Sting Snares Russian Conman In DR
'A Russian has been accused of using the list of the 400 richest Americans compiled each year by Forbes magazine to identify victims in his plan to steal millions via a computer in his Moscow bedroom. Igor Klopov, 24, and four alleged accomplices have been charged with conspiracy, grand larceny, forgery and identity theft after he was lured from Moscow to New York by secret service agents posing as bullion dealers with $7 million in gold bars. The transaction was part of an alleged attempt to steal$7 million from Charles Wyly, a Dallas-based self-made billionaire, who ranks 354 on the Forbes list. Mr Wyly, 73, and his brother Sam have donated millions to President George W Bush's political campaigns. According to an indictment, Klopov posed as Mr Wyly to request a cheque book be sent to a Houston address linked to an accomplice. Once it had been received, the accomplice forged a cheque for $7 million and sent it to a gold dealer with whom Mr Wyly - whose brother is nicknamed "Wyly Coyote" - had done business. But when the gold dealer contacted the bank to verify the cheque, the scheme began to unravel. Federal secret service agents hatched a plan to bring Klopov to the United States. Klopov flew to the Dominican Republic to meet men who were supposed to be giving him the gold bars but were in fact undercover agents.' The rest of the story here:
Remember Lutz Meyerding?
Readers of Dominican Republic Internet message boards will recall that in June 2006 a German resident in the DR by name Lutz Meyerding flooded the boards with solicitations for 'investments' in his hotel and 'professional webcam studio'. Not just Dominican Republic message boards - he also solicited (briefly!) on the DR forum of British Expat.com. Subsequent google searches revealed a trail of unhappy 'investors' who had succumbed earlier to Mr. Meyerding's enticements and who appeared to have lost their money and were keen to find Mr. Meyerding. Now they are joined by Santo Domingo Fiscal Jose Manuel Hernandez Peguero! He received a complaint from a Haitian woman that the same Lutz Meyerding was trafficking in Haitian women and running a pornography website from three apartment in Santo Domingo. The Fiscal released the 12 women at the apartments and issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Meyerding who has gone on the run. Later in the week two more Haitian women were rescued from another of Mr. Meyerding's apartments, this time in the upmarket area of Gazcue, Santo Domingo. Coincidentally a German with certain similar physical characteristics had been seen in Puerto Plata the week before and during the early part of this week. However, once this story broke, the person deserted his usual hangouts. The DR newspapers are not carrying a photo of Mr. Meyerding but this news bulletin is providing one so that expats may assist the police in their search. It should be noted that this is an old photo and expat life may have taken its toll (!) rendering the incumbent perhaps scruffier and possibly chubbier. The website in question livejasmin.com whilst accessible earlier in the week now appears to have been removed.
Luis Alvarez Renta - More Trouble
'Bancredito (Panama) S.A. announced on Monday that it has filed a complaint in New York State Supreme Court against Luis Alvarez Renta, related to the issuance of a series of loans for the purchase of shares in publicly traded Tricom, S.A., a cell phone service provider. Alvarez Renta is a prominent Latin American businessman. Two years ago he was found liable in federal district court in Miami for federal racketeering charges involving a Dominican Republic bank, Banco Intercontinental ("Baninter")."We are moving forward in the U.S. Courts to recover assets for Bancredito Panama," said Peter Haviland, of Kaye Scholer LLP, which is representing the bank.' The rest of the story follows:
Puerto Plata-Montecristi Highway
César José de los Santos, Governor of Puerto Plata, has announced the construction of the highway which will link Puerto Plata with Montecristi. Work is due to begin 'shortly'.
AA Refuses Interpol's Man
Interpol and the DNI arrested a Bahamian native, Michael Stapleton, on Wednesday in the DR. Stapleton was wanted in connection with crimes carried out in the Bahamas. However, things became a bit unglued at Las Americas airport, Santo Domingo whence Stapleton was to be taken to Miami. As he did not have a US visa American Airlines refused to transport him. So Interpol officials had to arrange for Stapleton to be held in police custody whilst they obtained permission from the US Embassy to transport him via the US. Their back up plan, should permission not be forthcoming, was to fly via a Caribbean island which had connecting flights to the Bahamas and which did not require a US visa. It is not known how long this took to sort out because there were no further follow ups in the press.
