American charged with $14m boiler room scam

American charged with $14m boiler room scam
A screenshot of a page in the Vuuzle Media site shows Ronald Shane Flynn in an article narrating how he started his company from scratch.
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Updated 08 April 2021

American charged with $14m boiler room scam

American charged with $14m boiler room scam
  • Ronald Shane Flynn ran Vuuzle Media Corp., which claimed to be a streaming media and entertainment business with offices worldwide
  • Flynn fielded a “boiler room” of salespeople, mainly based in the Philippines, that used high-pressure tactics to solicit from investors

SANTA ANA, California: A former Southern California man was charged Wednesday with running a “boiler room” scheme that bilked more than 100 investors out of $14 million.
Ronald Shane Flynn, who once lived in Orange County, was indicted by a federal grand jury on 15 counts of wire fraud, the county district attorney’s office said in a statement.
Flynn, 57, is believed to have left the United States more than a decade ago, according to the District Attorney’s office, which declined to comment on where he might be living.
Flynn ran Vuuzle Media Corp., which claimed to be a streaming media and entertainment business with offices in New York, Las Vegas and worldwide.
Prosecutors alleged that beginning in September 2016, the company offered what it claimed was an opportunity to invest in the business before its initial public stock offering, prosecutors said.
Although he was barred from offering securities in California and also in Ohio, Flynn ran the scheme while operating from the Philippines, Dubai and elsewhere, according to the indictment.
Flynn fielded a “boiler room” of salespeople, mainly based in the Philippines, that used high-pressure tactics to solicit about $14 million from investors, according to the indictment and a January lawsuit filed in New Jersey by the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
According to the indictment, Vuuzle never made a profit, Flynn never paid dividends to investors, and he never intended to take the business public.
Only a small percentage of the funds actually went toward the streaming business, authorities said.
Instead, according to the SEC lawsuit, about $5.5 million was used to pay commissions and expenses for the recruitment effort while Flynn used nearly $5 million to finance a luxury lifestyle that included buying jewelry and paying for resort stays and nightclub visits.
If convicted of the criminal charges, Flynn could face a sentence of up to 300 years in federal prison.


Moody’s warns on ESG risks for some structured finance assets

Moody’s warns on ESG risks for some structured finance assets
Updated 23 min 49 sec ago

Moody’s warns on ESG risks for some structured finance assets

Moody’s warns on ESG risks for some structured finance assets
  • Sustainable investing has become a hot topic in Gulf markets over the last year with increased awareness in part springing from the coronavirus pandemic

DUBAI: Changing regulations and consumer demand driven by environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues means that some structured finance asset classes are riskier than others, according to Moody’s Investors Service.

Aircraft and tobacco asset-backed securities (ABS) as well as project finance and infrastructure collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) have “moderate vulnerability” to environmental risk, while most other asset classes have “low” environmental risk, Moody’s wrote in a report.
Student loan asset-backed securities are the only structured finance sector with “high” social risk, it said.
“Environmental and social risks vary across structured finance asset classes, reflecting the sector’s diverse array of transaction types and assets,” according to Moody’s Vice President Inga Smolyar. “Governance considerations, in contrast, are generally issuer specific.”
Sustainable investing has become a hot topic in Gulf markets over the last year with increased awareness in part springing from the coronavirus pandemic. Demand for ethical and sustainable investments is now on the rise and increasingly being adopted by a wide range of investors from socially aware individuals to family offices and sovereign wealth funds.
The Future Investment Initiative Institute’s “The Neo-Renaissance: Mobilizing ESG for a Sustainable Future” conference takes place online today between 3.30 p.m. and 5.30 p.m. Riyadh time.
Several high profile regional business leaders are due to speak at the event including Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan who also chairs the institute.


Top 20 Saudi Ramadan electronics deals

Top 20 Saudi Ramadan electronics deals
Updated 38 min 47 sec ago

Top 20 Saudi Ramadan electronics deals

Top 20 Saudi Ramadan electronics deals
  • From smartphones to smart TVs

If you are looking to buy a new smartphone, TV or laptop, electronics items have some of the biggest discounts available this Ramdan. Here is a selection of some of the best deals available online and instore this week across the Kingdom, hand picked by Arab News editors.

