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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MAY 17

Panama Covid-19 update – not a good day for Covid statistics with 3,910 new cases reported, a 1,501 increase in active cases and hospital numbers up – and 4 new fatalities. The positive result rate on tests remains high, with 22.1% on 17,618 tests performed. There are 25,630 active cases, with 35 in ICU, 189 in other wards and 60 in hospital-hotel quarantine.

17 MAY 2022

DETAINED RUSSIAN YACHT COSTING FIJI $640,000 A WEEK

Superyact news from eSysman reported claims that the detention of a Russian-owned superyacht, that the US authorities were seeking to seize under sanctions was costing the small country of Fiji $640,000 a week to detain and maintain.  The High Court in Fiji allowed a stay on the seizure and handing of the yacht to US authorities, with a further court hearing due on 18 May.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOp0RovNVLo

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-05-15/amadea-wedged-fiji-between-russian-oligarch-and-us-government/101061480

MOST EXTREMIST VIOLENCE IN THE US COMES FROM THE POLITICAL RIGHT

https://www.adl.org/murder-and-extremism-2021

SFO LONG-RUNNING INVESTIGATION INTO A BOILER ROOM FRAUD HAS HELPED HUNDREDS REGAIN MONEY THEY LOST

On 12 May, an article from Rahman Ravelli says that the SFO is set to return a further £1 million to more than 200 people who lost money to a boiler room fraud as part of its investigation codenamed Operation Steamroller.  It said the case involved one of the biggest-ever examples of a boiler room fraud, where people are pressured into buying over-valued or even worthless shares.  The 7-year investigation led to the successful prosecution of Australian national Jeffrey Revell-Reade in 2014, who was jailed for 9½ years and given a confiscation order totalling £7.5 million.

https://www.mondaq.com/uk/white-collar-crime-anti-corruption-fraud/1192480/the-serious-fraud-office39s-long-running-investigation-into-a-boiler-room-fraud-has-helped-hundreds-regain-money-they-lost

AN OVERVIEW OF THE TYPES AND USES OF GUERNSEY LAW TRUSTS

An article from Carey Olsen on 16 May is concerned with features, uses and taxation of trusts.

https://www.mondaq.com/guernsey/trusts/1193318/an-overview-of-the-types-and-uses-of-guernsey-law-trusts

FIRST BVI FREEZING ORDER GRANTED AGAINST ‘PERSONS UNKNOWN’ IN CRYPTO FRAUD CASE

On 12 May, an article from Walkers was concerned with a decision of the BVI Commercial Court on 4 May.  This was the first time that the BVI court has granted a freezing order over assets held by persons unknown in relation to crypto fraud and follows similar decisions in the UK and other Commonwealth countries where such relief is now commonly granted.

https://www.mondaq.com/fin-tech/1192314/first-bvi-freezing-order-granted-against-39persons-unknown39-in-crypto-fraud-case-

SWISS SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA –OVERVIEW AND USEFUL LINKS

On 13 May, Lenz & Staehelin published a document detailing the current state of Swiss sanctions on Russia.

https://www.lenzstaehelin.com/fileadmin/user_upload/2022_05_12_Swiss_sanctions_against_Russia_-_Current_overview_and_useful_links.pdf

UK: NEW RIGHT TO WORK CHECK GUIDANCE FOR EMPLOYERS

On 16 May, an article from Richmond Chambers said that new provisions came into force on 6 April which will begin the phasing out of the use of Biometric Residence Cards and Permits (BRC/BRP) and Frontier Worker Permit (FWP) to prove lawful immigration status in the UK when seeking employment.  New guidance was published on 22 April.

https://immigrationbarrister.co.uk/new-right-to-work-check-guidance-for-employers/

THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION HAS UPDATED ITS RUSSIA SANCTIONS-RELATED FAQ

On 17 May, the EU Sanctions blog reported that the EU had updated its various FAQ.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2022/05/eu-commission-updates-russia-sanctions-faqs-2/

US AGREES TO EASE TRUMP-ERA SANCTIONS ON CUBA

On 16 May, the BBC reported that, under new measures approved by the Biden administration, restrictions on family remittances and travel to the island will be eased. The processing of US visas for Cubans will also be speeded up.  However, no bodies will be removed from the Cuba Restricted List, a State Department register of companies linked to the communist government in Havana with whom US citizens are barred from doing business.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-61473884

WESTERN BRANDS NEED TO BE AWARE OF RAFT OF NEW RUSSIAN SANCTIONS COUNTERMEASURES WHICH MAY IMPACT ON THEIR EXIT STRATEGIES

On 13 May, Field Fisher published an update about Russia trying to put in place measures to ensure they are complying with the evolving and expanding list of sanctions rules which have been imposed on Russia; and laws which seek to punish persons and entities who are associated with “unfriendly states”.

https://www.fieldfisher.com/en/services/franchising/franchise-commercial-law-blog/russia-update—western-brands-need-to-be-aware-of

CHILE’S CONSTITUTIONAL ASSEMBLY REJECTS MAJOR MINING OVERHAUL

On 14 May, Reuters reported that the constitutional assembly in the world’s top-copper producing nation rejected a major overhaul to mining rights, including expanding Chilean state ownership.  It would have given the state exclusive mining rights over lithium, rare metals and hydrocarbons and a majority stake in copper mines, but faced fierce opposition from the mining sector.

https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/chiles-constitutional-assembly-rejects-major-mining-overhaul-2022-05-14

SWITZERLAND: NGO FEARS DUBAI GOLD IMPORTS EVADING RUSSIA SANCTIONS

On 17 May, Swissinfo reported that Switzerland has recorded a significant increase in gold imports from the UAE since the introduction of sanctions against Russia, and NGO Swissaid calls for more transparency to determine whether this gold is coming from Russia.

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/ngo-fears-dubai-gold-imports-evading-russia-sanctions/47600382

IRAN: ALL BANKS MUST CREATE AML/CFT DEPARTMENTS

On 15 May, the Financial Tribune reported that the Central Bank of Iran has announced rules for an independent AML and counter-terrorist financing department for all banks and credit institutions.

https://financialtribune.com/articles/business-and-markets/113520/all-banks-must-create-amlcft-departments

EU: RULES ON EXPORT AND IMPORT AUTHORISATIONS AND TRANSIT MEASURES FOR FIREARMS

On 17 May, a briefing from the EU Parliament Research Service considers amendments of EU Regulation (EU) No 258/2012 which lays down procedural rules at EU level for export, import and transit of firearms, their parts and components and ammunition.  The Regulation’s overall strategic objective is to reduce the risk of illicit trafficking in firearms for civilian use by ensuring coherence across EU Member States with regard to rules on external trade.  Following a review, the Commission established that shortcomings were mainly derived from a lack of clarity in certain parts of the regulation, and legal mismatches generating security risks.

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2022/699507/EPRS_BRI(2022)699507_EN.pdf

WILL SOARING GANG ARRESTS IN EL SALVADOR OVERWHELM ITS PRISONS?

On 16 May, Insight Crime reported that President Nayib Bukele has overseen the mass imprisonment of tens of thousands of people, potentially jeopardising recent efforts to mitigate overcrowding and gang control in the country’s jails. Authorities claim to have made over 30,000 arrests since 27 March, when the legislature approved emergency powers that loosened rules on arrests and curtailed civil liberties. 

https://insightcrime.org/news/elsalvador-arrests-overwhelm-prisons/

ABU DHABI HOTEL SAID TO HAVE SERVED AS MONEY LAUNDERING FRONT

On 13 May, The Print in India reported that the Enforcement Directorate has claimed that a hotel based in the UAE “served” as a money laundering front for the Popular Front of India (PFI).

https://theprint.in/india/abu-dhabi-hotel-served-as-money-laundering-front-for-pfi-ed-charge-sheet/954973/

LEBANON CENTRAL BANK GOVERNOR’S SON MOVED MILLIONS ABROAD

On 13 May, OCCRP reported that, in late 2019, a financial crisis led Lebanese banks to block most depositors from withdrawing or transferring US dollars, but the central bank governor’s son was able to move more than $6.5 million overseas.  The restrictions were never made official, meaning that a well-connected few could still access and move their deposits.

https://www.occrp.org/en/investigations/lebanon-central-bank-governors-son-moved-millions-abroad-while-lebanese-watched-blocked-savings-dwindle

UK GAMBLING COMMISSION SETTLEMENT WITH GAMBLING OPERATORS FOR £675,000 FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY AND AML FAILURES

On 17 May, Gambling Industry News reported that the UK Gambling Commission had announced that Jumpman Gaming Limited and Progress Play Limited were to pay a combined total of £675,000 in regulatory settlements following investigations that uncovered social responsibility and AML failures.  A review found that found that AML protocols were not followed correctly while the company also failed to promoter safer gambling and, as a result, failed to protect those vulnerable to the harms of problem gambling.

https://gamblingindustrynews.com/news/regulation/ukgc-fines-jumpman-gaming-progress-play/

CHINESE COUPLE DENY ENGAGING IN MONEY LAUNDERING IN TAIWAN

On 17 May, Focus Taiwan reported that the husband and wife were arrested on suspicion of spying for China, and they were indicted on money laundering charges in 2021 – the spy case was dropped in November 2021 due to a lack of evidence.  They are CEO and a board member, respectively, of China Innovation Investment, a Hong Kong-based company that invests in areas such as information technology, telecommunications, manufacturing, service, property, infrastructure, and life science.  It is alleged that money transfers and real estate purchases in Taiwan were an attempt to conceal funds obtained by fraudulent means.

https://focustaiwan.tw/cross-strait/202205170020

NIGERIA’S TREASURY CHIEF ARRESTED OVER MULTI-BILLION FRAUD

On 17 May, FIN24 in Nigeria reported that head of Nigeria’s Treasury has been arrested for alleged involvement in fraud and money laundering.  Ahmed Idris, Nigeria’s accountant-general, was arrested on 16 May.

https://www.news24.com/fin24/International/nigerias-treasury-chief-arrested-over-multibillion-rand-fraud-20220517

NEW SANCTIONS FROM US LEAD TO TANKER REMAINING UNDER DETENTION IN GREECE

On 16 May, Hellenic Shipping News reported that the tanker Pegas (IMO 9256860), which had been seized by the Greek authorities on 20 April but which was then ordered to be released because the flag had been changed and the owner was not a sanctioned company, has been “re-detained” after new US sanctions put the owner, Russian shipping company TransMorFlot LLC, under sanctions.

