Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain: 3.11.19

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.  
                  Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain
Spanish Politics

  • I doubt that this is the sort of endorsement any EU country really wants - especially when you know why it's been given.
The Spanish Economy
Spanish Life
  • I had wondered where he got it from. In retrospect, I guess it could have been worse. So he was possibly lucky.
  • This lady - a prominent opponent of Brexit here in Spain - makes some points re the UK NHS which might well be valid. But she views the Spanish system through rose-tinted glasses. In Galicia, at least, there certainly are patients on stretchers (or gurneys) in the corridors. This is particularly true of Urgencias, where it can be several hours before you see a doctor. This is because people face the same challenge as in the UK of getting an immediate or early GP appointment and use the hospital Accident and Emergency department as a substitute. It makes me wonder just how much of a 'post-code lottery' Spain is, given that healthcare is devolved to the 17 regions and some are far richer than others. I also wonder how Lenox Napier sees things.
Galician Life
  • I mis-stated yesterday the promised year - I nearly typed 'expected'- for the arrival of the AVE high-speed train to Madrid. It's 2021, not 2020. And today's papers report only one side of the track will be ready then. Whether this means that this'll be used by trains going in both directions - as happens now - or whether there'll only be a service on one direction, I can't tell you.
  • Continuing the series of foto contrasts . . . Here's a view across the river to the facade of the basilica of Sta María La Grande, a while ago:-
    Today, it's impossible to get a view from at or near the same spot, thanks to the existence thereabouts of the AP9 autopista, a cement factory and the barracks of the Guardia Civil. But you can get an idea of the urban development from this zoomed camera shot, taken from my eyrie:-

    The little white (fishermen's) houses in front of the church were much closer to the river back then, as land reclamation has since narrowed the latter.
    • And now - still on the city of Pontevedra - here's a treat for your eyes, and possibly your ears . . 

    BTW . . The Campillo mentioned in the song is just to the left of the church as you look at it. Not so long ago, they discovered some of the medieval walls of the old city below it.
    • I occasionally report on our kamikaze drivers who travel the wrong way down the autovias or autopistas. But today came a report of one youth who drive his car onto and down the railway tracks. Until he met a train coming the other way. Drugged up, of course. Not the first, I think.
    • The make-up of foreign tourists this year:-
    - Germans: 16%. Mostly single women on the camino, it seems to me.
    - French: 13%
    - Portuguese: 9%
    And the countries of the fastest growing groups of guiris - China, Canada and Switzerland.

    • Not what you expect to hear about this country but croneyism and nepotism during the Nazi period were responsible for a production rate of planes at a level disastrously below that of the Allies. The alcoholic idiot friend of a Goering who was out in charge eventually topped himself.
    • But not before he turned the design of this plane into something termed either the Reichsfeuerzeug (Reich's lighter) or the Luftwaffenfeuerzeug (The Air Force lighter) by its unhappy crews. This was thanks to him specifying a single engine - not 2 - on each wing, leading to overheating. 
    The USA
    • Last week, it says here, was a quiet one for Ffart. Only 87 lies.
    Way of the World
    • A racehorse owner who had a winner at Royal Ascot this year has been accused of being a key figure in a £4 billion crypto-currency fraud. See the Times article below. Here's a foto of said gentleman, next to one of the 'lady' founder of OneCoin, Ruja Ignatova. A happy couple:- 

    • I might well have featured this language/dialect before over the years. No harm in repeating it, though.
    Finally . . .
    • I took another look at the above peon of praise in song to Pontevedra. And noted that the old houses at 1m20 were demolished a few years ago, to allow the construction of a high-rise government building, just in front to the basilica de Sta María. In fact, you can see the building in the second foto above. It was a shame to see them go.
    • And, of course, the O Burgo bridge - at 3m32, 4m09 and 4m15  - doesn't look like that now! 
    • So, a bit of a fraud . . .
    • The good news is that the left hand bit of the street shown at 3m46 is now the site of our newish Moroccan restaurant. 

    A racehorse owner who had a winner at Royal Ascot this year has been accused of being a key figure in a £4 billion crypto-currency fraud.

    Amer Abdulaziz Salman, 56, was named in criminal court proceedings as being involved in the OneCoin pyramid scam.

    A New York court was told that Mr Abdulaziz, the owner of Phoenix Thoroughbreds, laundered money that had been invested in the OneCoin scheme through a racing investment fund.

    The allegations prompted a strong statement of denial from the company.

    Phoenix said it “categorically denies” all allegations made against it and Mr Abdulaziz in “legal proceedings against OneCoin and its conspirators in the US”.

    The claim emerged as Mark Scott, a US lawyer, was convicted in New York of fraud and money-laundering charges in connection to allegations around OneCoin.

    During that trial, Konstantin Ignatov, the brother of Ruja Ignatova, the OneCoin founder, agreed a plea bargain deal with US prosecutors.

    According to a report in the Racing Post, when giving evidence during Scott’s trial, Ignatov told the court that Mr Abdulaziz was “one of the main money-launderers for Ruja”.

    The newspaper said that it had seen a draft transcript from an interview last year between Scott and FBI agents after the lawyer was arrested on suspicion of money-laundering.

    Scott is reported to have claimed that an investment fund in Dubai named Phoenix was sent millions of dollars that had allegedly been invested in OneCoin.

    The newspaper said that Mr Abdulaziz launched his company Phoenix Thoroughbreds in 2017 as an equine investment fund and that he claimed to have raised $250million. Mr Abdulaziz is a prominent figure in the racing world on both sides of the Atlantic.

    Last year his horse Signora Cabello won the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot and Advertise triumphed at this year’s Commonwealth Cup.

    Tens of thousands of Britons invested about £100 million in OneCoin and were among victims from 175 countries when the scheme began to unravel in the autumn of 2017.

    The statement from Phoenix said that the business and Mr Abdulaziz “have acted according to the law at all times, and will vigorously contest all allegations of wrongdoing”.

    It said it would “fully cooperate with relevant authorities should they require any assistance” and that the fund was “currently seeking legal advice and will take appropriate action against those involved in the publication of false and defamatory statements”.

    It is understood that Mark Scott, 51, will be sentenced for his role in the OneCoin fraud early next year.

    No comments: