A Deep Dive into the Depths of Money Laundering

If you have been following along with the current events, you would have seen that there was a massive arrest out of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Cameron Ortis was the Director General of the National Intelligence Coordination Centre. Along with his high ranking position, Ortis’ history includes 12 years as a civilian member of the RCMP, having worked in Operations Research and National Security Criminal Investigations. He also had access to the information from allied nations as Canada is part of Five Eyes which is an intelligence sharing alliance between the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.

When describing what Ortis was charged for seven counts, which stemmed around him having amassed terabytes of information and lists of undercover agents. The charges date back to 2015 and include breach of trust, communicating “special operational information,” and obtaining information in order to pass it to a “foreign entity.” The article linked has more information which is where I am pulling the above if you are more interested in seeing how dangerous this was to the national security of the Five Eyes nations.

When his arrest was first announced, it was noted that the US had tipped off Canadian authorities from a US based case. Since Ortis spoke Asian based languages, the original presumption was that it may had to do with the high amount of Chinese spies that were busted in the US since FBI Director Chris Wray and US Attorney John C. Demers have focused on the China Initiative. Just going through the document, you can see how the US has really stepped up it’s game recently against foreign spies. Ortis was a special case though as he had also been linked to money laundering and Russians.

Luckily, we didn’t have to wait too long to figure out that it was actually the conviction of Vincent Ramos that outed Ortis. Vincent Ramos was selling encrypted blackberries which allowed for privacy and if needed, the phone can be wiped remotely. The company, Phantom Secure, was taken down by a multinational investigation, which included the US, Canada, Hong Kong, Thailand, and Australia. The phones made criminal activity untraceable and the the company bragged about it. What is interesting is the servers were in Hong Kong and Panama, yet Panama was not included in the investigation. If you read Finding the Driving Force Behind Russian Election Interference, you would be familiar with how big of a role Panama possibly played.

Overall, I have a feeling that this is going to start getting back into Russian money laundering because looking at Phantom Secure, they had dealings with the Sinoala Cartel. An old article I had been sitting on for a while because it related to all of this, but I didn’t find how yet came from a story about porn. Allegations against the site GirlsDoPorn revealed a syndicate of shell companies that led to a Vanuatu based company called GT Group. The owner, Geoff Taylor, and his sons would set up all these shell companies which would be used to launder money. One of the more famous prosecutions would be Viktor Bout who was sentenced to 25 years in jail. Bout had also been hit with the Magnitsky Act as I explained in this short Twitter thread. So how does this lead to Phantom Secure? GT Group was busted in Florida in 2010 for dealing with the Sinoala Cartel in one of the biggest money laundering schemes at that time. The bust also brought in Wachovia bank which led to them paying $160 Million in a settlement. If we really want to take things full circle, Prevezon Holdings was also connected to GT Group. If you are unfamiliar with Prevezon, they are the ones that Fusion GPS worked for and Glenn Simspson said was part of the Russian Mob. They are also the ones who set up the Trump Tower meeting. To further it, Prevezon was connected to the 230 Million that was laundered in the Panama Papers. Small world.

Anyway, looking at the indictment of Ramos, you can infer that he had access to all of the encrypted devices, but the users may have stayed anonymous. From the release itself, Ramos states, “that at least 450 kilograms of cocaine were distributed using Phantom Secure devices.” This is likely how Ramos was able to reduce his sentence via cooperation. It would also help explain the gap between Ramos being sentenced and Ortis being taken into custody. Hopefully this allows for the authorities to be able to figure out the extent of Ortis’ damage if he was using the encrypted phones.

What is interesting is that the Russian Election Interference is the new hot topic in the press. When I was reading the article that named Ramos as the source to busting Ortis, at the end of it, they mentioned how Ortis wrote a thesis of compromising nodes. This reference would have been obscure and forgotten if my life’s algorithm wasn’t properly lubed. Earlier in the day I had been linked to another article about the Russian Consulate in San Francisco that was shut down by Trump in early 2017. The article by Foreign Policy is not only extremely interesting, but extremely strange. I recommend reading the article since it is fascinating, but I will try to simplify it as much as possible. The FBI had been tracking diplomatic spies from the consulate and observing them doing strange behavior. They would like look into the water, use a device, then go back into their cars. One was observed circling a tree three times. If you were tracking these people you would probably be thinking, “wtf.”

As the FBI continued observing, they noticed that the coordinates lined up with fiber optic nodes. The nodes are used by fiber optic cables as a point of reference as the world currently has an expansive deep sea cable system. They then found out using the Open Skies Treaty that Russia was flying over the Russian on the ground and possibly ping that coordinate to create an expansive intelligence operation. When learning about hacking into fiber optic nodes, I found that it is pretty easy. Hacking into these nodes can be undetectable and give you a wide data flow of information. As we continue to improve computer algorithms, sorting through high amounts of data becomes increasingly easier. You may be able to see how this can be appealing.

What is also interesting is that the origins of Russiagate continue to unfold in the media. Yahoo had recently written a story about Obama expelling the Russian Diplomats. In the article, they mention an intensive Russian Counterintelligence Operation which, “targeted FBI communications, hampered the bureau’s ability to track Russian spies on U.S. soil at a time of increasing tension with Moscow, forced the FBI and CIA to cease contact with some of their Russian assets, and prompted tighter security procedures at key U.S. national security facilities in the Washington area and elsewhere, according to former U.S. officials.” The operation spanned from DC to the Bay Area which is San Francisco. The expelling of the diplomats and the sanctions on Russia prompted the Mike Flynn phone call to then Russian Ambassador Kislyak. This has been used in order to link Trump’s campaign to Russia, but to me, meh. I can understand not wanting war on the first day.

Anyway, now that we are seeing that Russia was actually a threat to the country and they were attacking us on our own soil, you can see how important Ortis could have been to this operation. He had the expertise and he was with all of the right criminals and had the right information.

What I also found interesting was that you can splice into a fiber optics cable. Since the Russians Diplomats have been expelled from the US, the Russians have resorted to using submarines. I would guess the nodes on US soil are secure now. The submarines are used to tap into the vast undersea network of fiber optic cables that connect countries. Ironically, the US was the one that started this, but since 2018, Russian subs are concerning to national security. The only reason why I was able to hit this tangent connection was because of that Russian sub that recently went on fire and killed all who were aboard. That article even talks about eavesdropping. Check out where it was.

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Anyway, I dug into it more and it turns out the cables also carry 10,000 volts which could explain why the sub cooked everyone on board. Moving forward, I also found that Huawei has links to the submarines and if you had forgotten, the US already has accused them of spying and they have been noted as being state owned. Our government has really been kicking ass lately and everyone seems to only be focused on the happenings surrounding Spygate.

Overall, the general consensus right now is that the US looks weak in regards to the current situation involving the Russians. President Obama had let the Russians interfere in our elections and we were caught with our pants down. While I can see this as an option, with the results we have seen so far, I find this to be unlikely.

You can see how everything seems to revolve around money laundering. Just using Prevezon, which has spanned this entire saga as a trunk line, this goes back to before Trump had even announced he was running. This leads me to believe that the FBI figured out what the Russians were doing and launched a counter investigation on their counter investigation. Everything in intelligence always comes down to a honeypot of some sort, but what if that honey pot was Donald J. Trump?

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2 thoughts on “A Deep Dive into the Depths of Money Laundering

  1. Very good article. Was ready another post (sorry cannot remember) that indicates Canada has been letting them ease drop with their subs. With Justin Trudeau blessing. Have been a fan since the beginning in December of 2017. Lost you along the way and glad to have you back!

    Like

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