| FinCEN Files: HSBC moved Ponzi scheme millions despite warning |
Published Date: 2020-09-20
HSBC allowed fraudsters to transfer millions of dollars around the world even after it had learned of their scam, leaked secret files show.
Britain's biggest bank moved the money through its US business to HSBC accounts in Hong Kong in 2013 and 2014.
Its role in the $80m (£62m) fraud is detailed in a leak of documents - banks' "suspicious activity reports" - that have been called the FinCEN Files.
HSBC says it has always met its legal duties on reporting such activity.
The files show the investment scam, known as a Ponzi scheme, started soon after the bank was fined $1.9bn (£1.4bn) in the US over money laundering. It had promised to clamp down on these sorts of practices.
Lawyers for duped investors say the bank should have acted sooner to close the fraudsters' accounts.
The documents leak includes a series of other revelations - such as the suggestion one of the biggest banks in the US may have helped a notorious mobster to move more than $1bn.
What are the FinCEN Files?
The FinCEN Files are a leak of 2,657 documents, at the heart of which are 2,100 suspicious activity reports, or SARs.
SARs are not evidence of wrongdoing - banks send them to the authorities if they suspect customers could be up to no good.
By law, they have to know who their clients are - it's not enough to file SARs and keep taking dirty money from clients while expecting enforcers to deal with the problem. If they have evidence of criminal activity, they should stop moving the cash.
The leak shows how money was laundered through some of the world's biggest banks and how criminals used anonymous British companies to hide their money.
The SARs were leaked to the Buzzfeed website and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). Panorama led the research for the BBC as part of a global probe. The ICIJ led the reporting of the Panama Papers and Paradise Papers leaks - secret files detailing the offshore activities of the wealthy and the famous.
Fergus Shiel, from the consortium, said the FinCEN Files are an "insight into what banks know about the vast flows of dirty money across the globe
[The] system that is meant to regulate the flows of tainted money is broken".
The leaked SARs had been submitted to the US Financial Crimes Investigation Network, or FinCEN between 2000 and 2017 and cover transactions worth about $2 trillion.
FinCEN said the leak could impact US national security, risk investigations, and threaten the safety of those who file the reports.
But last week it announced proposals to overhaul its anti-money laundering programmes.
The UK also unveiled plans to reform its register of company information to clamp down on fraud and money laundering.
What was the Ponzi scam?
Image copyright Handout Image caption Murder victim Reynaldo Pacheco, who invested in the Ponzi scheme
The investment scam that HSBC was warned about was called WCM777. It led to the death of investor Reynaldo Pacheco, who was found under water on a wine estate in Napa, California, in April 2014.
Police say he had been bludgeoned with rocks.
He signed up to the scheme and was expected to recruit other investors. The promise was everyone would get rich.
A woman Mr Pacheco, 44, introduced lost about $3,000. That led to the killing by men hired to kidnap him.
"He literally was trying to
make people's lives better, and he himself was scammed, and conned, and he unfortunately paid for it with his life," said Sgt Chris Pacheco (no relation), one of the officers who investigated the killing.
Reynaldo, he said, "was murdered for being a victim in a Ponzi scheme".
What did the scam promise?
Image copyright Facebook Image caption Ming Xu claimed he was running a global bank
The scheme was started by Chinese national Ming Xu. Little is known about how he came to be living in the US, although he claims to have studied for an MA in California.
Basing himself in the Los Angeles area, Xu - or "Dr Phil" as he styled himself - acted as a pastor at evangelical churches.
Xu said he was operating a global investment bank, World Capital Market, that would pay out 100% profit in a 100 days. In reality, he was running the WCM777 Ponzi scheme.
Through travelling seminars, Facebook and webinars on YouTube, it raised $80m selling supposed investment opportunities in cloud computing.
Image caption Some of the Facebook posts used to market the WCM Pozi scheme
Thousands of people from the Asian and Latino communities were taken in. The fraudsters used Christian imagery and targeted poor communities in the US, Colombia and Peru. There were also victims in other countries, including the UK.
Regulators in California told HSBC it was investigating WCM777 as early as September 2013 - and alerted its residents to the fraud.
And California, along with Colorado and Massachusetts, took action against WCM for selling unregistered investments.
HSBC did spot suspicious transactions going through its systems. But it was not until April 2014, after US financial regulator the Securities and Exchange Commission filed charges, that the WCM777 accounts at HSBC in Hong Kong were shut.
