Inner City
        Press' Bank Beat Reporter

  

     Welcome to Inner City Press’ Bank Beat.  We aim to scrutinize the industry, from high to low. Our other Reporters cover Community Reinvestment, the Federal Reserve, and other beats.   ICP has published a (double) book about the Bank Beat-relevant topic of predatory lending - click here for sample chapters, an interactive map, and ordering information. The Washington Post of March 15, 2004, calls Predatory Bender: America in the Aughts "the first novel about predatory lending;" the London Times of April 15, 2004, "A Novel Approach," said it "has a cast of colorful characters." See also, "City Lit: Roman a Klepto [Review of 'Predatory Bender']," by Matt Pacenza, City Limits, Sept.-Oct. 2004. The Pittsburgh City Paper says the 100-page afterword makes the "indispensable point that predatory lending is now being aggressively exported to the rest of the globe." Click here for that review; click here to Search This Site. Click here for Inner City Press' weekday news reports, from the United Nations and elsewhere, which include bank-related topics.

Click here for Inner City Press' weekday news reports, from the United Nations and elsewhere. Click here for a recent BBC piece on Inner City Press' reporting from the United Nations. New: Follow us on TWITTER   BloggingHeads.tv  Click for March 1, 2011 BloggingHeads.tv re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption by Inner City Press.  Until next time, for or with more information, contact us.

January 20, 2020

In SDNY Judge Cave Declines To Stay Millennium Discovery Against Citi BOM Chase and Truist

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Decrypt - LightRead - Honduras - Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Jan 15 – When Millennium Laboratories, one of the largest urine testing companies in the US, declared bankruptcy in 2015, it spawned litigation that gave rise in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to a January 10 teleconference before and January 15 order by SDNY Magistrate Judge Sarah L. Cave. 

 The plaintiff, Marc S. Kirschner as trustee of the post-bankruptcy litigation trust, was opposing the bank defendants' request to essentially stay discovery in the proceeding. Kirschner argued that he needs access to documents in order to keep up with the discovery that is going forward in a related Delaware case.

   The banks being sued include JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of Montreal and SunTrust, now known as Truist since it merged with BB&T.

    During the January 10 teleconference, which Inner City Press covered with the permission of the Court, the banks' lawyers argued that it is a threshold legal issue whether the syndicated leveraged loan at issue is a security, an issue that should be determined before discovery proceeds.

   But on January 15, Magistrate Judge Cave found "that is a threshold  question only with respect to the state securities law claims... Plaintiff has asserted five other common law causes of action for which that question is not necessarily  determinative."

 Therefore Judge Cave ruled that "a further stay of discovery is not  warranted, and that discovery should continue, as it has been, in coordination with the Delaware  Action.  Accordingly, this action having been referred to this Court for general pretrial  supervision, a case management conference will be held on Tuesday, February 25."

    Inner City Press will continue to follow this case. it is Kirschner v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., et al, 17-cv-6334 (Gardephe / Cave).

January 13, 2020

Telegram Said SEC Info Request Covers 12+ Nations Now SEC Cites Redacted Durov Depo

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Patreon
BBC - Decrypt - LightRead - Honduras - Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Jan 10 – In the SEC's case against Telegram and its proposed Gram crypocurrency, Federal Judge P. Kevin Castel held a teleconference on the afternoon of January 6.

    The SEC on January 2 asked Judge Castel to order Telegram to disclose bank records before or during its two day deposition of Telegram founder Pavel Durov January 7-8 in Dubai.

   On the January 6 teleconference, Telegram's counsel, Alex Drylewski of Skadden Arps, argued that producing the bank records will requiring reviewing the privacy rights of financial counterparties in 30 or more jurisdictions. More on Patreon here.

  Now late on January 10, the SEC has responded renewing its request for the records and stating "Telegram does not even mention the names Case 1:19-cv-09439-PKC Document 65 Filed 01/10/20 Page 2 of 5 Hon. P. Kevin Castel January 10, 2020 Page 3 of the foreign countries whose laws might apply, nor does it cite any specific data privacy laws. At his deposition two days ago, Mr. Durov, the CEO of a company holding approximately $1.3 billion of investor assets, similarly claimed [TWO LINES REDACTED] See Ex. A (Excerpts of Dep. of Pavel Durov, dated Jan. 7-8, 2020) at 283:17—284:9. The Court therefore cannot assess the threshold question of which country’s data privacy laws may even apply to Telegram’s handling of the data based on Telegram’s vague submission." Why the redaction? Who's more secret? More on Patreon here.

    Judge Castel on January 6 declined to extend the deadlines in the case but directed Telegram to, by January 9, filed a proposed schedule to disclose or at least review for privacy the requested bank records.

