank Gonzalez, who held several key government positions including Mexico City mayor, Secretary of Agriculture and governor of his home state of Mexico. [Clear?]
Jorge Hank Rhon (born January 28, 1956) is a Mexican politician, businessman and owner of Mexico’s largest sports betting company, Grupo Caliente. An eccentric and controversial personality, he served from December 2004 to February 2007 as the president of the municipality of Tijuana. He is the son of former Mexico City mayor Carlos Hank González and Guadalupe Rhon.Hank has long been target of diverse rumors and accusations. Tijuana

[August 17 Doral Bank pair charged with $2.35 million wire fraud and money laundering]

 Doral search was being conducted by the white-collar crime unit regarding a federal offense

Doral search was being conducted by the white-collar crime unit regarding a federal offense

Doral could possibly be taken over by the FDIC Friday, people with knowledge of the matter told. A federal grand jury returned a 13-count indictment Feb. 18 charging Defendant Annelise I. Figueroa and Defendant Rolando Rivera Solis with financial institution fraud, misapplication of $2.35 million in bank funds, wire fraud and money laundering.9whavqzz

[December 26 2014 Doral Bank raid connected to 2011 unsolved murder?]
Federal Bureau of Investigation agents entered the Doral Bank’s offices about 8:15 a.m december 23. in San Juan to collect information including computers and documents, the Doral search was being conducted by the white-collar crime unit regarding a federal offense. However, she said she wouldn’t exclude the possibility that the probe may also relate to the 2011 murder of a Doral executive, Maurice Spagnoletti. The raid took place at the bank’s information technology offices in Hato Rey.
Spagnoletti, 56, was shot while driving home from work to the fashionable Condado beach front district in rush-hour traffic in June 2011 after leaving the Bank, in what authorities said was a professional execution. At that time, the man was Executive Vice President of Doral Bank, a position he occupied for six months.
Following the execution of Spagnoletti, his widow and daughter, Marisa and Lucy , respectively, filed a lawsuit civil at the federal level in 2013 for “wrongful death” or death by negligence, involving officers of the Bank, including its President Glen Wakeman. However, they withdrew the demand in January 2014.
In the lawsuit, the relatives of Spagnoletti claimed that he received threats after he found fraudulent bank transactions and advised President Glen Wakeman should dismiss Annelisse Figueroa, who was Executive Vice President of operations together with the head of security Jose Robles and Vice President, Chief compliance and Chief Legal, Enrique Ubarri Baragaño, defendants in the action.

Since 2012, Doral Bank has been operating under a consent agreement with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and parallel sanction by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which required the directors to set policies and closely monitor the bank’s financial reporting, among other things, according to the complaint.
But the company ended up surprising investors on March 18 when it said it could not file its Form 10-K report for 2013 on time because it discovered material weakness in its accounting controls, Fair View said in its complaint. The bank subsequently revised its reported loss for the quarter ending Sept. 30 to $2.57 per share from $1.49 a share, it said.
Spagnoletti was president of Greenville-based Carolina First Bank, a subsidiary of The South Financial Group Inc., from April 2006 to June 2008.
fraud

[October 15 Citigroup Inc. fined $2 million in Oceanografía- Banamex]

Luis Robles and Javier Arrigunaga

Luis Robles and Javier Arrigunaga

The Mexican regulator, the CNBV, said October 15 that in its review of Oceanografía’s relationship with Banamex, it found actions that could be considered crimes. it has fined the local unit of Citigroup Inc.a little more than $2 million for failing to prevent an alleged fraud against the bank by a client, oil-services firm Oceanografía.
The regulator also said that Banamex should have had better internal controls in place to prevent such losses.The incident also has led to the departure of high-level employees at the bank, with Citigroup announcing this month that Banamex Chief Executive Javier Arrigunaga had resigned.

[June 30 BNP “perpetrating what was truly a tour de fraud,” pleads guilty]

BNP’s general counsel, Georges Dirani, in a Manhattan court on June 30.

