Friday, 25 May 2018

A 25-year-old serial 'swatter' has been indicted for allegedly making a bomb threat during the FCC's net neutrality vote that forced the entire building to evacuate

FILE PHOTO: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) logo is seen before the FCC Net Neutrality hearing in Washington February 26, 2015. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

  • Tyler Raj Barris, 25, has been indicted for allegedly making hoax bomb threats to the FCC during the net neutrality hearings, and to the FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C.
  • He was already awaiting trial for involuntary manslaughter for his alleged role in the death of a gamer in a "swatting" incident, in which a false call was made to police to illicit the response of a S.W.A.T. team.
  • He faces two counts of making hoax bomb threats, as well as the charges from the "swatting" incident.

 

The same man who was charged for a "swatting" incident, in which a man was killed by police, has been indicted for allegedly making bomb threats to the FBI headquarters and to the FCC during the net neutrality vote. 

Tyler Raj Barriss, 25, from Los Angeles California, also known as his online alias "SWAuTistic," has been indicted on two counts of making hoax bomb threats.

The first threat targeted the FCC during the net neutrality hearing on December 14, 2017, the Department of Justice said. The call resulted in the evacuation of the building and briefly delayed the vote.

Then, on December 22, 2017, Barriss allegedly made another call to FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C. and claimed there were bombs planted in the building. Both calls were determined to be hoaxes, and both charges carry a maximum of 20 years in prison. 

When he was indicted for the bomb threat hoaxes, Barriss was already detained for allegedly making false emergency calls to police in a method known as "swatting," where police are given fake but concerning information about a specific target, to the point where the use of a S.W.A.T. team is warranted. Barriss is awaiting trial for an incident in December 2017, when the Department of Justice claims he "swatted" someone after an argument in an online game. When police arrived at the house, they killed the man who answered the door, Andrew Finch, 28, from Wichita, Kansas. Barriss has been charged with involuntary manslaughter for his alleged role in Finch's death. 

Barriss has been charged with hoax bomb threats before, when he allegedly threatened a Glendale, California news station. He claims to have "swatted" more than 100 schools and about 10 homes or residences. 

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Thursday, 24 May 2018

8 women accuse Morgan Freeman of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior

morgan freeman

  • Eight women accused Morgan Freeman of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior in a CNN report published Thursday. 
  • The accusers included CNN reporter Chloe Melas, the coauthor of CNN's report, who alleged that Freeman subjected her to inappropriate comments about her appearance at a press junket.
  • Altogether, CNN spoke to 16 people who "described a pattern of inappropriate behavior by Freeman" on film sets, in his work at his production company, Revelations Entertainment, and in media interviews.

Eight women accused Morgan Freeman of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior in a report published by CNN on Thursday.

CNN spoke to 16 people altogether in a "months-long reporting process" who "described a pattern of inappropriate behavior by Freeman" on the sets of several of his films, in his work at his production company, Revelations Entertainment, and in media interviews.

Freeman's representatives did not respond to multiple requests for comment from CNN and did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

Three reporters, including CNN reporter Chloe Melas, the coauthor of CNN's Thursday report on the allegations, alleged that Freeman made inappropriate comments about their appearances at press junkets.

Melas, who was six months pregnant at the time of her alleged incident in 2017, said Freeman told her, among other comments, that "you are ripe."

Among the five other accusers, an unnamed production assistant who worked on the set of Freeman's 2017 movie "Going In Style" said that she experienced several months of sexual harassment from Freeman on the film's set, including unwanted touching and comments.

The woman said that Freeman "kept trying to lift up my skirt and asking if I was wearing underwear." She said that Freeman only stopped when Alan Arkin, his costar on the film, "made a comment telling him to stop," after which "Morgan got freaked out and didn't know what to say."

Eight of the 16 people CNN spoke to said they witnessed various instances of Freeman's alleged misconduct.

Read CNN's full report here.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Why so many fast food logos are red


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Tuesday, 22 May 2018

A Chinese-Australian billionaire funded UN bribes investigated by the FBI, an Australian politician alleges

United Nations General Assembly

  • An Australian billionaire and political donor allegedly funded a $200,000 bribe to a former president of the UN General Assembly, according to an Australian MP.
  • The MP said he "confirmed" the identity of the alleged co-conspirator from US authorities.
  • The UN president took $1.3 million in bribes in exchange for helping Chinese business interests.
  • Billionaire Chau Chak Wing is an influential donor who has attracted attention in the past.


