Vanuatu will not permit other nations to conduct extralegal police operations on its soil, says Govt

77 alleged members of a Chinese crime syndicate were rounded up by Chinese police and flown from Nadi to China last week. Photo: CCTV

77 alleged members of a Chinese crime syndicate were rounded up by Chinese police and flown from Fiji to China last week. Photo: CCTV

Some 77 alleged members of a Chinese online fraud syndicate were detained and flown out of Fiji this week on a plane full of Chinese police. Fiji has no extradition treaty with China, meaning Fiji allowed the police force of another nation to operate on its soil outside of the checks and balances provided for by Fijian law. This is of concern for Fiji’s neighbours, including Vanuatu, because it indicates that China is willing to bypass the sovereign legal systems of our nations and conduct security operations on our soil whenever it suits them.

The Acting DG of Foreign Affairs has told the media it could not happen Read the rest of this entry »

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Further woes at Port Vila’s international airport as flights cancelled due to runway conditions… again

airnz-flying-pv

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Improved cyclone tracking map issued ahead of next cyclone season

Vanuatu Meteorological Services's new cyclone tracking map, June 2016. Click on the image to load a larger version.

Vanuatu Meteorological Services’s new cyclone tracking map, June 2016. Click on the image to load a larger version.

A new and improved tropical cyclone tracking map has been issued by Vanuatu Meteorological Services. It shows the updated frequencies and times of broadcast of cyclone warnings. And there are sketches of the likely effects caused over land by the different categories of cyclones. Click on the image  Read the rest of this entry »


Drugs, arms, racketeering: the dark side of Vanuatu’s tax haven

It is the worst-kept secret of tax havens around the world — the vast amounts of money being laundered through them on behalf of organised crime syndicates, narcoterrorists, totalitarian states and arms dealers as well as run-of-the-mill tax avoiders. The Tax Justice Network, an international group opposed to tax havens, estimates that about US$11.5 trillion worth of assets are held offshore in tax havens—a third of all global wealth—all beyond the oversight of tax authorities and law enforcement.

At a Bangkok airport, Thai police officers and soldiers found 30 tonnes of war weaponry in a cargo plane on its journey from North Korea to Iran. Photo: AP

At a Bangkok airport, Thai police officers and soldiers found 30 tonnes of war weaponry in a cargo plane on its journey from North Korea to Iran. Photo: AP

Vanuatu’s tax haven is not immune, as this article published on the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’s website in 2011 reveals. The article reminds us of the past exploits of Epi MP Robert Bohn Jr.:

On December 11, 2009, a former Soviet air force transport plane flying from North Korea to Iran stopped to refuel in Bangkok. The flight listed its cargo as spare parts for oil-drilling equipment. Instead police found 30 tonnes of explosives, rocket-propelled grenades and components for surface-to-air missiles, all being transported in breach of United Nations sanctions.

Three months later in a Miami courtroom, the U.S. Department of Justice revealed the country’s largest money-laundering scheme involving billions of dollars from Mexican drug lords.

Then, last April, documents emerged in London concerning Russia’s largest tax fraud, an alleged $230 million heist that led to the untimely deaths of four people and threatens to damage the Russian government.

The story behind the three events is many degrees stranger than fiction, but it includes one common element – a number of shell companies associated with 68-year-old Queensland businessman Geoffrey Taylor or members of his family.

Shell companies – that is, corporations with no apparent operations, no apparent employees and no apparent physical assets – are used by those who register them for a range of nefarious activities around the world.

Taylor’s immersion in and knowledge of the world of tax havens appears to stem from his many years working in Vanuatu, a small, earthquake-prone, tax-haven island [sic] in the south Pacific Ocean, about 1750 kilometres from Australia. Taylor operated from the capital, Port Vila, which put in its proper perspective is about the same size as Goulburn.

From 1997 until 2002 Taylor served as vice-president of European Bank, a Vanuatu-based company that was no stranger to controversy. In 1999, U.S. authorities accused the bank of accepting millions of dollars in deposits that turned out to be the proceeds of a massive credit card fraud.

In a separate action, a former director of the bank, Robert Bohn, was later convicted of racketeering in the US for his part in an alleged $100 million lottery scam that included Australians among its victims. Though there is no suggestion Taylor was involved in any illegality, throughout 2000 he was busy offering his services to sharemarket-listed firms in Australia in preparation for his eventual relocation to Southport in Queensland.

The full article, which was originally published in Australian newspaper The Canberra Times, can be found at this link: Inside the shell: Drugs, arms and tax scams.


Vanuatu daily news digest | 22 January 2013

Minister Alfred Carlot’s visit to meet Anh Quan Saken in Port Moresby had nothing to do with the ownership of the ship Phocea, he tells us today on VBTC Radio News. He travelled from Brisbane with the PNG foreign minister and received proper protocol treatment on arrival in PNG. He was simply using every opportunity to carry out his duties as Foreign Minister, he says, needing funds for setting up new overseas missions and for paying such debts as UNESCO membership, he says. No mention of collecting brown paper envelopes in preparation of the upcoming Provincial elections, however. Minister Carlot wanted to clarify to the public that Pascal Anh Quan Saken and Henry Charles Saken were on a diplomatic mission for the Vanuatu Government through the Council of Ministers which appointed them. We’d like to see the Government gazette where this appointment is confirmed, because last time this was publically broached, PM Sato Kilman was trying to put some distance between Quan and himself. The two Vanuatu naturalised citizens, according to Interpol and Pacific transnational crime experts, are known for their involvement with the drugs and the arms trades. The PNG Opposition Leader Belden Namah has spoken out against the visit of Carlot and the Sakens on Radio New Zealand International. And PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill confirmed with Radio New Zealand International that Minister Carlot arrived on a private jet belonging to the Sakens. Minister Carlot’s passport was held while investigations continued, he said. However, following a meeting between the Sakens and the PNG Government, their departure was permitted on Sunday night at 8pm, even though PNG police wanted the plane, passengers and crew held while they investigated.