By that time there was nearly nothing left in them.
What do the suspicious activity reports show?
HSBC filed its first SAR about the scam on 29 October 2013 relating to more than $6m sent to the fraudsters' accounts in Hong Kong.
Bank officials said there was "no apparent economic, business, or lawful purpose" for the transactions - and noted allegations of "Ponzi scheme activities".
A second SAR in February 2014 identified $15.4m in suspicious transactions, and a "Potential Ponzi scheme".
A third report in March related to a company associated with WCM777 and nearly $9.2m, and noted the regulatory moves by US states and an investigation ordered by Colombia's president.
What did HSBC do?
The WCM777 scheme emerged months after HSBC avoided a US criminal prosecution over money laundering by Mexican drug barons. It did so by agreeing to improve procedures.
Analysis by the ICIJ shows that between 2011 and 2017 HSBC identified suspicious transactions moving through accounts in Hong Kong of more than $1.5bn - about $900m linked to overall criminal activity.
But the reports failed to include key facts about customers, including the ultimate beneficial owners of accounts and where the money came from.
Banks are not allowed to talk about suspicious activity reports.
HSBC said: "Starting in 2012, HSBC embarked on a multi-year journey to overhaul its ability to combat financial crime across more than 60 jurisdictions
HSBC is a much safer institution than it was in 2012."
The bank added the US authorities had determined that it "met all of its obligations under the [agreement struck with US prosecutors]".
Xu was eventually arrested by the Chinese authorities in 2017 and jailed for three years over the scam.
Speaking to the ICIJ from China, Xu said HSBC had not contacted him about his business. He denied WCM777 was a Ponzi scheme, saying it was wrongly targeted by the SEC and his aim had been to build a religious community in California on more than 400 acres of land.
What is a Ponzi scheme?
A Ponzi scheme - named after early 20th Century conman Charles Ponzi - does not generate profits from the cash it raises. Instead investors are paid a return from money coming in from other new investors.
More and more investors are needed to cover these payments. Meanwhile, the owners of the scheme move money into their own accounts.
A Ponzi scheme will collapse if it cannot find enough new investors.
What else did the leak find?
The FinCEN Files also show how multinational bank JP Morgan may have helped a man known as the Russian mafia's boss of bosses to move more than a $1bn through the financial system.
Semion Mogilevich has been accused of crimes including gun running, drug trafficking and murder.
Image copyright FBI
He should not be allowed to use the financial system, but a SAR filed by JP Morgan in 2015 after the account was closed, reveals how the bank's London office may have moved some of the cash.
It details how JP Morgan, provided banking services to a secretive offshore company called ABSI Enterprises between 2002 and 2013, even though the firm's ownership was not clear from the bank's records.
Over one five-year period, JP Morgan sent and received wire transfers totalling $1.02bn, the bank said.
The SAR noted ABSI's parent company "might be associated with Semion Mogilevich - an individual who was on the FBI's top 10 most wanted list".
In a statement, JP Morgan said: "We follow all laws and regulations in support of the government's work to combat financial crimes. We devote thousands of people and hundreds of millions of dollars to this important work."
The FinCen Files is a leak of secret documents which reveal how major banks have allowed criminals to move dirty money around the world. They also show how the UK is often the weak link in the financial system and how London is awash with Russian cash.
The files were obtained by BuzzFeed News which shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and 400 journalists around the world. Panorama has led research for the BBC.
FinCEN Files: full coverage; follow reaction on Twitter using #FinCENFiles; in the BBC News app, follow the tag "FinCEN Files; Watch Panorama on the BBC iPlayer (UK viewers only).
| Hancock: Follow Covid rules or they will get tougher |
Published Date: 2020-09-20
Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Matt Hancock: Follow rules or 'more stringent enforcement' coming
Covid restrictions in England will get tougher if rules are not followed, Matt Hancock has warned, as the government introduces £10,000 fines for people who fail to self-isolate.
The health secretary told the BBC's Andrew Marr show the country was facing a "tipping point and we have a choice".
"If everybody follows the rules then we can avoid further national lockdown."
The prime minister is understood to be considering a ban on households mixing, and reducing opening hours for pubs.
Asked if England could face another national lockdown, Mr Hancock said: "I don't rule it out, I don't want to see it."
