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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – APRIL 6

Panama Covid-19 update – less confirmed cases added today than recently, though still over 100, and only 1 more fatality reported.  A “woman” day here today, with only those women allowed out 2 hours – though presume the 50% of taxi drivers allowed to operate must be mostly men…  More worrying is that the number of arrests for lockdown violators probably greater than the number of virus cases.  Life goes on, however, even after panic when laptop stopped working this morning.  New desktop not due until next week, but managed to find a place that could supply a new laptop in 2 days (but then the “broken” laptop decided to start working again…ho hum).

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6 April 2020

NEW SAFETY GUIDE ON SAFETY OF RADIATION SOURCES USED FOR INSPECTION AND NON-MEDICAL HUMAN IMAGING

On 31 March, the International Atomic Energy Agency advised that non-medical human imaging is the use of radiation to screen people for purposes other than medical diagnosis, medical treatment or biomedical research. Ensuring its safe use is the focus of the recently issued IAEA Safety Guide on this subject.  Such imaging includes screening of people to detect concealed objects, for instance prior to boarding an aircraft or when visiting a prison or to determine the presence of drugs in the bodies of suspected drug couriers.  It provides detailed guidance, based on the experience of national authorities, on how to safely use X-ray generators and other types of radiation sources for inspection purposes and for non-medical human imaging.

https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/new-safety-guide-on-safety-of-radiation-sources-used-for-inspection-and-non-medical-human-imaging-now-available

 

UK: NO VICARIOUS LIABILITY FOR ROGUE EMPLOYEE’S DATA PROTECTION BREACH

Gowling WLG has produced a briefing about the recent Supreme Court decision in the Morrison case, in which it was found that the company was not responsible for a rogue employee’s disclosure of the workforce’s payroll data.

https://reaction.gowlingwlg.com/rs/ct.aspx?ct=24F76818D3E10AEDC1D180AAD72F961EDFBE678FACA734FB7AC04B5C4BC9A920F35C1D89D3C3009C70483738FC465BF089EED3444509110EF699591994E02E8EDD57D3D40206C4B11C493B6E368F2EB60C872B50E82AA74E792C846380551

 

EU STRESSES HUMANITARIAN EXEMPTIONS IN SANCTIONS ALLOW FOR COVID-19 SUPPORT

A Declaration on 3 April from the EU has echoed that of the UN Secretary General that while both have called for an end to armed conflicts during the crisis, and that the terrorist threat has not gone away, the EU also stresses that sanctions should not impede the delivery of essential equipment and supplies necessary to fight the coronavirus and limit its spread worldwide.  It underlines that UN and EU sanctions provide for humanitarian exceptions.

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2020/04/03/declaration-by-the-high-representative-josep-borrell-on-behalf-of-the-eu-on-the-un-secretary-general-s-appeal-for-an-immediate-global-ceasefire/

 

SUPPLY-CHAIN FINANCE IS NEW RISK IN CRISIS

In an article on 4 April, the Wall Street Journal is concerned about supply chain finance, which took off after the 2008 financial crisis, and allows companies to borrow money to pay their bills.  It gives them flexibility with their cash for a low cost, but can paint a favourable picture of their liquidity because the deals effectively boost working capital but do not count as borrowing and do not need to be disclosed.  It says that the lack of reporting makes it impossible to know the scale of the lending, but estimates put it at hundreds of billions of dollars globally. It is widely used in sectors such as consumer packaged goods, telecommunications, chemicals, retail and aerospace.  The 3 biggest ratings companies have each issued reports last month highlighting the dangers of supply-chain financing, a fast-growing, opaque technique for delaying payments to suppliers to improve cash flow.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/supply-chain-finance-is-new-risk-in-crisis-11585992601

 

COMPANIES ARE FAILING TO DEPLOY KEY SOLUTION FOR EMAIL SECURITY

On 2 April, Dark Reading published an article claiming that a single — albeit complex-to-deploy — technology could stop the most expensive form of fraud – BEC or “business email compromise”.  In 2019, it is reported that the FBI received nearly 24,000 complaints of BEC fraud totalling $1.8 billion in losses.  It is said that Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance, or DMARC, significantly reduces attackers’ abilities to spoof targeted domains and business executives by validating the path from the sending server to the receiver’s inbox. In addition, the technology gives an organisation’s email administrator visibility into how their domain is being abused in emails.

https://www.darkreading.com/application-security/companies-are-failing-to-deploy-key-solution-for-email-security/d/d-id/1337478

 

UK: HIGH COURT UPHOLDS CONVICTION OF 2 MEN FOR CARRYING A FLAG OF THE KURDISTAN WORKERS PARTY, AN ORGANISATION PROSCRIBED UNDER THE TERRORISM ACT 2000

In its update on 5 April, 6KBW College Hill reported on the unsuccessful appeal by 2 men who had been convicted of taking part in a demonstration in which each carried a flag of the Kurdistan Workers Party, an organisation proscribed under the Terrorism Act 2000.   The appeal was concerned with whether the offence was one of strict liability, and if it were compatible with the ECHR.

https://blog.6kbw.com/posts/weekly-digest-6-april-2020

 

IF YOUR FORCE MAJEURE CLAUSE DOES NOT COVER COVID-19 ISSUES – CONSIDER THE ENGLISH LAW DOCTRINE OF FRUSTRATION

On 1 April, law firm HFW issued an article, saying that it does so after receiving numerous queries from clients as to whether the force majeure clauses in their contracts will protect them from any issues caused by delays and/or defaults arising from COVID-19.  It suggests that one possible option open to parties may be to rely on the English law doctrine of frustration.

https://www.hfw.com/Frustrated-If-your-force-majeure-clause-does-not-cover-Covid-19-issues

 

WHAT CORONAVIRUS MEANS FOR ONLINE FRAUD, FORCED SEX, DRUG SMUGGLING AND WILDLIFE CRIME

On 3 April, an article from the Brookings Institute in the US says that COVID-19 is influencing crime and illicit economies around the world.  Some of the immediate effects are likely to be ephemeral; others will take longer to emerge but are likely to be lasting.  For example, street crimes in the US and Europe has reduced, for obvious reasons, and with people at home, burglaries and home invasions have become more difficult.  However, with more people working and operating from home, expect a rise in online frauds, and countries that provide economic relief to those unemployed as a result of coronavirus can expect a rise in scams, with online thieves pretending to represent social security agencies and seek to obtain confidential information.  It remarks that border closures and the shutdown of much international air traffic means that smuggling illicit drugs long distances has become harder, and it is reported that Mexican drug-trafficking organisations said to be facing shortages of precursor agents for the production of fentanyl, as traffic from China and India — which normally provide supply — has been disrupted.

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2020/04/03/what-coronavirus-means-for-online-fraud-forced-sex-drug-smuggling-and-wildlife-trafficking

 

ISLE OF MAN CONFIRMS REMOVAL OF 1 NAME FROM SANCTIONS LISTS

A news release on 6 April confirmed that Ibrahim MOHAMED KHALIL had been removed from the list of those subject to sanctions connected with ISIL/Al-Qaida.

https://www.gov.im/news/2020/apr/06/financial-sanctions-isil-daesh-and-al-qaida-1/

US PROSECUTORS CHARGE FORMER FOX EXECUTIVES AND OTHERS IN FIFA CORRUPTION PROBE

On 6 April, Reuters reported new criminal charges against 2 former executives of 21st Century Fox Inc and a former co-CEO of Spanish media company Imagina Media Audiovisual SL, and Full Play Group SA, a Uruguayan sports marketing company.  The charges arise from a long-running investigation of corruption surrounding FIFA, soccer’s world governing body.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-soccer-fifa-usa/u-s-prosecutors-charge-former-fox-executives-others-in-fifa-corruption-probe-idUKKBN21O2N7

 

LAW SOCIETY OF ENGLAND AND WALES REQUESTS FURTHER POSTPONEMENT OF TRUST REGISTRATION DATE UNDER EU 5th MONEY LAUNDERING DIRECTIVE

STEP on 6 April reported that the Society has asked HMRC to consider deferring the commencement dates of the new Trust Registration Service (TRS) rules based on 5AMLD, and to defer the commencement date of the EU’s DAC6 Directive.  The current plan requires unregistered trusts already in existence to be registered by 31 March 2021.  The DAC6 disclosure and reporting rules for intermediaries involved in designing and promoting cross-border tax planning schemes are due to take effect in July.

https://www.step.org/news/law-society-england-and-wales-requests-further-postponement-trust-registration-date-under-5amld

 

COLOMBIA: VICE-PRESIDENT “TIED TO SENIOR NARCO”

Colombia Reports on 6 April carried a claim that Vice President Marta Lucia Ramirez and her husband were in business with a senior drug trafficker.  It is reported that they worked together with a former Medellin Cartel narco in the development of a real estate project in Bogota.

https://colombiareports.com/colombias-vice-president-tied-to-senior-narco-report

 

TAX AVOIDANCE PROMOTERS TARGET RETURNING NHS WORKERS

Website Taxation on 6 April reported that HMRC is concerned that promoters of tax avoidance schemes are targeting workers returning to the NHS to help respond to the coronavirus outbreak.

https://www.taxation.co.uk/Articles/tax-avoidance-promoters-target-returning-nhs-workers

 

POLICE IN AUSTRALIA ARREST 2 MEN IN CONNECTION WITH A $2.6 MILLION BEC SCAM INVOLVING PHONEY INVOICES

Infosecurity on 6 April reported that police in Australia have arrested 2 men in connection with a BEC (business email compromise) scam involving phoney invoices.  They are believed to part of a larger syndicate.

https://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/news/australians-arrested-over-26m/

 

UK: DEPARTMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL TRADE OUTLINES SUPPORT AVAILABLE TO 160,000 EXPORTERS AND INTERNATIONAL INVESTORS DUE TO COVID-19

On 6 April, a news release from DIT advised that guidance on how to help secure export finance to keep trading during the coronavirus outbreak has been set out by government in direct communication to 160,000 exporters and investors.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-dit-offers-support-to-exporters-and-investors

 

DUE DILIGENCE IN THE AGE OF CORONAVIRUS

On 6 April, Cadwalader Wickersham and Taft LLP published an article – one of very, very many concerned with the coronavirus and its effect on business and business activities – saying that, in the context of COVID-19, there are significant challenges involved in conducting due diligence: hard-copy documents are inaccessible, in-person meetings have moved online, and on-site visits may be impossible.   It provides advice on how companies can and should nonetheless continue to comply with the law by adjusting policies and procedures, mitigating new risks that arise through the use of alternative diligence methods, and by staying abreast of changing regulatory expectations.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/covid-19-update-are-you-for-real-due-33150/

 

DEFENCE SECTOR CORRUPTION, AN UNDERESTIMATED FOE IN TIMES OF CRISIS

On 6 April, a Commentary from RUSI says that, as states look to militaries to help combat the coronavirus outbreak, they risk empowering forces weakened by corruption and poor governance.  It refers to Transparency International’s research which shows that in many developing and fragile states, defence sectors tend to be poorly governed, with high levels of secrecy and dysfunctional oversight structures often enable fraud, corruption and a wide range of abuses. The coronavirus crisis, like others before, has the potential to exacerbate these vulnerabilities, weakening militaries when they are needed most.  The article warns that, in the longer term and as the crisis recedes, it is key that attention to oversight and control of the defence sector becomes a priority, especially in fragile and conflict-affected states.

https://rusi.org/commentary/defence-sector-corruption-underestimated-foe-times-crisis

 

$1 MILLION PENALTY FOR MISLEADING “MADE IN USA” CLAIMS

On 6 April, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reported that the Federal Trade Commission reports that a home products company has agreed to pay $1 million as part of a proposed settlement of charges that it made false, misleading, or unsubstantiated claims that certain of its products are all or virtually all made in the US.

https://www.strtrade.com/news-publications-made-in-USA-claim-penalty-FTC-040620.html

 

DARKNET MARKET BANS SNAKE OIL CORONA “CURES”

On 6 April, OCCRP reported that Tor-hosted darknet site Monopoly Market has banned vendors seeking to use the platform to promote fraudulent coronavirus vaccines and cures.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/12021-darknet-market-bans-snake-oil-corona-cures

 

CYBERCRIMINALS TARGETING CRITICAL HEALTHCARE INSTITUTIONS WITH RANSOMWARE

A news release from Interpol on 6 April advised that INTERPOL has issued a warning to organisations at the forefront of the global response to the COVID-19 outbreak that have also become targets of ransomware attacks, which are designed to lock them out of their critical systems in an attempt to extort payments.  INTERPOL has issued a Purple Notice alerting police in all its 194 member countries to the heightened ransomware threat.

https://www.interpol.int/News-and-Events/News/2020/Cybercriminals-targeting-critical-healthcare-institutions-with-ransomware

 

US CUSTOMS SEIZES $150,000 IN COUNTERFEIT DESIGNER BRAND CHARMS FROM HONG KONG

A news release from US Customs & Border Protection on 6 April announced that officers in Pittsburgh recently seized a shipment of 645 designer brand name charms shipped from Hong Kong in an express courier parcel. If authentic, the charms would have had a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $150,150.

https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/pittsburgh-cbp-seizes-150k-counterfeit-designer-brand-charms-hong-kong

 

WRONGFUL TRADING: THE LEGAL POSITION IN JERSEY

On 6 April, Appleby published an article following the recent announcement of a temporary suspension of wrongful trading rules in the UK, meaning that company directors would not be personally liable for their decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The article explains the current situation in Jersey, saying that the legal position in Jersey remains that a director has a duty not to allow the company to trade if they know (or is reckless as to whether) the company will not avoid insolvency.

https://www.applebyglobal.com/publications/wrongful-trading-legal-position-in-jersey/

 

CORONAVIRUS: IRISH REVENUE RELAXES CORPORATION TAX PRESENCE RULES

On 6 April, Out-Law published an article saying that the Irish Revenue has issued new guidance for companies, saying that it is prepared to disregard an individual’s presence or absence from Ireland for corporation tax purposes if it is due to travel restrictions related to coronavirus.

https://www.pinsentmasons.com/out-law/news/coronavirus-irish-revenue-presence-rules

 

US: MORE THAN HALF A MILLION MEDICAL SUPPLIES SEIZED FROM PRICE GOUGERS TO BE REDISTRIBUTED

On 6 April, Homeland Preparedness reported that the federal government has seized hundreds of thousands of personal protective equipment (PPE) from price gougers with the intent of redistributing them to front line workers working amid the COVID-19 crisis in New York and New Jersey.  The items included around 192,000 N95 respirator masks, 598,000 medical grade gloves, and 130,000 surgical masks, hand sanitiser, disinfectant, among other items.

https://homelandprepnews.com/stories/46891-more-than-half-a-million-medical-supplies-seized-from-price-gougers-to-be-redistributed/

https://fcpablog.com/2020/04/03/compliance-alert-covid-19-related-hoarding-and-profiteering-are-now-federal-offenses/

 

ADAPTATION OF FRENCH BANKRUPTCY LAW TO THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS

On 6 April, Dentons published an article saying that to help protect companies, employees and managers from the cash flow consequences of the current health crisis, the French Government, has made temporary changes to its bankruptcy law.

https://www.dentons.com/en/insights/alerts/2020/march/30/covid-19-firm-in-difficulty

 

NEW ZEALAND: FORMAL PUBLIC WARNING TO BROKER FIRM OVER AML FAILINGS, WITH PRIVATE WARNINGS TO 6 OTHERS

On 6 March, a release on Mondo Visione advised that the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) has issued a formal warning to NZX-accredited broker Tiger Brokers (NZ) Limited for failing to have several adequate AML protections in place.  The regulator has also privately warned 6 other businesses over their AML practices, mainly due to late auditing of their systems and controls.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/new-zealand-financial-markets-authority-issues-warning-to-tiger-brokers-and-six/

 

If you’d like to help to contribute to that (badly needed, but now ordered) new laptop or, even better, the new desktop said to be on its way, to replace the one now 5,000 miles away – https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

 

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WEBINAR – INSIGHTS AND PRACTICAL ADVICE REGARDING FORCE MAJEURE, FRUSTRATION AND RECONSIDERING COMMERCIAL CONTRACTS

Eversheds Sutherland has made available a recording of a webinar where a panel answers some of the most common questions clients have asked us over recent weeks as well as digging into more detail around how your business should proceed with specific legal and technical challenges.

https://www.eversheds-sutherland.com/global/en/what/articles/index.page?ArticleID=en/coronavirus/coronavirus-webinar-Force-Majeure-Frustration-and-reconsidering-Commercial-Contracts_UK

 

If you’d like to help to contribute to that (badly needed, but now ordered) new laptop or, even better, the new desktop said to be on its way, to replace the one now 5,000 miles away – https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

Featured

DUE DILIGENCE IN THE AGE OF CORONAVIRUS

On 6 April, Cadwalader Wickersham and Taft LLP published an article – one of very, very many concerned with the coronavirus and its effect on business and business activities – saying that, in the context of COVID-19, there are significant challenges involved in conducting due diligence: hard-copy documents are inaccessible, in-person meetings have moved online, and on-site visits may be impossible.   It provides advice on how companies can and should nonetheless continue to comply with the law by adjusting policies and procedures, mitigating new risks that arise through the use of alternative diligence methods, and by staying abreast of changing regulatory expectations.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/covid-19-update-are-you-for-real-due-33150/

 

If you’d like to help to contribute to that (badly needed, but now ordered) new laptop or, even better, the new desktop said to be on its way, to replace the one now 5,000 miles away – https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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HONG KONG: THE 600 TONNES OF MEAT SMUGGLED TO CHINA EACH DAY BY SEA OUTWEIGHS THE AMOUNT SEIZED IN 3 MONTHS

The Hong Kong Free Press on 6 April reported on an investigation which found that frozen meat smuggling to Mainland China remains frequent despite multiple operations conducted by customs and marine police this year, with smuggling syndicates said to be operating daily.  The smuggling operation is said to involve about 100 vessels each evening, largely outnumbering the only 1 or 2 government launches that patrol the scene.  It is said that, on average, criminals are suspected to be smuggling over 600 tonnes of frozen meat every day, more than the amount that customs and marine police have seized in the past 3 months.

https://hongkongfp.com/2020/04/06/meat-smuggled-to-china-each-day-by-sea-outweighs-the-amount-seized-in-3-months/

 

If you’d like to help to contribute to that (badly needed, but now ordered) new laptop or, even better, the new desktop said to be on its way, to replace the one now 5,000 miles away – https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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CUBA: HELMS-BURTON LAWSUITS: RECENT DECISIONS CLARIFY THE STATUTE’S LIMITS AS CLAIMS CONTINUE

On 2 April, Skadden published an article reminding one that in May 2019, the US government made available a private right of action under Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, which had lain dormant for over 22 years, which provides US nationals whose “property” was “confiscated” by the Cuban government with a special rights of action.  This activation created immediate risks for companies doing business with or involving Cuba.  Several claimants have brought actions under the provision, and the article says that recent cases afford some guidance to defendants (or potential defendants) as they analyse their exposure to Title III claims.

https://www.skadden.com/insights/publications/2020/04/helms-burton-lawsuits

 

If you’d like to help to contribute to that (badly needed, but now ordered) new laptop or, even better, the new desktop said to be on its way, to replace the one now 5,000 miles away – https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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UK REMOVES IBRAHIM MOHAMED KHALIL FROM ISIL/AL-QIADA SANCTIONS LISTS

On 6 April, a Notice from HM Treasury advised that Ibrahim Mohamed Khalil had been removed from the Consolidated List in the light of EU Regulation 2020/483/EU.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/878187/Notice_ISIL_2020_483.pdf

 

If you’d like to help to contribute to that (badly needed, but now ordered) new laptop or, even better, the new desktop said to be on its way, to replace the one now 5,000 miles away – https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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OFAC ADDS RUSSIAN IMPERIAL MOVEMENT AND 3 RUSSIAN INDIVIDUALS TO TERRORISM SANCTIONS LIST

On 6 April, OFAC added 3 Russian individuals and the RUSSIAN IMPERIAL MOVEMENT (which has numerous aliases) to its SDN Lists.  The move is the first time a white supremacist group has been named a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” group by the US.  The Russian Imperial Movement is alleged to provide paramilitary training to neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Russia and elsewhere from 2 camps it runs in St. Petersburg, according to US officials.