  Now on the evening of January 9, Telegram's law firm Skadden Arps has written that the SEC's requests cover 770 individuals or entities and that since September they have only been able to review 76, finding 12 separately jurisdictions. They want five to seven weeks to do the work. But how would have impact motions and a trial? More on Patreon here.

January 6, 2020

El Chapo Bribee Garcia Luna Detained in EDNY for Money Laundering After SDNY Showed Chapo Funds to JOH and UNSG

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon, Thread Video
Honduras - The Source - The Root - etc

EDNY COURTHOUSE, Jan 3 – One of El Chapo's many bribees, former Mexican minister Genaro Garcia Luna, was arraigned and detained on January 3 in Brooklyn in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Inner City Press, which covered the SDNY trial of Tony Hernandez, the brother of Honduras' president Juan Orlando Hernandez whose campaign was shown to be funded by El Chapo, was in Brooklyn for this arraignment and files this report. (Podcast here, Periscopes I, II & III).

   Garcia Luna was brought in from the holding cell, wearing a grey sweatshirt and waving to a handful of supports in the Arraignments Courtroom gallery. He is retaining his own counsel, but there were not able to be present on January 3. Cesar de Castro, whose work Inner City Press has covered in the SDNY, appeared for arraignment only. Judge Peggy Kuo said that if Garcia Luna wants a publicly-funded lawyer going forward, he will have to file a financial affidavit.
 
  That seems unlikely. Assistant US Attorney Erin Reid said Garcia Luna has amassed riches which make him a flight risk. No bond package was presented, so Garcia Luna was detained on consent. His next appearance is on January 21 at 9:45 am before Judge Brian Cogan. Inner City Press will remain on this case - and on that of JOH and UN Antonio Guterres, who has hidden his spending including of El Chapo funds, as well as links to SDNY convicted UN briber CEFC China Energy. Guterres bans and censors the Press to conceal his links: but for immunity, a crime. Or crimes.

  UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has refused to answer Inner City Press' questions about his meeting(s) with JOH, and about a four person panel he sent to the country to support JOH.

  Inner City Press even before the verdict as the UN Spokespeople Stephane Dujarric and Melissa Fleming in writing, "October 18-1: On Honduras on which you have refused to answer or respond to Inner City Press' as it covers in SDNY the US v Tony Hernandez trial which continues jury deliberations today and has asked you why SG Guterres did not even bring up corruption and drug trafficking when he met president Juan Orlando Hernandez, 1) please immediately describe activities of the UN system and resident coordinator / representative on JOH's current terms and 2) what now are Guterres' belated comments and actions if any on that last night JOH's National Party majority in the Honduran parliament passed a law making itslef immune, and that Honduran police dispersed hundreds of demonstrators with tear gas on Wednesday in Tegucigalpa who demanded the resignation of President Juan Orlando Hernandez, suspected by the American courts of collaborating with the drug traffickers?"

  No answer all all.

 The trial began with a bang on October 2 with the charge that already life imprisoned El Chapo Guzman gave the defendant $1 million for this brother, the president. On October 7, sworn witness Alex Ardon described the meeting, with both El Chapo and Tony Hernandez present and the cash in plastic bags, see thread and see below.

The trial is before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge P. Kevin Castel and Inner City Press is live tweeting it. See also Patreon here

 And here the post arrest statement as so far put in to the jury, as uploaded to YouTube by Inner City Press, here. The case is US v. Diaz Morales, 15-cr-00379 (Castel).

Inner City Press will continue to cover this and other SDNY and 2nd Circuit cases - watch this site, and there is more on Patreon, here.

December 30, 2019

After Virgil Griffith Had Bail Denied Inner City Press Asks UN About Its North Korea Sanctions Violations

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - The Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Dec 28 – On North Korea there are not only US but also ostensibly international UN sanctions. But what if the UN itself violates them?

  On December 26 Virgil Griffith who a more ago was arrested on US charges of illegally traveling to North Korea and provide crypto currency advice was denied bail in a U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York proceeding that Inner City Press exclusively covered, credited here here and here.

  On December 27 Inner City Press submitted written questions to the UN, its long vacationing Secretary General Antonio Guterres and his spokesman Stephane Dujarric including: "On DPRK, what are the comments and action if any of SG Guterres on both the prosecution of Virgil Griffith for attending a crypto-currency conference in Pyongyang in April 2019 and this, by the UN: 'The United Nations Green Climate Fund (GCF) this week approved its first round of funding for a project aimed at helping North Korea deal with climate change, the agency’s website indicated on Thursday.  The program, titled “Readiness and Preparatory Support for Capacity Building of NDA (National Designated Authorities) and establishment of a National Strategy Framework for engagement with GCF in the DPRK,” will be implemented through the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), to which GCF will be providing the funding.' What steps have these UN bodies take with regard to sanctions on DPRK?"

