October 23, 2000|
Round Up The Usual Suspects
By John William Tuohy
compiled by John William Tuohy
CYPRUS: According to police, the Cyprus Stock Exchange is under siege by members of organized crime,
A series of bomb attacks in August damaged offices of brokerages in two coastal towns and destroyed the $80,000 car of a prominent trader in the capital.
Justice Minister Nicos Koshis recently said well-known underworld figures have been spotted in an area reserved for investors at the stock market. Some brokers have been approached by gangsters demanding to buy shares, the Association of Brokers has told authorities.
Meanwhile, speculation is rampant that gangsters were buying stocks to launder money earned from drugs and prostitution, though a police investigation was inconclusive.
The FATF, created by the Group of Seven major industrial powers to promote the fight against money laundering, put Liechtenstein on its blacklist in June. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development followed suit and named Liechtenstein among 35 countries that were potential paradises for tax evaders.
The Liechtenstein Banking Association, said assets under management at banks had dipped only slightly in the first half of the year from 114 billion Swiss francs ($66.59 billion) at the end of 1999.
This was despite the fact that association members now require all new clients to be identified so that they cannot remain anonymous and use financial intermediaries like trustees or lawyers to open accounts for them.
The survey predicts an increase in credit card fraud over the Internet, with bogus goods and services increasingly being sold via illegal ``virtual firms.''
E-mail abuse, viruses and hacking will also increase, it warns, with specially tailored software making these crimes easier to commit and a new type of professional criminal, the ``hacker for hire'' emerging.
[It also forecasts a growth in the illegal uploading (copying to) and downloading (copy from) on the Internet, with music, films and games especially vulnerable to this type of copyright infringement.
Finnish authorities said they were on high alert and have already refused entry to over 60 foreign bikers because of criminal backgrounds, Helsinki border control official said.
Hells Angels members are holding their three-day gathering, which is held in a different country each year, at a hunting fortress in Hameenlinna, 60 miles north of Helsinki.
Herranen said both police and border patrols would keep a close eye on the bikers, who have mostly come from European countries but also from the United States, Canada, and New Zealand.
The Hells Angels and rival biker gangs waged a violent and bloody turf war in the mid-1990s in the Nordic countries, but since then crime linked to the group has dropped.
The legal brief filed by the Federal Trade Commission and the state said the sites collected $188 million from 1997 to 1999, according to CNet News.com. Playgirl.com and Highsociety.com are among the defendants in the case.
The lawsuit says those sites and others charged customers' credit cards for accessing areas that were supposed to be free, and some people who hadn't even visited the sites were also slapped with charges.
Michael Pitelis was arrested late Tuesday for allegedly sending threatening e-mails to Parametric Technology Corp. of Waltham, Mass.
Authorities said Pitelis threatened to post a password online that would let anybody use the company's products for free.
The online bank Egg, which has 1.2 million customers and is owned by Prudential, seems to have been the target of the professional hackers.
Details of the break-in remained vague, but the "robbers" are not believed to have taken money from individual accounts.
At least one person attempted to sneak cash out of the country by tightly rolling $100 bills, inserting them into condoms and swallowing them.
The seized cash, the result of a six-week nationwide effort called ``Operation Powerplay,'' was part of a crackdown on money laundering. The operation led to 194 arrests, including people wanted for armed robbery and drug possession, Customs said as it announced the action Thursday.
The ``vast majority of the seized money related to the sale of illegal drugs,'' Customs Commissioner Raymond Kelly told The Associated Press in an interview.
More than half of the cash seized was destined for Mexico, Israel, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Jamaica, Customs said.
Mr. Tuohy can be reached at MobStudy@aol.com
Copyright © 2000 PLR International