Gibraltars Offshore gambling sites on the Internet have revolutionized the sports betting industry

Gibraltars Offshore gambling sites on the Internet have revolutionized the sports betting industry. The offshore betting sites compete for the bettors’ money, and are constantly improving consumer services

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

British-registered bookmaker has been searched three times by police in connection with the largest criminal match-fixing inquiry ever undertaken in Europe

The searches were conducted by City of London police at the request of German police as part of an ongoing investigation following a huge European match-fixing ring uncovered by criminal authorities in Bochum.
Officers searched the Wembley offices of Samvo Entertainment Limited, a Hong-Kong controlled bookmaking and gaming group, for the first time in November 2009. A second search followed a year later and the most recent was four weeks ago.
The Bochum investigation has seen six members of a match-fixing operation convicted for their part in the suspected manipulation of more than 300 club and international matches. Ante Sapina, the Croatian leader of the operation, was jailed for 5½ years.
German investigators are investigating whether some of the bets placed on fixed matches were channelled via accounts registered with Samvo, and if employees of the company may have personally placed bets on behalf of a match-fixing gang.
Samvo denies any wrongdoing and says it has co-operated with the police in the UK and Germany throughout the investigation.

The latest raid on Samvo came after Sapina was convicted at the end of May. City police are understood to have removed documentation from the Samvo offices and passed the information to their German counterparts. No arrests were made during the searches and the British authorities are not conducting a separate investigation.
City of London police confirmed to The Daily Telegraph that they conducted the searches under warrants requested by the German authorities, but declined to comment further.
Samvo said yesterday that it had co-operated with the police investigation, and denied that its employees were linked to offences exposed by the German authorities.
Samvo is licensed by gambling regulators in Alderney, the Dutch Antilles and the UK, where it is regulated by the Gambling Commission.
David Miller, the company’s senior marketing manager, told The Daily Telegraph it is compliant with all three regulators.
“Throughout the investigation of Sapina, Samvo has provided its full support to the City of London Police and to the German Authorities,” he said via email.
“I can confirm that no employee of Samvo has been implicated in any of the offences for which Sapina and the other defendants in the German court proceedings have been found guilty. Any accounts which were identified by the German Authorities as being potentially connected to the activities of Sapina or the other defendants were promptly suspended by Samvo and any monies held in those accounts were frozen and were transferred to the German Court.’’
Samvo is a gaming and betting company that describes itself on its website as a “global investment company” focused “on the areas of pleasure and leisure”. It claims to be “one of the largest licensed betting brokers in the world”, and describes its sports betting arm as “a very exclusive betting service” catering to “an extremely niche market”.
The company is owned and controlled by Shung Fai ‘Frank’ Chan, a Hong Kong businessman and politician who sits on the Hong Kong North District Council.
The company recorded a turnover of £31 million in 2009, and lists three other directors of Chinese extraction, according to its most recently published accounts. It is ultimately owned by a company registered in the Cayman Islands.
The police action in relation to Samvo emphasises the international reach of match-fixing operations. Fifa investigators also believe that London may be a conduit for illegal betting.
Earlier this year The Daily Telegraph revealed that Wilson Raj Perumal, a Singaporean currently on trial for manipulating club games in Finland and linked to suspected fixed international games, operated for six months from a London flat, yards from Wembley.
Chris Eaton, Fifa’s head of security, said: “I firmly believe that while match-fixing is a truly global threat, many of the financial trails will ultimately lead back to London, because of its role as the financial centre of Europe.”
Eaton is leading a clampdown on suspected match-fixing, and has identified suspicious activities in international and club football throughout Asia, Europe and South and Central America.
Fifa is investigating a number of internationals, including Nigeria’s recent friendly with Argentina, and matches staged in Turkey and Sharjah.
“We are seeing an explosion of suspected match-fixing activity around the world that is emerging because the criminal gangs involved know that we are very active and are trying hard to squeeze them out,’’ he said. ‘‘I firmly believe that we can win this battle.”


First Moroccan F-16 pilots to complete training in Arizona

In July, the Kingdom of Morocco, a strategic partner for U.S. forces in North Africa, will become the 25th country to own and operate F-16 Fighting Falcons. The pilots tapped to fly them are scheduled to finish training here in time to bring them home, July 30.

Four Royal Moroccan Air Force officers, former F-5 pilots, will conclude 15 months of rigorous instruction at the 162nd Fighter Wing; the international F-16 training unit at Tucson International Airport.

They are the first from their country to accomplish consecutive courses in basic qualification, flight lead upgrade and instructor pilot certification in the multi-role fighter.

A handful of Air National Guard pilots will accompany them as they deliver the first four of Morocco's 24-aircraft purchase. The new planes, block 52 versions of the fighter, will be fresh off the assembly line and are a considerable step up in technology from the third generation fighters Morocco currently flies.

"We are modernizing our fleet and we've chosen the F-16, not only because it is a high-quality airplane, but also because of the close relationship we have with the United States," said Deputy Inspector of the Royal Moroccan Air Force, Brig. Gen. Abdelali Houari.

"We are really happy to send our pilots here to be trained. After a year and a half in the United States our pilots are happy, of course they want to return home, but they have gained a lot of experience here with the Arizona Air National Guard."

Lt. Col. Steve Haase, the Morocco program manager for the 162nd, worked with the RMAF for the last three years. He's trained fighter pilots from all over the world and fully understands the scope of the students' historic accomplishment.

"It's all them," he said. "It's a big commitment to be the first F-16 pilots for Morocco. It's a testament to their positive attitude and work ethic. They are excited about the F-16 and its capabilities yet they understand how much work there will be to build up an F-16 base."

As students, the pilots averaged three sorties per week and accumulated more than 150 F-16 hours each. Once home, they will not only be responsible for training others, but will also be instrumental in standing up F-16 operations at Ben Guerir Air Base.

It's a former U.S. air base located about 36 miles north of Marrakech and once served as a transatlantic abort landing site for the space shuttle. It's currently undergoing upgrades that, according to Moroccan officials, are modeled after U.S. Air Force bases.

"These are the best F-5 instructor pilots from their air force. They think the way we think," Colonel Haase said. "They have really shown that they want to learn how we [the U.S.] operate with the F-16 so they can do it the same way - not just flying, but everything from maintenance to logistics."

