…guns, ammo unearthed at known associates’ properties during raidTwo employees of alleged fraudster Saddiqui Rasul were on Wednesday taken into Police custody following several raids in Bartica and Georgetown by members of the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU).Information reaching Guyana Times revealed that the men were taken into custody following the discovery of several illegal firearms and ammunition, documents and a vehicle allegedly belonging to the embattled gold dealer.A source related that the raids were conducted at several locations in Bartica and Georgetown, including Kitty and Prashad Nagar.Agents of the SOCU removing a Jet Ski owned by Rasul (Photo courtesy Royston Drakes)While information remains limited, Guyana Times understands that the raids were conducted in light of the money laundering investigation that was launched against Rasul and his alleged corruption with the Guyana Gold Board.Information reaching this newspaper also revealed that Rasul was also asked to visit the SOCU office. Up to late Wednesday evening, he was being questioned in the company of his attorney.However, a search was also conducted at the house of Rasul’s close associate called “Paper Shorts” in Sandy Babb Street, Georgetown. It is believed that the associate who worked for a well-known convicted drug dealer is now working for Rasul.After several hours of searching, agents of the SOCU removed three CBR motorcycles, a jet ski and a bag containing a quantity of ammunition.It is unclear if the motorcycles had the appropriate documents, but members of the family were invited to the SOCU office for further questioning.Only last week, one black 2013 Hilux belonging to Rasul was seized by SOCU after it was discovered that it bore false number plates. It is believed that the vehicle was imported from Brazil without the necessary paperwork and taxes paid.The authorities are still on the hunt for a second vehicle similar in nature. Only recently, a money laundering investigation was launched into a company with which Rasul is closely associated.It is believed that the company R Mining Inc would have made several transactions with the Guyana Gold Board that have now come under scrutiny. The investigation is being led by SOCU. It was reported that Rasul conducted business with the Gold Board using two companies – R Mining Inc and SSS Minerals Trading Enterprises.SSS Minerals Trading Enterprises is, however, licensed to buy gold from miners and sell to the Gold Board, but based on records at hand, the bulk of the gold sold was from R Mining, which was only supposed to be engaged in mining activities.It is believed that by using R Mining Inc, Rasul was exempted from paying taxes for the months the transactions were done. This is according to sources from the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) amounted to some $100 million. It was further reported that during the transaction period (September-November), Rasul’s companies sold 31,790 ounces of gold to the Gold Board, which amounted to $7.67 billion.With this recent revelation, the Natural Resources Ministry has ordered an investigation into the members of the new Board of Directors of the Gold Board.Rasul is believed to have robbed and conned several gold dealers of hundreds of millions of dollars.He presently has several lawsuits hanging over his head from clients that he took money from to purchase gold, but instead, fraudulently converted it to his own use.One of the biggest frauds, however, was in relation to him depositing six cheques between March 21 and 24, 2017 in the amounts of $290 million, $96 million, $138 million, $89 million, $298 million and $45 million.The incident became public three weeks ago and after a few hours, Rasul turned himself in to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Headquarters in the company of his lawyer. Further, it was reported that the female bank manager colluded with Rasul to change the cheques. He has since been placed on $3 million bail after he was slapped with several fraud charges. It is believed that the woman did not follow protocol stipulated by the Bank before clearing the cheques. She is presently being investigated by the Major Crimes Unit of the Guyana Police Force.
Manchester United duo Juan Mata and David De Gea 1 Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata insists David De Gea will remain professional and play his part for the side in the coming months despite the collapse of his dream move to Real Madrid on transfer deadline day.The 24-year-old was involved in one of the biggest sagas of the summer as Real chased his signature, but they eventually paid to price for dragging their pursuit on for too long.At one point it appeared De Gea could finally complete a return to his hometown, but the deal fell through at the eleventh hour due to a miscommunication which meant paperwork was not filed in time ahead of Tuesday’s 6pm deadline.The Spanish number one has now linked up with his national side ahead of Euro 2016 qualifiers against Slovakia and Macedonia, and midfielder Mata feels his club and international colleague will make the best of the situation.“He seems calm to me, like he always is,” Mata told AS.com. “He’s had a testing few days, but I’ve been his friend and by his side throughout.“It’s good that he’s here and just thinking about these two matches. He will be professional just like he always has been throughout his career.“David is a professional and he will remain that way. He’s a great goalkeeper and any team would be boosted by his presence. The fans will get behind him, and all of us.”Spain manager Vicente del Bosque earlier admitted it would be difficult for him to select De Gea in his European Championship squad for France if the goalkeeper remains on the sidelines at United.When asked if he would counsel the keeper about his current situation in Manchester, Del Bosque told Marca: “No, but if I do feel the need to talk to him about it then I will say something.“He needs to be professional and move on from this episode.“I hope that he starts playing again and is happy, and if he plays well we can bring him along, otherwise if he doesn’t play it will be very difficult for him to come [to the Euros].”