Thursday, 30 October 2014

Sri Lankans swindled in the Seychelles

Many Sri Lankans have reportedly been swindled in the Seychelles by two persons namely Robert Piksa and Marco L Francis of Seychelles.

They have allegedly cheated many Sri Lankan businessmen promising deals in the Seychelles and obtaining funds, starting from exporting fish to Sri Lanka, opening up offshore companies and bank accounts for money laundering were some of the rackets the duo were allegedly involved in.

Robert Piksa a Czech Republic citizen has reportedly cheated many people around the globe starting from Europe, Thailand, Russia and now Sri Lanka and is on the verge of getting de ported from the Seychelles.
It is learnt that he pretends to be the consultant of the Czech prime minister and has cheated Sri Lankan businessmen in various deals mainly in exporting fish.

A senior official at the Bank of Ceylon Seychelles branch has reportedly fallen prey to Robert Piksa’s wheeler dealings.

The official from the Bank of Ceylon Seychelles branch had reportedly started business with Piksa in exporting fish to Sri Lanka as well as working on money laundering businesses with Robert and his partner Marco L Francis.

According to reports, Marco L Francis a prominent figure in the Seychelles and the president of the Seychelles chamber of commerce is one of the main culprits in forming offshore companies and bank accounts for money laundering and providing illegal dealing for rouge companies around the world and Sri Lankan politicos.

With Marco L Francis position in the Seychelles chamber it has been easy for the duo to promote themselves in attracting foreigners (Local Sri Lankans) to send them money with no agreement but only on trust to start off businesses.

Rober Piksa had always been the front end and Marco playing a silent role from the back to make sure the investors money dossiers.

It’s also understood that Peter Sinon the Minister of Natural resources and Fisheries of Seychelles a very close friend of Robert Piksa has ‎promoted Piska by attending business meetings with the businessmen from Sri Lanka and other countries to give more confidence in trusting the duo and going in to partnerships.
We will continue to update on any new developments in this regard.

http://lankaherald.com/2014/10/30/sri-lankans-swindled-in-the-seychelles/

Friday, 24 October 2014

Choppergate: CBI may seek info from Singapore, Seychelles

Abhishek Sharan, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, October 24, 2014
First Published: 22:58 IST(24/10/2014) | Last Updated: 23:03 IST(24/

The CBI, which is probing receipt of alleged kickbacks in the Rs. 3,600 crore VVIP AgustaWestland deal, is likely to send Letters Rogatory (LR) to authorities in Singapore and Seychelles to seek details regarding certain monetary transactions under its scanner. The Seychelles and Singapore connections have emerged in the probe for the first time.

“The probe has taken under its scanner certain transactions from an accused Tunisian firm to an intermediary firm in Mauritius, which in turn, routed the funds to a few other firms based in the same country as well as in Singapore and Seychelles,” said a CBI source. The alleged transactions were done through banks located in Port Louis in Mauritius, Victoria in Seychelles and in Singapore, said the source.

The details, once procured, would help in determining the nature of the transactions, said the source. The CBI has already requested, via LRs, authorities in United Kingdom, Italy, Tunisia and Mauritius details on the money-trail but is yet to get a response.

An Italian court recently handed out a two-year jail term to former Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi and its UK-based subsidiary AgustaWestland’s former boss Bruno Spagnolini for falsifying invoices, but cleared them of the more serious corruption charges in the deal.

http://www.hindustantimes.com

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Dirty Money routed through Singapore, Seychelles?


Evidence collected by Indian investigating agencies into the AgustaWestland helicopter deal reveals that kickbacks into the country were routed through a circuitous financial network involving countries like Singapore and Seychelles. For the first time a Seychelles connection has surfaced in the multi-crore helicopter deal.