   The UN, which present itself as in charge of international sanctions regimes like those on North Korea and Iran, through its Security Council set to be taken over on January 1 by Vietnam, did not answer these questions. Elsewhere, the GCF illogically or in bad faith claimed that the mere involvement of UN FAO would mean that sanctions weren't being violated.

  Guterres, who has been on a European junket for weeks and now won't disclose where he is, spending public money, supposedly issued a statement on blockchain "exclusively" to capitalist tool publication Forbes: "'For the United Nations to deliver better on our mandate in the digital age, we need to embrace technologies like blockchain that can help accelerate the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals,' said Guterres in the statement provided exclusively to Forbes."

  So Guterres provides exclusive pablum to capitalist tool Forbes, but bans independent Inner City Press from even entering the UN, and has his spokesman ignored its written questions despite an on camera promise to answer. We'll have more on this - and on the case against Virgil Griffith. More now on December 28 on Patreon here.

  As Inner City Press reported on December 26, the US Attorney's Office cited his text messages to his parents about renouncing his U.S. citizenship and setting up a money laundering business in North Korea.

  In the Magistrates Court of the U.S. District  his parents were present, along with Inner City Press as the only media. They were there since the morning, and watched the other cases Inner City Press reported on.

  Assistant US Attorney Kimberly Ravener told SDNY Magistrate Judge Barbara Moses that Griffith had misled Pre-Trial Services about his residence in Puerto Rico; his lawyer Mr. Buckley first said Griffith owned it, then that he rented.

  Judge Moses asked why he has a residence in Puerto Rico. Buckley said Puerto Rico is a developing area in the crypto space.

  Griffith's request to be released was first stayed by SDNY District Judge Denise Cote, operating a "Part I" judge at the time. Buckley at the conclusion near 5 pm of the bail denial hearing on December 26 said he and a colleague flying in might seek to appeal to the "Part I" District Judge, Vernon Broderick.

   On December 27, Inner City Press repeatedly checked the courtroom of Judge Broderick in 40 Foley Square, and also his temporary courtroom 15A in 500 Pearl Street: nothing. The doors were locked.

Inner City Press will continue to cover this case, as it covered the OneCoin trial. Here is its live-tweet threat of December 26, more on Patreon here

December 23, 2019

Sprint T-Mobile Merger Trial Ends With Flurry of Sealed Exhibits Closing Arguments Jan 15

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Dec 20 – The two week trial against the proposed T-Mobile / Sprint merger ended on December 20 before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Victor Marrero. There are papers due January 8, and a final four hour argument on January 15. Inner City Press began what will be a trial-long live-tweet, here. Day 7 Patreon here.

  On December 20 Professor Shapiro testified for the second time how the merger would allow coordination and raise prices. Day's thread here.

  Then a final flurry of exhibits entered into the record, and more agreement by Judge Marrero to file many under seal. The defense team wanted no briefs, but there will be 30-page proposed findings of fact and law on January 8, before the closing arguments on January 15. Watch this site. More on Patreon here.

  On December 17 Charlie Ergen of DISH testified, saying for example that "Sprint is a laggard." Judge Marrero agreed to hear the parties in his robing room, and then and only then decide whether to release a redacted transcript. Some asked, Public interest? Here's some of how it went

OK -  @Tmobile   @Sprint  merger trial Day 7 has started back up on a delay, the T-Mobile tech Kapoor bragging about 5G - but what's the response on higher costs passed on to consumers, per what #Sprint whistleblowers say?

December 16, 2019

In Sprint Trial Legere of T-Mobile Shows Himself As Marrero Cites Flower Children

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Dec 13 – After more states lining up against the proposed T-Mobile / Sprint merger, on which a two week trial to begin December 9 before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Victor Marrero. Inner City Press began what will be a trial-long live-tweet, here. Day II morning here. More on Patreon here. Day III here. More D3 on Patreon here. Day IV here. More D4 on Patreon here. Day V here. More on D5 on Patreon here.

  On December 13, T-Mobile's John Legere was cross-examined and let it all hang out, see below. It culminated in Judge Victor Marrero asking him if he could remain a flower child or would instead, post merger, join the boys' club. Legere said never - but his successor Mike Sievert then looked very much the boys' club member. How will it cut with Marrero? Here's some of how it went (more on Patreon here)

Q: This is a transcript of the earnings call in February 2018, do you see that?

Legere: Yes I do.

Q: You said, "Nobody is interest in the wi-fi phone... Charter will be irrelevance squared." You said that?

