Is JPMorgan the ultimate plug?

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If you don’t know what a “plug” is, you probably don’t spend much time at Lipstick Alley.

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Your plug is your supplier, basically your drug dealer, according to the Urban Dictionary. More precisely, your big time drug dealer. A ‘plug’ supplies the ‘connects’ with large quantity of drugs, which the ‘connects’ in turn distribute to dealers.

Like all good dictionaries, they then use it in a sentence.

“Yo, check out this dank dank I just got”

Oh shit nigga! You the plug.”

Lipstick Alley is where I came across the brilliant headlineIS JP MORGAN THE ULTIMATE PLUG?”

 

Citizens on Lipstick Alley hip to “war on drugs” lies

74743The feminists of color who frequent Lipstick Alley don’t often address inequities posed by banks like JPMorgan Chase. They may be unaware that it is the largest bank in the United States, and the sixth largest in the world by total assets, which add up to $2.535 trillion.

Still, the ladies at Lipstick Alley bring a certain amount of street cred to the subject.

“It’s just Black and Hispanics gang banging once the coke gets on the street,” opined one denizen of Lipstick Alley. “It always gets interesting once you start following the money.”

“All these container ships getting busted….somebody high up must be snitching,” offered another. 

121003That’s a pretty sophisticated analysis.

Especially on a site where “Flash breaking news!”headlines include  “Mariah Carey reveals she’s only slept with FIVE people,” and “Treach and Pepa’s daughter getting married to guy Pepa don’t LIKE!”

Clearly, JP Morgan has a problem.

 

Snarky headlines in JP Morgan’s near future 

Here’s where it started:

jamie

On Monday US Customs announced the seizure of the container ship MSC Gayane, where  Federal agents had discovered almost 20 tons of cocaineworth an estimated $1.3 billionat the Port of Philadelphia three weeks ago.

The sober business press was predicatably up-in-arms.

220px-JohnPierpontMorgan“US Customs just seized a ship owned by JPMorgan after authorities found $1 billion worth of drugs on it,” reported Business Insider.

 “The ship is owned by client assets in a maritime strategy offered by JPMorgan Asset Management, according to a person familiar with the matter.”

(Italics mine.)

“It is operated by the Switzerland-based MSC.”

Everywhere else, snarky headlines were the order of the day. “Jamie, it Ain’t Bitcoin: JP Morgan Involved in $1 Billion Cocaine Bust.”

“JP Morgan boss Jamie Dimon once slammed bitcoin as fraud, saying it’s only useful “if you were a drug dealer [or] a murderer.”

“So imagine his surprise when a ship owned by his bank was seized this week when authorities found $1.3 billion of cocaine inside.”

 

What little is known isn’t really well-known

“JPMorgan – Maritime is a private equity general partner firm headquartered in New York,” states one investment advisory site

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But even that is uncertain.

“J.P. Morgan Global Maritime Investment Fund is based out of London. The firm has no submitted 13F filings and does not appear to be an investment advisor,” states another.

What they all agreed on:

“JPMorgan declined comment. Mediterranean Shipping Co. did not immediately respond to an email inquiry.”

When questions of a possible role in global drug trafficking by a too-big-to-fail bank like JPMorgan Chase are being bandied about, it’s time to call in the crisis communicators, full-court press specialists who protect and defend a company facing a public challenge to its reputation

The assumption is they are even now preparing a response. 

 

Until they get here

As Samuel Jackson famously put it in Pulp Fiction, “Allow me to retort.”

Until two days ago the mainstream media were unanimous in reporting that the seized container ship was owned by MSC Mediterranean Company.

That was untrue.

The MSC Gayane—the second largest container vessel ever built— was originally owned by China’s HNA Group. Last October it was sold to JP Morgan Chase which was benefitting across the board from HNA’s fire sale, including its nine percent holding in Germany’s criminal Deutsche Bank.

gayane

From the US Customs press release:

“Seizing a vessel of this size is an unusual enforcement action for CBP but is indicative of the serious consequences associated with an alleged conspiracy by crewmembers and others to smuggle a record load of dangerous drugs through the United States.”

Leading the crewmembers conspiracy was Second Mate Ivan Duresevic,

According to newspapers in Montenegro, Đurašević is from Budva, Montenegro, where a vicious mafia war is currently ongoing.

Montenegrin media also reported that among the arrested sailors there are four Montenegrins.

 

Drug Kingpin Ivan Duresevich,  Second Mate

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The kingpin of the ‘alleged conspiracy” generating all these “serious consequences,” is Ivan Durasevich. He’s the ship’s Second Mate, one step up from an Able Seaman. Hardly an existential threat to humanity. 

Ivan, it turns out, has even been a participant on a German reality TV program called “Love in the Village.”

According to newspapers in Montenegro, Đurašević is from Budva, Montenegro, where a vicious mafia war is currently ongoing.

“Thirty young people with a diploma from the local, well-known Maritime faculty are in prisons around the world, suspected of smuggling cocaine, members of a criminal clan from Kotor.”

“In the war of these clans, starting from Valencia, through the Netherlands and Vienna, to Belgrade, Budva, Kotor, Bar and Podgorica, at least 40 people were killed.”

Court documents filed in the case allege that at least twice while the ship was en route between stops in Chile and Panama, numerous small boats approached the MSC Gayane at sea to hand off large bundles of the illicit drug.

This iTELEMMGLPICT000012794752_trans_NvBQzQNjv4Bqe5jTtuvhyhg4PHi86V8a0p815QE7DqplUJlHpAWoYtgs manifestly untrue, and also very likely physically impossible.