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/new-sanctions-from-us-lead-to-pegas-remaining-under-detention-in-greece/

CRYPTOCURRENCIES IN ASIA AND BEYOND: LAW, REGULATION AND ENFORCEMENT

The Basel Institute on Governance has published this Working Paper which draws on a detailed analysis of how selected countries are addressing legal, regulatory and enforcement issues around cryptocurrencies and other virtual assets. The analysis is focused on Asia, but set in the context of global trends in crypto law, regulation and enforcement.  It explores critical questions that will shape policies around virtual assets at the corporate, national and international levels.

https://baselgovernance.org/sites/default/files/2022-05/WP-38.pdf

UK: ENFORCEMENT ACTION BY THE GAMBLING COMMISSION AND 2 POLICE FORCES AGAINST INDIVIDUALS ORGANISING ILLEGAL LOTTERIES ON FACEBOOK GROUPS

On 16 May, an article from Ince said that officers have secured a POCA order for the forfeiture of £140,000 seized from the bank account of one of the individuals identified as running raffles and competitions for private gain.  It says that the case highlights the need for specialist legal advice to be taken on complying in full with the provisions in the Gambling Act when seeking to offer a lottery.  It notes that, in 2020/2021, the Gambling Commission issued almost 400 ‘cease and desist’ orders against the organisers of unlawful promotions, usually raffles to win high-value goods, advertised on Facebook.

https://viewpoints.incegd.com/post/102hoit/dont-gamble-on-profiting-from-illegal-raffles-for-private-gain

AN ITALIAN COURT WILL APPOINT A SPECIAL ADMINISTRATOR TO TAKE CHARGE OF A DEUTSCHE BAHN UNIT AFTER IT BECAME CAUGHT UP IN AN ANTI-MAFIA INVESTIGATION INTO ONE OF ITS SUBCONTRACTORS

On 17 May, Reuters reported that a special administrator to take charge of transport group Schenker Italiana SpA after an investigation that began in April 2020 into a haulage business suspected of being run by the ‘Ndrangheta, found business ties to 2 companies.  The order, issued by a court in Milan, will be in place initially for a year.

https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/italian-authorities-take-charge-of-deutsche-bahn-unit/ar-AAXnOyp?ocid=msedgntp&cvid=e3622baa015d4e63a7081389584ab29e

NFT: US, EU, AND UK KEY TRADEMARK CONSIDERATIONS

On 17 May, an article from Jones Day explores the interaction of IP with NFT with the focus on trademarks.  It argues that the law relating to trademarks will need to be tested in court to establish how existing laws will apply in this new context.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/nfts-u-s-eu-and-uk-key-trademark-4162237/

HOW COCAINE IS FLOWING BETWEEN LATIN AMERICA AND AUSTRALIA

On 17 May, Insight Crime published an article saying that cocaine found around Australia’s coastlines have shone a spotlight on a variety of methods apparently used to smuggle it from South America.  It says that, seeking to more consistently penetrate the final frontier of cocaine markets, Latin American traffickers have laid the groundwork for more effective cocaine shipments to Australia, seen as an extremely lucrative market.

https://insightcrime.org/news/crafty-trafficking-how-cocaine-is-flowing-between-latam-and-australia/

CAN PERU COUNTER DRUG TRAFFICKING BY BUYING ALL THE COCA?

On 17 May, Insight Crime posed this question, saying that a government proposal for Peru to purchase all the country’s coca production has generated fierce debate, but experts question whether it is even feasible.

https://insightcrime.org/news/can-peru-counter-drug-trafficking-by-buying-all-the-coca/

18 ARRESTED IN RAIDS CONNECTED TO TWITCH MONEY LAUNDERING SCANDAL IN TURKEY

On 17 May, Dexerto reported that a new wave of raids in Turkey, in response to a Twitch money laundering scam, has resulted in 18 arrests as authorities crackdown on alleged perpetrators.

https://www.dexerto.com/entertainment/18-arrested-in-raids-connected-to-twitch-money-laundering-scandal-in-turkey-1825849/

https://www.dailysabah.com/turkey/investigations/new-wave-of-operations-on-twitch-fraud-nets-18-in-turkey

https://www.svg.com/725611/the-twitch-money-laundering-scandal-explained/

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FATF CONSOLIDATED AML/CFT EVALUATION RATINGS

Following the issue of the French mutual evaluation report, FATF has released an updated consolidated schedule of all AML/CFT ratings to date.

https://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/4th-Round-Ratings.pdf

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UK: NEW APP TO COUNTER MALICIOUS APPROACHES ONLINE

On 17 May, the Home Office announced the new ‘Think Before you Link’ App to help businesses and the public protect themselves from potential espionage.  It is intended to help users of social media and professional networking sites, to better identify the hallmarks of fake profiles used by foreign spies and other malicious actors, and take steps to report and remove them.  The app is freely available to download on the Google Play or Apple store.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-app-to-counter-malicious-approaches-online

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FATF: AML/CFT MUTUAL EVALUATION REPORT ON FRANCE

On 17 May, FATF published the report on the evaluation of the AML/CFT systems in France which was adopted at the FATF Plenary in March.  The on-site visit took place in June/July 2021.

http://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/reports/mer4/Mutual-Evaluation-France-2022.pdf

http://www.fatf-gafi.org/publications/mutualevaluations/documents/mer-france-2022.html

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EU SANCTIONS RE CYBER-ATTACKS THREATENING THE EU OR ITS MEMBER STATES EXTENDED TO 2023

EU Council Decision 2022/754/CFSP has extended the effect of Council Decision (CFSP) 2019/797 and the measures which apply as regards the natural and legal persons, entities and bodies listed in the Annex until 18 May 2023.

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv%3AOJ.L_.2022.138.01.0016.01.ENG&toc=OJ%3AL%3A2022%3A138%3ATOC

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EU: SOUTH SUDAN SANCTIONS – EU MAINTAINS SANCTIONS ON GOVERNMENT MINISTER

EU Regulation 2022/748/EU replaced the entry relating to Michael Makuei Lueth, the Minister for Information and Broadcasting since 2013, who continues to hold that position in the Transitional Government of National Unity. 

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv%3AOJ.L_.2022.138.01.0001.01.ENG&toc=OJ%3AL%3A2022%3A138%3ATOC

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv%3AOJ.L_.2022.138.01.0017.01.ENG&toc=OJ%3AL%3A2022%3A138%3ATOC

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UK INTRODUCES CHANGES TO THE EXPORT CONTROL ORDER 2008

On 17 May, a post from Baker McKenzie reported changes which will come into force on 19 May.  It says that an additional control on military end-use will apply; but there are no amendments to the underlying dual-use regulation and the existing end-use control will continue to apply separately.

https://sanctionsnews.bakermckenzie.com/uk-introduces-changes-to-the-export-control-order-2008/#page=1

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US BRINGS FIRST CRIMINAL CHARGES INVOLVING BITCOIN-BASED SANCTIONS-BUSTING

On 16 May, The Register and others reported that prosecutors have accused a US citizen of illegally funnelling more than $10 million in Bitcoin into an economically sanctioned country. It is alleged that the defendant used a US-based online financial institution account tied to the Payments Platform, a US-based virtual currency exchange and foreign-based virtual currency exchange to transmit over $10 million worth of Bitcoins.

https://www.theregister.com/2022/05/16/judge_cryptocurrency_sanctions/

https://www.natlawreview.com/article/doj-issues-charges-first-criminal-cryptocurrency-sanctions-case

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MAY 16

Panama Covid-19 update – the fifth wave continues (with our district identified one of 4 in the country with the highest level of infections) 11 more fatality reported today, with 1,799 new cases, and testing still showinga positive result figure of over 20%. There are now 32 patients in ICU who have tested positive for Covid, with another 176 in other wards, and a total of 24,129 reported active cases.

16 MAY 2022

CUM-EX: A VISION OF THE FUTURE FOR INTERNATIONAL FRAUD INVESTIGATIONS?

On 11 May, an article from Hickman & Rose Solicitors says that the Cum-Ex scandal, originating in Germany, has prompted criminal and regulatory investigations – and civil law actions – around the world.  It argues that the international, interconnected nature of Cum-Ex marks a new era in the way major frauds are investigated, and that a key issue for any organisation or individual caught up in Cum-Ex allegations is the question of which country will take the investigatory lead.  The criminal and regulatory response to Cum-Ex shows no sign of relenting, and the pool of suspects is expanding and the appetite for prosecution appears to be growing worldwide.

https://www.hickmanandrose.co.uk/cum-ex-a-vision-of-the-future-for-international-fraud-investigations/

OPINION ON MOLDOVA’S APPLICATION FOR MEMBERSHIP OF THE EU

A paper from the Centre for European Policy Studies on 12 May responds to Moldova’s request in March to accede to membership of the EU.  The paper gives the opinion of CEPS on the position that it would like to see the EU Commission take, namely that the EU should extend candidate status to Moldova.

https://www.ceps.eu/download/publication/?id=36378&pdf=CEPS-PI2022-18-Moldova-EU-membership.pdf

US EASES SANCTIONS ON SYRIAN AREAS OUTSIDE ASSAD’S CONTROL

On 13 May, the Wall Street Journal reported that the easing of sanctions on parts of Syria outside Damascus’ control was needed to alleviate an economic crisis and prevent a resurgence by Islamic State militants, a move that Turkey has criticised.  A new sanctions licence permits private-sector activity in certain areas of Syria not controlled by President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-eases-sanctions-on-syrian-areas-outside-assads-control-11652460888

EU COURT DISMISSES APPEAL BY INDIVIDUAL OVER DRC SANCTIONS

On 16 May, the EU Sanctions blog reported that the EU Court of Justice dismissed an appeal brought by Évariste Boshab challenging the General Court’s February 2021 decision to uphold the December 2018 inclusion on the EU’s DRC sanctions list.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2022/05/ecj-dismisses-drc-sanctions-appeal-2/

THE MAN WHO LEAKED SECRET FILES TO THE FBI ABOUT DEUTSCHE BANK TIES TO MONEY LAUNDERING, THE TRUMP ORGANISATION AND RUSSIA HAS DIED

On 13 May, the New York Times reported that Val Broeksmit, the whistle-blower who wielded his dead stepfather’s passwords to reveal Deutsche Bank’s role has died mysteriously last month in Los Angeles. He was 46.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/13/us/val-broeksmit-dead.html

SPANISH INVESTMENT GROUPS DENOUNCE PANAMA SCAM

On 15 May, MENA FN reported that 2 Spanish investment groups have denounced the legal insecurity in Panama after one company had been caught up in a $7 million scam 15 years ago by being sold the same land to undertake urban projects.

https://menafn.com/1104215678/Spanish-Investment-Groups-Denounce-Panama-Scam&source=28

5 SUPERYACHTS OWNED BY RUSSIAN OLIGARCHS HAVE DOCKED IN TURKEY, SAFE FROM WESTERN SANCTIONS

On 16 May, Yahoo News reported that 5 superyachts owned by Russian oligarchs are now docked in Turkey in a bid to avoid Western sanctions triggered by the invasion of Ukraine.

https://news.yahoo.com/5-superyachts-owned-russian-oligarchs-104220608.html

IMO ADOPTS NEW GUIDELINES TO COMBAT WILDLIFE SMUGGLING

On 13 May, the NGO TRAFFIC reported that the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) had adopted new ‘Guidelines for the Prevention and Suppression of the Smuggling of Wildlife on Ships Engaged in International Maritime Traffic’.  It is said to send a strong message on the growing international engagement against the illegal wildlife trade (IWT) and its impacts on global biodiversity, directly threatening the survival of many species in the wild.  It notes that, in July 2021, WWF and TRAFFIC launched the ‘The Red Flag Compendium for Wildlife and Timber Trafficking in Containerised Cargo’ which details the warning signs of corruption, wildlife smuggling and other related crimes.  In January, a UNDP-led project, in partnership with TRAFFIC, United for Wildlife, UNODC and WWF, published an awareness-raising video ‘Combating Illegal Wildlife Trade through Ports’ to raise awareness on the issue, impacts and scale of illegal wildlife trade through containerized cargo; indicate red flags for law enforcement that may indicate possible illegal cargo, and emphasise the importance of public and private sector collaboration to combat wildlife trafficking.

https://www.traffic.org/news/new-international-maritime-organization-guidelines-to-combat-wildlife-smuggling/

UK: STUDY REVEALS MISUNDERSTANDINGS OVER EARLY DISCLOSURE SCHEME IN PRE-CHARGE ENGAGEMENT (PCE) 

On 16 May, the Law Society Gazette reported that research says that a lack of understanding and low fees have contributed to pre-charge engagement (PCE) being a ‘wasted opportunity’ in helping to drive down the court backlog.  Pre-charge engagement is the voluntary engagement between the parties to an investigation after the first PACE interview before a suspect has been formally charged.  It says that research to ascertain the level of awareness about PCE and how it is being used by the police and defence lawyers, suggests a mixed level of understanding. 