Six additional Moroccan pilots are currently in the basic F-16 course in Tucson with graduation planned for September. They too will return home to help manage Morocco's growing F-16 fleet.

It's unclear if more student pilots from Morocco will train in Tucson; however, according to Colonel Haase, the 162nd stands ready.

"Every country is very different, that's what's so fascinating for instructor pilots here," said the colonel. "We get to know these guys on a personal level and establish trust with them. Training capable fighter pilots and fostering relationships along the way is what this is all about."

Since 1989, the 162nd has trained with virtually every nation that flies the F-16. In addition to Morocco, the wing currently trains with pilots from Singapore, Norway, Belgium, Chile, the Republic of Korea, and the Netherlands.


Tourists upset Barbary macaque monkeys

The most innocuous interactions with tourists can upset endangered Barbary macaques, say scientists.

A study revealed that macaques at a site regularly visited by tourists showed signs of anxiety when people got too close, fed them or tried to attract their attention for a photograph.

The scientists monitored the monkeys' behaviour and also tested the animals' droppings for stress hormones.

The results are published in the journal Biological Conservation.

"There's been a lot of interest, recently, in tourism and how it affects wild animal populations," explained Dr Stuart Semple, a scientist who specialises in the study of primates at the University of Roehampton in London, UK.

Like humans, macaques fidget and scratch when nervous
"But while there are studies that show tourism does affect animal behaviour, we've tried to look at it much more directly, and to actually measure their levels of anxiety."

Laetitia Marechal, also from Roehampton, led the study.

She and her colleagues studied 50 days of tourist-monkey interactions at Ifrane National Park in the Middle Atlas Mountains of Morocco.

A population of macaques here has become habituated to the regular visits of tourists for at least five years.

"The more tourists there were, the more anxious the macaques would become," said Dr Semple.

"Just like humans, macaques scratch themselves when they're nervous or anxious, so we use this [scratching behaviour] as a measure of their level of anxiety."

The researchers divided the interactions into three categories: feeding; neutral, which included taking photographs of the monkeys; and aggression, including the less common incidences of tourists throwing things at the macaques or physically striking them.

"All three types of interactions seemed to make the monkeys anxious," said Dr Semple.

Being too close can make macaques feel anxious
"We were unsuprised by the aggression and the feeding, but we were surprised that tourists doing the usual tourist thing upset the animals."

The next stage of the study looked for chemical evidence of stress in the macaques' droppings.

"We collected fecal samples and measured the levels of stress hormones in them," explained Dr Semple. "When you become anxious, your body doesn't necessarily become physically stressed, so this was an important measurement."

The results suggested that only the aggressive interactions with tourists cause the monkeys to become physically stressed. But Dr Semple says that, for the well-being of these intelligent animals, tourists should avoid making them nervous or anxious.

"It would be very straightforward to develop some general guidelines," he told BBC Nature. "For example, not allowing tourists to get too close to the animals and asking people to keep noise levels down a little bit. Just a few simple things.

"This could actually make the experience [of viewing wildlife] much better for people as they would be able to enjoy the animals as they behaved in a much more natural way."


Saturday, 25 June 2011

Rothstein's right-hand woman Villegas begins prison sentence

Debra Villegas was Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein's most trusted lieutenant, at his side for 17 years.

She was so loyal to him that, on Friday, she followed him into federal prison.

In the boomtime of the Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm in downtown Fort Lauderdale, Villegas' power was unalloyed — Rothstein made it abundantly clear to his 70 lawyers and support staff that orders from her were tantamount to orders from him.

Now, Villegas' fleeting trappings of success are gone: The nearly half-million dollar home in a Weston gated community, a gift from Rothstein that he conveyed to her with "love and affection"; and her $100,000 Maserati – also a gift – that was auctioned off by the government a year ago.

Her new domicile, effective Friday, is the minimum-security federal prison camp outside the Central Florida city of Coleman, northwest of Orlando. She beat her noon surrender deadline by 11 minutes, said Bureau of Prisons spokesman Chris Burke.

"She is going to be booked into the institution. She is going to be interviewed for any social issues, any medical issues, any psychological issues," Burke said. "She is going to be searched visually. Most of her property is going to be taken away from her. She will be changed out into our prison uniform. Typically it is green cotton pants and a green cotton, button-up shirt."

The booking process involves being fingerprinted and photographed, Burke said. Villegas will be assigned to a bed, typically in a two- or four-person cubicle setting with shoulder high walls, he said. Once she completes her orientation, she will be assigned a job to perform for about seven hours a day.

"It varies from sweeping floors to chopping onions," Burke said.

For now, Villegas is facing 10 years behind bars. She hopes her extensive cooperation with the FBI and IRS agents in their wide-reaching investigation into Rothstein's $1.4 billion investment fraud will eventually significantly reduce that prison term.

Her attorney, Robert Stickney, said Villegas will continue to aid investigators from the lockup.

"We are cooperating all the way through," he said. "She can continue her cooperation from any location."

Villegas, 44, pleaded guilty last year to forging signatures on phony legal settlements and laundering money coming into the Rothstein law firm's bank accounts. The judge gave her the maximum sentence, but she had remained free until Friday while she cooperated. She married and moved to a bucolic home in Clewiston.

Four other former Rothstein associates have pleaded guilty in recent weeks to a charge of conspiring to commit wire fraud and face up to five years in prison. They include Howard Kusnick, a former Rothstein law partner; Stephen Caputi, Rothstein's partner in the Café Iguana nightclub in Pembroke Pines; and two of the now defunct law firm's computer specialists, Curtis Renie and William J. Corte.

Rothstein himself is serving a 50-year federal prison sentence at an undisclosed location. He has become the subject of a tug-of-war between bankruptcy attorneys, prosecutors and lawyers for victims of the fraud.

The bankruptcy lawyers and the others want Rothstein temporarily released from prison for a deposition, but prosecutors say that would endanger a forthcoming indictment of more of Rothstein's co-conspirators. A judge is scheduled to take up the complex issues surrounding that legal fight next week.


