Lionel Messi sentenced to 21 months for tax fraud, won’t go to prison

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MessiBARCELONA, Spain (AP) — A Barcelona court has given Lionel Messi and his father suspended sentences of 21 months in prison for tax fraud.

The court found both the Barcelona star and his father, Jorge Horacio Messi, guilty of three counts of tax fraud.

In Spain, sentences of less than two years for first offences are suspended, meaning neither man will go to jail.

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Syrian refugee hands in €150,000 he found cleaning out his wardrobe

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Muhannad M said his religion prohibited him from keeping the money for himself

A Syrian refugee has attracted praise after he discovered a large stash of money in a second-hand wardrobe and turned it into German police.

muhannad-refugee-moneyMuhannad M. found €150,000 shortly after moving into his new flat in Minden, north Rhine-Westphalia, police reported.

Mr Muhannad, 25, had been able to furnish his flat largely due to contributions from charities, and the wardrobe was included among the donations.

While he was cleaning it, he discovered a hidden compartment where two sheets of wood had been screwed together,

Inside the compartment he found savings books that were worth €100,000, plus €50,000 in cash.

“They were all new €500 notes. I thought it was fake money,” he told German national newspaper Bild.

He looked online for clues as to how to tell if the notes were fake, and came to the conclusion that they were in fact real.

He informed migration authorities who then told the police, explaining that his religion prohibited him from keeping the money for himself.

“Allah would never allow me to finance my own interests with someone else’s wealth,” he said.

Police are now trying to track down whoever put the money in the wardrobe.

“This young man has acted in an exemplary way and deserves great respect,” a police spokesperson said.

“It sometimes happens that smaller amounts of money are handed in. But this kind of money is the absolute exception.”

Mr Muhannad arrived in Germany in October 2015. The rest of his family are still in Syria, where a civil war has destroyed large parts of the country since it broke out in 2011.

He will receive a finder’s fee of three percent of the value of the money.

The Independent

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Visitors to the US May Be Asked for Social Media Information

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U.S. may screen foreign travelers’ Facebook, Twitter accounts

SAN FRANCISCO — The government’s next plan to curb terrorism involves snooping around the Facebook profiles of foreign travelers.

Non-citizens traveling to the U.S. on a visa waiver could be asked about their online presence and social media profiles — but not their account passwords — by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. Though CBP already screens foreign travelers with in-person interviews and database checks, collecting social media accounts is specifically meant to track activity that could pose threats to “national security,” according to a proposal submitted by CBP and published in the Federal Registerlate last week.

“Collecting social media data will enhance the existing investigative process and provide DHS greater clarity and visibility to possible nefarious activity,” the proposal said.

The proposal indicates CBP recognizes the way individual attackers and extremist groups are using social media to spread terror. But some questioned whether it would be that effective, given visitors could choose to avoid divulging their social media handles.

FACEBOOK VOWS

Two recent mass shootings with connections to established terrorist groups – in San Bernardino and in Orlando, Fla. –   were at the hands of killers adept at using social media. The California attackers whose shooting rampage killed 14 posted messages of support to Islamic State on their social media profiles. Omar Mateen, whose massacre at a Orlando night club killed 49, pledged support to ISIS on Facebook.

Twitter, Facebook and other social media services have been criticized for allowing terrorists to spread their message and influence others on their platforms. The family of a victim of the Paris terrorist attacks in November sued Facebook, Google and Twitter, claiming the companies allowed the Islamic State to spread propaganda to attract and train new recruits and celebrate attacks.

Facebook called the lawsuit without merit and said anyone can report terrorist accounts or content to the service. “We work aggressively to remove such content as soon as we become aware of it,” a statement at the time read. Facebook did not respond to a request for comment for this article.

Twitter says users that promote terrorism are subject to permanent suspension from the platform.

“We condemn the use of Twitter to promote terrorism and the Twitter Rules make it clear that this type of behavior, or any violent threat, is not permitted on our service,” read a Twitter statement.

The government has already called upon Silicon Valley to do more to filter out terrorists. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., introduced a bill in December which would require tech companies to report online terrorist activity to law enforcement.