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/study-reveals-misunderstandings-over-early-disclosure-scheme/5112497.article

ENRC HAS WON PART OF ITS HIGH COURT CLAIM AGAINST INTERNATIONAL FIRM DECHERT AND ITS FORMER HEAD OF WHITE-COLLAR CRIME IN RELATION TO THE SFO ONGOING INVESTIGATION INTO ALLEGATIONS OF BRIBERY AND CORRUPTION

On 16 May, the Law Society Gazette published what it described as breaking news.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/breaking-enrc-secures-partial-high-court-win-against-dechert-and-ex-partner/5112498.article

UK: FRAUDSTER PARALEGAL TOOK £438,000 FROM FIRM TO SPEND ON GAMBLING

On 16 May, the Law Society Gazette reported that a paralegal who helped himself to nearly £440,000 from his firm has been jailed for 3 years.  He pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation after diverting money to various personal accounts whilst working in the Manchester office of Berrymans Lace Mayer (BLM).

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/fraudster-paralegal-took-438000-from-firm-to-spend-on-gambling/5112495.article

https://www.legalfutures.co.uk/latest-news/paralegal-jailed-for-stealing-438k-from-law-firm-to-feed-gambling-habit

US CUSTOMS EMPHASISES THIRD PARTIES UNNECESSARY FOR ENTRY SCHEME ENROLLMENT

A news release from US Customs & Border Protection on 3 May said that officers have noticed an increasing number of third-party sites attempting to mimic official US Government websites or claiming to assist with applying for the Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP), including Global Entry, Sentri, FAST and NEXUS.  It says that while this may seem like a convenient alternative, these companies can be quite expensive to the traveller and are not necessary.

https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/national-media-release/third-parties-unnecessary-ttp-enrollment

GERMAN AUTHORITIES PROBE WHO IS BEHIND THE FRAUDULENT SALE OF RUSSIAN PROPERTY

On 14 May, OCCRP reported that German authorities are investigating a peculiar case involving a Berlin dentist who sold millions of euros’ worth of properties owned by the Russian state, allegedly by using forged powers of attorney.  Investigators are still trying to work out whether the sales resulted from corruption, fraud, sabotage, or for some other reason.  It explains that the Soviet Union maintained various barracks and residential complexes in Germany after the end of the Second World War and a large amount of property still belongs to Russia today, including old military properties, commercial agencies, or consulates, often in prime locations.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/16325-german-authorities-probe-who-is-behind-the-fraudulent-sale-of-russian-property

RWANDA PRESIDENT SUGGESTS UK EXTRADITE GENOCIDE SUSPECTS AFTER ASYLUM DEAL

On 16 May, the Guardian reported that the president of Rwanda has suggested the UK extradite suspects wanted in the east African country for alleged roles in the 1994 genocide, after a controversial deal to process UK asylum seekers there.  Until now, British judges have blocked extradition on the grounds the suspects would not receive a fair trial in Rwanda and officials in Kigali have called for a trial in the UK instead.  Despite having brought stability, security and economic growth to a shattered country, President Kagame has also been accused of running a repressive, authoritarian state.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/16/rwanda-president-suggests-uk-extradite-genocide-suspect-asylum-deal-paul-kagame

EU COMMISSION 2021 RULE OF LAW REPORT

On 16 May, the EU Parliament Research Service published a briefing paper about this monitoring tool which allows the Commission to collect data concerning the state of the rule of law in each of the 27 EU Member States.

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/ATAG/2022/729417/EPRS_ATA(2022)729417_EN.pdf

EX-VENEZUELAN TREASURER, EXTRADITED TO SOUTH FLORIDA

On 13 May, Yahoo News reported that former Venezuelan national treasurer Claudia Patricia Díaz Guillén has been extradited from Spain to South Florida to face charges of accepting millions in bribes from a billionaire businessman who paid her and her husband through Miami bank accounts so the tycoon – Raul Gorrín, who has had close relationships with Venezuela’s socialist presidents over the past decade – could make a fortune off the Venezuelan government’s lucrative currency exchange system.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/ex-venezuelan-treasurer-accused-hiding-135319394.html

UK: ECONOMIC CRIME ACT 2022 – AN EFFECTIVE TOOL OR DEAD IN THE WATER

An article from Shoosmiths explores the powers enacted under the new Economic Crime Act 2022, which came into force in March, and what this means for those involved.

https://www.shoosmiths.co.uk/insights/articles/the-economic-crime-transparency-and-enforcement-act-2022

HOW TO SPOT FAKE CRYPTO EXCHANGE WEBSITES

On 13 May, Cryptopolitan published a feature saying that since cryptocurrencies are a hot commodity, it unfortunately also makes them a prime target for scams and fake projects, and it can be challenging to tell which ones are legitimate or not.  So, it asks, what are some tell-tale signs that a crypto project is fake and how can you spot exchange websites that are scams?

https://www.cryptopolitan.com/how-to-spot-fake-exchange-websites/

FORMER HSBC WORKER TOOK £900,000 FROM CUSTOMERS’ ACCOUNTS

On 14 May, the BBC reported that Hamzah Issak, 30, a former bank employee has been jailed for taking almost £900,000 out of accounts, havingaltered account details while working at a Leicester branch of HSBC between 2016 and 2018. All 3 victims, who are Nigerian, were in their home country at the time the transactions were taking place within the UK.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-leicestershire-61431112

DeFi SECTOR “RESPONSIBLE FOR 97% OF HACKS”

On 15 May, Cryptopolitan reported on a Chainalysis report looking into criminal activities in the crypto market.  It says that most of the hacks carried out in the sector occurred in the Decentralised Finance market.  It also says that, aside from the fact that money laundering activities have also skyrocketed, hackers are coming up with new ways to hit protocols in the decentralised finance sector.

https://www.cryptopolitan.com/chainalysis-report-defi-responsible-hacks/

UK: A LIST OF BUSINESSES THAT HAVE NOT MET THEIR OBLIGATIONS OR HAVE HAD REGISTRATION SUSPENDED OR CANCELLED UNDER THE AML 2017 REGULATIONS

On 16 May, HMRC, as a supervisor under the 2017 regulations, has a duty to publish details of businesses that do not comply with the regulations.  It also separately provides a list of businesses whose registration for AML supervision has been suspended or cancelled.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/businesses-not-complying-with-money-laundering-regulations-in-2018-to-2019

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/suspension-and-cancellation-of-anti-money-laundering-supervision

SOME CHOCOLATE HAS A DARK SIDE TO IT – CHILD LABOUR

An article in The Conversation on 16 May says that exploitative labour, especially child labour, is among the most troublesome ways in which global chocolate is tied to inequality.

https://theconversation.com/some-chocolate-has-a-dark-side-to-it-child-labor-179271

https://www.statista.com/chart/19376/number-of-mass-shootings

FACTSHEET: UKRAINE DEMOCRACY DEFENSE LEND-LEASE ACT

The Center for International Policy has produced this factsheet about the new law which would expedite the transfer of weapons and equipment to Ukraine.

https://securityassistance.org/publications/ukraine-democracy-defense-lend-lease-act/

CURRENT STATUS OF US TAX TREATIES AND INTERNATIONAL TAX AGREEMENTS

Bloomberg Tax and KPMG have produced this update, as of 29 April.

https://tax.kpmg.us/content/dam/tax/en/pdfs/2022/update-us-treaties-status-tmij.pdf

IRAN OIL EXPORTS TO CHINA INCREASE AS WEST ‘DISTRACTED’ BY RUSSIA-UKRAINE

On 16 May, Seatrade Maritime News reported on an increase in illicit Iranian exports.  It reports that the Wall Street Journal said Iran’s oil exports, largely China-bound, rose to 870,000 barrels a day in the first 3 months of the year, up 30% from an average of 668,000 barrels a day in full-year 2021.  It is also said that Iran anticipates that sanctions will be lifted soon as the world seeks additional oil supplies to mitigate Russian sanctions, amid supply shortfalls and volatility.  It is claimed that Iran is banking on the fact that the US and Europe are distracted by the European theatre to take much notice or express concern about its activities.

https://www.seatrade-maritime.com/tankers/iran-oil-exports-china-rise-west-distracted-russia-ukraine

https://elements.visualcapitalist.com/visualizing-u-s-crude-oil-imports-and-consumption-in-2021/

SEC: ASSET FREEZES AND OTHER EMERGENCY RELIEF TO HALT ONGOING SECURITIES VIOLATIONS RESULTING IN PONZI SCHEME-LIKE PAYMENTS

On 16 May, a release on Mondo Visione reported that the SEC had acted against StraightPath Venture Partners LLC, StraightPath Management LLC, Brian K. Martinsen, Michael A. Castillero, Francine A. Lanaia, and Eric D. Lachow to halt ongoing securities violations, including allegedly selling pre-initial public offering (IPO) shares they did not own, pocketing undisclosed fees, and commingling investor funds, resulting in Ponzi scheme-like payments. It is claimed that an unregistered broker-dealer with a vast network of sales agents raised at least $410 million from more than 2,200 investors from November 2017 through February 2022.  

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/sec-obtains-emergency-relief-to-halt-pre-ipo-stock-fraud-scheme-by-unregistered/

HONG KONG: COURT ORDERS PYRAMID AND PONZI SCHEME FRAUDSTERS TO COMPENSATE INVESTORS

A release on Mondo Visione on 16 May advised that a court has granted orders sought by the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) against fraudsters of a global Pyramid and Ponzi scheme to compensate victims involved in a fraud in 2014-15.  The Court has appointed administrators to receive and distribute the proceeds of the scheme remaining in the 2 bank accounts – approximately totalling $2.8 million – for the benefit of the investors on a pro rata basis

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/hong-kong-securities-and-futures-commission-court-orders-pyramid-and-ponzi-sche/

JERSEY: 30 FINDINGS IDENTIFIED IN SUPERVISORY RISK EXAMINATIONS

On 16 May, a news release from the Jersey FSC was concerned with finding from supervisory risk examinations conducted at 9 supervised persons, including Deposit-taking Business (Banking), Money Service Business, Fund Services Business, Investment Business and Trust Company Business licence-holders during 2021.  It says that findings highlighted a range of statutory and regulatory requirements that had either not been complied with or had only partially been complied with.  37% of the findings identified were considered to be of a more serious nature. 

https://www.jerseyfsc.org/industry/examinations/2021-supervisory-risk-examinations-feedback-paper/

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US TREASURY: NORTH KOREA INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY WORKERS ADVISORY AND FACTSHEET

On 16 May, the US Treasury, State Department and FBI published a new joint Advisory to alert the international community, the private sector, and the public to attempts by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and DPRK information technology (IT) workers to obtain employment while posing as non-DPRK nationals.  The 3 agencies have also published a factsheet providing some red flags and due diligence measures.

https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/126/20220516_dprk_it_worker_advisory.pdf

https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/126/20220516_dprk_it_worker_fact_sheet.pdf

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MONEY LAUNDERING VIA NON-FUNGIBLE TOKENS (NFT)

A blog post from the Faculty of Law at the University of Oxford on 16 May focuses on the money laundering concerns about NFT, as they can be used as an obfuscation method to conceal proceeds of crime and illegal income.  The key aim is said to be to present the problematic aspects of NFT in relation to money laundering, analyse the EU legal framework on AML and to what extent it covers NFT and to provide some thoughts on what can be done to address the gaps therein.

https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/business-law-blog/blog/2022/05/money-laundering-non-fungible-tokens

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PROPOSAL TO AMEND EU DIRECTIVE 2019/1153: SINGLE ACCESS POINT TO BANK ACCOUNT REGISTRIES

On 16 May, the EU Parliament Research Service published a briefing paper explaining that the proposed amendment would allow designated competent authorities responsible for the prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences to access and search Member States’ centralised bank account registers through a single access point.  This would enable them to establish almost immediately whether an individual holds bank accounts in other Member States and identify to which Member States they should make a formal request for additional information.