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20200406.aspx

https://www.spokesman.com/stories/2020/apr/06/in-a-first-us-slaps-sanctions-on-russian-white-sup/

 

If you’d like to help to contribute to that (badly needed, but now ordered) new laptop or, even better, the new desktop said to be on its way, to replace the one now 5,000 miles away – https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – APRIL 5

Panama covid-19 update – 187 new confirmed cases, bringing total to 1,988, with 54 fatalities to date.  This was the first total shutdown Sunday, with no-one out and about.  Mind you, the TV shows some arrests, including a rooftop BBQ and pool party, for violating the lockdown.  There’s no accounting for some people’s idiocy and ignorance…

 

5 April 2020

THE 4 e-KYC MODELS AROUND THE WORLD

On 5 April, Regulation Asia published an article identifies 4 e-KYC models in use across the world, saying that harmonisation and consolidation of these schemes is likely.  The 4 types identified are –

  • Identity Authentication & Matching: The Hong Kong model;
  • Video Verification: The German model;
  • Digital ID Schemes: The Swedish and Indian models; and
  • Enhanced vs Simplified Due Diligence: The UK model.

https://www.regulationasia.com/the-four-e-kyc-models-around-the-world/

 

UK: FORMER HEARTS OWNER VLADIMIR ROMANOV ACCUSED OF STEALING AROUND £37 MILLION FROM HIS OWN BANK FOLLOWING 7-YEAR FRAUD PROBE

On 4 April, the Scottish Sun reported that the Russian-born tycoon, 72, former owner of Edinburgh-based Hearts football club, is one of 13 former Ukio Bankas officials now named as suspects in the alleged embezzlement.  Lithuanian prosecutors allege that Romanov and other bank execs abused their positions of trust over many years by “issuing loans for private purposes”.  All the suspects have been charged with money laundering and misconduct in a public office.  However, Romanov, who held 65% of the shares in Ukio Bankas, fled to Russia in May 2013 and was granted asylum, and attempts to extradite him have failed.

https://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/news/5461007/hearts-vladimir-romanov-stealing-bank-probe/

 

BENIN EX-FINANCE MINISTER GETS 20 YEARS IN PRISON FOR FRAUD

On 5 April, BNN Bloomberg reported that Komi Koutche, 43, a former finance minister in Benin, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for money laundering and embezzlement of state funds.  State funds went missing during his time as director for the state-owned National Micro-Credit Fund.

Koutche currently lives in the US and was sentenced in absentia.

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/benin-ex-finance-minister-gets-20-years-in-prison-for-fraud-1.1417620

 

LISBON COURT SEIZE $444 MILLION OF SHARES OWNED BY EMBATTLED ISABEL DOS SANTOS

On 5 April, CGTN reported that a court has seized a 26% stake in Portuguese telecommunications company NOS from a holding company that is co-owned by Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of the former Angola president and reputedly Africa’s richest woman.  Angolan courts froze her assets in December, alongside those of her husband, after it was alleged that they took part in deals with state-owned companies that ended in government losses of $1.14 billion.

https://newseu.cgtn.com/news/2020-04-05/Lisbon-court-seize-444m-of-shares-owned-by-Isabel-dos-Santos-PrDIaEg0Jq/index.html

 

FORMER HONDURAS PRESIDENT EMBROILED IN FIFA GRAFT CASE DIES

Bernama on 5 April reported that he former Honduras president, Rafael Callejas, 76, has died in the US whilst under house arrest in Atlanta.  After serving as president of Honduras from 1990 to 1994, Callejas moved into football administration and headed the Honduras Football Federation from 2002 to 2015.  He was indicted by the US DoJ in 2015 and pleaded guilty to racketeering and wire fraud charges in a New York court.

https://www.bernama.com/en/world/news.php

 

CHINA’S LUCKIN COFFEE SAYS BUSINESS WILL CONTINUE AMID FINANCIAL FRAUD PROBE

On 5 April, Reuters reported that Luckin Coffee Inc, the Starbucks of China, said it will maintain normal operations at its stores and apologised to the public, days after it announced an internal investigation had shown its chief operating officer and other employees fabricated sales deals.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-luckin-investigation/chinas-luckin-coffee-says-business-will-continue-amid-financial-fraud-probe-idUKKBN21N091

 

FREE ONLINE WEBCASTS ABOUT GOLD – REFINERS AS GATEKEEPERS AND CONFLICT AND HIGH-RISK GOLD

LBMA, the London Bullion Marketing Association, a trade body whose membership includes traders, refiners, producers, miners, fabricators, as well as those providing storage and secure carrier services.  It has launched a new service, providing free online webcasts, of around 24 minutes, with the first 2 covering –

  • key issues that gold refineries are currently facing, including the current tendency of de-risking amongst refineries, and asking what due diligence efforts can reasonably be expected of refineries and what would be the role of industry organisations; and
  • the issue of conflict and high-risk gold; discussing the many ways in which conflict gold can be easily smuggled and stresses that more needs to be done by the industry to focus on the red flags in responsible sourcing when conducting due diligence reports

https://www.lbmaresponsiblesourcingsummit2020.com/

MAGNITSKY

https://www.ukfinance.org.uk/news-and-insight/blogs/look-uk-global-human-rights-ghr-sanctions-programme

 

If you’d like to help me buy that (badly needed) new laptop or, even better, a new desktop to replace the one now 5,000 miles away – https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

 

Featured

FREE ONLINE WEBCASTS ABOUT GOLD – REFINERS AS GATEKEEPERS AND CONFLICT AND HIGH-RISK GOLD

LBMA, the London Bullion Marketing Association, a trade body whose membership includes traders, refiners, producers, miners, fabricators, as well as those providing storage and secure carrier services.  It has launched a new service, providing free online webcasts, of around 24 minutes, with the first 2 covering –

  • key issues that gold refineries are currently facing, including the current tendency of de-risking amongst refineries, and asking what due diligence efforts can reasonably be expected of refineries and what would be the role of industry organisations; and
  • the issue of conflict and high-risk gold; discussing the many ways in which conflict gold can be easily smuggled and stresses that more needs to be done by the industry to focus on the red flags in responsible sourcing when conducting due diligence reports

https://www.lbmaresponsiblesourcingsummit2020.com/

 

If you’d like to help me buy that (badly needed) new laptop or, even better, a new desktop to replace the one now 5,000 miles away – https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

 

Featured

THE 4 e-KYC MODELS AROUND THE WORLD

On 5 April, Regulation Asia published an article identifies 4 e-KYC models in use across the world, saying that harmonisation and consolidation of these schemes is likely.  The 4 types identified are –

  • Identity Authentication & Matching: The Hong Kong model;
  • Video Verification: The German model;
  • Digital ID Schemes: The Swedish and Indian models; and
  • Enhanced vs Simplified Due Diligence: The UK model.

https://www.regulationasia.com/the-four-e-kyc-models-around-the-world/

 

If you’d like to help me buy that (badly needed) new laptop or, even better, a new desktop to replace the one now 5,000 miles away – https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

 

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – APRIL 4

Panama coronavirus update – confirmed cases nearing 2,000 now, with 1,801 confirmed, after adding 128 in the last 24 hours, with 46 fatalities to date.  There are 1,513 in isolation, 298 of them in the requisitioned hotel rooms – and there have been 10 transfers from hotel rooms to hospitals.  229 patients are in hospital, of which 164 are in wards and  75 are in ICU.  To date, 9,256 tests have been carried out, of these 80.!% or 7,416 have been negative.

Meanwhile, tomorrow is the first total lockdown Sunday, with no-one allowed out at all.  This will be fine, I guess, as long as the neighbour does not decide to get out his karaoke machine again tomorrow…or at least gives the microphone to someone who can actually sing in key!

4 April 2020

EU NEW SANCTIONS REGIME TO COMBAT THE PROLIFERATION OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS

The Union Journal in the US on 4 April reported that sanctions original agreed in principle last year have now been approved by the European ministers of foreign affairs and are directed against 9 people, who are banned from entering European territory and have their assets in the EU frozen.  Those sanctioned include the 2 top leaders of GRU and the 2 suspects in the chemical attack carried out in Salisbury last year.  The list of sanctions is completed with 4 people of Syrian nationality and a fifth without specified nationality involved in the development of toxic agents in Syria.

https://theunionjournal.com/brussels-launches-anti-chemical-sanctions-regime-against-russia-international/

 

THE REAL REASON NORTH KOREA BOUGHT SMUGGLED US HELICOPTERS

On 4 April, National Interest in the US carried an article saying that it seems that North Korea likely acquired the MD 500 helicopters so it could use them to infiltrate across the DMZ with South Korean markings, conducting surprise raids and inserting spies and saboteurs.  It has maintained the fleet of 87 US-built helicopters it smuggled into the country.  The MD 500 is a civilian version of the distinctive US Army H-6 light helicopter, still used by US special forces.  It is reported that in the 1980s, the then manufacturer McDonnell Douglas received an order for 102 helicopters from the Delta-Avia Fluggerate, an export firm registered in West Germany; and between 1983 and 1985, the US company Associated Industries transferred 86 MD 500D and MD 500E helicopters and a smaller Hughes 300 2-seater) in 6 shipments for export by Delta Avia to Japan, Nigeria, Portugal and Spain – these ended up in North Korea.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/real-reason-north-korea-bought-smuggled-us-helicopters-140737

 

US: RADIO HOST ‘THE MONEY DOCTOR’ GETS 25 YEARS FOR PONZI SCHEME TARGETING SHOW LISTENERS

The New York Post on 3 April reported that William Neil “Doc” Gallagher, 79, a Texas radio host and financial consultant who admitted to conning elderly listeners out of millions of dollars in a Ponzi scheme, has been sentenced to 25 years in prison.  Gallagher targeted older, Christian listeners of his show, called “The Money Doctor,” and met with them to discuss what he said was risk-free income, prosecutors said. He guaranteed annual returns of 5% to nearly 9% if they invested in securities with him.

https://nypost.com/2020/04/03/the-money-doctor-sentenced-for-ponzi-scheme-targeting-show-listeners/

 

SINGAPORE: MAN ARRESTED FOR MONEY LAUNDERING OFFENCES LINKED TO COVID-19 SCAM FOR SURGICAL MASKS, HAND SANITISERS

On 4 April, CAN reported that a 39-year-old man has been arrested for his suspected involvement in money laundering offences linked to a business email impersonation scam related to COVID-19, and involving an overseas pharmaceutical company being defrauded of €6.64 million for the purchase of (non-existent) surgical masks and hand sanitisers.

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/covid19-scam-police-10-million-money-laundering-masks-sanitiser-12609720

 

CYBERCRIMINALS ADAPT OLD SCAMS TO CAPITALISE ON COVID-19

An article from Greenberg Traurig on 2 April says that companies have seen an uptick in 3 types of COVID-19 cyber scams in particular: phishing attacks, ransomware attacks, and fake websites and applications. It says that companies should be aware of these common attack types and trends, consider educating their employees about them, and take steps to be prepared to quickly address any instance where one of their employees have fallen victim to a cyber-attack. With more employees working remotely, Privacy, Security, or IT teams may wish to remind employees about the below cyber scams and the steps employees should take to keep data secure when working remotely.

https://www.gtlaw.com/en/insights/2020/4/cybercriminals-adapt-old-scams-to-capitalize-on-covid-19

 

UK GOVERNMENT MODERN SLAVERY GUIDANCE ON SUPPLY CHAINS: HOW CAN YOU ENSURE YOUR COMPANY IS COMPLIANT?

Bird & Bird has published an article saying that, 0n 26 March, the UK Government published its modern slavery statement.  The Statement makes it clear that the Government is taking a tougher stance with its suppliers with strong reference to the Supplier Code of Conduct, the Code of Conduct for Grant Recipients, the Cabinet Office Guidance of September 2019 and the new Modern Slavery Assessment Tool (MSAT).  For suppliers to the public sector is is clear that the Government will scrutinise Modern Slavery Act compliance measures. The Government has declared its intention to take a tough line and so lax compliance risks loss of public sector contract tenders and potential loss of existing contracts.

https://www.twobirds.com/en/news/articles/2020/uk/the-uk-government-recently-announced-the-active-steps-it-is

 

OPAQUE CORONAVIRUS PROCUREMENT DEAL HANDS MILLIONS TO SLOVENIAN GAMBLING MOGUL

On 4 April, OCCRP reported that Slovenia has approved tens of millions of euros worth of bids under emergency measures that bypass open tender measures.  In just the last week of March, the government signed deals worth around €80 million in opaque one-day bids.  Little information has been made publicly available on these agreements.  However, it is claimed that the largest of these deals benefits a powerful businessman with investments in gambling, electronics, and real estate, but no known experience in healthcare and involving Public Digital Infrastructure d.o.o. – a wholly-owned subsidiary of Elektronček Group BV, a Dutch company controlled by one of Slovenia’s richest men, Joc Pečečnik.

https://www.occrp.org/en/coronavirus/opaque-coronavirus-procurement-deal-hands-millions-to-slovenian-gambling-mogul

 

CROSS BORDER INSOLVENCY – WHAT ASSISTANCE CAN JERSEY GIVE? A RECENT EXAMPLE

On 3 April, an article from Ogier highlighted how foreign insolvency proceedings involving a Jersey company can be assisted by the courts and authorities in Jersey.

https://www.ogier.com/publications/cross-border-insolvency-what-assistance-can-jersey-give-a-recent-example

 

SIGNING AND EXECUTING DOCUMENTS ELECTRONICALLY IN GUERNSEY

On 2 April, an article from Ogier which sets out some general guidance for directors and companies facing similar issues during these unprecedented times.

https://www.ogier.com/publications/electronic-signing-guernsey

 

FRAUD, ASSET TRACING & RECOVERY IN IRELAND

On 1 April, Irish law firm McCann Fitzgerald published this briefing.

https://www.mccannfitzgerald.com/uploads/CDR_Essential_Intelligence_-_Fraud%2C_Asset_Tracing__Recovery.pdf

 

NEW MAP – THE THREAT TO COMMERCIAL AVIATION POSED BY THE ILLICIT PROLIFERATION AND USE OF MAN-PORTABLE AIR DEFENCE SYSTEMS (MANPADS)

The Small Arms Survey has published a new map created by the US MANPADS Task Force and the Small Arms Survey illustrates the threat to commercial aviation posed by the illicit proliferation and use of man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS).  It shows documented incidents of illicit possession and transfers of MANPADS and their components from 2008 through mid-2019, as well as MANPADS attacks on commercial aircraft from 1973 to 2019.

http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/about-us/highlights/2020/highlight-manpads-proliferation.html

 

GLOBAL NUCLEAR POWER DATABASE

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists publishes this database and interactive map.  It reveals that there are 754 reactors worldwide, of which 90 are abandoned.

https://thebulletin.org/global-nuclear-power-database/

 

THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF HEROIN MARKETS IN EAST AND SOUTHERN AFRICA

On 5 March, an article on ENACT Africa claims that the heroin economy has shaped the growth of coastal villages, border towns and megacities across East and Southern Africa.  It describes a network moving Afghan drugs south across the Indian Ocean and onward through Tanzania, Kenya and Mozambique to South Africa. Rapid and dysfunctional urbanisation, the migration of low-skilled youth throughout the region, unemployment and the inability of local governments to cope with service delivery needs have contributed to the spread of the drug, building fortunes for a few ‘big fish’ and promoting corruption among police and politicians.

https://enact-africa.s3.amazonaws.com/site/uploads/2020-03-05-heroin-coast-02.pdf

 

RULING FAMILIES’ INVOLVEMENT IN NATIONAL POLITICS IS HURTING THE FIGHT AGAINST FINANCIAL CRIMES ACROSS CENTRAL AFRICA

On 5 March, ENACT Africa published an article saying that Presidential family members being involved in public affairs is not uncommon in Central Africa, with key government positions given to sons, daughters and other relatives of the ruling family. Some countries are even perceived as family businesses or dynasties.  It says that the appointment of family members to high-level or political posts is not illegal. But with ruling families, often this appears to translate into a source of corruption and money laundering of public funds for self-enrichment.

https://enactafrica.org/research/trend-reports/in-the-name-of-the-father-financial-crimes-in-central-africa

 

TRAFFICKING PHARMACEUTICALS FROM TUNISIA TO LIBYA

On 30 March, ENACT Africa reported that, while medicines have always been smuggled between the two countries, the humanitarian situation in Libya has amplified the problem.  It says that significant quantities of authentic medicines are being smuggled into Libya from neighbouring Tunisia by organised crime networks starting in Tunisia’s main medicine hubs: the Central Pharmacy, hospitals and private pharmacies – a situation exacerbated since the 2011 revolution in Tunisia and aided by the current conflict in Libya.

https://enact-africa.s3.amazonaws.com/site/uploads/2020-04-02-medicines-trafficking-research-paper-english.pdf

 

UNDERGROUND ARMS WATCH

On 30 March, the Firearms Blog published its latest update  on the global cottage industry for the illicit manufacture of firearms.  It contains reports and photos of improvised and homemade firearms, including a homemade shotgun in the UK, and a professional-looking but homemade sub-machine gun from Brazil.

https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2020/03/27/underground-arms-watch-march-pt-2/

 

RESEARCH PROJECT INVITES SCIENTISTS AND SCIENCE FICTION WRITERS TO EXPLORE THE FUTURE IN WMD THREATS

On 31 March, START, the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to terrorism, published a call for US citizens with a background in the countering weapons of mass destruction (CWMD) sphere, such as biology or chemistry, to participate in a study exploring the future of WMD.  The project, funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), focuses on identifying future technologies that state and non-state actors might adopt, which may disrupt or drastically change the CWMD threat space.

https://www.start.umd.edu/news/research-project-invites-scientists-and-science-fiction-writers-explore-future-wmd-threats

 

WHY THE SUDDEN DROP IN ARMED ROBBERIES FROM SHIPS ANCHORED OFF VENEZUELA?