In the BBC interview, he also:
Said he would call the police on people who refused to self-isolate
Denied the government was overreacting given deaths and hospital admissions remain relatively low
Said there was still hope a vaccine would get "over the line" this year
The move under consideration by PM Boris Johnson could take the form of a two-week mini lockdown in England - being referred to as a "circuit breaker" - in an aim to stem a recent surge in cases.
On Sunday, a further 3,899 new Covid-19 cases and 18 deaths were reported in the UK.
Meanwhile, visitors have flocked to Blackpool this weekend, despite police warning against having a "last blast" in the resort before tighter restrictions come into force in the rest of Lancashire on Tuesday.
Elsewhere, London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said he will meet council leaders on Monday and then recommend any London-specific measures to ministers. He believes the capital city may be just "two or three days" behind the hotspots of the north-west and north-east of England.
People in England who refuse an order to self-isolate could be fined up to £10,000 from 28 September.
The new legal duty requires people to self-isolate if they test positive for coronavirus, or are traced as a close contact.
Image copyright Reuters
New measures also include a one-off £500 support payment for those on lower incomes, and a penalty for employers who punish those told to self-isolate.
Fines will initially start at £1,000 rising to £10,000 for repeat offenders, and for "the most egregious breaches".
Until now, advice to self-isolate has been guidance only.
More than 19,000 fines have been issued in England and Wales for alleged breaches of coronavirus laws, the attorney general said earlier this week, but more than half have not been paid so far.
The idea of introducing fines sounds good on paper, given it is believed only one in five people fully self-isolate when they need to.
But there is real concern it will have an unintended consequence - and end up discouraging people from having a test in the first place or taking calls from contact tracers.
Self-isolation can be costly for some in terms of lost income and job security (even with the offer of £500 payments).
There is now growing concern among experts - both those advising government and those looking in from the outside - about the path being taken by ministers.
First of all, the messaging is confusing.
One minute the public is being told to Eat Out to Help Out and to get back into the office, then they are being told to curb their mixing and not to gather in groups of more than six.
There is also a growing sense that the public is tiring of the battle to contain the virus with ever more draconian messages.
The idea of curbing the spread of the virus to stop the NHS being overwhelmed brought people together in the spring.
But what is the aim now the NHS was not overwhelmed? Suppression of a virus that clearly can't be suppressed without a huge cost to society?
As Prof Robert Dingwall, a government adviser, put it last week, this virus is here "forever and a day" and the public may just be growing comfortable with the idea that people will die - just as they accept that people die of flu ever year.
Earlier this week, Boris Johnson told the Sun he had "never much been in favour of sneak culture, myself" and people should speak to Covid rule-breakers before reporting them to the police.
In contrast, Mr Hancock said he would call the police on his neighbour if they were breaking rules, saying it was "absolutely necessary" to break the chains of transmission.
Asked whether the government's response was an overreaction given coronavirus death rates were still low, Mr Hancock said the number of hospital admissions was rising and an increase in deaths would follow.
He said he was "very worried" about the latest data which suggested the UK could be on the same path as Spain and France - where deaths and hospitalisations are increasing - without effective action.
"We have seen in other countries when the case rate shoots up, the next thing that happens is the numbers going into hospital shoot up," he said.
"Sadly, we have seen that rise, it is doubling every eight days or so - people going into hospital - then, with a lag, you see the number of people dying sadly rise."
He said it was worth comparing the UK to Spain - where the number of cases have been increasing - and Belgium - which appears to have reversed an upward trend - saying "one gives the warning, the other gives us hope".
Currently, large swathes of the UK, where cases have spiked, are living under tighter local restrictions. London Mayor Sadiq Khan has warned London could be next.
Mr Hancock, who has spoken to the mayor this weekend, told Times Radio he would not rule out the possibility that Londoners could be told this week to avoid the commute and get back to working from home.
Mr Hancock said he remained hopeful that a vaccine would be ready before the end of the year.
"We have got the cavalry coming over the next few months - the vaccine, the mass testing and the improvements in treatments - but we have got to all follow the rules between now and then to keep people safe," he added.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer told the BBC he supported the new fines, saying it was important to take action against the few people who were not complying.
He also said he would back a future lockdown in order to reinforce the government's message.
"In the end this is not about party politics, this is about getting the nation through this virus," he added.
The UK government hopes the new fines will be replicated in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland - which all have powers to set their own coronavirus rules.
