Omar Ozumi, a Maltese national, was arrested at the airport by Customs, when he attempted to smuggle two hundred thousand Euros onto a flight bound for Istanbul, Turkey. Local currency control regulations prohibit the export of more than €10,000. The defendant, who is said to be a resident of the United Kingdom, claimed that the funds were legitimate, and the property of his employer, who remained unidentified. The cash was sniffed out by a Malta police canine trained to locate bulk cash.
Ozumi's LinkedIn social networking page oddly does not name either his employer or his job title or description, leaving his true occupation to the imagination of the reader. What employer sends his employee to the Middle East, which is by definition high risk, with cash ? To purchase goods ? What about thieves, robbers, and fraudsters ? It is definitely inconsistent with the way that Westerners do business in the region. Also, why would a legitimate Maltese businessman knowingly violate his country's currency export laws ?
Ozumi's attorney, Arthur Azzopardi, shows up on a tax haven corporation in the Paradise Papers; is he simply counsel for the defendant or someone further up the food chain ? We cannot say, but we will be watching to see what punishment, other than a fine, that Malta's courts mete out to one of their own, caught in the act, literally.
Chronicles of Monte Friesner - Financial Crime Analyst
Contributed by Kenneth Rijock - Financial Crime Consultant