Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Ste Ange Is A Flop....(-5.49%, 12,642 less Visitors Compared to 2013)


More than 31,450 French travellers visited the Seychelles since the beginning of the year.
 
Thus, from 1 January to the end of the third week of December 2014, on the 217,630 tourists which visited the Seychelles, travellers from France were left behind only by German visitors who were on their side over 35,020 tourists who visited the archipelago.
 
As a reminder, 230,272 tourists visited the Seychelles in 2013.



Countries origin                 Number of visitors
Germany                             35027
France                                  31452
Italy                                       18983
Russian                                 13522
United Arab Emirates         13.440       
China                                      13,224

http://en.indian-ocean-times.com

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Affaire Harmon Chellen: des comptes doivent être réclamés à la police seychelloise

Le 18 août 2014, le corps sans vie du Mauricien Harmon Chellen, une figure importante du tourisme de l’Ile Maurice, est retrouvé en mer aux Seychelles. Quelques jours plus tard, Lindley Couronne, Directeur de DIS-MOI publie une tribune qui souligne les aspects incohérents de cette affaire qu’il juge suspecte. L’article fait énormément de bruit à l’Ile Maurice et est aujourd’hui un de ceux qui ont été le plus consulté sur notre site. Le 28 août, Lindley Couronne publie une nouvelle tribune dans le journal Le Mauricien où il parle des suites de l’enquête et des réactions des citoyens après son premier billet. Aujourd’hui, il reprend la plume dans le journal L’Express de l’Ile Maurice : nous reproduisons ici ses propos.
Acculé par la pression citoyenne régionale, l’État des Seychelles, par l’intermédiaire de l’Attorney General de l’archipel, réclame désormais une enquête judiciaire. Requête que nous saluons. Toutefois, la vigilance reste plus que jamais de mise, car si nous voulons que la vérité sorte enfin de toutes ces zones d’ombre, il faudrait plus qu’une enquête judiciaire, aussi impartiale soit-elle. Il faudrait également et surtout que les autorités mauriciennes sortent de leur torpeur et montrent qu’elles sont prêtes à dépasser la realpolitik régionale.

Harmon Chellen
Plus nous nous plongeons dans le déroulement des faits relatifs à l’affaire Harmon Chellen, plus les contradictions nous explosent à la figure. En voilà quelques-unes que nous choisissons en vrac.
a) Alors qu’une déposition a été donnée à la police de Maurice pour affirmer que la mort d’Harmon Chellen est plus que suspecte, notre bonne police nationale, dirigée par le commissaire Dhun Ishwar Rampersad a-t-elle interrogé Deepak Balgobin, le Human Resource Manager de Shanti Maurice, qui était avec Harmon Chellen aux Seychelles en tant qu’invité d’honneur ?
b) Quel est le rôle joué par le consul mauricien aux Seychelles, le Dr Shah ? Quelle est la nature de sa fonction ? Et surtout, quels intérêts défend-il, lui qui conseille dans une lettre adressée à la famille Chellen de ne pas venir aux Seychelles, évoquant en cela deux arguments farfelus ?
c) La police seychelloise, tristement célèbre, a écrit officiellement dans son Diary Book que M. Harmon Chellen était «missing» à 14 heures 28. Cela, c’est au départ, alors qu’elle suppute que toute la région écoutera, émerveillée, son conte de fées. Mais sous la pression publique et médiatique, elle vient de sortir de sa boîte de Pandore une autre heure : 12 heures 10. Des autorités policières n’ayant rien à se reprocher joueraient-elles ainsi avec le temps, et par conséquent, avec leur crédibilité ?
d) Le certificat de décès d’Harmon Chellen établit sa mort à 15 heures alors que la police évoque 14 heures 50. Which is which ?
e) Quel aura été le rôle du brave ministre du Tourisme seychellois Alain Saint-Ange dans cet événement scandaleux ? Peut-il encore se regarder dans un miroir, lui qui s’empressa d’insinuer que son invité d’honneur se serait suicidé ?
Alain Ste Ange

L’État des Seychelles a encore beaucoup de chemin à parcourir pour être reconnu par les citoyens du sud-ouest de l’océan Indien comme un État de droit. Certes, l’initiative d’une enquête judiciaire est un pas dans la bonne direction, et nous nous attendons à une enquête réellement indépendante, qui réclamera des comptes à la police seychelloise. La société civile mauricienne et celles des régions avoisinantes demeureront attentives pour que cette «Judicial Enquiry» ne se convertisse pas en une «solemn judicial farce».
Lindley Couronne
Directeur DIS-MOI (Droits Humains Océan Indien)
Lindley Couronne

Friday, 19 December 2014

Seychelles Firm Implicated In AsiaUniversalBank Money Laundering Case Is Up For Another Laundering Scandal

19/12/14 09:15, Bishkek – 24.kg news agency, 

Following the takeover of AsiaUniversalBank (AUB) by the Kyrgyz Interim Government in April 2010 an investigation was launched into the money laundering and balance sheet fixing schemes of the bank. 
The Kyrgyz Republic's Attorney General's Office is still mulling over tons of corporate documents and payment orders of the AUB multi-billion dollar payment flow.  Some episodes already resulted in criminal convictions: Michael Nadel, the main owner of AUB, was convicted on 22nd October 2014 by Pervomaisky Court of Bishkek for embezzling millions from AUB and dressing up its accounts using offshore companies, to hide the embezzlement.
In 2011, long before the criminal sentence was given, the laundering and embezzlement episodes were subject to a public investigation by Global Witness, an NGO covering financial crime and related themes.
In its report titled «Grave Secrecy» (www.globalwitness.org/library/grave-secrecy) Global Witness revealed that many offshore companies used for dubious financial transactions in AUB in fact were administered by a small handful of offshore corporate service providers.  Among those named was a Seychelles-licensed firm, Apollo Business Solutions (Pty), Ltd., part of a large offshore services group with Russian roots - Apollo International (www.apollo-international.com).  Its main marketing and sales offices are in Kiev and Moscow.
It was reported that some of the offshore companies serviced by Apollo were supplied with nominee owners and directors who in fact had no idea their passports were used by the offshore incorporators.  One extreme case cited by Global Witness was that a corporate resolution was 'signed' in Apollo's London office by a man who died three years before that.
Being a large contributor to the Seychelles offshore industry Apollo escaped sanctions by the Seychelles regulators and continued business as usual.
This year, however, a few more criminal episodes happened involving Apollo International, showing that old habits die hard when it comes to the offshore industry.
In April 2014 the US FBI arrested a well-known Ukrainian businessman Mr. Dmitry Firtash in Vienna, Austria for allegedly paying millions of dollars in bribes to Indian officials for mineral rights.  It was then revealed (http://www.nation.sc/article.html?id=241430) that one of the firms which supplied offshore companies implicated in the FBI investigation was Apollo Business Solutions - the same company mentioned by Global Witness.
It was later revealed (http://www.seychellesweekly.com/April%204-14,%202014/soc1_r4million_seized.html) that the very same Apollo Business Solutions certified corporate documents for a bank account used by a Russian cyber-gang in the Seychelles.  The account was frozen by the Seychelles Financial Intelligence Unit.
Just very recently news emerged from the Ukraine that Apollo got yet again into a criminal scandal.  This time it was theft of shares in a Ukrainian agricultural enterprise 'Chumaki' which was accomplished by their re-registration in the name of a Seychelles firm incorporated by Apollo.  The re-registration was on the basis of fake papers where signatures of the shares owners were forged.  As it transpired from copies of papers obtained in the course of Ukrainian police investigation, the Seychelles company used for the crime had a director whom neither the Police, nor the victim's lawyers are now able to locate.  Very probably, this is another case of someone's passport used by offshore crooks to make the company truly 'anonymous'.
Ainagul Moldobaeva
http://www.eng.24.kg/biznes-info/173794-news24.html

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

The Lame Duck Minister!

Seychelles Agrees Tax Policy Focus With IMF
Over the three-year term of the newly-agreed USD17.8m Extended Fund Facility from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Seychelles' fiscal policy framework will be dictated by the Government's target of reducing public debt below 50 percent (from 65 percent) of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2018.

The IMF reminded the Seychelles Government that "fiscal policy faces negative pressures, as revenue and grants have been falling as a proportion of GDP, and current spending has been rising in the face of pent up spending demands." The IMF said the Government will need to "carry out wide-ranging structural reforms necessary to support improvement in macroeconomic conditions, lock-in [fiscal] stabilization, and reduce the country's vulnerabilities."