At-a-glance: What are the new rules?
| PM should apologise for testing 'collapse', says Starmer |
Published Date: 2020-09-20
Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Sir Keir Starmer: 'Government is losing control of where the virus is'
Sir Keir Starmer has called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to apologise for a "near collapse" in the government's coronavirus test and trace system.
The Labour leader told the BBC ministers had "lost control of where the virus is", making the need for further restrictions "more likely".
He added that "fixing testing" should be the "number one priority".
The health secretary said extra resources were being put towards speeding up test results.
Matt Hancock blamed a spike in those without symptoms seeking tests for an increase in demand, but said this had fallen in the last week or so.
But he admitted the proportion of test results being turned around within the government's 24-hour target period "clearly needs to go up".
Sir Keir's call for an apology over testing comes as the government introduces fines of up to £10,000 for people who fail to self-isolate after being ordered to do so.
A new legal duty in England will require people to self-isolate if they test positive for the virus, or are traced as a close contact, from 28 September.
The UK government hopes the new fines will be replicated in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, which have powers to set their own coronavirus rules.
'Prepare for autumn'
Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr programme, Sir Keir said Labour would support "whatever measure" ministers take to suppress virus cases.
But he added: "If I were the prime minister, I would apologise for the fact we're in this situation with testing.
"Throughout the summer, we were saying 'prepare for the autumn'. Instead, we had the exams fiasco.
"I would make fixing testing the number one priority, and reinstate the daily press conferences so we know what's going on."
Asked whether problems with testing made a second nationwide lockdown more likely, Sir Keir said: "I don't think a lockdown is inevitable.
"But I do think it's now more likely because of the near collapse of testing".
The warning comes after the head of England's test and trace system said earlier this week that demand for tests was "significantly outstripping" supply.
Baroness Harding told MPs the return of children to school classrooms meant test demand in England among under-17s had doubled.
Need for 'prioritisation'
"I don't think anybody was expecting to see the really sizable increase in demand that has happened over the last few weeks," she said.
Also speaking to Andrew Marr, Mr Hancock said: "Thankfully, the demand has come down a bit this week."
He said the government had been "clearer and more stringent" about prioritising tests for "people who need them, who have symptoms".
Ahead of the expected publication of a list of which people will be put at the front of the queue for tests, he said: "We need to be clear about that prioritisation."
"We also need to build that [testing] capacity," he added.
Image copyright PA Media Image caption Schoolchildren around the UK have been returning to classrooms over the past few weeks
Meanwhile Sir Keir has also called for children to be prioritised for testing, adding there was a "desperate" need for increased testing to keep schools open.
He said children should be put in the "same position" as key workers, with tests available within 24 hours and results reported within a further day.
Speaking on Sky News, he said sending pupils and whole year groups home whilst children await test results could prevent a "meaningful return" to classrooms.
He added that this would require a total testing capacity bigger than the 500,000 target currently promised by the government by the end of next month.
Online Labour conference
Sir Keir's interview comes as he prepares to address Labour members next week during the party's online conference, which began on Saturday.
Renamed Labour Connected, the four-day event replaces the party's traditional party conference in Liverpool, which has been cancelled due to the pandemic.
Sir Keir said the event would give the party an opportunity for "changing and refocusing on winning the next election".
But ahead of the event, he has been warned against "watering down" the "radical policies" of his leadership campaign by the head of the Labour-affiliated Fire Brigades Union.
| WeChat: Judge blocks US attempts to ban downloads of Chinese app |
Published Date: 2020-09-20
Image copyright Reuters
A judge has blocked a US government attempt to ban the Chinese messaging and payments app, WeChat.
US Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler said the ban raised serious questions related to the constitution's first amendment, guaranteeing free speech.
The Department of Commerce had announced a bar on WeChat appearing in US app stores from Sunday, effectively shutting it down.
The Trump administration has alleged it threatens national security.
It says the app could pass user data to the Chinese government.
Both WeChat and China have strongly denied the claim. Tencent, the conglomerate that owns WeChat, had previously described the US ban as "unfortunate".
The ruling comes just after TikTok, which was also named in the Department of Commerce order, reached a deal with US firms Oracle and Walmart to hopefully allow them to keep operating.
What happened in court?
The case came to court after a group of US WeChat users challenged President Donald Trump's executive order that sought to shut WeChat down in the country.