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2022/729425/EPRS_BRI(2022)729425_EN.pdf

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US TREASURY 2022 NATIONAL STRATEGY FOR COMBATTING TERRORIST AND OTHER ILLICIT FINANCING

On 13 May, the US Treasury issued this strategy document – the latest iteration of a report the Treasury produces every 2 years.  The US Treasury is implementing regulations that limit the ability of illicit actors such as corrupt Russian oligarchs to covertly access the financial system through shell companies and all-cash real-estate purchases.  It responds to a number of illicit-finance risks to the US financial system identified by the Treasury in March.  The US Treasury has said it would also focus on updating regulations that require financial institutions such as banks and MSB to apply AML controls to the transactions they process on behalf of customers.  It also will work to improve the effectiveness of law-enforcement efforts to counter illicit financing, support technological innovation and continue to scrutinise the risks posed by cryptocurrencies and other new financial products and services.  The risk assessments in March highlighted the illicit finance risk posed by the abuse of legal entities, the complicity of professionals that misuse their positions or businesses, small-sum funding of domestic violent extremism networks, the effective use of front and shell companies in proliferation finance, and the exploitation of the digital economy.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/treasury-outlines-strategy-for-tackling-illicit-finance-threats-11652464812

https://dcdecides.com/2022/05/14/treasury-announces-2022-national-illicit-finance-strategy/

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THE SEA MINE THREAT IN THE BLACK SEA FROM THE UKRAINE INVASION

A video report from the excellent historical series by Mark Felton on 14 May covers a current development.  It reports that over the previous month Soviet-era sea mines have begun drifting into Romanian and Turkish waters from the Ukraine coast – with one ship already sunk, possibly from hitting such a mine.  It asks who is releasing them, and what threat do they pose to one of the world’s busiest seaways – the Bosphorus Strait?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrLsxk5MgmQ

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US FEDERAL RESERVE UPDATES ITS SYNTHETIC IDENTITY FRAUD MITIGATION TOOLKIT

On 12 May, Buckley LLP reported that the Federal Reserve had issued the update, offering new information regarding fraud detection technology and data sharing and discussing the value of fraud information-sharing within the industry to help fight synthetic identity fraud.  It is intended to help financial institutions, businesses, and consumers improve awareness, detection, measurement, and mitigation of identity fraud.  The toolkit defines synthetic identity fraud as the use of a combination of personally identifiable information (PII) to fabricate a person or entity in order to commit a dishonest act for personal or financial gain.

https://buckleyfirm.com/blog/2022-05-12/fed-updates-synthetic-identity-fraud-mitigation-toolkit#page=1

https://fedpaymentsimprovement.org/news/blog/advancing-synthetic-identity-fraud-mitigation-with-technology-data-and-information-sharing/

https://fedpaymentsimprovement.org/synthetic-identity-fraud-mitigation-toolkit/

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MAY 15

Panama Covid-19 update – as the fifth wave continues, the health ministry has reiterated that schools will not be closed if there only a handful of cases reported, and  currently there are none that are closed and classes were only suspended in one school in the province of Herrera and the other in San Miguelito. The Minister of Health also declared that it seems that the curve of the fifth wave of covid-19 had begun to flatten, indicating a stabilisation of cases.

Despite the Minister’s statement, positivity in testing remains just above 20% (remembering that the WHO guidelines for control of the virus is 5%), although there are slight drops in active cases and numbers in hospital. 2 new fatalities were reported, and 2,166 new cases, with there now being 24,617 active cases, with 25 in ICU and 133 in other wards.

15 MAY 2022

WHY E-SPORTS AND GAMING ARE NOTEWORTHY, EVEN IF YOU AREN’T A GAMER

On 12 May, an article from Simmons & Simmons looks at the situation regarding the sector post-Covid, saying that the sector has been through rebirths and surges since the 1970s but, with it being worth an estimated €23 billion in Europe alone in 2021, it won’t be going away.  The article has a particular focus on the opportunities and use cases resulting from data and AI within gaming and esports.  One interesting trend it notes from 2021 seems to be that crypto companies are flocking to involve themselves with esports.  It also touches upon sponsorship of esports.

https://www.simmons-simmons.com/en/publications/cl32sbqx814xw0b39y3k52nhk/gaming-and-esports-why-you-should-care

https://csis-website-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/publication/180705_Williams_HezbollahMissiles_v3.pdf

EU SANCTIONS WHISTLEBLOWER TOOL

Online portal for EU citizens to share first-hand information which can be a powerful tool to help uncover cases of sanctions violations, including evasion and circumvention.

https://eusanctions.integrityline.com/frontpage

RUSSIAN MINISTER IMPRISONED FOR OIL-RELATED BRIBERY HAS BEEN RELEASED

On 12 May, AP reported that the highest-ranking Russian official to go to prison in nearly 2 decades – former Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev – has been released after serving more than half of an 8-year sentence for a bribery conviction.  Ulyukaev was arrested in 2016 as he was leaving the Rosneft building with a bag full of cash that its CEO had given him as part of a purported sting operation by Russia’s main intelligence agency.

https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-igor-sechin-5145d946b6ff9f29ac3ccc9acf05b46b

PHILIPPINES: REGULATED FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS ARE NOW REQUIRED TO HAVE AN AUTOMATED AND REAL-TIME FRAUD MONITORING AND DETECTION SYSTEM TO ADDRESS THE GROWING INCIDENTS OF CYBER FRAUDS

On 12 May, the Philippines News Agency reported that financial institutions regulated by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) are now required to have an automated and real-time fraud monitoring and detection system to address the growing incidents of cyber frauds.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1174309

IRELAND: ILLEGAL CIGARETTES COST THE STATE €264 MILLION IN A YEAR

On 15 May, the Irish Examiner reported that more than 1 in 8 of all packets of cigarettes used by smokers in Ireland last year were illegal, with a sharp increase in the number of counterfeit products being sold.  13% of all packs consumed by Irish smokers last year were classified as illegal.  4% of all illegal cigarettes consumed last year were “illegal whites” – cigarettes manufactured for the sole purpose of being smuggled into and sold illegally in the country.

https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/arid-40873064.html

MORE ARRESTS OF ISRAELIS CONNECTED TO FOREX AND CRYPTO FRAUD AS ISRAELI AUTHORITIES CLAMP DOWN ON INVESTMENT SCAMS

On 15 May, Finance Magnates reported on arrests in Israel of 3 men on suspicion of money laundering, tax avoidance, and fraud resulting from forex and crypto investment activities.  These are said to be emblematic of the effort the Israeli authorities are putting into clamping down on investment scams emanating from Israel or by Israeli citizens.

https://www.financemagnates.com/forex/michael-zetser-dmitry-dima-leichtman-and-ran-peled-named-in-israeli-arrests/

NEW MONEY LAUNDERING LAW: NIGERIA PROHIBITS SHELL BANKING OPERATIONS, ANONYMOUS ACCOUNTS

On 15 May, the Nigerian Tribune reported on the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act.  Among other things, the Act requires risk assessment processes for such things as the risk posed by domestic and foreign politically exposed persons (PEP).

https://tribuneonlineng.com/new-money-laundering-law-nigeria-prohibits-shell-banking-operations-anonymous-accounts

AFGHAN MONEY EXCHANGERS ON STRIKE AFTER LICENCE FEE HIKE

On 15 May, the International Business Times reported that thousands of money exchangers shut shop across Afghanistan after Taliban authorities imposed a steep hike in licence fees.  Afghanistan’s formal banking system collapsed when the Taliban swept back to power in August 2021.  Since then, money exchangers have played a key role in meeting the financial needs of 38 million citizens mired in humanitarian crisis.

https://www.ibtimes.com/afghan-money-exchangers-strike-after-licence-fee-hike-3507693

IRELAND: SURGE IN MONEY LAUNDERING OFFENCES AS CRIME MIGRATES ONLINE

On 15 May, the Irish Times reported that the level of money laundering in Ireland has increased significantly over the last 2 years and senior Garda officers believe the problem is much worse than the latest trends suggest.  The Irish Times has learned that some 701 money-laundering crimes were recorded in Ireland last year, up from just 86 crimes in 2018.  The spike in money laundering coincides with an unprecedented increase in the number of suspicious transactions reported to the Revenue Commissioners, mostly by Irish banks.

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/surge-in-money-laundering-offences-as-crime-migrates-online-1.4878946

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UK: MAJOR DONATION TO CONSERVATIVE PARTY WAS FLAGGED OVER RUSSIA CONCERNS

On 12 May, the New York Times reported that one of the biggest donors to the Conservative Party is suspected of secretly funnelling hundreds of thousands of pounds to the party from a Russian account, according to an SAR filed with the NCA by Barclays bank.  The money was part of a fund-raising blitz that helped propel Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his party to a landslide victory in the 2019 general election. In January 2021, the bank is reported to have said it was able to trace a clear line back from this donation to its ultimate source and it flagged the donation as both suspected money laundering and a potentially illegal campaign donation.  It is reported that the donation, of $630,225, was made in February 2018 in the name of Ehud Sheleg, a wealthy London art dealer who was most recently the Conservative Party’s treasurer.  However, it is claimed that the money originated in a Russian account of his father-in-law, Sergei Kopytov, who was once a senior politician in the previous pro-Kremlin government of Ukraine and who now owns real estate and hotel businesses in Crimea and Russia.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/12/world/europe/russian-money-uk-tories.html

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MAY 14

Panama Covid-19 update – in panama, 70 out of every 100 people have complete vaccination schedules (which means at least 3 shots here) and 79% of people have received at least 1dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) , Panama continues to be one of the countries in the regionwith the highest proportion of the population fully immunized, and above the world average of 59%.

However, today saw 1 more fatality and active cases rising by a further 999, as well as apositive test result of over 21% on 14,039 recorded tests. There are now 24,653 active cases, with 3,054 new ones reported today, with 27 in the ICU and 148 in other wards.

14 MAY 2022

HUMANITARIAN PROTECTION VS REFUGEE STATUS – WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

On 13 May, Richmond Chambers in the UK published an article distinguishing the two, saying that both humanitarian protection and, for an asylum seeker, refugee status are forms of leave in the UK that are granted to applicants who are endangered or otherwise in need.  In short, the two are very similar, and both ensure permission to stay in the UK for 5 years with a view to settlement afterwards.  It notes that humanitarian protection is only considered by the Home Office if an applicant is deemed to not meet the relevant criteria to be granted asylum, and that humanitarian protection does not have the same level of protection against punishment if they enter the country illegally. 

https://immigrationbarrister.co.uk/humanitarian-protection-vs-refugee-status-whats-the-difference/

BANGKOK: HUNDREDS OF SMUGGLED ANIMALS SEIZED AT AIRPORT

On 14 May, Phuket News reported that more than 600 wild animals smuggled into Thailand on a flight from Egypt have been seized at Suvarnabhumi airport.

https://www.thephuketnews.com/hundreds-of-smuggled-animals-seized-at-suvarnabhumi-airport-84165.php

ADDRESSING THE ENABLERS OF COLTAN SMUGGLING IN THE DRC REQUIRES HOLISTIC SOLUTIONS

On 13 May, an article in The Africa Report explains that the north-eastern part of the country contains gold, coal and iron-ore deposits, and coltan; and that, in spite of the significance of coltan to global technological development, smuggling of this essential mineral in the DRC has remained a lingering challenge to the state.  It says that coltan smuggling is enabled by a gamut of factors including porous borders, the protracted war economy, and cross-border price differential.  It argues that the solution to coltan smuggling cannot come from the DRC alone – the approach must be multi-pronged involving the national government, multilateral partnerships and the business community.

https://www.theafricareport.com/203796/addressing-the-enablers-of-coltan-smuggling-in-the-drc-requires-holistic-solutions/

THE VATICAN AND MONEYVAL: WHAT’S CHANGED?