The IMF said that, although the Government's 2013 fiscal position was on-budget, tax revenue pressures have emerged. Business and income tax revenues were weaker than expected, offset to some degree by stronger-than-projected non-tax revenues. It said that attaining the primary surplus target for 2014 (four percent of GDP) "remains feasible and appropriate."

The IMF noted that after considerable reform over the last five years – including the introduction of a value-added tax regime and an overhaul of income and business taxation – there is little space for substantial reform to expand the tax base. At over 30 percent, Seychelles' revenue-to-GDP ratio remains relatively high, and the IMF therefore recommended "reforms to tax administration and increased compliance... to bolster revenue efforts and ensure the availability of resources for investment and other priority spending."

Authorities in the Seychelles agreed to streamline exemptions, adjust specific excise taxes, improve audit capabilities, and strengthen tax compliance, in particular with regard to international tax matters.
Transfer pricing is one area in which the Government hopes to make significant headway. It was noted that the hotel industry "tends to pay little in business taxes, although this in part reflects a legacy of generous past tax concessions."

http://www.tax-news.com/news/Seychelles_Agrees_Tax_Policy_Focus_With_IMF____65170.html
Seychelles Agrees Tax Policy Focus With IMF

Monday, 15 December 2014

Seychelles: Restructuring On the Cards for BMIO Bank, Announces Central Bank




Victoria — The Bank of Muscat International Offshore (BMIO) in Seychelles is facing re-structuring by the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS).
The reserve bank took control of the locally-registered BMIO in November following the breakdown of the latter's foreign correspondent banking relationship the month before, and announced the news of BMIO's re-organisation in a press statement issued on Friday.
"CBS has throughout been working closely with the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) in an attempt to address the issues faced by BMIO," read the statement. "Following negotiations, CBS has been successful in re-establishing correspondent banking relationship for BMIO which has allowed for some transfers to be effected thus far."
BMIO's lack of banking representatives overseas had left the bank unable to process outward foreign currency transfers for its clientele, with clients abroad unable to perform transfers or deposits.
CBS goes on to say that the restructuring of BMIO under Schedule 4 of the Financial Institutions Act 2004 is necessary "in light of tighter requirements on risk management internationally."
"During the reorganisation, CBS will continue to have full management control over BMIO," the statement added.
CBS did not elaborate on what the re-structuring would entail or when they expected the bank to resume its normal operations.
Under Schedule 4 of the Act, the reserve bank must as soon as possible draw up a reorganisation plan for the local financial institution, while still taking the interests of all persons concerned with the financial institution into account at all times.
According to the Act, CBS as the reorganizing agent may also "provide for the removal of any director, manager, officer, employee or agent of the financial institution who in the opinion of the Central Bank was responsible for or contributed to the circumstances which led to the seizure of the institution".
BMI Offshore was registered in Seychelles in July 2008 as a joint venture between BMI Bank in Bahrain and Seychelles-based bank Nouvobanq, each with 50 percent shareholdings.
The bank is based in the 'Capital City' building on Independence Avenue in central Victoria, the capital of the 115-island archipelago.
In a previous statement, the reserve bank reassured the bank's clients that the issue was "purely of an operational nature", adding that BMIO was still financially sound and "not threatened" by its lack of correspondent bank.

http://uncova.com

Saturday, 13 December 2014

The Tourism Shambles


Seychelles has priced itself out of the global tourism market mainly due to excessive government taxes levied on persons and businesses. Taxes used for shoring up the Social Security and the extravagant pension schemes. Millions of rupees wasted on official government travel, liked going to watch the Bahrain Grand Prix, stupid stuff that has turned Seychelles into one of the most expensive places to spend your vacation.

But that is not all.Air Seychelles was run into the ground then sold to the Arabs after years of bankruptcy and carrying not much more than the Air Seychelles logo painted on its tail. The Arabs now run it like a real airline by hopping from node to node and trying to fill their planes with a rapid dwindling population of tourists and cargo headed for Seychelles.

Outward appearances not withstanding including those tall and glitzy empty buildings, the UAE is still a lopsided one primary raw material economy. It's survival depends on the vagaries on the global oil prices mechanism. But they are not alone. Seychelles is heavily dependent on tourism, an industry of sorts, but one that is subjected to fluctuations in the vacation habits of workers from Europe and North America.

In that sense both the UAE and Seychelles are third world economies, surfing the business cycle. One day it's champagne and caviar and the next its tap water and mouldy bread. The Seychelles tourism business is like selling jogging shoes to quadruple amputees. It is dead in the water.

These idiots sent their own bird to the Dodo extinction department. It was their only chance to even dream of resuscitation their long dead tourist economy. They might want to try drug tourism like those Amsterdam pot cafes where junkies from all over the world gather to shoot up and chase the dragon. The first camel rides will be flattened to the ground. They will have to scrape it off the pavement like an elephant trying to fuck a mouse.

Keep waiting for the empty flights!

Seychelles Reality Today

IMF cuts Seychelles 2014 economic growth to 2.8 percent


Sat Dec 13, 2014 6:32am GMT
VICTORIA Dec 13 (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund said Seychelles' economy will grow at 2.8 percent this year, lower than its initial forecast of 3.7 percent, due to weaker demand for the country's main exports.
The Indian Ocean archipelago relies on exports of canned tuna and its tourism business for hard currency earnings.
A surge in imports, driven by better incomes and access to credit, had put further pressure on the exchange rate, which weakened 11 percent between August and October this year, the IMF said in a statement seen by Reuters on Saturday.
It said the central bank's decision to tighten the reserve money target for the fourth quarter will dampen the inflationary effects of the currency's depreciation.
The IMF approved the disbursement of $2.4 million to Seychelles, part of a an extended credit facility in June this year, it said in the statement.
(Writing by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

Reuters Africa






IMF Completes First Review Under Extended Fund Facility Arrangement for Seychelles, and Approves US$2.4 Million Disbursement

WASHINGTON, 12 December 2014 / PRN Africa / — The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) today completed the first review under the Extended Fund Facility arrangement (EFF) for Seychelles. The completion of the review enables a disbursement of SDR 1.635 million (about US$2.4 million), bringing total disbursements under the arrangement to SDR 3.27 million (about US$4.8 million). The Executive Board's decision was taken without a meeting. The EFF was approved in June 2014 (see Press Release No. 14/262) for SDR 11.445 million (about US$ 16.8 million, or 105 percent of Seychelles' quota), and follows the expiration of the previous EFF in December 2013.
Program implementation and economic fundamentals continue to be strong, although the external position weakened in mid-2014. At the first test date of end-June 2014, all performance criteria were met; based on preliminary data, all third quarter indicative targets were also achieved. The structural agenda remains broadly on track, although there were some technical delays, notably with respect to amending tax legislation to make it consistent with international transparency norms. Projected growth for 2014 has been revised down to 2.8 percent from 3.7 percent, due to weaker demand for Seychelles' two main exports—tourism and canned tuna. At the same time, strong growth in personal earnings and private sector credit have fueled a surge in imports, putting further pressure on the balance of payments. As a result, the exchange rate depreciated by 11 percent in nominal effective terms from early August to late-October.
The authorities have taken appropriate monetary and fiscal policy actions to address balance of payment pressures. The Central Bank's decision to tighten the reserve money target for the fourth quarter of 2014 by 7 percent and maintain this stance into 2015 is a strong response to the demand and external pressures, which will serve to dampen any inflationary second-round effects following the depreciation. The fiscal targets for 2014 and 2015 were also tightened to support the restoration of external balance and maintain progress toward the target of reducing the debt-to-GDP ratio below 50 percent by 2018. The flexible exchange rate regime continues to serve the country well, and can act as an important safety valve in helping to manage the pressures and restore external equilibrium. Steadfast implementation of the authorities' structural agenda should continue to lay the groundwork to promote inclusive growth and reduce risks. This agenda focuses on ensuring transparency and efficiency in the use of public resources, strengthening the governance of state-owned enterprises, and enhancing the environment for private sector development.