An Australian MP took an extraordinary step on Tuesday night when he claimed a mystery co-conspirator in an FBI bribery case is a Chinese born, Australian billionaire.

Andrew Hastie, the chair of Australia’s intelligence and security committee, identified political donor and philanthropist Chau Chak Wing as "co-conspirator 3 [CC-3]" who allegedly funded a $200,000 bribe to UN General Assembly president John Ashe in 2013.

Hastie met with US authorities last month where he said he "confirmed" the identity of CC-3, and then made the statement in parliament, a forum exempt from defamation laws, which Chau has used to sue multiple media outlets in the past.

"During discussions with US authorities I confirmed the long-suspected identity of CC-3. It is now my duty to inform the House and the Australian people that CC-3 is Dr Chau Chak Wing," Hastie said.

"CC-3 is a Chinese-Australian citizen, he has also been a very significant donor to both of our major political parties. He has given more than $4 million since 2004, he has also donated $45 million to universities in Australia," he said. [It is] the same man who conspired to bribe the UN president of the general assembly John Ashe."

An FBI indictment previously referred to CC-3 as a Chinese real estate developer who requested Ashe's attendance, in an official capacity, at a conference in China in return for a $200,000 payment. At that conference, Chauk and Ashe were photographed together, according to Hastie.

He added: "On November 4, 2013, John Ashe confirmed receipt of the $200,000 from China from one of CC-3's companies."

A number of defendants were convicted for supplying Ashe with $1.3 million in bribes, which he spent on Rolex watches, bespoke suits, BMW lease payments, and even a basketball court. The bribes were given in order to advance Chinese business interests.

"For reasons that are best undisclosed, the US government did not seek to charge CC-3 for his involvement in the bribery of John Ashe," said Hastie, adding that Chau has consistently disputed similar allegations in the past.

Hastie also suggested a link between Chauk and China's overseas influence arm, United Front. According to a government cable sent by a US consul general in China and described by Hastie, Chauk was allegedly the head of a business association that included the director of the United Front department and the association was "essentially a creature of the Chinese Communist Party's United Front program."

According to research by China expert Anne-Marie Bradysome of United Front's activities include "co-opting" members of the elite to promote Beijing's interests and using business people with links to the Chinese Communist Party to orchestrate targeted political donations.

Chau previously told The Australian he didn't have any connections with United Front.

"For clarity, I am not and have never been a member of the Chinese Communist Party, and I completely reject the suggestion I have acted in any way on behalf of, or under instruction from, that ­entity," he said.

Chinese interference is gaining more attention in Australia

china military flag

Earlier this month, Hillary Clinton warned that countries need to take China's political interference "seriously."

"What we're seeing now is a desire by China to extend its influence and project its power. First throughout Asia — then, throughout the world," Clinton said. "I would hope that Australia would stand up against efforts under the radar, as we say, to influence Australian politics and policy."

Relations between Australia and China have significantly deteriorated since December last year when Canberra proposed broadening the definition of foreign interference, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull citing "disturbing reports about Chinese influence."

"The central pillar of the government's counter foreign interference strategy is sunlight," said Hastie on Tuesday.

"In Australia it is clear that the Chinese Communist party is working to covertly interfere with our media, our universities, and also influence our political processes and public debates."

SEE ALSO: An Australian state is 'reviewing' its relationship with a Chinese government-run education program over fears of covert foreign influence

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Why some countries are more corrupt than others


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Sunday, 20 May 2018

9 star lawyers helping blockchain companies navigate the tricky waters of cryptocurrency regulation (SQ)

Lindsay Lin

Considering bitcoin's origins as a decentralized technology designed to disrupt the world banking system, it's no surprise that the cryptocurrency community has a rather tepid relationship with financial regulators like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 

Meanwhile, alleged cryptocurrency scams like Centra Tech — which the SEC believes raised $32 million in a fraudulent initial coin offering last fall — have done little to help the relationship from the regulator's perspective.

Add this complicated background to the fact that the SEC is still developing its official policy on how to regulate cryptocurrencies, and you've got an incredibly vague and shaky legal environment from which to try to run a business.

Now, as companies big and small compete for a piece of the cryptocurrency pie, much of the ground work is being done by an invisible force in the C-suite: the general counsel — which is to say, cryptocurrency companies' in-house lawyers.