Legere: Among other things.

Q: You know Mr. Mack, he's the one you took your deposition.

Legere: And I'm still afraid of him.

Q: If you could look at Exhibit 1105. And please, do not put this up on the screen. [Why not?] It's an email from you to Mr. Huttges? Legere: Correct.

 Legere: We were in contact with Washington and I would summarize it to Deutsche Telekom. Q: You're aware some companies told the FCC they were opposed to the merger, including DISH? Legere: That is correct.

 Q: And T-Mobile responded, see Exhibit 1177 - oh, it's not in your binder. Here is a hard copy. The letter T-Mobile's lawyers and DLA Piper sent to the FCC responding to DISH. Legere: Correct.

Q: And T-Mobile said DISH failed to meet FCC deadlines, games the regulatory system. Legere: And the FCC took it into account in this DISH remedy. Q: But this reflects what T-Mobile thought of DISH. Objection! [state of corporate mind] Judge Marrero: Overruled

 Q: Nothing in your commitment to FCC precludes you from changing prices on devices, correct? Legere: Yes, we could lower them. Q: But you could raise them too! It's not covered by the agreement. Legere: The agreement wasn't intended to cover it.

 Q: The quality of T-Mobile isn't consistent across the country, lower in some places, right? Legere: Yes. But we're working on that. Q: And your spectrum assets vary by market? Legere: I would assume that's true.

Judge Marrero to question  John Legere . Judge Marrero: Some say Sprint today is what T-Mobile was in 2012. If T-Mobile was able to achieve this, why not Sprint, without merger?
Legere: Thank you your Honor. T-Mobile's situation was nothing compared to Sprint today   Legere: It's my opinion that except for this transaction, Sprint would be sold in part. I think they're in big trouble. Your Honor, if you'll indulge me, it this doesn't take place, Sprint will go away and there won't be a new DISH

 Legere: The environment of a new T-Mobile and a new DISH, that's best.

Judge Marrero: We see stories, about flower-children in the 1960, now you find them as investment bankers. The relevance is the idea that if T-Mobile gets this, it will become one of the boys

Legere: That's not a club I'm joining. I'm probably the person most hated by those two. And I think they compete, with the cable companies breathing down their neck. The brand of this company is rooted in being that maverick, the un carrier.

 That's it for Judge Marrero's questions to John Legere ...

Back from a largely empty 40 Foley Square due to ongoing elevator outage to find T-Mobile COO-soon-CEO bragging about how many stores they could close if the merger goes forward

 As Week 1 of  T-Mobile - Sprint  trial ends with a whimper, Judge Marrero asks who's up next. On Monday afternoon, a witness from DISH - and they say they want to close the courtroom. Really? (more on Patreon here)

December 9, 2019

SDNY Judge Berman Denies Halkbank Special Appearance Noting 2d Circuit Logic on Fugitives

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon, Thread Video
Honduras - The Source - The Root - etc

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Dec 5 – Turkey's Halkbank was indicted for Iran sanctions violations and money laundering on October 15 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. On October 21, Turkey named convicted former Halkbank executive Hakan Atilla as the new managing director of Borsa Istanbul.

  On December 5 SDNY Judge Richard M. Berman issued a detailed order denying the application by King & Spalding to make a "special appearance" in this criminal case. Judge Berman last month in his courtroom asked if there is any Second Circuit Court of Appeals precedent. On December 5 he wrote and ruled:

"The Second Circuit recognizes that a defendant may become a fugitive when, “having learned of charges while legally outside the jurisdiction, [the defendant] ‘constructively flees’ by deciding not to return.” See United States v. Catino, 735 F.2d 718, 722 (2d Cir. 1984); see also United States v. Blanco, 861 F.2d 773, 779 (2d Cir. 1988) (“A person can be said to be a fugitive when, while abroad, they learn that they are under indictment and make no effort to return to the United States to face charges.”). It appears to the Court that this is what Halkbank – which is an important institution in Turkey – has done so far in this case. “The primary purpose of the fugitive disentitlement doctrine—promoting mutuality of litigation—is served both when a defendant flees the United States and when he chooses to remain outside the United States.” Miller, 166 F. Supp. 3d at 348; see also Martirossian, 917 F.3d at 890 (where the Court confirmed that “a defendant need not be Case 1:15-cr-00867-RMB Document 581 Filed 12/05/19 Page 26 of 27  27  present in and leave a jurisdiction to become a fugitive; the mere refusal to report for prosecution can constitute constructive flight”). Halkbank has failed to appear following the service of two summonses, with full knowledge and notice of the charges in the Indictment and of the related Atilla and Zarrab cases. See pp. 3–5 above. Halkbank has also been represented by U.S. legal counsel, Mr. Hruska of King & Spaulding LLP, for at least two years in connection with the U.S. criminal investigation of Halkbank’s alleged Iran sanctions evasion. See Gov. Letter, dated Nov. 4, 2019, at 1.

