Scotland inches closer to investigating Trump for money laundering

first_imgFirst Minister Sturgeon first hemmed and hawed, saying that she was no fan of Trump but not committing to anything else on the matter. Harvie told the BBC that it is Sturgeon’s obligation as first minister to root out corruptions like this one. “Trump’s known sources of income don’t explain where the money came from for these huge cash transactions. There are reasonable grounds for suspecting that his lawfully obtained income was insufficient. Scottish ministers can apply via the Court of Session for an unexplained wealth order, a tool designed for precisely these kinds of situations.”The Trump administration and its solicitors have attacked Harvie and others for playing politics and saying that Donald Trump has invested “hundreds of millions of dollars into” the Scottish economy. I’m guessing that while Harvie would take that bet and go to court, Donald Trump wouldn’t. I say this because Donald Trump is a con man and if our country, at some point, decides to finally hold the elite in our country accountable for breaking laws and abuses of power, I suspect Donald Trump and others will be in jail for the rest of their miserable days.That’s a big if. Fingers crossed that the international community can give America a beacon to help direct us out of the dark times we are facing.- Advertisement – Trump’s connection with international money launderers, and the never-ending stream of information connecting him with money laundering activities, along with his opaque financials is more than enough reason for there to be a serious investigation, according to Patrick Harvie, the co-leader of the country’s Green Party. “Now that Trump is set to lose immunity from prosecution in the U.S., he may be held to account there, isn’t it time he’s also held to account here? Isn’t it time for answers from the Trump Organization?” Harvie has repeatedly asked of Scotland’s National Party leader First Minister Nicolea Sturgeon to look into the matter.From the beginning, Trump’s investments in Scotland have seemed unusual. As the self-proclaimed “King of Debt,” Trump has built almost all of his signature projects with other people’s money. His Scottish resorts appear to be funded with his own funds—but based on personal financial disclosures he has filed as president, it’s not clear how Trump has been able to generate that much cash. The recent series of articles by the New York Times, based on copies of Trump’s tax returns, suggest that Trump has used a variety of tactics—including some legally dubious ones—to bolster his liquidity, but Harvie says there hasn’t been sufficient explanation of how Trump is paying for Aberdeenshire and Turnberry.Harvie’s Green Party have been pushing for First Minister Sturgeon to employ a governmental tool called an Unexplained Wealth Order (UWO). This tool is one that gives the Scottish government wide-ranging powers to investigate “politically exposed persons” whose finances seem dubious. UWOs have been used to expose European businessmen of dirty dealings and criminal behavior by forcing them to open up their books. And while it has been used very clearly in cases like Donald Trump’s, PM Sturgeon has seemed reticent to commit to holding Donald Trump accountable.- Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more

‘A nightmare’: Virus upsets South African funeral rites

first_imgUndertakers clad in canary-yellow protective suits lowered the coffin into the cold soil as a mechanical digger waited nearby to smother the grave.Still numbed by their loss, a family watched the desolate spectacle from meters away. They were barred from tossing a handful of soil or a flower into the grave, and could not even huddle together. COVID ‘storm’ South Africa is the worst-affected country in Africa and among the top five in the world in terms of confirmed cases, with more than 400,000 infections reported to date.It is now in the midst of the long-forecast coronavirus “storm”.On Wednesday the virus death toll jumped by a record 572 over the previous 24 hours, taking the total of fatalities to 5,940.But experts suggest this could be an understatement.The South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) reported on Wednesday a 60-percent increase in overall numbers of “natural” deaths in recent weeks.”The weekly death reports have revealed a huge discrepancy between the country’s confirmed COVID-19 deaths and number of excess natural deaths,” said its lead author, Professor Debbie Bradshaw. The time between death and burial is traditionally a week or more, so that mourners can travel from different parts of the country or from abroad, to come and collectively grieve.Today, the remains of a coronavirus victim are interred within three days — and disposal is swift, clinical and mindful of social distancing.”It was too quick,” said Charles Motlhabane, 32, after the burial of his older brother.Organizing the funeral was “a nightmare,” he said.”We’re used to having like a whole week of preparations and calling family members. “But now things are different — you can’t even get close to the casket to view it going down. So it’s a mess, this thing, it’s just a huge mess.”On the way to the cemetery, the hearse drove briefly by the family home in Soweto. It parked on a narrow street while mourners gathered from meters away, and a priest shouted out a prayer. The vigil lasted just 10 minutes before the hearse moved on. Modise Motlhabane was still in his early 40s when he became the latest of South Africa’s mounting fatalities from coronavirus.The ceremony to bid him farewell at Johannesburg’s Westpark cemetery lasted less than 30 minutes: these days, funerals are fast-tracked. Under new regulations, mourners have a maximum of two hours to collect the body and bury it to avoid congestion at graveyards and limit the spread of COVID-19. The change has been deeply traumatic in South Africa, where family honor, dignity and the instinct to renew human bonds make funerals long and elaborate affairs. Packed mortuariesPolice have been deployed at the entrance of cemeteries to ensure an orderly traffic flow and control the numbers of mourners entering, and funeral parlors say they are nearly bursting at the seams.At AVBOB Funeral Service in Soweto, branch manager Gladwin Madlala was busy attending to a handful of mourners that had come to view a body.”Normally this time [of the year] we are having plus or minus 16 to 18 bodies in the fridge. But currently we are sitting with more than 30,” he said.”At some point about a week ago, we were sitting at our full capacity, which is 44 bodies in the fridge. In fact it has doubled.”Johannesburg, currently the virus epicenter in South Africa, has a capacity to bury around a million people. Reggie Moloi, the City of Johannesburg’s cemeteries manager, told AFP that COVID-19 deaths for the whole of the month of April tallied six.In the first three weeks of July alone, they were 252.”Our curve really went up,” he said.Clinical psychologist Thandeka Mvakali said denial of traditional mourning rituals would wreak an emotional toll for many.”People’s grieving could be complicated by the inability to do a grand and beautiful send off, [and] that could come with feelings of guilt that my loved one deserved more than this,” Mvakali said. Final rites are “all about reaching closure,” which includes details such as flowers and personal mementoes, she said.The business of death will have a bumper year.The nationwide toll could be between 40,000 and 50,000 by the end of 2020, according to projections.”The surge is upon us,” Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said on Thursday in badly-hit Eastern Cape province. “This month, numbers have increased and next month we expect the numbers to be higher as well.”Topics :last_img read more