Thursday, 23 June 2011

The new Mayor has been quick to remove the evidence of her predecessor's plans to charge a toll to reach Gibraltar

The new Socialist, PA and IU Ayuntamiento in La Linea on Tuesday started to remove the bollards put down by the previous PP Mayor, Alejandro Sánchez, as part of his failed plans to charge a toll on traffic crossing the municipality to get into Gibraltar.

The new Socialist Mayor, Gemma Araujo, thus did away with the so-called ‘congestion charge’ which had generated hostility on both sides of the border.
‘With this initiative the new administration has carried out an approach to calm coexistence with the neighbouring population of Gibraltar’, she said.
‘For this government an improvement in relations with Gibraltar is fundamental’.

If you haven’t been following the coverage of John Galliano’s public insult trial in Paris, you’ve been missing out.

If you haven’t been following the coverage of John Galliano’s public insult trial in Paris, you’ve been missing out. Over the course of the day, Galliano, his accusers and their various lawyers have been painting perhaps the clearest picture of what fueled Galliano’s racist outburst and what led him to it: Misguided attempts to escape the pressure of his work at Dior and the sadness and depression that came as a result of the death of his partner Stephen Robinson led him to combine alcohol with Valium and sleeping pills. Galliano told the court that it was the “lethal” combination of these substances, not racism, that caused his downfall.
Galliano’s lawyer Aurelien Hamelle ushered the embattled designer into a stuffy courtroom at the Palais de Justice in Paris after the presiding judge read out the list of insults Galliano was accused of using on the night of February 24. Galliano, dressed very simply in a black blazer and shirt, said he didn’t remember saying any of the things on the list, and told the court, “I have an addiction. I am a recovering alcoholic, a recovering addict.”
The designer faced the judge squarely and told her he started drinking heavily in 2007, when the world economy began to collapse in on itself. The pressure to perform was greater than ever, and when Galliano succeeded, he celebrated. “After every creative high, I would crash, and alcohol helped me escape,” he said.
His accusers, Geraldine Bloch and Philip Virgiti testified, too, saying that Galliano insulted everything about them when they sat next to him on the terrace at La Perle — Bloch told the judge that Galliano “touched my hair and said it was shit.” Virgiti admitted that they thought he was a homeless man, and that they were told to leave because the owner was friends with him. (The owner denied this claim, saying that Galliano came to La Perle at most twice a year.)
While both of the accusers reiterated that he called Bloch a string of anti-Semitic and other “gratuitous insults,” but at least one eyewitness told the court she didn’t hear Galliano say anything anti-Semitic (although he definitely called her a “bitch”). The same witness did, however, hear Galliano tell Virgiti “don’t touch me you and your fucking Asian family.”
Yet another witness revealed that the two not only stuck around to talk to the police, they ordered another round of drinks. “Perhaps they wanted it to continue?” the witness asked. But the actual harassment didn’t seem to be as problematic for them as the media backlash that came after they complained to the police. Virgiti told the court people had been attacking him online, and Bloch has been hounded by reporters and followed around when she leaves her home.
After a few more eye witnesses told the court various versions of what happened that night (and on the night of October 8, when the now-famous “I love Hitler” video was recorded), Galliano gave his apology, saying that he fought against “prejudice, intolerance and discrimination” his entire life, as he was subjected to it for being gay at an early age. He demonstrated his love for all people, he said, when he invited Shaolin monks (yes, Shaolin monks) to perform at one of his shows in 2003, and when he lived with a Masai tribe in Africa.
“These are not the sentiments of John Galliano,” he said. “I do not have these views and I have never held them.”
Galliano said he has not worked since leaving Dior, choosing instead to focus on his recovery. While he waits for his sentence (which could be a $32,500 fine and seven months in prison), he’s participating in a day program for recovering alcoholics and addicts.

French prosecutor seeks 10,000-euro fine for Galliano

A French prosecutor told a court on Wednesday she is seeking 10,000 euros ($14,350) in damages from British designer John Galliano to compensate people he allegedly hurled anti-Semitic abuse at.

Prosecutor Anne de Fontette said she is seeking damages of up to 5,000 euros for each plaintiff in two cases against Galliano, whose towering career has been derailed by a series of apparently drunken outbursts to strangers in past months.

No prison sentence is being sought.

Galliano -- who was fired by fashion empire Dior in March after a video posted online showed him telling a woman he loved Hitler and that her parents might have been gassed in a Nazi death camp -- told the court that he was so out of control on drink and drugs that he cannot recall making the insults.

He has apologised for his comments and spent recent weeks in rehab in the United States for an addiction to alcohol, tranquilisers and sleeping pills


Wednesday, 22 June 2011

serious incident on Sunday afternoon in Camp Bay when two Spanish vessels came dangerously close to the shore flying the Spanish flag

 serious incident on Sunday afternoon in Camp Bay when two Spanish vessels came dangerously close to the shore flying the Spanish flag, displaying “a complete disregard for the welfare of bathers.”

“This is going to provoke a serious accident as more people are using the beaches,” said the Opposition.

The Opposition say the Spanish speedboat and RHIB proceeded to leave Camp Bay at high speed when the occupants saw the police at the beach approach them on land.

A spokesman added: “The many beach-users who were present in Camp Bay have every right to be annoyed. The issue is now wider that the continuing political controversy about sovereignty and jurisdiction. It has now become one about safety and security as well. People have a right to be able to use Gibraltar’s beaches without being subjected to harassment and exposed to danger in this in or any other way.”

John Galliano the Gibraltar-born designer began acting more erratically, the recession forced Dior executives to demand a more buyer-friendly "corporate couture" aesthetic, putting him under yet more pressure.

As the fashion world braces itself for John Galliano's Paris trial on June 22, new details have emerged about the night that sparked the former Dior designer's downward spiral.

Claiming access to the "confidential file" used by investigators in the case against Galliano, Newsweek has pieced together the circumstances of the February 24 bar confrontation that resulted in the 50-year-old's arrest for allegedly making anti-Semitic statements.

But to understand how one of fashion's brightest stars could fall from grace, it helps to first look at the events leading up to that fateful night.

Sources tell the magazine that "the designer's personal decline began in earnest" when his close friend Steven Robinson died in 2007. As the Gibraltar-born designer began acting more erratically, the recession forced Dior executives to demand a more buyer-friendly "corporate couture" aesthetic, putting him under yet more pressure.