“We’re in a new age where terrorist groups like ISIL are using social media to reinvent how they recruit and plot attacks,” Feinstein said in a press release at the time. “That information can be the key to identifying and stopping terrorist recruitment or a terrorist attack, but we need the help from technology companies.”

USA Today

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Cameron Resigns After UK Votes To Leave EU [+Video]

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The PM says he fought “head, heart and soul” but that Britain now needs a new leader to oversee negotiations to leave the EU.

David Cameron has resigned as Prime Minister after UK voters made the historic decision to leave the European Union.

A tearful Mr Cameron – his wife by his side – said the country needed “fresh leadership” and is now understood to be meeting the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

The PM campaigned to remain in the EU but the public rejected his arguments and chose to leave the EU by 51.9% to 48.1%.

Speaking outside Downing Street, the PM said he would aim to have a new leader in place by the Conservative party conference in October.

“The British people have voted to leave the European Union and their will must be respected,” Mr Cameron said.

“The country requires fresh leadership to take it in this direction,” added the PM.

“I will do everything I can as Prime Minister to steady the ship over the coming weeks and months, but I do not think it would be right for me to try to be the captain that steers our country to its next destination.

“This is not a decision I’ve taken lightly but I do believe it’s in the national interest to have a period of stability and then the new leadership required.”

Mr Cameron said he had fought the “only way I know how … head, heart and soul” to stay in the EU but that voters had chosen a different path.

1/20

With tears in his eyes, his voice cracking, the PM said: “I love this country, and I feel honoured to have served it and I will do everything I can in the future to help this great country succeed.”

He then turned away, took his wife’s hand and headed back into Number 10.

The PM also used his speech to congratulate Leave campaigners – who included Boris Johnson and his friend Michael Gove – for their “spirited and passionate case”.

Appearing at a Leave press conference, both men paid tribute to the PM and said they are sorry he is stepping down.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon – who has said a second independence vote is now “highly likely” – also wished the Prime Minister well.

Those potentially in the frame to succeed David Cameron include Education Secretary Nicky Morgan – reportedly mulling whether she should pursue the top job – and Home Secretary Theresa May.

Mr Cameron also tried this morning to ease the economic fallout of Brexit that has seen the FTSE share index shed more than £100bn and triggered a big drop in the value of the pound.

The PM stressed the economy was “fundamentally strong” and said there would be no immediate changes for businesses – as well as for EU citizens in the UK or Britons living in Europe.

“There will be no initial change in the way our people can travel, in the way our goods can move or the way our services can be sold,” Mr Cameron said.

Trade issues will be at the heart of talks to thrash out exactly how Britain’s relationship with the EU will work in future – negotiations that many expect will last for years.

Sky News

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EU referendum: BBC forecasts UK vote to leave

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The UK has voted by 52% to 48% to leave the European Union after 43 years in an historic referendum, a BBC forecast suggests.

London and Scotland voted strongly to stay in the EU but the remain vote has been undermined by poor results in the north of England.

Voters in Wales and the English shires have backed Brexit in large numbers.

The pound fell to its lowest level against the dollar since 1985 as the markets reacted to the results.

Labour ‘must change’ after EU campaign
Referendum turnout was higher than at last year’s general election.

Labour’s Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the Bank of England may have to intervene to shore up the pound, which lost 3% within moments of the first result showing a strong result for Leave in Sunderland and fell as much as 6.5% against the euro.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage – who has campaigned for the past 20 years for Britain to leave the EU – told supporters “this will be a victory for ordinary people, for decent people”.

BBC

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Sepp Blatter reveals frozen balls used to fix European club draws, UEFA denies allegations

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Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter has said frozen balls containing team names have been used to rig European football’s club competition draws.

Draws to decide which teams play each other are conducted by selecting the table tennis-size balls from plastic bowls. The balls are unscrewed to reveal the team names inside.

Blatter, however, insisted the ruse was never used at FIFA.

“Of course it’s technically possible. That doesn’t happen in FIFA but I witnessed draws, at European level, in which that happened, but never at FIFA,” Blatter told Argentine daily La Nacion in an interview on their website.

“You put the balls in the fridge. The mere comparison between them on touching them gives you cold ones and hot ones. On touching them you already know what you’ve got.