On 13 May, The Catholic World Report carried an article saying that, after around 10 years and 5 progress reports, the FATF-style regional body has announced that the Holy See’s financial system will now be subjected to regular checks. It asks if this “upgrade” means that all previous issues have been resolved?  It suggests a closer reading of Moneyval’s assessment.  It notes, for example, that on the effectiveness of the Vatican’s AML/CFT regime, of the 11 ratings, 6 leaned towards the low end (“moderate”) and 5 toward the high end (“substantial”).  The article concludes that a change to a regular Moneyval follow-up procedure is not a promotion, but after years of positive evaluations, it is instead a mild upgrade.  Following this change in status, the next Moneyval report only will say whether the Holy See is continuing to build a money laundering prevention system that adheres to international standards.

https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2022/05/13/the-vatican-and-moneyval-whats-changed/

BOLIVIA: ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE, FIU AND GAFILAT DELEGATION MEETING PRIOR TO THE AML/CFT MUTUAL EVALUATION

On 13 May, erbol reported that Bolivian officials met representatives of the Financial Action Task Force of Latin America (GAFILAT) within the framework of the preparatory activities for the Fourth Round Mutual Evaluation of the country by GAFILAT.  In 2013, Bolivia left the FATF grey list after complying with the FATF 40 Recommendations.  However, in Bolivia, as in other countries, there is said to be great concern about the development of so-called transnational crimes such as drug trafficking, trafficking and trafficking in persons and financing of terrorism. 

http://www.erbol.com.bo/seguridad/fiscal%C3%ADa-general-uif-y-delegaci%C3%B3n-del-gafilat-sostuvieron-una-reuni%C3%B3n-previa-la-%E2%80%98cuarta

HONG KONG POLICE SMASH MONEY LAUNDERING RING THAT USED VIRTUAL BANKS

On 14 May, Caixin Global reported that police arrested 17 people alleging that they lured people to open virtual bank accounts and lauder money through the accounts.  Those arrested, ages 26 to 67, claimed they were transport workers, waiters, housewives and jobless people; although some were reportedly members of criminal gangs. The laundered money was linked to illegal proceeds from gambling, loan sharking and online shopping scams, the police said.

https://www.caixinglobal.com/2022-05-14/hong-kong-police-smash-money-laundering-ring-that-used-virtual-banks-101884889.html

IRELAND: FORMER PAYPAL COMPLIANCE EMPLOYEE ARRESTED AS PART OF FBI CYBERCRIME INVESTIGATION IS REFUSED BAIL

On 13 May, the Irish Examiner reported that a 40-year-old man had been was charged with 6 counts, including money laundering.  The accused, who is from Pakistan, came to Ireland in 2002 and has Irish citizenship and an Irish passport.  He said he was unemployed but had worked in finance and in computers, including a period with PayPal where he said he was in the compliance department.  He is believed to have been operating a number of illegal sites online. 

https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/courtandcrime/arid-40872143.html

TONGA: IMF SAYS RECENT EFFORTS TO REINFORCE THE AML/CFT FRAMEWORK ARE WELCOME AND SHOULD CONTINUE 

On 13 May, a Staff Concluding Statement of the 2022 Article IV Mission to Tonga said, inter alia, thatgiven Tonga’s heavy reliance on remittances and its impact on consumption and growth, their loss of CBRs could have critical economic impacts.  It welcomed recent progress, including the establishment of the Financial Analysis and Supervision Coordinating Unit to strengthen AML/CFT supervision and enhanced collaboration between the FIU and regional AML/CFT supervisors, with the aim of improving information sharing and enhancing the FIU’s analytical capacity.  A national KYC system is being set up, with changes to revise the existing AML/CFT framework to make it more risk-based and aligned with the recommendations from the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG).

https://www.imf.org/en/News/Articles/2022/05/13/mcs051322-tonga-staff-concluding-statement-of-the-2022-article-iv-mission

THE FCA AND ACCOUNT FORFEITURE ORDERS

HFW has published a paper about the FCA’s first account forfeiture order, for a sum of £2,000,000 against QPay Europe Limited.  It sets out to provide an overview of account freezing and forfeiture orders, how they work and what to do if you are affected by one.

https://www.hfw.com/downloads/004026-HFW-The-FCAs-First-Foray-Into-Account-Forfeiture-Orders-May-2022.pdf

UK CONSIDERS HOW TO TACKLE TREND OF SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCERS PROMOTING COUNTERFEIT PRODUCTS

An article from Morgan Lewis on 13 May examines the world of social media influencers and counterfeit goods, and how the UK is potentially looking to address this issue.  It notes that last year, the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) published a report on the outcome of a pilot study it commissioned to investigate the impact that influencers have on the consumption of counterfeit products.  It says that while the report sets out some interesting recommendations, it is not yet clear whether these will be acted upon by the UK Government, or whether policy recommendations and engagement of influencers would actually put a meaningful dent on complicit activities by influencers, particularly as trade in counterfeit products is worth billions.

https://www.morganlewis.com/blogs/sourcingatmorganlewis/2022/05/uk-considers-how-to-tackle-trend-of-social-media-influencers-promoting-counterfeit-products

NEW US RUSSIA SANCTIONS TARGET TRUST COMPANIES AND CORPORATE SERVICE PROVIDERS FOR THE FIRST TIME

On 12 May, an article from ICIJ noted that professional enablers of financial secrecy in states like Wyoming and Alaska have opposed proposals to increase transparency.

https://www.icij.org/investigations/pandora-papers/new-us-sanctions-target-trust-companies-and-corporate-service-providers-for-the-first-time/

UKRAINE DEMOCRACY DEFENSE LEND-LEASE ACT WILL EASE MEANS OF PROVIDING US MILITARY EQUIPMENT TO UKRAINE

On 11 May, Homeland Preparedness News reported that the new Act means that the Biden administration will find it easier to lend and lease military equipment to Ukraine and other Eastern European countries impacted by the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

https://homelandprepnews.com/stories/76963-ukraine-democracy-defense-lend-lease-act-will-ease-means-of-providing-u-s-military-equipment-to-ukraine/

COUNTERING THE ILLICIT PROLIFERATION AND DIVERSION OF MATERIALS USED IN THE PRODUCTION OF IMPROVISED EXPLOSIVE DEVICES (IED)

A report from Conflict Armament Research says that a wide range of materials can be used to manufacture improvised explosive devices (IED).  These include both military and civilian commercial products. The variety in design and means of deployment of IED vastly complicates efforts to regulate and control their proliferation.  Conflict Armament Research investigators have been working to document and trace components, subcomponents, and materials like commercial explosives that can be used to create IED.  Since 2018, investigators have documented and traced IED materials in a number of conflict-affected locations including Afghanistan, Bahrain, Burkina Faso, Iraq, Mali, Niger, Syria, and Yemen.  This report presents case studies from the investigations that demonstrate examples of upstream IED prevention in action.  It highlights the importance of field documentation, analysis, and tracing to provide governments, manufacturers, and distributors with verified evidence on patterns of illicit production and procurement of IED materials.

https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/6f06554d7c6c407c9952236fd78763b6

UNDERGROUND ARMS WATCH – MAY 2022

On 10 May, the Firearms Blog published its latest review of “ghost guns” and homemade weaponry discovered worldwide.  They include a MAC-10 submachine gun seized in Canada and which appears to be made from a combination of original and homemade parts, and a homemade submachine gun seized in Brazil.

https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2022/05/10/underground-arms-watch-may-2022/

UK: KPMG FACING £14.4 MILLION FINE FOLLOWING CARILLION TRIBUNAL

On 13 May, Compliance Week reported that KPMG is set to pay a reduced fine of £14.4 million from the Financial Reporting Council over its botched audits at collapsed construction company Carillion and software firm Regenersis.

https://www.complianceweek.com/regulatory-enforcement/kpmg-facing-176m-fine-following-carillion-tribunal/31680.article

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/may/12/kpmg-fined-frc-audit-carillion

CONFISCATING RUSSIAN ASSETS AND THE LAW

A post on Lawfare on 13 May was a response to an earlier post (itself replying to the author’s original one!).   after reviewing the arguments, it concludes that the US and its allies can achieve the immediate goal of giving Ukraine the support it needs without exploding the longstanding and important distinction between seizure and confiscation of a foreign state’s property.  It is also said that expanding the role of countermeasures to cover the present situation exposes the UUS, Israel and other allies to significant new legal risks whenever they undertake military operations that some other states regard as violating the UN Charter.

https://www.lawfareblog.com/response-philip-zelikow-confiscating-russian-assets-and-law

A SCANDAL AT THE UN

A podcast from Lawfare on 13 May was concerned with a little-known UN agency – the UN Office for Project Services – trusting tens of millions of dollars to a relatively unknown British businessman, David Kendrick, and the investment not quite working out.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/07/world/americas/un-loan-project-services.html

https://www.lawfareblog.com/lawfare-podcast-scandal-un

XPRESS MONEY SERVICES FAILED AFTER ITS BUSINESS REGISTRATION WAS SUSPENDED UNDER MONEY LAUNDERING REGULATIONS

On 10 May, The Times reported on the cross-border payments company owned by Finablr, the collapsed former FTSE-250 group.   It says that Xpress Money Services owes creditors almost £19 million in unrecorded transactions, and that the FCA had previously placed restrictions on the company because of concerns about the safeguarding of funds.  Then HMRC suspended Xpress Money’s registration in August 2020.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/laundering-link-to-failure-of-money-xpress-hhmvg7dc5

HAITIAN GANG LEADER CHARGED WITH CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT HOSTAGE TAKING FOR KIDNAPPING OF 16 US MISSIONARIES IN 2021

A news release from US DoJ on 10 May advised that a Haitian national had been indicted by a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia for conspiracy to commit hostage taking for his role in the armed kidnapping of 16 US citizens in Haiti in 2021.  He is Joly Germine, 29, aka Yonyon, who is described as a leader of the 400 Mawozo gang.  The Haitian government transferred him from a Haitian jail into US custody on 3 May. 

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/haitian-gang-leader-charged-conspiracy-commit-hostage-taking-kidnapping-16-us-missionaries

SWITZERLAND: CHF3.4 BILLION IN PROVISIONALLY BLOCKED RUSSIAN ASSETS HAVE BEEN RELEASED

On 13 May, Swissinfo reported that the CHF3.4 billion were released again after being frozen on a precautionary basis.  Swiss banks and asset managers can provisionally freeze funds but funds need to be released if they cannot establish that the assets are directly owned or controlled by a sanctioned individual.  However, CHF6.3 billion ($6.33 billion) worth of Russian assets remain frozen under sanctions.

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/switzerland-releases-chf3-billion-of-frozen-russia-sanctions/47590508

INDIA: COAL SCAM: SUPREME COURT SEEKS REPORT ON PROGRESS IN PROBE OF OVER 50 MONEY LAUNDERING CASES

On 12 May, the Economic Times reported that the Indian Supreme Court had ordered the Enforcement Directorate to report on the progress of more than 50 cases linked a coal block allocation scam.  It has been claimed that, even after nearly 10 years, the agency has not been able to conclude the investigation in the money laundering aspects of the cases.

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/india/coal-scam-supreme-court-seeks-eds-report-on-progress-in-probe-of-over-50-money-laundering-cases/articleshow/91522824.cms

ARMS TRANSFERS TO UKRAINE

The Forum on the Arms Trade website is carrying a resource page which was launched to track developments related to transfers of weaponry to Ukraine, which thus far includes pledges and/or deliveries from more than 20 countries plus the EU. 

https://www.forumarmstrade.org/ukrainearms.html

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THE RUSSIAN BANK, THE BRUCE WILLIS AD AND THE $900 MILLION SANCTIONS BATTLE

On 14 May, the Guardian reported on the situation involving National Bank Trust, where it was subsequently alleged that the elaborate corporate structure incorporated fake documents and was a fraudulent scheme that concealed bad debts and enriched key executives.  The High Court in London ruled in January 2020 that the bank was owed $900 million compensation from 2 former bosses (Ilya Yurov, former chair of the supervisory board, Nikolay Fetisov, its former president, and Sergey Belyaev), 2 of whom had settled in Britain (the other in the US), allegedly involved in the scheme.  The bank is now seeking to recover money owed in the UK, but UK ministers face questions on whether sanctions on Russia will stop it getting the cash.  It is also alleged that an English “fixer” called Benedict Worsley ran the bank’s offshore network, allegedly hiring a team in Cyprus which was “churning out fake documents in what only can be described as a document factory”.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/14/the-russian-bank-the-bruce-willis-ad-and-the-900m-sanctions-battle

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MAY 13

PANAMA COID-19 UPDATE – the media in Panama is reporting that hospitalisations involving Covid have doubled over the past month. Actually, today’s figures show a very small decrease in hospital numbers, with 25 in ICU and 158 in other wards. On the other hand there were 3 fatalities reported, and the positivity rate for tests undertaken reached 23.3%, the highest figure since 4 February. The number of active cases has risen by over 2,200 to 23,654.