The US Justice Department argued that blocking the executive order would "frustrate and displace the president's determination of how best to address threats to national security".
However Judge Beeler, sitting in San Francisco, noted that "while the general evidence about the threat to national security related to China (regarding technology and mobile technology) is considerable, the specific evidence about WeChat is modest".
Why does the US want the apps banned?
In a statement, the US Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the decision to block the app was taken "to combat China's malicious collection of American citizens' personal data".
The department said WeChat collected "vast swathes of data from users, including network activity, location data, and browsing and search histories".
Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption 'We are not happy with China' - US President Donald Trump
Friday's statement from the commerce department said the governing Chinese Communist Party "has demonstrated the means and motives to use these apps to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and the economy of the US".
Tencent, which owns WeChat, has said that messages on its app are private.
More than just an app
WeChat is used by nearly 20 million people in the US - and pretty much exclusively by the Chinese and South East Asian diaspora.
It is hard to describe how important it is in people's lives. It is not just an app, for many people WeChat IS their mobile phone. It is like Amazon, Facebook, WhatsApp, Tinder and much more, rolled into one.
One Malaysian expat told me she would "cry" if the app was blocked. She told me her family had spent time showing her elderly mother how to use WeChat - and worried she would be unable to communicate with her if the ban came into force.
Interestingly though, we have not heard much from WeChat's owners - Tencent. Why? Well, Tencent is one of the biggest games companies in the world - and has a huge market in America. If President Trump were to go further and target that section of the business it would really sting.
What is WeChat?
WeChat was set up in 2011. It is a multi-purpose app allowing users to send messages, make mobile payments and use local services. It has been described as an "app for everything" in China and has more than one billion monthly users.
Like all Chinese social media platforms, WeChat must censor content the government deems illegal. In March, a report said WeChat was censoring key words about the coronavirus outbreak from as early as 1 January.
But WeChat insists encryption means others cannot "snoop" on your messages, and that content such as text, audio and images are not stored on its servers - and are deleted once all intended recipients have read them.
| Battle of Britain: Flypast and Westminster Abbey service mark 80th anniversary |
Published Date: 2020-09-20
Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Planes flew over Westminster Abbey in a box formation
Westminster Abbey has held a memorial service marking 80 years since the Battle of Britain, in the venue's first major event since lockdown.
The battle, fought entirely in the air, was a dramatic turning point in World War Two.
The abbey has held a service of thanksgiving on Battle of Britain Sunday every year since 1944.
A flypast took place after the service, with a Hurricane and three Spitfires flying over central London.
This year's memorial service had significantly lower attendance and social distancing in place.
Fewer than 100 guests attended the service, which usually attracts about 2,000 people.
Image copyright Reuters
Image copyright PA Media
They included Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who gave a reading at the service, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and Marshal of the Royal Air Force Lord Stirrup, representing the Prince of Wales.
Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston, also gave a reading.
Guests wore masks - but those giving readings were allowed to remove them before doing so.
Each chair was placed two metres apart to allow social distancing, with protective plastic screens separating the north and south transepts of the abbey.
Image copyright PA Media Image caption The prime minister removed his mask before giving a reading
In his address, Chaplain in Chief the Venerable Air Vice Marshal John Ellis, honoured NHS staff and key workers in the "fight against an invisible army", drawing comparisons between the Battle of Britain and the coronavirus pandemic.
He said: "Once again there have been sacrifices made, often quiet, often humble, unnoticed by many.
"Although starkly different events, each of them has two things that are so important for our humanity - service and value. We have seen the selfless giving to a greater cause."
A statement from the organisers said the service on Sunday morning was "reduced in stature but not in spirit".
The last major service to take place at the venue was the Commonwealth Day service held on 9 March, two weeks before the UK went into lockdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The service, which remembered the 1,497 pilots and aircrew who died, was led by the Dean of Westminster Abbey, Dr David Hoyle.
Image copyright Reuters
Although the battle took place between July and October in 1940, 15 September is Battle of Britain Day - the date of a decisive victory by the RAF.
The RAF defended the skies over southern England, as Hitler's Luftwaffe flew daily attacks ahead of a planned invasion.
Some 1,120 Luftwaffe aircraft were sent to attack London, but were repelled by 630 RAF fighters - and two days later Hitler postponed his plans to invade Britain.