Sources said both Central probe agencies CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) are planning to send judicial requests to authorities concerned in Singapore and Seychelles to get details about certain firms based there. Sources said the CBI is preparing to examine some more private persons in connection with its probe into the deal. The ED is planning to send judicial requests to about six countries in this regard, they added.
The ED recently arrested a businessman Gautam Khaitan in connection with the case. Investigations by the agency revealed that Mr Khaitan had allegedly helped the Anglo-Italian defence manufacturer in facilitating the transfer of kickbacks, approximately 2.16 million Euros, to India. It has also been revealed that Mr Khaitan allegedly introduced European middlemen Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschke to Satish Bagrodia and Pratap K. Aggarwal, chairman and managing director respectively of the suspected firm IDS Infotech Ltd (India).

Indian investigators, sources said, suspects the route of stash funds to have originated from Italy and routed through Mauritius, Tunisia, Singapore and Seychelles to India. Mr Khaitan was on the board of Chandigarh-based Aero-matrix and he had resigned from the post after the Italian police started its probe into the chopper deal in 2012. The firm is allegedly a front company for the financial dealings of the copter deal. The ED on July 4 had booked former IAF Chief S.P. Tyagi and 12 others under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in the helicopter deal case.

 http://www.asianage.com/india/money-routed-through-singapore-seychelles-807

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Who's Running The Show?


Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture, led a one-day working visit to Paris to meet with French tour operators and members of the press. Minister St.Ange was accompanied on this working visit by Captain David Savy, the Chairman of the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA), and Mr. Manoj Papa, the CEO of Air Seychelles.
In Paris, the Seychelles Minister and his delegation were joined by Bernadette Willemin, the Seychelles Tourism Board's Paris-based Director for Europe; the island's Marketing Executive, Christine Vel; and Jennifer Dupuy. Air Seychelles' Justin Gosling and Christine Ozouf were also present at the meeting when Minister Alain St.Ange announced that Air Seychelles would, with immediate effect, operate its two weekly flights between Paris and Seychelles with only a technical stop in Abu Dhabi where passengers now remain on board the plane during the short stop.
"We can today announce that Seychelles has negotiated with Abu Dhabi for our flights to be authorized to make technical stops only in Abu Dhabi on the way to Seychelles. Tour operators from France have been requesting that their passengers traveling to Seychelles do not disembark during the transit stop in Abu Dhabi. The point was made that families with children were not happy with having to disembark and go through the security procedures before re-embarking on the plane. The same applied to the elderly passengers. Today we can confirm that we had heard the message and that the Abu Dhabi authorities had accepted to make an exception for the Air Seychelles flights to and from Paris and also Hong Kong," Minister St.Ange said.
The Seychelles Minister also explained the refocusing by Seychelles on tourism as the pillar of the island's economy with an inter-ministerial meeting with members of the tourism private sector and Chamber of Commerce and Industries where the challenges being faced by the industry are tabled, analyzed, and necessary actions proposed. This inter-ministerial meeting is being chaired by the island's Vice President Faure. Minister St.Ange also spoke about a separate committee instigated by President James Michel of the Seychelles that regroups the Ministers of Finance, Transport, and Tourism to analyze coordinated approaches to marketing and air access.
Also addressing the Paris tourism meeting were Captain David Savy and Mr. Manoj Papa. Both said that Air Seychelles had answered the call made by French tour operators and that this was but the first step to direct non-stop flights in the future. "We need to work together to stimulate the market and get numbers growing so that the island's national airline can in due course consider direct flights," they both said.

http://www.eturbonews.com/51584/seychelles-announces-details-flights-and-paris

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Was Mancham Under Pressure from Rene to Remove USAF Tracking Station?