BNP hid the names of Sudanese and Iranian clients when sending transactions through its New York operations and the broader American financial system. In the bank’s Geneva office, “there was policy to strip, amend and omit” information identifying Sudanese clients. “This conspiracy was known and condoned at the highest levels of BNP,” Edward Starishevsky, an assistant district attorney in Manhattan, said in court on Monday when the bank pleaded guilty to one count of falsifying business records and one count of conspiracy. BNP agreed to pay an $8.9 billion penalty

http://www.glassdoor.com/Salary/BNP-Paribas-New-York-City-Salaries-EI_IE10342.0,11_IL.12,25_IM615.htm
[June 21]

French bank BNP Paribas and the U.S. government are close to settling the criminal investigation of the bank for between $8 billion and $9 billion.
According to U.S. prosecutors, the bank conducted at least $30 billion of illegal transactions on behalf of companies and government agencies in Sudan over a period of five years, violating U.S. sanctions. In addition to paying a record fine, the bank is expected to plead guilty to conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and agree to a temporary prohibition on its ability to conduct transactions in U.S. dollars. Although the fine seems huge compared with those paid by other banks in comparable cases, prosecutors feel that it’s justified because of the severity of the misconduct as well as the fact that BNP didn’t cooperate as fully as the government would have liked.
The bank conducted at least $30 billion of illegal transactions on behalf of companies and government agencies in Sudan over a period of five years, violating U.S. sanctions. In addition to paying a record fine, the bank is expected to plead guilty to conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and agree to a temporary prohibition on its ability to conduct transactions in U.S. dollars.

[April 30]
A development could produce the first guilty plea to criminal charges from a major bank in more than two decade. A lack of criminal prosecutions of banks and their leaders fueled a public outcry over the perception that Wall Street giants are “too big to jail.” The decision is to seek guilty pleas in two of the most advanced investigations: one into Credit Suisse for offering tax shelters to Americans, and the other against France’s largest bank, BNP Paribas, over doing business with countries like Sudan that the United States has blacklisted. The approach applies to American banks, though those investigations are at an earlier stage.

Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, has opened his own criminal investigations into a fraud at Citigroup’s Mexican affiliate and other American banks. And in the recent speech, Mr. Bharara warned, “You can expect that before too long a significant financial institution will be charged with a felony or be made to plead guilty to a felony, where the conduct warrants it.”

BNP’s shares are down less than 4%–a steep fall, but hardly calamitous. And its CDS have hardly budged, actually trading roughly one basis point tighter, at 64 basis points, according to data provider Markit. So much for banks being too big to indict.

[April 3]

There was valid documentation for $185 million of work, Citigroup said, but Banamex had advanced Oceanografía a total of $585 million. Some of Oceanografía’s invoices, Citigroup said, “were falsified to represent that Pemex had approved them. A Banamex employee processed them.”

There was valid documentation for $185 million of work, Citigroup said, but Banamex had advanced Oceanografía a total of $585 million. Some of Oceanografía’s invoices, Citigroup said, “were falsified to represent that Pemex had approved them. A Banamex employee processed them.”

A criminal investigation, overseen by the F.B.I. and prosecutors from the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan has opened as to whether holes in Citigroup Inc’s internal controls contributed to the fraud in Mexico. The question for investigators is whether Citigroup — as other banks have been accused of doing in the context of money laundering — ignored warning signs.
At Citigroup’s Grupo Financiero Banamex, Oceanografía became one of Banco Nacional de Mexico (Banamex)’.s largest corporate clients.
Under a short-term lending arrangement, Banamex would advance money to Oceanografia SA de CV, whose existence hinged almost entirely on government contracts. Banamex issued the loans with the understanding that Oceanografía had received contracts from Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), the state-owned oil monopoly. Once the work was completed, Pemex would repay the loan to Banamex.
Oceanografía’s financial problems became apparent in January 2014, when it announced that it would not be able to pay interest on a debt of $335 million contracted in 2008. Mexican authorities suspended Oceanografía from obtaining additional government contracts for several months. Shortly after, Banamex discovered a fraud.
There was valid documentation for $185 million of work, Citigroup said, but Banamex had advanced Oceanografía a total of $585 million. Some of Oceanografía’s invoices, Citigroup said, “were falsified to represent that Pemex had approved them. A Banamex employee processed them.”
Banamex accounts for 13 percent of Citigroup’s revenue.
At first glance, Citigroup appeared to be the victim of the fraud involving the Mexican oil services company Oceanografía. After all, the bank lost millions of dollars.
But the F.B.I. and prosecutors are questioning whether Citigroup was equal parts victim and enabler.
For one, it is unclear whether the wrongdoing at Citigroup was actually limited to a single Banamex employee, as early reports indicated. The authorities are investigating whether the scheme involved co-conspirators at the bank’s offices in the United States.
Banamex, acquired in 2001, is the biggest unit in Citigroup’s Latin America operations, which account for about 20 percent of total revenue. Profit at the subsidiary almost quintupled in the past decade, burnishing its reputation as well-managed and shielding the Mexico City-based bank from corporate interference.
The fraud allegations and a disclosure this week that Banamex USA received subpoenas in the U.S. related to money laundering now tarnish the unit’s image. The probes also could put pressure on Citigroup co-President Manuel Medina-Mora, whose job includes oversight of Mexican operations, and Banamex Chief Executive Officer Javier Arrigunaga, 50.

