Kenneth Rijock

Kenneth Rijock

Saturday, April 21, 2018


The announcement, made by UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, that High Commisioners will thereafter be appointed and posted to Antigua & Barbuda, Grenada, and St Vincent & the Grenadines, is a rare bit of welcome news, as many of the East Caribbean States, and Antigua and Grenada in particular, have wallowed in what can only be refered to as systemic corruption, and the presence of British diplomats may cause local government officials to reduce their amoral, and indeed illegal, conduct.

Some of the leaders of the East Caribbean states are running their countries as if they are personal piggy banks for their corrupt benefit. In Antigua, of a reported $200m earned in the country's Citizenship by Investment (CBI) economic passport program, only a minimal $20m has been said to have made it into the country's National Treasury. In Dominica, there have been at least 500 illegal diplomatic passports issued, in a program that is totally in violation of the United Nations Vienna Convention requirements.

In virtually all the East Caribbean states, voter fraud, meaning the open purchase of votes during national elections, including flying in expats and students studying abroad, to cast their votes for the parrty in power, is a normal occurrence, during a long, 20-year history of corruption. Ususping the Rule of Law, in the local couert systems, using the local police to openly intimidate Opposition parties and leaders, and seeking to destroy the reputation of any individuals who seek reform, all add up to an untenable situation, in which democracies become little more than banana republic dictatorships.

Let us hope that this return to a UK presence will serve to check some of the more outrageous corruption, and indeed give birth to effective reform movements in the East Caribbean.     

Wednesday, April 18, 2018


Leroy King, the former head of Antigua's Financial Service Regulatory Commission, and a six-year fugitive from American justice in the Allen Stanford billion dollar Ponzi scheme Federal criminal case, is reportedly contemplating cooperation with the US Attorney's Office, in order to obtain a favorable plea agreement. Should King be ultimately extradited, and tried, he could end up with what amounts to a life sentence in Federal Prison. Therefore, his reasons for cooperating are understandable.

Should Mr. King provide Substantial Assistance to the United States, there could be additional indicmtents in the Stanford case.  Antiguans believe that he would implicate a former Prime Minister, the current Prime Minister, other ministers, and two prominent East Caribbean attorneys, for their alleged role in Stanford's massive Ponzi scheme, involving the now-closed Stanford International Bank, whose headqurters was in Antigua. The former regulator has openly discussed the possibility of his cooperation with associates and friends, but there is no information currently available regarding whether he has, or has not, formalized any plea negotiations.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018


 A US District Judge in Florida has granted the motion, filed by the US Attorney, to withdraw the Rule 35(b) motion to Reduce Sentence that his office filed on behalf of the attorney/Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein. The defendant's attorney, and later the defendant himself Pro Se, opposed the motion, and filed  memoranda of law, contesting the Government's right to withdraw its motion. Rothstein perjured himself, wheh he sought, unsucessfully to assist his wife in concealing and selling their valuable jewelry collection, a clear violation of his obligations under his Plea Agreement.

The Court, in a 9-page opinion, with extensive citations to authorities, held that existing case law interpreting the provisions of the Rule 35 motion, favored the Government's position. The ruling was no surprise, given that the preponderance of decisions supports the Government's sole discretion expressed in the motion.

 Scott Rothstein, whose 50-year sentence for running a bogus investment scheme, claiming to sell out-of-court settlements for sexual harrassment and employee discrimination claims, must now serve 42.5 years for his crimes.

Monday, April 16, 2018


When then-Foreign Minister Charles Fernandez received the fifteen million dollar upfront payment from Chinese billionaire (and then-fugitive from justice in China) Xiao Jianhua, where did all that money go ? It apparently was never properly accounted for, and it was never deposited in the official treasury, according to CBI program guidelines. The expanding scandal has increased the Antiguan public's perception about systemic corruption, at the ministerial level, and could topple the present government, unless true reforms are implemented, due to malfeasance in office. Remember well the case of former Prime Minister Patrick John of Dominica, where mass protest caused his resignation.

The money was prepayment for a total of two hundred A & B CBI passports, but the passports were never delivered, and later disappeared under circumstances that lend themselves to the presumption of official corruption. A page thought to have been taken from one of the passports was found in the possession of a senior St Vincent police officer, when he was himself arrested by the SVG Drug Squad, which led to the subsequent dismissal of an Antigua Police Inspector, and the targeting of two diplomatic professionals, as suspects in a major passport fraud scheme, being conducted in SVG, with assistance from greedy and amoral Antiguans.

So who else was the fifteen million distributed to ? Reliable sources in Antigua assert that certain senior government officials in Antigua received portions of this money, as did the participants in the scheme to create counterfeit passports abroad, all of whom were in the same criminal conspiracy. Their identities are known, and if any of them were foolish enough to deposit those criminal proceeds into a financial institution, or move it into the United States, and/or spend any of it there, a 20-year sentence for money laundering could be in their future, and their "diplomatic status" will not save them; look at the late lamented President Manuel Noriega. He served that sentence, and later died a prisoner in the Republic of Panama.

Sunday, April 15, 2018


A powerful South Korean-based organized crime syndicate has large quantities of the most dangerous version of the North Korean-made USD$100 "Supernote," the counterfeit one hundred dollar bill. Should it be released, in bulk, into the global economy, it could wreak havoc with international trust in American currency, and possibly even economic damage.