SOURCE International Monetary Fund (IMF)

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Settle your six-figure US tax bill


Boris Johnson should settle a six-figure tax bill in the US, the American ambassador indicated yesterday.
The London Mayor, who was born in New York and has dual citizenship, revealed last month that he is being pursued by the US tax authorities over profits made on the sale of a home in London.
American citizens are required to pay taxes on income over a certain level, even if the money is already taxed abroad.
Mr Johnson described the demand as ‘incredible’, and suggested he would not pay.
But US Ambassador Matthew Barzun indicated that Mr Johnson should settle up.
Speaking to journalists in Westminster, he refused to be drawn on the details of the London Mayor’s case.
But he said: ‘We have our rules and we expect people to play by them.
'If you get the benefits of being an American citizen you pay your fair share in taxes.’
The disputed tax bill is believed to relate to the sale of Mr Johnson’s first home in London.
He is reported to have bought the property in Islington, north London, for £470,000 in 1999. It was sold a decade later for £1.2million.
His salary as Mayor is £144,000 and he is paid £250,000 for a newspaper column.
The US embassy is also involved in a long-running row with the capital’s authorities over more than £8million in congestion charge fees run up by diplomats, which it refuses to pay.
In July last year, ahead of Mr Barzun’s arrival, Mr Johnson praised his diplomatic abilities, then added: ‘I do hope he’ll put those skills to good use in finding the more than £6million owed by US diplomats to Londoners in unpaid C-charge fines.’
And ahead of a state dinner in honour of Barack Obama in London in May 2011, he said: ‘Maybe when President Obama’s hors d’oeuvre plate is whisked away he will find a bill for £5.5m.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2867749/Settle-six-figure-tax-bill-envoy-urges-Boris-Mayor-pursued-authorities-sale-London-home.html

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Europeans give up holiday travel as austerity bites


Fewer Europeans are planning to go away for a summer holiday as economic austerity bites, a new study shows, with levels of foreign vacation travel at their lowest for eight years.

No more than 54 percent of Europeans are planning to get away for summer holiday this year, according to the Ipsos-Europ Assistance "holiday barometer" published Thursday.
Europ Assistance Group CEO Martin Vial said there was "a clear correlation between the intensity of the slump and holiday intentions".

Unsurprisingly the countries with the highest unemployment rates were the worst hit.
"The scope of the crisis in Spain and Italy is particularly visible in departure plans," the report said, with fewer than one in two Spaniards planning to leave on holiday this summer and little more than half of Italians.
Due to "less tense" economic and social situations the departure plans for Germans and Austrians had stabilised, according to the study.

For the first time since the economic crisis began, the French are particularly affected this year, it said.
While 62 percent of them say they want to leave on holiday this year, this is still eight points down on last year and the lowest rate since 2005.

At least the stay-at-home French can comfort themselves on remaining in the leading destination chosen by Europeans.

The country is set this year to welcome 18 percent of European tourists, the study says, followed closely by Italy with Spain, on 14 percent, in third place.

The Internet and social networks are being used more than ever for vacation preparations, with the British holidaymakers most active on the Internet, followed by the Belgians, French and Germans.
The British have also retained their enthusiasm for foreign travel, being the only country studied where the intentions to leave on a summer holiday are going up this year, from 51 percent to 56 percent.
Ipsos conducted the study talking to a total of 4,048 Europeans from Austria, Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

Source AFP

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Corruption Perceptions Index 2014: Clean growth at risk



Corruption is a problem for all economies, requiring leading financial centres in the EU and US to act together with fast-growing economies to stop the corrupt from getting away with it, anti-corruption group Transparency International said today.
In the 20th edition of the Corruption Perceptions Index, scores for China (with a score of 36 out of 100), Turkey (45) and Angola (19) were among the biggest fallers with a drop of 4 or 5 points, despite average economic growth of more than 4 per cent over the last four years. Click here for the full index.
“The 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index shows that economic growth is undermined and efforts to stop corruption fade when leaders and high level officials abuse power to appropriate public funds for personal gain,” said José Ugaz, the chair of Transparency International.
“Corrupt officials smuggle ill-gotten assets into safe havens through offshore companies with absolute impunity,” Ugaz added. “Countries at the bottom need to adopt radical anti-corruption measures in favour of their people. Countries at the top of the index should make sure they don’t export corrupt practices to underdeveloped countries.”
More than two thirds of the 175 countries in the 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index score below 50, on a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be very clean). Denmark comes out on top in 2014 with a score of 92 while North Korea and Somalia share last place, scoring just eight.
The scores of several countries rose or fell by four points or more. The biggest falls were in Turkey (-5), Angola, China, Malawi and Rwanda (all -4). The biggest improvers were Côte d´Ivoire, Egypt, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (+5), Afghanistan, Jordan, Mali and Swaziland (+4).
The Corruption Perceptions Index is based on expert opinions of public sector corruption. Countries’ scores can be helped by open government where the public can hold leaders to account, while a poor score is a sign of prevalent bribery, lack of punishment for corruption and public institutions that don’t respond to citizens’ needs.

Corruption in emerging economies
China’s score fell to 36 in 2014 from 40 in 2013, despite the fact the Chinese government launched an anti-corruption campaign targeting corrupt public officials. The government has recognized the need to follow officials who hide ill-gotten gains overseas. This January, leaked documents revealed 22,000 offshore clients from China and Hong Kong, including many of the country’s leaders.
The score matches a poor performance by Chinese companies in Transparency International’s recent report on corporate disclosure practices where all eight Chinese companies scored less than three out of ten.
Corruption and money laundering are also problems for the other BRIC countries. This year has seen questions raised related to a major oil company using secret companies to bribe politicians in Brazil (which scores 43), questions about Indians (38) using bank accounts in Mauritius (54) and Russians (27) doing the same in Cyprus (63).
“Grand corruption in big economies not only blocks basic human rights for the poorest but also creates governance problems and instability. Fast-growing economies whose governments refuse to be transparent and tolerate corruption, create a culture of impunity in which corruption thrives,” said Ugaz.

Countries on top must fight global corruption
Transparency International called on countries at the top of the index where public sector corruption is limited to stop encouraging it elsewhere by doing more to prevent money laundering and to stop secret companies from masking corruption.
While top performer Denmark has strong rule of law, support for civil society and clear rules governing the behaviour of those in public positions, it also set an example this November, announcing plans to create a public register including beneficial ownership information for all companies incorporated in Denmark. This measure, similar to those announced by Ukraine and the UK, will make it harder for the corrupt to hide behind companies registered in another person’s name.
The anti-corruption group is currently running a campaign to Unmask the Corrupt, urging European Union, United States and G20 countries to follow Denmark’s lead and create public registers that would make clear who really controls, or is the beneficial owner, of every company.
“None of us would fly on planes that do not register passengers, yet we allow secret companies to conceal illegal activity. Public registers that show who really owns a company would make it harder for the corrupt to take off with the spoils of their abuse of power,” said Transparency International Managing Director Cobus de Swardt.

http://www.transparency.org

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

To Gill With Love!


HERE'S A GUY WHO PROBABLY THINKS THE SEYCHELLOIS PEOPLE SUDDENLY SHOWED UP AT PORT VICTORIA .. AS IF BY DIVINE INTERVENTION .. THE SKIES OPENED UP .. MORMON TABERNACLE WAS PLAYING "THE MESSIAH" .. LORD AND BEHOLD .. VOILA .. HE DROPPED A BUNCH OF PEOPLE ON THE BEACH .. THE "SEYCHELLOIS" WERE BORN .. IS THAT WHAT U THINK MISTER? WELL I HAVE NEWS FOR U .. IN CASE U NEVER READ THE HISTORY OF UR OWN COUNTRY ..

IF UR SCARED OF FOREIGNERS? HOW R U GOING TO SURVIVE IN INTERNATIONAL POLITICS? THERE'S NO PLACE FOR XENOPHOBIC PEOPLE LIKE U .. THAT RACINE "CRAP" MAY BE OK IN PLACES LIKE BOSNIA .. BUT NOT IN SEYCHELLES .. UR TOO SMALL FOR THAT KIND OF STUFF .. UR DIVIDE AND RULE MESSAGE BELONGS IN A DIFFERENT ERA


U PROBABLY THINK THE SEYCHELLOIS PEOPLE R REALLY STUPID DON'T U? THAT THEY WOULD FALL FOR THAT KIND OF UNADULTERATED CRAP? U MUST BE LIVING IN UR OWN LITTLE DISNEY WORLD ..

TON MANCHAM UNIFED THE SEYCHELLES AND TOOK IT TO INDEPENDENCE .. UR DIVIDING THE SEYCHELLES .. JUST TO SPITE HIM .. U HAVE NOTHING TO OFFER .. U JUST WANT TO SPITE THE OLD CHAP ..

UR JUST JEALOUS OF HIM .. RIGHT? THAT HE ACHIEVED SO MUCH IN SEYCHELLES POLITICS? U WANT TO SHOW THAT U CAN EXCEED HIM .. BY BEING SO RADICALLY DIFFERENT THAT U END UP SHOOTING URSELF IN THE FOOT .. RIGHT?