[September 15 2011]

Kweku Adoboli, a 31-year old trader on UBS’ exchange-traded-fund desk in London, has been arrested by City of London police in connection with rogue trading that has cost the Swiss banking giant an estimated $2bn (£1.3bn). The landlord at Mr Adoboli’s former £1,000-a-week apartment in Shoreditch, east London, described him today as a “nice guy”. a trader on UBS’ exchange-traded-fund desk in London. His title is listed as “Director ETF and Delta1 Trading at UBS Investment Bank.”

Investment banks’ Delta One operations trade securities that attempt to track an asset closely. Details are not yet known about what Adoboli traded.

Delta One can be considered the last domain of prop trading in the banking sector, where via market-making activities, traders can still get away with taking ample risks.

This is one of the few divisions in the banking community which is still hiring.

 

The “Laundromat” inquiry demonstrated an alleged Russian-led money laundering scheme, in which $22.3 billion passed through Moldova using Russian shell companies and fictitious loans from offshore companies based in Britain in 2011-2014. [below]

The orders were introduced in the Criminal Finance Act last year but are only now coming into effect. They will force wealthy individuals to explain to UK officials how they acquired assets worth more than £50,000.

Officials estimate that around £90bn of illegal money is laundered through the UK every year.

10 January 2018- The Moscow City Court upheld an order to arrest the Moldovan  oligarch and chairman of the Democratic Party of Moldova, Vladimir Plahotniuc, charged with attempted murder.   The oligarch is charged with attempted murder- possibly connected to the attempted assassination of the Russian banker Herman Gorbuntsov, seriously wounded in London, in 2012.   INTERPOL refused to distribute the international arrest warrant.

Russian assassins have been able to kill in Britain with impunity over the past decade, 17 current and former British and American intelligence officials told BuzzFeed News. The reasons for Britain’s reticence, they said, include fear of retaliation, police incompetence, and a desire to preserve the billions of pounds of Russian money that pour into British banks and properties each year. As a result, Russia is making what one source called increasingly “bold moves” in the UK without fear of reprisals.

[ November 12 2017: U.S. Cav 100 miles from Russia’s Kaliningrad ]

usmoldova2016

CHISINAU, Moldova – May 8, 2016

 

The U.S. announced Thursday October 12 the arrival of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in a Polish NATO outpost located about 100 miles from Russia’s militarized enclave of Kaliningrad.

[March 21 Moldova: Russian money laundering on vast scale ]

salaru_nato20cropped

Vladimir  Plahotniuc, right

 

 

A money laundering investigation led by police in Moldova and Latvia has been running for three years. Registered firms played a prominent role in the money laundering network – and the UK’s high street banks processed $740m from the operation without turning back any of the payments
The banking records were obtained by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and Novaya Gazeta from sources who wish to remain anonymous. OCCRP shared the data with the Guardian and media partners in 32 countries.

The documents include details of around 70,000 banking transactions, including 1,920 that took place in the UK and 373 in the U.S.
NCA had been in touch with the authorities in Moldova since 2014 about the Global Laundromat, which he described as “big and pretty unusual”.
Twenty million transactions go through the City and in trades through the money markets each day. A vast amount of business, and only a small amount will be money laundering.

“It’s the size of the challenge which is the problem. It’s beyond a human scale. The sophisticated money launderer will know the tolerances that will trigger alerts. There are pretty smart guys out there. This needs more sophisticated solutions than throwing people at it. It’s not just about the size of the staff.