At the time of his detainment, Galliano—who was so notoriously temperamental that, according to the court dossier, his driver called a lawyer as soon as expletives started flying on Feb. 24—was already thought to be on his way out at Dior, insiders speculate.

It is believed that the defense for Galliano, who is reported to be leaving rehab treatment to attend his court trial, will blame his actions on his addictions to alcohol and anti-anxiety medication. Though the designer told police, "I do not consume any drugs," tests showed his alcohol intake to be four times the legal driving limit.

"I drank champagne at lunch, during the afternoon I had a glass of champagne while I did my shopping, I had dinner at a brasserie where I had some more champagne, and finally at the La Perle bar I had a mojito," he explained to police, adding that he'd sipped some of a second mojito prior to his arrest.

According to the court dossier, what happened next is this: Sitting at a sidewalk table at the La Perle bar in the fashionable Marais district of Paris, Galliano engaged in a heated war of words with fellow patrons, during which he "tossed off anti-Semitic slurs and racist insults," a crime punishable in France by up to six months in jail and a €22,500 (about $32,300 U.S.) fine .

Géraldine Bloch, a 35-year-old bar patron, was allegedly told by the designer that she was "a dirty whore" with a "dirty Jewish face," "revolting" eyebrows, and "low-end boots and low-end thighs."

Meanwhile, 41-year-old receptionist Philippe Virgitti (who later defended Galliano) was allegedly called a "f--king Asian bastard" and a "dirty Asian s--t," and asked if he had papers to prove he wasn't an illegal immigrant.

During a police questioning held days later, Galliano denied the accusations.

“How would I know she’s Jewish?" Galliano asked of Bloch, who is in fact not Jewish. “It isn’t written on her forehead. It’s clear that I’m neither a racist, nor an anti-Semite, nor a misogynist. It’s possible this lady and her friend would like to profit from this chance [and] get some money and publicity in a sordid way."

Bloch, however, is asking for a symbolic payment of just one euro in addition to court costs, and says that her life has been "severely disrupted" by the publicity surrounding the case.

With just one day to go before Galliano gets his day in court, his admirers are struggling to explain the incident, as well as the leaked video showing him proclaiming, "I love Hitler."

“The whole thing struck me as completely out of character,” Daphne Guinness tells Newsweek. “He was drunk and isolated and looking for the most outrageous thing he could say, and instead of hanging himself [like the late Alexander McQueen], he just said something. Maybe he has a secret stash of Nazi uniforms, but I just don’t think so.”

In related news, the John Galliano incident has impacted sales of his latest namesake fragrance.


Gibraltar Government has announced that all persons over 60 will soon be entitled to free prescriptions

Gibraltar Government has announced that all persons over 60 will soon be entitled to free prescriptions even if either or both of the spouses continue working.

Following representations received by the Gibraltar Government from a number of pensioners, the GHA will be making the necessary legislative modifications which will entitle all persons aged 60 and over to free prescriptions, irrespective of whether they or their spouse are in employment and therefore contributing towards the Group Practice Medical Scheme.

A GHA spokesman said: “According to the law, which dates back to 1973, if one of the spouses is in employment and paying Social Insurance, he or she is considered to be a registered contributor to the GPMS, and as such, neither the contributor or his/her spouse are entitled to free prescriptions. This law has been applied in exactly the same manner since 1973 when the Medical (Group Practice Scheme) Act was introduced.

“Once the necessary changes to the legislation are made, this historical and long-standing situation, which has existed for the past 38 years, will be eliminated. Effectively, any person aged 60 and over, will become entitled to free prescriptions, even if either or both of the spouses continue working.”

Tourism and Port Minister Joe Holliday's recent announcement at an international cruise conference that gaming would be permitted on visiting cruise ships while these are docked in Gibraltar

Tourism and Port Minister Joe Holliday's recent announcement at an international cruise conference that gaming would be permitted on visiting cruise ships while these are docked in Gibraltar is patently a move to tempt visiting floating hotels to extend their stays here. In theory the thousands of passengers staying for longer would benefit the Rock's economy. Local legislation in many cruise ports ban ship-board gambling and force the closure of on-board casinos while vessels are in port.

But as with so many of Holliday's ploys, this was both another pipe dream, remember the eight airlines clamouring to open routes to the Rock or the ten luxury hotels announced half a decade ago?  and a smoke-screen …to obscure Gibraltar's tarnished reputation as an attractive port to visit.

In less than a month two serious incidents  - both potentially life-threatening have undermined Gibraltar's reputation as a major league port on the Mediterranean cruise calendar. A cargo vessel carrying 600 tons of explosives was allowed into the harbour after it had been bought cheaply by a local company  and swiftly put to sea again after VOX exposed its presence.

Both incidents raise questions about the Government's competence to manage effectively what is one of Gibraltar's pivotal economic resources. For our port is not only the focus  of visiting cruise ships, it remains the major bunkering facility at the western end of the Mediterranean, and also handles significant volumes of cargo. Tourism and shipping contribute more than half of the Rock's GDP and the port's success is vital to both.

And though this aspect of the costly damage to the sullage plant and adjacent cruise quay both physical and to the port's reputation may not fall within the brief of the internal and external official enquiries into the disaster, there is a strong argument that this, too, should be examined.

The investigation into the sullage tank explosion and fire and the injuries this caused will be investigated locally by the widely-respected Chief Technical Officer Michael Gil; and this is to be supported by the UK-based Capita Symons which is a highly- experienced specialist in this field.

However there has been no official indication of the parameters of the enquiries and how widely the investigative net will be spread. If, as some suspect, Gil's investigations are limited by the authorities, though Gil's integrity will not and should not be questioned, the findings could reflect the Government and port authorities in a better light than deserved.

The timing of the release of the results of the investigation may also be significant. Will these be released before or after the General Election?

In the weeks since the sullage tank fire and explosion, several disturbing allegations have emerged. These will underline doubts as to the Government's competence in preparing for such an eventuality and  it is hoped will raise questions at the two official enquiries into the disaster.