Lenovo K12 Note

Lenovo K12 Note

NOW: SR569

WAS: SR899

SAVING: 36%

Available from Carrefour

Huawei Y8P

NOW: SR699

WAS: SR849

SAVING: 17%

Available from Carrefour

Samsung Galaxy A51

Samsung Galaxy A51

NOW: SR949

WAS: SR1199

SAVING: 21%

Available from Carrefour

iPhone 11 Pro 256GB

NOW: SR3999

WAS: SR4799

SAVING: 16%

Available from Carrefour

iPad 8th generation (2020)

iPad 8th generation (2020)

NOW: SR1499

WAS: SR1699

SAVING: 11%

Available from Carrefour

Ikon Tab-e learning tablet

NOW: SR399

WAS: SR549

SAVING: 27%

Available from Lulu

Ikon Portable bluetooth speaker

NOW: SR349

WAS: SR450

SAVING: 22%

Available from Lulu

Samsung 65-Inch Curved Smart QLED TV QA65Q8C Black

Samsung 65-Inch Curved Smart QLED TV QA65Q8C Black

NOW: SR6499

WAS: SR16999

SAVING: 61%

Available from noon.com

65 Inch UHD Smart Netflix Ready TV NETV65SM1 Black

NOW: SR2099

WAS: SR4669

SAVING: 55%

Available from noon.com

58 Inch UHD Smart Netflix Ready TV NETV58SM1 Black

NOW: SR1699

WAS: SR3779

SAVING: 55%

Available from noon.com

LG 65-Inch 4K UHD Smart AI ThinQ LED TV 65UN7340 Black

LG 65-Inch 4K UHD Smart AI ThinQ LED TV 65UN7340 Black

NOW: SR3199

WAS: SR5999

SAVING: 46%

Available from noon.com

Class pro 40-Inch Full HD LED TV BK40FHD Black

NOW: SR599

WAS: SR999

SAVING: 40%

Available from noon.com

Xiaomi Mi Wi-Fi IP Day/Night Vision Dome 2MP 1080P FHD Stand Alone Camera

Xiaomi Mi Wi-Fi IP Day/Night Vision Dome 2MP 1080P FHD Stand Alone Camera

NOW: SR134

WAS: SR199

SAVING: 32%

Available from noon.com

10000 mAh Boost+ Power Bank Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 Fast Charging & PD (Small Size For Mobiles, Laptop, Tablets, Nintendo) Black

NOW: SR 37

WAS: SR 99

SAVING: 62%

Available from noon.com

Goui 30000 mAh Econ.30 Power Bank 5x9.9x3cm Black/Green

Goui 30000 mAh Econ.30 Power Bank 5x9.9x3cm Black/Green

NOW: SR149

WAS: SR299

SAVING: 50%

Available from noon.com

Energizer 10000 mAh Fast Charge Power Bank Dual USB- Pack of 2 Titanium Grey

NOW: SR 89

WAS: SR 150

SAVING: 40%

Available from noon.com

MacBook Pro With Touch Bar And Touch ID, 13.3-Inch Display

MacBook Pro With Touch Bar And Touch ID, 13.3-Inch Display, Core i5, 8th Generation, 4 Ghz Quad Core Processor/8GB RAM/512GB SSD/Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645/Retina Display, English Keyboard-2020 Space Grey

NOW: SR6499

WAS: SR 10078.60

SAVING: 35%

Available from noon.com

Rockstar Games Red Dead Redemption 2 (English) - Intl Version - Adventure - PlayStation 4 (PS4)

NOW: SR109.55

WAS: SR247

SAVING: 55%

Available from noon.com

EA FIFA 20: Standard (SPL) Edition (KSA- English/Arabic) - PlayStation 4 (PS4)

NOW: SR66.6

WAS: SR101

SAVING: 34%

Available from noon.com

Sony DualShock 4 Wireless Controller For PlayStation 4

Sony DualShock 4 Wireless Controller For PlayStation 4

NOW: SR147

WAS: SR315.56

SAVING: 53%

Available from noon.com


Qatar steps up help for businesses battling pandemic

Qatar steps up help for businesses battling pandemic
Updated 15 April 2021

Qatar steps up help for businesses battling pandemic

Qatar steps up help for businesses battling pandemic
  • Central bank liquidity support to local banks has been extended
  • Loan repayment holidays have been extended to 2 years

DUBAI: Qatar’s cabinet on Wednesday agreed to maintain central bank liquidity support for local banks as it stepped up its economic response to the coronavirus pandemic amid a second wave of infections.