The bills, which were made on or about 2006, and reportedly stored since then in the Peoples' Republic of China, and later smuggled into the Republic of Korea, have been withheld from circulation, but one example was found in a bank in Seoul, in late 2017. It took a team of experts at KEB Hana Bank to ultimately conclude that it was a counterfeit, which is testimony to the  accuracy of the counterfeits. One South Korean source claims that the plates for the Supernote were made in the ROK, and smuggled north, but there has been no independent confirmation of this to date.

The Series 2006 was the last issue of the US one hundred dollar bill made prior to the insertion of a number of advanced anti-counterfeiting features, though examples of counterfeits from the later era have also been seen, and photographed, in South Korea.

The powerful organized crime sydicate, which has reportedly long had ties to the South Korean military, allegedly used the counterfeits as collateral for large bank loans, by claiming that the money was genuine. It holds these counterfeits in a number of guarded warehouses, some in locations that corroborate the claims of military protection of the syndicate. Previous links to the country's intelligence community have also been verified.

The organized crime group also holds large quantities of counterfeit currency of a number of Asian countries, but whether these bills were printed in North Korea has never been verified, though they are also suspected to be of DPRK origin. There are, literally, pallets of these bills, in secure storage.

The syndicate also holds quantities of bogus bonds, also purportedly of US Government origin, but which must be forgeries, due to the fact that such financial instruments, in those specific amounts, were never issued. It also, strangely enough, holds US currency which was never printed, such as a well-made $10,000 bill, ostensibly printed in 2006, using the image of Benjamin Franklin, or a million dollar bill, using the George Washington inage.

 While no Western banker would ever accept such financial oddities, they could possibly be used  for fraud, as potential bogus collateral oveseas, or in private criminal transactions, especially involving the storage of wealth* obtained in narcotics transactions. Also, remote areas, where American financial instruments are rarely seen, and unfamiliar to businessmen there, might be a ripe area for massive fraud. A five hundred dollar bond, with the image of Ulysses S Grant thereon, and attached interest coupons, could result in a hige payday for the seller, even if heavily discounted. 

What is not known is whether the South Korean organized crime syndicate has any direct connections to the DPRK government, other than as a buyer of counterfeit instruments.  That is a matter for further investigation.

The clear and present danger that the Supernote poses to the United States cannot be underestimated. Givewn that there has been no US Treasury alert posted, either publicly, or to the financial community at largemay indicate that details of this threat are either discounted, or that the information has been classified, due to concerns that it might damage the image of the US Dollar overseas, and also its value on international markets. Whatever the reason for a virtual US news blackout on the subject, the latest iteration of the $100 Supernote deserves attention, before some Korean mob boss decides to open the doors of one of those warehouses, and starts offering them in bulk, as was recently seen in Singapore, at 50 cents on a dollar of face value. Once the genie is out of the bottle, it will be imposible to put him back.
* Selling bogus high-value instruments to criminals is not a stretch, though inherently dangerous. There are nearly one million Canadian $1000 bills still in circulation, most of whom are believed to be held by criminal organizations there We note that Canada is seeking to pass legialation to declare its $1000 and $500 notes as no loner leal tender. Most of the €500 notes in the EU are in the hands of organized crime, largely in Spain.

Saturday, April 14, 2018


As more information becomes known, regarding the Antigua stolen passport scandal, one recent episode starts to finally make sense. When former Minister of Tourism, Economic Development, Investment & Energy, MP Asot Michael was detained & interrogated by British law enforcement, upon arrival in London, he was abruptly and immediately relieved of his ministerial portfolios. Why did that happen ? He was not charged with a crime.

Though there were accounts that he had Antigua passports in his possession when detained, they were curiously not on the inventory. Antigua spokesmen said he had no access to passports, so therefore, he could not possibly have any. Other sources, however, stated that he did, indeed have several passports on his person.

Here's a clue ; MP Michael is a cousin of one of the Antigua diplomat players in the 200 stolen passport scandal. We believe that some of those blank passports could easily have ended up in his hands, and had their existance in his bags been revealed , the cover-up would have been exposed. No wonder he was quickly, but quietly, cashiered, while retaining his seat in the Parliament of Antigua.

This brings up our pending question of the week: who in Antigua government knew about the stolen passports and when did they know it ?


A prominent member of the Antigua diplomatic corps has been identified, by reliable sources, as one of the three local partners in an international scheme to sell counterfeit passports to foreign nationals, using authentic pages extracted from stolen blank passports. This individual, whom we choose not to name until his arrest or indictment, has served Antigua in a number of international diplomatic postings and missions. It is believed that he used his position, and family relationships, to facilitate the illegal diversion of the missing two hundred blank passports, and shared in the criminal profits.

What is most disturbing about this individual is that he is also known to be receiving unlawful compensation from an international consultancy that services Antigua's Citizenship by Investment (CBI) program, which is a clear conflict of interest, and a violation of the laws concerning corrupt acts. His connections with senior government officials are believed to have given him virtual immunity from criminal prosecution, but his most recent scandal, involving the arrest of his counterfeit passport scheme co-conspirators in Saint Vincent, may strip away the official protection that he has enjoyed to date. His biography does not show any professional or educational preparation for diplomatic service.

The Antiguan public's strong reaction to the counterfeit passport scandal could signal a genuine need for comprehensive government reform in Antigua & Barbuda in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to include actual professional and educational requirements for serving diplomats, disqualification of applicants with close family relationships in government, and ethics and corruption continuing education. Finally, the issuance of diplomatic passports, to anyone willing to pay cash for them, should be discontinued, lest the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs agrees to take action.