Killer investigation from @ZackKopplin into the Barzanis US property holdings dropped today. Some key insights into how corporate secrecy and property ownership works in the US, benefiting kleptocrats and the super wealthy…
The Barzanis have been lucky in most large leaks - they haven’t appeared in the Panama Papers and the Pandora Papers. They do appear in @C4ADS Sandcastles database of Dubai properties, and as Zack shows, hidden deep in US records as well.
For more on the Barzani family in the UAE, check out Zack’s thread:
This piece is a great example of how often our insights into illicit wealth in the US are the result of clerical errors! Many of my breakthroughs looking at Miami, Beverley Hills, NY and Virginia properties have been because of a small missed detail.
The Corporate Transparency Act is a step in the right direction, but it’s not enough. Civil society and media have a key role to play in exposing corruption. A true, public record of beneficial ownership in the US is crucial to ending the US’ role as a haven for illicit wealth
Whether we’ll get that is another question. For now, like in other secrecy jurisdictions, investigations require lateral thinking, integrating disparate data to fill gaps, and working at scale to identify patterns of risk.
Presented without comment.

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More from @Jack_Mrgln

8 Dec
TASS reports that EU members have approved the introduction of sanctions against Wagner Group entities. The EU Council will then have to approve this decision on the 13th.

Thread on what we know and who the targets are.

This is in line with statements by @RFERL 's Europe Editor

RFE/RL's Ukraine service reported yesterday that this included
- Stanislav Dychko
- Dmitry Utkin
- Valeriy Zakharov

As well as entities listed under the Syria program

Read 17 tweets
5 Dec
On Friday, a trailer dropped for the newest Prigozhin movie, and the sequel to Tourist: “GRANITE,” an action movie about Russian “specialists” Mozambique Image
Mozambique is an odd choice for setting their sequel to a movie about the Central African Republic because by all accounts, Wagner had a terrible time there…
A lot of the same faces in this movie as in Tourist, and it looks like fundamentally the same set up. Seems considerably more racist in its portrayal of Africans.
Read 9 tweets
3 Dec
Great overview of Russian activity including Wagner in the Central African Republic and what it means for peace from @PaulineBax1

It’s clear based on these recommendations just how great the challenges are. Some thoughts:
It’s difficult to imagine how France, EU, US can interface reliably w the Russian parties for a few reasons. Not the least of which is the fact that Russian PMCs have reportedly made use of EU-trained forces and MINUSCA assets…
All while very aggressively undermining any engagement by the Eu, France, MINUSCA etc through public statements and disinformation.

Honestly, I think the bigger challenge to any kind of interfacing with Russian elements in Bangui is knowing who’s in charge.
Read 12 tweets
4 Nov
Amazing new Conflict Armament Research @conflictarm report on Russian weapons in the Donbas makes use of @C4ADS' Seamless Horizons data environment to find out how European components ended up in Russian UAVs in the Donbas

@conflictarm analyzed a UAV that was downed by Ukrainian forces in 2017 near Mariupol. It is similar to an Orlan-10, but not identical.

Interestingly, it was manufactured from Western European components — both authentic and counterfeit. But how did they end up in this UAV?

@conflictarm contacted the manufacturer of the engine, Weinhold GmbH.

"[Weinhold GmbH] indicated that it had sent the part
to World Logistic Group, a company based in
the Czech Republic, in October 2013."

Read 9 tweets
3 Nov
NEW from @CandaceRondeaux, @oimho and me: The Abu Dhabi Express — Analyzing the Wagner Group’s Libya Logistics Pipeline & Operations

Illuminating one of the strangest chapters of one of the most complex modern conflicts w flight data, imagery + more…
Back in 2020, @ak_mack and @JackDetsch spotted a throwaway line in a DOD report that said the UAE might be financing Wagner Group operations in Libya.…
And some may remember the images floating around of a UAE Pantsir sporting some unusual norse runes from Spring of 2020
Read 8 tweets
9 Jul
It's been 10 years since South Sudan won its independence. Corruption by the ruling elite and transnational illicit flows have denied the country both peace and prosperity.

THREAD on @C4ADS' work to illuminate the networks behind violence & corruption in South Sudan.
Last year, we launched, a project to catalog imagery of weapons and vehicles used by warring parties in South Sudan prior to the UN embargo. It provides a window into the origins of weapons sustaining the conflict, and a baseline for conflict researchers.
This includes everything from analysis of weapons like NORINCO CQ rifles contributed by @CalibreObscura to MRAPs and other armored vehicles used by the SSPDF and non-state armed groups.
Read 8 tweets

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