“There was only one person who had that power [to fix draws] in Europe. Artemio Franchi did it for the draw in club tournaments,” said Blatter, referring to the late UEFA president who was in charge of Europe’s governing body from 1973 until he died in a road accident in Tuscany in 1983.

UEFA described Blatter’s allegations as “absurd”.

“Allegations that UEFA has in the past fixed draws for its competitions are completely absurd and therefore not worth a reaction,” UEFA said in a statement on Tuesday.

Blatter denies Argentina deal for 2014 World Cup draw

Blatter, banned from all football-related activities over ethics violations amid the worst graft scandal in FIFA’s history, also denied there had been a deal between himself and the late Argentine FA president Julio Grondona after Argentina’s favourable draw for the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil.

“The draw was clean down to the last detail. I never touched the balls, something others did. Of course you can make them stand out, heating them or freezing them,” he said in the La Nacion interview published on Monday.

Argentina were drawn with Nigeria, Bosnia and Iran in Group F at the tournament in Brazil and went on to reach the final where they lost 1-0 to Germany.

Swiss Blatter, 80, was among dozens of FIFA officials brought down after revelations of years of corruption in the sport’s world ruling body.

Blatter and Michel Platini, president of European football governing body UEFA, were banned over a payment of 2 million Swiss francs ($2.82 million) made by FIFA to the Frenchman in 2011, with Blatter’s approval, for work done a decade earlier.

Both men have denied any wrongdoing.

Reuters

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Prison ferme requise contre Claude Le Roy, sélectionneur du Togo

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Deux ans de prison, dont dix-huit mois avec sursis, ont été requis par le parquet de Strasbourg contre Claude Le Roy, actuel sélectionneur de l’équipe nationale du Togo. Son rôle dans un dossier concernant des transferts de joueurs présumés frauduleux au Racing Club de Strasbourg est pointé du doigt.

L’actuel sélectionneur de l’équipe nationale du Togo, Claude Le Roy, est inquiété par la justice française. Le parquet du tribunal correctionnel de Strasbourg a en effet requis contre lui, le 13 juin dernier, une peine de deux ans de prison, dont dix-huit mois avec sursis, dans une affaire de transferts de joueurs présumés frauduleux à l’époque où il était manager général du Racing Club de Strasbourg.

Les faits remontent à la fin des années 1990 et aux débuts des années 2000 et mettent en lumière un mélange des genres entre activités de propriétaire du club et d’agent de joueurs, que la loi française oblige à séparer.

Des fausses factures auraient été émises pour permettre à la branche britannique d’IMG, société à l’époque propriétaire du club, et à divers intermédiaires de toucher des commissions sur les contrats de transfert de joueurs, au détriment des comptes du R. C. Strasbourg. Parmi les transferts en cause figure celui de l’attaquant Peggy Luyindula à l’Olympique lyonnais en 2001, pour 58 millions de francs, plus un bonus de 11 millions.

Légèreté blâmable

Le représentant du ministère public a pointé la « légèreté blâmable » de Claude Le Roy, lequel a pour sa part fait valoir sa mauvaise connaissance du cadre juridique des transferts. « On est dans un petit monde d’ultra-privilégiés brassant des centaines de milliers de francs. On est grisé, on en oublie qu’il y a un cadre », a déploré M. Hauger dans ses réquisitions.

Egalement poursuivi dans cette affaire, Patrick Proisy, ancien président du R. C. Strasbourg, risque pour sa part trois ans d’emprisonnement dont trente mois avec sursis.

Aucune peine d’amende n’a été requise à l’encontre de Claude Le Roy, qui avait été placé en garde à vue dans cette affaire en 2006, et Patrick Proisy, le parquet considérant qu’il n’y avait pas eu d’enrichissement personnel direct dans leur cas, contrairement aux deux agents sportifs également poursuivis dans ce dossier, Gilbert Sau et Nicolas Geiger. La décision a été mise en délibéré au 13 septembre.

Claude Le Roy, sélectionneur du Togo depuis cette année, a entraîné, depuis ses débuts avec le Cameroun en 1985, une demi-douzaine de sélections africaines.

RFI

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