On 1 April, the Center for International Maritime Security published an article saying that the concentration of oil industry-related infrastructure in Venezuela’s Anzoátegui state combined with the declining economic situation and lack of security make it a hot spot for armed robbery at sea in the Caribbean region, and several anchorages lie off the coast of Anzoátegui. Due to the collapse of the fishing industry, the economic hardship that coastal communities are facing and insufficient security measures at these anchorages, men in small boats approach mostly tankers waiting to load oil and board vessels in order to rob them.  For unknown reasons, reports of armed robbery at the anchorages stopped in the middle of 2019.  It asks what happened in late April or early May 2019 to account for this change?  Understanding the cause of this change is important for predicting whether this sharp fall in armed robbery is sustainable or likely to be reversed in the future.  It concludes that added armed security on tankers is in all likelihood the determining factor why armed robberies off Anzoátegui stopped at the end of April 2019, but this lull in attacks was short-lived.  In February 2020, 6 armed men wearing balaclavas boarded a notwithstanding the presence of a coast guard armed guard onboard and violence escalated. The captain was shot and killed and another crewmember is still missing after he jumped overboard, and a coast guard sergeant was injured during the attack.

http://cimsec.org/why-the-sudden-drop-in-piracy-off-venezuela/43275

 

EUROPEAN BANKING FEDERATION RESPONSE TO THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION CONSULTATION ON CRYPTO-ASSETS

On 3 April, the EBF published its respose to the EU consultation, saying that European banks welcome the chance to engage with the Commission on the issue of crypto-assets, reflecting an innovative aspect of the digital transformation in the financial sector.

https://www.ebf.eu/retail-payments/ebf-response-to-the-commission-consultation-on-crypto-assets/

 

 

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NEW REPORT: THE RANGE OF EMERGENT TECHNOLOGIES WHICH ARE INFLUENCING THE CRAFT-PRODUCTION OF SMALL ARMS BY INDIVIDUALS

On 30 March, the Armament Research Services published a report that examines the range of emergent technologies which are influencing the craft-production of small arms by individuals, and the effects these are having on the types of weapons that can be produced, and the viability of those outputs.  It seems that 3D-printed firearms have come a long way since 2013, and weapons are steadily improving.  There is a mistaken belief that such designs are limited to only a few models.

http://armamentresearch.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/ARES-Research-Report-8-Desktop-Firearms.pdf

 

If you’d like to help me buy that (badly needed) new laptop or, even better, a new desktop to replace the one now 5,000 miles away – https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

 

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CHINESE DRUG TRAFFICKERS HAVE A BRAND-NEW PRODUCT: FAKE N95 MASKS FOR CORONAVIRUS

On 3 April, Vice reported that they are supplying them through the same exact supply chain, through the same exact marketing mechanisms, that they have with illicit drugs.

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/n7jg3z/chinese-drug-dealers-have-a-new-product-knock-off-n95-masks-for-coronavirus

 

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CONCERN AT THE GROWING AND INCREASINGLY TRANSNATIONAL THREAT POSED BY EXTREME RIGHT-WING TERRORISM

The UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee Enforcement Directorate has published a new Trend Alert to replace a 2017 original.  Such Trends Alerts are designed to increase awareness, both within the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) and among UN agencies and policymakers, of emerging trends identified through CTED’s engagement with Member States on their implementation of the relevant Council resolutions. The Alerts also include relevant evidence-based research conducted by members of the CTED Global Research Network (GRN) and other researchers.  It describes the threat as not a coherent or easily defined movement, but rather a shifting, complex and overlapping milieu of individuals, groups and movements (online and offline) espousing different but related ideologies, often linked by hatred and racism toward minorities, xenophobia, islamophobia or anti-Semitism.

https://www.un.org/sc/ctc/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/CTED_Trends_Alert_Extreme_Right-Wing_Terrorism.pdf

 

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – APRIL 3

Panama coronavirus update – again too early for the daily statistics update.  It was a “woman day” today, so only women could go out for their 2-hour spell; and the first day of the every other day rules for taxis.  Yesterday added 158 new confirmed cases, bringing the total overall to 1,475 cases, with 32 fatalities.

 

3 April 2020

mule

https://www.aba.com/news-research/research-analysis/money-mule-scams#_ga=2.250760064.748117695.1585918510-1319106567.1573849798

 

RUSSIAN FUND BEHIND CORONAVIRUS AID IS ON US LENDING SANCTIONS BLACKLIST

On 3 April, the Wall Street Journal revealed that the Russian organisation that paid for half of the medical supplies recently delivered to the US was a sovereign wealth fund launched by Putin in 2011.  In 2015, it was placed on a US Treasury sanctions list that prevents US individuals and businesses from making loans to or buying equity in the fund.  However, it reports that a State Department spokesperson has said that the sanctions did not apply to the provision of medical equipment.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/russian-fund-behind-coronavirus-aid-shipment-is-on-u-s-lending-blacklist-11585873617

 

IRISH NGO GRANTED HUMANITARIAN SANCTIONS EXEMPTION FOR NORTH KOREA PROJECTS

On 3 April, NK Pro reported that Irish aid organisation Concern Worldwide has been granted a further humanitarian sanctions exemption to carry out long-term projects in North Korea.

https://www.nknews.org/pro/irish-ngo-granted-humanitarian-sanctions-exemption-for-north-korea-projects/

 

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC EFFECT ON ASIA’S GARMENT INDUSTRY

On 3 April, Nikkei Asian Review reported that massive job losses and GDP cuts are in prospect as retailers halt orders.  Demand has collapsed as lockdowns around the globe forced retailers to shut their doors and populations to prioritise staples.  It also said that the crisis struck as the industry was already facing the prospect of globalisation going into reverse as consumer concerns grow over labour standards and Western fashion brands consider relying more on shorter supply chains closer to home.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Industry-in-focus/Coronavirus-pandemic-tears-holes-in-Asia-s-garment-industry

 

US COURT REJECTS IRANIAN COMPANY’S APPEAL AGAINST OFAC LISTING

On 3 April, the EU Sanctions Blog reported that a federal court in the US had dismissed a claim brought by Fulmen Company, an Iranian electronics company, challenging the decision of OFAC to list Fulmen as an SDN.  This was despite the EU delisting the company in 2013.  In particular, the court rejected the argument that OFAC could not rely on blogs, redacted information etc, nothing that the US courts have permitted OFAC to rely on a broad range of evidence.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2020/04/us-court-dismisses-fulmens-iran-sanctions-listing-challenge/

 

LIMITED PARTNERSHIP FUND BILL PROPOSES NEW LIMITED PARTNERSHIP REGIME FOR PRIVATE FUNDS IN HONG KONG

Baker McKenzie issued a Client Alert in March about a Bill which is expected to be enacted as the Limited Partnership Fund Ordinance (LPFO) and to come into operation on 31 August.  It will provide a new standalone statutory framework for the constitution of limited partnership funds (LPF) in Hong Kong.  The current law, based on British principles, dates from 1912 and is said to contain provisions which could discourage asset managers from establishing private funds in Hong Kong. These include a lack of flexibility in terms of capital contributions and distribution of profits, the absence of a straightforward dissolution mechanism and insufficient provision for matters such as confidentiality and investor protection.  It is noted that the General Partner (i.e. the person actually running the Limited Partnership) must appoint a “responsible person” to carry out AML/CFT functions, including CDD in respect of all investors and continuous monitoring of business relationships and transactions. The responsible person must be an authorised institution licensed corporation, accounting professional or legal professional.

https://f.datasrvr.com/fr1/520/79229/Limited_Partnership_Fund_Bill_proposes_new_limited_partnership_regime_for_private_funds_in_Hong_Kong.pdf

 

NEW ICC MODEL CLAUSES ON FORCE MAJEURE AND HARDSHIP

SKW Schwartz in Germany reported on 30 March that, in March, the International Chamber of Commerce offered 2 models of the force majeure clause, a long form and a short form. The ICC suggests to simply incorporate the long form in a contract by reference, whereas the short form could be included in its entirety.  The model clause on hardship is available in 3 forms. They cover cases in which performance of contractual duties is possible, but excessively onerous due to an event beyond that party’s reasonable control which it could not reasonably have been expected to have taken into account at the time of the conclusion of the contract and that it could not reasonably have avoided or overcome the event or its consequences.

https://www.skwschwarz.de/en/news/articles/detail-of-article/news/neue-icc-musterklauseln-ueber-hoehere-gewalt-und-unvorhergesehene-leistungserschwernisse/4/detail/News/

 

RUSSIA’S FORAYS INTO SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

On 3 April, the EU Institute for Strategic Studies published a paper saying that only in the late 2010s did Russia once again display the ambition to play a greater geopolitical role: sub-Saharan Africa re-emerged in Russian political discourse and trade and diplomatic traffic picked up.  The Wagner Group – a military enterprise connected to the Russian state – also expanded its radius of action south of the Sahara. The paper asks what is driving Moscow’s renewed activism?  How different it is from its previous diplomatic thrusts?  Can a coherent strategy be discerned behind this push? Finally, how is sub-Saharan Africa reacting to Russia’s overtures and what does it mean for the EU?

https://www.iss.europa.eu/content/russias-forays-sub-saharan-africa

 

THIRD COUNTRIES ALIGN THEMSELVES WITH RENEWAL OF EU ZIMBABWE SANCTIONS

The EU reports that North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia have agreed to align their laws etc with the decision to extend its sanctions to 20 February.

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2020/04/02/declaration-by-the-high-representative-on-behalf-of-the-eu-on-the-alignment-of-certain-countries-concerning-restrictive-measures-against-zimbabwe/

 

NAMIBIAN LAWYER IN PANAMA PAPERS

On 3 April, The Namibian carried an article saying that a Namibian lawyer’s name has cropped up in a web of offshore companies created by the law firm Mossack Fonseca in what became known as the Panama Papers.  It says that Henner Diekmann, a Windhoek−based attorney, has been denying any connections to the Mafia to The Namibian since last year. Previously, it was alleged that the Mafia’s connection to Namibia were said to be through a son of former President Sam Nujoma.  It is claimed that Diekmann’s Namibian−based law firm, Diekmann Associates, directed offshore companies in tax havens with the help of Mossack Fonseca.  The article concludes with a footnote saying that, on 31 October, the High Court ordered The Namibian to retract and apologise to Henner Diekmann for 2 articles that cast him as a Mafia lawyer.

https://www.namibian.com.na/89935/read/Part-1-Namibian-lawyer-in-Panama-Papers

 

MALTA: MFSA ROLLS OUT ITS SUPERVISORY AND ENFORCEMENT EFFECTIVENESS DASHBOARD

On 3 April, Malta Independent reported that the Malta Financial Services Authority has rolled out a new Dashboard which highlights the key performance indicators with respect to regulatory oversight and enforcement effectiveness, with a focus on the financial regulator’s key supervisory priorities.  The Dashboard will chart, in a spirit of transparency and accountability, the progress being made in the MFSA targets for 2020.  Complementing it are a list of measures which the MFSA is taking to strengthen supervisory effectiveness and improve risk mitigation.  The dashboard is said to be a summary of a much wider supervisory engagement programme which dovetails into a number of projects and reform initiatives all targeted towards enhanced efficacy.

https://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2020-04-03/business-news/MFSA-rolls-out-its-Supervisory-and-Enforcement-Effectiveness-Dashboard-6736221617

https://newsbook.com.mt/en/mfsa-rolls-out-its-supervisory-and-enforcement-effectiveness-dashboard/

https://www.mfsa.mt/publications/mfsas-supervisory-and-enforcement-effectiveness-dashboard/

 

MONEY LAUNDERING RING BOSS LOSES APPEAL OVER FORFEITED $136 MILLION

On 2 April, Bloomberg Law reported that the former leader of a drug cartel money-laundering ring failed to revive his suit seeking the return of about $136 million in forfeited funds, after a federal court found that he controlled the money involved.  Stephen Saccoccia was ordered to forfeit the money in the 1990s, and he sought a return of the funds in 2018.

https://news.bloomberglaw.com/white-collar-and-criminal-law/laundering-ring-boss-loses-appeal-over-forfeited-136-million

 

ANTI-TRAFFICKING EXPERTS NOTE 44% RISE IN IDENTIFIED VICTIMS SINCE 2015

On 3 April, the Council of Europe reported that the number of people across Europe identified as being victims of human trafficking rose by almost half between 2015 and 2018, according to the Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA).  According to information provided by the authorities in the 47 countries bound by the Council of Europe’s anti-trafficking convention, 15,310 people were identified as victims of human trafficking in 2018, compared to 10,598 identified victims in 2015.

https://www.coe.int/en/web/portal/-/anti-trafficking-experts-note-44-rise-in-identified-victims-since-2015

 

UK: NATIONAL CRIME AGENCY ANNUAL PLAN FOR 2020/21

On 3 April, the NCA released its Annual Plan.

https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/who-we-are/publications/438-national-crime-agency-annual-plan-2020-2021

NATIONAL STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT OF SERIOUS AND ORGANISED CRIME 2020

The NCA has also released the National Strategic Assessment of Serious and Organised Crime 2020, which sets out to  provide a single authoritative picture of the threat to the UK from serious and organised crime.

https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/who-we-are/publications/437-national-strategic-assessment-of-serious-and-organised-crime-2020

 

RETIRED ACCOUNTANT ACCUSED OF BEING INVOLVED IN A MASSIVE TIMESHARE SCAM FIGHTS EXTRADITION TO SPAIN

The Daily Mail on 3 April reported that Paul Blanchard, 73, will fight extradition to Spain over his alleged involvement in a massive timeshare scam run by murdered gangster John ‘Goldfinger’ Palmer.  He is alleged to have helped criminals in the Canary Isles launder and invest their ill-gotten cash between 1999 and 2001, in the UK’s biggest ever timeshare con.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8185059/Retired-account-73-fighting-extradition-alleged-involvement-massive-timeshare-scam.html

 

e-COMMERCE LOSSES TO ONLINE PAYMENT FRAUD TO EXCEED $25 BILLION ANNUALLY BY 2024

On 3 April, IT Reseller reported that a new study from Juniper Research found that eCommerce merchant losses to online payment fraud will exceed $25 billion in 2024, from just of $17 billion in 2020, despite the ongoing implementation of SCA (Secure Customer Authentication) in Europe.

https://www.itrportal.com/articles/2020/04/03/ecommerce-losses-to-online-payment-fraud-to-exceed-$25-billion-annually-by-2024/

 

US COLLECTOR TO RETURN 11,000+ ARTEFACTS TO EGYPT AND IRAQ

On 3 April, OCCRP reported that, after years of scrutiny, Steve Green, the Chairman of the Washington-Based Museum of the Bible, has announced that he will be returning some 11,500 antiquities from his personal collection to Egypt and Iraq, admitting that some of them may have had dubious provenance.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/11995-us-collector-to-return-11-000-artifacts-to-egypt-iraq

 

OFAC AMENDED VENEZUELA GENERAL LICENCE

On 3 April, OFAC announced the publication of General License 13E “Authorizing Certain Activities Involving Nyass AB”, with an extended expiry date of 14 May.  OFAC says that Nynas AB remains engaged with OFAC on a proposed corporate restructuring that could potentially result in significant changes to Nynas AB’s ownership and control, and the extended time allowed by the new expiry date affords additional time to complete this engagement.​

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20200403.aspx

 

TACKLING THE CULTURE OF SECRECY IN TUNISIA

On 30 March, Transparency International published an article saying that, after exposing extensive corruption in Tunis’s transport company, Transtu, a brave whistleblower is challenging the cover-up culture.  He had uncovered 2 key corruption cases within the company, including bribes paid by Alstom to obtain a tram contract.

https://voices.transparency.org/tackling-the-culture-of-secrecy-in-tunisia-cfcbe34dca37

 

UKRAINE’S PRIVATBANK ISSUES $5.5 BILLION CLAIM IN CYPRUS AGAINST EX-OWNERS

On 3 April, Reuters reported that Ukraine’s largest lender has said that it had filed a new $5.5 billion claim in the Cypriot courts against its former owners, seeking damages in respect of schemes bearing all the hallmarks of fraud and money laundering which the bank alleges were perpetrated by ex-shareholders.

https://www.reuters.com/article/ukraine-privatbank/ukraines-privatbank-issues-5-5-billion-claim-in-cyprus-against-ex-owners-idUSL8N2BR71K

 

UKRAINE: COURT FINES EX-LAWMAKER $2.8 MILLION FOR ALLEGED WITNESS TAMPERING

The Kyiv Post on 3 April reported that Ukraine’s High Anti-Corruption Court has handed down an enormous fine to a former lawmaker, Maksym Mykytas, who is currently the subject of a criminal investigation.  He allegedly communicated with a witness after the court expressly forbade him to do so.  It is said that Mykytas is a well-known developer who, until recently, enjoyed lucrative state procurement contracts, parliamentary immunity from prosecution and a close relationship with Kyiv Mayor, Vitali Klitschko.

https://www.kyivpost.com/ukraine-politics/court-fines-ex-lawmaker-2-8-million-for-alleged-witness-tampering.html

 

NUMBER OF OFFENDERS LINKED TO ORGANISED CRIME IN THE UK HAS NEARLY DOUBLED IN JUST A YEAR TO 350,000

On 3 April, the Daily Mail reported that, according to the latest NCA assessment, said there are now 4,772 known organised crime groups operating, with a quarter involved in violence.  It said it is likely drugs are linked to a ‘substantial proportion’ of cases of serious violence, with a third of victims and two-thirds of suspects in homicide cases either known drugs users or suppliers.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8185487/Number-offenders-linked-organised-crime-UK-nearly-DOUBLED-just-one-year-350-000.html

 

CHINA PROBES ALLEGED FRAUD AT LUCKIN COFFEE

On 3 April, the Globe & Mail in Canada reported that China’s securities regulator said it would investigate claims of fraud at Luckin Coffee Inc and sources said some of the banks involved in the Chinese chain’s successful IPO in the US last year were reviewing their work in the listing.  Luckin competes in China with Starbucks Corp, had announced an internal investigation had shown its chief operating officer and other employees fabricated sales deals.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/international-business/asia-pacific-business/article-china-probes-alleged-fraud-at-luckin-coffee-banks-review-work-on-us

 

 

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ARTICLE-BY-ARTICLE GUIDE TO EU DUAL-USE REGULATION

The European Studies Unit at Liege University has published a revised version of the article-by-article guide to the EU dual-use export control Regulation, as of March 2020.

http://local.droit.ulg.ac.be/jcms/service/49/pdf/euduicr/euduicr_full.pdf

 

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EU AMENDS YEMEN SANCTIONS REGIME

On 2 April, EU Regulation 2020/488/EU amended Regulation 1352/2014 to bring the EU sanctions regime into line with that of the UN following the adoption of UN SCR 2511.  The amendments authorise activities which are necessary to facilitate the work of the UN and other humanitarian organisations in Yemen or for any other purpose consistent with the provisions of previous Resolutions; and as permitted by the relevant UN sanctions committee.

