Archive for the ‘arrest’ Category

French Beauty Aid is Fermented Glob: “Magique Fromage” Earns Promoter Arrest

January 20, 2009

Many women and even some men will try just about anything to become more beautiful.

But a fermented glop pushed by a French marketeer is being called   “Magique Fromage” (Magic Cheese) after investigators found absolutely no medicinal value in the slime.

Even as an ingredient for expensive moisturizers and shampoos, the smelly slime is just worthless  “Magique Fromage.”

But it could be good on crackers and with a light Bordeaux…..



PARIS (Reuters) – France is investigating what it says is a scam mounted by a French woman who sold thousands of Chileans kits to make “magic cheese” for French beauty products, an official said on Tuesday.

Gilberte Van Erpe, who was arrested and placed under investigation in France last year, is suspected of setting up a vast pyramid scheme, telling buyers the fermented mass produced by the kits could be sold to cosmetics companies in France.

A French investigator, examining magistrate Sylvie Gagnard, will fly to Chile to register the lawsuits of thousands of people who claim they were victimized, said Isabelle Montagne, a spokeswoman for the public prosecutor‘s office.

“We call it the ‘case of the magic cheese’,” Montagne said.

“She swindled people, she abused their trust to make them believe that she could commercialize that material.”

Van Erpe, who is under custody in France and accused of fraud and money laundering, could not be reached for comment.

The spokeswoman said three other people also were arrested last year and placed under investigation for their role in the suspected fraud, conducted through a company called Fermex.

Media have reported that Van Erpe ran a similar scheme in Peru in 2003 to 2004 and then moved on to operate in Chile from 2004 to 2006.

Claiming that the fermented substance was all the rage in Paris as an ingredient for expensive moisturizers and shampoos, Van Erpe charged clients some 300 euros ($389) for the kits, which had a market value of about 3 euros, media said.

However, the product never made it to French cosmetics labs and most investors lost their money, the spokeswoman said.

Le Parisien newspaper said Van Erpe made about 30 million euros from her activities. It also said 5,000 Peruvians and 4,500 Chileans had filed lawsuits, but Montagne was unable to confirm that figure.

(Editing by Michael Roddy)

A feta cheese merchant slices a piece of feta in this file photo, ... 
Could it be magic? 

South Korean Arrested, Used Internet to Criticize Government

January 10, 2009

South Korea‘s arrested popular Internet financial pundit pleaded not guilty Saturday to charges of spreading false information online.

The 31-year-old, identified only as Park but better known here as “Minerva” or the goddess of wisdom in the Greek myth, claimed he was trying to help those who had suffered as a result of the current financial turmoil.

State prosecutors arrested Park on Wednesday on charges of spreading “groundless” allegations that the country’s currency, the won, was imperiled.


He took the defensive after being questioned by a Seoul court Saturday as prosecutors sought a warrant to extend his detention.

“I wrote articles in a bid to help those people alienated from the government — small merchants, individuals and laymen who had suffered from the financial crisis,” he told journalists at the court.

“I did not intend to obtain any economic gains through these writings. I accordingly do not admit my guilt.”

Park has written more than 200 economic commentaries in the past few months and gained massive popularity online following his predictions of the collapse of US investment bank Lehman Brothers.

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Chinese Internet porn sensation detained by police

December 22, 2008

A Chinese woman who became an online sensation after posting a homemade pornographic film of herself on the Internet has been detained in Shanghai, according to state media.

The 12-minute-video showed the woman, surnamed Huang, performing “sex acts,” the official China Daily said in its weekend edition, without elaborating.

“It soon became one of the most popular downloads on the mainland, with thousands of people downloading it last month,” the report cited the local police as saying in a statement.

The woman set up a blog, hoping to profit from her notoriety and sell interviews with herself for up to 30,000 yuan ($4,383) a time, the newspaper said.

Despite the police’s best efforts, the video is still available online, it added, without saying what penalty the woman may have to pay.

Pornography is illegal in China, although it is widely available on pirated DVDs throughout the country, and on the Internet.

($1=6.844 Yuan)

(Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by David Fox of Reuters)

Ill. gov. says ready to tell his side of scandal

December 17, 2008

Gov. Rod Blagojevich said Wednesday he is ready to tell his side of the scandal to the people of Illinois and that he would do so no later than Thursday.

“I can’t wait to begin to tell my side of the story and to address you guys and, most importantly, the people of Illinois. That’s who I’m dying to talk to,” he said as he left his home Wednesday morning for a jog.

“There’s a time and place for everything. That day will soon be here and you might know more about that today, maybe no later than tomorrow.”

On Tuesday, an impeachment inquiry against Blagojevich hit a speed bump shortly after getting under way, with state lawmakers seeking guidance from federal prosecutors and postponing any real action until the governor’s attorney arrives.

Associated Press

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is  surrounded by the media before ... 
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is surrounded by the media before jogging at his home in Chicago, Wednesday, Dec.17, 2008. Blagojevich said Wednesday he is ready to tell his side of the scandal to the people of Illinois and that he would do so no later than Thursday.(AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

The attorney, Ed Genson, planned to attend Wednesday’s meeting of a special Illinois House committee reviewing potential impeachment and may provide the first hint of the embattled Democratic governor’s strategy.

