Monthly Archives: December 2017

Smith: MotoGP ride for developing KTM more demanding than I expected

Bradley Smith admits stepping up from a satellite team to the factory KTM MotoGP outfit in 2017 was far “more demanding physically and mentally” than he ever anticipated

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Michelin: Risk taking makes FE and WEC more suitable series than F1

Michelin believes a commitment to taking “risks” makes Formula E and the World Endurance Championship more suitable categories for it to be involved with than Formula 1

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Lawsuits, lies, and Colombian prisons: The downfall of two wildly successful tech entrepreneurs

Omar amanat

  • Prominent tech entrepreneurs Omar Amanat and Kaleil Isaza Tuzman were found guilty on numerous accounts of fraudulent charges in their dealings with former video management company KIT digital. 
  • Both Amanat and Tuzman have led successful but controversial entrepreneurial careers — and their guilty verdict marks a striking fall from prominence. 


For the past six weeks, a tangled case of complex fraud leveled against two prominent tech entrepreneurs unfolded in federal court. On December 26, the trial’s defendants, Omar Amanat and Kaleil Isaza Tuzman, were found guilty on numerous accounts of fraudulent charges, as originally reported by Bloomberg

For both Amanat and Tuzman, the conviction is a striking fall from power: The two defendants have made millions of dollars and led successful entrepreneurial careers that have all but unraveled over the course of the past year. 

The court case revealed a series of convoluted legal infractions performed by Amanat and Tuzman in their work with the presently insolvent video-technology company, KIT Digital, a former multi-million dollar leader in the cloud-based video management industry. 

According to Bloomberg, Tuzman, who served as the company’s CEO, and Amanat, who dealt in a series of company investments, covered up losses, inflated the value of shares, and defrauded investors. 

The pair are expected to serve a minimum of a decade in jail and their sentencing will be delivered in April 2018. 

Here’s a breakdown of Amanat and Tuzman’s descent:

Lavish wealth and lurid lawsuits

By the time he was 30 years old, Omar Amanat had sold off his brokerage firm, Tradespace, for $100 million. Amanat was already flush in wealth and had turned his interests towards philanthropy and film production, flaunting connections with A-list celebrities like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. He was known for his lavish lifestyle, an tendency for quoting the Persian poet Rumi, and appearing in designer garb alongside his wife, supermodel Helena Houdova, at high-profile events. omar amanat

But despite Amanat’s effortless exterior, a series of sensational controversies had begun to dog his career. 

In 2014, a multi-million-dollar real estate deal in Thailand collapsed amid a lurid lawsuit with Amanat and his business partner, the Russian oligarch Vladislav Doronin.

Two years later, Amanat’s name was once more featured prominently in the papers. He had leased his lavish Hampton home to a hedge-fund trader, Brett Barna, who allegedly trashed the $20 million estate in a widely publicized madcap party

The New York Times reported that  Amanat had threatened to sue Barna for $1 million and was hounding him for thousands of dollars in damages.  

But Amanat’s threats were short-lived. Days after he had threatened to sue, Amanat received a visit in his New Jersey home from the FBI, which charged Amanat with multiple counts of fraud.

Right now, Amanat awaits his sentencing in jail. 

On his personal website, he describes the trial’s outcome as an “injustice in America.”

The facts of this case will all be made plain to see shortly,” Amanat wrote. “You’ve only seen snippets. You’ve only seen what they want you to see.”

A successful dot-com millionaire serves time in a Colombian prison

Kaleil Isaza Tuzman is considered one of the preeminent figures of the dot-com boom. 

 A Harvard graduate, Tuzman worked as an analyst for five years on Wall Street, before launching his own company,, which is featured in the documentary ‘’

Kaleil Isaza Tuzman

Tuzman, who is considered an expert in the field of digital media, went on to join KIT Digital as the company’s chief executive.

Tuzman was charged with fraud for his involvement with KIT Digital in 2015. He was reportedly apprehended on a business trip in Bogotá, Colombia by Colombian officials, which had been sent to arrest Tuzman at the behest of the US government. Tuzman spent 10 months in “La Picota,” a notorious local prison.

Tuzman described his prison time to the New York Times as a harrowing ordeal: The former CEO claims he was abused, raped, and threatened at knifepoint by Colombian authorities. Multiple attempts on Tuzman’s behalf by his attorneys to the US Embassy were met to no avail. 

He was later extradited to the US where he faced trial alongside Amanat.

SEE ALSO: The father of virtual reality sounds off on the changing culture of Silicon Valley, the impending #MeToo backlash, and why he left Google for Microsoft

DON’T MISS: The 50 best-paying big companies, according to employees

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NOW WATCH: The differences that matter between Splenda, Equal, Sweet’N Low, and sugar

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Ducati calls MotoGP's late testing rule changes 'disrespectful'

Ducati has called MotoGP’s late decision to change its testing restrictions “disrespectful”, after the Italian manufacturer had to alter is arrangements to suit the new rules.