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2020.105.01.0001.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2020:105:TOC

 

 

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INTER-AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK (IDB) NEW “TRANSPARENCY SECTOR FRAMEWORK” – A ROADMAP FOR THE BANK’S STRATEGIC EFFORTS IN HELPING COUNTRIES WITH THEIR ANTI-CORRUPTION EFFORTS

On 3 April, FATF-style regional body CFATF reported that the document analyses corruption in its different forms, as well as the factors that help explain it in the Latin America and Caribbean region. IDB supports Latin American and Caribbean economic development, social development and regional integration by lending to governments and government agencies, including State corporations.  It is said that the new document contains an analysis of the lessons learned in promoting transparency reforms and the public policies that are helpful to prevent the problem; and highlights the importance of strengthening the agencies responsible for promoting integrity and accountability. The introduction says that countries of Latin America and the Caribbean generally score disappointingly low on the main corruption perception and control indices. With few exceptions, there have been no significant improvements in the region’s governance indicators over the last 2 decades. The countries of the region perform poorly in terms of implementing the rule of law, effectively enforcing the law, and controlling corruption, thus exacerbating concerns over impunity.

http://idbdocs.iadb.org/wsdocs/getdocument.aspx?docnum=EZSHARE-1023060505-96

 

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COSTA RICA: BILL THREATENS TO RENDER ITS BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP REGISTER USELESS

On 3 April, the Tax Justice Network published an article saying that Costa Rica has been at the vanguard of beneficial ownership registration in Latin America and the world, but a new Bill making its way now through Costa Rica’s legislative assembly threatens to render the country’s beneficial ownership register useless by delaying the requirement to update information held by the register from once a year to once every 5 years on shareholders below a certain threshold.

https://www.taxjustice.net/2020/04/03/costa-rica-a-bill-threatening-to-render-its-beneficial-ownership-register-useless/

 

 

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EU REMOVES 1 NAME FROM ISIL/AL-QAIDA SANCTIONS LIST

EU Regulation 2020/483/EU has removed Ibrahim Mohamed Khalil from its sanctions lists, following the similar decision of the relevant UN sanctions committee.

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2020.103.01.0001.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2020:103:TOC

 

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – APRIL 2

Panama coronavirus update – once again too early for the daily news conference, but up to yesterday there had been an additional 136 confirmed cases in 24 hours, bringing the total to date to 1,317, with now 32 fatalities.  To ease pressure on hospitals, 2,000 impressed hotel rooms are being used to isolate cases which need medical supervision but are not serious enough to be hospitalised.  198 are in hospital, with 63 in ICU.  The latest twist is that, from tomorrow (Friday), taxis will only be allowed out every other day (based on registration plate number) and – like everyone else – not at all on Sunday, which becomes a total lockdown for all non-essential personnel.

A necessary trip to the local supermarket today – just down at the end of the road – involved the armed security guard again taking my temperature before I was allowed in, limited numbers inside and keeping a wary eye on the (also armed) Policia Nacional officers inside, in case they wanted to check my ID!

2 April 2020

APPOINTMENTS OF A “CHIEF RISK OFFICER” ON THE INCREASE IN THE US

On 2 April, the Wall Street Journal reported a report from the Enterprise Risk Management Initiative at North Carolina State University which said that 42% of companies have designated an individual to serve as CRO, up from 32% 5 years earlier, and particularly in the financial and non-profit sectors.

 

MOROCCO’S ‘$65-MILLION’ REAL-ESTATE SWINDLE

On 2 April, the Bangkok Post reported that adverts on state TV in Morocco had promised dream homes, while brochures boasted of ornately carved wood finishings and copious marble.  However, instead more than $65 million allegedly disappeared, leaving more than 1,000 buyers out-of-pocket, according to one of the lawyers representing them.  In a country where corruption is endemic, the unprecedented scale of the alleged fraud is said to have generated political waves.  Mohamed el Ouardi, head of the Bab Darna group, the man accused of being at the forefront of the scheme has been charged and is in detention awaiting trial. But the vast scam has prompted major questions about alleged negligence and complicity of some Moroccan institutions.

https://www.bangkokpost.com/world/1891675/moroccos-65-million-real-estate-swindle

 

UK ANNOUNCES NEW INSOLVENCY LAWS: WHAT ARE THEY AND HOW DO THEY HELP SUPPORT BUSINESSES?

On 29 March, Squire Patton Boggs published an article saying that the the Business Secretary announced that UK Insolvency Laws will be changed.  The proposed measures alleviate concerns that borrowing additional funds offered by the Government could place a director at risk of personal liability.  It explains that, under current law, if a director continues to trade a business whilst it is technically insolvent he may be liable for wrongful trading if the business ultimately enters administration or insolvent liquidation, and by continuing to trade the net deficiency to creditors’ increases.  However, under the new rules the wrongful trading provisions will be temporarily suspended.  The other proposed changes are also dealt with, including a moratorium for companies giving them breathing space from creditors and a new restructuring plan.

https://www.restructuring-globalview.com/2020/03/uk-announces-new-insolvency-laws-what-are-they-and-how-do-they-help-support-businesses/

https://gowlingwlg.com/en/insights-resources/articles/2020/covid-19-relaxation-of-directors-duties

 

THE ISSUING OF JERSEY’S FIRST-EVER FINANCIAL PENALTY AGAINST A REGULATED BUSINESS

On 5 March, Carey Olsen published an article which discusses the issuing of Jersey’s first-ever financial penalty against a regulated business, issued in July 2019. Civil penalties were introduced to Jersey in 2015.  Jersey’s first-ever financial penalty was against a listed and well-regarded financial services business for a failure to rectify a codes of practice breaches first identified in 2014/15.  The article concludes that, going forward, we expect to see much more frequent use of civil penalties in Jersey.

https://www.careyolsen.com/articles/civil-penalties-jersey-takes-action

 

BRITISH MAN CHARGED IN LOS ANGELES FEDERAL COURT WITH SMUGGLING PHONEY CORONAVIRUS CURE

Stuff in New Zealand, and other sources, reported on 2 April that Frank Richard Ludlow, 59, from West Sussex in England was charged in Los Angeles federal court with introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce.  He was arrested on drug charges in the UK and remains in custody there, authorities said.  It is alleged that he was selling a “Trinity Remedy” that he touted as a “miracle cure” for various ailments, according to a court affidavit.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/world/americas/donald-trumps-america/120766161/british-man-charged-in-los-angeles-federal-court-with-smuggling-phony-coronavirus-cure

https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/british-man-charged-shipping-mislabeled-and-unapproved-treatments-patients-suffering

 

SWISS REGULATOR CARRIES OUT INVESTIGATIONS INTO 60 ICO IN 2019

On 2 April, Finance Feeds reported that the Swiss regulator, FINMA, had released its 2019 annual report. It is said that FINMA conducted 1,185 investigations, up from 1,086 investigations in 2018, and 30 enforcement proceedings, down from 42 launched in 2018.  Its Enforcement division also looked closely at initial coin offerings in Switzerland in 2019 and identified a breach of the Anti-Money Laundering Act at more than 10 – and brought charges against the responsible people.  8 further cases resulted in entries being made on FINMA’s warning list due to suspected illegal conduct.

https://financefeeds.com/swiss-regulator-carries-investigations-60-icos-2019/

infrographic

https://www.acfcs.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/ACFCS_Corona-Infographic-Final.pdf

 

UK: MODERN SLAVERY TRAINING RESOURCES

On 2 April, the Home Office published updated links to training and awareness raising resources available to public sector organisations to help their staff understand modern slavery and learn to spot the signs.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/modern-slavery-training-resource-page

 

UK: LETTER TO ADVISORY COUNCIL ON THE MISUSE OF DRUGS ON PROPOSED EMERGENCY CHANGES TO CONTROLLED DRUGS LEGISLATION

On 2 April, the Home Office published a letter sent to the chairman of the ACMD outlining the emergency legislation planned by the Government in the light of the coronavirus crisis.  These would allow greater freedom for pharmacists to prescribe controlled substances even if new or renewed prescriptions were available.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/letter-to-the-acmd-on-emergency-legislation-to-enable-the-supply-of-controlled-drugs/letter-from-the-home-secretary-to-the-chair-of-the-advisory-council-on-the-misuse-of-drugs

 

EFFECTS OF CORONAVIRUS: 81% OF LAW CHAMBERS WILL FOLD WITHIN A YEAR, ACCORDING TO BAR COUNCIL SURVEY

On 2 April, the Law Society Gazette in the UK reported that over half of barristers’ chambers will not survive the next 6 months without financial aid if the pandemic persists, while 81% will collapse within a year under the current pressures.  The criminal bar is hardest hit, with 90% of chambers predicting they will fold after 12 months without more financial support.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/81-of-chambers-will-fold-within-a-year-bar-council-survey-finds/5103761.article

 

UK: PROSECUTORS ARE TOLD TO DELAY SERIOUS FRAUD AND ORGANISED CRIME CHARGES TO AVOID CLOGGING UP THE JUSTICE SYSTEM

On 2 April, the Daily Mail reported that, with more than half of all criminal and civil courts in England and Wales closed, prosecutors have been urged to delay bringing charges against serious fraud and organised crime suspects to avoid clogging up the court system during the coronavirus outbreak.  The guidance from the CPS and the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) also suggests some suspects should be released on bail for longer periods of time before they are due to appear in court to help the system cope.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8179829/Delay-charges-avoid-clogging-court-prosecutors-told.html

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-52133575

 

THE ABC OF eKYC

On 2 April, Fintech Futures produced a downloadable pdf brochure as a how-to guide for online identity verification and eKYC.

https://www.fintechfutures.com/2020/04/the-abcs-of-ekyc

 

A ‘PREVENTIVE, PROACTIVE’ RESPONSE TO THE RISK OF FRAUD IS THE FUTURE FOR WORK AGAINST FRAUD IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN THE UK

Professional Security Magazine on 2 April reported on a survey for the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy in a report entitled “Tackling Fraud in the Public Sector”.  It says that service users, staff and opportunists are most culpable; and that weak controls are the most likely reason for people being able to do fraud, whether internal or from outside, besides staff not being trained and able to spot signs of fraud.  Most respondents to the survey that formed the basis of the report believed that austerity had significantly contributed to fraud in local government.

https://www.professionalsecurity.co.uk/news/case-studies/cipfa-fraud-risk-report

The report, and a summary, are also available at –

https://perpetuityresearch.com/3370/new-research-report-published-on-tackling-fraud-in-the-public-sector-a-local-government-perspective/

 

GAMBLING COMPANY HIT BY “GHOST GAME” FOOTBALL FRAUD IN UKRAINE

On 2 April, Betgenius, the sports betting subsidiary of Genius Sports Group, has admitted that it was the victim of fraud, after a series of matches scouted by the supplier were found to have been organised fraudulently.  The games in question involved lower-league Ukrainian teams.

https://www.igamingbusiness.com/news/betgenius-hit-ukrainian-fixture-fraud

https://calvinayre.com/2020/04/02/business/sportsbooks-took-bets-ukrainian-football-impostors/

 

WHEN A MEMBER STATE IS REQUIRED TO RULE ON AN EXTRADITION REQUEST BY A THIRD STATE CONCERNING AN EEA NATIONAL IT MUST VERIFY THAT THAT NATIONAL WILL NOT BE SUBJECT TO THE DEATH PENALTY, TORTURE, OR OTHER INHUMAN OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT

A news release from the EU Court of Justice on 2 April said that before proposing to execute the request for extradition, the Member State must inform the EFTA State of the request, to enable that state to seek the surrender of its national.

https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2020-04/cp200038en.pdf

 

HOW MALTA’S PILATUS BANK EMPLOYED A VIRTUAL OFFICE IN LONDON

On 2 April, Kenneth Rijock in his always interesting blog says that while the Pilatus Bank was licensed in Malta, when you went to its Internet sites, you saw a London address, located in the pricey Mayfair district, and were, most likely, assured of the bank’s legitimacy.  Unfortunately, he says, it is merely an accommodation, or virtual, address, an office where a reported 151 companies reside.

http://rijock.blogspot.com/2020/04/how-maltas-piilatus-bank-employed.html

 

ALBANIAN PRESIDENT RETURNS ANTI-CORRUPTION LAW TO PARLIAMENT

On 2 April, OCCRP reported that that President Ilir Meta has sent an anti-corruption law back to the Albanian parliament for reconsideration, saying the proposed version violates human rights and goes beyond the constitutional powers of the government.  It is said that it violates the principle of separation and balancing of powers and human rights such as the right to private property, the right to a fair trial, or the presumption of innocence.  The legislation creates a special police and intelligence unit that has the power to restrict citizens’ movement, arrest citizens without court orders, search property at a whim, and tap phones and social media communications as they wish.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/11986-albanian-president-returns-anti-corruption-law-to-parliament

 

REPORT ACCUSES MINING GIANT RIO TINTO OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS ON BOUGAINVILLE IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA

On 2 April, Jurist carried an article about a report from the Human Rights Law Centre and a mine was abandoned by Rio Tinto in 2016 without any effort to assist in the clean-up or closure of the mine.

https://www.jurist.org/news/2020/04/rights-group-accuses-mining-giant-rio-tinto-of-violations-in-papua-new-guinea/

 

THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR ORGANISED CRIME IN ASIA

An article from CNN on 2 April says that the virus and the strong measures required to combat its spread are challenging the UN Office on Drugs and Crime’s ability to bring Asia’s law enforcement and justice authorities together to share information and intelligence, and to plan and conduct joint operations.

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/04/01/opinions/coronavirus-law-enforcement-asia-intl-hnk/index.html

 

US CUSTOMS SEIZE LARGE AMOUNT OF KHAT

A news release from US Customs and Border Protection on 2 April announced that officers at Washington Dulles International Airport had seized a significant khat load on 21 March that shipped from Nigeria and was destined to an address in Washington DC and had been aboard an Etihad Airways flight from Abu Dhabi.

https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/dulles-cbp-officers-bag-huge-nigerian-khat-load-bound-our-nation-s

 

COLOMBIA: CRUDE OIL SIPHONED FROM PIPELINES PROCESSED BY CLANDESTINE REFINERIES TO MANUFACTURE A LOW-QUALITY FUEL USED TO MAKE COCAINE

On 2 April, Insight Crime reported that crude oil siphoned from Colombia’s pipelines is increasingly being processed by clandestine refineries that manufacture a low-quality fuel, known as “pategrillo,” used to make cocaine.  It is said that crime groups siphon the crude from pipelines, after which it is refined and transported to cocaine labs in the Catatumbo region.  Experts consulted by InSight Crime explained that “pategrillo” is similar to kerosene but with a high degree of impurities. Gasoline produces cocaine with a 90% purity, whereas “pategrillo” tops out at 75%.

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/brief/pategrillo-colombia-cocaine-labs/

 

UK: COVID-19 AND THE RESTRICTION OF PARALLEL EXPORTS AND HOARDING OF MEDICINAL PRODUCTS

On 1 April, law firm Corker Bining published an article about the banning of parallel exports of 80 crucial medicines, such as adrenaline, insulin, paracetamol and morphine.  The reason behind this restriction is simple – the Government is trying to ensure that keep medicines intended for UK patients are kept in the UK to assist in the fight against Covid-19.  Parallel exporting means purchasing medicines already in the UK market in order to sell on to another country in the EEA – although the article mentions the limited exceptions to the prohibition.

https://www.corkerbinning.com/covid-19-and-the-restriction-of-parallel-exports-and-hoarding-of-medicinal-products/

 

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION TIGHTENING RULES TO PREVENT CHINA FROM OBTAINING ADVANCED US DUAL-USE TECHNOLOGY

On 1 April, Reuters reports sources that claim that the Trump administration is tightening rules to prevent China from obtaining advanced US technology for commercial purposes and then diverting it to military use.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-china-technology-exclusive/exclusive-u-s-officials-agree-on-new-ways-to-control-high-tech-exports-to-china-sources-idUSKBN21K007

 

book

Available on Amazon as a Kindle or softback book.

 

CFATF RESEARCH CORNER

The FATF-style regional body for the Caribbean, CFATF, has launched a web page to be the repository of educational articles for the public as well as technical articles for CFATF Members.  Public education and awareness on the fundamental AML/CFT principles will be achieved through the “AML/CFT 101” publications.  The first publication in this series focuses on Money Laundering: its definition, stages, negative effects on society and the importance of combating this crime.

https://www.cfatf-gafic.org/home/cfatf-research-corner

 

MOZAMBIQUE’S MYSTERIOUS CONFLICT IS INTENSIFYING

In its 4 April, The Economist carried an article seeking to explain the background to a jihadist terrorism threat which also endangers Africa’s largest gas project.

https://www.economist.com/middle-east-and-africa/2020/04/04/mozambiques-mysterious-conflict-is-intensifying

 

US: DESTRUCTIVE JAPANESE GYPSY MOTH EGG MASS DISCOVERED ON COAL SHIP

To demonstrate that other threats continue, even as coronavirus takes up all the headlines, on 2 April, Homeland Security Today reported that US Department of Agriculture has confirmed that an egg mass that US Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists discovered on a coal freighter at the Port of Baltimore on March 22 was likely of the highly destructive Asian Gypsy Moth (AGM) species.  The vessel, which arrived from the UK to take on coal, previously called on ports in China and Japan during the summer of 2019. Ports in Asia are high-risk ports for AGM.  Asian Gypsy Moth (AGM) is one of the most destructive insect pests in the world. They are not known to occur in the US.

https://www.hstoday.us/subject-matter-areas/border-security/baltimore-cbp-detects-destructive-japanese-gypsy-moth-egg-mass-on-coal-ship/

 

THE AIRBUS SETTLEMENT AND CORPORATE CRIMINAL LIABILITY

On 1 April, RUSI issued a Commentary saying that, as it unfolds, the Airbus corruption saga will offer yet another opportunity to reflect on whether wrongdoers are all too often able to hide behind corporations for which they work.  The Airbus enforcement action arises from allegations of bribes paid across multiple countries and continents, including in China, Latin America, the Middle East and Russia. Payments were allegedly arranged through intermediaries engaged by Airbus to win overseas contracts.  The article refers to the artificiality of prosecuting corporations being encapsulated in the 18th Century Lord Chancellor Edward Thurlow’s phrase that they have ‘no body to kick, no soul to damn’. Corporations can be fined or, in extreme cases, debarred or dissolved, but it is not always the wrongdoer who suffers the economic impact.  It says that the key question that resurfaces as a result of the Airbus settlement is whether we, as society, are sufficiently adept at looking behind the corporate veil and ensuring that the right people – that is, the wrongdoers – bear the economic brunt of law enforcement action.

https://rusi.org/commentary/no-body-kick-no-wings-clip-airbus-settlement-and-corporate-criminal-liability

 

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https://www.linkedin.com/posts/the-cyber-security-hub_activity-6651570513988722690-Eu75

 

FBI: CYBERCRIME GANG MAILING ‘BADUSB’ DEVICES TO TARGETS

On 30 March, Data Breach Today reported a new trick of scammers.  They are mailing victims a USB storage device, with a teddy bear and supposed $50 gift card to Best Buy. “You can spend it on any product from the list of items presented on a USB stick”, reads the cover letter accompanying one such attack, according to security firm Trustwave.  All a victim has to do is plug the USB device into their computer.  It is, in fact, a so-called “BadUSB” device, which are USB storage devices that have had their firmware rewritten to facilitate malicious activities, potentially giving attackers the ability to bypass endpoint anti-virus tools and gain remote access to any system into which the USB storage devices is plugged.

https://www.databreachtoday.com/fbi-cybercrime-gang-mailing-badusb-devices-to-targets-a-14029

 

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SOUTH SUDAN: PRESIDENT’S DAUGHTER, DEFENCE MINISTRY, AND GOVERNOR LINKED TO MINING SECTOR CORRUPTION IN SOUTH SUDAN

On 2 April, All Africa carried an article saying that a new investigative report – “Untapped and Unprepared: Dirty Deals Threaten South Sudan’s Mining Sector” – which claims to reveal how South Sudan’s promising gold-dominated minerals sector is riddled with corruption involving President Salva Kiir’s relatives and inner circle, military leaders, and other high-level officials.  It also apparently further exposes illegal mining now underway in Eastern Equatoria state.  Amongst the revelations is that Ashraf Seed Ahmed Hussein Ali, a businessman commonly known as Al-Cardinal who was placed under US Global Magnitsky sanctions in October 2019, reportedly owns the company currently holding the most mining licences.