[December 12 2016 Vladimir Plahotniuc, the country’s main nominally pro-European oligarch]

The election of the pro-Russian socialist Igor Dodon as Moldova’s new president obscures the fact that Vladimir Plahotniuc, the country’s main nominally pro-European oligarch won most from the outcome.Throughout the whole of last year and the first half of 2016, the small, poor republic was shaken by anti-government protests in which tens of thousands of angered citizens took to the streets. The catalyst for the protests was that $1 billion had been syphoned out of three Moldovan banks, seemingly with the connivance of high-level officials.

An apparent paradox of the protests was that people flew European Union flags while demanding the resignation of a pro-European government. But a broad coalition of forces supported the protests, including both the pro-Russian Dodon and the pro-European Sandu.

Throughout its post-independence history, Moldova has fractured on East-West lines, so this union of different forces was unprecedented. Opposition politicians of different allegiances put away their party flags and selected white chrysanthemums as the neutral symbol of the protests.

They were united by an anti-corruption agenda and by a common enemy—the oligarch, Deputy Chairman of the ruling Democratic party Vladimir Plahotniuc. Despite not holding the highest office, Plahotniuc was well known to control the government, the parliament, and the largest media conglomerate in the country.

Moldova’s Constitutional Court had frequently made rulings in Plahotniuc’s favor, and on March 4 this court put an end to the short-lived protest movement. One Friday evening, it decided to repeal the amendment to the Moldovan constitution, enacted in 2000, under which the head of state, the president, has limited powers and is elected by parliament. As the current president, Nicolae Timofti, was set to leave office in March, the court effectively fired the starting gun for the next presidential election.

 

 

[June 20 interoperability of Moldovan forces proceeds ]

Moldovan forces receive American training

According to LTC Tudor Martea, Commander of Special Forces Battalion “Fulger”, the exercises included 4 modules of training: advanced firing techniques, close quarters combat, artillery fire call, and a field training exercise.

U.S.role

Several media outlets surround the Minister of Defense of Moldova, Aratal Salaru, to ask him some questions regarding America’s presence in Moldoava during a static display in Chisinau, Moldova, May 5, 2016.

LTC Martea mentioned that within the exercise, over 80 service members were trained by their American colleagues to carry out different missions. Also, they carried out shooting drills with heavy and light infantry weapons of National and US Armies.
June 7, 2016 WARSAW, Poland — Poland has kicked off its joint multinational exercise with heavy US Army participation in order to test readiness and interoperability using 31,000 soldiers from 24 countries, 100 aircraft, 12 vessels and 3,000 vehicles.

[October 8 2015 nuclear smuggling

Oleg Balan, Moldovan Minister of Interior

Oleg Balan, Moldovan Minister of Interior

The United States and Moldova have been working together for years to counter nuclear smuggling, said Eric Lund, spokesman for the Department of State’s Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation.

• In July 2010, police seized 1.8 kilograms of Uranium 238, known as yellowcake, in a garage in Moldova’s capital, Chisinau. The uranium was worth €9 million ($10.1 million at today’s rates), but the suspects had tried to sell the uranium for €5 million ($5.6 million). Seven people were arrested, including two officers of the former Soviet army.

At the time, Moldova said it wasn’t sure where the uranium came from.

• In 2011, seven people were caught trying to sell 1 kilogram of Uranium 235 that had come from Moldova’s separatist Transnistria region. The suspects had sold a sample to undercover investigators. One of the suspects escaped, though others were arrested. A year later, an appellate court in Chisinau freed three and sentenced the rest to three to five years in jail.

When uranium is mined, it is 99.3% Uranium 238 and 0.7% Uranium 235, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission says.

Nuclear reactors must have a higher concentration of Uranium 235 than naturally exists in the mined material, so the U 235 isotope is enriched to about 5%, the commission says.

• In February 2015, authorities arrested two Moldovans in the capital on suspicion of trying to sell a half kilogram of radioactive Caesium 135. The arrest came after the suspects sold a sample of 83 grams for €100,000 ($112,440).

Moldovan authorities cooperated with the FBI in all three investigations, Balan said.