Commemorations have been limited this year due to coronavirus restrictions, but a variety of tributes took place across the UK, including special exhibitions from the Imperial War Museum.
| Egypt tomb: Sarcophagi buried for 2,500 years unearthed in Saqqara |
Published Date: 2020-09-20
Egypt tomb: Sarcophagi buried for 2,500 years unearthed in Saqqara Published duration 5 hours ago
image copyright EPA image caption Thirteen coffins were initially discovered earlier this month, but a further 14 have been unearthed
A total of 27 sarcophagi buried more than 2,500 years ago have been unearthed by archaeologists in an ancient Egyptian necropolis.
They were found inside a newly-discovered well at a sacred site in Saqqara, south of the capital, Cairo.
Thirteen coffins were discovered earlier this month, but a further 14 have followed, officials say.
The discovery is now said by experts to be one of the largest of its kind.
Images released show colourfully painted well-preserved wooden coffins and other smaller artefacts.
Saqqara was an active burial ground for more than 3,000 years and is a designated Unesco World Heritage Site.
image copyright EPA image caption One of the well-preserved coffins from the burial complex in the necropolis at Saqqara
"Initial studies indicate that these coffins are completely closed and haven't been opened since they were buried," Egypt's antiquities ministry said in a statement on Saturday.
The statement adds that Egypt's Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani initially delayed announcing the find until he could visit the site himself, where he thanked staff for working in difficult conditions down the 11m-deep (36ft) well.
image copyright EPA image caption Workers had to access the deep well via a shaft
Excavation work is continuing at the site as experts attempt to establish more details on the origins of the coffins.
image copyright EPA image caption Experts said the coffins had not been opened since they were buried
The ministry said it hoped to reveal "more secrets" at a press conference in the coming days.
image copyright Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities image caption Some of the coffins were decorated with colourful ornate patterns
Other artefacts discovered around the wooden coffins also appeared to be well-crafted and colourfully decorated.
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image copyright Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities image caption One of the smaller artefacts found with the coffins in Saqqara, Egypt
In November, a large cache of mummified animals discovered in 2018 by archaeologists near the Step Pyramid of Saqqara were displayed to the public for the first time.
The discovery included mummified cats, crocodiles, cobras and birds.
media caption Watch footage of the mummified big cats on display at the exhibition
Saqqara, located around 30km (18 miles) south of Cairo, is an ancient burial ground that served as the necropolis for Memphis, the capital of ancient Egypt, for more than two millennia.
In recent years, Egypt has ramped up its promotion of its archaeological finds in a bid to revive its vital but flagging tourism industry.
Related Topics Archaeology
| Spain triathlete gives up medal to rival who went wrong way |
Published Date: 2020-09-20
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The incident happened in the Santander Triathalon last weekend
A Spanish athlete is being applauded on social media after he sacrificed a top tier win in the 2020 Santander Triathlon to give it to a competitor who took a wrong turn on the course.
British athlete James Teagle was on course to win third place in the competition in Spain last weekend when he made a mistake metres from the finish.
Diego Méntrida overtook him but noticed the error and stopped to allow Teagle to cross first.
"He deserved it," Méntrida said later.
The race took place on 13 September but footage from the race has spread on social media in the past day, as many congratulate 21-year-old Méntrida for his show of sportsmanship.
On Friday Méntrida was awarded honorary third place by the organisers and the same 300 (£274) prize money as Teagle, according to Spanish newspaper El Mundo.
"This is something my parents and my club taught me since I was a child. In my view it should be a normal thing to do," Méntrida wrote on Instagram on Saturday where he thanked followers for applauding him.
Teagle's wrong turn happened less than 100m from the end of the race when he mistakenly ran towards spectators in a fenced area.
"He didn't notice the signs or they were misaligned," Méntrida told Eurosport after the race.
Méntrida had been behind Teagle and overtook him to continue on the final stretch - but then slowed his pace to allow his competitor to catch up.
Teagle shook hands with Méntrida in gratitude and stepped over the finishing line.
"When I saw that he had missed the route, I just stopped. James deserved this medal," Méntrida told Eurosport, adding that he would do the same a second time.
The race winner Javier Gomez Noya described his gesture as "the best in history".