Reports reaching VOX indicate that some months ago a Royal Naval tug which had been based here - and at present berthed at the port - was decommissioned. But the Caruana Government made no attempt to retain its services in Gibraltar. Yet this tug had the equipment and 12 tonnes of foam designed specifically to combat any sort of marine oil fire.

(Since then the Government has announced plans to ensure adequate stocks of foam are always available. Surely another  example of the GSD closing the stable after the horse has bolted?)

Was it a lack of foresight or the leanness of the Government's purse - reduced by unnecessary expenditure on ventures such as the airport - that influenced Caruana's or Holliday's decision. Hopefully one or other of the enquiries will ask these questions and establish the facts.

There are reports, too, that when the Spanish tug Luz de Mar offered assistance the authorities declined immediate help  and the boat waited in the Bay for more than two hours until it was allowed to take part... despite the fact that it was the only vessel with appropriate fire-fighting equipment.

And, despite the Government's dismissal of the wasted time factor, the enquiries should also examine this aspect.

GIBRALTAR is appealing a decision by the European Court to throw out its claim for exclusive rights to its waters.

Gibraltar and the UK had filed a lawsuit calling for the waters surrounding the colony to become exclusively their territory.
But the EU has dismissed the case as ‘inadmissible on procedural grounds.’
Chief Minister Peter Caruana hit back stating that the Rock will fight the ruling.
He said that under no circumstances would the waters be treated as anything other than ‘exclusive British sovereignty, under the jurisdiction of the Gibraltar Government.’
The row began after Brussels approved Spain’s request to list most of the area around the Rock as a protected area.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Nightclub impresario who masqueraded as banker to help Rothstein pleads guilty to fraud

There have been umpteen legal proceedings about the Scott Rothstein fraud, but Wednesday's was unique: a Broward nightclub impresario came to court to admit he had masqueraded as a banker at Rothstein's direction to help him cheat investors out of millions.

Stephen Caputi, who co-owned the popular Café Iguana nightclub in Pembroke Pines with Rothstein, said he regrets now having done the convicted swindler's bidding, and pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud.

U.S. District Judge William Zloch asked bluntly, "Mr. Caputi, why did you do this?"

"Mr. Rothstein had asked me to do those things. I've been a friend of his for 17 years," Caputi quietly replied, adding he also had business ventures with Rothstein, which he did not identify. "I did not want to compromise my relationship with him.


Wednesday, 15 June 2011

A Florida attorney pleaded guilty in federal court to aiding Scott Rothstein in a $1.2 billion investment scheme involving fake court settlements.

A Florida attorney pleaded guilty in federal court to aiding Scott Rothstein in a $1.2 billion investment scheme involving fake court settlements.
Howard Kusnick, formerly of Rothstein’s Fort Lauderdale law firm, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra in West Palm Beach, Florida, to a single count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Kusnick, 59, had pleaded not guilty earlier this month. Prosecutors today said they agreed to recommend a prison sentence of 24 to 30 months.
Rothstein pleaded guilty in January 2010 to five counts of racketeering, money laundering and wire fraud, admitting he sold investors interests in bogus settlements in sexual-harassment and whistleblower suits. He was sentenced to 50 years in prison.
Prosecutors said Kusnick wrote a letter claiming to have settled a pending case in a client’s favor when the case had never been filed and no settlement existed.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Kaplan had no comment after the hearing. Kendall Coffey, a lawyer for Kusnick, also declined to comment. Kusnick remains free on bond. His sentencing is set for Sept. 2.
Plea Hearings
Curtis Renie and William Corte, information technology employees of Rothstein’s firm; and Stephen Caputi, an associate of Rothstein’s, are scheduled for change-of-plea hearings this month, according to case dockets. They had previously pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Caputi attended meetings with potential investors in the scheme, acting as a banker or as a plaintiff in fictitious suits, prosecutors said. Renie and Corte created a Web page designed to look like it belonged to a bank so investors would think Rothstein’s law firm held as much as $1.1 billion in trust accounts, prosecutors allege.
Each faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Container ship capsizes in Algeciras Port

The capsizing of the container ship, ‘Deneb’, in Algeciras Port on Saturday, just a few days after the oil tank fire at North Mole, Gibraltar, has revived concerns in the bay of a future environmental disaster.

Ecologist groups are highlighting the problem and demanding a concrete policy to fight against the dangers with more fines or the creation of a control centre of maritime traffic for the Strait which sees more than 90,000 ships crossing the area each year.

A salvage vessel, Svitzer, is currently unloading the capsized container ship. It comes from the same company which carried out the salvage operation on the ‘New Flame’ a Panamanian freighter which ran aground on Gibraltar in December 2007.

The ‘Deneb’ capsized for a problem of stability which is now being investigated.


Saturday, 11 June 2011

retail outlets believed to have been undertaking unlicensed Bureau de Change business.

The Royal Gibraltar Police has today, in a joint operation with the Financial Services Commission, carried out a number of targeted actions against retail outlets believed to have been undertaking unlicensed Bureau de Change business.

As a result nine premises have been searched and 17 persons have been arrested on suspicion of having committed offences under the Financial Services (Investment and Fiduciary Services) Act 1989.
FSC Chief Executive, Marcus Killick said:
“ Unlicensed bureaux are not only in breach of the criminal law itself but also represent a risk to the reputation of Gibraltar as they are highly vulnerable to being used by those engaged in money laundering. Whilst licensed bureaux are subject to anti money laundering obligations and are supervised by the FSC, no such controls exist in respect of unlicensed operators. We are deeply appreciative of the work of the RGP in heading up the operational aspect of today’s events. This is another example of the close cooperation between the FSC and the RGP in areas of mutual interest”.

The Commissioner of Police Mr Louis Wink also commented on" the excellent cooperation between the FSC and RGP" and said he was pleased with the results of the joint operation. He added that investigations continue and that other arrests cannot be ruled out. Other non-financial services licensing issues are also being looked at.

The 17 persons that have been arrested will be released on police bail.

Northern Ireland man charged with possession of indecent images of children has been returned to Belfast from Gibraltar.

The 41-year-old was detained after the PSNI issued a European warrant for his arrest.

He left Northern Ireland before his trial got under way.