SAME THING WITH ALBERT RENE .. HE WAS JEALOUS OF TON MANCHAM .. MADE UP ALL KINDS OF EXCUSES TO OVERTHROW HIS GOVERNMENT .. BUT HE COULDN'T DO IT HIMSELF .. HE HAD TO SOLICIT THE HELP OF AN AFRICAN DICTATOR FROM TANZANIA . NYERERE .. DEFINITELY NOT A CITIZEN OF SEYCHELLES .. SENT HIS TROOPS TO HELP ALBERT RENE SOLIDIFY HIS COUP D'ETAT .. THEN CAME HOARE'S MERCENARIES .. IS THAT WHY U DON'T LIKE FOREIGNERS? DO U KNOW THE HISTORY OF SEYCHELLES? DO U THINK SEYCHELLOIS PEOPLE GREW OUT OF THE GRANITE PEAKS ON LA MISERE? DO U KNOW WHERE THEY CAME FROM? HOW DID U MANAGE BY BEING SO IGNORANT?

THE WORLD HAS CHANGED .. BUT UR STILL CLINGING TO THE XENOPHOBIC PAST .. GROPING FOR EXCUSES TO BLOCK OUT COMMENTS .. U BLOCK ANYBODY WHO WANTS TO TELL U WHAT THEY THINIK OF U ..

ONE MORE THING MY LEARNED FRIEND .. PASSPORTS AND OTHER DOCUMENTS PERTAINING TO CITIZENSHIP R ONLY REQUIRED WHEN CROSSING BORDERS AND APPLYING FOR GOVERNMENT SERVICES .. THEY R NOT REQUIRED FOR POSTING COMMENTS ON FACEBOOK WALLS .. UNDERSTAND? GET THAT THROUGHT UR GRANITE SKULL .. 

BETWEEN A BLOODY FACIST NAZI AND A STINKING COMMUNIST .. I WOULD PICK THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS .. THE STINKING COMMUNIST    

By Dr. S Wong 
 

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Fishing Is All Year Round Unlike Tourism. Time For Change!

The year 2014 proved to be unexpectedly more challenging for tourism in the Seychelles than anticipated, as the archipelago’s tourism marketers had optimistically projected a 3 percent growth over their record breaking year of 2013, when new arrival records were set.
For much of 2014 did arrival figure lag behind those of the previous year, and only a strong performance in December will make it possible to match last year’s record, with even money at present if it is slightly over or under that yardstick.


Insider information from several sides though also confirms that revenues per passenger were down compared to previous years, posing yet another challenge for the marketing team, which only yesterday provided some key data from the 2014 arrival statistics.
It is apparent from those stats that Britain, for long in the top five, is no longer even in the top six, having been pushed down the ranks by the United Arab Emirates, Russia and China, the latter showing one of the fastest growth rates of any country of origins for the Seychelles, this year up by nearly 80 percent, similar to the trend seen over the past few years.
It also shows that the sentiments often expressed here on behalf of stakeholders, that the French market needed the return of nonstop flights to Mahe, were justified as Germany outpaced France and took the lead as the country with the most visitors to the archipelago. Condor, flying nonstop from Frankfurt to Mahe under a scheduled flight operation, for some time considered the early launch of a second flight, but eventually showed some caution as they postponed their final decision which in reality means another frequency would realistically only come on line for the winter season 2015/16.
Visitors arrivals as of week 47 of 2014
Country of tourists origin No. of visitors
Germany 33,124
France 29,759
Italy 18,224
Russia 12,823
China 12,585
United Arab Emirates 11,898
Resource allocation will next year reflect this new constellation to recapture lost numbers in particular in France but also other European markets which had gone ‘soft’ during the past 11 months, a wise choice considering that Europe still accounts for nearly two thirds of all visitors to the Seychelles, which makes the current 4 percent Europe wide loss all the more important to reverse.
Regular sources from the islands also raised two added issues which are worth exploring some more.
Although Air Seychelles is upping flights to and from Abu Dhabi and is launching flights to Dar es Salaam, Antananarivo and Mumbai, is the lack of nonstop flights to France seen as a setback for the tourism private sector and the country’s tourism marketers. This decision, some say taken in Abu Dhabi rather than in Victoria, has led to growing support for a new airline venture, Seychelles Airlines, which however has not received regulatory approvals as yet, leading to suggestions that vested interests if not outright foul play is keeping the new airline, which notably said they would fly nonstop to Paris, out of the skies.
A second major shift in policy may also be on the cards as one of China’s largest touring companies, CAISSA Touristic, has proposed to fly charters from China to Mahe, giving their passengers those coveted nonstop services, were it not for decades of deliberate choices and decisions to keep charters out of the Seychelles and rely on scheduled flights, in part of course aimed to keep the quality of visitors in the upper market bracket and avoid the downsides charter operations have brought to other long haul destinations.
‘It is all good to hear that the Chinese are prepared to start a charter to Mahe but official policy so far has been and it so remains, until a change is officially announced, that airlines coming to the Seychelles must operate scheduled flights, not charters. We are watching how this dilemma is solved, because obviously we need more visitors to fill our beds, in the new resorts and of course right across the locally owned B&B’s, guest houses and holiday apartments. It is those where our own people have heavily invested in and which consumed their nest eggs and is to provide them with long term sustainable income. Some of my colleagues and I are very cautious because to change that policy also means that Air Seychelles will have to drop any objections and you are aware of the linkage between government and the national airline right up to chairman level.

The tourism lobby will want to see a change in that policy and the airline and its backers and supporters in government will very likely object and try to halt it like they halted the new airline. If there is a change in policy, arrival numbers from China can very quickly double and more but if not, it might be a do or die for tourism.
We are at crossroads now and whichever direction Seychelles take will shape the next decade and more. If charters were to be allowed we will certainly be able to fill more beds in locally owned establishments. We also need more hotels in the 3 and 4 star category, priced similarly to those in say Zanzibar or Kenya or Mauritius. If charters are not allowed, we may have to see the market stagnate for a while because Europe is still in economic difficulties, the Russian market is affected by sanctions and the Chinese prefer nonstop flights over changing planes in other locations. As you said, those are hard choices to be made and I don’t envy those who have to make them and fight to get them implemented’ said one regular contributor in an extended exchange of emails and social media messages.
The just ended annual marketing conference of the Seychelles Tourism Board, during which some of these challenges were no doubt discussed, some in open forum and some of the more touchy subjects rather more in private, was also presented with the new sales collaterals, a new destinations video, a new proactive website and new printed brochures, the latter however apparently playing a lesser role today compared to past practices.

Seychelles no doubt remains one of the most talked about long haul island destinations in the world, punching well above her weight and indeed has much to offer, beyond sand, sun and fun.
Festivals have taken root across the year, from the globally renowned Seychelles Carnival to the Festival of the Sea, in 2015 celebrating its 25th anniversary and to be renamed as the Festival of the Ocean, the China – Seychelles Festival, the India – Seychelles Festival, the Eco Marathon, the annual Festival Kreol, next year celebrating its 30th edition already. Events besides natural attractions, more than half of the Seychelles is by law dedicated to conservation, have put and kept the archipelago on the global map and high profile honeymooners like the Duke an Duchess of Cambridge and the Clooneys, among many other glitterati, have made sure that the island is talked about across the social media and given high profile exposure in the world’s glossiest and fanciest travel magazines and TV Travel programmes.
Opportunities in plenty but then, so are the challenges which need to be resolved, and, given the vocal opposition about a proposed new resort owned by the Emirates’ Group at Cap Terney earlier in the week, so does the question of when is enough enough. What maximum visitor numbers can the Seychelles sustainably receive, considering the added needs for fresh water and electricity but also for trained human resources and how far can the envelope be pushed without colliding with the principles of both the ‘Green’ and the ‘Blue’ economic blueprints.
On the upside stands the increased dialogue between government, stakeholders and ordinary citizens, all of them aware that tourism is and will remain the backbone of the local economy and compromises must be found to keep the archipelago out of an economic downturn which might bring greater challenges than the ones outlined above.

http://www.eturbonews.com/53075/seychelles-will-year-bring-arrival-record

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Foreign Travel Advice Seychelles


Safety and security


Crime

Most visits to Seychelles are trouble free, but tourists have been robbed. Crime levels are rising, with an increase in both targeted burglaries and opportunist thefts against residents and tourists. The inability of the authorities to catch and prosecute offenders is a concern.
You should maintain at least the same level of security awareness as you would in the UK and make sure your living accommodation is secure. Don’t carry large amounts of cash or wear eye-catching jewellery. Use a hotel safe to store valuables, money and passports. Don’t leave valuables in cars or anywhere on display.
Accommodation, particularly in isolated areas, should have adequate security, including external security lighting, grilles and overnight security guards.
Be vigilant and when outside hotels grounds always carry a mobile phone with roaming capability for use in emergency.
Take care in isolated areas and also in more popular places like Beau Vallon and the back streets of Victoria, especially after dark. Beaches, parked cars and both residential and tourist accommodation are favourite targets for thieves.
People trekking on marked and unmarked trails have been robbed, including at knife point. Leave valuables securely in a safe and stay within large, organised groups. Take particular care if you’re alone

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/seychelles/safety-and-security

Monday, 24 November 2014

James Michel In Abu Dhabi For The F1 Grand Prix While IMF Has Firmly Established Itself In Seychelles

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, a number of world leaders, Crown Princes, dignitaries and senior officials attended the final race of 2014 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi.