Fitch DR Ratings
'On Friday Fitch Ratings affirmed the Dominican Republic's foreign currency and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) at 'B', with a Positive Outlook. Fitch also affirmed the country ceiling at 'B+' and the short-term foreign currency IDR at 'B'. According to Theresa Paiz Fredel, a Senior Director on the Fitch Ratings sovereign team, 'The Dominican Republic's ratings are supported by the strength of the economic recovery, progress on the structural reform front, as well as a manageable debt service profile.' Nevertheless, in spite of achieving macroeconomic stability, a still fragile liquidity position that can be exacerbated by a less benign external environment or a loss of confidence and ensuing capital flight constrains the ratings to current levels at this time. As the IMF stand-by arrangement expires in January 2008, Fitch is also concerned that without the program as an anchor, it may be more challenging for the government to complete its structural reform agenda and prudently manage public finances, particularly in an election year, which could have implications for maintaining confidence.' Read more here:
Recovered Stolen Cars Case
Under the 'whatever happened to.................' category readers may recall the case of stolen cars in the DR which were later recovered by the police and then seemingly distributed as goodies to police officers, their families and friends as perks rather than being returned to their rightful owners, which after this length of time is mostly the insurance companies who have compensated the owners. The Court case involving ex Chief of Police Jaime Marte Martínez plus some 40 more generals and retired and active police officials has been yo-yoing through the judicial system with a number of rulings and counter appeals. The Santo Domingo prosecutor had appealed the decision of the earlier court to absolve the accused of any guilt. On Thursday this appeal failed and the earlier decision has been upheld. Prosecutor: 0 Police: Wheels.
Children Of Haitians Birth Certificates
Once again this issue has come up. 'Authorities in the Dominican Republic are denying growing numbers of people of Haitian descent identity documents on the argument that their parents are illegal immigrants. The founder and director of the Movement of Dominican-Haitian Women (MUDHA), Sonia Pierre, complained that the civil registrar’s office continues to demand that Dominican citizens of Haitian descent present their parents’ documents as a requisite for obtaining copies of their birth certificates. The Haitian-Dominican activist who defends the rights of immigrants said the officials are fully aware that the applicants were registered at birth by their parents on forms handed out by the authorities to Haitian "braceros" or sugar cane cutters.' The story continues:
Kidnap Phone Con - DR Next?
Any chance of this coming to the DR? 'In Brazil, criminal gangs frequently phone victims with fake abduction claims about their loved ones and trick them into handing over cash. As the BBC's Gary Duffy reports from Sao Paulo, being on the receiving end can be a frightening experience.' Read more here:
Two Trials For Mob Boss
'Reputed mob boss William D’Elia will face two juries, a federal judge ruled Friday — one for his alleged involvement with several money-laundering schemes and another for his alleged involvement with planning a kidnapping and a murder..............people cooperating with investigators recorded conversations with Mr. D’Elia about wiring money to the Dominican Republic and talking about setting up a hit on Mr. Cotto for $200,000.' Read more here:
Long Swim To Spa!
Remember the story about thermal spa development in Barahona? According to World Leisure News and Jobs the Italian investors have now become a Spanish company and Barahona has moved to Dominica!! 'The Dominican Republic is reportedly to gain one of the biggest thermal spa complexes in the world, according to its Tourism Minister Felix Jimenez. According to the People’s Daily Online, Dominica’s Tourism Ministry and Spain’s Salamandra Thermals Trade Corporation have agreed to build the spa project in Canoa, a small town in the region of Barahona.' Read more here:
Dominican Students In Utah
'Salsa music floated across the USU quad as 96 new Dominican students enjoyed a welcome barbecue this week. The newcomers were joined by 47 returning Dominican students and the country’s minister of higher education, science and technology, Ligia Amada Melo de Cardona. Five Dominican students will come later in the year.' Read the rest of the story below:
South Africa-DR Trade
'South Africa and Dominican Republic last weekend signed a declaration of intent to improve trade relations between the two countries. The document was signed by South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and her Dominican counterpart Carlos Morales Troncoso in Pretoria.' The rest of the story is here:
Orchids And Dinosaurs In DR
'Fossilized orchid pollen on the back of a bee preserved in amber has offered the first evidence that these delicate flowers existed around the time of the dinosaurs, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday. Biologists at Harvard University said the ancient pollen, found in a clump on a now-extinct worker bee, means orchids are much older than previously thought.' Read more: