Europe

Akeem ReachnaijaApril 6, 2019
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1min830

The United States requested the meeting on Thursday amid growing alarm over the impact of a political standoff in Venezuela on families and children.

An internal UN report seen by AFP last week said seven million people — about 24 percent of Venezuela’s population — are in need of humanitarian aid, lacking access to food and medical care.

President Nicolas Maduro has blamed US sanctions for Venezuela’s economic problems but opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has declared himself interim leader, says government corruption and mismanagement are at fault.

Guaido is recognized by the United States and about 50 other governments.

The meeting to be held in open session is scheduled for around 11 am (1500 GMT).


Akeem ReachnaijaApril 6, 2019
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3min530

The selection of Malpass by the bank’s board of directors followed an “open, transparent” nomination process in which citizens of all membership countries were potentially eligible, the bank said in a statement.

But since the bank’s creation following World War II, all of its presidents have been American men, following an unwritten rule that also ensures European leadership at the top of its sister institution, the International Monetary Fund.

The announcement came as expected just prior to next week’s joint spring meetings of the World Bank and the IMF.

Malpass begins his five-year term on Tuesday, replacing former President Jim Yong Kim, whose surprise departure in February came not even halfway through his second term.

Malpass had been the lone candidate for the job and his nomination by Trump earlier this year sparked outrage among critics, who saw it as an affront to the global anti-poverty lender’s very mission.

The 63-year-old US Treasury official in charge of international affairs has been a strident critic of global financial institutions — calling their lending practices “corrupt” and ineffective, and complaining they are overly generous to China.

He has softened his message recently, however, saying he is committed to the bank’s mission of eliminating extreme poverty and that reforms enacted last year as part of a $13 billion capital increase addressed many of his criticisms.

In recent years, emerging market countries have challenged the unwritten arrangement on World Bank and IMF leadership, demanding a more open, merit-based selection process.

The bank has been at pains to stress that it has heard such criticisms and now allows a more open process. But the few non-American candidates in recent years have received little support from major bank shareholders.

Many, including former Treasury officials from both political parties, have sharply criticized Malpass and his qualifications.

They pointed to his failure to foresee the global financial crisis during his time at the now-defunct investment bank Bear Stearns and his opposition, which later proved unjustified, to post-crisis Federal Reserve policies.

Malpass previously also held a senior role in the US State Department for Latin American affairs.

“David will be an exceptional leader of the World Bank and I look forward to working with him in his new role,” US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Twitter.


Akeem ReachnaijaFebruary 6, 2019
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1min690
A recent discovery from an ancient castle in Austria has proven, that bras are not exactly new age.

In fact, the bras that they discovered, hidden in a vault of the castle, date back more than 500 years.

This is from the same period that Leonardo Da Vinci was still walking the Earth.

The discovery also revealed that not only is the undergarment older than previously thought but so is the ‘sexy’ This old-school bra were decorated with lace, proving Victoria had secrets half of a millennium ago.


Akeem ReachnaijaAugust 3, 2018
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3min1080

The crude oil refinery being built in Lagos by Dangote Industries Limited is a threat to refineries in Europe , which Nigeria relies mostly on for fuel imports , a global provider of energy and commodities information has said .

The Editorial Director , Strategic Oil Markets Development , S& P Global Platts , Andrew Bonnington, said at the S& P Global Platts Lagos Oil & Energy Forum on Thursday that the start of operations at the Dangote refinery would likely lead to the closure of some European refineries .

He told our correspondent on the sidelines of the event , “In Africa , the Dangote refinery is a huge story; one of the biggest refineries in the world being built in Nigeria , likely to supply most of or all of Nigeria ’ s consumption. That clearly has an impact on European refineries , because they export to Nigeria.

“ It is impossible for me to say exactly what the impact will be, but it is not a good thing for European refineries that Dangote refinery is being built . ”

According to Bonnington , Europe is the biggest supplier of petroleum products to Nigeria , with about 75 per cent of petrol consumed in the country imported from the continent .