The committee’s chairwoman, Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, said Wednesday’s meeting would focus on a review of the criminal case against Blagojevich and no witnesses would be called.

When asked if he would join his lawyer at the Capitol Wednesday, Blagojevich said he was “in good hands” with Genson being there. Asked about when he might talk, the governor was glib: “To quote Elvis, ‘hang loose.’ Now can I get a run in, do you think?”

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Legal Hurdle: Blagojevich Has A Big Mouth But Was A Crime Completed?

December 16, 2008

When Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the United States attorney in Chicago, announced the arrest of the Illinois governor, Rod R. Blagojevich, Mr. Fitzgerald said he had acted to halt a political crime spree that included what he called an “appalling” effort to sell off the Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.

By Dvid Johnston
the New York Times 

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich leaves a downtown office building Monday, Dec. 15, 
AP Photo By Spencer Green
But now some lawyers are beginning to suggest that the juiciest part of the case against Mr. Blagojevich, the part involving the Senate seat, may be less than airtight. There is no evidence, at least none that has been disclosed, that the governor actually received anything of value — and the Senate appointment has yet to be made.

Ever since the country’s founding, prosecutors, defense lawyers and juries have been trying to define the difference between criminality and political deal-making. They have never established a clear-cut line between the offensive and the illegal, and the hours of wiretapped conversations involving Mr. Blagojevich, filled with crass, profane talk about benefiting from the Senate vacancy, may fall into a legal gray area.

Robert S. Bennett, one of Washington’s best-known white-collar criminal defense lawyers, said Mr. Blagojevich faced nearly insurmountable legal problems in a case that includes a raft of corruption accusations unrelated to Mr. Obama’s Senate seat. But Mr. Bennett said the case raised some potentially thorny issues about political corruption.

“This town is full of people who call themselves ambassadors, and all they did was pay $200,000 or $300,000 to the Republican or Democratic Party,” said Mr. Bennett, referring to a passage in the criminal complaint filed against the governor suggesting that Mr. Blagojevich was interested in an ambassadorial appointment in return for the Senate seat. “You have to wonder, How much of this guy’s problem was his language, rather than what he really did?”

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China Arrests Dissident Over Online Petition

December 11, 2008

One of China’s most prominent human rights activists has been arrested after publication of an open letter to the government from hundreds of prominent Chinese intellectuals, according to his wife and a colleague. The document, published Tuesday on the Internet, proposes extensive political reform, including an end to one-party rule.

The unusually bold appeal, released a day before International Human Rights Day, has struck a discordant note here amid the Chinese government’s attempts to paint a picture of progress as the country prepares to celebrate the 30th anniversary of its policy of reform and opening up.


By Lauren Keane
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, December 11, 2008; Page A18

Police arrested veteran dissident Liu Xiaobo, suspected of organizing the petition, late Monday at his Beijing home. His wife told reporters that several policemen had arrived with an arrest warrant about 11 p.m.; some took him away, she said, and the others stayed through the night to search the house and confiscate computers, books and other belongings.

Another prominent signer of the document, political theorist and activist Zhang Zuhua, was arrested and detained at the same time but was released the next morning after a lengthy interrogation, he said. His house was also searched and belongings confiscated. Zhang said Liu is being detained on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power.

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Human Rights? China Has A Problem the UN Ignores

December 10, 2008

China is to Human Rights what Iran’s President Ahmadinejad is to world peace….

By Don Feder
The Washington Times

With much self-congratulatory back-slapping today, Dec. 10, the United Nations will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The Declaration is a noble document to which many U.N. members pay lip-service, and routinely violate.

In the aftermath of World War II – with memories of genocide and other atrocities still fresh – the delegates from 48 nations who gathered in Paris in 1948 were anxious to affirm the universality of human rights.

File photo shows a girl waving a flag in front Mao's Memorial ...

Thus, the UDHR’s preamble affirms that “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”

It goes on to affirm: “the right to life, liberty and security of person,” freedom from cruel or degrading punishment, freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention, the right to a fair hearing by an “independent and impartial tribunal,” freedom of conscience and expression, freedom of religion, and the right to protest.

The document also proclaims “the will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government” – said will expressed in “periodic and genuine elections.”

Recruits for the People's Liberation Army attend a ceremony ...
 Recruits for the People’s Liberation Army attend a ceremony before they head off to start their service, at a square in Taiyuan, Shanxi province December 10, 2008. REUTERS/

While all this looks great on paper, the operation of the United Nations makes a mockery of UDHR. Nowhere is this more starkly revealed than in its treatment of China and Taiwan. These neighbors across the Taiwan Straits provide their own vivid contrast in the area of human rights.

After two decades of political reform, Taiwan is one of the freest countries in Asia. The first multiparty legislative elections occurred in 1991-92. Since 1996, Taiwan has had four presidential elections and two orderly transfers of power between the major parties.

Its people enjoy freedom of expression and worship, the right to fair trial by an independent judiciary, freedom of the press, the right to peacefully protest and freedom from arbitrary arrest, to the same degree as citizens of the more mature democracies.

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