1. SEYCHELLES CHIEF MINISTER JAMES MANCHAM STOPPED BY EMBASSY LONDON ON HIS RETURN TRIP FROM A CONFERENCE ON TOURISM IN MEXICO IN ORDER TO EXPRESS CERTAIN CONCERNS HE HAD ABOUT FUTURE OF U.S.-SEYCHELLES RELATIONS. HE HAD CALLED AT FCO TO DISCUSS UK AND US RELATIONS AND WAS REFERRED TO US ON LATTER. HIS CONCERN IS FOCUSED ON WHAT HE REGARDS AS A DETERIORATION OF THE PUBLIC RELATIONS ASPECT OF THE USAF TRACKING STATION OPERATION IN SEYCHELLES, EXACERBATED BY THE IMPENDING TERMINATION OF THE PL-480 SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM IN THE SEYCHELLES. THIS PROGRAM IS LOOKED UPON IN THE SEYCHELLES AS BEING PART OF THE "QUID" FOR SEYCHELLOIS PUBLIC ACCEPTANCE OF THE TRACKING STATION. 2. MANCHAM OUTLINED THE HISTORY OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE AMERICAN PERSONNEL AT THE STATION AND THE GENERAL POPULATION SINCE THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE TRACK- ING STATION IN 1966. HE SAID THAT IN THE EARLY DAYS THERE SEEMED TO BE A DETERMINED EFFORT ON THE PART OF THE AMERICANS TO CREATE A GOOD IMAGE AND HAPPY RELATIONS CONFIDENTIAL CONFIDENTIAL PAGE 02 LONDON 13342 141941Z WITH THE PEOPLE.

HOWEVER, OF LATE IT HAS APPEARED TO HIM AND TO THE PUBLIC AT LARGE THAT THE AMERICANS ARE TAKING THE SEYCHELLOIS FOR GRANTED. THERE HAVE BEEN NO SERIOUS INCIDENTS BUT NOTHING POSITIVE HAS BEEN DONE LATELY TO FOSTER GOOD RELATIONS BETWEEN THE AMERICANS AND THE POPULATION OF THE ISLANDS. MANCHAM SAID THAT CUTTING OFF THE PL-480 PROGRAM WOULD AFFECT SOME 8,600 PEOPLE, 4,500 OF THEM PRE-SCHOOL CHILDREN WHO DEPEND ALMOST ENTIRELY ON THE FOOD PROGRAM FOR THEIR LUNCHES AND SUPPLEMENTS TO THEIR DIET. WHEN PL-480 ENDS, THE FAMILIES WHO HAVE BENEFITED FROM IT WILL HAVE TO BUY ADDITIONAL FOOD AT VERY HIGH PRICES. TO MAKE THE PROBLEM WORSE, THE SEYCHELLES HAS UNTIL THIS YEAR DEPENDED ON THAILAND FOR ITS STAPLE FOOD SUPPLY, RICE, BUT THAILAND IS NOW UNABLE TO MEET THE SEYCHELLES REQUIREMENTS AND THEY HAVE BEEN FORCED TO BUY INFERIOR RICE FROM EGYPT AT THREE TIMES THE OLD PRICE. 3. THE PROBLEM FOR MANCHAM IS A POLITICAL ONE AS THE OPPOSITION, WHICH FAVORS INDEPENDENCE, IS NOW CALLING ATTENTION TO THE CHANGE IN THE AMERICAN ATTITUDE AND THE LOSS OF FOOD SUPPLIES. MANCHAM SAID IT WOULD BE BETTER FROM A POLITICAL POINT OF VIEW HAD WE NEVER ESTABLISHED THE PL-480 PROGRAM. THIS SITUATION IS WORSENED BY THE REALIZATION OF THE SEYCHELLOIS THAT THE WEALTHY AMERICANS PAY NO TAXES AND CAN IMPORT ANYTHING THEY WANT ON A DUTY FREE BASIS. ON A SMALL ISLAND, THIS DISPARITY BETWEEN LOCALS AND AMERICANS IS PAINFULLY OBVIOUS. 4. WHEN ASKED IF HE HAD TALKED TO ANY AMERICAN OFFICIALS IN THIS VEIN PREVIOUSLY, MANCHAM SAID THAT HE HAD NOT. HE HAD THOUGHT OF STOPPING BY WASHINGTON ON HIS WAY BACK FROM MEXICO BUT DECIDED THAT BECAUSE OF THE CURRENT PREOCCUPATIONS THERE, HE MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO MAKE CONTACT WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE. ALTHOUGH USAID OFFICER SHERMAN FROM NAIROBI HAS BEEN TO THE SEYCHELLES TO INFORM OFFICIALS OF THE TERMINATION OF THE PL-480 PROGRAM AT THE END OF THIS FISCAL YEAR, THERE HAVE BEEN NO DISCUSSIONS BETWEEN SEYCHELLOIS OFFICIALS AND EMBASSY NAIROBI OFFICERS CONCERNING THE POLITICAL IMPACT OF THIS ACTION. WE DESCRIBED TO MANCHAM REASONS WHY PL-480 HAD BEEN DRASTICALLY CURTAILED ON A WORLDWIDE BASIS. HE SEEMED TO APPRECIATE THIS POINT BUT WAS PLEADING FOR CONFIDENTIAL CONFIDENTIAL PAGE 03 LONDON 13342 141941Z SOME SORT OF GESTURE FROM THE UNITED STATES WHICH WOULD ENABLE THE SEYCHELLES GOVERNMENT TO MAKE THE CONTINUED PRESENCE OF THE TRACKING STATION POLITICALLY ACCEPTABLE. WE PROMISED TO CONVEY HIS VIEWS TO WASHINGTON AND NAIROBI. ANNENBERG CONFIDENTIAL