Last week , the President , Dangote Industries Limited , Aliko Dangote , said he had arranged more than $ 4 . 5 bn in debt financing for his refinery project and aimed to start production in early 2020 .

Dangote , Africa ’ s richest man , is building a refinery with a capacity of 650 , 000 barrels per day to help reduce Nigeria ’ s dependence on imported petroleum products .

He was quoted by Reuters as saying that lenders would commit about $ 3 . 15bn , with the World Bank’ s private sector arm providing $ 150 m , adding that he was investing more than 60 per cent from his own cash flow.

“We will end up spending between $ 12bn and $ 14bn . The funding is going to come through equity, commercial bank loans , export credit agencies and developmental banks . Hopefully, we will finish mechanical (construction ) by next year and products will start coming out in the first quarter of 2020 , ” Dangote added .


Akeem ReachnaijaJune 13, 2018
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6min1340

By this point, savvy people know it’s a bad idea to trust an email from a Nigerian prince hoping to use their bank account to unload a dead relative’s vast wealth.

And they’re just as suspicious of the sudden Internet-based love interest with questionable grammar who needs a few thousand untraceable dollars to clear up a passport issue in time for a magical first date.

But in a sophisticated and terrifying evolution of the Nigerian 419 scam, web-savvy crime syndicates are figuring out ways to bilk U.S. citizens of billions.

On Monday, the FBI announced the arrest of 74 people across the world — including 29 people in Nigeria and 41 in the United States — who authorities say were part of complex international networks that combed filings by the Securities and Exchange Commission, spoofed CEO emails and successfully targeted even hardened employees whose jobs are to safeguard their companies from financial mismanagement.

The recent scams have the same DNA as the poorly worded emails that have been showing up in people’s inboxes since the 1990s. Instead of playing on hopes of finding love or lust for sudden wealth, they play on fears about missing a vital company payment or upsetting a boss’s boss.

“[Scammers] are doing their research … going onto company websites and looking for the right people,” FBI Assistant Director Scott Smith, who helped lead the investigation, told the Wall Street Journal. “They may even go as far as pulling annual reports and finding what companies they do business with and [impersonating] those accounts.”

Adeyemi Odufuye and his team, for example, sifted SEC records, company websites and other business documents, looking for the names and email addresses of chief executives, chief financial officers and controllers, court documents say.

Odufuye, who had a half dozen nicknames, including “Jefe,” the Spanish word for “chief” or “boss,” led a crew responsible for stealing $2.6 million, including $440,000 from one business in Connecticut, according to the Justice Department.

The schemes used a variety of tactics to gain people’s trust and steal their money, federal authorities say. They registered website domain names that were hard to distinguish from the companies they were targeting — impersonations meant to give emails an air of authenticity. Some of those emails arrived with malware attachments that would snap images of a victim’s desktop or transmit key log information — a hacker trick for nabbing someone’s password.

They even employed money mules whose sole purpose was to move the ill-gotten gains from account to account, authorities say, disguising the electronic paper trail from investigators.

Odufuye was extradited from Britain on Jan. 3. He pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.

The arrests highlighted just how many people are falling for the latest iterations of the Nigerian hustle, as well as the staggering losses American businesses are accruing. According to FBI figures obtained by the Journal, victims of such scams reported $275 million in losses in 2015. By 2017, reported losses had more than doubled, to $675 million. And in the first quarter of this year, more than 4,000 victims reported $685 million in losses. The bureau estimates American businesses have lost more than $3.7 billion as a result of the schemes.

[IRS: A new phone scam threatens college students]

Since January 2015, the FBI estimated last year, there has been a 1,300 percent increase in identified exposed losses from similar scams. On Monday, the FBI issued a public service announcement about the scams.

Last year, FBI Special Agent Martin Licciardo, an organized crime investigator, said such crimes are “a serious threat on a global scale. The ability of these criminal groups to compromise legitimate business email accounts is staggering. … They are experts at deception.”