Exemptions have been granted from electricity and water fees until the end of September for sectors closed due to the pandemic, Gulf Times reported.

The National Guarantees Programme at Qatar Development Bank has been extended until the end of September, while an exemption from interest under the National Guarantees Programme has been extended by one year to two years, followed by two years of interest at no more than the Qatar Central Bank rate plus 2 percent.

Qatar Central Bank first implemented a series of measures including a freeze on loan repayments and the National Guarantees Programme to provide financing to private-sector companies in March 2020.


A month of Iftars in Lebanon now more than double minimum wage

A month of Iftars in Lebanon now more than double minimum wage
Updated 15 April 2021

A month of Iftars in Lebanon now more than double minimum wage

A month of Iftars in Lebanon now more than double minimum wage
  • Cost of fattoush salad trebles
  • Collapse of pounds sends prices soaring

BEIRUT: After a year of economic meltdown in Lebanon, Hala Sheikh is sticking to a modest menu as she prepares the evening meal for her family to break their daily Ramadan fast.
Even the humble fattoush, a popular salad that she prepares for dinner, has tripled in cost since last year, leaving millions of Lebanese struggling to put food on the table in the Muslim holy month which is usually a time of celebration.
“We didn’t want to prepare unnecessary stuff,” Sheikh said as she got ready for the first Ramadan meal this week. “We prepared basic things like fattoush, soup and a main course — we will not prepare big meals like last year or the year before.”
A study by the American University of Beirut (AUB), dubbed the “Fattoush Index,” found that the cost of its ingredients — including lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, radish and bread — soared 210 percent in the last 12 months.
For Sheikh, a 50-year-old former nutritionist who moved from the US with her family, prices are a constant concern.
“During this bad economic situation you have to bear in mind the cost of making fattoush,” she said as she prepared the salad in her flat in Beirut’s Hamra district where she lives with her husband and four sons.
“This lettuce I’m cutting costs 3,000 pounds.” After the currency slumped 85 percent, that is worth barely 20 US cents. But in a country where the minimum wage has plunged to around $50 a month, costs quickly spiral.
AUB professor Nasser Yassine said that over the full month of Ramadan the cost of providing the fast-breaking Iftar meal for a family of five had risen to 1.5 million Lebanese pounds, more than double the monthly minimum wage.
It will be hard “for poor families who are below the poverty line and it will also be hard for them to secure and maintain their daily food,” he said.
Yassine’s Fattoush Index may even under-estimate the scale of the problem, with official consumer price data showing the cost of food and non-alcoholic drinks jumped 417 percent in the year to February.
The runaway inflation is part of a broader economic collapse over the last two years which is fueling hunger and unrest, in the country’s gravest crisis since its 1975-1990 civil war.
After decades of mismanagement and corruption, Lebanon’s leaders have failed to break their political deadlock and form a new government to tackle the crisis, which has only worsened with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and a devastating explosion at Beirut’s port in August.
“We witnessed many wars, civil war and the Israeli invasion,” Sheikh said. “But this is the worst Ramadan we have ever been through.”


Deyaar profits rise, sees Dubai property demand growing

Deyaar profits rise, sees Dubai property demand growing
Updated 15 April 2021

Deyaar profits rise, sees Dubai property demand growing

Deyaar profits rise, sees Dubai property demand growing
  • Profit grew on higher demand for Deyaar’s ready and off-plan residential units

DUBAI: Deyaar, one of Dubai’s biggest property developers, reported a rise in first quarter profit, the company said in a statement.

The shares rose 0.8 percent in early trade.

The developer that is majority-owned by Dubai Islamic Bank, reported first quarter net profit of 15.1 million dirhams ($4.1 million)  – up from 2.6 million dirhams from the same period last year.
Sales also rose to 149.2 million dirhams, compared to 98.8 million dirhams in 2020.
Profit grew on higher demand for Deyaar’s ready and off-plan residential units, Saeed Al-Qatami, its CEO said.
"We expect this demand to grow even more with the economic recovery in the emirate and the effort that the government takes towards executing the Dubai Urban Master Plan 2040,” he said.
Deyaar recently handed over its Bella Rose development in Dubai Science Park. It has 478 residential units and 12 shops.
The company also began construction work on the third and fourth phases of its residential Midtown project in Dubai Production City, where it plans to add 11 more buildings.