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How to Bribe a Judge

How to Bribe a Judge

Ján Kuciak, a young Slovak investigative journalist who was murdered three years ago, never got to the bottom of what could have been the biggest story of his life. Long attuned to financial fraud and corruption, he was closely following the doings of Marian Kočner, a brash businessman who frequently appeared on television and in the tabloids to brag about his villas and sports cars. In 2017, Kuciak had come across Kočner’s latest scheme: an attempt to get a judge to award him nearly 70 million euros from the coffers of a popular television station on the back of fraudulent...

The FinCEN Files: Czech Republic

The FinCEN Files: Czech Republic

Despite Red Flags, Banks Kept Moving Money for Company Involved in Huge Bitcoin Scandal Russian businessman Sergei Mayzus has spent the past three years on his estates in the Czech countryside breeding livestock, brewing beer, and trying to reestablish his reputation after becoming embroiled in one of the biggest scandals in cryptocurrency history. His company, MoneyPolo, is a popular online money transfer service that was often used to move funds in and out of Bitcoin exchange platform BTC-e, which collapsed in 2017 after U.S. prosecutors indicted it as a major vehicle for laundering illicit money. But data from the FinCEN...

The FinCEN Files: Global banks defy U.S. crackdowns by serving oligarchs, criminals and terrorists

The FinCEN Files: Global banks defy U.S. crackdowns by serving oligarchs, criminals and terrorists

The FinCEN Files show trillions in tainted dollars flow freely through major banks, swamping a broken enforcement system. Secret U.S. government documents reveal that JPMorgan Chase, HSBC and other big banks have defied money laundering crackdowns by moving staggering sums of illicit cash for shadowy characters and criminal networks that have spread chaos and undermined democracy around the world. The records show that five global banks — JPMorgan, HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, Deutsche Bank and Bank of New York Mellon — kept profiting from powerful and dangerous players even after U.S. authorities fined these financial institutions for earlier failures to...

Zoran Jaksić’s Last Hurrah in Peru

Zoran Jaksić’s Last Hurrah in Peru

The world got a little smaller on July 17, 2016. That evening, television news reports in Peru and in Serbia were covering the very same story: A global drug trafficker who had switched among 40 identities to escape justice for years had finally been caught. The footage of the arrest in northern Peru was dramatic. Zoran Mihajlović Jaksić, the “right hand” of the world-spanning Group America gang, tried to hide his face from TV and police cameras. Four local policemen had to hold him to keep him from running. It was the grand finale of a year-long police operation. Using...

Powerful Slovak Businessman Cleared of Murdering Journalist

Powerful Slovak Businessman Cleared of Murdering Journalist

An ex-soldier has been sent to prison for murdering Slovakian journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée, but a notorious businessman accused of masterminding the killings was cleared in a shock outcome to a case that has reshaped the country’s political landscape. Tomas Szabó was sentenced to 25 years in a maximum-security facility for the killings of Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová, who were shot dead in their home east of Bratislava in February 2018 both aged 27. But Marian Kočner, once one of the most powerful people in the country, and his former lover were both cleared of ordering the killings...

A Broken Operation in Venice Exposed Group America’s Slovakian Connection

A Broken Operation in Venice Exposed Group America’s Slovakian Connection

On the night of April 6, 2009, Mladen Miljanić and Braim Sinani were on the road, driving an Opel Astra across the plains of northern Italy from Milan to Venice. The two men were visiting from Slovakia, but they weren’t tourists — as police wiretaps of their conversations would later prove. In the car, Miljanić bragged about supervising his first drug handoff and talked about his uncle, a notorious drug smuggler. Sinani fretted about the price of cocaine, then told Miljanić he was interested in doing business with his organization again. That organization is Group America, one of the most...