The full report is at –

https://thesentry.org/reports/untapped-unprepared/

https://allafrica.com/stories/202004020908.html

 

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SMALL GROUPS, BIG WEAPONS: THE NEXUS OF EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES AND WMD TERRORISM

The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point has published a paper which says that over a 26-year period, there were 525 incidents by non-state actors involving nuclear, biological, and chemical agents. But the scale of these incidents was relatively low-level when compared to the impact of terrorist attacks using conventional weapons. However, it says that this reality must be re-examined given the commercialisation of emerging technologies that is reducing the financial, intellectual, and material barriers required for WMD development and employment.  It sets out to serve as a primer that surveys the key challenges facing non-state actors pursuing WMD capabilities, and the potential for certain emerging technologies to help overcome them. While there are numerous examples of such technologies, this report focuses on synthetic biology, additive manufacturing (AM) (commonly known as 3D-printing), and unmanned aerial systems (UAS).  The paper finds that while the barrier for development is being reduced, the technologies’ use in WMD development is not inevitable and still not without significant obstacles.  Among the recommendations it makes to mitigate the risks are to –

  • Address the dual-use nature of the technologies via export controls and other regulations; and
  • Improve attribution/awareness for biological weapons by expanding existing databases to include agents modified by emerging synthetic biology tools.

https://ctc.usma.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Nexus-of-Emerging-Technologies.pdf

 

 

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What factors are increasing zoonosis emergence (like Covid-19)?

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HOW CORRUPTION CAN ENABLE TERRORISM AND FACILITATE TERRORIST FINANCING

On 2 April, RUSI published an Occasional Paper which says that, in recent years, the international community has supplemented its longstanding focus on terrorism and terrorist financing with considerations of ways in which these threats intersect with other forms of illicit activity, notably organised crime.  However, it argues, a less explored perspective is the manner in which corruption – for example, corrupt border security guards or the illegal exploitation of natural resources – can facilitate both terrorism and terrorist financing.  This paper sets out to remedy this dearth by looking at terrorism and terrorist financing, respectively.  It considers the ways in which corruption can enable terrorism, and how corruption can also facilitate terrorist financing.

https://www.rusi.org/sites/default/files/20200402_izenman_and_keatinge_final.pdf

 

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QATAR FINES HORIZON CRESCENT WEALTH $8.1 MILLION FOR VIOLATIONS OF AML/CFT RULES

On 2 April, KYC 360 reported that the QFC Regulatory Authority has announced that it had taken action against Horizon Crescent Wealth LLC (HCW) and imposed a fine for serious legal and regulatory breaches in its compliance with the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Terrorist Financing Rules 2010.  The investigation also found that HCW had held itself out as conducting an asset management business without authorisation from the QFCRA.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/qatar-fines-horizon-crescent-wealth-qr30mn-for-violations/

 

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UK: CAESARS ENTERTAINMENT PAYS £13 MILLION PENALTY AND 3 OFFICIALS BARRED FOR ‘SERIOUS SYSTEMATIC FAILINGS’

On 2 April, MSN Money reported that operator of 11 casinos in the UK, Caesars Entertainment, is set to pay £13 million after a series of failures over money laundering, social responsibility and customer interaction in the UK, in the Gambling Commission’s biggest penalty package.  The Commission also said it had stripped 3 senior managers of their personal licences.

https://www.msn.com/en-gb/money/news/caesars-entertainment-pays-£13m-for-serious-systematic-failings/ar-BB123DDo?ocid=spartandhp

 

 

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – APRIL 1

Panama coronavirus update – once again, too early for the daily press conference; but up to yesterday there had been added 106 new cases, giving a total of 1,181, with 30 fatalities.  A graph of daily cases for March show a hopeful sign of at least levelling off, suggesting that the lockdown etc may be working – but it is too early to say anything too positive yet. Today was the first “Ladies Day”, with only female non-essential people allowed out for their 2-hour time slot.  Tomorrow it will be only males.  On Sunday no-one will be allowed out, except for essential workers.  The National Assembly has been suspended after 3 members tested positive.

1 April 2020

FBI RE-SENDS ALERT ABOUT SUPPLY CHAIN ATTACKS FOR THE THIRD TIME IN 3 MONTHS

On 31 March, ZD Net reported that the FBI has issued a further alert about state-sponsored hackers using the Kwampirs malware to attack supply chain companies and other industry sectors as part of a global hacking campaign.  The FBI has highlighted that some of the group’s targets are organisations in the healthcare industry, currently grappling with the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

https://www.zdnet.com/article/fbi-re-sends-alert-about-supply-chain-attacks-for-the-third-time-in-three-months/

 

BREXIT: WILL THE TRANSITION PERIOD BE EXTENDED? AND, IF SO, HOW?

On 1 April, Osborne Clarke published a briefing posing this question, in the light of the coronavirus lockdown.

https://sites-osborneclarke.vuturevx.com/34/3674/april-2020/brexit-business-brief—only-one-question—coronavirus-legal-briefing.asp

 

LUXEMBOURG REGULATOR SUSPENDS ROTHSCHILD EX-CEO FOR 10 YEARS

On 1 April, KYC 360 reported that the Comite de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF) has suspended the former CEO of private bank Edmond de Rothschild (Europe), Marc Ambroisien, for a decade, no longer allowing him to work in finance in the country over that period.  He is accused of having failed to ensure strong internal governance and prudent risk management when managing the bank.  In 2017, 2 years after Ambroisien had stepped down, Edmond de Rothschild was fined almost €9 million by the CSSF.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/luxembourg-regulator-suspends-rothschild-ex-ceo-for-ten-years/

 

AUSTRALIAN SECURITY BUSINESS ‘ACTED AS A FRONT’ FOR $100 MILLION MONEY LAUNDERING SYNDICATE

On 1 April, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that 6 persons have been charged in connection with a south-west Sydney security business, Assure Protection Services, that allegedly acted as a front to launder $100 million from organised crime groups in Australia and abroad.  Police allege the security firm was a semi-legitimate business servicing retail, industrial and commercial industries, however its primary function was to “act as a front” for the money laundering operation.  The first arrests took place in July 2019.

https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/sixth-person-charged-over-100-million-money-laundering-syndicate-linked-to-security-business-20200401-p54fuy.html

 

WASSENAAR NATIONS SET NEW EXPORT CONTROLS ON DUAL-USE GOODS

Arms Control Today reports that transfers of military-grade software and chip manufacturing technology will face increased scrutiny following an amendment to the Wassenaar Arrangement, the international export control regime.  It says that members have agreed to adopt new export controls in such areas as cyberwarfare software, communications monitoring, digital investigative tools and forensic systems, suborbital aerospace vehicles, technology for the production of substrates for high-end integrated circuits, hybrid machine tools, and lithography equipment and technology.  It has also clarified existing export control measures regarding ballistic protection, optical sensors, ball bearings, and inorganic fibrous and filamentary materials.  However, they relaxed some controls, including those with respect to certain laminates and commercial components with embedded cryptography.  The enhanced export restrictions might affect sales by forensic cybersecurity and chip manufacturing companies.

https://www.armscontrol.org/act/2020-04/news-briefs/wassenaar-nations-set-new-export-controls

 

SUSPECTED NORTH KOREAN-LINKED SMUGGLING SHIP DETAINED IN RUSSIAN PORT

On 31 March, NK News reported that the Pulau-flagged Yuko Maru (IMO 9088031) vessel had been detained by authorities at Nakhodka port in Russia, near Vladivostok in early March for safety violations, data showed. It was cited for 21 deficiencies, including failure to have a passage plan to its next port and a lack of navigational charts to that destination.

https://www.nknews.org/pro/suspected-north-korean-linked-smuggling-ship-detained-in-russian-port/

 

FCPA ENFORCEMENT REPORT FOR Q1 2020

On 1 April, a post on the always interesting FCPA Blog is concerned with a summary of the settlements, convictions, indictments etc during the first 3 months of 2020.

https://fcpablog.com/2020/04/01/fcpa-enforcement-report-for-q1-2020/

 

BAHRAIN: 3 DEFENDANTS IN FUTURE BANK MONEY LAUNDERING CASE FINED AND JAILED

On 1 April, Asharq Al-Awsat reported that Bahrain has seen sentenced the 3 suspects in the Future Bank case, with fines of more than $9 million.  It was alleged that $7 billion had disappeared from Future Bank’s records and were used to finance Iranian groups, in violation of sanctions imposed against that country.   It is said that Future Bank operated under the supervision of Bank Melli Iran and the Export Development Bank of Iran.  The Future Bank officials were sentenced to 5 years in jail, as well being fined, with other fines for banks said to have been involved.

https://aawsat.com/english/home/article/2210881/bahrain-sentences-prison-suspects-money-laundering-cases-related-iran

 

PODCAST: THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON THE MOVEMENT OF GOODS INTERNATIONALLY

In the latest TRACE podcast, Melissa Duffy, a partner at Dechert LLP focused on international trade matters, provides an excellent review of the current status of the movement of goods into and out of the US by air, land and sea.  She also addresses relevant tariffs, including recent exemptions, and restrictions by other countries on the export of their own critical medical supplies and equipment. She wraps up with some very practical strategies for companies on managing the movement of goods in these uncertain times.

https://traceinternational.org/resources-podcast

 

EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS: NEW FREE ONLINE TRAINING COURSE

On 31 March, the Council of Europe says that it has launched an updated version of its free online, a 5-hour interactive training course on the human rights convention, aimed at legal professionals, public authorities, civil society and students.  The updated course is now available in English, with several other language versions due to be released in the coming months.

https://www.coe.int/en/web/portal/-/european-convention-on-human-rights-new-free-online-training-course

 

EUROPE SENDS MEDICAL GOODS TO IRAN, DESPITE US EMBARGO

On 1 April, the EU Observer reported that France, Germany and Britain have exported medical goods to Iran, in the first transaction conducted under a trade mechanism called INSTEX, set up to barter humanitarian goods and food after the US withdrawal from the JCPOA 2015 nuclear deal.

https://euobserver.com/tickers/147945

 

STATEMENT BY THE FATF PRESIDENT: COVID-19 AND MEASURES TO COMBAT ILLICIT FINANCING

On 1 April, FATF published a statement stressing the need for continued, even heightened vigilance, during the covid-19 crisis.

http://www.fatf-gafi.org/publications/fatfgeneral/documents/statement-covid-19.html

 

BRIBERY SCANDAL HITS THE ‘2020’ TOKYO OLYMPICS

The Nation on 1 April published an article about the allegations of corruption surrounding the now-postponed Tokyo Olympics.

https://www.thenation.com/article/world/tokyo-olympics-bribery-scandal/

 

THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC DEMANDS DIGITAL VIGILANCE, AMID INTENSIFYING SOCIAL ISOLATION

A Commentary from RUSI on 1 April warns that the effects of the crisis widens the target population for fraudsters in a substantial way, allowing them to adjust scams which play on people’s deepest fears.  Scams include the offer of non-existent or faulty products.  It says that responsibility is wide, and that the financial services sector and e-commerce companies must be active in identifying and rooting out malpractice.

https://www.rusi.org/commentary/coronavirus-pandemic-demands-digital-vigilance-amid-intensifying-social-isolation

 

THE UK NATIONAL LOTTERY: HOW DOES IT WORK?

On 1 April, the House of Commons Library published a briefing paper on the UK National Lottery which began in November 1994. Since then, it has raised over £40 billion for good causes and awarded over 535,000 grants.

http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-8744/CBP-8744.pdf

 

UK SUPREME COURT SIDES WITH MORRISONS OVER DATA PROTECTION VICARIOUS LIABILITY

On 1 April, the Law Society Gazette reported that, in what is described elsewhere as a landmark decision, the Supreme Court has sided with Morrisons in the UK’s first data leak group action, finding the grocery giant was not vicariously liable for a massive data breach committed by a disgruntled employee.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/supreme-court-sides-with-morrisons-over-vicarious-liability/5103709.article

 

FRENCH YACHT VAT AMENDMENTS CANCELLED

On 31 March, Superyacht News reported that the provisions which would have put an end to the flat-rate VAT reduction system for yacht charters in France, have been cancelled.  It is said that the decision is linked to the economic context created by the COVID-19 health crisis, and will certainly be re-examined when the crisis is resolved.

https://www.superyachtnews.com/business/superyachtnews-covid-19-advisory-

 

THE CLIFFORD CHANCE REPORT ON THE SWEDBANK LAUNDERING SCANDAL

On 1 April, Kenneth Rijock in his blog provided a link to the report prepared for Swedbank by Clifford Chance.

https://www.swedbank.com/

 

US CUSTOMS HAS SEIZED MORE THAN 100 SHIPMENTS OF ILLICIT DERMAL FILLERS SINCE JANUARY

A news release from US Customs & Border Protection on 31 March reported that cheap dermal filler they purchase online could potentially make them ill, and violate US import laws.  Since the beginning of the year, officers in Philadelphia have seized more than 100 shipments of dermal filler bearing the brand names of Juvederm, Teoxane, Teosyal, Sculptera, Orthovisc, Revanesse, Restylane, Dyasport, and the more popularly known Botox.

https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/philadelphia-cbp-seizes-more-100-shipments-illicit-dermal-fillers

 

LIST OF COUNTRIES THAT ADOPTED TEMPORARY EXPORT RESTRICTIONS ON CERTAIN CATEGORIES OF CRITICAL MEDICAL SUPPLIES IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19

On 31 March, the World Customs Organisation published a list of national legislation imposing such export restrictions.

http://www.wcoomd.org/en/topics/facilitation/activities-and-programmes/natural-disaster/list-of-countries-coronavirus.aspx

 

OVER 2 TONNES OF COCAINE FOUND AT ROTTERDAM PORT OVER ONE WEEKEND

On 31 March, the NL Times reported that Customs authorities had intercepted over 2,000 kg of cocaine at the port of Rotterdam in multiple discoveries on 27 and 30 March, the Public Prosecutor announced. The drugs were found hidden in shipments of fruit or fruit products from Brazil and Costa Rica.

https://nltimes.nl/2020/03/31/2000-kilos-cocaine-found-rotterdam-port-since-friday

 

UK: IN-HOUSE LAWYER WHO FACILITATED SHAM £16 Million PROPERTY SCHEMES STRUCK OFF

On 1 April, Legal Futures reported that Timothy Peter Ackrel, a solicitor who acted as head of legal and a “puppet director” for a variety of companies involved in sham property schemes in the north-west of England, has been struck off.

https://www.legalfutures.co.uk/latest-news/in-house-lawyer-facilitated-sham-16m-property-schemes

 

SEC WARNS OF FAITH-BASED FRAUDS AS SECURES JUDGMENT AGAINST ORGANISER OF CHRISTIAN CONCERTS

On 1 April, a release on Mondo Visione advised that the SEC had obtained a final judgment against Christian concert promoter Jeffrey E. Wall, of Freeport, Maine, and his business, The Lighthouse Events LLC.  He had been charged in April 2019 with operating a community-based financial fraud related to Christian music concerts and festivals.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/sec-obtains-judgment-against-promoter-who-fraudulently-raised-3-million-for-chr/

 

SWEDISH REGULATOR DELAYS ANNUAL AML/CFT REPORT DUE TO CORONAVIRUS

A release on Mondo Visione on 1 April reported that Finansinspektionen has postponed the deadline for the annual reporting on money laundering and financing of terrorism to 30 April.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/swedens-finansinspektionen-reporting-on-money-laundering-postponed/

 

CYBER CRIME AND INTERNET FRAUD ARE BIG BUSINESS IN GHANA

On 1 April, Deutsche Welle carried a short video report concerned with some of the fraudsters to find out more about this shady industry.

https://www.dw.com/en/internet-fraud-in-ghana-meet-the-sakawa-boys/av-52890318

 

US ARRESTS RUSSIAN RAPPER FOR ALLEGED MONEY LAUNDERING — USING HIS INSTAGRAM THAT PROMOTED HIS RAP CAREER AS EVIDENCE AGAINST HIM

On 1 April, the Coin Telegraph reported that it is alleged that Maksim Boiko laundered money using cryptocurrencies, including via exchange BTC-e.  The authorities also say that Boiko conspired with transnational organised crime organisation QQAAZZ.  Boiko is also a small-time rapper operating under the name Plinofficial — a name also used in an email address that the FBI identified as being connected with money laundering operations.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/fbi-arrests-russian-rapper-for-crypto-money-laundering-cites-damning-instagram

 

 

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WORLD TURNS TO VAT CUTS ON CORONAVIRUS COVID-19 THREAT

On 1 April, VAT Live provides a summary of VAT/GST initiatives being taken as countries around the world are turning to emergency tax breaks to support their stuttering economies under the coronavirus (COVID-19) threat.

