02 Feb 2018; US imposes sanctions on Australian man working for ‘Sin City’ casino in Laos
The United States has imposed sanctions on an Australian man working for a wild casino nicknamed Sin City in South-East Asia’s Golden Triangle. The Kings Romans Casino is in Laos but operates effectively as Chinese territory — offering gambling, prostitution, and the sale of endangered wildlife, such as tigers and bears.
Australian citizen Abbas Eberahim reportedly provided security services for the casino, which has been hit with sanctions by the US Treasury and Drug Enforcement Agency.
“Abbas Eberahim, an Australian national, is designated for providing material support and acting for or on behalf of the Zhao Wei TCO [transnational criminal organisation],” the US Treasury press release said.
“He is in charge of security at the Kings Romans Casino and was the former managing director. Eberahim has engaged in bribery on behalf of the Zhao Wei TCO.”
Mr Eberahim is listed at four addresses in Australia, Laos, Thailand and Malaysia.
6 Feb 2018; Money exchange with links to Dubai Government identified as hub for billion-dollar laundering empire
A multinational currency exchange bankrolled by the United Arab Emirates has emerged as a key conduit for a global money laundering operation which has siphoned hundreds of millions of dollars out of Australia.
- Money laundering operation run by Altaf Khanani ran its international transfers through multiple currency exchanges
- A large volume of money was run through the UAE Government-owned Wall Street Exchange
- Wall Street Exchange was exposed during congressional investigations into September 2001 attacks
AFP Assistant Commissioner David Stewart has told Four Corners the money laundering operation run by Altaf Khanani — who is now in jail in Florida — ran its international transfers through multiple currency exchanges.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has confirmed an Australian man has been arrested in China following a crackdown on online gambling ahead of Chinese New Year which saw 52 people detained.
16 Feb 2018; Australian held on spying charge in United Arab Emirates could face firing squad, family fears
Naim Aziz Abbas arrested October 2017 in Dubai on suspicion of espionage
His brother Adil said charges “fabricated” and Naim a “scapegoat”
DFAT providing consular assistance, seeking to visit Naim Abbas in prison
Relatives of Naim Aziz Abbas have made an emotional plea to be able to see the 63-year-old who was arrested in Dubai in October 2017, after being questioned by an intelligence officer during a series of meetings in a coffee shop.
Iraqi-born Naim Aziz Abbas, who is an Australian citizen, moved to Dubai in 2009 to work for the UAE Roads and Transport Authority. According to a Department of Foreign Affairs report seen by the ABC, an Australian diplomat met with the UAE’s State Security Prosecutor on February 8 to discuss the case and to seek consular access to Mr Abbas.
February 21, 2018; Man donates computers, scanners to visually-impaired students
A visually-impaired man, Mr. Kenneth Ulo, has donated 15 computer sets and four scanners to the Special School for the Blind in Umuahia, the Abia State Capital, and four other similar schools in the state.
Ulo, who made the donation under the umbrella of Keneneth Ulo Foundation in conjunction with the Australian High Commission in Nigeria, said he was moved by his passion to improve computer education among the visually-impaired people.
24 Feb 2018; Bizainafu Abudourexiti has been detained since 29 March 2017, when she was on her way to a hospital to confirm the results of a home pregnancy test. Abudourexiti received a frenzied phone call from her mother saying Chinese police were at their family home demanding to speak to her. She was taken for questioning and hasn’t been seen since. No one knows what happened to her pregnancy.
Abudourexiti’s detention came during what human rights groups say were a wave of arrests of up to 10,000 Uighur people – taken without trial to either prison, or secret detention camps called “re-education camps” – for alleged political crimes ranging from extremist thoughts to travelling, or studying abroad.
Abudourexiti studied Islam in Cairo for two years, but returned to China and enrolled at university to study medicine. Nearly a year since Abuourexiti’s arrest, Her husband Almas Nizimidin sits in an Adelaide beachfront cafe twisting a ring he wears on his left hand as he talks. He says life had become “unbearable” in Urumqi before he left. His native language was banned. Nizamidin had applied for a partnership visa for his wife to join him in Australia, but it wasn’t granted in time. Nizamidin is now waging a lonely campaign as an Australian citizen to get his wife released from a Chinese women’s prison at a time when Australia is navigating a new relationship with China.
Australian man arrested and imprisoned in Cairo since January
24 Feb 2018: Cairo: Egyptian authorities have detained Hazem Hamouda, an Australian man on charges of spreading false news and supporting a terrorist organisation, according to his lawyer.
Mr Hamouda’s children maintain that their father has no history of political activism in Egypt, but rather that his activity on Facebook in Australia, which in the past included material sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood, may be the cause of his arrest.
His arrest was one of the latest amidst a tumultuous pre-election crackdown by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, as Egypt heads to the polls on March 26. Mr Hamouda was being held in the notorious maximum security Tora prison south of Cairo. He had managed to smuggle out a letter. Trying to remain calm, he reassured his wife that he was unharmed, and urged the family to contact Australian authorities.
Two other letters have been subsequently smuggled out of the prison and are less upbeat. In them Mr Hamouda details the poor conditions and treatment he’s receiving. Mr Hamouda has a heart condition and needs daily medication but it remains unclear whether he has had access to medical treatment which is often denied to prisoners at Tora.
The Australian Embassy is Cairo have said they are working on Hamouda’s case, but no consular visit has been made since his arrest.