13 MAY 2022

RUSSIAN TANKER GIANT IN DEALS TO SELL SHIPS AMID WESTERN SANCTIONS

On 12 May, the Wall Street Journal reported that Sovcomflot, among the world’s largest tanker operators, has sold about a dozen ships to buyers in Asia and the Middle East.  It is said to have sold 5 tankers to Dubai-based Koban Shipping and 4 natural-gas carriers to Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping.  It is also said to be negotiating with other entities to sell further tankers.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/sovcomflot-reaches-deals-to-sell-tankers-amid-western-sanctions-11652375436

https://lloydslist.maritimeintelligence.informa.com/LL1140801/Banks-start-selling-Sovcomflot-fleet-as-sanctions-deadlines-loom

YACHT WAS USED TO SMUGGLE £160 MILLION-WORTH OF COCAINE FROM SOUTH AMERICA TO THE UK HAS BEEN SOLD AT AUCTION

On 13 May, Practical Boat Owner reported that the 120-feett expedition yacht Kahu, which was used to smuggle £160 million-worth of cocaine from South America to the UK has been sold at auction for £473,500.  The motor yacht was built in 1979 for the Royal New Zealand Navy, and was converted in 2010 into a pleasure craft and has since travelled the globe.

https://www.pbo.co.uk/news/sold-the-cocaine-smuggling-expedition-yacht-kahu-71415

NIGERIA: PRESIDENT SIGNS 3 BILLS TO TACKLE MONEY LAUNDERING, TERRORISM, OTHER FINANCIAL CRIMES INTO LAW

On 13 May, The Street Journal and other media reported that, on 12 May, President Buhari signed into law, 3 Bills; the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill, 2022 the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill 2022, and the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Bill 2022.  They are intended to improve the country’s AML/CFT framework.

https://thestreetjournal.org/buhari-signs-three-bills-to-tackle-money-laundering-terrorism-other-financial-crimes-into-law/

https://gazettengr.com/buhari-signs-anti-money-laundering-bills-into-law/

AUSTRALIA: ORGANISED CRIME THRIVES BECAUSE NEW SOUTH WALES CANNOT FOLLOW THE MONEY

On 13 May, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that inquiries have shown that organised criminals, including Chinese triads, were likely using gaming tables as their back offices, laundering their drug money and taking out legal cash.  It is said that NSW Assistant Police Commissioner Stuart Smith in a secret briefing last December said Australia and NSW are losing the fight against organised crime, saying that police were fighting with “pool noodles” while criminals were armed with guns.  He criticised AUSTRAC, the federal agency in charge of chasing financial crime. Calling them “nitwits,” he said they were too focused on money laundering in the banking system and ignoring other forms of crime.  The article says that Smith’s briefing is a worrying sign of friction between AUSTRAC and NSW police when they should be working hand in glove. 

https://www.smh.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/organised-crime-thrives-because-nsw-cannot-follow-the-money-20220513-p5al86.html

INDIAN OCEAN COMMISSION HELPS AFRICA’S ISLAND STATES FIGHT SEA CRIME

On 13 May, Defence Web reported that, for the past 25 years or so, Indian Ocean Island nations gradually have bolstered maritime security through membership in the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), which has helped them increase law enforcement cooperation, intelligence sharing and coordination across borders to counter sea crime.  The IOC is the only intergovernmental organisation composed exclusively of island states.  The EU funds its maritime security efforts around Africa.  The island nations are along a notorious stretch of the Western Indian Ocean that for decades has been a drug transit route.  Other maritime issues in the region include illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; piracy and kidnappings; and trafficking in weapons, people and wildlife.  A March 2021 report by the Institute for Security Studies argues that the IOC’s efforts to enhance maritime security among the island states could serve as a template for other African nations to follow.

https://www.defenceweb.co.za/sea/sea-sea/indian-ocean-commission-helps-africas-island-states-fight-sea-crime/

UK: LEGAL SERVICES BOOM CONTINUES DESPITE SANCTIONS

On 13 May, the Law Society Gazette reported that the UK’s legal services sector continues to thrive, official figures show, despite seemingly taking a hit from the sanctions imposed on Russia over the war in Ukraine.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/legal-services-boom-continues-despite-sanctions/5112483.article

US: HEALTH CARE’S EXPANDING LANDSCAPE OF CRIMINAL ANTI-BRIBERY ENFORCEMENT

On 13 May, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP published an article saying that a case highlights how criminal anti-bribery enforcement in health care looks different now than it did even 5 years ago.  It sets out to describe steps companies and executives in this sector can take now to avoid a face-to-face encounter with the statutes as a criminal defendant.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/health-care-s-expanding-landscape-of-8704187/

UK: IMPORTS OF ENERGY FROM RUSSIA

On 13 May, a briefing from the House of Commons Library said that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has focussed attention on the importance of Russian exports of gas, oil and coal.  In 2021 imports from Russia made up 4% of gas used in the UK, 9% of oil and 27% of coal.

https://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-9523/CBP-9523.pdf

UK: NEW RUSSIA SANCTIONS GENERAL LICENCE RE AMSTERDAM TRADE BANK NV

On 13 May, HM Treasury issued a new General Licence authorising winding down, basic needs and insolvency related payments in connection with Amsterdam Trade Bank NV. Under the Licence, the bank may make payment for its basic needs including: payment of remuneration, allowances or pensions of employees; payment of tax; payments to suppliers of goods and services.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1074954/INT.2022.1678476_Amsterdam_Trade_Bank_N.V_-_winding_down_-_basic_needs_-_insolvency_GL.pdf

GUERNSEY: EY APPOINTED TO CARRY OUT REVIEW OF CORPORATE TAX OPTIONS

On 12 May, a news release advised that EY has been appointed, following a competitive tender process, to carry out a review of corporate tax options, as part of the wider Tax Review which looks at how essential services will be funded in the future.

https://www.gov.gg/article/189301/EY-appointed-to-carry-out-review-of-corporate-tax-options

HONDURAS EX-POLICE CHIEF EXTRADITED TO THE US OVER DRUG TRAFFICKING CHARGES

On 13 May, OCCRP reported that Honduras has extradited former police chief Juan Carlos Bonilla Valladares (aka El Tigre) to the US to face drug trafficking charges similar to those ex-President Juan Orlando Hernández was accused of and handed over to the US several weeks earlier.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/16320-honduras-ex-police-chief-extradited-to-the-u-s-for-drug-trafficking

PODCAST: RANSOMWARE AND CYBER-ATTACKS AFTER UKRAINE-RUSSIA: WHAT’S CHANGED?

This is a podcast from Control Risks on 9 May.  It is said that since the start of the Ukraine-Russia conflict, there have been drastic changes to the cyber threat landscape, including a sharp increase in ransomware attacks. In this podcast experts discuss these changes, how they might develop and what this means for organisations preparing for and responding to ransomware attacks.

https://www.controlrisks.com/our-thinking/podcasts/in-focus-channel/ransomware-and-cyber-attacks-after-ukraine-russia

SUSPECT HELD IN NETHERLANDS OVER 1994 RWANDAN GENOCIDE

On 13 May, the Guardian reported that a Rwandan man has been arrested in the Netherlands based on an extradition request from Rwanda on suspicion that he was involved in the country’s 1994 genocide. 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/13/suspect-held-in-netherlands-over-1994-rwandan-genocide

TerraUSD ‘STABLECOIN’ DELISTED FROM CRYPTO EXCHANGES

On 13 May, the Guardian reported that TerraUSD, the “algorithmic stablecoin” whose collapse prompted a multibillion-dollar sell-off across crypto markets, has turned off its blockchain and been delisted from major exchanges, in effect closing the project for good.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/may/13/terrausd-stablecoin-crypto-exchanges

MPs AND PEERS URGE BIGGER FINES FOR LAWYERS WHO BREAK AML RULES

On 13 May, Legal Futures reported that they also backed the creation of a specialist unit at the National Crime Agency (NCA) to target professional enablers.  The all-party parliamentary groups on fair business banking and on anti-corruption and responsible tax have published a joint economic crime manifesto, setting out what measures should be in the latest economic crime Bill, announced in the Queen’s Speech.

https://www.legalfutures.co.uk/latest-news/mps-and-peers-urge-bigger-fines-for-lawyers-who-break-aml-rules

LEGAL PROFESSIONAL PRIVILEGE IN THE UK

On 13 May, an article from Out-Law provided a guide to litigation privilege and legal professional privilege (LPP).

https://www.pinsentmasons.com/out-law/guides/legal-professional-privilege-some-practical-considerations

SCREENING OF THIRD-COUNTRY NATIONALS AT THE EU EXTERNAL BORDERS

On 12 May, the EU Parliament Research Service published a briefing paper about a proposal which would introduce a pre-entry screening procedure allowing national authorities at external borders to channel irregular third-country nationals to the appropriate procedure, i.e. asylum or return procedures.  The screening would start with preliminary health and vulnerability checks and finish with the transmission of a debriefing form to the appropriate authorities.  The proposal would provide for the establishment, by each Member State, of an independent monitoring mechanism for fundamental rights. 

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2020/659346/EPRS_BRI(2020)659346_EN.pdf

https://www.europol.europa.eu/publications-events/publications/crypto-investment-scams-infographic

US: CRYPTOCURRENCY TRADER SENTENCED TO 42 MONTHS IN PRISON

On 11 May, a news release from US DoJ advised that JEREMY SPENCE, aka “Coin Signals,” was sentenced to 42 months in prison for defrauding more than 170 victims in connection with various cryptocurrency funds that he operated. 

https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/cryptocurrency-trader-sentenced-42-months

EU SANCTIONS MAP

This tool, updated to 20 April, provides an interactive A-Z listing of countries and sanctions regimes, the measures imposed in respect of each, and the legislative acts involved, as well as available guidance.

https://sanctionsmap.eu/#/main?checked=23

US DEA PULLS PLANE FROM MEXICO IN FRESH COOPERATION BLOW

On 11 May, Yahoo News reported that the DEA has stopped stationing a plane in Mexico for anti-narcotics operations for the first time in decades after Mexican officials rescinded its parking spot.  It is said to be a new hit to joint cooperation against drug crime which has frayed in recent years under Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

https://ca.news.yahoo.com/exclusive-u-anti-drugs-agency-135334513.html

GIBRALTAR FIU ANNUAL REPORT

The 2021 Annual Report includes a Strategic Analysis Report.

https://www.gfiu.gov.gi/uploads/docs/publications/GFIU%20Annual%20Report%20&%20Strategic%20Analysis%202021.pdf

DEA INVESTIGATING BREACH OF LAW ENFORCEMENT DATA PORTAL

On 12 May, the Krebs on Security blog reported that the DEA says it is investigating reports that hackers gained unauthorised access to an agency portal that taps into 16 different federal law enforcement databases. It says it has learned the alleged compromise is tied to a cybercrime and online harassment community that routinely impersonates police and government officials to harvest personal information on their targets.

https://krebsonsecurity.com/2022/05/dea-investigating-breach-of-law-enforcement-data-portal/