https://www.avalara.com/vatlive/en/vat-news/world-turns-to-vat-cuts-on-coronavirus-threat.html

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CORONAVIRUS FRAUD IS SO BAD THE FTC IN THE US MADE A SCAM “BINGO CARD”

On 1 April, Yahoo Finance reported that the Federal Trade Commission in the US has already attempted to come down hard on scammers taking advantage of the crisis.  However, it says that things have gotten so bad that the FTC has experimented with other ways to get people to pay attention: like a “scam bingo” card.  The idea is that you use the card to check off the scammers you spotted, along with the steps you took to stop them.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/coronavirus-fraud-is-so-bad-the-ftc-made-a-scam-bingo-181324962.html

bingo

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2020/03/now-more-ever-spot-scams-ftcscambingo

 

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OECD: ACTIONS TAKEN BY TAX ADMINISTRATIONS TO SUPPORT TAXPAYERS DURING CORONAVIRUS CRISIS

On 1 April, a release on Mondo Visione reported that he OECD Forum on Tax Administration has published a document setting out actions that tax administrations are currently taking to support taxpayers.  These include measures to address cash-flow concerns, difficulties in meeting reporting and payment deadlines and communication initiatives. The intention of this document, which will be updated on a regular basis, is said to be to to assist administrations in the consideration and development of their domestic measures.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/tackling-the-coronavirus-oecd-forum-on-tax-administration-publishes-actions-tha/

 

 

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UK: CORONAVIRUS HITS PLAN TO TARGET AML LAGGARDS

On 1 April, Legal Futures reported that the coronavirus crisis has hindered the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s efforts to pursue law firms that have ignored its efforts to check they are complying with its AML rules.  The article also warns that the crisis has the potential to generate significant extra costs for the SRA, which may ultimately need to be borne by the profession through practising fees.

https://www.legalfutures.co.uk/latest-news/coronavirus-hits-sras-plan-to-target-aml-laggards

 

 

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WILDLIFE CRIME ONLINE TRAINING MODULES

The UN Office of Drugs and Crime says that the Education for Justice (E4J) initiative has developed, with the support of academics from around the world, a series of University Modules on Wildlife Crime to support lecturers with an interest in this area. The modules cover many aspects of this complex crime. They apply a multidisciplinary approach and use innovative and practical teaching techniques meant to inspire and encourage students to engage in this important topic.  3 modules are available online –

  • Illicit markets for wildlife, forest and fisheries products;
  • International frameworks for combating wildlife trafficking; and
  • Criminal justice responses to wildlife trafficking.

https://www.unodc.org/e4j/en/tertiary/wildlife-crime.html

 

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US CUSTOMS HAS SEIZED MORE THAN 100 SHIPMENTS OF ILLICIT DERMAL FILLERS SINCE JANUARY

A news release from US Customs & Border Protection on 31 March reported that cheap dermal filler they purchase online could potentially make them ill, and violate US import laws.  Since the beginning of the year, officers in Philadelphia have seized more than 100 shipments of dermal filler bearing the brand names of Juvederm, Teoxane, Teosyal, Sculptera, Orthovisc, Revanesse, Restylane, Dyasport, and the more popularly known Botox.

https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/philadelphia-cbp-seizes-more-100-shipments-illicit-dermal-fillers

 

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LITHUANIA LEGALISES ASSET SEIZURE FOR SERIOUS CRIMES

On 1 April, LRT reported that the Lithuania parliament has adopted a civil asset forfeiture law with amendments proposed by the President.  The law will allow seizure of assets if a person is part of a criminal group, is suspected, charged or convicted for serious crimes, including human trafficking, robbery, extortion as well as corruption crimes linked to smuggling and drugs.

https://www.lrt.lt/en/news-in-english/19/1157288/lithuania-legalises-asset-seizure-for-serious-crimes

 

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GLOBAL PROTEST TRACKER

GLOBAL PROTEST TRACKER

The Carnegie Institute has unveiled its one-stop source for following crucial trends in the most significant anti-government protests worldwide since 2017.

https://carnegieendowment.org/publications/interactive/protest-tracker

 

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MARCH 31

Panama Covid-19 update – Too early for government news conference, so no details of today’s figures on new cases etc.  Last day before new, tighter lockdown rules start tomorrow – when only 2 hours every other day allowed.  However, can still get some exercise using cross-trainer and ab bench machine, on the veranda downstairs, while watching the hummingbirds and other exotic birds in the garden.  Makes me more aware, despite being (sort of) “stranded” here, I am in a far better situation than many others.  Trying to stay positive and keep busy, which I guess is the secret.

31 March 2020

OVER 500 NORTH KOREAN WORKERS REMAIN IN RUSSIA

On 30 March, NK News reported that 511 labourers reportedly stranded in Russia, having had their work permits revoked, Russia said, in line with the country’s obligations under UN SCR Resolution 2397.

https://www.nknews.org/2020/03/over-five-hundred-north-korean-workers-remain-in-russia-government-says/

 

INSTEX HAS SUCCESSFULLY CONCLUDED ITS FIRST TRANSACTION, FACILITATING THE EXPORT OF MEDICAL GOODS FROM EUROPE TO IRAN

A news release from the FCO on 31 March advised that France, Germany and UK confirm that INSTEX has successfully concluded its first transaction, facilitating the export of medical goods from Europe to Iran. These goods are now in Iran.  INSTEX is a mechanism designed to continue the supply of necessary goods to Iran, despite US sanctions.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/instex-successfully-concludes-first-transaction

https://www.dw.com/en/europe-and-iran-complete-first-instex-deal-dodging-us-sanctions/a-52966842

 

ISLE OF MAN: CHANGES REGARDING THE REGISTRATION AND REGULATION CHARITIES

On 31 March, a news release in the Isle of Man advised that the changes affecting Manx-registered charities come into effect from 1 April.  The Charities Registration and Regulations Act 2019 come fully into force on 1 April, as well as the Charities Regulations 2020, and the implementation of the Act will impact on all Manx registered charities.

https://www.gov.im/news/2020/mar/31/changes-regarding-the-registration-and-regulation-of-manx-registered-charities-will-come-into-force-from-1-april-2020/

 

US RENEWS WAIVERS ALLOWING FOREIGN FIRMS TO WORK AT IRANIAN NUCLEAR SITES

The Jewish News Syndicate and others on 30 March reported that the US State Department had announced that it has extended temporary waivers to continue allowing Russian, Chinese and European companies to keep operating at Iranian nuclear facilities.  The waivers affect the Arak and Bushehr facilities, and the Tehran Research Reactor, where the fuel is provided by Russia, which also removes the facility’s spent fuel after it’s used in the reactor.

https://www.jns.org/us-renews-waivers-allowing-foreign-firms-to-work-at-iranian-nuclear-sites/

 

MORE THAN 10,000 AIRCRAFT HAVE BEEN MOTHBALLED SINCE THE START OF THE CRISIS

On 31 March, EurActiv reported that airlines are scrambling to find parking spots as the coronavirus outbreak slashes demand for air travel, as quarantine measures and border closures have cut air traffic by up to 90% in places.  40% of the global commercial fleet were out of service, with Europe’s runways and aprons hosting the most of any continent, across 210 airports.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/aviation/news/airlines-hunt-for-parking-spaces-as-virus-grounds-flights/

 

EU FINALISES ITS OPERATION IRINI TO ENFORCE LIBYA ARMS EMBARGO

On 31 March, EurActiv carried an article saying that the EU will begin its operation in which ships will operate in the eastern Mediterranean, with authority to stop and board ships suspected of breaching the UN arms embargo.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/global-europe/news/eu-finalises-operation-irini-to-enforce-libya-arms-embargo/

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/fr/press/press-releases/2020/03/31/eu-launches-operation-irini-to-enforce-libya-arms-embargo/

 

TURKEY’S HALKBANK PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO HELPING IRAN EVADE US SANCTIONS

On 31 March, The National in UAE, and others, reported that Turkey’s state-owned Halkbank has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges in a US federal court over accusations that it helped Iran evade US sanctions.  Halkbank is charged with embezzlement, conspiracy, money laundering, fraud and helping Iran evade sanctions.  The bank is being accused of running a “brazen scheme” between 2012 and 2016 to evade US sanctions on Iran.  Among those involved is Turkish-Iranian business mogul Reza Zarrab, who is accused of bribing senior Turkish officials, including a member of Mr Erdogan’s cabinet, to help evade sanctions via Halkbank.

https://www.thenational.ae/world/the-americas/turkey-s-halkbank-pleads-not-guilty-to-helping-iran-evade-us-sanctions-1.999945

 

MEXICO BUSTS FORMER PEMEX CHIEF FOR GRAFT

On 31 March, OCCRP reported that authorities in Mexico have reportedly arrested a former public official accused of embezzling more than $1 million from the country’s corruption-riddled state-owned oil company.  OCCRP says that local reports have identified the man as Luis Alberto Núñez Santander, former deputy director of operations at Pemex Logistics.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/11968-mexico-busts-former-pemex-chief-for-graft

 

IRELAND: OVER 25% INCREASE IN REPORTED FRAUD OFFENCES IN 2019

On 31 March, RTE reported that the annual crime statistics show that reported cases of fraud increased by more than 25% to almost 8,000 last year, more than 20 a day.  There has also been an increase in drugs and gun crime, attempted murders and sexual offences.

https://www.rte.ie/news/crime/2020/0331/1127548-crime-cso-2019/

 

JAPAN BUSINESSMAN PAID $8.2 MILLION BY TOKYO OLYMPICS BID LOBBIED FIGURE AT CENTRE OF FRENCH CORRUPTION PROBE

On 30 March, Reuters reported that a businessman who received millions of dollars for his work on Tokyo’s successful campaign to host the 2020 Olympics said he played a key role in securing the support of a former Olympics powerbroker suspected by French prosecutors of taking bribes to help Japan’s bid.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-olympics-2020-lobbying-exclusive/exclusive-japan-businessman-paid-8-2-million-by-tokyo-olympics-bid-lobbied-figure-at-centre-of-french-corruption-probe-idUKKBN21I0D1

 

UK: CONSULTATION ON EXPANDING THE DORMANT ASSETS SCHEME – DEADLINE EXTENDED

A news release from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport on 31 March advised that the deadline for submissions on the consultation in order to gather views on its proposals to expand the dormant assets scheme to include new financial assets has been extended.  The new deadline is 16 July.  The public consultation follows 2 industry-led reports, which made a series of recommendations on broadening the current scheme beyond bank and building society accounts to include assets from the insurance and pensions, investment and wealth management, and securities sectors.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-on-expanding-the-dormant-assets-scheme

 

UK BAN ON RECREATIONAL FLYING

On 31 March, the UK Department for Transport issued guidance saying that government guidance on coronavirus precludes recreational general aviation flying.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-recreational-general-aviation/coronavirus-covid-19-recreational-general-aviation

 

UK WAIVES DUTIES AND VAT ON VITAL MEDICAL IMPORTS

On 31 March, HM Treasury advised that the Chancellor has waived import taxes on vital medical equipment including ventilators, coronavirus testing kits and protective clothing.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/chancellor-waives-duties-and-vat-on-vital-medical-imports

 

US BLOCKS TELECOM COMPANIES FROM FACILITATING ROBOCALL FRAUD

On 31 March, OCCRP reported that the DoJ has issued injunctions barring 2 telecom carriers from facilitating robocalls that led to people paying millions to fraudsters for solving made-up legal predicaments.  They follow the first-ever DoJ complaints against robocall companies.  It is said that, through the voice over internet protocol (VOIP) services offered by the companies involved, international call centres were able to forward robocalls to victims in the US.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/11965-us-blocks-telecom-companies-from-facilitating-robocall-fraud

 

UK: A STEP CLOSER TO PROSECUTIONS OF SUPPLIERS OF DRUGS FOR MANSLAUGHTER

A paper on 20 March from St Pauls Chambers considered a recent case where a person was convicted of manslaughter where the person who died was a 21 year old who suffered a number of mental disorders, bulimia nervosa, unstable personality disorder, depression and features of dependence syndrome.  The defendant had supplied her with 2.4 Dinitrophenol (DNP) over the internet. She had consumed a number of capsules of DNP.  The paper explains that DNP is technically classified as a food supplement, and the prosecution was for an offence under the Food Hygiene (England) Regulations for placing an unsafe food on the market intended or reasonably expected for human consumption, as well as 2 counts of manslaughter, unlawful act and gross negligence manslaughter.  The defendant was convicted on all counts, but appealed the manslaughter convictions and that appeal was allowed.  The Court of Appeal held that placing the product on the market was not sufficiently proximate to the victim’s death to provide a basis of an unlawful act manslaughter charge.  A retrial was directed in respect of the gross negligence manslaughter charge.  On 9 March, the defendant was convicted of gross negligence manslaughter, and the paper examines the background, details and implications of the case.

https://www.stpaulschambers.com/the-supply-of-dnp-that-resulted-in-a-manslaughter-conviction/

 

NEW ZEALAND – RECKLESS AND INSOLVENT TRADING: TIME TO ALLOW DIRECTORS SOME BREATHING SPACE?

On 31 March, an article from Dentons Kensington Swan says that current New Zealand law provides that directors are obliged not to continue trading in a reckless or insolvent manner. It says that several countries (including Australia and the UK) have decided that some of the obligations on directors in respect of reckless or insolvent trading should be relaxed in the current circumstances, where even a fundamentally sound business may face serious cashflow problems.  The article asks if New Zealand will take the same approach?

https://www.dentons.co.nz/en/insights/articles/2020/march/31/reckless-and-insolvent-trading-time-to-allow-directors-some-breathing-space

21291

https://www.statista.com/chart/21291/countries-targeted-most-by-malicious-coronavirus-spam

 

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US BLOCKS TELECOM COMPANIES FROM FACILITATING ROBOCALL FRAUD

On 31 March, OCCRP reported that the DoJ has issued injunctions barring 2 telecom carriers from facilitating robocalls that led to people paying millions to fraudsters for solving made-up legal predicaments.  They follow the first-ever DoJ complaints against robocall companies.  It is said that, through the voice over internet protocol (Voip) services offered by the companies involved, international call centres were able to forward robocalls to victims in the US.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/11965-us-blocks-telecom-companies-from-facilitating-robocall-fraud

 

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FATF: US AML/CFT ASSESSMENT FOLLOW-UP REPORT

On 31 March, FATF issued the 3rd follow-up report following the 2016 mutual evaluation report on the AML/CFT systems of the US.  As a result of improvements, FATF has decided to upgrade its rating for FATF Recommendation 10 (Customer Due Diligence) – from Partially Compliant to Largely Compliant.  Like many other countries, the US has been in the enhanced follow-up process since 2016.  The new report also looks at whether the United States’ measures meet the requirements of FATF Recommendations that have changed since the 2016 mutual evaluation.  The US is now compliant on 9 of the 40 FATF Recommendations and largely compliant on 22 of them.  It remains partially compliant on 5 and not compliant on 4 of them. The US remains in enhanced follow-up and will report back to the FATF on progress to strengthen its systems.  As with such follow-up reports, only the technical compliance ratings are considered – not the effectiveness ratings.

US

http://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/reports/fur/Follow-Up-Report-United-States-March-2020.pdf

 

 

 

 

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OFSI IMPOSES £20 MILLION SANCTIONS PENALTY ON STANDARD CHARTERED BANK

In the UK, the Office for Financial Sanctions Implementation reports that it has imposed combined penalties of £20,471,809.83 on the bank.  The decision to impose the penalties was upheld by Economic Secretary to HM Treasury on 18 February.  The 2 penalties are imposed for breaches of the Ukraine (European Union Financial Sanctions) (No.3) Regulations 2014.  The penalties take into account a 30% reduction for voluntary disclosure.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/876971/200331_-_SCB_Penalty_Report.pdf

 

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MARCH 30

Panama Covid-19 update – Well, we’ve been behaving ourselves, but others obviously have not – with over 2,000 arrests for curfew/isolation contraventions in 24 hours.  We are up to 1,075 confirmed cases now, adding 89 in the last 24 hours, with 27 fatalities.  These figures are bad enough, but could be worse, especially if people don’t follow the rules.  Hence, from 1 April the lockdown is tightened again.  Instead of 2 hours per day, you are allowed 2 hours every other day – again based on your ID card or passport number or whether male or female (my slot is 0630-0830, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday) – although over-60s can use the 1100-1300 time slot to shop and visit pharmacies.  But Sunday will be a total, all-day lockdown.

30 March 2020

ROSNEFT PLANS TO SELL ALL ASSETS RELATED TO VENEZUELA

On 28 March, the Wall Street Journal reported that the comes weeks after Trump administration added a subsidiary of Rosneft to its financial blacklist for allegedly helping Venezuela sell its oil in violation of US sanctions.  Rosneft said it halt all Venezuelan-related activities.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/russias-rosneft-plans-to-sell-all-assets-related-to-venezuela-11585422401

 

RISING NUMBERS OF IRANIANS ARE USING A SANCTIONS-BUSTING SCHEME TO BUY PROPERTY IN TURKEY AND CLAIM CITIZENSHIP

On 30 March, KYC 360 reported that, using a network of money transfer offices, mostly in Istanbul, they are able to move funds out of accounts in Iran, even though US embargoes have severed the country’s banks from international payment networks.  It says that smuggled Iranian chip-and-pin machines connect the Istanbul offices with Tehran banks, and the system mostly serves Iranian tourists and the 67,000 Iranian citizens living in Turkey, but other users use it for bigger purchases.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/iranians-buy-turkish-homes-and-passports/

 

MUTUAL LEGAL ASSISTANCE: UK SUPREME COURT – DECISION TO PROVIDE INFORMATION TO US TO FACILITATE PROSECUTION FOR CRIMES CARRYING THE DEATH PENALTY UNLAWFUL

On 26 March, Simons Muirhead & Burton published an article saying that the Supreme Court held that the UK Government had acted unlawfully in providing or agreeing to provide material to the US, without seeking assurances that the death penalty would not be imposed.  The decision related to 2 men who were alleged to be part of a group of terrorists operating in Syria, involved in the murder of British and US citizens.

https://smab.co.uk/supreme-court-finds-governments-decision-unlawful/

 

HOW TO KEEP THE NEW CORONAVIRUS FROM BEING USED AS A TERRORIST WEAPON

On 27 March, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists published an article saying that CNN had reported that US agencies now consider the intentional spread by extremist groups of the coronavirus causing the current pandemic, SARS-CoV-2, to be a growing threat in the US; and that members of extremist groups are encouraging one another to spread the virus, if contracted, to targeted groups through bodily fluids and personal interactions.  It says that the possibility that extremist groups may attempt to deliberately spread SARS-CoV-2 should not be ignored.  The article looks at how authorities might prevent its use.

https://thebulletin.org/2020/03/how-to-keep-the-new-coronavirus-from-being-used-as-a-terrorist-weapon

 

ANTIQUITIES SMUGGLING IN MALAWI

On 30 March, Egypt Today reported that a person in Malawi has been arrested with 113 artefacts and coins dating back to the Pharaonic, Roman and Greek eras in his possession with the purpose of illegal trafficking.

https://www.egypttoday.com/Article/4/83168/Antiquities-smuggling-deal-thwarted-in-Minya

 

UK: SLOW DUE DILIGENCE BLAMED AS SME AVOID BANKING SERVICES

On 30 March, the Director of Finance reported that as many as 38% of UK businesses have deliberately abandoned an application for banking services in the past year due to “slow due diligence processes”.  This followed a survey, which polled 200 decision-makers in large and medium-sized businesses.  It also found that businesses plan to prioritise spending on cyber security over anti-financial crime compliance in 2020, with 44% putting plans in place.  On the other hand, 81% of organisations agree that they are confident in their understanding of exposure to financial crime and that they already have the processes in place to address it.

https://dofonline.co.uk/2020/03/30/slow-due-diligence-blamed-as-smes-scrap-banking-services/

 

OVERSEAS-OWNERSHIP OF GERMAN COMPANIES HIGHLIGHTED IN NEW SURVEY

On 26 March, HKTDC reports a survey that is said to show that US owns 7 times as many German-registered companies as mainland China – despite widespread concerns that China has been picking off many of Europe’s leading businesses through a continual programme of acquisitions.

http://economists-pick-research.hktdc.com/business-news/article/Economists-Pick-International-Market-News/Overseas-Ownership-of-German-Companies-Highlighted-in-New-Survey/imn/en/1/1X308LSH/1X0AKCME.htm

 

TRUMP MUST DEFEND FRAUD CLAIMS OVER PANAMA HOTEL

On 30 March, BNN Bloomberg reported that a former business partner of Donald Trump’s hotel company – Orestes Fintiklis, and his fund, Ithaca Capital Investments – can pursue its allegations that the president’s firm evaded income taxes on a project in Panama and under-reported employee salaries there, a federal judge has ruled.