Footballer Adrián San Miguel said on Twitter that it demonstrated "the real values of sport".
| Gore-Tex: Inventor of waterproof fabric Robert Gore dies aged 83 |
Published Date: 2020-09-20
Image copyright WL Gore & Associates Image caption Robert Gore won awards for his contributions to science
Robert W Gore, who invented Gore-Tex technology while working for his father's company in Maryland, US, has died aged 83.
Introduced in 1976, the fabric has protected countless walkers, runners and outdoor enthusiasts from wet weather, but is also found in numerous products.
A chemical engineer, Robert Gore became CEO of WL Gore & Associates.
He died on Thursday after a long illness, the company confirmed.
Gore was born in Utah and received bachelor's and advanced degrees from the University of Delaware and the University of Minnesota.
He joined WL Gore & Associates, which had been founded in 1958 by his father, his uncle Bill and Vieve Gore.
In a company lab in 1969 he discovered a new form of polymer, a substance made of large molecules that repeat to form long chains.
His father asked him to research a new way to manufacturer plumber's tape. Robert Gore discovered that by yanking a material called PTFE, the polymer stretched by 1,000% to create a microporous structure.
Image copyright WL Gore & Associates Image caption Robert Gore discovered that PTFE could be expanded through rapid stretching
This material created a fabric with billions of pores smaller than water droplets, forming a waterproof but breathable surface - or Gore-Tex.
"It was truly a pivot point in this company's history," Greg Hannon, WL Gore & Associates' chief technology officer, told Delaware Online newspaper last year..
Among its varied applications, Gore-Tex is used in medical devices including heart patches, guitar strings, space suits, and vacuum bags.
WL Gore & Associates became a billion-dollar company in 1996 during Gore's presidency. "We plan to leave a legacy to society and to future generations" including "infants with surgically reconstructed hearts that live because of our medical products," Gore said on the occasion.
In 2000 he stepped down as president of WL Gore & Associates. During his career he received several awards for his contributions to science including from the Society of Plastics Engineers.
Gore is survived by his wife as well as children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
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| Parliament surrendered role over Covid emergency laws, says Lady Hale |
Published Date: 2020-09-20
The former president of the supreme court says parliament surrendered its role over emergency laws restricting freedoms amid the coronavirus pandemic, in an intervention expected to embolden MPs threatening a Commons revolt.
Lady Hale, who retired in January after becoming the first woman to lead the supreme court in 2017, is critical of the way health regulations were imposed on the public with little or no parliamentary scrutiny.
The Coronavirus Act 2020, passed in March, gave government sweeping powers alongside other draconian regulations, and it is not surprising the police were as confused as the public as to what was law and what was not, she says in an opening essay for a collection published on Monday and seen by the Guardian.
In a reference to Dominic Cummings, the prime ministers chief adviser whose lockdown journey to Durham was revealed by the Guardian, Hale says: A certain government adviser obviously did know what the regulations were and what they said. Others might have also felt that they had a reasonable excuse for doing something like he did. But they did not do it, either because they did not know the law and just abided by what they were told or because they felt they were not safe.
Hence the outcry that there was one law for those in power and another law for the rest of us. There isnt. But thats how it felt to many.
Hale says parliament has resumed much of its traditional role but it did surrender control to the government at a crucial time. Maybe the lockdown and its severe consequences
were inevitable or at least the best solution that could be devised in the circumstances. My plea is that we get back to a properly functioning constitution as soon as we possibly can.
Growing numbers of Tory MPs are increasingly unhappy about the way restrictions on everyday life have been forced into law without the Commons being effectively consulted. They intend to register a protest on Wednesday 30 September, when there will be a vote on renewing the provisions of the Coronavirus Act.
The act gives the government a wide range of emergency powers to tackle the coronavirus crisis, although most of the Covid lockdown laws have been imposed using regulations under the Public Health Act 1984, which take effect prior to a parliamentary vote.
At the weekend Sir Graham Brady, the chair of the Conservative backbench 1922 Committee, signalled his willingness to rebel against the government to ensure parliament gets a greater say.
In March, parliament gave the government sweeping emergency powers at a time when parliament was about to go into recess and there was realistic concern that NHS care capacity might be overwhelmed by Covid-19, he told the Sunday Telegraph.
There is now no justification for ministers ruling by emergency powers without reference to normal democratic processes. It is essential that going forward all of these massively important decisions for family life, and affecting peoples jobs and businesses, should be exercised with proper supervision and control.