The man had been remanded in custody in Gibraltar accused of separate offences.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Betfair, the world's largest online betting exchange, is under pressure on growing worries about European gaming regulation.

The company - which joined the stock market in October at £13 a share - dipped 5p to 825p as Spain became the latest area to cause concern. Paul Leyland at Investec issued a sell note following signs from Spain that approval of betting exchanges could be delayed. He said:

A conference took place yesterday in Madrid, during which Spanish regulators gave more colour on the potential future shape of the online gambling market. One of the suggestions was that not all products would be available in the first wave and some may have to wait, including exchanges. This reinforces our view that even 'positive' regulation can have a sting in the tail, which could materially impact 2012-13 forecasts. We therefore reiterate our sell recommendation and 445p discounted cash flow based price target.

We see this as a three-fold problem for Betfair. First, and most obviously, if this approach is adopted, then on regulation Betfair is likely to lose most of its 4% or so of core revenue from Spain as well as its key USP, even if it gets a licence for other products; given the high fixed cost base and capex, the impact on free cash flow would be material, in our view.

Secondly, Betfair may not get early certainty on when exchanges will be allowed and under what terms, making forward investment in the market and product difficult. Finally, competing against more settled betting brands and products (with incumbent lobbying power) is likely to be far less attractive than being part of an early regulated 'land-grab', leveraging an existing '.com' presence.
Other countries are already cool on betting exchanges, including Italy and France and possibly Cyprus, Germany and Greece. In fact Betfair this week said it had filed a complaint with the European Commission about Greece's draft gaming law, which it said unfairly excluded it from the market.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Oil tycoon’s Eclipse in Gibraltar

Owning third place in May’s Sunday Times Rich List, Roman Abramovich may be empty-handed of footballing silverware this year, but he has still managed to amass a £10.3 billion fortune – £3 billion up on 2010. Whilst running for re-election to Russian parliament this year, Abramovich declared his assets as seven properties in Britain, four in Russia, three in France, two in the US, £71 million in cash and £25 million in shares. Funny there was no mention of the ‘Abramovich Navy’, a fleet of superyachts that includes 162.5 metre ‘Eclipse’ – recently anchored in waters off Gibraltar’s Ocean Village.

Holding the distinction of being the world’s largest superyacht, knocking the 162 metre vessel ‘Dubai’ belonging to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum into second spot, Eclipse left the Blohm + Voss shipyard in Hamburg in December 2010 after five years of intensive design and construction. So large that she wouldn’t even fit inside Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge, Eclipse understandably drew quite a crowd when she cruised in for a fuelling stop in Gibraltar at the end of May – a task that is said to cost in the region of half a million pounds.

Rumoured to have cost in excess of £310 million, the nine deck yacht has space for two helicopters on top, level eight has a bar, sundeck and 16 metre swimming pool which converts into a dance floor whilst level seven also has its own 16 metre swimming pool and atrium. Deck six hosts the saloon and main dining hall whilst the main entrance reception hall is on floor four. Each of the 24 staterooms and suites has a 6ft home cinema screen whilst Abramovich’s own fifth floor 5,000ft² master suite has a retractable moon roof so that the man of the ‘house’ and girlfriend Dasha Zhukova can sleep under the stars. An anti-paparazzi electronic laser shield (yes, they do exist) protects their privacy onboard.

To pamper, cosset and entertain, Eclipse has a Jacuzzi, Spa, disco on the first level and specialised security installations rumoured to include bullet-proof glass, armour plating and a missile detection system. Of course no superyacht is without its toys and Eclipse has an encyclopaedia of them to include six tenders and a three-man submarine which can plunge depths of 50 metres. All of this is kept in smooth working order by a crew of up to 92, that’s a ratio of more than three staff for every guest if at maximum capacity of 30.

To prove that the Russian oil tycoon isn’t selfishly keeping Eclipse to himself, he generously offers her out to charter through SuperYachtsMonaco. All you have to come up with is a pocket change $2 million a week – that’s around £1.2 million.

Daily rates for Ocean Village’s new berths start from as little as £10.00 per day for up to 12m. A 20% discount is available for annual bookings when paid in advance in full. Occupiers of Premier Berths will also receive an ‘Ocean Village Privilege Card’ offering crews concessions in certain stores, eateries, the Health Club and more to reward them for their loyalty.


Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Gibraltar-Morocco Rally into the diary – Friday 24 to Monday 27 June.

For a chilled weekend away from the hurly-burly, exploring another coastline with old friends and new, it’s essential to pen the dates of the Gibraltar-Morocco Rally into the diary – Friday 24 to Monday 27 June.  Dubbed 'the world's most sociable yacht rally' and now in its 11th year, the event departs from Ocean Village marina and offers a chance for non-racing sailors and motorboaters to get together on the water and cruise in company.  

From the first Rally in 2004 when a petite throng of just nine boats sailed the Strait to Morocco, the event has grown significantly in popularity over the years.  The 2011 Rally is expected to attract up to 50 participating yachts with boats coming from as far as Barbate to the west, and Marbella and Benalmádena to the east and individual entrants travelling from South Africa, Britain and the Caribbean just to get in on the fun.  

The event starts in Gibraltar’s Ocean Village on Thursday evening with the all-important skippers and crew briefing before ‘bonding’ with the competition in the many bars, restaurants, shops and even the Casino in the award-winning marina resort.  Friday 25 June sees the yachts leaving 'en masse' at 1pm accompanied by HMS Sabre from the Royal Gibraltar Squadron before being left to their own devices in the Strait of Gibraltar – destination Marina Smir Morocco.  Where else in the world can you sail from one continent to another in less than a day?

Upon arrival in Marina Smir, a full programme of events is drawn up for guests’ delectation but there is no obligation to participate at all.  If you fancy chilling out with a novel on the foredeck of your yacht with only yourself as company, that’s also fine, but there will be some serious fun missed.  The festivities begin with Cepsa-sponsored cheese and wine welcome party followed by various dockside olympic games and competitions organised throughout the weekend.  

A Rally highlight is certainly the Saturday evening prize-giving barbecue where trophies are awarded for many different accomplishments from fastest arrival to youngest skipper and smallest boat to the best ship’s cocktail.  Prizes are generously sponsored by local businesses - Ocean Village has been a firm supporter of the last five rallies and recognises its value to the local community.