Scammers target businesses of all sizes, sometimes spending months studying a company’s organizational chart, the FBI said. They target people who frequently transfer large amounts of money and sensitive records in the course of business. They impersonate executives, human relations staff, law firms and trusted vendors. They usually insist that whatever bogus issue they’ve raised be cleared up as soon as possible, often by an immediate wire transfer. Discretion is often advised.

Another pair of alleged swindlers, Paul Wilson Aisosa and Gloria Okolie, went after a real estate closing attorney in Augusta, Ga. Such attorneys routinely keep large sums of money in a trust, often serving as a go-between for buyers and sellers. But Aisosa and Okolie convinced the unnamed attorney to send the proceeds from a recent sale — nearly $250,000 dollars — to Okolie’s account instead of to the seller, authorities said.

The pair is awaiting trial after being accused of laundering $665,000 in illicit funds, according to the Justice Department.

Before the attorney’s deposit, court documents say, the only cash in the account was the $100 required to start it.


Akeem ReachnaijaJune 11, 2018
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4min1770

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Friday published the long-awaited regulatory guidelines for prospective operators under the bilateral currency swap agreement between Nigeria and China.

The guidelines titled: “Regulations for Transactions with Authorised Dealers in Renmnbi” was signed by CBN Director, Financial Markets Department, Alvan Ikoku, and published on the bank’s website.

Mr Ikoku said the regulations which were part of CBN’s statutory mandate, were in line with the provisions of the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) LFN 2004 (as amended) and the CBN Act 2007.

The guidelines said the swap agreement was for a maximum of 15 billion Chinese Yuan for N720 billion with a three year tenor.

The currency swap agreement allows the central bank and the Peoples Bank of China (PBoC) to, among other purposes, provide liquidity in their respective currencies, to facilitate and promote trade and investments across the two countries.

The regulation, which identified deposit money banks and merchant banks as authorised dealers, also spelt out the purposes for which the currency swap shall be used.

They include to finance trade and direct investment between China and Nigeria; maintain financial stability as well as other purposes that both countries may agree upon.

Besides, the regulations stipulated that the objectives of the swap deal could be achieved through the purchase, sale and subsequent repurchase and resale of the Chinese Yuan against Nigeria’s Naira and vice versa.
To realise these objectives, the guidelines said the CBN may conduct bi-weekly Renminbi bidding sessions where the currency sales shall be applicable only to trade-backed transactions.

Those qualified to apply for access to the CBN bi-weekly Renmibi bidding include all authorised dealers that open Renminbi accounts with a correspondent bank and advise the CBN with their Renminbi account details. The bank may be a bank onshore or offshore China.
Others are importers intending to import from China and have obtained Proforma Invoices denominated in Renminbi as part of the documents required for the registration of Form M.

Each authorised dealer will earn not more than 50 kobo on every customer’s bid.

“Authorised dealers shall not open domiciliary accounts denominated in Renminbi for customers. No bank is allowed to endorse or pay based on documents not properly routed in compliance with the regulations,” Mr Ikoku said.

The regulation listed the modes of payment under the deal, which shall be in line with memorandum 9 of the FOREX manual, letters of credit or all negotiated shipping documents routed from the beneficiary/suppliers through his or her bank to the issuing bank.

While importers and exporters shall continue to pay applicable levies on imports and exports, authorised dealers would be required to utilise the funds within 72 hours from the values date, failing which such funds must be returned to the CBN for repurchase at the bank’s buying rate.

The CBN is expected to debit authorised dealers’ current account on the day of intervention with the Naira equivalent of Renminbi bid request.

On bills or collection transactions, the guidelines said documents must be routed to the issuing bank either directly from the supplier’s bank or the offshore correspondent of the issuing bank.

Besides, documents marked “not valid” for foreign exchange transactions shall be routed by the supplier directly to the applicant’s bank that validates the underlying E-form M.