The final race was attended by His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan, President Ali Bongo of Gabon, President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov, President of Tatarstan, Rustam Minnikhanov, President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades, President of the Republic of Kosovo, Madam Atifete Jahjaga, President of Serbia, Tomislav Nikolic, President of Seychelles James Michel, and Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Kingdom of Bahrain.

The Vice-President arrived at the race's starting point accompanied by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid, Sheikh Hazza and Bernie Ecclestone, chief executive of the Formula 1 Group, which manages Formula 1 Grand Prix. The national anthem was played before the start amid presence of huge fans.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid met, saluted and exchanged views with a number of competitors, wishing them good luck. Sheikh Nahyan bin Zayed crowned Lewis Hamilton, a British and driver of Mercedes Team on winning F1 championship, while Brazilian driver Felipe Massa crossed the line to second place ahead of Valtteri Bottas, a Finnish who won the third place. 

http://www.emirates247.com/news/government/mohammed-gen-mohamed-at-abu-dhabi-f1-grand-prix-2014-11-24-1.571093

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Seychelles poachers go nutty for erotic shaped seed


Under cover of darkness in the steamy jungles of the Seychelles thieves creep out to harvest the sizeable and valuable nuts of the famous coco de mer palm, and their activities are threatening its long-term survival.
Nicknamed "coco bottom" on the Indian Ocean archipelago for its curves like a woman's buttocks, some 40 of the giant nuts have been stolen since the beginning of the year on the island of Praslin.
The trees survive, but slashing with knives means the rare palms produce fewer fruit each year, while the seeds themselves are taken off for sale rather than producing new plants.

It is a worrying problem for the Seychelles, which features the coco de mer on its coat of arms. Conservationists fear the illegal trade threatens the future of nut, the biggest in the world and endemic to just two of the country's islands.
"Shock and horror," the headline of a Seychelles news agency story read after a raid last month in which 10 nuts were stolen.
With some 17,000 trees counted on Praslin and 10,000 on neighbouring Curieuse island, the tree is now on the warning "red list" of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN.
It says numbers have dropped by almost a third within three generations of trees, warning the harvesting and illegal sale of the nuts poses a significant threat.
"Before we'd see about 75 coconuts on a tree, now there are just 25," said Victorin Laboudallon of the Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF), which helps conserve the palm-filled Vallee de Mai national park, a UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site.
"Trees do not give as much fruit as before when a coconut is cut."
- Alleged aphrodisiac -
The nut is a fertility symbol for some and in Asia, particularly in China, it has a reputation as an alleged aphrodisiac.

Thousands of tourists who visit the white sand beaches of the Seychelles eye them as ornaments.
Britain's Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge were given a nut by the government at the end of their honeymoon on the Seychelles in 2011.
Protected by law, nuts can only be taken out of the country in accordance with strict regulations.
A nut, which can weigh as much as 35 kilogrammes (77 pounds), can reportedly sell for as much as $450 per kilogramme ($202 a pound) on the black market, meaning a single nut can sell for thousands of dollars.
In an attempt to curb the thefts and protect the 19 hectares (47 acres) of forest where the palms are found SIF has boosted the number of guards, but the rugged terrain and lack of fences complicate that task.
The bizarre "double" nut has an ancient history: traded far from the archipelago to the Middle East, Asia and Europe, earning legends of its healing powers.
For centuries, its origin was a mystery: nuts were found only adrift at sea or washed up on the white sand beaches of the Indian Ocean. Never having been seen growing on land, sailors thought that they came from the sea bed itself - giving the name, the "coconut of the sea".
Demand grew after the country's independence from Britain in 1976 and the boom in its tourism industry, said Laboudallon.

The government was forced to step in to control the trade, with the legal export of nuts highly regulated and only four companies having a licence to sell.
But the illegal smuggling continues.
Laboudallon fears the tree could suffer the same fate as the Dodo, the extinct bird that disappeared nearly 400 years ago on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius.
The environment ministry insists they are in control of the situation, installing x-ray machines at the airport to scan for the nut, said top official Ronley Fanchet.
But environmental activists were shocked when a recent culinary festival, organised by the culture ministry, featured the famous nut.
For the first time, coco de mer dishes -- including ice cream, pies and bread -- were available for tasting at the one-off festival.
Defenders of the fruit warned that could create a new demand that would put the nuts under even greater pressure.
"If tomorrow there are menus with coco de mer in all restaurants, what do we do?" said SIF chief Frauke Dogley.
"It is not the one-off use of the kernel which is the issue here, but creating a demand, where the side-effects have the full potential to lead to an unsustainable exploitation."

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/seychelles-poachers-nutty-erotic-shaped-seed-051713045.html#f4I2Sgq

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Fraudster set to lose Austrian millions


Benefit fraudster Wayne Patterson will lose the $3.3 million he has invested in Austria, after the Crown won a case to retrieve it.
Wayne Thomas Patterson was sentenced to eight years and nine months in prison in 2007 after pleading guilty to stealing $3.4m in multiple charges of benefit fraud.
He faked 123 identities to claim up to $28,000 a week for three years before his arrest in 2006.
The Crown has recovered the $3.4m that was taken, but it has also spent the past eight years in a legal battle in Austria to recover Apple shares and cash that had increased in value to about $3.3m.
Patterson, who employed an Austrian lawyer, has argued that the Crown has recovered what it was owed and the outstanding funds were rightfully his.
Despite telling the Parole Board last year that he had instructed his lawyer to release the funds to the Ministry of Social Development, he has continued his fight to retain the funds.
In September, the Vienna Court of First Instance heard the Crown's claim against Patterson and his Seychelles-based company Westgate Holdings Ltd, which he set up to hold the stolen proceeds.
On October 30, the court ruled that the Crown was entitled to the cash and Apple shares held in the Anglo-Irish Bank in Austria. Patterson was also ordered to pay the Crown €48,300 in legal costs.
Patterson and Westgate have until mid-January to appeal the decision.
A ministry spokesman said that if the ruling was not appealed the funds could be deposited in the consolidated account early next year.
Patterson, 55, is to appear in a judge-alone trial in January on seven charges in relation to writing forged letters in support of a failed bid for parole.
He was denied parole in March, with the Parole Board finding he could not be trusted not to offend again if released early.
The board took into consideration advice from the ministry that said Patterson was trying to thwart the ministry's attempts to recover profits made from the investment of his stolen funds.
Patterson's current sentence ends in July next year.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/63290796/Fraudster-set-to-lose-Austrian-millions

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Why Are Chinese Tour Operators Cancelling Seychelles Travel?


Yes, Seychelles has historical ties with Africa, but it sits in the middle of the Indian Ocean, 1000 miles off the east coast of Africa.
So why are Chinese tour operators cancelling trips to Seychelles?
Over ebola fears, according to a report in eTurboNews.
Top Seychelles tourism officials have gone to China armed with maps of Africa and this message: Seychelles is Ebola free and safe for travelers.
Alain St. Ange, the Seychelles minister for tourism and culture is in China with Sherin Naiken, CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, for one-on-one meetings with travel agents and tour operators. They’re selling Seychelles as the new tourism destination for Chinese vacationers.
They started in Beijing with CAISSA Travel Management Co. Ltd., Windy Feeling International Travel Service, and Qunar.com, eTurboNews reports.
St. Ange argued that Africa is 54 countries, not villages, and spelled out where Seychelles was — safely situated in the middle of the Indian Ocean, eTurboNews reports.
It became apparent to a delegation of Seychelles’ private tourism players who want to work with Chinese tour operators, that Chinese travelers have not yet figured out this geographical detail, according to the report. They put Seychelles in the same bag as other African countries. This wrong perception gave the Seychelles’ tourism industry bad publicity.
The Ebola threat has affected Africa’s tourism industry. Seychelles has been registering cancellations in tourism bookings.