Sunday could be spent doing absolutely nothing, heads are often sore and bodies slightly jaded.  The more sprightly might venture to nearby Tetouan for a spot of sightseeing or perhaps further to the stunning town of Chefchaouen with its photogenic blue-rinsed buildings.  Those completely lacking energy might prefer some pampering in the Spa hotel neighbouring Marina Smir – why not, you’ve earned it.  Finally, on Monday 27 June, boats make their leisurely way back to Gibraltar full of memories of exotic Morocco, sailors’ stories and a pledge to do it all again next year.

Rallying behind the death of its first martyr at the hands of police, tens of thousands of supporters of Morocco’s protest movement took to the streets over the weekend brandishing posters of 30-year-old Kamel Amari

Amari’s alleged death on Thursday by police in the city of Safi, 200 miles south of the capital of Rabat, has given new momentum to anti-government movements, as the effects of the Arab Spring reach across north Africa. 

The protesters' agenda was mixed. In Casablanca, some 60,000 demonstrators marched, carrying banners reading "The people want an end to tyranny," and chanting slogans against the government and the constitution, which they claimed left too much power in the hands of King Muhammad VI.

Following Amari's death, the new agenda of police brutality was added to the list of grievances. "We are all Kamel Amari, the martyr of the February 20 Movement," read one man's sign, while others carried a white mock coffin with Amari's portrait taped on its lid. Riot police were markedly absent from Sunday's demonstrations. 
Protests in Morocco began on February 20, when marches took place in 52 cities across the country demanding constitutional and democratic reform and an end to government corruption. Aptly titled "The February 20 Movement," the grassroots initiative launched a Facebook page to coordinate protest activities. But up until Amari's death last week, the weekly protests failed to gain substantial momentum.

"The people demand the killers of the martyr," chanted crowds in a demonstration in the city of Meknes on June 6.

Jack Kalpakian, a political scientist at Al-Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco, said that demonstrations could widen if the government failed to seriously investigate Amari's death.

"It all depends on the government's response," he told The Media Line. "If there's an investigation and real reconciliation with the family, this can be overcome." 

Amari was a member of Al-Adl Wal-Ihsan, an Islamist opposition group affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. Following his death, the organization said negotiations with the government were doomed to fail.

"The vengeance taken by the oppressive rulers against the proud and peaceful Moroccan people indicates the end of hope for the ruling regime in this country and its failure to accept peaceful transition to real democracy guaranteeing social justice for all," a statement on the organization's website read.

Kalpakian said that the government began using more violence against demonstrators some three weeks ago, when more and more ordinary citizens began complaining about the disruptions caused to their daily lives and businesses by the weekly demonstrations. He said the government's move was imprudent.

"This led to a harsher line by the protesters," Kaplakian said. "For instance, when public sector doctors were beaten up by police, this caused the private doctors to join their struggle."

King Muhammad VI, the liberal-minded monarch ruling Morocco since 1999, was relatively swift in responding to the demonstrators' demands. He established a committee charged with re-drafting the constitution, comprised of a large spectrum of Morocco's political parties, and even representatives of the February 20 protest movement. The new constitution will be voted on in a public referendum July 1. 

But Kaplakian said that although the new constitution would take away many of the king's prerogatives and hand them over to the parliament and the prime minister, Morocco was not going to become a "symbolic monarchy." Apparently, many demonstrators were not satisfied by this.

"A parliamentary monarchy = a king that reigns but doesn't rule," read a banner in a Marrakech demonstration June 5.

Hasan Haithami, a member of the media department in the Justice and Development Party, an Islamist party and Morocco's largest opposition group, said that the government was wise not to send police into Sunday's demonstrations, even though they were officially illegal.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Oil has washed up on six kilometres of coastline in and around Algeciras.

Although tests have yet to formally confirm this, it is widely assumed that the source of the fuel was Tuesday’s fire in the port of Gibraltar.

Despite efforts to contain as much oil here using booms and cleanup equipment, some appears to have escaped into the bay.
Pushed by levanter winds, it has ended up tarring the Spanish coastline.

A major cleanup operation was under way in Algeciras yesterday, watched by a steady stream of local and regional Spanish politicians who headed down to the beach to monitor events and grab a quick photo opportunity.

Officials in Gibraltar and Spain were in contact yesterday to “evaluate the damage”, according to Francisco Menacho, justice and governance spokesman at the Junta de Andalucia.

BETFRED.COM, based in Gibraltar, will not pay out on the bets placed by Barney Curley’s relatives aspart of the Newmarket trainer’s £4 million coup last May

BETFRED.COM, based in Gibraltar, will not pay out on the bets placed by Barney Curley’s relatives aspart of the Newmarket trainer’s £4 million coup last May.
This comes despite the fact that Betfred’s UK betting shops have paid out and that, following an investigation, the BHA concluded that no rules ofracing had been breached. Betfred, who on Friday were declared the new owners of the Tote, declined to comment, stating: “It is with our lawyers.”
On June 1,’s lawyers informed the five account holders, four of whom are related to Curley, that bets showing a profit of more than £823,000 would be voided under the company’s rule 10, which states: “Any person or group of persons acting in an attempt to defraud will have their bets voided.”

The decision followed a letter dated May 27 from the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority which accused Curley of deception, the account holders of fraud, and the BHA of misapplying its own rules.

Andrew Montague, a Northern Ireland-based solicitor acting for the claimants, said: “We have already instructed our Gibraltar agents, Triay & Triay lawyers, to proceed with an application to the Supreme Court of Gibraltar for a judicial review of the GRA’s handling of the case, which has been inter alia, ultra vires, unlawful, irrational and procedurally and substantively unfair.

“The investigation by the GRA is flawed and has been conducted from the outset in a biased way and has chosen to ignore the findings of both the BHA and Ibas[Independent Betting Adjudication Service].”

The case, which has soured relations between the BHA and GRA, has wider ramifications because it demonstrates that UK-based punters betting with offshore bookmakers may find theirbets are treated differently.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Kieren Fallon banned from Derby ride

Kieren Fallon will not ride in Saturday's Epsom Derby after the owners of horse Native Khan obtained an injunction to prevent him.

