Chelsea Accounts Suspended As Sanctions Take Hold

In this file photo taken on September 13, 2011, A general view of Stamford bridge is pictured before the start of the UEFA Champions League Group E football match between Chelsea and Bayer Leverkusen at Stamford Bridge in London.  Ian KINGTON / AFP

 

Chelsea have had several accounts and credit cards suspended temporarily following sanctions imposed on club owner Roman Abramovich by the UK government, British media reported Friday. 

Russian-born billionaire Abramovich had all his British assets frozen on Thursday barring Chelsea, with the Premier League club allowed to continue with “football-related activities”.

But the European champions cannot operate as a business and have been banned from selling match tickets or merchandise.

The Independent was one of several British outlets that reported Chelsea had been in discussions with the government in the hope of amending the license and easing the restrictions but were hit on Friday when banks suspended the club’s accounts.

Abramovich, 55, was one of a further seven more oligarchs hit by fresh UK sanctions on Thursday following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

READ ALSOGuardiola Sympathises With Chelsea’s Tuchel After Sanctions

All seven are described as part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.

Abramovich had already announced he was willing to sell Chelsea, who won 19 major trophies in his 19-year reign.

Chelsea’s strict licence is designed to ensure Abramovich will not profit from the London club’s continued operations.

The commercial fallout became apparent as mobile phone firm Three announced it was suspending its sponsorship deal with Chelsea, and demanded its logo be removed from players’ shirts.

Chelsea put their off-field turmoil to one side to beat Premier League strugglers Norwich 3-1 on Thursday.

Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003, turning the perennial also-rans into serial winners with unlimited transfer funds after he became rich on the chaotic privatisation of state assets in 1990s Russia.

He has denied claims that he bought the Stamford Bridge club on Putin’s orders, to expand Russia’s influence abroad in the early 2000s.

Abramovich put Chelsea up for sale on March 2, pledging to write off the Blues’ £1.5 billion ($1.95 billion) debt and invest all sale proceeds into a new charitable foundation to aid victims of the conflict in Ukraine.

AFP

Court Order On Freezing Of #EndSARS Protesters Account Is Flawed, Says Banire

FOI
Former Legal Adviser of the All Progressives Congress (APC)

 

A former National Legal Adviser of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Muiz Banire, says the court order on the freezing of #EndSARS Protesters’account is flawed.

Banire disclosed this on Wednesday during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today.

“In my very strong view, the order is flawed. The order granted by the judge to enable the Central Bank of Nigeria to carry out inquiry and investigation, how will you freeze somebody’s account and then go back to investigation and inquiry?” he questioned.

“I am sure it is a case of putting the cart before the horse. Beyond that itself, the law does not even say that. What the law says is that even where you do so, you must investigate the matter through the Nigerian Police or any of the security agencies.”

When asked what the Federal Government should have done rather than freezing the accounts of the protesters, the legal practitioner called for trust-building.

While recalling President Muhammadu Buhari’s speech on the protests in October, Banire asked the current administration to meet the demands of the Nigerian youths.

“My expectation is that the Federal Government as promised by the President in his speech should have just gone ahead, engage them in respect of the five demands of the youths.

“Beyond that also, the government should try to build confidence in these youths. The truth of the matter is that Nigerians generally tend not to trust the government in anything.

“In a situation like this when the youths come out to say ‘look we do not trust you,’ the least that we can do post the protest should have been to engage them to put this trust.”

Banire’s remarks come five days after a Federal High Court in Abuja has granted the request of the Central Bank of Nigeria to freeze the accounts of 19 individuals and a public affairs company linked to the #EndSARS protests.

The request, granted by Justice Ahmed Mohammed, was filed by the CBN on October 20.

Some of the affected individuals include Bolatito Racheal Oduala, Chima David Ibebunjoh, Mary Doose Kpengwa, Saadat Temitope Bibi, Bassey Victor Israel, Wisdom Busaosowo Obi, Nicholas Ikhalea Osazele, Ebere Idibie, Akintomide Lanre Yusuf, Uhuo Ezenwanyi Promise and Mosopefoluwa Odeseye.

Others are: Adegoke Pamilerin Yusif. Umoh Grace Ekanem, Babatunde Victor Segun, Mulu Louis Teghenan, Mary Oshifowora, Winifred Akpevweoghene Jacob, Victor Solomon, Idunu A. Williams, and Gatefield Nigeria Limited.

Facebook Shuts Hundreds Of ‘Inauthentic’ Russia-Linked Pages

Facebook Faces 'Oppenheimer Moment' Over Trump Scandal

 

Facebook announced Thursday that it has removed more than 500 pages, groups, and accounts originating in Russia for engaging in what the social network called “coordinated inauthentic behavior.”