Source:  Wikileaks

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Egyptian court upholds death penalty imposed on three Seychelles nationals


The highest Court of Appeal in Egypt has upheld the death penalty imposed on three Seychellois nationals convicted of drug trafficking, the Seychelles Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) says it has learnt today.
In a press statement issued this afternoon, MFA said the three men who are currently being detained in Egypt’s Qena prison have lost their appeal against the death sentence imposed on them last year.
Ronny Norman Jean, Yvon John Vinda and Dean Dominic Loze were sentenced to death by execution on April 7, 2013, the sentence was confirmed on June 3, 2013.
Ever since the death sentence was imposed on the three Seychellois nationals, the Seychelles government had been appealing to the Egyptian government to commute their sentences to life imprisonment.
“Although it is the government’s policy to respect the sovereignty and judicial process in other countries, it nevertheless upholds the rights of its citizens to a fair trial. To this end, whilst reassuring the Egyptian authorities of its “zero tolerance” policy against drug trafficking, the Government wrote in 2013 to the Egyptian to appeal for a fair trial and the avoidance of capital punishment which does not exist in our legal system,” reads the MFA statement issued this afternoon.
“In the same vein, the Government took all measures practical and feasible to ensure that the Seychellois obtained the required legal and consular representation.”
The decision made known today implies that execution orders will now follow. However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not specify if a date had been set for the sentence to be applied.
Executions are usually carried out by hanging in Egypt.
In spite of the recent development the archipelago’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs have made known the government’s intention to continue negotiating with the Egyptian authorities on the matter.
“…..the Government is not relenting in its efforts to pursue all possible diplomatic and legal avenues in consultation with the Egyptian authorities to avert the death penalty,” concludes the MFA statement.
The three Seychellois men were arrested on April 22, 2011 by the Egyptian police onboard a boat near the Red Sea coastal town of Marsa Alam. They were together with a British national identified as Charles Raymond Ferndale, who is said to be the owner of the vessel and another Pakistani national.
They were accused and charged for attempting to smuggle three tonnes of hashish, worth almost £3million, in 118 bags into Egypt.
It is believed that the drugs found in the South African flagged vessel originated from Pakistan.
All five men were sentenced to death, but the Pakistani national was said to have fled the scene and was sentenced in absentia.

http://www.el-balad.com/1193559

How Much Wealth Are Our Wealthiest Hiding?

Tax havens like the Seychelles Islands are helping our super rich annually evade hundreds of billions in taxes.
Almost everyone knows how Al Capone went down. We’ve seen the movies.
The biggest and baddest gangster in American history extorted and murdered for years. But the feds could never convict him on anything, until the green eyeshade guys went to work. They finally nabbed Capone — on income tax evasion.
The moral of this story? Even the most ruthless of our richest can’t hide what the federal government really wants to find.
We need the green eyeshades back on the job. Today’s wealthy have taken tax evasion to a level that old Scarface never dared imagine. Their network of offshore tax havens is now hiding a significant share of the world’s wealth.

