Organized Crime

Organized Crime

Brit faces extradition to U.S.

A Spanish court has approved the extradition to the U.S. of a British man wanted by California and New York courts to face 14 charges of fraud and extortion, among other things, from hacking the social media accounts of executives, politicians and celebrities. Joseph James O’Connor, who can appeal the ruling which is subject to cabinet approval, was arrested in July 2021. [node:read-more:link]

What to do about Haiti?

As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau discusses the crisis in Haiti with Caribbean leaders this week, he evidently remained resistant to suggestions, including from the U.S., about military intervention. During a multilateral meeting today, he told Haiti’s unelected leader, Ariel Henry, who has UN support for external security forces to combat endemic gang violence, only that Canada has “much to do” to offer support and stability. [node:read-more:link]

Iranian expats face U.S. charges

Three Iranian expatriates in Toronto who describe themselves as real estate professionals face what they say are baseless felony charges in the U.S. for allegedly conspiring to circumvent sanctions against Iran. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today that his his government is working “very closely with American partners” and the Iranian diaspora, some of whom say the government is doing too little to ensure Canada isn’t a haven for the Iranian regime’s allies. [node:read-more:link]

Wagner head founded “troll farm”

Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Russia mercenary Wagner Group, disclosed February 14 that he also financed the Internet Research Agency, a “troll farm” the U.S. says meddled in the 2016 presidential election. “I created it, I managed it for a long time,” he said on social media. “It was created to protect the Russian information space from the West’s boorish and aggressive anti-Russian propaganda.” [node:read-more:link]

Russian convicted in U.S. scam

Vladislav Klyushin, the millionaire-owner of a Moscow-based IT company, was convicted in a Massachusett court February 14 of participating in an insider trading scheme using stolen financial information from companies such as Microsoft. Klyushin was arrested in 2021 in Switzerland but four alleged co-conspirators, including a military intelligence officer, remain at large. [node:read-more:link]

Aurora returning from Haiti mission

An RCAF CP-140 Aurora maritime patrol and surveillance aircraft headed back to base in Atlantic Canada today after intelligence gathering flights over Haiti. The aircraft was retasked from a U.S.-led counter-narcotics mission and a Canadian Armed Forces official said the data collected over two days would be used by the government “to further assess the situation in Haiti,” which has requested military help in dealing with endemic gang violence. [node:read-more:link]

RCAF surveillance aircraft in Haiti

The federal government has deployed one of the RCAF’s Lockheed Martin CP-140 Aurora maritime patrol aircraft to Haiti. Capable of flying for 17 hours at a time, it is tasked with providing surveillance and intelligence support for the authorities’ campaign against endemic gang violence which has paralyzed the country for months. [node:read-more:link]

Cryptotheft funding North Korea nukes?

New York-based Chainalysis, which analyzes the cryptocurrency market, reported February 1 that North Korea-backed hackers stole US$1.7 billion in 2022, nearly quadruple their theft in 2021 and accounting for 44 per cent of all cryptocurrency hacks last year. Critics say North Korea uses the proceeds to accelerate nuclear weapons development. [node:read-more:link]

Ransomware an “enduring threat”

The Communications Security Establishment confirmed February 2 that it had issued a threat report to Canadian organizations about LockBit, a prolific Russia-linked ransomware group known for targetting hospitals and transit systems. A CSE official said LockBit was responsible for 22 per cent of attributed ransomware incidents in Canada last year and will pose an “enduring threat” going forward. [node:read-more:link]

Jamaica prepared to help Haiti

Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness said February 1 that his government is willing to send troops and police to Haiti as part of a proposed multinational security force. The UN special envoy for Haiti said a week ago that she hoped the Security Council would deal “positively” with the request from Haiti’s government which has been dealing with widespread gang violence. [node:read-more:link]

Drug deaths persist in B.C.

On the same day it decriminalized small amounts of drugs in a bid to prevent deaths among users, B.C. reported 2,272 deaths attributed to illicit drugs in 2022. It said January 31 that Fatalities in November and December alone totalled 182 and 210, respectively, and the daily average for the year was 6.4, roughly the same as the previous year, with victims aged 30-59 accounting for 70 per cent of the toll. [node:read-more:link]

China Bank faces lawsuit

A B.C. woman defrauded of $69,000 in 2018 has won the right to sue the Canadian branch of the Bank of China after she appealed the ruling denying her claim. She had received a call from someone claiming to be with the Chinese consulate in Vancouver, saying she was being prosecuted for money laundering and that she could settle the issue by transferring funds, which she did with the help of a Bank of China teller. Her complaint that the bank was aware of fraudulent activities was eventually upheld January 30 by a Court of Appeal tribunal which ordered a retrial. [node:read-more:link]

UN head wants troops in Haiti

UN Secretary General António Guterres wants an international specialized armed force deployed to Haiti as gang violence and human rights violations have reached a critical level. His call is part of a report January 23 by the UN Integrated Office in Haiti, which says killings surged by 35 per cent last year while kidnappings more than doubled. “There are also allegations that a significant number of national police . . . may be associated with gangs,” Guterres said. [node:read-more:link]

Wagner Group a “criminal organization”

The U.S. plans to designate the Wagner Group, the global mercenary force owned by an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, as a “transnational criminal organisation” with some 50,000 members fighting in Ukraine. A national security spokesman says Wagner is “committing atrocities and human rights abuses in Ukraine and elsewhere.” [node:read-more:link]

Canada sends armoured vehicles for Haiti

Canada delivered three more armoured vehicles to the Haiti National Police via military aircraft. The vehicles are for use against criminal gangs which have caused a humanitarian crisis. Canada supplied an initial batch of AVs last October. [node:read-more:link]


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