[August 10 Moldova: bank failures prompt IMF visit]

An IMF mission was now expected to visit from September 21 to look at prospects for a new support program after bamk failures.
Fraudsters in Moldova in November 2014 pulled off a $1 billion bank theft, led in turn to the bankruptcy of the country’s three major banks, a currency crisis, and a sharp economic slump. The mechanisms used for shifting the funds from BEM and Banca de Sociala – in particular the tell-tale use of Scottish shell companies established at the same addresses – repeat the mechanisms used in previous corporate raids and major money-laundering schemes in Moldova. This suggests that at least the engineers of the scheme were high-placed Moldovan insiders. But why would high-placed insiders implement such a scheme for the benefit of an outsider such as 28-year-old businessman Ilan Shor ? Or is Shor rather a proxy or fall guy for them?
The Scottish shell companies involved, Manitoba Management Limited, was registered at the 41 Duke Street address; another two companies, Dixon Corporation and Ayden Management Limited, were registered at 69 Brunswick Street and 71 Brunswick Street, respectively. Fortuna Limited and Novland Limited, were registered at the 18/2 Royston Mains Street address.

[May 21 Moldova at Riga EU meeting tempted by Russia]

While the European market is much bigger and richer than Russia’s, Mr. Putin imposed tight trade restrictions in 2013 on Moldova in retaliation for its flirtation with the West. For now, exports to Europe have not yet risen enough to make up for what was lost in Russia

Apr 21, 2015 “Wind Spring 15” – NATO military exercise in Romania, near the Moldovan and Ukrainian border
“Wind Spring 15” – Over 2.000 military and 500 army vehicles, of which 400 tanks and armored vehicles, involved in a NATO military exercise in Romania, at the Smardan firining range in Galati county, near the Moldovan and Ukrainian border.

[March 21 Russia warns against U.S. military maneuver, convoy of 120 U.S. Army Strykers departs Estonia]

Comanche Troop, 3rd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment provide security in Stryker armored vehicles) in Hohenfels, Germany,

Comanche Troop, 3rd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment provide security in Stryker armored vehicles in Hohenfels, Germany,

A “Dragoon Ride” will take 3rd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, troops from training locations in Estonia, Lithuania and Poland and convoy them through Latvia and the Czech Republic to Vilseck.The US Army squadron wrapping several months of training with allies in Poland will take its Strykers through the Baltics March 21 through April 1, stopping in a new community each night. The vehicles are part of an armored brigade’s worth of equipment the Army plans to station in Europe. The U.S. military maneuver, set to begin March 21, will involve a convoy of 120 U.S. Army Strykers. Over ten days, the eight-wheel-drive combat vehicles will stop in a different border area community each night to showcase the ability of U.S. forces to transport troops quickly, and to assure Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland of NATO’s commitment.

Such an exercise, Russia’s foreign ministry said March 20, undermines the Russia-NATO Founding Act. “According to our estimates, in case of the deployment of U.S. armour on the permanent basis on NATO’s eastern flank in the mentioned amounts there will emerge solid reasons for calling in question the alliance’s compliance with these liabilities.”

March 6 Riga summit, on 21-22 May 2015: “deliverables”]

The Eastern Partnership (EaP) is the EU initiative covering relations with Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. It is the wish of the hosts that all countries be represented at the level of heads of state and government, this was a decision to be taken by consensus among the 28 member countries. The previous such summit, held in Vilnius in November 2013. Member states had no consensus on offering membership perspective to the Union to any of the countries covered. Some EU countries wanted “deliverables” a jargon term for the possibility of granting a visa-free regime to Ukraine and Georgia. In EU jargon, this is called “visa liberalisation”, while “visa facilitation” is offered to countries less advanced in the process of lifting the visa barrier with the EU.

[February 25 2015 U.S. Army Second Cavalry Regiment in military parade to mark Estonia’s Independence Day.]

The soldiers from the U.S. Army’s Second Cavalry Regiment were taking part in a military parade to mark Estonia’s Indepen- dence Day.

[February 24 Moldova:pro-Western businessman the country’s next Prime Minister.]

Moldovan lawmakers voted February 20 to appoint pro-Western businessman  Chiril Gaburici as the country’s next Prime Minister.

Moldovan lawmakers voted February 20 to appoint pro-Western businessman Chiril Gaburici as the country’s next Prime Minister.

[February 17 Moldova: a slumping domestic economy]
The leu has lost 25 percent against the dollar since the start of 2015, pressured by a rapidly slowing domestic economy, a currency crisis in Russia and conflict in Ukraine. Former Soviet countries are feeling the pain as Russia, for many the main trading partner, suffers from Western sanctions over Ukraine and a weak oil market, which sent the rouble down about 40 percent against the dollar last year. Moldova’s economy, which grew 9.2 percent in 2013, is expected to have contracted by up to 2 percent last year. “The national exchange rate mirrors the economic situation, which was hit by three shocks,”citing a Russian embargo on Moldovan wine and certain food products, a decline in exports, and a fall in remittances from migrant workers, 400,000 of whom work in Russia.