“Ebola is on the west coast of Africa; we sit off the east coast of Africa,” St. Ange said. “Yes, Seychelles remains part of Africa, but we live our lives as a small island nation well outside all the difficulties that are ravaging this continent.”
Tour operators and travel agents in China are convinced the Ebola threat in West African countries is a wake-up call for the continent, eTurboNews reports.
“China is still overcoming its SARS lesson, and with the Ebola outbreak,
travelers are conscious of their choice of holiday destinations,” according to CAISSA. Chinese tour operators and travel agents say there
needs to be continued management of the epidemic to ensure travelers’ behavior does not boycott the continent as a whole.
St.Ange and his delegation plan to go to Xiamen and Shanghai armed with a map of Africa showing clearly the position of Ebola-affected countries and where Seychelles is situated. The same message will be repeated, the report said.

http://uncova.com/why-are-chinese-tour-operators-cancelling-seychelles-travel

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Sakher El Matri agresse une Tunisienne aux Seychelles


Psychopathe ? Maniaco-dépressif ? Mégalomane? Rusé ? Tous ces traits de caractère pourraient correspondre à un Sakher El Matri, éminent sympathisant des Islamistes, selon nombre de ses anciennes connaissances et autres collaborateurs. Mais nous le croyions calmé depuis qu’il a été éjecté de la Tunisie et accueilli aux Seychelles grâce à ses amis influents. Il n’en est rien. La beauté de cet archipel posé sur l’Océan indien n’a pas calmé les penchants violents de Sakher El Matri ni son agressivité.

Ainsi, il s’en est pris à une jeune mère de famille tunisienne séjournant dans un hôtel de la place alors qu’elle le photographiait. Pourtant tous les Tunisiens savent que le gendre de Ben Ali, qui demandait aux journalistes de le féliciter pour le poste de président de Conseil d’Administration de Tunisiana alors que l’on tirait leurs concitoyens comme des lièvres, séjournait en hôte de qualité à Victoria, capitale seychelloise.
Il faut reconnaître que de la haine à l’encontre de ses compatriotes, Sakher El Matri en a beaucoup à revendre. N’ont-ils pas mis fin à ses rêves de grandeur, lui qui se projetait déjà Président en 2019 ?
http://directinfo.webmanagercenter.com/2014/10/29/photos-sakhr-el-matri-agresse-une-tunisienne-aux-seychelles/

Friday, 7 November 2014

The Dangers Of The Middle East Hubs

The Seychelles delegation attending World Travel Market in London (WTM) is saying that all is looking more positive for the island on the UK market.
“The continued interest by the UK Tour Operators, the support displayed by the press through the many interviews carried out on the Seychelles Stand at WTM and the new business drive are all positive signs said the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture Alain St.Ange who was personally heading this year’s delegation to the UK Tourism and Trade Fair.
“Airline discussions have been held and new investments inquiries attended to. Our arrival figures are showing signs that the UK Tour Operators are pushing the islands once again. We launched new marketing tools and our e-marketing Department is today more on the ball than ever before”  said Minister St.Ange
This year the Seychelles had a big private sector delegation participating alongside the Seychelles Tourism Board at WTM.
 
http://www.eglobaltravelmedia.com.au/seychelles-at-wtm-in-london-says-all-looking-more-positive/
 

 

Foreign Office issues worldwide terrorism warning for British tourists

 
British holidaymakers travelling anywhere in the world have been told to be vigilant as they are at risk of being attacked by Islamist terrorists.
The Foreign Office on Friday night issued a worldwide travel warning, saying tourists were at a risk of attack as a result of Britain’s intervention in Iraq and Syria.
The warning applies to every country in the world, and the FCO updated travel guidance on its website. It reflects a “generalised threat” to Britons, rather than intelligence of a specific and credible attack.
The warning states: “There is considered to be a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk
 

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Seychelles Chamber of Commerce chairman Marco Francis refutes Sri Lankan fraud allegations

Marco denies involvement with Robert



The story published in Lanka Herald about Sri Lankans being swindled in the Seychelles has resulted in one of the accused, Marco Francis writing to the website disowning himself from Robert Piksa’s actions.
Francis in his response said, “Yes, I am a shareholder in a company with Mr Piksa and yes, we export fish to Sri Lanka, but all our activities are above board. Also whatever dealings Robert Piksa has or had done on his own I cannot be responsible. I have never indulged in nor will ever go into money laundering.”
Following is the response sent by Marco Francis.
I am writing to you in reply to the article in Lanka Herald on October 30, 2014 title “Sri Lankans swindled in the Seychelles”.
In the article you specifically mentioned my name Marco L Francis have “swindled” a number of unidentified Sri-Lankan nationals seeking to do business in the Seychelles. Also “cheated many Sri Lankan businessmen promising deals in the Seychelles and obtaining funds, starting from exporting fish to Sri Lanka, opening up offshore companies and bank accounts for money laundering were some of the rackets the duo were allegedly involved in”.
This article is totally without justification and the accusations were totally baseless and false.
Yes, I am a shareholder in a company with Mr Piksa and yes, we export fish to Sri Lanka, but all our activities are above board. Also whatever dealings Robert Piksa has or had done on his own I cannot be responsible. I have never indulged in nor will ever go into money laundering. As chair of SCCI I have to put the good name of Seychelles business first in everything I do. I am cought in the middle of this for being a share holder of the company.
I believe that there are ulterior motives at play as the article does not mention any specific names or transactions.
The article has brought disrepute to me, the Seychelles chamber of Commerce and Industry and Seychelles.
I am requesting that Lanka Herald do a retraction as prominent a place on its website as the article.

Kind Regard
Marco L. Francis 

http://lankaherald.com

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Harmon Chellen Police Case: ASP Will Soon Travel to Seychelles

The unexpected and mysterious death of Harmon Chellen in the Seychelles is still being investigated – so far, no clear answer has been found. Harmon Chellen’s body was spotted in the sea on the same day that he had been summoned to a police station after having been accused by an employee of the hotel where he was residing of attempt to rape.
The Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Luciano Gerard, is to travel to the Seychelles for the investigation of the circumstances of death. The Mauritian minister of foreign affairs, Arvin Boolell, explained that before the ASP can make the trip, a written agreement signed by the Seychelles authorities is needed. Once this is communicated to the Mauritian authorities, the ASP will be in the position of doing a follow-up of the police case.
Arvin Boolell also added that they are waiting to have access to the report of the medical examiner, Dr Sudesh Kumar Gungadin, who did the second autopsy on the corpse. The report in question has already been submitted to the police and will soon be sent to the Prime Minister’s office.
After the autopsy that was performed in Seychelles in August, it was suggested that Harmon Chellen had died drowning. However, the family of the man did not agree with this theory. At their request, another autopsy was done at the Victoria Hospital at Candos. This operation had revealed wounds at the level of the temple. Another theory was then formulated: Harmon Chellen might have died when he was in police detention.

http://news.islandcrisis.net/2014/10/harmon-chellen-police-case-asp-will-soon-travel-to-seychelles/


Friday, 24 October 2014

Choppergate: CBI may seek info from Singapore, Seychelles

Abhishek Sharan, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, October 24, 2014
First Published: 22:58 IST(24/10/2014) | Last Updated: 23:03 IST(24/

The CBI, which is probing receipt of alleged kickbacks in the Rs. 3,600 crore VVIP AgustaWestland deal, is likely to send Letters Rogatory (LR) to authorities in Singapore and Seychelles to seek details regarding certain monetary transactions under its scanner. The Seychelles and Singapore connections have emerged in the probe for the first time.

“The probe has taken under its scanner certain transactions from an accused Tunisian firm to an intermediary firm in Mauritius, which in turn, routed the funds to a few other firms based in the same country as well as in Singapore and Seychelles,” said a CBI source. The alleged transactions were done through banks located in Port Louis in Mauritius, Victoria in Seychelles and in Singapore, said the source.

The details, once procured, would help in determining the nature of the transactions, said the source. The CBI has already requested, via LRs, authorities in United Kingdom, Italy, Tunisia and Mauritius details on the money-trail but is yet to get a response.