HOW TO FIGHT FOREIGN HACKERS WITH CIVIL LITIGATION

On 12 May, an article from Lawfare says that a recent operation reflects the DoJ strategy of prioritising what it calls “disruptive capabilities” over long-term plays for arrests and extraditions.  It also notes that, in the same week, Microsoft obtained a court order to seize 7 domains being used by another GRU unit, best known as “Fancy Bear,” to target Ukrainian institutions.  It is said that these 2 operations illustrate an important truth: the Justice Department’s best tools for fighting cybercrime can also be wielded by any private company willing to invest the necessary resources, and many companies have been eager to do so. 

https://www.lawfareblog.com/how-fight-foreign-hackers-civil-litigation

ISLE OF MAN: RUSSIA AND SYRIA SANCTIONS CHANGES

On 13 May, 2 news releases advised of a news release is issued to publicise the addition of 1 entry, correction of 1 entry, removal of 1 entry and amendment of 108 entries in the Syria sanctions regime.  These changes include the removal of Yousef ISMAIL.  The other news release advises of the addition of 12 entries, the amendment of 8 entries and the correction of 2 entries to the Russian sanctions regime.

https://www.gov.im/news/2022/may/13/financial-sanctions-syria/

https://www.gov.im/news/2022/may/13/financial-sanctions-russia/

UK AMENDS GENERAL LICENCE RELATING TO SOVCOMFLOT

On 13 May, HM Treasury issued a Notice advising that the General Licence in relation to the wind down of positions involving Sovcomflot has had its expiry date extended to 30 June.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1075247/INT.2022.1469378_Sovcomflot_GL_publication_notice.pdf

NETHERLANDS: EMERGENCY MEASURE FOR CORPORATE SERVICE PROVIDERS REGARDING PROVIDING SERVICES TO CLIENTS IN RUSSIA AND BELARUS

On 12 May, an article from Field Fisher is concerned with corporate service providers (trustkantoren) in the Netherlands doing business with Russian clients.  It notes that a new Bill would prohibit CSP from providing trust services if a client, a target company, an ultimate beneficial owner of a client and an ultimate beneficial owner of a target company is resident or established, or has its registered office in the Russian Federation or the Republic of Belarus.  However, if such client or beneficial owner is a natural person who is a national of a member state of the EU, the EEA or Switzerland, or holds a residence permit for one of these states, the prohibition will not apply.

https://www.fieldfisher.com/en/insights/emergency-measure-for-corporate-service-providers

TAKING STOCK OF UN ARMS TRADE TREATY (ATT) REPORTING TRENDS AND CHALLENGES

On 27 April, the Stimson Center issued a report which starts by explaining that the ATT) is the first global, legally binding instrument to regulate the trade in conventional arms.  It entered into force in 2014, and aims to mitigate the harm caused by irresponsible and illicit arms transfers by establishing common standards for international transfers of conventional arms.  The ATT also seeks to enhance transparency and build confidence between States engaging in the international arms trade by establishing mandatory reporting mechanisms. It requires States Parties to submit 2 reports to the treaty Secretariat in order to increase responsibility, accountability, and transparency in the arms trade.  However, it says that over the first 6 years of ATT reporting the rate of initial reporting has remained relatively constant while annual reporting compliance rates have steadily decreased.  Both initial and annual reporting have suffered from increasing challenges to transparency and reporting practices that limit the practical and analytical utility of the reports themselves.  The report from the Stimson Center –

  • Provides an overview of the reporting processes and practices of the 35 States that participated in the study to identify trends and examples of good practice;
  • Discusses the challenges these States have experienced in fulfilling their initial and annual reporting obligations; and
  • concludes with a discussion of recommendations that can be taken to ensure more consistent, comprehensive, and transparent reporting under the ATT.

https://www.stimson.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/Taking-Stock-of-ATT-Reporting-Trends-and-Challenges_web.pdf

https://www.visualcapitalist.com/mapped-the-state-of-global-democracy-2022/

WHY IS IT SO EASY TO HIDE DIRTY MONEY IN BRITAIN?

On 12 May, The Economist released this 14-minute video which explores how and why London became a laundromat for foreign dirty money — and whether Britain’s new sanctions in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will trigger the fall of Londongrad.

https://www.economist.com/films/2022/05/12/why-is-it-so-easy-to-hide-dirty-money-in-britain

US: COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION CHARGES LONG ISLAND RESIDENT AND HIS FIRM IN ONGOING $59 MILLION CRYPTO FRAUD SCHEME

On 13 May, a release on Mondo Visione advised that the CFTC has announced it has filed a civil enforcement action against Eddy Alexandre of Valley Stream, New York, and his company, EminiFX Inc, of Valley Stream and Manhattan, New York, charging them with fraudulent solicitation and misappropriation in connection with soliciting clients to trade foreign currency exchange (forex), commodity futures contracts, and cryptocurrencies. It is alleged that the defendants solicited and accepted at least $59 million from hundreds of people to purportedly trade forex and cryptocurrencies, as well as futures and options, in an investment club.  The defendants guaranteed customers returns of 5% per week. In fact, the defendants’ used only approximately $9 million of customers’ funds to trade forex and cryptocurrency.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/cftc-charges-long-island-resident-and-his-firm-in-ongoing-59-million-fraud-sche/

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US TREASURY: NATIONAL STRATEGY FOR COMBATING TERRORIST AND OTHER ILLICIT FINANCING

This report says that, despite progress made, the US AML/CFT regime must adapt to an evolving threat environment, along with structural and technological changes in financial services and markets, for continued success in this critical fight.  It also says that, as detailed in the priorities and supporting actions in this Strategy, the US Treasury will strengthen laws, regulations, processes, technologies, and people so that the US AML/CFT regime remains a model of effectiveness and innovation.

https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/2022-National-Strategy-for-Combating-Terrorist-and-Other-Illicit-Financing.pdf

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/us-treasury-announces-2022-national-illicit-finance-strategy-strategy-provides/

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EUROPEAN COMMISSION HAS PUBLISHED A CONSOLIDATED LIST OF PEOPLE SUBJECT TO EU TRAVEL BANS

On 11 May, the EU advised that the EU Commission has published a consolidated list of travel bans in its EU Sanctions Map Tool. This will allow citizens to see who is subject to a travel ban under our sanctions measures, and therefore are prevented from travelling to the EU.  This Sanctions Tool is available to Member State authorities as well as EU citizens. 

https://ec.europa.eu/neighbourhood-enlargement/news/implementation-sanctions-commission-publishes-consolidated-list-travel-bans-2022-05-11_en

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UK: NATIONAL CRIME AGENCY ANNUAL REPORT

On 13 May, the NCA published its Annual Report saying that the Director General of the NCA has set 4 operational priorities for the Agency setting out how it will deliver strong operational performance and build for the future –

  • Increasing its understanding of, and impact on, the criminals causing the most harm;
  • Strengthening its leadership role with partners and the public;
  • Building a workforce that meets the future threat; and
  • Improving the foundations on which it delivers operations.

https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/who-we-are/publications/594-nca-annual-plan-2022-23/file

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INDIA’S DIAMOND DILEMMA AFTER RUSSIAN SANCTIONS

On 12 May, Bloomberg released a video report saying that the global diamond trade is facing supply shortages and major disruption as US sanctions cause panic across the industry. India’s diamond polishers are caught in the middle as the restrictions threaten the country’s $24 billion industry.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2022-05-12/india-s-diamond-dilemma-after-russian-sanctions-video


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JAPAN BANS EXPORTS OF QUANTUM COMPUTERS TO RUSSIA IN LATEST SANCTIONS

On 13 May, The Japan Times reported that the government said that it will ban exports of quantum computers and other advanced technologies to Russia from 20 May as part of additional sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine.  The ban will involve 14 items including quantum computers, machine tools, 3D printers and 8 related technologies. Exports of machine tools with higher performance are already blocked, and Japan prohibits exports to Russia of luxury items in 19 categories, including vehicles and watches, as well as a total of about 300 goods and technologies, such as semiconductors.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2022/05/13/national/russia-sanctions-computers/


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UK: AMENDMENT OF SYRIA SANCTIONS LISTS, INCLUDING 1 NAME ADDED AND 1 REMOVED

On 13 May, a Notice from HM Treasury advised that 108 entries have been amended on the consolidated list and remain subject to an asset freeze.  In addition, the entry relating to Mohammad AL-SHAAR had been replaced, and the entry relating to Yousef ISMAIL had been removed from the consolidated list and is no longer subject to an asset freeze.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1075117/Notice_Syria_130522.pdf

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UK: 12 NAMES ADDED TO RUSSIA SANCTIONS, 10 OTHERS AMENDED OR CORRECTED

A Notice from HM Treasury on 13 May announced that 12 entries have been added to the consolidated list and are now subject to an asset freeze, 8 entries have been amended, and 2 other entries have been corrected and are still subject to an asset freeze.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1075063/Notice_Russia_130522.pdf

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-sanctions-the-shady-network-funding-putins-lavish-lifestyle

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/13/new-uk-russia-sanctions-target-putin-financial-network-ex-wife

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MAY 12

Panama Covid-19 update – it never rains but it pours, as the saying goes. The latest bad news comes from the Minister of Health, who has said that there has been an increase in cases of Leishmaniasis reporting more than 240 so far in 2022. I had never heard of this disease but, like malaria and other diseases, it is spread by flies or mosquitoes. There were even 31 cases in the metropolitan area, it is reported…

https://www.laestrella.com.pa/nacional/220512/autoridades-salud-reportan-240-casos-lishmaniasis

Meanwhile, Covid rolls on, with the third day in a row with new cases over 3,000 and total cases to date nearing 800,000. On the other hand, after the 5 deaths reported yesterday, there were no new fatalities today. Active cases are up again, by over 2,700 to 21,413, with 3,514 new cases reported. Test results remain high, with 21.7% positives from 16,230 tests. Numbers in ICU remain unchanged at 21, but the number in other wards has risen to 164, with another 46 in the so-called hospital-hotels, the remainder of those affected (as well as, of course, the assymptomatic) being at home.