And, this Court has found that “Halkbank has willfully and knowingly disobeyed the Court’s order in the First Summons to appear at the First Conference.” Order, dated Oct. 23, 2019, at 3. The fugitive disentitlement doctrine exists to encourage compliance with the law and to protect against entities that “‘attempt to invoke from a safe distance only so much of a United States court’s jurisdiction as might secure . . . a dismissal while carefully shielding [itself] from the possibility of a penal sanction.’” Hayes, 118 F. Supp. 3d at 625–26 (brackets omitted) (quoting Collazos v. United States, 368 F.3d 190, 200 (2d Cir. 2004)); see also Niemi v. Lasshofer, 728 F.3d 1252, 1255 (10th Cir. 2013).

IV. Conclusion & Order For the reasons stated above, the Court denies Halkbank’s application, dated November 19, 2019, to make a special appearance."

    Back on November 26 the US Attorney office  opposed the special appearance, noting "Halkbank participates in a U.S. Department of Agriculture program that provides guaranteed financing for certain buyers of U.S. agricultural exports.  In order to shield its access to these essential U.S. financial markets and facilities, Halkbank went to extraordinary lengths to conceal the scheme from Treasury officials. Because of Halkbank’s relationships with the Central Bank of Iran, NIOC, and other Iranian government and private entities, sanctions against the Government of Iran had particular significance for Halkbank and Treasury believed Halkbank was at particular risk of Iranian sanctions-evasion efforts. Accordingly, Treasury officials maintained continuous and in-depth communications with Halkbank’s top executives. These included in-person meetings held in Treasury’s Washington, D.C. offices and Halkbank’s Turkey offices; telephone calls between Halkbank executives in Turkey and Treasury officials in the United States; and letter and email correspondence." We'll have more on this.

  King & Spalding's Andrew C. Hruska wanted to file by ECF without making a notice of appearance. Judge Berman said he believes a notice of appearance is required, and would not give legal advise on what should be written on it. King and Spalding said they will file on paper, presumably meaning their briefing.

  Of this lawless attempt to escape the court's reach, Inner City Press asked the UN which has made worse arguments for impunity for bringing cholera to Haiti for its comment (Turkish state media were present in the SDNY on November 5). There has been no answer from the UN.

December 2, 2019

After OneCoin Trial Tweets Venezuela Launder Links of Dilkinska Exposed By Inner City Press

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - The Source 

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Nov 27 –  As Inner City Press covered the OneCoin trial this month, a number of names of indicted co-conspirators emerged on which we are now following up.

  One of them was Amer Abdulaziz Salman, see below. Another was and is Irina Dilkinska, who worked closely on OneCoin money laundering with detained and cooperating Konstantin Ignatov and now-convicted Mark Scott.

   Today Inner City Press launches a series into another branch of OneCoin's laundering, perhaps not surprisingly with Venenzuela's PDVSA oil company which Inner City Press has separately been reporting on in the SDNY courthouse, here, and at the UN or at least in front of the $15 million mansion of involved UNSG Antonio Guterres while he bans the Press from the UN.

  It starts with a contract between Bulgaria based ALECO and H&H Ca, registered to Ruja Ignatova's then right hand woman Irina Dilkinska. PDVSA lists the contract, for oil wells in Maracaibo. Even then it was noted that ALECO was registered in the country of origin, but it does not have physical offices, it is only a website so it is presumed to be a "briefcase company," a term applicable to many of OneCoin's money laundering schemes.

  H&H CA ran afoul of even Venezuelan law: it said it was based in and working from the residential complex Villas Delicias, but the nation's contractor chamber states that companies must own their physical space. H&H CA had capital of 10 million Bolivars, with which it could not cover the investment established in the contracts with PDVSA. It was another OneCoin special, h/t Brazen Capitalist, now defunct but being followed up on by Inner City Press even as it pursues its FOIA request to the US Attorney's Office press office to stop withholding documents provided in other cases like those of 6ix9ine and Honduras. Other names in the H&H Ca / Venezuela web, laying out a marker for purpose of further crowdsourcing: Boris Hernández Vidal and and Michael Hernández Vidal, and ICOPVE CA. Watch this site. More on Patreon here.

    As Inner City Press also exclusively reported on November 6, surprise cooperating witness Konstantin Ignatov brought up Amer Abdulaziz during his testimony, live-tweeted @InnerCityPress, and see here.