An Italian court recently handed out a two-year jail term to former Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi and its UK-based subsidiary AgustaWestland’s former boss Bruno Spagnolini for falsifying invoices, but cleared them of the more serious corruption charges in the deal.

http://www.hindustantimes.com

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Dirty Money routed through Singapore, Seychelles?


Evidence collected by Indian investigating agencies into the AgustaWestland helicopter deal reveals that kickbacks into the country were routed through a circuitous financial network involving countries like Singapore and Seychelles. For the first time a Seychelles connection has surfaced in the multi-crore helicopter deal.

Sources said both Central probe agencies CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) are planning to send judicial requests to authorities concerned in Singapore and Seychelles to get details about certain firms based there. Sources said the CBI is preparing to examine some more private persons in connection with its probe into the deal. The ED is planning to send judicial requests to about six countries in this regard, they added.
The ED recently arrested a businessman Gautam Khaitan in connection with the case. Investigations by the agency revealed that Mr Khaitan had allegedly helped the Anglo-Italian defence manufacturer in facilitating the transfer of kickbacks, approximately 2.16 million Euros, to India. It has also been revealed that Mr Khaitan allegedly introduced European middlemen Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschke to Satish Bagrodia and Pratap K. Aggarwal, chairman and managing director respectively of the suspected firm IDS Infotech Ltd (India).

Indian investigators, sources said, suspects the route of stash funds to have originated from Italy and routed through Mauritius, Tunisia, Singapore and Seychelles to India. Mr Khaitan was on the board of Chandigarh-based Aero-matrix and he had resigned from the post after the Italian police started its probe into the chopper deal in 2012. The firm is allegedly a front company for the financial dealings of the copter deal. The ED on July 4 had booked former IAF Chief S.P. Tyagi and 12 others under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in the helicopter deal case.

 http://www.asianage.com/india/money-routed-through-singapore-seychelles-807

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Who's Running The Show?


Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture, led a one-day working visit to Paris to meet with French tour operators and members of the press. Minister St.Ange was accompanied on this working visit by Captain David Savy, the Chairman of the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA), and Mr. Manoj Papa, the CEO of Air Seychelles.
In Paris, the Seychelles Minister and his delegation were joined by Bernadette Willemin, the Seychelles Tourism Board's Paris-based Director for Europe; the island's Marketing Executive, Christine Vel; and Jennifer Dupuy. Air Seychelles' Justin Gosling and Christine Ozouf were also present at the meeting when Minister Alain St.Ange announced that Air Seychelles would, with immediate effect, operate its two weekly flights between Paris and Seychelles with only a technical stop in Abu Dhabi where passengers now remain on board the plane during the short stop.
"We can today announce that Seychelles has negotiated with Abu Dhabi for our flights to be authorized to make technical stops only in Abu Dhabi on the way to Seychelles. Tour operators from France have been requesting that their passengers traveling to Seychelles do not disembark during the transit stop in Abu Dhabi. The point was made that families with children were not happy with having to disembark and go through the security procedures before re-embarking on the plane. The same applied to the elderly passengers. Today we can confirm that we had heard the message and that the Abu Dhabi authorities had accepted to make an exception for the Air Seychelles flights to and from Paris and also Hong Kong," Minister St.Ange said.
The Seychelles Minister also explained the refocusing by Seychelles on tourism as the pillar of the island's economy with an inter-ministerial meeting with members of the tourism private sector and Chamber of Commerce and Industries where the challenges being faced by the industry are tabled, analyzed, and necessary actions proposed. This inter-ministerial meeting is being chaired by the island's Vice President Faure. Minister St.Ange also spoke about a separate committee instigated by President James Michel of the Seychelles that regroups the Ministers of Finance, Transport, and Tourism to analyze coordinated approaches to marketing and air access.
Also addressing the Paris tourism meeting were Captain David Savy and Mr. Manoj Papa. Both said that Air Seychelles had answered the call made by French tour operators and that this was but the first step to direct non-stop flights in the future. "We need to work together to stimulate the market and get numbers growing so that the island's national airline can in due course consider direct flights," they both said.

http://www.eturbonews.com/51584/seychelles-announces-details-flights-and-paris

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Was Mancham Under Pressure from Rene to Remove USAF Tracking Station?


1. SEYCHELLES CHIEF MINISTER JAMES MANCHAM STOPPED BY EMBASSY LONDON ON HIS RETURN TRIP FROM A CONFERENCE ON TOURISM IN MEXICO IN ORDER TO EXPRESS CERTAIN CONCERNS HE HAD ABOUT FUTURE OF U.S.-SEYCHELLES RELATIONS. HE HAD CALLED AT FCO TO DISCUSS UK AND US RELATIONS AND WAS REFERRED TO US ON LATTER. HIS CONCERN IS FOCUSED ON WHAT HE REGARDS AS A DETERIORATION OF THE PUBLIC RELATIONS ASPECT OF THE USAF TRACKING STATION OPERATION IN SEYCHELLES, EXACERBATED BY THE IMPENDING TERMINATION OF THE PL-480 SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM IN THE SEYCHELLES. THIS PROGRAM IS LOOKED UPON IN THE SEYCHELLES AS BEING PART OF THE "QUID" FOR SEYCHELLOIS PUBLIC ACCEPTANCE OF THE TRACKING STATION. 2. MANCHAM OUTLINED THE HISTORY OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE AMERICAN PERSONNEL AT THE STATION AND THE GENERAL POPULATION SINCE THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE TRACK- ING STATION IN 1966. HE SAID THAT IN THE EARLY DAYS THERE SEEMED TO BE A DETERMINED EFFORT ON THE PART OF THE AMERICANS TO CREATE A GOOD IMAGE AND HAPPY RELATIONS CONFIDENTIAL CONFIDENTIAL PAGE 02 LONDON 13342 141941Z WITH THE PEOPLE.

HOWEVER, OF LATE IT HAS APPEARED TO HIM AND TO THE PUBLIC AT LARGE THAT THE AMERICANS ARE TAKING THE SEYCHELLOIS FOR GRANTED. THERE HAVE BEEN NO SERIOUS INCIDENTS BUT NOTHING POSITIVE HAS BEEN DONE LATELY TO FOSTER GOOD RELATIONS BETWEEN THE AMERICANS AND THE POPULATION OF THE ISLANDS. MANCHAM SAID THAT CUTTING OFF THE PL-480 PROGRAM WOULD AFFECT SOME 8,600 PEOPLE, 4,500 OF THEM PRE-SCHOOL CHILDREN WHO DEPEND ALMOST ENTIRELY ON THE FOOD PROGRAM FOR THEIR LUNCHES AND SUPPLEMENTS TO THEIR DIET. WHEN PL-480 ENDS, THE FAMILIES WHO HAVE BENEFITED FROM IT WILL HAVE TO BUY ADDITIONAL FOOD AT VERY HIGH PRICES. TO MAKE THE PROBLEM WORSE, THE SEYCHELLES HAS UNTIL THIS YEAR DEPENDED ON THAILAND FOR ITS STAPLE FOOD SUPPLY, RICE, BUT THAILAND IS NOW UNABLE TO MEET THE SEYCHELLES REQUIREMENTS AND THEY HAVE BEEN FORCED TO BUY INFERIOR RICE FROM EGYPT AT THREE TIMES THE OLD PRICE. 3. THE PROBLEM FOR MANCHAM IS A POLITICAL ONE AS THE OPPOSITION, WHICH FAVORS INDEPENDENCE, IS NOW CALLING ATTENTION TO THE CHANGE IN THE AMERICAN ATTITUDE AND THE LOSS OF FOOD SUPPLIES. MANCHAM SAID IT WOULD BE BETTER FROM A POLITICAL POINT OF VIEW HAD WE NEVER ESTABLISHED THE PL-480 PROGRAM. THIS SITUATION IS WORSENED BY THE REALIZATION OF THE SEYCHELLOIS THAT THE WEALTHY AMERICANS PAY NO TAXES AND CAN IMPORT ANYTHING THEY WANT ON A DUTY FREE BASIS. ON A SMALL ISLAND, THIS DISPARITY BETWEEN LOCALS AND AMERICANS IS PAINFULLY OBVIOUS. 4. WHEN ASKED IF HE HAD TALKED TO ANY AMERICAN OFFICIALS IN THIS VEIN PREVIOUSLY, MANCHAM SAID THAT HE HAD NOT. HE HAD THOUGHT OF STOPPING BY WASHINGTON ON HIS WAY BACK FROM MEXICO BUT DECIDED THAT BECAUSE OF THE CURRENT PREOCCUPATIONS THERE, HE MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO MAKE CONTACT WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE. ALTHOUGH USAID OFFICER SHERMAN FROM NAIROBI HAS BEEN TO THE SEYCHELLES TO INFORM OFFICIALS OF THE TERMINATION OF THE PL-480 PROGRAM AT THE END OF THIS FISCAL YEAR, THERE HAVE BEEN NO DISCUSSIONS BETWEEN SEYCHELLOIS OFFICIALS AND EMBASSY NAIROBI OFFICERS CONCERNING THE POLITICAL IMPACT OF THIS ACTION. WE DESCRIBED TO MANCHAM REASONS WHY PL-480 HAD BEEN DRASTICALLY CURTAILED ON A WORLDWIDE BASIS. HE SEEMED TO APPRECIATE THIS POINT BUT WAS PLEADING FOR CONFIDENTIAL CONFIDENTIAL PAGE 03 LONDON 13342 141941Z SOME SORT OF GESTURE FROM THE UNITED STATES WHICH WOULD ENABLE THE SEYCHELLES GOVERNMENT TO MAKE THE CONTINUED PRESENCE OF THE TRACKING STATION POLITICALLY ACCEPTABLE. WE PROMISED TO CONVEY HIS VIEWS TO WASHINGTON AND NAIROBI. ANNENBERG CONFIDENTIAL

