From more charges for Sam Bankman-Fried to a shocking murder unfolding in Hong Kong – Here's your February 27 news briefing
Last November, the second-largest crypto exchange FTX went bankrupt, and it's been a wild ride since then.
To start off, we're looking into:
Bankman-Fried's latest charges
The backstory: Last November, the second-largest crypto exchange FTX went bankrupt, and it's been a wild ride since then. The ex-CEO and co-founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, has been accused of mishandling customer funds and fraud. He's pleaded not guilty to eight criminal counts, and his trial is set for October.
More recently: In December, Bankman-Fried made a big splash by posting a whopping US$250 million bond, backed by his parents, their home equity and two other family friends. But, he was accused of tampering with witnesses while out on bail. This put his bail package at risk of being revoked, and he was hit with a temporary ban on contacting any employees at FTX and sister company Alameda. He's also not allowed to use VPNs or encrypted messaging services.
The development: Bankman-Fried is in more hot water. He's now facing 12 charges, with four new charges added to his tally. That brings him to four fraud charges and eight conspiracy charges. According to this new indictment, Bankman-Fried allegedly worked with two former FTX execs to make illegal political donations – and we're talking tens of millions of dollars. These alleged donations were also made with FTX customers' money. If he's found guilty, Bankman-Fried could be looking at more than a century behind bars.
The future of football in the UK
The backstory: Remember the big fuss around the proposed European Super League in 2021? Basically, this would have set apart 15 "Founding Clubs" from the UK, Spain and Italy into their own breakaway competition, with only five spots to enter each year on merit. One UK official described it as "the sporting equivalent of a billionaire's gated community."
Well, the idea caused quite an uproar. Six major English teams that had initially signed up backed out after widespread backlash. The proposal prompted the UK government to review football regulations in the UK.
The development: Now, an independent regulator is on the way to ensure the financial sustainability of all football clubs, from the Premier League to the National League. New regulations will include a licensing system to ensure proper corporate governance and sound business models and give fans a say in significant changes to club names, badges and uniforms. Plus, any stadium sale or change will require regulatory approval.
The backstory: Every year, the G20 hosts a summit for the economic and financial leaders of the world's 20 leading economies. One country is chosen as president of the G20 throughout the year – for 2023, it's India. Each G20 year also has a different theme; India's is "One Earth, One Family, One Future." But the G20 isn't one united bloc. Eastern countries like China and Russia are represented alongside many Western countries, like the US and parts of Europe, so there are bound to be differences.
More recently: Leading up to the G20 Summit, there are "working group meetings" throughout the year to discuss different issues. One of these meetings took place in India's Bengaluru over the weekend.
At last year's G20 Summit in November in Bali, Indonesia, a joint declaration was made at the end of the Summit stating that most members condemned the war in Ukraine. Russia and China approved the declaration without agreeing to condemn the war but instead acknowledging that most countries did.
The development: The group ended up divided at this weekend's meeting in Bengaluru. By the end of the meeting on Saturday, there wasn't an agreement on how to represent the war in Ukraine in the group's joint summary, with China and Russia skipping signing parts that referred to the war. Holdouts felt that the G20 meetings are meant to focus on economic, not security, issues. On the other hand, others see the Ukraine war as having a major economic effect on the rest of the world.
To end, we'll look into:
Hong Kong murder
You might be familiar with the name Abby Choi, a model, influencer and socialite from Hong Kong. She was just in attendance at Paris Fashion Week and has appeared in magazines like L’Officiel Monaco. She has over 100,000 followers on Instagram and often posts photos of travel and fashion.
But Choi was reported missing last Wednesday, and her ex-husband (Alex Kwong) and his family members are now suspected of killing her. They’ve been arrested by local police. The most recent reports say her former brother-in-law, Anthony Kwong, and his father have been charged with murder. Her former mother-in-law has been charged with perverting the course of justice. Her ex was the last one arrested at a pier while trying to flee Hong Kong by water.