I believe that what will ultimately be shown to have been responsibile for the Philadelphia bust is the looming presence in Montenegro of Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. 

Deripaska, I previously reported, has been accused of interfering in Montenegro’s elections in order to take over the country. 

 

A fifth MSC drug bust discovered this year 

$As I reported last week, “When the container ship MSC Gayane was busted in Philadelphia ten days ago carrying what ballooned into almost 20 tons of cocaine, it marked the fourth time an MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company vessel has been involved in a major drug bust… just since the beginning of the year.”

The MSC Desiree was caught three months ago at the port in Baltimore, carrying a stash of cocaine worth $38 million

“In February, almost 1.5 tons of cocaine was found in a container on another MSC cargo vessel, the MSC Carlotta, at the port of Newark.”

“In April, 2.2 tons of cocaine was seized—again from the MSC Carlotta—in Callao, Peru.”

Add to the above another discovery: an MSC ship which arrived in Montenegro from Sicily on March 15, 2019 was caught carrying 30 kilograms of cocaine.

 

The horror in Kotor 

According to police sources, Kotor’s main drugs cartel split into three feuding gangs in 2014 over the disappearance of 200kg of cocaine in the Spanish town of Valencia.

downThe resulting conflict between Kotor mafia groups has led to dozens of unsolved murders. Besides Montenegro, those clans performed liquidations of the rivals in Serbia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The ongoing bloody feud is the most ferocious mafia war in Europe.

Sample headline: “Montenegro’s ‘tourist jewel’ is being torn apart by deadly drug gang clashes.”

Some Balkan newspapers played it coy.

49f1672e3cc22142c1306fffb9a102f5“It is unknown who exactly is Ivan Đurašević, but judging by his name and surname it is possible that he is a seaman from Croatia or the Balkans.”

Most didn’t. The fact that Ivan is on Pinterest may have something to do with it. 

“ĐURASEVIC comes from a prominent and well-off captain’s family. Balkans “cocaine king” Darko Saric, jailed for 20 years by a Serbian court last year, owns several companies in Kotor,” according to local media.

Because of the violent conflict, members of organized crime in Bar, Budva, Kotor, and Podgorica have purchased armored cars.

fc5d306b9fd7b70285794609be569b17The “Kotor sailors” included Ivan, Boško Marković (37), Aleksandar Kavaji (25) and Nenad Ilic (39).

U.S. Attorney William McSwain said that seizure of the MSC Gayane was “complicated and unprecedented.”  But even newspapers in the Balkans—halfway around the world from Philadelphia—scoffed at the story told by the U.S. Attorney.

“They supposedly unloaded cocaine off small boats in an incredible forty minutes. It’s a ridiculous assertion.”

 

Why aren’t container ships regularly seized for smuggling? 

cropped-oldsaltblog2“While any ship, vehicle or plane can be seized for smuggling drugs, there is a clear exception for “common carriers,” entities that transport goods or passengers on regular routes at set rates.  Container ship operators are common carriers,” reports Rick Spilman, an industry analyst.

“As long as the Bill of Lading and other related paperwork is in order, the common carrier is not liable is someone smuggles illegal goods inside a shipping container.”

“That is not the case, however, if the common carrier is negligent or complicit in the smuggling. That appears to be the case being made by the U.S. Attorney.”

 Six crew members have been charged with loading or tampering with containers related to the cocaine. “They will argue that the ship’s owner was negligent or complicit in the smuggling, which would justify the seizure and possible sale of the ship. 

sin0oceanicMSC Mediterranean Shipping Company has a multi-year term charter on the MSC Gayane but doesn’t own the ship.

As I reported last week,  SinOceanic AS, a Norwegian ship investment firm, was the owner until late last year, when the ship was sold to JP Morgan Global Marine.

SinOceanic is a subsidiary of China’s HNA Group. SinOceanic provides ship management services to MSC.

“Several sources have listed SinOceaninc as the ship manager for the MSC Gayane. SinOceanic has also been identified as the ship manager for the MSC Desiree and the MSC Carlotta, the two other ships also involved in cocaine seizures,” reported Rick Spilman.

HNA Group desperately needs the money.

hna-piling-upThus, the crew was hired— not by MSC—but by SinOceanic (read China’s HNA Group), which is likely to have been very aware of the presence of mafia sailors belonging to a drug gang from Kotor in Montenegro. 

There are three relatively unsavory organizations potentially responsible for the 20 tons of cocaine.

There’s MSC, which has been repeatedly reported to be owned, or have ties, to the Sicilian Mafia.

There’s China’s HNA Group, which couldn’t even offer business magazines Forbes or Fortune a credible story about who their true owners are.

And then there’s the universally unloved JP Morgan Chase, which may just be unhappily along for the ride. 

Stay tuned.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Am I getting this straight, that JP Morgan is in with or doing contracting for “The Company” Or is this some start-up out to make their way in the biz…??? Too much money involved for any independent I believe… More Great Stuff from th’Mad Cow…. Keep it cuming…!!!!!

  2. The delivery protection crew of the drug shipping operation being arrested will ultimately be displayed as a ‘crime solved’ (nothing more to see…move on America).

    Far from the truth but ultimately exactly what it will be.

    The public gets half truths and ultimately the financiers unscathed, enjoying another 4 star luncheon with their billionaire buddy’s as the global opioids epidemic kills millions more.

  3. I’m now not sure thee place you’re getting your info, but
    great topic. I needs too spend some time studying much more orr understanding more.
    Thhank you ffor wonderful info I used to be looking for this info for my mission.

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