[January 27 Moldova: Two pro-European parties plus Communists may form government]
Two pro-European parties have agreed to form a minority government in Moldova but will need support from the Communist Party to pass legislation. They have 42 seats in the 101-seat legislation. The Communists, with 20 seats, say they will support the government depending on who is proposed as prime minister.

[January 1 Putin Christmas wish, U.S. Marines in Balti]

U.S. Marines train with Moldovan Force

U.S. Marines train with Moldovan Force

December 31 2014: In a New Year’s address Russian President Vladimir Putin wished Moldovan President Nicolae Timofti a Merry Christmas and “expressed hope” that the two countries would work together “in order to strengthen regional stability and security.” Some experts fear that the eastern pro-Russian Moldovan territory of Transnistria, which borders Ukraine, will be the next area in Eastern Europe to take up a violent separatist campaign with the help of Russia.

January 1, 2015: U.S., Marines headed into the small, former Soviet republic to talk anti-armor best practices with local troops. A mix of about 15 assaultmen and anti-tank missilemen with the Romania-based Black Sea Rotational Force arrived in Balti, Moldova for the weeklong joint training exercise.
The detachment of Marines led a mix of conscripts and career soldiers with varying specialties — most were artillerymen — in discussions about doctrine, tactics, techniques and procedures. The event, which included a live-fire exercise, saw the troops use the FGM-148 Javelin, AT4 Anti-Tank Weapon and shoulder-launched multipurpose assault weapons, as well as Moldova’s rocket propelled grenade system and 70mm recoilless rifle.
First Lt. Ben Skarzynski, executive officer for the rotational force’s weapons company who oversaw the exercise, would only go so far as to describe it as giving the Moldovans the “capability to provide for themselves.”

;December 20 Putin forgets Moldova]

Russia is estimated to have approximately 1,500 soldiers in Transnistria who are there to guard old Soviet weapon stockpiles. Russia also claims to enforce peacekeeping purposes following the 1992 conflict between the region and Moldova.

Russia is estimated to have approximately 1,500 soldiers in Transnistria who are there to guard old Soviet weapon stockpiles. Russia also claims to enforce peacekeeping purposes following the 1992 conflict between the region and Moldova.

“We have basically only two bases abroad, and those are in terroristically dangerous directions: in Kyrgyzstan after militants from Afghanistan entered that country, at the request of the Kyrgyz authorities, and in Tajikistan — also on the border with Afghanistan.”
in Transnistria, Russia keeps about 1,500 troops in the Moldovan breakaway republic, based in the de facto capitol Tiraspol as well as in the Bender Fortress. On August 4, Moscow accused Moldova and Ukraine of trying to block Russia’s access to its troops in Transdniester.

Moldova is one of the poorest countries in Europe, and it relies heavily on remittances from the several hundred thousand Moldovan citizens working in Russia. Most Moldovans convert the rubles they earn into dollars or euros before
[December 17 MEPS compensate Moldova’s producers for their Russian losses]

Moldova will be able to export up to 40,000 tonnes of fresh apples, 10,000 tonnes of fresh table grapes and 10,000 tonnes of fresh plums to the EU duty free, thanks to a proposal backed by MEPs on Wednesday. This should compensate Moldova’s producers for their losses due to Russia’s politically-motivated ban on imports of Moldovan produce.

Moldova will be able to import duty-free

40,000 tons of fresh apples (= 0.4% of EU output)

10,000 tons fresh table grapes (= 0.6% of EU output)

10, 000 tonnes fresh plums (= 0.7% of EU output)

Most of these imports are likely to go to Romania.

MEPs approved the concession by 551 votes to 67, with 23 abstentions.

[December 2 pro-EU parties had around 44% while the opposition had around 40% in parliamentary elections]

Wedged between Ukraine and EU member Romania, Moldova has a breakaway region, Transnistria, which appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin for recognition in April. The government joined Ukraine and Georgia in signing association agreements with the EU in June.

Wedged between Ukraine and EU member Romania, Moldova has a breakaway region, Transnistria, which appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin for recognition in April. The government joined Ukraine and Georgia in signing association agreements with the EU in June.