Choi was found deceased last Friday. In a gruesome tragedy, her body was discovered cut into pieces in a rental unit north of the city. In the same space, investigators found a meat slicer and an electric saw, which are suspected of having been used to dismember the victim. The investigation is ongoing, and they are still looking for other missing body parts. But this isn’t really a story of a jilted ex-lover. Apparently, Choi had good relations with the Kwong family and even supported her ex after their divorce. Police say her death probably has to do with a money dispute.
Choi’s family had already made a name for itself before Abby came along, wealthy from business dealings in mainland China. Choi was responsible for getting her former in-laws and their two children a luxury apartment and also helping her former brother-in-law (Anthony Kwong) buy a house. One potential motive is that Anthony Kwong wasn’t happy with how Choi was looking to sell an apartment in his name – one that she was reportedly paying for. He and Choi also had business dealings together and may have been having contractual disputes.
“We believe the victim and her ex-husband’s family had many financial disputes involving huge sums,” Superintendent Alan Chung told reporters. “Someone was dissatisfied with how the victim handled her assets.”
Choi had two children, a son and a daughter, who have now been put in the custody of Choi’s mother.
Editors correction: This article previously stated that the four suspects arrested were charged with murder. The former brother-in-law of Abby Choi, Anthony Kwong, and his father have been charged with murder, according to local broadcaster TVB, citing police. TVB also reported that Choi's former mother-in-law has been charged with perverting the course of justice. Choi's ex-husband has been arrested, but it's unclear on what charges as of now.
In other news ...
🛶Deadly migrant shipwreck in Italy: A boat sailing from Turkey to Italy, reportedly carrying migrants from Afghanistan, Iran and other countries, crashed on the Italian coast. At least 59 people on board died, including 12 children. A government official told Reuters that 81 had survived, but more are believed to be missing.
🤝China to host Belarus: Belarus has supported Russia in the ongoing war in Ukraine as the country is an ally of Putin. Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko will be visiting Beijing this week on an invitation from President Xi, which will likely bring criticism from the West.
🏫Iran schoolgirls poisoned: First reported last November, all-girls schools in Iran have been targeted with poisoning attacks making young girls sick. At least 14 schools have been targeted so far. Iranian officials have said these attacks are motivated by people wanting to close girls’ schools.
🚓Turkey arrests 200 for building collapses: After two massive earthquakes devastated Turkey and Syria this month, Turkish officials have investigated contractors for poor building techniques after so many buildings collapsed. Now, almost 200 people have been arrested for poor building techniques in Turkey.
👩⚖️El Salvador’s “megaprison”: El Salvador has been cracking down on gang-related crime in a controversial way by suspending some constitutional rights, allowing more arrests. Now, it’s opening a prison with a capacity of 40,000, making it the largest prison in the Americas. About 2,000 accused gang members were moved there on Friday.
🕊Israel and Palestine pledge to stop violence: Over the past few months, there’s been a surge in violence between Israel and Palestine. A recent raid in the West Bank prompted even more attacks. Now, after talks in Jordan, Israel’s and Palestine’s governments have agreed to take steps to address that violence and work toward peace.
📩Nigeria vote count underway: Last week, we covered Nigeria’s historic presidential election. On Saturday, polling officially took place. There were some delays and complications in certain areas because of polling technology glitches, and those places are still voting. But the vote counting has officially started.
👩🚀Bringing back stranded astronauts: Russian and American crew were stranded on the International Space Station after a vessel leak two months ago. A Russian spacecraft just docked at the station on Sunday to bring the astronauts/cosmonauts home after they complete their now-extended mission.
💘Fans have Capaldi’s back: Musician Lewis Capaldi recently announced that he suffers from Tourette syndrome, which can cause episodes of “tics” that can be debilitating. So when Capaldi experienced symptoms of the illness onstage in the middle of performing a song, fans stepped in to finish singing the song for him.
Written and put together by Joey Fung, Vanessa Wolosz, Shebby Farooq and Christine Dulion