How much are the mega rich hiding offshore? Independent analysts have been working to pin that figure down. The most recent — and statistically robust — of these estimates comes from the young London School of Economics analyst Gabriel Zucman, a protégé of the widely heralded French economist Thomas Piketty.
Zucman has zeroed in on what he calls the “anomalies” of international financial record-keeping. His prime example: the “residence principle.”
In theory, this notion works simply. Say, for instance, that a French national holds a $1 million investment in U.S. financial securities. Financial records, under the residence principle, are supposed to record this $1 million as an asset for France and a liability for the United States.
At the end of the day, these assets and liabilities should balance out globally. But they don’t. Not even close. Why not? The wealthy are stashing a growing share of their wealth in tax haven banks that don’t, Zucman notes, “automatically report the investment income earned by their clients to tax authorities.”
In effect, the economist relates, we’re living in a world where taxes on our wealthy can only be collected if these wealthy “self-declare their income.” Ever fewer do.
Zucman’s virtuoso statistical sleuthing ends up concluding that the global super rich — deep pockets who typically hold over $50 million in assets — had stashed, as of 2008, $7.6 trillion in offshore tax havens, about 8 percent of total global personal financial wealth.
About 80 percent of this offshore wealth, Zucman calculates, goes undeclared to tax authorities. Declaring that income — and paying a taxes due on it — would add, Zucman estimates, over $200 billion annually to global tax collections.
Zucman emphasizes that his figures only cover financial wealth. His calculations do not cover the huge sums the ultra rich have parked in jewels or fine art or luxury real estate.
Helping the wealthy hide their wealth, financial and otherwise, has become an astonishingly lucrative business opportunity for bankers and barristers the world over. Most all major global banks, including American giants like JPMorgan Chase, have subsidiaries in the world’s top tax havens.
This lucrative, tax-evading universe occasionally surfaces out of the opaque accounting depths. One story broke late last month when a federal judge sentenced powerhouse Illinois lawyer Paul Daugerdas to 15 years behind bars for a two-decade-long fraud that saved his wealthy clients $1.6 billion in taxes.
Those clients ranged from an early investor in Microsoft to the late oil billionaire Lamar Hunt, one of the most powerful owners in professional sports.
For his services, Daugerdas personally pocketed $97 million.
“This case shows the astonishing lengths some super-wealthy Americans will go to avoid their obligation as citizens,” U.S. district court judge William Pauley fumed at the sentencing. “Mr. Daugerdas was a tax shelter racketeer who tapped into the incredible greed of some of the country’s wealthy.”
A new tax law provision that went into effect July 1 could make life for Daugerdas and his colleagues more difficult. Or at least IRS officials hope so.
The 2010 passage of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act gave these officials the regulatory wherewithal to level stronger sanctions against foreign banks that play footsie with wealthy American tax cheats. As of this month, the heart of the law goes fully into effect: Foreign banks must now report the accounts of U.S. citizens that total over $50,000.
About 70 nations have so far agreed to abide by the new Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act reporting requirements, many without much enthusiasm.
Other nations — tax havens like the Seychelles, an island nation in the Indian Ocean — remain defiant. They see the new law as an ideal opportunity to boost their global market share in tax-evasion services.
Financial operators in the Seychelles specialize in creating “shell companies” that help their wealthy clients conceal their fortunes. They take a fee for every company created.
“The British Virgin Islands registers 30,000 companies a year,” Paul Chow, a former member of the Seychellois parliament, boasted recently to a visiting journalist. “We are at about 11,000. We are catching up.”
The United States has in the past, of course, invaded islands with less “just cause” than the tax-evasion enablers in the Seychelles are now providing. But the United States wouldn’t have to invade anybody to end the tax evading ways of America’s rich. A serious squeeze on their financial industry enablers — a series of sophisticated, high-profile sting operations, for starters — would do.
That squeeze ought to go hand-in-glove with financial wealth reporting reforms that could set the stage for a still bolder step, a global tax on excessive wealth.
“With the right policies,” as Gabriel Zucman puts it, “this trend in rising wealth concentration could end pretty soon, sooner than we believe.”
 By Sam Pizzigati
By Sam Pizzigati
http://inequality.org/wealth-wealthiest-hiding/