Many of the lawyers on this list have spent their careers in finance law or in-house at other tech companies. One lawyer went in-house just one year after finishing her law degree, while another held senior-level roles across three different presidential administrations before finding his way into the world of bitcoin. 

Whatever their experience, these 9 lawyers are helping some of the biggest names in cryptocurrency navigate the shaky and ever-changing landscape of blockchain regulation and compliance. 

Here's who you need to know. 

SEE ALSO: This partner at Sequoia Capital thinks cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups have big potential — and he's investing millions.

Brynly Llyr — Corporate Counsel at Ripple

Undergrad: Mills College
Law school: University of California, Berkeley 

Why you should know her: 
Llyr's career has spanned both tech and finance, making her uniquely qualified to work in cryptocurrency.

"I joined Ripple in 2016 for the company's technology and vision," Llyr told Business Insider. "Improving the efficiencies with payments helps real people around the world - many of whom are either shut out of the banking system altogether or are subject to high fees and poor visibility into the payment system."

Prior to joining Ripple, she was at PayPal and eBay for a combined total of five years and managed a range of issues from litigation to patents. Before that, she was at a law firm representing both corporate and individual clients in regulatory investigations, among other things. 

But one of Llyr's most defining experiences may likely be one that happened before she had a law degree at all. Llyr spent seven years as a project manager and stock broker at Charles Schwab, which gives her unparalleled understanding of the financial systems that Ripple is trying to conquer.



Mike Lempres — Chief Legal and Risk Officer at Coinbase

Undergrad: Dartmouth College
Law school: University of California, Berkeley 

Why you should know him: 
Lempres' career has spanned both public and private sectors, including time in senior government positions under three different presidential administrations.

He joined Coinbase in January from a similar role at another blockchain company, Bitnet Technologies. Before that, he was assistant general counsel at Silicon Valley Bank's financial group.

"I first heard about cryptocurrencies from friends who were on it very early. Later I was working at a bank that focused on technology companies in the Bay Area, and a few crypto companies were looking for a bank," Lempres told Business Insider. "The space was fascinating to me, and I began to believe it could change the world [...] I still love the technology and the legal art in this space. No looking back!"

Lempres also has a less conventional item on his resume — mayor of Atherton, an affluent Silicon Valley town and the most expensive zip code in America, which is home to influential tech billionaires like former HPE CEO Meg Whitman and former Google chairman Eric Schmidt. He still sits on the Atherton city council. 



Marco Santori — President and Chief Legal Officer at Blockchain

Undergrad: University of California, Berkeley 
Law school: University of Notre Dame 

Why you should know him: 
Santori is likely the crypto lawyer with the most name recognition among his peers — and with good reason. In addition to practicing law, he has been a central figure on the foundation level, helping bring legal clarity to a developing field. 

Santori joined Blockchain from Cooley LLP, where he was head of the financial technology group. While he's spent most of his career at law firms, Santori started building a name for himself in crypto around 2013, when he joined the Bitcoin Foundation as chairman of the regulatory affairs committee.

He even co-authored the authoritative white paper on Simple Agreements for Future Tokens (SAFT) — a new investment vehicle which has given venture capitalists and other investors a way to invest in blockchain startups outside of the traditional equity model. The SAFT model is used by top investors, like Sequoia Capital's Matt Huang, today. 

Read more about how SAFT investments have reimagined venture capital. 



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Friday, 18 May 2018

Netflix has a captivating true-crime series in 'Evil Genius,' the wild story of a 'pizza bomber heist'

Evil Genius

  • Netflix has a popular and compelling new docuseries in its recent original series, "Evil Genius."
  • The four-part series explores the wild criminal case surrounding the 2003 death of Brian Wells, a pizza-delivery man who died after robbing a bank in Erie, Pennsylvania.
  • "Evil Genius" has a 73% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but it has drawn significant buzz from audiences as another captivating entry in Netflix's true-crime catalog. 

Netflix has another captivating docuseries in its recent original series, "Evil Genius: The True Story of America's Most Diabolical Bank Heist."

Over four episodes, the series explores the criminal case surrounding the 2003 death of Brian Wells, a pizza-delivery man who robbed a bank in Erie, Pennsylvania. Wells died shortly afterward when a bomb strapped to his neck detonated in front of police. 

