This week cast the spotlight on criminals across the globe, as US authorities jailed one of the stars of Netflix’s Tiger King for alleged money laundering; Australia’s top policeman warned of hostile foreign governments enabling organised crime groups in the country; and the UAE arrested the infamous Gupta brothers on money laundering charges.
Find out more on these stories below.
Netflix “Tiger King” documentary star faces money laundering charges in Mexican migrant smuggling racket
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents arrested Bhagavan Mahamayavi "Doc" Antle, who featured in the 2020 Netflix documentary “Tiger King”, along with one of his employees, Andrew Jon “Omar” Sawyer, on Friday the 3rd of June 2022.
Antle remained in jail over the weekend, and on Monday the 6th the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that he and Sawyer faced federal charges of laundering $500,000 (£398,700) in proceeds from a scheme which smuggled illegal Mexican immigrants into the USA.
Federal prosecutors alleged that the pair created false cheques between Antle’s tropical wildlife reserve, Myrtle Beach Safari, in South Carolina, and a business owned by Sawyer for non-existent construction work on the 50-acre property over four months. It was said that the cheques provided them with the guise of a legitimate income, when in fact the funds were the proceeds of the migrant-smuggling operation. Prosecutors also alleged that Antle spoke of inflating tourist numbers to his premises to explain away the additional income and had previously used similar methods to purchase animals.
Antle is no stranger to controversy, having previously been accused of animal cruelty violations. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) welcomed the arrest in a statement which noted that “for decades, Doc Antle has rivalled P.T. Barnum in exploiting the defenceless for his own financial gain.”
Read more on this story at Sky News.
Australian Federal Police chief warns global law enforcement body of hostile governments supporting criminal syndicates in the country
On Wednesday 8th June the Australian Federal Police Commissioner, Reece Kershaw, made the shock announcement that hostile foreign governments are enabling organised crime groups (OCGs) to traffic drugs and launder money in Australia. The revelation came at a meeting of the Five Eyes Law Enforcement Group (FELEG) in Sydney, of which he is the incumbent chairperson and which is made up of US, Canadian, New Zealand, and UK officials, in Sydney.
He said that some Australia-based OCGs had relocated their operations offshore to avoid detection, sometimes abetted by the governments of hostile states. He added that transnational serious and organised crime groups are able to exploit foreign countries with lax chemical and financial market controls, while still targeting Australia as a destination to peddle drugs and launder the proceeds.
Although he declined to name specific states, he was emphatic in his view that “We cannot ignore that some countries are producing [drug] precursors at an eye-watering scale [and] that some countries… are turning a blind eye to the proceeds of crime washing through their economies."
Read more on this story at ABC.
UAE authorities arrest Gupta brothers in Dubai to face South African corruption and money laundering charges
The arrests were made in accordance with an Interpol red notice issued in March 2022 and on behalf of South African authorities, who want the pair extradited to face charges pertaining to their role in the alleged during the rule of South African ex-President, Jacob Zuma.
The South African Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services acknowledged that their UAE counterparts had informed them of the arrests, and that several law enforcement agencies were discussing next steps. Spokesperson Chrispin Phiri added that “the South African Government will continue to co-operate with the UAE.”
The UAE Minister of Justice, Abdullah bin Sultan bin Awad Al Nuaimi, explained that the arrests were made after a co-operative effort between the Dubai police and Public Prosecution services and the UAE MOJ, and that an extradition request process is underway.
He added that “the UAE does not rest in preventing international financial crime. The arrest of Rajesh Gupta and Atul Gupta, two individuals wanted by South Africa and pursuant to Interpol’s international Red Notice request, is the latest example of our commitment and sustained efforts to combat illicit finance.”
Read more on this story at Arabian Business.
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