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The elderly have always been easy targets for fraudsters using "I can fix the hole in your roof" or charity, even religious, scams. But the internet is making it easier for fraudsters to be convincing and the internet is making even direct personal contact practically anonymous. Advance fee fraud no longer relies on mail, telex or fax but on e-mail and telephones, tech that the elderly are predisposed to trust. But sometimes, they fight back....

Australia's Self-Managed Superannuation Fund schemes are great on paper. But in the real world, they are a constant source of problems.

CoNet Section: 

Paddy Lowe, one of the most successful designers in Formula One's history, is to take indefinite "leave of absence" from the Williams F1 team as responsibility and blame collide one step from the top.

CoNet Section: 

The European Union is very good at one thing: being excessively bureaucratic and prescriptive. There's a powerful reason for this: most countries in the EU have grown up with the Roman system of law which mutated into the civil legal system and that relies, heavily, on codification. It also means that laws are inflexible and cannot easily respond to changes in society and that fetters the ability of judges to maintain a living justice system. And yet, on the other hand, it uses vague, even sloppy, language to announce what it going to do. A marketing pitch that says "Whistleblower (sic) protection: Commission sets new, EU-wide rules" is misleading - the protection of whistle-blowers is only part of the proposal (no rules were actually set). The proposed Directive will mean big changes for all but the smallest businesses.

CoNet Section: 

Don't say that: 

step change

Do say this: 

change, or
significant change

The two winter tests are done and dusted. The cars have been back to their factories, dismantled and evaluated. The data has been analysed. We, of course, know nothing at all except the colour of the cars, who will sit in them and what changes in various regulations have done to their look. We've had endless interviews and soundbites from teams and drivers and we've learned nothing of value except that Bottas has had enough of playing second fiddle and plans to shed his Mr Nice Guy image and he's got chiselled features and a bovva-boy haircut to prove it. Does that mean the season opener in Melbourne next weekend is just a prelude to the season proper? Or are the teams actually ready?

CoNet Section: 

The UK's Department for Work and Pensions has announced that those who receive disability benefit will be relieved of the burden of frequent re-assessment once they reach retirement age. That's good news. Almost.

Now here's a surprise: Australian regulator ASIC has charged (actually charged, as in criminal charges) three people with laundering the proceeds of an attempt to manipulate an insolvency. Other countries have long included insolvency offences as predicate offences for money laundering purposes: this is the first case we can think of where action has been taken.

Case Summary: 

A man convicted of conspiracy was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for laundering the proceeds of a violent kidnapping organisation that held two dozen Mexican nationals hostage.

Type of conduct: 
Money Laundering

A report in Canadian media says that privately held Purdue Pharma LP, a pharmaceutical company registered in Connecticut, USA, is "exploring" the possibility of using what the USA calls "bankrupty" (a term it uses for both corporate and personal insolvency) to manage the risk of litigation arising from the drug OxyContin. But the company is not even a little bit insolvent. Using insolvency processes to manage risks in litigation is a strategy that isn't new.

CoNet Section: 

The UK and the USA have decided to revoke the citizenship of two women who went to the middle east to join a terrorist organisation. These are headline grabbing moves and the media is happy to co-operate because they are women and young. But they are a tiny fraction of an enormous global problem.

Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission has suspended the former responsible officer of China Merchants Securities (HK) Co., Limited for compliance failures.

BIScom Subsection: 

Someone's got to pay for the wall! The Internal Revenue Service yesterday reiterated its warning that taxpayers may not be able to renew a current passport or obtain a new passport if they owe federal taxes. To avoid delays in travel plans, taxpayers need to take prompt action to resolve their tax issues. Here is the official notice (verbatim).

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