The United States congratulates the people of Moldova on the November 30 parliamentary elections, another milestone in their nation’s democratic development. The OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) found that the technical conduct of the elections yesterday was in line with international standards and norms. We share ODIHR’s concern with the decision of Moldova’s Central Election Commission to remove one party from the ballot only a few days before the elections.

[earlier]With nearly 80% of votes counted, the three pro-EU parties had around 44% while the opposition had around 40%.

The subsequent inevitable tough bargaining will be watched closely by Russia.

[November 30 Moldova’s central election committee declares elections valid]
With about 30% of the vote counted, the pro-Russian Socialist Party was in the lead with about 23%, election officials said. The main opposition party – the Communist Party – was running a close second with 20%.

The Liberal Democrats, who want Moldova to achieve EU candidate status by 2017 and full membership by 2020. They were polling about 18%.

Its coalition partner, the Democratic Party, was polling about 16%.

The most strongly pro-EU and pro-Nato party, the Liberals, was on about 7%.

Tough post-election bargaining is predicted.

About 2.7 million people are eligible to cast their ballots, electing a single-chamber 101-seat parliament by a system of proportional representation. The turnout was just under 56%.

[Earlier]Moldovans are voting in parliamentary elections November 30. German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Russian President Vladimir Putin in a telephone conversation not to attempt to destabilize Moldova, on March 23.
On March 23, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s top military commander warned that Russia had a “very sizable” force on Ukraine’s eastern border that could easily pass through Ukraine to seize Moldova’s breakaway region of Transnistria.
The Russian annexation of Crimea is threatening to reignite a conflict in an often forgotten corner of Europe: the self-styled breakaway republic of Transnistria.
Transnistria, a thin strip of land sandwiched between Ukraine and the former Soviet republic of Moldova, has close ties with Moscow. Last week lawmakers in the region formally asked the Duma, Russia’s parliament, if it could
Ms. Merkel nonetheless reiterated Germany’s position that it won’t recognize the annexation of Crimea, Mr. Seibert said.
Moldova’s central election committee declared the elections valid with turnout at 39.2 percent of voters as of 3:30 p.m. local time, Interfax reported, citing the body’s chairman, Yury Chokan.

[February 28 MAKO Group’s Oleksandr Yanukovych and deposed president, Viktor Yanukovych have Swiss assets seized, also Austria and Liechtenstein]

In early 2014 Oleksandr Yanukovych personal assets were claimed to be over $500 million

In early 2014 Oleksandr Yanukovych personal assets were claimed to be over $500 million

Geneva’s chief prosecutor’s office searched the premises of a company owned by Oleksander Yanukovych. The Swiss authorities have frozen all assets of Ukraine’s deposed president, Viktor Yanukovych, and launched a money laundering investigation into him and his son.
The foreign ministry said all assets and bank accounts held by Yanukovych and 19 other people of his entourage in Switzerland were blocked

Austria and the principality of Liechtenstein announced a similar asset freeze.

Yanukovych’s MAKO Group of companies (majority shareholder is Oleksandr Yanukovych) was assessed by (auditor) PricewaterhouseCoopers as having $212 million in assets in 2011, grossing $663,000 from sales.[10] (In March 2012 Yanukovych’s net worth was estimated to be at least $130 million by Kyiv Post.[2]) In 2011 time MAKO consisted of 16 enterprises located in Ukraine, Switzerland and the Netherlands and it employed some 700 people in 2011.MAKO Group is primarily involved in property development and construction, banking, and the export of high-grade coal. MAKO started to grow heavily since 2010. Before 2013 the company had denied it has bid for government public procurement contracts, taking part in government privatizations of state assets, or being involved in the extraction of natural resources. In November 2012 Forbes Ukraine reported that companies linked to (Oleksandr) Yanukovych in 2012 at no cost had taken over majority stakes worth an estimated $10 million in five coal enrichment plants from the state.[ This had been denied by Yanukovych; he claimed it was Black PR aimed against his father. As of February 2013 Forbes Ukraine claims (Oleksandr) Yanukovych earned most in Ukrainian Public Procurement contracts then any other businessmen since the beginning of 2012.[12] Forbes.ua reported in February 2014 that in January 2014, for example, his businesses won 50% of all state tenders.
In early 2014 his personal assesses were claimed to be over $500 million