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The Ferrari that started the Schumacher F1-dominance era

Michael Schumacher had spent four seasons with Ferrari when he finally won his first Formula 1 drivers’ title for the team in the F1-2000

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24 Diversity Strides the Fashion and Beauty Industries Made in 2017

Here’s some good news to start your 2018: Diversity and inclusivity seem to be on the rise — at least in the fashion and beauty realms. In 2017, British Vogue announced its first black editor-in-chief. The 2018 Pirelli Calendar got an all-black cast (as did Gucci’s Pre-Fall 2017 campaign). ELLE made the (long-overdue) announcement that a plus-size model would be gracing its cover and curve model Paloma Elsesser posed in red lipstick and streetwear for Fenty Beauty, then naked for Glossier. Allure broke up with the term “anti-aging” and 69-year-old Maye Musk scored a CoverGirl contract. Transgender actress Hari Nef fronted massive campaigns for L’Oréal Paris and Gucci and trans model Valentina Sampaio landed her first (three) Vogue cover(s). The Spring 2018 runways were the most inclusive ever. All this to say, plenty of diversity strides were made.

Not that there weren’t setbacks. Vogue defined “gender fluidity” as “borrowing from your boyfriend’s closet” rather than “identifying outside of the binary of male or female.” Vivienne Westwood sent cornrows down her Spring 2018 runway. Victoria’s Secret hired not one plus-size model. Diversity on magazine covers barely edged forward. And when it came to plus-size and transgender castings (on the runways, on magazine covers, in ad campaigns), tokenism ran rampant.

All in all, we’ve got a long way to go. Still, in the spirit of the New Year, let’s focus on the positive, shall we? Click through the gallery above to read up on 24 times the fashion and beauty industries embraced diversity and inclusivity in 2017. May 2018 see even greater strides.

[ Next: Year in Review: 25 Fashion News Stories That Dominated Our Feeds in 2017 ]

The post 24 Diversity Strides the Fashion and Beauty Industries Made in 2017 appeared first on theFashionSpot.

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Las Vegas is bolstering security for New Year's Eve with snipers, the National Guard, and a hostage rescue team

las vegas strip

  • Las Vegas is bolstering its security measures for its New Year’s Eve celebrations on the Strip, which more than 300,000 people are expected to attend.
  • The heightened security comes in the wake of a deadly mass shooting three months ago, in which a gunman opened fire on concertgoers from a nearby hotel.
  • Las Vegas has received assistance from the Department of Homeland Security, including extra officers, snipers, a hostage rescue team, and helicopters.

Three months after a gunman rained bullets on a country music festival in Las Vegas, the city is preparing for more than 300,000 people to descend on the Strip to celebrate New Year’s Eve — and scores of local and federal officers will be there in the hopes of preventing another massacre.

For the first time in the city’s history, the Department of Homeland Security has given Las Vegas’s New Year’s Eve festivities its top special assessment rating, a designation that comes with extra resources like federal officers, intelligence, snipers, an FBI hostage rescue team, and helicopters with tactical security forces, The New York Times reported.

The October 1 massacre, which killed 58 and left hundreds injured, was the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history, and has served as a warning to large cities hosting major public events that could be seen as targets.

In an effort to combat that threat, cities like Las Vegas and New York have bolstered their security plans for New Year’s Eve, when celebrations are expected to draw hundreds of thousands of revelers.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, for instance, said it will deploy every single officer to work a shift between New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

“We need to be able to focus on multiple shooters, on one or more above the ground — we’ve got to multiply our forces,” Chief Chris Jones told The Times.

He added that more than 5,000 officers will be placed along the Strip, and nearly all of the four miles it comprises will be closed to traffic.

‘Out of an abundance of caution’

nypd times square new year's eveThe New York Police Department, too, is sending in rooftop observation teams and counter-snipers into buildings to spot or disarm any high-rise shooters taking aim at the crowds watching the ball drop in Times Square, The Times reported.

The NYPD, keenly aware of recent terrorist attacks in New York City, are sending out Labrador retrievers that can smell explosive particles on would-be suicide bombers, like the man who partially detonated a makeshift bomb in one of the city’s underground passageways earlier this month.

The NYPD is also placing sand trucks around Times Square to prevent vehicle attacks, like the one that killed eight people on Halloween after a driver plowed his rented pickup truck down a lower Manhattan bike path.

NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said at a press conference Thursday there were no direct, credible threats to the city’s New Year’s Eve events, but the security measures were being tightened regardless.

“Out of an abundance of caution, however, you’ll see a stronger police presence out there than we’ve seen even in recent years,” O’Neill said.

