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Archive for November 4th, 2010

Royal Dutch Shell and Other Firms Pay $236.5 Million in Fines for Foreign Bribes

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Royal Dutch Shell PLC, a  Swiss freight company, four oil service companies and a U.S. shipping firm will pay a total of $236.5 million in criminal and civil fines for bribing foreign officials in 10 countries for favorable treatment, the Justice Department announced Thursday.

The companies bribed officials for favorable treatment in customs duties, imports and taxes, authorities said.

Authorities said the break down of the fines were as follows: $156.5 million in criminal fines and about $80 million in civil fines and restitution.

For more details click “read more” below.

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Feds Find 600-Yard Drug Tunnel at Mexico-Calif. Border

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Federal authorities on Wednesday discovered a 600-yard long tunnel with lighting and ventilation that went from Tijuana to California that was used to smuggle marijuana, the New York Times reported.

DEA and ICE officials said they found about 30 tons of marijuana in the Otay Mesa section of San Diego,the Times reported. Most of the marijuana was in the tunnel.

Authorities said the tunnel wasn’t large enough to stand up in, and that smugglers likely crawled through it, the Times reported, adding that warehouses on both sides were used to store drugs.

The Times reported that authorities have found more than 75 tunnels along the border in the last four years.

St. Louis Cab Driver and 2 Others Indicted on Charges of Supporting al Qaeda Group in Somalia

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

From our nation’s heartland comes the latest allegation of people supporting al Qaeda  with cash.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in St. Louis unsealed an indictment Wednesday charging three men including a cab driver from St. Louis with conspiring to fund al Shabaab, a terrorist group in Somalia linked to al Qaeda, authorities announced.

The indictment charged cab driver Mohamud Abdi Yusuf, a Somali national who immigrated to the United States as a refugee, with one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and three counts of providing material support to al Shabab.

Authorities allege that Yusuf and Abdi Mahdi Hussein of Minnesota  sent money through a Minneapolis wire transfer business where Hussein worked, to Al Shabab supporters in Somalia between 2008 and at least July 2009.  Authorities allege that Duane Mohamed Diriye received the money. He is believed to be in Somalia or Kenya.

U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan issued a statement saying: “This type of activity is uncharacteristic of the local Somalian population in the St. Louis area, which is approximately 2,000.”

Baltimore Cop Gets 5 Years In Beating of Handcuffed Juvenile

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Baltimore cop Gregory Mussmacher was convicted in state court of assault after he used his police baton to strike a handcuffed and shackled juvenile in the head and face.

But the conviction was reversed. So in stepped the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, which convicted Mussmacher in May for the 2004 beating and obstructing justice by trying to cover the matter up, authorities said.

On Wednesday, a federal judge in Baltimore sentenced the former  Baltimore cop to five years in prison, the Justice Department announced.

During its probe into the matter, the Justice Department also brought charges against  two officers, Guy Gerstel and Wayne Thompson,  who pleaded  guilty and testified against Mussmacher. Gerstel, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during the investigation, is set to be sentenced later this month. Thompson, who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor obstruction charge, was sentenced in September to 6 months of home detention.

“The power that accompanies a police officer’s badge does not give the officer the right to violate the civil rights of those in his or her custody,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil rights Division. “The Justice Department will aggressively prosecute any officer who abuses their power and violates the public trust in this way.”

“Any police officer who abuses a suspect, writes false reports and obstructs justice must be held accountable,” added Rod J. Rosenstein, U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland. “This case is an embarrassment to the many officers who earn our confidence by performing their duties with honor and integrity.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Judge Rules FBI Agent Cannot Allege in Court that U.S. Attorney Indicted Him Because of Vendetta

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
With trial set to begin next week, a federal judge has ruled  that an FBI agent accused of lying about his ownership in a building the FBI  leased in Oxford, Miss., cannot allege in court that the charges were the result of a vendetta by then-U.S. Attorney Jim Greenlee, the  Associated Press reported.

The ruling comes just days before the Nov. 8  trial for FBI agent Hal Neilson in U.S. District Court in Aberdeen, Miss.

The feds indicted Neilson in January on charges that he failed to disclose his interest in the Oxford FBI Building, an office he headed up, and lied about it later.

U.S.  District Judge Sharon Aycock ruled that the defense provided no evidence that Neilson was charged as a result of a vendetta by Greenley,  and that the allegation was irrelevant to the case, AP reported.  Greenley is no longer the U.S. Attorney.

Neilson claims the U.S. Attorney came after him after he criticized the office for investigating a number of residents with Middle Eastern names.