Top international headlines: Supply chains face strain as companies stockpile

Trump family facing criminal charges, Colonial Pipeline pays off cyber-criminals and more in this week’s headlines.

France plans on giving some of its IMF allocation to Africa and urges rich nations to do the same, while it holds on to an oligarch’s sprawling Riviera chateau. Meanwhile, in the US, ransomware hackers walk off with millions and Trump readies himself to fight criminal charges

Companies are panic-buying
Consumers rushed to panic-buy at the start of the pandemic last year, infamously choosing to stock up on toilet roll. Now, almost 18 months later, companies are starting to follow suit.

Producers and manufacturers are buying more material than they need to survive the breakneck speed at which demand for goods is recovering and assuage that primal fear of running out, reports Bloomberg.

Supply chains are bursting at the seams, trying to deal with shortages, transportation bottlenecks and price spikes.

Unexpected incidents like the Suez Canal blockage, a successful hacking of the largest fuel pipeline in the US as well as the impact of another Covid-19 wave in India have further contributed to the matter.

Trump faces criminal charges
Former US president Donald Trump and his family are facing the possibility of criminal charges related to business dealings.

This was announced by the office of New York state attorney general, which said it was investigating the Trump Organization in a “criminal capacity”, reports AFP.

Trump has denied wrongdoing, saying it was “a continuation of the greatest political witch hunt in the history of the United States”.

DarkSide ransom paid
Colonial Pipeline has confirmed it paid a $4.4 million (R61.87 million) ransom to the cyber-criminal gang responsible for taking the US fuel pipeline offline.

Chief executive Joseph Blount told the Wall Street Journal that the decision was made after discussions with experts who had dealt with DarkSide, the criminal organisation behind the attack. He said he authorised the payment because of uncertainty over how long the shutdown would continue.

It was reported that the 8,900km pipeline carries 2.5 million barrels a day and 45 percent of the East Coast's supply of diesel, petrol and jet fuel.

Billions more for Africa
French President Emmanuel Macron has called on rich countries to follow France’s example to reallocate part of their IMF special drawing rights to Africa.

The continent is expected to receive $33 billion (R464.01 billion) of a $650 billion (R 9139.66 billion) injection that the IMF plans to provide to member countries this year. Should countries heed the call, Africa will be the recipient of $100 billion (R1406.10 billion) from the IMF.

According to Bloomberg, the IMF estimates that Africa faces a funding gap of $345 billion (R4851.05 billion) through to 2023.

France holds on to Berezovsky’s chateau
A $122 million (R 1715.44 million) Riviera chateau once owned by the late Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky remains in the hands of the French state, as part of a money laundering suit, after a court dismissed an attempt by creditors to lift a confiscation, reports Bloomberg.

It is believed that he left debts worth about $419 million (R 5891.56 million) when he died in 2013. Berezovsky’s fortune declined when he opposed Russian president Vladimir Putin’s election in 2000.