Source:  Wikileaks

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Egyptian court upholds death penalty imposed on three Seychelles nationals


The highest Court of Appeal in Egypt has upheld the death penalty imposed on three Seychellois nationals convicted of drug trafficking, the Seychelles Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) says it has learnt today.
In a press statement issued this afternoon, MFA said the three men who are currently being detained in Egypt’s Qena prison have lost their appeal against the death sentence imposed on them last year.
Ronny Norman Jean, Yvon John Vinda and Dean Dominic Loze were sentenced to death by execution on April 7, 2013, the sentence was confirmed on June 3, 2013.
Ever since the death sentence was imposed on the three Seychellois nationals, the Seychelles government had been appealing to the Egyptian government to commute their sentences to life imprisonment.
“Although it is the government’s policy to respect the sovereignty and judicial process in other countries, it nevertheless upholds the rights of its citizens to a fair trial. To this end, whilst reassuring the Egyptian authorities of its “zero tolerance” policy against drug trafficking, the Government wrote in 2013 to the Egyptian to appeal for a fair trial and the avoidance of capital punishment which does not exist in our legal system,” reads the MFA statement issued this afternoon.
“In the same vein, the Government took all measures practical and feasible to ensure that the Seychellois obtained the required legal and consular representation.”
The decision made known today implies that execution orders will now follow. However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not specify if a date had been set for the sentence to be applied.
Executions are usually carried out by hanging in Egypt.
In spite of the recent development the archipelago’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs have made known the government’s intention to continue negotiating with the Egyptian authorities on the matter.
“…..the Government is not relenting in its efforts to pursue all possible diplomatic and legal avenues in consultation with the Egyptian authorities to avert the death penalty,” concludes the MFA statement.
The three Seychellois men were arrested on April 22, 2011 by the Egyptian police onboard a boat near the Red Sea coastal town of Marsa Alam. They were together with a British national identified as Charles Raymond Ferndale, who is said to be the owner of the vessel and another Pakistani national.
They were accused and charged for attempting to smuggle three tonnes of hashish, worth almost £3million, in 118 bags into Egypt.
It is believed that the drugs found in the South African flagged vessel originated from Pakistan.
All five men were sentenced to death, but the Pakistani national was said to have fled the scene and was sentenced in absentia.

http://www.el-balad.com/1193559

How Much Wealth Are Our Wealthiest Hiding?

Tax havens like the Seychelles Islands are helping our super rich annually evade hundreds of billions in taxes.
Almost everyone knows how Al Capone went down. We’ve seen the movies.
The biggest and baddest gangster in American history extorted and murdered for years. But the feds could never convict him on anything, until the green eyeshade guys went to work. They finally nabbed Capone — on income tax evasion.
The moral of this story? Even the most ruthless of our richest can’t hide what the federal government really wants to find.
We need the green eyeshades back on the job. Today’s wealthy have taken tax evasion to a level that old Scarface never dared imagine. Their network of offshore tax havens is now hiding a significant share of the world’s wealth.

How much are the mega rich hiding offshore? Independent analysts have been working to pin that figure down. The most recent — and statistically robust — of these estimates comes from the young London School of Economics analyst Gabriel Zucman, a protégé of the widely heralded French economist Thomas Piketty.
Zucman has zeroed in on what he calls the “anomalies” of international financial record-keeping. His prime example: the “residence principle.”
In theory, this notion works simply. Say, for instance, that a French national holds a $1 million investment in U.S. financial securities. Financial records, under the residence principle, are supposed to record this $1 million as an asset for France and a liability for the United States.
At the end of the day, these assets and liabilities should balance out globally. But they don’t. Not even close. Why not? The wealthy are stashing a growing share of their wealth in tax haven banks that don’t, Zucman notes, “automatically report the investment income earned by their clients to tax authorities.”
In effect, the economist relates, we’re living in a world where taxes on our wealthy can only be collected if these wealthy “self-declare their income.” Ever fewer do.
Zucman’s virtuoso statistical sleuthing ends up concluding that the global super rich — deep pockets who typically hold over $50 million in assets — had stashed, as of 2008, $7.6 trillion in offshore tax havens, about 8 percent of total global personal financial wealth.
About 80 percent of this offshore wealth, Zucman calculates, goes undeclared to tax authorities. Declaring that income — and paying a taxes due on it — would add, Zucman estimates, over $200 billion annually to global tax collections.
Zucman emphasizes that his figures only cover financial wealth. His calculations do not cover the huge sums the ultra rich have parked in jewels or fine art or luxury real estate.
Helping the wealthy hide their wealth, financial and otherwise, has become an astonishingly lucrative business opportunity for bankers and barristers the world over. Most all major global banks, including American giants like JPMorgan Chase, have subsidiaries in the world’s top tax havens.
This lucrative, tax-evading universe occasionally surfaces out of the opaque accounting depths. One story broke late last month when a federal judge sentenced powerhouse Illinois lawyer Paul Daugerdas to 15 years behind bars for a two-decade-long fraud that saved his wealthy clients $1.6 billion in taxes.
Those clients ranged from an early investor in Microsoft to the late oil billionaire Lamar Hunt, one of the most powerful owners in professional sports.
For his services, Daugerdas personally pocketed $97 million.
“This case shows the astonishing lengths some super-wealthy Americans will go to avoid their obligation as citizens,” U.S. district court judge William Pauley fumed at the sentencing. “Mr. Daugerdas was a tax shelter racketeer who tapped into the incredible greed of some of the country’s wealthy.”
A new tax law provision that went into effect July 1 could make life for Daugerdas and his colleagues more difficult. Or at least IRS officials hope so.
The 2010 passage of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act gave these officials the regulatory wherewithal to level stronger sanctions against foreign banks that play footsie with wealthy American tax cheats. As of this month, the heart of the law goes fully into effect: Foreign banks must now report the accounts of U.S. citizens that total over $50,000.
About 70 nations have so far agreed to abide by the new Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act reporting requirements, many without much enthusiasm.
Other nations — tax havens like the Seychelles, an island nation in the Indian Ocean — remain defiant. They see the new law as an ideal opportunity to boost their global market share in tax-evasion services.
Financial operators in the Seychelles specialize in creating “shell companies” that help their wealthy clients conceal their fortunes. They take a fee for every company created.
“The British Virgin Islands registers 30,000 companies a year,” Paul Chow, a former member of the Seychellois parliament, boasted recently to a visiting journalist. “We are at about 11,000. We are catching up.”
The United States has in the past, of course, invaded islands with less “just cause” than the tax-evasion enablers in the Seychelles are now providing. But the United States wouldn’t have to invade anybody to end the tax evading ways of America’s rich. A serious squeeze on their financial industry enablers — a series of sophisticated, high-profile sting operations, for starters — would do.
That squeeze ought to go hand-in-glove with financial wealth reporting reforms that could set the stage for a still bolder step, a global tax on excessive wealth.
“With the right policies,” as Gabriel Zucman puts it, “this trend in rising wealth concentration could end pretty soon, sooner than we believe.”
 By Sam Pizzigati
By Sam Pizzigati
http://inequality.org/wealth-wealthiest-hiding/