  On November 24 those tweets were used without any credit in a derivative article by the Racing Post's Peter Scargill - apparently dodginess pervades this part of the industry.

  Inner City Press has been contacted from Dubai of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, from Amer Abdulaziz's native Bahrain and elsewhere by whistleblowers in the horse racing industry, with extensive information about Amer Abdulaziz's previous schemes and sudden windfall with OneCoin money.

  Abdulaziz for example was outed as not paying for three horses, with it being for uncredited reported that Fasig-Tipton had not received payment for grade I winner Crisp and the broodmares Little Bonnet and Sky Mom, who were sold for more than $1.9 million combined...

November 25, 2019

In OneCoin Trial Amer Abdulaziz Named As Money Launderer Who Stole 100M Euro Still Horsing Around

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Patreon
BBC - The Times UK - Honduras - The Source 

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Nov 23 –  As Inner City Press covered the OneCoin trial this month, a number of names of indicted co-conspirators emerged on which we will now follow up.

  One of them was Amer Abdulaziz Salman.

    As Inner City Press exclusively reported on November 6, surprise cooperating witness Konstantin Ignatov brought up Amer Abdulaziz during his testimony, live-tweeted @InnerCityPress:

AUSA: Who did Gilbert Armenta work with on money laundering?

Konstantin: Mark Scott, Amer Abdulaziz...

   After a sidebar discussion, the Assistant US Attorney said "We'll come back to Mr. Aziz who stole at least 100 million Euros from OneCoin.

AUSA: Who was this Mr. Aziz? 

Konstantin: One of the main money launderers for Ruja.

AUSA: Did you ever report to the police any of these theft? 

Konstantin: No. The money came from a criminal activity." See here.

    So in this US Federal trial, under oath and not contradicted by any of the cross-examination, Amer Abdulaziz was named as a launderer of money from criminal activity, who went beyond that and stole $100 million Euro from OneCoin and Ruja.

    Meanwhile, through his Phoenix fund, Amer Abdulaziz has been buying up thoroughbred horses, but industry participants tell Inner City Press, not selling them. "It's the perfect front for money laundering," one of them told Inner City Press on condition of anonymity.

     During the trial, Inner City Press tweeted its surprise the Amer Abdulaziz was, unlike Ruja Ignatova, living in plain sight. It has continued: he has re-tweeted as recently as November 20.

   While some say he is going into hiding, it would seem that the US FBI or its overseas partners could easily bring him in.   So why haven't they? This is the first in an Inner City Press series. More on Patreon here.

November 18, 2019

In OneCoin Trial BNY Mellon Describes Mark Scott Cayman Islands Business After David Pike Arrested

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Thread, Plea
BBC The Times (UK) Daily Mail

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Nov 15 – After OneCoin's Konstantin Ignatov got a stay of the civil case against him, his criminal case was said to have been kicked down the road for at least another two months.

It was a productive two months, at least for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.

 Now Inner City Press can report that Mark Scott associate David R. Pike was arrested on OneCoin charges and quietly presented in and bailed by the SDNY Magistrate Court on September 12, 2019 by Magistrate Judge James L. Cott, based on a complaint signed sealed back on August 29 by this week's Magistrate Judge Katharine H. Parker.

  Since then Special AUSA Julieta V. Lozano has asked for continuances, during the Scott trial, to figure out what to do with Pike afterward. Inner City Pres, cover this closely, will have more. More on Patreon here.

  On November 15, on which the government had said it might rest its case, AUSA Christopher Demase questioned  a witness from BNY Mellon about irregularities it found in Mark Scott's Fenero Funds' business with DMS Bank in Cayman Islands.

  The questioning established the FDIC insurance, an element in bank fraud charges, applies not only to BNY Mellon but also other involved banks including TD Bank, JPMorgan Chase, HSBC and Northern Trust. The implications of the evidence in the case for these banks is not yet clear. More on Patreon here.

 Near midnight on November 14 defendant Mark Scott's lawyer Arlo Devlin-Brown wrote to SDNY Judge Edgardo Ramos urging admission into evidence of two emails involving Scott.

  Each email, it is argued, undermine the credibility of Konstantin Ignatov's testimony that in Ruja Ignatova's July 20, 2016 meet with Scott, Irina Dilkinska was present.

  In the first, Dilkinska tell Scott she will be traveling that week. In the second she says, in essence, "Me too" - that she too is traveling.

  By footnote, Devlin-Brown implied that Konstantin Ignatov embellished what he initially told the prosecutors, from that Ruja asked him to leave her meeting with Scott to that she instructed him, as her personal assistant, to make all OneCoin staff other than Dilkinska leave OneCoin's Sophia building during the meeting.