SEE ALSO: The Bronx fire that killed 12 was apparently caused by a 3-year-old child playing with the burners on a stove

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NOW WATCH: How the net neutrality repeal will hurt small businesses — including anyone who sells things on sites like Etsy

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Super Formula title needed for F1 move – Honda junior Matsushita

Honda protege Nobuharu Matsushita says he must win the 2018 Super Formula title to stand a chance of graduating to Formula 1

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Why the Ferrari 641 should have won a Formula 1 title in 1990

The Ferrari 641 was not only arguably one of the most beautiful Ferrari Formula 1 cars, but it also came so close to taking Alain Prost to the world championship

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New, grisly displays in a Mexican tourist hub underscore spiraling narco violence

Mexico bridge narcomanta body hanging

  • Bodies were found hanging from bridges in Baja California Sur several days before Christmas, along with banners known as “narcomantas.”
  • Such displays were common during previous times of inter-cartel fighting, but it’s the first time one has appeared in Baja California Sur.
  • Violence has risen precipitously through Mexico over the past three years.

During the early morning hours of December 20, the bodies of six men were found hanging from bridges in the northwestern Mexican state of Baja California Sur, a popular tourist hub where deadly violence has risen precipitously in recent years.

Around 4:30 a.m., two bodies were found hanging from a bridge near the international airport in the municipality of Los Cabos, at the southern end of the state. Around 5 a.m., two more bodies were found in Cabo San Lucas, hanging from a bridge over a highway connecting that city to San Jose del Cabo.

Around 6 a.m., another two bodies were found hanging from a highway bridge near the international airport in the capital, La Paz, which is north of Los Cabos.

Homicides in Baja California Baja California Sur

There has been a sharp increase in violence — much of it attributed to fighting between organized-crime groups — in Baja California Sur over the past three years.

The 650 homicide victims in the state between January and November this year was a 223% increase and a 284% increase over the same periods in 2016 and 2015, respectively.

But the December 20 incidents were reportedly the first time bodies had been found hung from bridges in the state.

‘A cleansing’

Narcomantas — public announcements by criminals that often accompany corpses — were left with the bodies.

They were attributed to the “Guzmanes y Tegoripeños” gang, and one reportedly said, in part, “This is what will happen to anyone who does not fall into line with us. It has been made more than clear that we hold all the power and that Baja north and south are ours.”

Several such signs have been attributed to the gang over the past two months, threatening government officials and boasting of “a cleansing” in the area.

A sign attributed to the group also appeared in the days after Baja California Sur’s human-rights ombudsman and his son were gunned down in late November.

The gang’s name appears to refer to Tegoripa, a small town in Sinaloa state’s Badiraguato municipality, which is where Sinaloa cartel chief Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was born. Guzman’s surname appears to be the basis for the other half of the gang’s name.

Bodies hung from bridges or other structures with narcomantas appeared frequently elsewhere in Mexico during the major cartel clashes of the 2000s and early 2010s.

Several such displays were found around Tijuana in late 2016, and a body was hung from a bridge in nearby Nayarit state a few days before the incident in Baja California Sur, part of a wave of killings in the state suspected of being organized-crime related. Narcomantas were found at the scene of several of those crimes, including at the bridge.

Mexico Monterrey bridge sign narcomanta Zetas crime scene

Tourist hubs like Los Cabos have long avoided the kind of bloodshed seen elsewhere in the country during the last decade of its drug war.

But those areas have seen increasing violence in recent months.

Amid the dizzying increase in homicides through Baja California, the Los Cabos municipality, home to Cabo San Lucas, has also seen a spike: from 49 homicide cases (which can contain more than one victim) through all of 2016 to 286 through the first 11 months of this year — a 483% increase.

Mexico Cancun soldiers mall shooting

As of the end of the summer, increasing violence in those places, which has largely taken place outside tourist areas, hadn’t appreciably affected tourist activity (though feelings of insecurity among residents have risen).

From June to August, Los Cabos saw a 6% increase in hotel occupancy compared to the previous year, as well as a 17% increase in passenger arrivals during the first nine months of the year.

Nevertheless, violence in those tourist areas did prompt the US State Department to issue a travel warning for Baja California Sur at the end of August. Quintana Roo, home to Cancun and Play del Carmen, was also included.

Many areas of Mexican have been listed for some time, but the August notice was the first time those two states had been included.

At the time, Mexican officials admitted there were areas of concern in the country, but they also said the timing of the notice could have been a sign of political maneuvers by Washington in relation to ongoing NAFTA talks.

SEE ALSO: Deadly violence in Mexico is at record levels, and new crime data adds to the ugly picture

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NOW WATCH: The wives of El Chapo’s henchmen reveal how they hid and spent $2 billion

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