The robbery was planned and executed by a group of four "fractured intellectuals," including a woman named Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong — a "middle-aged mastermind" grappling with mental illness — and her former fiance, Bill Rothstein, who are the focus of the series. 

Diehl-Armstrong died in federal prison in 2017, serving a life sentence for planning the heist and murder.

But "Evil Genius" complicates the narrative of the heist and case with new evidence and a noteworthy confession.  

Executive produced by Mark and Jay Duplass (the producers of Netflix's "Wild Wild Country"), "Evil Genius" has a 73% critic rating on the reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, but its 88% audience rating is reflective of the significant buzz the series has drawn since its release last Friday. 

CNN's Brian Lawry had one of the more laudatory reviews of the series, writing, "With Evil Genius there's actually a sense of discovery, and a crime spree so unusual that it genuinely approximates a Coen brothers movie, down to the quirky assortment of culprits and stooges."

Watch a trailer for the series below, and find "Evil Genius" on Netflix.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: How a tiny camera startup is taking on Amazon and Google


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Thursday, 17 May 2018

Meet the man behind the Trump-Russia investigation: the special counsel Robert Mueller

Robert Mueller

Robert Mueller is leading the investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 elections, which on Thursday has officially gone on for a year.

That probe is also examining whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin, and if President Donald Trump has obstructed justice while in office.

In Washington, Mueller has a reputation for being a tenacious investigator. Both Republicans and Democrats welcomed his appointment last May with bipartisan backing.

But the increasing breadth and length of his investigation has irked many Trump supporters, and the president himself.

Mueller's colleagues, meanwhile, say he has proven his bipartisan bona fides over the years. After all, he served under both Republican and Democratic presidents as FBI director and as an attorney in the Department of Justice.

As the probe into Trump and his associates wages on, here's a look at Mueller's history:

SEE ALSO: Here's how long investigations like the one into Trump and Russia usually last

DON'T MISS: Senate intel panel breaks with Trump and House Republicans, concludes Russia meddled in the 2016 election to help Trump and hurt Clinton

Born Robert Swan Mueller III in New York City in 1944, "Bob" grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, the elder brother to four younger sisters. Their father was an executive at DuPont. He captained the soccer, hockey, and lacrosse teams in high school.

Sources: FBI, St. Paul's School



Mueller went to undergrad at Princeton University, got his Master's in international relations from New York University, and graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1973.

Source: FBI



When one of his friends died in the Vietnam War, Mueller was inspired to join the military. He had been previously pursuing a career in the medical field.

Source: Princeton Alumni Weekly

 



See the rest of the story at Business Insider
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Wednesday, 16 May 2018

HBO is making a series that will 're-examine' the murder case of the 'Serial' podcast

serial

  • HBO and Sky Atlantic are making a documentary series that will "closely re-examine" the murder case of Adnan Syed, the subject of the popular podcast "Serial."
  • The four-hour series, directed by Oscar-nominated documentarian Amy Berg, is titled "The Case Against Adnan Syed."
  • The series promises "new discoveries, as well as groundbreaking revelations that challenge the state's case" in Syed's trial.

HBO is teaming with the UK's Sky Atlantic to release a documentary series following the murder case and conviction of Adnan Syed, the subject of the first season of the popular podcast "Serial" from 2014.

Directed by Oscar-nominated documentarian Amy Berg ("Deliver Us From Evil"), the four-hour series is titled "The Case Against Adnan Syed." 

The series will "closely re-examine" the 1999 disappearance and murder of 18-year-old Baltimore high school student Hae Min Lee, and the subsequent conviction of Syed, her ex-boyfriend.

A press release on the series states that the show will present "new discoveries, as well as groundbreaking revelations that challenge the state's case."

Syed was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 2000 for Hae Min Lee's murder. In March of this year, Maryland's court of special appeals granted a retrial for Syed's case. The Baltimore Sun reported this week that Syed's prosecutors had asked the court to reverse the retrial ruling. 

Berg has been working on "The Case Against Adnan Syed" since 2015, per the release. The show will also feature original music from singer-songwriter Nick Cave. 

"We'll be offering viewers a compelling window into one of the most talked about murder cases in recent years," Sky director of programming Zai Bennett told Variety of the series. "The hugely talented Amy Berg has unprecedented access to those closest to the investigation, which is sure to make unmissable viewing."

HBO has not yet announced a release date for the series. 

SEE ALSO: The best TV show of 2018 on each network so far — from FX to Netflix to HBO

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