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/trump-must-defend-fraud-claims-over-panama-hotel-1.1414632

 

SWEDISH GAMBLING AUTHORITY: “HIGH” CHANCE OF MONEY LAUNDERING IN ONLINE GAMBLING

On 30 March, e-Gaming Review reported that the Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA) has released a new risk assessment document which claims there is a significantly “high” risk of money laundering coming through online casino and sports betting sites.  It cites virtual currencies and greater player anonymity as increasing instances of fraud via gambling firms.

https://egr.global/compliance/news/swedish-gambling-authority-risk-assessment-claims-high-chance-of-money-laundering-in-online-gambling

 

UK: MAN ARRESTED OVER £10 MILLION FROZEN FISH COCAINE HAUL

The Belfast Telegraph on 30 March reported that a man has been arrested on the Isle of Wight as police investigate the seizure of almost 100 kg of cocaine from the back of a van carrying frozen fish.

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/uk/man-arrested-over-10m-frozen-fish-cocaine-haul-39087053.html

https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/nca-officers-arrest-second-man-over-10m-newhaven-cocaine-seizure-at-newhaven

 

INDIA WATERS DOWN TAX RESIDENCY REFORMS

On 30 March, STEP reported that proposals in India’s 2020 federal budget to significantly extend the tax residency rules have been diluted in the final version of the Finance Act 2020.  Significant changes have been made to the new residency tests in the final Bill, which was approved by parliament on 23 March.  A proposal to deem Indian citizens as Indian tax resident if they are not liable to tax in any other country, regardless of whether such individual meets the residency test has been dropped.

https://www.step.org/news/india-waters-down-tax-residency-reforms

 

FBI ACCUSES RUSSIAN MAN OF LAUNDERING MONEY FOR A TRANSNATIONAL CYBERCRIME NETWORK

On 30 March, Cyberscoop reported that an unsealed complaint against Maksim Boiko, 29, alleges that he worked with a transnational organized crime group, called QQAAZZ, by converting stolen money into cryptocurrency.  He is described as “a significant cybercriminal who launders money for other cybercriminals”.  US authorities previously indicted 5 Latvian men for their alleged involvement in the QQAAZZ operation.

https://www.cyberscoop.com/fbi-accuses-russian-money-laundering-qqaazz/

 

LIBYA WILL INVESTIGATE SEIZED TANKER AFTER QUARANTINE CONCLUDES

On 27 March, Insurance Maritime News reported that the internationally recognised Libyan government, which controls about half of the country has said that it would be beginning its investigation into alleged sanctions-breaking of a tanker after a period of quarantine ends.  It is alleged that the vessel had offloaded jet fuel in Benghazi and that it had broken an arms embargo and other international agreements.  Benghazi is the effective capital of the rival rulers in the east of Libya – Libyan National Army (LNA).  2009-built, the Liberia-flagged, Gulf Petroleum 4 is owned by AA Marine Inc, care of Gulf Shipping Services FZC of Ajman, UAE.

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/libya-will-investigate-seized-tanker-after-quarantine-concludes/

 

DoJ INVESTIGATES LAWMAKERS OVER CLAIMS OF INSIDER TRADING

On 30 March, Zero Hedge reported that in the US the DoJ is investigating whether lawmakers used information obtained during confidential coronavirus briefings to liquidate stocks ahead of the largest market sell-off in decades.

https://www.zerohedge.com/political/doj-investigates-lawmakers-following-accusations-insider-trading

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-52097349

 

FRAUDULENT LEDGER CHROME SCAM MAY HAVE STOLEN UP TO $2.5 MILLION IN CRYPTOCURRENCY

On 30 March, Cryptoglobe reported that a fake browser extension masquerades as an official add-on for cryptocurrency hardware wallet manufacturer Ledger. Users are asked to input their 24-word seed, which allows scammers access to the wallet’s contents.

https://www.cryptoglobe.com/latest/2020/03/fraudulent-ledger-chrome-scam-may-have-stolen-up-to-2-5-million-in-crypto/

 

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UK: TAX AVOIDANCE PROMOTERS TARGETING RETURNING NHS WORKERS

In its Spotlight 54, HMRC reports on tax avoidance schemes being used to target workers returning to the NHS to help respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.  It says that is aware that unscrupulous promoters of tax avoidance schemes are targeting workers returning to the NHS.  It cautions that you to be very careful not to sign up to these schemes, which HMRC considers to be tax avoidance.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tax-avoidance-promoters-targeting-returning-nhs-workers-spotlight-54

 

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THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MARCH 29

Panama coronavirus update – latest figures saw 88 new cases (the number down on the previous day), giving a total of 989 confirmed cases to date, with 24 fatalities.  There has been some unrest in a couple of the poorer areas, with a couple of small local shops looted and street protests – despite the government guaranteeing wages and providing food vouchers, free food supplies and other things for the poor and those who don;t have a regular job or wage.

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/police-injured-in-panama-city-looting-incidents

In other developments, Panama has facilitated the stranded Zandaam cruise liner off-loading some passengers to a fellow liner and both passing through the Canal en route to California (though who will know what will happen there).

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/panama-the-only-country-providing-humanitarian-aid-to-the-zaandam-cruise/

29 March 2020 

HOW THE SEC ENFORCEMENT DIVISION RESPONDS TO A CRISIS

On 28 March, a post on the Compliance & Enforcement blog of the New York University School of Law sets out to explain how the SEC is coping and on what its Enforcement Division will be concentrating during the crisis.  It is said, as one might expect, that it will be focusing on things and people seeking to take advantage of the crisis to carry out scams and frauds etc.  However, it is said that the majority of SEC staff have begun teleworking, and the agency has “transitioned to a full telework posture with limited exceptions”.  The post lists the types of investigations it expects the Enforcement Division to undertake.

https://wp.nyu.edu/compliance_enforcement/2020/03/27/how-the-sec-enforcement-division-responds-to-a-crisis/

 

QATARA: NASSER AL KHELAIFI, HEAD OF INTERNATIONAL PAY-TELEVISION GIANT BEIN MEDIA GROUP, RECEIVES BOOST OVER CORRUPTION INVESTIGATION IN SWITZERLAND

On 29 March, The Peninsula in Qatar reported that the Swiss federal court has rejected a prosecution case against the Qatari executive, who is also the president of French soccer giants Paris Saint-Germain.  He was cleared of bribery in a probe that also involves a disgraced former secretary general of FIFA, and a third unnamed accused, and relates to payments alleged to have been made for media rights for major tournaments.  However, a secondary charge of inciting Valcke to commit aggravated criminal mismanagement was maintained.

https://thepeninsulaqatar.com/article/29/03/2020/Favourable-court-ruling-for-Al-Khelaifi-in-Swiss-corruption-probe

 

EU COURT OF JUSTICE RULES THAT CONFISCATION LAWS ARE LAWFUL

On 29 March, the Irish Independent reported that the ECJ has held that proceeds of crime legislation, used to confiscate illegally obtained assets, is lawful.  In Ireland, the measure was brought in after the brutal murder of Sunday Independent investigative journalist Veronica Guerin in 1996.  The matter was referred to the Court by Bulgaria, which asked if EU law precluded Member States from providing for civil proceedings for confiscation, which were unrelated to a finding of a criminal offence, and arose from a case in which a Bulgarian banker is the subject of criminal proceedings for allegedly having incited others, between December 2011 and June 2014, to misappropriate funds belonging to the bank.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/crime-assets-confiscation-is-lawful-eu-court-rules-39084611.html

 

 

 

 

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EU COURT OF JUSTICE RULES THAT CONFISCATION LAWS ARE LAWFUL

On 29 March, the Irish Independent reported that the ECJ has held that proceeds of crime legislation, used to confiscate illegally obtained assets, is lawful.  In Ireland, the measure was brought in after the brutal murder of Sunday Independent investigative journalist Veronica Guerin in 1996.  The matter was referred to the Court by Bulgaria, which asked if EU law precluded Member States from providing for civil proceedings for confiscation, which were unrelated to a finding of a criminal offence, and arose from a case in which a Bulgarian banker is the subject of criminal proceedings for allegedly having incited others, between December 2011 and June 2014, to misappropriate funds belonging to the bank.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/crime-assets-confiscation-is-lawful-eu-court-rules-39084611.html

 

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HOW THE SEC ENFORCEMENT DIVISION RESPONDS TO A CRISIS

On 28 March, a post on the Compliance & Enforcement blog of the New York University School of Law sets out to explain how the SEC is coping and on what its Enforcement Division will be concentrating during the crisis.  It is said, as one might expect, that it will be focusing on things and people seeking to take advantage of the crisis to carry out scams and frauds etc.  However, it is said that the majority of SEC staff have begun teleworking, and the agency has “transitioned to a full telework posture with limited exceptions”.  The post lists the types of investigations it expects the Enforcement Division to undertake.

https://wp.nyu.edu/compliance_enforcement/2020/03/27/how-the-sec-enforcement-division-responds-to-a-crisis/

 

 

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MARCH 28

Panama coronavirus update – still under lockdown – though apparently the Minister of Health has said it is OK to walk your dog (if only I had one)…  Too early to report latest statistics (daily press conference in half an hour), but have fingers crossed…  reports of last “rescue flights”, by KLM and Iberia, of Europeans this weekend.  On social media, people back home in Britain seem most shocked by decision of authorities here to ban sales of alcohol, which says something.

28 March 2020

AUSTRALIA: EVEN WHEN A PERSON DOES NOT HOLD A FORMAL “OFFICE” WITHIN A COMPANY, HE/SHE MAY STILL HAVE DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES AS AN “OFFICER” OF THE COMPANY

A briefing from Bird & Bird reports on a High Court case in Australia which it says has made it clear that even when a person does not hold a formal “office” within a company, that person may still have duties and responsibilities as an “officer” of the company.  The case involved a director of who ceased being a director some 9 months prior to a decision; but had acted as the overall boss of the group, assumed overall responsibility for the group, and had substantial influence over personnel.  The key question before the High Court was whether the man was an “officer” of MFSIM. If he was, he would be found to have breached his duties as an officer of a responsible entity.  It is said that this case is an important reminder that individuals can have the obligations of a director or officer of a company even if they are not formally appointed to the office.

https://www.twobirds.com/en/news/articles/2020/australia/high-court-of-australia—officer-of-a-company

 

CORONAVIRUS CRISIS EXPOSES ANOTHER PANDEMIC IN HONDURAS – CORRUPTION

On 26 March, Al Jazeera reported that analysts worry corruption will exacerbate the crisis facing Honduras’s already strained healthcare system.  They warned of a second pandemic that could exacerbate the public health crisis: “corruption”.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/03/coronavirus-crisis-exposes-pandemic-honduras-analysts-200327183808256.html

 

EGYPT AND TURKEY’S ENERGY FACE-OFF IN THE MEDITERRANEAN

On 27 March, the Al-Monitor carried an article saying that the US Geological Survey estimates there to be 122 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas reserves in the Mediterranean’s Leviathan Basin, and the countries in the region are on a quest to acquire their share of gas rights.  It says that Egypt expects exploratory drilling to begin early next year, which has intensified tensions with Turkey, which in November signed controversial maritime and military MoU with Libya’s UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli. It says that Turkey constitutes an important transit point for oil and gas exports bound for Europe from Russian and the Caspian Sea countries, but lacks its own petroleum reserves, having to import 75% of its energy requirements.

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/03/egypt-agreement-drilling-gas-mediterranean-turkey-libya.html

 

DoJ IN US SUES ANTHEM HEALTH INSURER OVER ALLEGED DIAGNOSIS FRAUD SCHEME

On 27 March, the Washington Examiner reported that the DoJ has sued Anthem for alleged diagnosis fraud scheme totalling millions of dollars.  It is among the largest Medicare fraud lawsuits yet.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/justice-department-sues-anthem-for-alleged-diagnosis-fraud-scheme-totaling-millions-of-dollars

 

PRETRIAL DETENTIONS CONTINUE TO PLAGUE LATIN AMERICAN PRISONS

An article in Insight Crime on 27 March says that a new US report documents how pretrial detentions are overcrowding Latin America’s prisons, leading to gang recruitment, violence and violations of prisoners’ human rights.  A US State Department report says that countries use pretrial detention in order to deal with high crime rates, despite the fact that mass incarceration props up criminal organisations working inside prisons.

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/brief/pretrial-latin-american-prisons/

 

WANT TO KNOW IF A NEW DRUG CRISIS IS GROWING? CHECK THE WASTEWATER

An article from the RAND Corporation on 26 March says that to respond rapidly to a crisis in its early stages, we need real-time warnings when drug use patterns are shifting, but that current measures are too slow.  The article proposes that wastewater checking could be the answer.  It explains that when an individual takes a drug, the body metabolises it and excretes metabolites. Just as urine tests detect these metabolites for individuals, wastewater testing can reveal what drugs are being used in a city or region in the aggregate.  When an individual takes a drug, the body metabolises it and excretes metabolites. Just as urine tests detect these metabolites for individuals, wastewater testing can reveal what drugs are being used in a city or region in the aggregate. It is said to be fast and cheap.

https://www.rand.org/blog/2020/03/want-to-know-if-a-new-drug-crisis-is-growing-check.html

 

BLOCKCHAIN PROTOTYPE FOR SAFEGUARDING NUCLEAR MATERIAL UNVEILED & DEMONSTRATED

An article from the Stimson Center in the US says that the prototype was created by a partnership between the Stimson Center, Finland’s Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK), and the University of New South Wales (UNSW).  “SLAFKA,” tests whether distributed ledger technology has the potential to increase efficiency, trust, and transparency in the management of nuclear safeguards information.  It is said that the project is important because nuclear regulatory authorities around the world often use outdated systems to track materials like spent nuclear fuel and account for material transfers between countries.  It is said that the project team will test the prototype to review the technology’s suitability and to investigate its applicability for similar data management related to non-proliferation and disarmament.

https://www.stimson.org/2020/blockchain-prototype-for-safeguarding-nuclear-material-unveiled-demonstrated/

 

COLOMBIA’S NARCO-SUBMARINES – A PHOTO ESSAY

On 23 March, the Guardian published an article saying that authorities on the country’s Pacific coast say crude semi-submersible craft have become a favoured tool to smuggle drugs toward the US, and even to Europe.  33 submarines were intercepted in 2019, an average of almost 3 a month, most of them along the Pacific coast.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/23/colombias-narco-submarines-a-photo-essay?CMP=share_btn_tw

Also available shortly, it seems –

ET85U54XkAIz53h

 

AML PROGRAMME CONTINGENCY PLANNING DURING COVID-19: RECENT GUIDANCE FROM FINCEN AND THE FEDERAL FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS EXAMINATION COUNCIL

On 27 March, an article from Crowell Moring reported that FinCEN had issued guidance, asked if any firm would encounter delays in necessary filings and advised of some trends in scams and risks it had noted.  It also said that the FFIEC had also issued guidance.  FFIEC comprises the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the National Credit Union Administration, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the State Liaison Committee.

https://www.cmtradelaw.com/2020/03/anti-money-laundering-program-contingency-planning-during-covid-19-recent-guidance-from-fincen-and-ffiec/

 

GENERAL PREVIOUSLY ACCUSED OF CORRUPTION HEADS RUSSIA’S LEADING RESEARCH INSTITUTE

UA Wire in Ukraine on 28 March reported that Major General Igor Bozhkov, who previously worked in the Russian Interior Ministry, was appointed the acting director of the Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Physics (ITEP).  He had refuted the claims of corruption made against him in 2013, only to be dismissed in 2016.

http://uawire.org/general-previously-accused-of-corruption-to-head-russia-s-leading-research-institute

 

RAISE COUNTRY RISK ON GUINEA?

In his blog on 28 March, Kenneth Rijock suggests compliance sections raise the risk rating for Guinea following street violence and a state of emergency.  This followed a referendum which effectively extends the President Alpha Conde’s ability to remain in office for a third term spawned widespread protests.

http://rijock.blogspot.com/2020/03/raise-country-risk-on-guinea-after.html

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US REGULATORS PLACE SHIPPING INDUSTRY UNDER THE SANCTIONS MICROSCOPE

On 12 March, Pole Star published an article saying that Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Counter Threat Finance and Sanctions, had outlined details relating to a forthcoming advisory that will see the US State Department and OFAC now focusing on all areas of maritime trade and shipping.  It is said that the scrutiny included flag registries, ship owners and operators, ships (in particular ship types carrying specific cargoes under strategic sanctions programmes), chartering, insurance, ports, shipping service providers and the maritime supply chain as a whole.  It was emphasised that –

  • no organisation is too large or too safe to elude sanctions;
  • OFAC is focusing on sanctions that have an impact beyond the designated target itself;
  • knowledge of where a vessel has been operating including ports, regions, and jurisdictions is necessary;
  • the screening process must investigate all associated companies commercially and operationally engaged with the ship, including the ship’s beneficial ownership, registered owner, operator, and managers, its flag registry, and the associated companies’ country of registration, domicile, and control;
  • any suspicion of the use or presence of false documents must be reported to the appropriate authorities; and
  • one must be vigilant about, and investigate any suspicions of, ship-to-ship transfers.

https://www.polestarglobal.com/keep-up-to-date/news/us-regulators-place-shipping-industry-under-the-regulatory-microscope/

 

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TURKEY SENDS SECRET ARMS SHIPMENTS INTO LIBYA

On 26 March, the BBC reported an investigation into secret arms shipments into Libya, and shows how foreign powers – in violation of UN resolutions – are fuelling a war that has brought misery to Libya’s people.  It reports on a ship called the Bana that set sail from Turkey, and 4 days later the ship vanished from the radar.  Where did it go? What was it carrying? And why does it matter?