Owner Ibrahim Araci said three-time winner Fallon had reneged on a deal to ride for him but Fallon said it was an "innocent misunderstanding".

On Friday a judge refused Mr Araci an injunction but on raceday two Court of Appeal judges reversed the ruling.

Fallon's ride on his preferred mount, Recital, now goes to Pat Smullen.

Mr Araci's solicitor Mehmet Ali Erdogan said his client was "thrilled" by the verdict.

"My client entered into a contract with Kieren Fallon, and Mr Fallon promised to do two things - to ride Native Khan, or if not asked to do so, not to ride a competing horse in a race where Native Khan is racing," he told the BBC News Channel.

"The court decided he promised these two things and he broke his promise. The court decided he should keep his promise."

He confirmed that there was a signed document agreeing the arrangement between Fallon and Mr Araci, but it had now been rendered meaningless.

"There is a written contract which Kieren Fallon signed for a year starting from last April, a contract to ride Native Khan whenever asked to do so for a period of one year.

"As far as I know there has been no discussion (between the pair). It (Fallon's decision) came to our client as an utter shock - they had a fantastic relationship before he called and tried to cancel his commitment to our client.

"The contract effectively is not enforceable any more as mutual trust is not there."

Epsom Derby entries (form, horse, owner, trainer)

21-1 CARLTON HOUSE (USA) Sir Michael Stoute

0560-5 CASTLEMORRIS KING Michael Attwater

1-6 MARHABA MALYOON (Ire) David Simcock

16-51 MASKED MARVEL John Gosden

5(1)-2 MEMPHIS TENNESSEE (Ire) Aidan O'Brien (Ire)

114-13 NATIVE KHAN (Fra) Ed Dunlop

5-11 OCEAN WAR Mahmood Al Zarooni

0(1)120-3 PISCO SOUR (USA) Hughie Morrison

01-31 POUR MOI (Ire) Andre Fabre (Fra)

11-31 RECITAL (Fra) Aidan O'Brien (Ire)

212-2 SEVILLE (Ger) Aidan O'Brien (Ire)

21123-1 TREASURE BEACH Aidan O'Brien (Ire)

61-13 VADAMAR (Fra) Alain de Royer Dupre (Fra)


Gibraltar is being blamed in Spain for an oil spill affecting the beaches of Algeciras

Gibraltar is being blamed in Spain for an oil spill affecting the beaches of Algeciras. They say that the spill is from the tanks that went up in flames in Gibraltar port and that 6 kilometres of beach are already affected.

The Junta, the Andalusian regional government, say they are consider claiming damges from the Gibraltar government, while a laim is also being sent to the company that owns the sullage plant.

While nothing was being said in Gibraltar, the Spanish were saying that their foreign ministry was asking Britain if the appropriate measures were taken in Gibraltar to combat any damage to the environment.The Algeciras municipality said that they had put in a claim in the courts against Shell as they may be the owners of the tanks.

Meanwhile, fishermen in Algeciras say they are being affected by the oil spill.

The Gibraltar port has said that 4 or 5 tonnes of residues escaped to the sea.

The conclusion of the protracted sale of the Tote could see up to 150 jobs axed

The conclusion of the protracted sale of the Tote could see up to 150 jobs axed from the betting group formerly owned by the Government.

A £265million wager from bookmaker Betfred has ended one of the longest privatisation processes ever seen.

The Warrington-based firm, founded by brothers Fred and Peter Done, saw off Sports Investments Partners, a consortium led by British Airways chairman Sir Martin Broughton, to end a process that has been on and off for more than 10 years.

High stakes: The Tote deal will see the number of Betfred shops increase from 840 to 1,350

Billed as ‘the flat caps beating the top hats’, the offer reduces down to a net £180million after £25million in pension contributions and debt repayments.
The Government said it will return £90million to the racing industry, leaving the other half for the taxpayer. 


The new owner has promised no more than 150 jobs will go from duplicated head-office roles in the combined group.
The deal will see the number of Betfred shops swell from 840 to 1,350.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Twelve passengers on a cruise ship moored in Gibraltar were injured Tuesday after a towering dockside tank holding used oil and water exploded

Twelve passengers on a cruise ship moored in Gibraltar were injured Tuesday after a towering dockside tank holding used oil and water exploded as workers were welding it, sending plumes of black smoke into the air and shrouding the British outpost's famed "Rock" from view.
A Spaniard who was welding atop the tank suffered life-threatening burns and was scheduled to be transferred to a burn unit at a hospital in the Spanish city of Seville, Gibraltar's government said in a statement. A second Spaniard suffered less serious injuries.
The passengers aboard the "Independence of the Seas" cruise ship operated by Royal Caribbean suffered injuries ranging from minor burns to a fractured shoulder, the statement said.
Gibraltar's government said the ship sailed away from the burning tank immediately after the blast, and Royal Caribbean said in statement that it immediately moved "a safe distance away from the dock" and then headed toward its next scheduled stop, the French Mediterranean destination of Cannes.
The company characterized the passengers' injuries as minor and said all received medical treatment aboard the cruise ship.
Two guests who were onshore when the explosion happened were not hurt, Miami-based Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd said. Spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez said she had no information on where the injured passengers were on the ship when they were injured.
Heavy smoke billowed into the air for hours after the blast happened while the workers were welding atop the tank, and efforts to douse the afternoon blaze suffered a setback after a second tank next to the burning one caught fire in the evening, the statement said.
Firefighters who were trying to put out the fire from land were forced to withdraw, and Gibraltar's government said it was using tug boats to spray water on the raging blaze from the sea. Residents living near the burning tanks were not forced to evacuate, but were advised to close the windows of their homes.
An investigation was under way to determine the cause of the blast, Gibaltar's government said.
Royal Caribbean said the ship was on a 14-night cruise that left Southampton, England, last Saturday.
Gibraltar is a popular tourist destination, and the Rock lies at the eastern end of the Strait of Gibraltar, a strategic waterway that links the Atlantic and the Mediterranean and separates Europe from Africa.
An Anglo-Dutch fleet captured Gibraltar in 1704. Spain ceded Gibraltar to Britain in 1713 but never relinquished its claim to it. The outpost has about 30,000 residents.


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