   As of 2:30 am before the November 15 trial day starts at 9:30, Judge Ramos had not ruled on the request. But it is questionable if the two proffered emails, even if admitted, would undermine the rest of Konstantin Ignatov's extensive cooperating testimony, or the other evidence entered about Mark Scott's guilty knowledge. More on Patreon here.

 Inner City Press will continue to report, live, on the trial.

 On November 13 the prosecution and the defense both questioned the deputy Chief Operating Officer of Locke Lord, the law firm Mark Scott worked at from June 2015 through September 2016. Thread here.

  E-mails were shown in which OneCoin's Ruja Ignatova told Scott, "I have some cash with me. About 220K GBP. Can you store it for me in London?" Other exhibits concerned a bank in Zimbabwe, a penthouse in London, and funds put into and quickly taken out of the law firm's escrow account.

  There is also in evidence an e-mail from the defendant Mark Scott to now-cooperating witness Konstantin Ignatov, as his sister Ruja's personal assistant, stating that "I would prefer not meeting in Sophia as I don't want too many travels there on my flight list." More on Patreon here.

On November 12 Inner City Press obtained and put online here, on Scribd, Konstantin Ignatov's plea agreement, including "On the understandings specified below, the Office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York (“this Office”) will accept a guilty plea from Konstantin Ignatov (the “defendant”) to the above-referenced four-count Superseding Information (the “Information")...

If the defendant fully complies with the understandings specified in this Agreement, he will not be further prosecuted criminally by this Office for any crimes, except for criminal tax violations, related to his participation in: (1) an international cryptocurrency fraud scheme known as “OneCoin” (the “OneCoin Scheme"), from in or about 2016, up to and including in or about 2019, as charged in Counts One and Two of the Information; (2) a conspiracy to defraud banks and other financial institutions worldwide by causing them to transfer proceeds of the OneCoin Scheme by misrepresenting and omitting material facts to those banks and financial institutions, from in or about 2016, up to and including in or about 2019, as charged in Count Four of the Information; and (3) a conspiracy to launder criminal proceeds derived from the OneCoin Scheme, and to transfer funds internationally to promote the OneCoin Scheme, from in or about 2016, up to and including in or about 2019, as charged in Count Three of the Information; to the extent that he has disclosed such participation to this Office as of the date of this Agreement.

  It is understood that Ignatov's truthful cooperation with this Office is likely to reveal activities of individuals who might use violence, force, and intimidation against Ignatov, his family, and loved ones. Should Ignatov's cooperation present a significant risk of physical harm, this Office, upon the written request of Ignatov, will take steps that it determines to be reasonable and necessary to attempt to ensure his safety and that of his family and loved ones.

These steps may include application to the Witness Security Program of the United States Marshals Service, whereby Ignatov, his family, and loved ones, if approved, could be relocated under a new identity...

This Office will, however, bring the cooperation of the defendant to the attention of other prosecuting offices, if requested by him.  It is understood that the sentence to be imposed upon the defendant is within the sole discretion of the Court.

This Office cannot, and does not, make any promise or representation as to what sentence the defendant will receive, and will not recommend any specific sentence to the Court. However, this Office will inform the Probation Office and the Court of (a) this Agreement; (b) the nature and extent of the defendant's activities with respect to this case and all other activities of the defendant which this Office deems relevant to sentencing; and (c) the nature and extent of the defendant's cooperation with this Office. In so doing, this Office may use any information it deems relevant, including information provided by the defendant both prior to and subsequent to the signing of this Agreement.

In addition, if this Office determines that the defendant has provided substantial assistance in an investigation or prosecution, and if he has fully complied with the understandings specified in this Agreement, this Office will file a motion, pursuant to Section 5K1.1 of the Sentencing Guidelines, requesting the Court to sentence the defendant in light of the factors set forth in Section 5K1.1(a)(1)-(5).

It is understood that, even if such a motion is filed, the sentence to be imposed on the defendant remains within the sole discretion of the Court. Moreover, nothing in this Agreement limits this Office's right to present any facts and make any arguments relevant to sentencing to the Probation Office and the Court, or to take any position on post-sentencing motions. The defendant hereby consents to such adjournments of his sentence as may be requested by this Office.

 It is understood that, should this Office determine either that the defendant has not provided substantial assistance in an investigation or prosecution, or that the defendant has violated any provision of this Agreement, such a determination will release this Office from any obligation to file a motion pursuant to Section 5K1.1 of the Sentencing Guidelines, but will not entitle the defendant to withdraw his guilty plea once it has been entered.

 It is understood that, should this Office determine, subsequent to the filing of a motion pursuant to Section 5K1.1 of the Sentencing Guidelines and/or 18 U.S.C. Sec. 3553(e), that the defendant has violated any provision of this Agreement, this Office shall have the right to withdraw such motion."