An anonymous commenter to this blog says that contrary to what we reported yesterday, Vu Anh Quan and his brother Charles Henry only began their association with Vanuatu two years ago, and are not ni-Vanuatu of Vietnamese origin, but from France. The commenter also says Alfred Carlot’s claim that Vu Anh Quan is his childhood friend is a falsehood.

The Director of Ports and Harbours, Morris Kaloran, says his suspension is politically motivated, and that the reasons given for his suspension by Government have already been dealt with by the Public Service Commission, he tells Daily Post. “It’s all to do with the issue of the mega-yacht Phocea. The government wants to release Phocea, but with my presence as Director of Ports and Harbours and applying the Vanuatu laws, we just cannot simply release Phocea like that,” said Kaloran.

Daily Post today, like VBTC News, also carries Foreign Minister Alfred Carlot’s refutation of his contacts with the Sakens having anything to do with Phocea, which hardly seems to matter now. So we now have a fourth Saken in addition to Pascal Vu Anh Quan, ‘Mme. ‘15%’ Thi Tham Goiset and Juris Gulbis: Charles Henry Saken. Presumably the giaman “university” at Pango is named after this Saken, the brother of Pascal Vu Anh Quan. We wonder how much this kastom honorific retails for. The Nagriamel movement is doing a sterling job of polluting the kastom of Santo by giving these questionable individuals this title.

Daily Post carries further information from the PNG Post Courier concerning the Sakens’ mystery flight aboard their 737 from war-torn Mali in West Africa, through the Maldives and Singapore to Jacksons Airport, Port Moresby. The mystery plane was allowed to leave PNG having breached no laws of that country, though the O’Neill Government, like the Kilman Government, has a history of allowing suspect people off the hook. And against the wishes of the PNG police. Sound familiar, Vanuatu readers? Post Courier also revealed a visit to the new US Ambassador to PNG, Walter North, by Minister Carlot, who refused to talk to Post Courier. Daily Post also carries further details of the Phocea’s fake registration.


Saken brothers known for drugs, arms trade: Interpol [PNG Post-Courier]

Sekan [sic] brothers known for drugs, arms trade: Interpol

By TODAGIA KELOLA
PNG Post-Courier, Monday 21st January 2013

THE two Saken brothers, Vu Anh Quan and Charles Henry who are connected with the suspicious plane are known for their involvement in drugs and arms trade, according to Interpol and transnational crime officials in the Pacific.
The two brothers are naturalized citizens of Vanuatu but are of Vietnamese origin.
According to PNG police, they became aware of the Saken brothers’ activities both in Vanuatu and throughout the world through Interpol and other law enforcement agencies, particularly Transnational Crime setup in the Pacific, of their involvement in drugs and arms trade, especially where there are rebellions and insurgency activities.
In their assessment of the incident, the aircraft landing in PNG has triggered off many outstanding allegations against the two Saken brothers and the current Vanuatu Minister for Foreign Affairs Albert Calot [sic] who is engrossed in an ongoing political power struggle in Vanuatu.
Police in their brief said: “The fact that the two Saken brothers were uplifted from Mali is very suspicious as this country is currently going through an open conflict and rebellion.
“What is more interesting is a large Boeing 737 aircraft is ideal for carrying firearms or other illicit contrabands.
“It is alleged that Mr Quan has travelled extensively into many hostile and trouble hotspots in the world and thus has been implicated in illegal gun running and drug trafficking activities in the recent past, especially in the Golden triangle area in South East Asia and in Central and South America. Thus it is obvious Africa is now his main focus.
“What is more suspicious is that they did stop over at the tax haven country of Maldives for re-fuelling purpose as indicated by the pilot.
“However, it is highly probable that any illegal proceeds may have been banked on this island to avoid being detected once they entered PNG, or to stopover in Singapore or Australia.
“It is no wonder they had to fly eleven hours direct into Port Moresby.”


Vanuatu daily news digest | 21 January 2013

While Phocea remains in Vila Harbour on its allegedly forged papers today, the Director of Ports and Harbours, Mr Morris Kaloran, was suspended last Friday, Daily Post tells us today. Questions concerning the request of the Brussels based EU representative for Vanuatu have also been raised. Vanuatu’s Ambassador to the European Union, Roy Mickey Joy, asked for PNG assistance for the plane taking the two Sakens to PNG. And overseas media tell us quite a bit more today, most significantly that Vu Anh Quan Saken and Charles Henry Saken are wanted by Interpol on charges of drug and arms smuggling. Their private charter flight originated in Mali in west Africa, where radical Islamic forces have take control over half the country, and a military intervention by France has just begun, an odd destination for a joy flight. The Daily Post page 1 story has government spokesman Jeff Joel Patunvanu telling us that Foreign Minister Alfred Carlot’s trip to Port Moresby is private, meaning it was not an official Vanuatu Government trip for Carlot to meet with the two Sakens. Serious consequences are likely for the Sato Kilman government, as it seems his Ministers and overseas diplomats have been aiding and abetting drug and arms smugglers. As we noted several weeks ago, Vanuatu has no laws in place to deal with persons wanted internationally for war crimes. Which perhaps explains why Vu Anh Quan and his associates want to set up shop in Vanuatu.

It appears that Vu Anh Quan and Charles Henry were both born in Vanuatu, members of Vanuatu’s Vietnamese population. Vu Anh Quan is a childhood friend of Foreign Minister Alfred Carlot. More on this to follow.

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