Lady Hale: 'My Desert Island Judgments? Number one would probably be the prorogation case' Read more
On 30 September, MPs plan to vote on an all or nothing proposition that would either extend the powers in the Coronavirus Act for six months or result in them lapsing.
In a recent report arguing that the governments sidelining of parliament for emergency measures had not always been justified, the Commons public administration committee said the government should allow votes on amendments. More than a dozen Tory MPs are said to share Bradys concerns, and one proposal is for an amendment that would ensure any new measures have to be voted on by MPs first.
Bradys intervention is a sign of the scale of disquiet among Boris Johnsons backbenchers about the way he is handling the pandemic.
Some Conservative MPs, such as Sir Desmond Swayne of New Forest West, are concerned the governments restrictions are too draconian. Swayne has complained that rules on face coverings were imposed without the democratic legitimate right to ask you the counter case and vote upon it in parliament. Others have expressed doubts about the rule of six.
The intervention from Hale is likely to fuel the discontent. In Justice Matters, a 153-page book published by the Legal Action Group, she explains that parliament has three constitutional functions: to pass laws, vote on government funding and hold it to account.
In March this year, almost exactly six months [after the prorogation ruling at the supreme court upheld the sovereignty of parliament, it] surrendered these functions in the face of Covid-19, she writes.
It voted to give the Treasury £260bn in contingencies and passed the Coronavirus Act. Furthermore a great deal of what the public was told they could or could not do was not in the regulations. It was just in government guidance.
| Jonathan Aitken given parliamentary pass despite jail sentence |
Published Date: 2020-09-20
The former Conservative minister Jonathan Aitken was awarded a grace-and-favour parliamentary pass despite the House of Commons claiming that ex-MPs jailed for more than a year were ineligible.
The passes allow former MPs unaccompanied access to the parliamentary estate even after they have ceased to serve their constituencies.
The Commons was forced to release details of how many times former MPs had accessed the estate after the information commissioner warned that the pass system appeared to be so unregulated that it risked being vulnerable to misuse.
When approached for comment, a spokesperson for the House of Commons insisted that this was incorrect and referenced the rule on criminal convictions. Former members passes are not provided to any member convicted of a criminal offence and sentenced to a period of imprisonment of one year or more, a spokesperson said.
However, data released to the Guardian revealed that Aitken, 78, used a pass during the period from July 2018 to June 2019. Public lists of former MPs with passes indicate he has held the pass continuously since at least December 2015.
In 1999 Aitken was jailed for 18 months after admitting perjury and perverting the course of justice during a failed attempt to sue the Guardian for libel. He had been an MP for Thanet in Kent for 23 years before losing his seat at the 1997 general election.
Asked why a pass had been awarded to Aitken in view of his prison sentence, the Commons spokesperson said that the former Speaker John Bercow had decided to ignore the rule in Aitkens case because his conviction was spent.
Regarding Mr Aitken, the then Speaker took a view that as his conviction was spent, Mr Aitken should be given a former members pass, she said. Neither Aitken nor Bercow responded to requests for comment.
Last week, the Guardian reported that former MPs had used the grace-and-favour passes more than 2,500 times in a single year, with some using them dozens of times.
Stewart Jackson, the Tory MP for Peterborough from 2005 to 2017, accessed the parliamentary estate 82 times between July 2018 and June 2019. Jackson, who was working for the lobbying firm Crosby Textor for part of this period, did not respond to questions about the purpose of his visits.
The Commons initially argued that data protection considerations meant the information should be withheld from the public. However, the information commissioner, who regulates freedom of information and data protection law, ordered that it should be disclosed.
Given that the evidence suggests that several of the pass holders are employed by lobbying or public relations companies, there is a legitimate concern about how such passes are used, the Information Commissioners Office said in a decision notice. Whilst the commissioner is not aware of any evidence to suggest widespread misuse of the passes, she does consider that the current system is vulnerable to abuse.
On Monday the Public Relations and Communications Association, a professional body for public relations officers, said it was unacceptable for any lobbyist to hold a parliamentary pass and echoed calls from transparency campaigners for the system to be reviewed.
It is simply wrong for a lobbyist to hold a parliamentary pass and that most certainly applies to ex-MPs, said Liam Herbert on behalf of the group. We urge the parliamentary authorities urgently to review their rules, and to remove parliamentary passes from ex-MPs who are now lobbyists. Parliament is not a lifelong membership club it is the body which makes the law of our country.