 A sample TD Bank letter to Gilbert Armenta is here. We'll have more on this.

On November 7 in the case against accused OneCoin money launderer Mark Scott Konstantin Ignatov for the third and last day took the witness stand, in prison blues with his neck and arm tattoos, as a cooperating witness.

  Scott's lawyer Arlo Devlin-Brown zeroed in on Konstantin Ignatov's guilty plea to bank fraud, asking him to name which FDIC insured bank he had provided false information to.

  Ignatov could not name a US bank, only United Bank of Dubai.

"No further questions," Devlin-Brown told Judge Ramos.

  Inner City Press has asked the US Attorney's Office when it was that Konstantin Ignatov pled guilty, since he gave no indication of such a plea in a September 6 status conference that Inner City Press covered, and has asked if it was before Judge Ramos, and if it was sealed.

  The government's next witness was the anti money laundering expert Donald Semesky. Inner City Press will continue to cover the trial. November 7 thread here. More on Patreon here.

  On November 6 Konstantin Ignatov testified that the bodyguards to took Ruja on her final public trip told him she was met by "Russian guys," and that Ruja had told him that in Russia she knew a rich and powerful person. More on Patreon, here.

The case is US v. Scott / Ignatov, 17-cr-630 (Ramos).

 More on Patreon, here.

November 11, 2019

In OneCoin Trial Konstantin Ignatov Pled To Bank Fraud So Defense Asks Which FDIC Bank

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon, Thread

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Nov 7 – After OneCoin's Konstantin Ignatov got a stay of the civil case against him, his criminal case was said to have been kicked down the road for at least another two months.

It was a productive two months, at least for the U.S. Attorney's Office.

On November 7 in the case against accused OneCoin money launderer Mark Scott Konstantin Ignatov for the third and last day took the witness stand, in prison blues with his neck and arm tattoos, as a cooperating witness.

  Scott's lawyer Arlo Devlin-Brown zeroed in on Konstantin Ignatov's guilty plea to bank fraud, asking him to name which FDIC insured bank he had provided false information to.

  Ignatov could not name a US bank, only United Bank of Dubai.

"No further questions," Devlin-Brown told Judge Ramos.

  Inner City Press has asked the US Attorney's Office when it was that Konstantin Ignatov pled guilty, since he gave no indication of such a plea in a September 6 status conference that Inner City Press covered, and has asked if it was before Judge Ramos, and if it was sealed.

  The government's next witness was the anti money laundering expert Donald Semesky. Inner City Press will continue to cover the trial. November 7 thread here. More on Patreon here.

  On November 6 Konstantin Ignatov testified that the bodyguards to took Ruja on her final public trip told him she was met by "Russian guys," and that Ruja had told him that in Russia she knew a rich and powerful person. More on Patreon, here.

  November 6 came to an end in the trial with Scott's lawyer Arlo Devlin-Brown cross examining Konstantin in detail about his one and only in person meeting with defendant Mark Scott, when he visited OneCoin's headquarters in Sophia, Bulgaria. Inner City Press will have more on this as the trial continues on November 7.

  Back on November 4 before jury selection, in oral arguments Scott's lawyers asked Judge Ramos to not allow into evidence information and chats found on a Samsung Galaxy smart phone for which Mark Scott paid but was used by his wife, with a Russian keyboard. Judge Ramos declined to suppress it.

  It also emerged that still-missing Ruja Ignatova rented space underneath cooperator Gilbert Armenta to listen in on him. More on that and on jury selection (which included questions on multi level marketing) is on Patreon, here.

On Monday, October 28 in a two hour pre-trial conference covered by Inner City Press, Judge Ramos said that the government can show photos of Scott with a yacht and cars that he purchased.

  The government said the trial will take two to three weeks.

The case is US v. Scott / Ignatov, 17-cr-630 (Ramos).

 More on Patreon, here.

November 4, 2019

In OneCoin Trial Scott Again Urges Statement In About Pyramid Scheme Concern Trial in 2 Days

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon, Thread

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Nov 2 – After OneCoin's Konstantin Ignatov got a stay of the civil case against him, then his criminal case was kicked down the road for at least another two months. Now the can looms closer, on November 4 before Judge Edgardo Ramos in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Inner City Press will be live-tweeting it.

On Sunday, October 27 Mark Scott's lawyers asked Judge Ramos to allow in more of Scott's post arrest statement, a request that for example in the recent Honduras narco-trial the defense left until mid-trial but still got granted in five instances. More on Patreon here and here.

On Monday, October 28 in a two hour pre-trial