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-africa-52037533/turkey-sends-secret-arms-shipments-into-libya

 

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MARCH 27

Panama coronavirus update – now 786 confirmed cases, a modest rise over yesterday, with 14 died to date.  Also 361 arrests for curfew/quarantine violations.  Managed to get out for my early morning time slot and nip to the shop.  Mind you, only permitted into supermarket after the (armed) security guard had checked my temperature, and the sale of all alcoholic drinks has been banned (to prevent unwanted socialising or other problems).  New 100-bed modular hospital built, with additional ICU capacity.  But sun still shining, we have food (and drink) in, and having virtual “nights out” with friends on zoom…

27 March 2020

US INDICTS VENEZUELA SUPREME COURT JUDGE ON BRIBERY CHARGES

On 27 March, the Wall Street Journal reported that a federal court in Miami has seen the sitting chief justice of Venezuela’s Supreme Court, Maikel José Moreno Pérez, charged with taking millions of dollars in bribes related to cases he was overseeing and spending the funds on luxury goods and real estate in southern Florida.

 

UK IN-HOUSE LAWYER WAS ‘PUPPET DIRECTOR’ FOR DUBIOUS £16 MILLION SCHEMES

On 27 March, KYC 360 reported on a Solicitor’s Disciplinary Tribunal case involving an in-house solicitor who gave a ‘veneer of respectability’ to dubious property schemes has been struck off the roll.  Timothy Ackrel was one of a succession of ‘puppet directors’ used to conceal the beneficiaries of a scheme to sell apartment blocks in north-west England. Foreign investors invested £16 million in the expectation of a 10% annual return, but in fact proceeds from unit sales went to finance the purchase of other sites and fund luxurious lifestyles.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/in-house-lawyer-was-puppet-director-for-dubious-16m-schemes/

 

INDONESIA PUSHING THROUGH A NEW REGULATION WITHDRAWING THE OBLIGATION ON TIMBER AND WOOD PRODUCTS COMPANIES TO PROVIDE LEGALITY ASSURANCE DOCUMENTATION WITH EXPORTS

On 27 March, the Timber Trade Journal reported that NGOs are saying that the government has been influenced by long-term lobbying by industry, notably the Indonesian Furniture and Craft Association HIMKI, to drop the legality assurance requirement.  Under the new ruling, set for implementation on 27 May, companies will no longer need to obtain so-called V-legal licences (an umbrella term for both FLEGT legality assurance licences for exports to the EU and V-legal documentation for exports elsewhere), but can still secure them if the overseas customer requires them.  A spokesman for an NGO is quoted as saying that the coronavirus is being used as a reason to pass an agenda that would otherwise be quite difficult to pass.

http://www.ttjonline.com/news/indonesians-withdraw-export-legality-licensing-requirement-7842649/

 

NORTH KOREAN MILITARY TRADING COMPANIES SET TO SMUGGLE IN CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS

On 27 March, Daily NK reported that North Korea has ordered military-run trading agencies to smuggle in construction materials needed for national projects set to be completed by 10 October, the anniversary of the founding of the country’s ruling communist party.  It says that, following the reported closure of the Sino-Korean border, North Korea appears to have set up a system where military-affiliated trading companies are handling the brunt of smuggling into the country.

https://www.dailynk.com/english/north-korean-military-trading-companies-smuggle-construction-materials/

 

DEATHS OF 64 MIGRANTS IN MOZAMBIQUE TURNS SPOTLIGHT ON INTRA-AFRICA SMUGGLING

On 27 March, the Irish Times reported that the international focus has shifted on to intra-Africa trafficking routes, with experts saying the number of people risking their lives to reach South Africa has increased over the past decade.

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/africa/deaths-of-64-migrants-in-mozambique-turns-spotlight-on-intra-africa-smuggling-1.4213321

 

REPORT SLAMS ‘WEAK’ RESPONSE ON SHADY PASSPORT CLIENTS BY EU STATES

On 27 March, The Shift News reported that Malta’s lack of enforcement in the highly-controversial Individual Investor Programme (IIP) was put under a microscope by international anti-corruption NGO Global Witness who repeatedly called for an end to such a scheme in EU countries.  A report from Global Witness looked at passport schemes offered by Malta, Cyprus and Portugal – and criticised Malta’s response to revelations on shady passport buyers as being “weak”.  The document went on to list numerous reports linking Maltese passport holders with money laundering, fraud or tax-dodging crimes that emerged throughout 2019.

https://theshiftnews.com/2020/03/27/report-slams-weak-response-by-identity-malta-on-shady-passport-clients/

The report is at –

https://www.globalwitness.org/documents/19881/Europes_Golden_Doors.pdf

The report says, amongst other things, that –

  • Serious concerns remain over changes Cyprus introduced to its scheme being only a tokenistic response to public scandals;
  • Malta has failed to introduce any changes to address money laundering and corruption risks associated with its scheme; and
  • Proposed reforms in Portugal, which have been delayed until 2021, concentrate only on dissuading investment into the local property market, rather than reducing money laundering risks; and
  • No EU Member State has ended its investor citizenship or investor residence schemes – in fact, some have hit new highs in terms of the number of applications approved.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/golden-passports-still-widespread-in-europe-study-finds/

 

EU AND 15 WTO MEMBER STATES ESTABLISH CONTINGENCY APPEAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR TRADE DISPUTES

A news release from the EU on 27 March advised on an arrangement that will allow those involved to bring appeals and solve trade disputes among them despite the current paralysis of the WTO Appellate Body.  The Multiparty Interim Appeal Arbitration Arrangement mirrors the usual WTO appeal rules and can be used between any members of the WTO willing to join, as long as the WTO Appellate Body is not fully functional.  Those involved are Australia; Brazil; Canada; China; Chile; Colombia; Costa Rica; the EU; Guatemala; Hong Kong, China; Mexico; New Zealand; Norway; Singapore; Switzerland; and Uruguay.

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_20_538

 

TERRORISM IN GREAT BRITAIN: THE STATISTICS

On 27 March, the House of Commons Library published a briefing paper which examines the available statistics on terrorism since 2001 in Great Britain.

https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-7613/

 

FRESH CORRUPTION CASE AGAINST FORMER PAKISTAN PRIME MINISTER KHAQAN SHAHID ABBASI

On 27 March, India Today reported that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) filed the case in an anti-corruption court in Karachi, accusing Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi of violating rules while appointing Sheikh Imranul Haq as the managing director of Pakistan State Oil (PSO).  The news media reports that this is the second corruption case against Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, a senior Pakistan Muslim League member, who secured bail earlier this month in a case related to the “dubious” awarding of a liquefied natural gas import contract.

https://www.indiatoday.in/world/story/fresh-corruption-case-against-former-pakistan-pm-khaqan-shahid-abbasi-1660487-2020-03-27

 

FBI TAKES DOWN RUSSIAN-BASED CYBER PLATFORM THAT HACKED US COMPANIES

On 26 March, Homeland Security Today reported that a Russian-based cyber platform known as DEER.IO has been shut down by the FBI, and its suspected administrator, alleged Russian hacker Kirill Victorovich Firsov, was arrested and charged with crimes related to the hacking of US companies for customers’ personal information.  It is alleged that DEER.IO virtual stores offered for sale a variety of hacked and/or compromised US and international financial and corporate data, Personally Identifiable Information (PII), and compromised user accounts from many US companies.

https://www.hstoday.us/subject-matter-areas/cybersecurity/fbi-takes-down-russian-based-cyber-platform-that-hacked-u-s-companies/

 

NORTH KOREA CALLS ITS ILLICIT SHIPPING FLEET HOME AMID CORONAVIRUS FEARS

A Commentary from RUSI on 26 March reported that North Korea appears to have ordered a significant portion of its shipping fleet to return home in what is likely a reaction to the global outbreak of the coronavirus.  This is one point made in the latest update on RUSI’s Project Sandstone – which has revealed industrial-scale sanctions breaches occurring in Chinese waters throughout 2019 and into early 2020.

https://rusi.org/commentary/rickety-anchor-north-korea-calls-its-illicit-shipping-fleet-home-amid-coronavirus-fears

 

WHY WE SHOULD REVIEW HISTORIC WILDLIFE TRAFFICKING CASES FROM A FINANCIAL PERSPECTIVE

In an article on 27 March, RUSI explores the value of revisiting historic wildlife cases from a financial perspective.  It says that financial investigations – routine for other serious crimes – are seldom undertaken for the wildlife trade.  In recent years, however, a growing consensus has emerged that financial approaches need to be mainstreamed into all IWT investigations.  This includes not just the identification of illegally acquired assets and the possibility of forfeiture, but the use of financial intelligence in ongoing investigations.  The article uses an exercise involving wildlife trade crime in Laos as its basis.

https://rusi.org/sites/default/files/20200327_lao_web.pdf

 

EU AGREES TO LAUNCH OPERATION IRINI AND TO START AIR AND NAVAL PATROLS TO ENFORCE LIBYAN ARMS EMBARGO

The always-useful EU Sanctions Blog on 27 March reported that agreement had been reached on launching the air and naval patrols to enforce the UN arms embargo on Libya.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2020/03/eu-to-start-naval-patrols-to-enforce-libya-arms-embargo/

 

CORONAVIRUS SPARKS HIGH RISK OF CORRUPTION ACROSS LATIN AMERICA

On 26 March, Transparency International published an analysis in which 13 Latin American chapters from Transparency International highlight public procurement risks and how to mitigate them to benefit people.  It says that unless anti-corruption measures are implemented during this crisis, corruption will cost lives.  Specifically, the proposals aim to mitigate the risks of opacity, hidden contracts, overpricing, lack of competition, collusion and other corruption risks. It is essential that transparency, openness and integrity are preserved and that public purchases and contracts are reinforced during the declared emergency in Latin America.

https://www.transparency.org/files/application/flash/COVID_19_Public_procurement_Latin_America_ES_PT.pdf

 

EXPORT ART, ANTIQUES AND CULTURAL GOODS FROM THE UK: SPECIAL RULES

On 27 March, the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport published guidance on how to apply for a licence to export cultural goods, including antiques, furniture and archaeological items – updated to take account of the coronavirus situation.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/export-art-antiques-and-cultural-goods-special-rules

 

US CUSTOMS SEIZES 2,000 FAKE ID FROM CHINA

On 27 March, a news release from US Customs & Border Protection announced that its Memphis office had seized nearly 2,000 counterfeit driver’s licences and 2 fake passports at an express consignment facility over a week.  The shipments originated from China and were being shipped to various destinations throughout the US.

https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/cbp-memphis-seizes-2000-fake-ids

 

FURTHER EMERGENCY POWERS IN THE ISLE OF MAN

The Order Paper for a sitting of the parliament of the Isle of Man on 27 March includes various additional emergency powers orders, regulations etc.

http://www.tynwald.org.im/business/opqp/opqp/2020-PP-0055.pdf

 

BANK OF JAMAICA ISSUES FINTECH REGULATORY SANDBOX GUIDELINES

On 27 March, FATF-style regional body CFATF reported that the Bank of Jamaica had issued Fintech Regulatory Sandbox Guidelines to guide the establishment of a Fintech Regulatory Sandbox.  The objectives of the Fintech Regulatory Sandbox are said to be to provide a platform to encourage innovations in financial services, promote competition and promote financial inclusion.

https://www.cfatf-gafic.org/home/what-s-happening/630-bank-of-jamaica-issues-fintech-regulatory-sandbox-guidelines

 

EU ISSUES GUIDELINES REGARDING SCREENING FOREIGN INVESTMENT IN CONNECTION WITH INDUSTRIES CRITICAL FOR COMBATING COVID-19

On 27 March, a Client Alert from Wilmer Hale advised that the European Commission (Commission) issued new guidelines for screening foreign direct investment (FDI) in companies and critical assets located in the EU, including those operating in the fields of health, medical research, biotechnology and infrastructures deemed essential for security and public order. The Guidelines offer guidance to be applied within the context of the recently-adopted framework for EU screening and review of FDI (the FDI Screening Regulations).  The Alert explains what the Guidelines mean, and then briefly looks at other Member States are doing re FDI.

https://www.wilmerhale.com/en/insights/client-alerts/20200327-eu-issues-guidelines-regarding-screening-foreign-investment-in-connection-with-industries-critical-for-combating-covid-19

 

ADVERTISERS LOSE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO ROKU-RELATED AD FRAUD

The Motley Fool on 27 March carried an article about the leading companies, household names, which were all victims of an advertising fraud scheme that was perpetrated through apps associated with the Roku platform, which cost them millions of dollars collectively.  It wasn’t Roku working the fraud; rather, it was operated through an outfit called Monarch Ads where advertisers were led to believe they were buying video ads on Roku connected TV (CTV) devices.  Monarch says it is investigating the occurrence and has suspended operations at an affiliate allegedly involved.

https://www.fool.com/investing/2020/03/27/advertisers-lose-million-of-dollars-to-roku-ad-fra.aspx

 

DESPITE HIGH RISK, CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE SEES FEW BRIBERY INVESTIGATIONS

Emerging Europe on 27 March carried an article which says that 2019 was a relatively slow year for enforcement in transnational bribery cases, a recent report published by TRACE International has found.  It also reported that TRACE said that most of the Central and Eastern European countries mentioned have only a few investigations or enforcement actions, and speculates on the reasons.

https://emerging-europe.com/business/despite-high-risk-cee-sees-few-bribery-investigations

 

A MASSIVE CREDIT CARD FRAUD RING JUST GOT SHUT DOWN BY RUSSIAN AUTHORITIES

Forbes on 27 March reported that the Federal Security Service (FSB) reported the arrest of a card fraud kingpin and 2 dozen criminal associates, the kingpin said to be an Alexey Stroganov.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/leemathews/2020/03/27/a-massive-credit-card-fraud-ring-just-got-shut-down-by-russian-authorities

 

TURKEY AND VENEZUELA: AN ALLIANCE OF CONVENIENCE

On 27 March, the Wilson Center in the US released a report on the relationship between Turkey and Venezuela, in which its author argues that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has drawn close to Maduro “based on the two leaders’ mutual dislike of the West and frustration with US sanctions” and that the gold trade has been the most obvious manifestation of the growing commercial links.   It says that Venezuela has sold a substantial amount of gold to Turkey in exchange for basic food supplies.  The report also argues that while the two authoritarian leaders have developed strong personal ties, Venezuela still only accounts for a fraction of Turkey’s total trade and the relationship between the governments is not deeply institutional.

https://www.wilsoncenter.org/publication/turkey-and-venezuela-alliance-convenience

 

CHINESE INVESTMENT AND THE BELT AND ROAD INITIATIVE IN SRI LANKA

On 24 March, Chatham House published a report which examines the benefits and costs of the BRI and its projects to Sri Lanka and the lessons that may improve future BRI projects in Sri Lanka and elsewhere.  The report addresses claims that by accepting Chinese outbound investment, Sri Lanka risks being stuck in a ‘debt trap’ and the displacement of its local workers by both legal and illegal Chinese labour, and that there are environmental concerns over the investments.  It also touches upon concerns that China will use ports and other projects for military purposes are, in part, driven by geopolitical anxieties.

https://www.chathamhouse.org/publication/chinese-investment-and-bri-sri-lanka

 

UK: WHAT THE CORONAVIRUS ACT 2020 MEANS FOR EXTRADITION PROCEEDINGS

On 26 March, law firm Corker Bining published a post saying that the recently enacted Act permits extradition hearings to be conducted via a live link, subject to an interests of justice test. Whilst other hearings in extradition proceedings, such as remand hearings, are conducted over a live link, the Extradition Act 2003 had previously specifically excluded extradition hearings from the type of hearing at which the use of live links was permitted. Any expansion to include extradition hearings had previously been opposed by many practitioners.  The post considers implications

https://www.corkerbinning.com/the-coronavirus-act-2020-extradition/

 

ACCUSED MEXICAN MONEY LAUNDERER LOSES REFUGEE STATUS BID IN CANADA

The Province in Canada on 27 March reported that wealthy Mexican businessman Moises Mansur Cysneiros has lost his bid for refugee status in Canada.  He is fighting to stay in Vancouver, pleading his innocence on charges of tax fraud, tax evasion, organized crime and money laundering based on allegations he was frontman for a state governor later convicted of money laundering and having criminal connections.  However, the immigration authorities have ruled against him, saying that he is not a “convention” refugee because of the allegations against him in Mexico.  The immigration board ruling came 19 months after a secret Vancouver hearing at which several Mexican witnesses flew in and testified on Mansur’s behalf.  He has lodged an appeal.

https://theprovince.com/news/crime/accused-mexican-money-launderer-loses-bid-for-refugee-status-in-canada/wcm/87a61eb1-30ad-4803-8877-3240ff526c6b

 

2020 AIR CARGO VOLUME MAY DROP 20%, IATA SAYS

On 27 March, American Shipper reported on the effect of the coronavirus on the air cargo sector.

https://www.freightwaves.com/news/2020-air-cargo-volume-may-drop-20-iata-says

shipping

Courtesy of Thomas Anthony at Oldendorff Carriers (Singapore) Pte Ltd, a satellite image of the ships carrying goods across the globe.  Spare a thought for those working at seas, as he says that many seafarers are stranded despite of their contracts ending, and that they continue to work even though situation in most ports is very difficult.

 

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JOINT EGMONT GROUP AND WCO “CUSTOMS – FIU COOPERATION HANDBOOK”

On 27 March, a news release from the World Customs Organisation advised the publication of the “Customs – FIU Cooperation Handbook,” the result of a collaborative effort between the Egmont Group of FIU and the WCO.  Its main objective is said to be to further promote cooperation between FIU and Customs services to effectively disrupt cross-border money laundering and terrorism financing activities.  It highlights common AML challenges and provides recommendations to Customs services and FIUs on topics including –

  • smuggling and concealment of currency, currency equivalents, gems and precious metals;
  • trade-based money laundering; and
  • money or value transfer systems and alternative remittance systems.

A public version of the Handbook is available –

http://www.wcoomd.org/-/media/wco/public/global/pdf/topics/enforcement-and-compliance/report/wco_fiu_handbook_sanitised-public-version_wco_en.pdf?la=en

 

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