The California-based social media giant said they were part of two separate but similar Russian-based influence operations, one that was active in a variety of former Soviet republics and another focused specifically on Ukraine.

“We didn’t find any links between these operations, but they used similar tactics by creating networks of accounts to mislead others about who they were and what they were doing,” Nathaniel Gleicher, the head of Facebook’s cybersecurity policy, said in a post.

He said 364 pages and accounts were removed that posed as independent news sites or general interest sites but were found to be linked to employees of Sputnik, a Moscow-based news agency.

Those operated in the Baltics, Central Asia, the Caucasus and Central and Eastern European countries, Facebook said.

“Some of the pages frequently posted about topics like the anti-NATO sentiment, protest movements, and anti-corruption,” Gleicher said.

Sputnik confirmed that its Facebook pages and accounts were removed, denouncing the action as “undoubtedly a purely political decision and in fact censorship.”

Another 107 pages, groups and accounts were removed from Facebook and 41 from Facebook-owned Instagram that were identified as part of a Russia-based network targeting Ukraine.

“We identified some technical overlap with Russia-based activity we saw prior to the US midterm elections, including behavior that shared characteristics with previous Internet Research Agency (IRA) activity,” Facebook said.

In those cases, Facebook acted on a tip from US law enforcement, the post said.

US intelligence says the IRA is a troll farm linked to Russian intelligence.

Facebook has come under intense pressure from a wave of scandals, mainly over the sharing of its users’ data without their consent but also over the rampant use of its platform for Russian “fake news” influence campaigns during the 2016 US presidential elections.

AFP

Twitter Suspends 935,897 Accounts For Promoting Terrorism

Twitter, Vine

Twitter on Tuesday touted victories in the battle against tweets promoting extremist violence, saying it has been vanquishing those kinds of accounts before governments even ask.

Twitter highlighted this in its latest transparency report, noting that between the start of August in 2015 and June 30 of this year it has suspended 935,897 accounts for “promotion of terrorism.”

Internal monitoring was credited with identifying the bulk of accounts shuttered for these reasons, with less than one percent of the suspensions in the first half of this year resulting from government requests.

Twitter removed 299,649 accounts during the first half of this year for such activity, according to the report.

The figure represented a drop from the prior six months, and three-quarters of the accounts were suspended before firing off a single tweet, according to Twitter.

The San Francisco-based one-to-many messaging service has been under pressure to prevent itself from being used as a platform for spreading hate or recruiting people to jihadist causes.

Twitter classified terror-related accounts as those “that actively incite or promote violence associated with internationally recognized terrorist organizations, promote internationally recognized terrorist organizations, and accounts attempting to evade prior enforcement.”

Abusive behavior was the top category resulting in Twitter accounts being shut down, according to the company.

Facebook this year said it was taking similar steps, and employing artificial intelligence to root out activities that promote violence or extremism.

Group of Seven leader this issued a joint call for internet providers and social media firms to step up the fight against extremist content online.

 

AFP

Reps Committee Order Banks To Unfreeze Patience Jonathan’s Accounts

Patience Jonathan, Court, EFCC

The House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions has directed that banks to allow wife of former President of Nigeria, Patience Jonathan to access some of her bank accounts that have been frozen.

This direction was given during the resumed hearing of the House of Representatives committee on public petitions, on Tuesday.

Patience Jonathan’s attorney had submitted a petition to the committee over what they described as the unwarranted and persistent attacks on her by agents of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and other government agencies (EFCC).

During the hearing, in which EFCC representatives were absent, the committee also directed the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to meet with the petitioner’s counsel to resolve the issues regarding one of the businesses of Patience Jonathan.

Representatives of the FIRS were taken up by the committee on their visit to the petitioner’s business in Bayelsa State for allegedly evading paying tax.

The chairman of the committee, Uzoma Nkem-Abonta sought to get to the heart of the matter by hearing from the petitioner, the banks, and FIRS.

One of the members of the committee, Emeka Obiago, made it clear that the focus of the lawmakers is that people obey the laws of the land.

He said “We will not want to be seen in any way to shield anybody who tries to evade tax. Our position is we must be governed in accordance with the rule of law.”

Nkem-Abonta, therefore, directed that the banks should unfreeze all accounts that they have no pending court order.

“Until EFCC proves otherwise, I’ll ask you to remove the precautionary restriction on the account. Let me tell you, whatever you’ll do, you must follow the law. A bank can’t hold a legal entity to ransom.

“I want to order all other banks that all the accounts that have no specific pending order from the courts, please release them,’’ the committee chairman said.