12 MAY 2022

ISLE OF MAN: AFGHANISTAN SANCTIONS

On 12 May, the Isle of Man confirmed that the Afghanistan (Sanctions) (EU Exit) (Amendment) Regulations 2022 of the UK had been formally applied in the Island.  These regulations implement a UN-mandated change that the provision of humanitarian assistance and other activities that support basic human needs in Afghanistan should be an exception to the asset freeze rules. 

https://www.gov.im/news/2022/may/12/sanctions-afghanistan/

IRAN-LINKED MISSILE & MARITIME THREATS CONTINUE

On 10 May, an article from the Atlantic Council, published by Dryad Global, says that recent events suggest that the US deterrence has been insufficient.  Therefore, it argues, a shift in US strategy is needed to re-establish credible deterrence that denies potential attacks and punishes violations in order for the US and its partners in the Middle East to counter Iranian naval aggression and missile launches. 

https://channel16.dryadglobal.com/iran-linked-missile-maritime-threats-continue

MOZAMBIQUE TO ACTIVATE MARITIME COURTS AMID GROWING OFFSHORE CRIMES

On 12 May, Dryad Global reported that the Mozambican assembly passed a Bill to activate the maritime courts nationwide as part of the country’s effort to fight a growing trend of offshore crimes including piracy, illegal fishing, and terrorism.  Mozambique has a coastline extending for more than 2,400 km and over 60% of the country’s population lives in coastal areas. 

https://channel16.dryadglobal.com/mozambique-to-activate-maritime-courts-amid-growing-offshore-crimes

JAPAN: RUSSIA SANCTIONS – 141 NAMES ADDED, PLUS EXPORT BAN

On 12 May, EU Sanctions blog reported that the Japanese foreign ministry had announced an asset freeze on 141 people, including Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and 133 politicians from the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.  There was also a ban on exports to 71 specified Russian military entities and a general ban on the export of advanced technologies to Russia.  It was also confirmed that Japan will phase out the use of Russian oil.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2022/05/japan-announces-asset-freezes-on-141-export-bans/

ORGANISED ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME: WHY IT MATTERS FOR PEACE OPERATIONS

On 12 May, a briefing from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute says that organised environmental crime has become one of the fastest-growing types of organised crime.  In many conflict-affected contexts, it is the primary source of financing for non-state armed groups.  It says that the 5 most prevalent types of activity currently encompassed by environmental crime include illegal mining and trade in minerals such as oil, gold, diamonds, cobalt, zinc, coltan and lithium; illegal logging/deforestation and trade in timber; unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing; wildlife crime; and pollution crimes (the illegal dumping and trade of chemicals and waste, and the illegal production and trade of ozone-depleting substances).  In conflict-affected settings where the largest UN peacekeeping operations are currently deployed, organised environmental crimes involving minerals, timber and wildlife constitute a major category of illicit markets that benefit armed groups and sustain armed conflict. 

https://www.sipri.org/commentary/topical-backgrounder/2022/organized-environmental-crime-why-it-matters-peace-operations

UK JOINS INTERNATIONAL CYBER PARTNERS TO RELEASE SUPPLY CHAIN GUIDANCE

On 11 May, Security Matters reported that a joint advisory from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and its partners sets out a series of practical steps for managed service providers (MSP) and their customers.  It explains that MSP provide IT support to their customers in various ways, for example through software or cyber security services. In order to do so, they are granted privileged access to a customer’s network, and this can create opportunities for attackers. 

https://securitymattersmagazine.com/uk-joins-international-cyber-partners-to-release-supply-chain-guidance

GERMANY: THE PROTECTIVE MASKS CASE OF FYNN KLIEMANN

On 11 May, an article from Vanguard Littler was concerned with a case of musician, Youtuber and influencer Fynn Kliemann who is alleged to have pretended – together with business partners – to produce Covid face masks in Europe with his company or as a partner in a company and to have resold them at the purchase price, while the masks actually came from Bangladesh and Vietnam and were resold for many times more. The article notes that the new Supply Chain Due Diligence Act (LkSG), which comes into effect on 1 January 2023 and 1 January 2024 (depending on the number of company employees), as the relevant thresholds for the number of employees in Germany would not have been reached.

https://www.vangard.de/en/blog-article/protective-masks-case-fynn-kliemann-context-supply-chain-due-diligence-act

RUSSIA SANCTIONS: DIAMOND MANUFACTURERS IN INDIA “HAVE CUT THEIR OUTPUT AND REDUCED WORKING DAYS 

On 21 April, the Israeli Diamond Industry reported that, following US sanctions on Russian diamonds, diamond manufacturers in India, primarily in Surart, “have cut their output, reduced working days from 12 hours to 8 and are closing factories for 2 days a week”. 

https://en.israelidiamond.co.il/news/world/surat-sanctions-on-alrosa/

https://en.israelidiamond.co.il/news/world/alrosa-gems-to-gokhran/

RUSSIAN BILLIONAIRES’ CHALLENGES TO EU SANCTIONS MOUNT UP

On 11 May, Yahoo Finance reported that Alexey Mordashov joined a growing list of well-known businessmen trying to fight the restrictions in EU courts – a process that can take years to resolve.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/russian-billionaires-challenges-eu-sanctions-150516731.html

FIJI: $7.5 MILLION MONEY LAUNDERING CASE

On 12 May, the Fiji Times reported that the 2021 annual report from the Fiji FIU contained a mention of a case in which a woman who managed to open 2 bank accounts in Fiji for foreign nationals who were not in Fiji, using fraudulent documents in an alleged money laundering case involving $7.5 million.

https://www.fijitimes.com/7-5m-money-laundering-case/

ONECOIN’S MISSING ‘CRYPTO QUEEN’ IS NOW ONE OF EUROPE’S MOST-WANTED FUGITIVES

On 12 May, Vice reported that a woman – Dr Ruja Ignatova, founder of OneCoin – who allegedly made billions of pounds by conning hundreds of thousands of people from around the world in a crypto coin scam has been added to the Europol most wanted list.  Europol has put up a €5,000 reward for information that leads to her arrest.

https://www.vice.com/en/article/wxdmmz/ruja-ignatova-onecoin-europol

US: CHEMIST SENTENCED FOR THEFT OF COCA-COLA SECRETS WORTH $120 MILLION

On 11 May, OCCRP reported that a chemical engineer for the Coca-Cola Company has been sentenced to 14 years in prison on espionage and fraud charges that stemmed from trade secrets she stole on behalf of the Chinese government and Chinese business interests – secrets that cost nearly $120 million to develop.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/16313-us-sentences-chemist-for-theft-of-coca-cola-secrets-worth-120-million

CZECH REPUBLIC TO ENACT THE MAGNITSKY ACT

On 11 May, OCCRP reported that the Czech Republic’s Foreign Ministry has said that the country could soon adopt the Magnitsky Act – a law that targets persons and businesses implicated or affiliated with serious human rights breaches.  A draft paper would be submitted to the government in June.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/16314-the-czech-republic-to-enact-the-magnitsky-act

MALTA: RECORD-BREAKING 1.5 TONNES OF COCAINE INTERCEPTED BY CUSTOMS AT THE FREEPORT

On 11 May, the Malta Independent reported that Customs officials, stationed at the Freeport Scanning Facility, seized 50 bags containing 1,494 blocks of cocaine, in a container, which was transporting bananas, and en-route from Colombia to Koper in Slovenia.

https://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2022-05-11/local-news/Record-breaking-1-5-tonnes-of-cocaine-intercepted-by-customs-at-the-Freeport-6736242852

ILLEGAL COAL MINE KILLINGS PROMPT PERUVIAN AUTHORITIES TO ACT

On 11 May, Insight Crime reported that authorities have extended a state of emergency in Peru’s illegal coal mining heartland – 5 provinces of La Libertad Department, on the country’s western coast – following a sharp rise in killings as gangs battle for control of lucrative mine operations.  Much of the mining, both legal and illegal, that takes place in Peru focuses on gold.  In La Libertad, however, coal has a central role.

https://insightcrime.org/news/gangs-kill-take-over-illegal-coal-mining-in-western-peru/

CARTEL VIOLENCE KILLS HARVESTS OF FRUIT IN MEXICO

On 11 May, Insight Crime reported that Mexico’s produce industry has taken another hit from cartel violence, as tens of millions of dollars-worth of peaches are set to be lost after farmers abandoned their fields.  Peaches are the latest loss in Mexico’s agricultural heartland, where other valuable crops, such as avocados and lime, have been left to rot in recent years after growers faced violent cartel threats and extortion.

https://insightcrime.org/news/mexican-peach-farmers-displaced-amidst-violence-zacatecas/

UK: LAW FIRMS SELLING FUNERAL PLANS “MAY NEED FCA REGULATION”

On 12 May, Legal Futures reported that law firms selling funeral plans as intermediaries may need to be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has warned.

https://www.legalfutures.co.uk/latest-news/law-firms-selling-funeral-plans-may-need-fca-regulation

EU SCRAPS PLANS TO BAN SHIPPING OF RUSSIAN OIL IMPORTS AMID BACKLASH

On 10 May, City AM reported that the EU has been forced to abandon plans to bar the shipping of Russian crude oil amid pushback from Member States, and it has now been dropped from the EU’s sixth package of sanctions measures.

https://www.cityam.com/eu-scraps-plans-to-ban-shipping-of-russian-oil-imports-amid-backlash/

VITOL SA – THE TARGET OF A CORRUPTION PROBE IN MEXICO – MUST DISCLOSE WHO AT PETROLEOS MEXICANOS (PEMEX) TOOK BRIBES FROM THE COMMODITIES TRADER

On 11 May, Swissinfo reported that the Mexican President has said that if Vitol fails to disclose the information, the trading giant will continue to be barred from doing business in Mexico.

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/mexico-s-amlo-says-vitol-must-say-who-at-pemex-took-bribes/47583340

5 US STATES ISSUE EMERGENCY ORDERS TO SHUT DOWN METAVERSE CASINO WITH ALLEGED RUSSIAN TIES

On 11 May, Coindesk reported that regulators in Alabama, New Jersey, Texas, Kentucky and Wisconsin have issued emergency orders requiring The Flamingo Casino Club, which has alleged Russian ties, to immediately halt the sale of its non-fungible tokens (NFT), citing fraud, deceit and registration violations.  It began operating in Russia in March, regulators say, and has been soliciting investors through the sale of securitised NFT.

https://www.coindesk.com/policy/2022/05/11/5-us-states-issue-emergency-orders-to-shut-down-metaverse-casino-with-alleged-russian-ties/

ISLE OF MAN FSA CONSULTATION ON NEW FUNDING STRUCTURE FOR REGULATOR

On 12 May, the FSA in the Isle of Man released a consultation document on a new funding model and fees structure for firms regulated or supervised by the Isle of Man Financial Services Authority.  It is said that the  intention is to put in place a more sustainable approach that aligns with international best practice, while being mindful of the Island’s competitive position.

https://consult.gov.im/financial-services-authority/new-authority-funding-model-from-1-april-2023/

CANADA: FURTHER RUSSIA SANCTIONS

On 12 May, EU Sanctions blog reported on further sanctions imposed by Canada, designating 21 Russian “oligarchs” or close associates of the Russian regime, 19 senior defence officials and 5 defence entities.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2022/05/canada-designates-russian-oligarchs-defence-operators/

NORTH AFRICA’S FROZEN CONFLICT – THE DISPUTE OVER WESTERN SAHARA

On 12 May, an article from Global Affairs noted that, in December 2020, in one of his final acts in office, President Trump signed a unilateral proclamation recognising Moroccan sovereignty over a 100,000-square-mile territory that has been disputed for half a century: Western Sahara. This move, part of larger geopolitical scheme, This trade-off caused the collapse of a cease-fire agreement, led to renewed fighting and growing tensions in the region. Morocco has rejected implementing a UN-backed popular referendum that would determine Western Sahara’s status and has instead advanced its own proposal that would grant the territory a form of limited autonomy.  The dispute dates back to the chaotic Spanish withdrawal from this sparsely populated, resource-rich coastal strip of desert land in 1975. The Polisario Front, which had formed to resist Spanish colonial rule, redirected its struggle against the invaders – Morocco and Mauretania.  The latter withdraw in 1979 but steadily losing ground to Morocco through the 1980 and, in 1991, both parties agreed to a UN-brokered ceasefire that promised a referendum.

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/morocco/2022-05-12/north-africas-frozen-conflict

RUSSIA IDENTIFIES 31 ENTITIES, INCLUDING EUROPOL GAZ S.A., GAZPROM GERMANIA GMBH, WINGAS GMBH AND 28 OTHER GAZPROM GERMANIA SUBSIDIARIES, AS SUBJECT TO SANCTIONS COUNTERMEASURES

On 12 May, EU Sanctions blog reported on a new Decree, with the sanctions involving export prohibitions, engaging in transactions with the listed entities and imposing additional restrictions on entry into Russian ports by vessels linked to the listed entities and on transactions involving securities.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2022/05/russian-imposes-counter-sanctions-on-europol-gaz-gazprom-germania/

DEA RECOGNISES FIRST-EVER NATIONAL FENTANYL AWARENESS DAY

On 12 May, Homeland Security Today reported that the DEA is joining public health, non-profit, and law enforcement partners in recognising the first ever National Fentanyl Awareness Day.  This day is an effort to educate individuals around the dangerous threat that fentanyl poses to the safety, health, and national security of the American people.

https://www.hstoday.us/subject-matter-areas/law-enforcement-and-public-safety/dea-recognizes-first-ever-national-fentanyl-awareness-day/

https://www.dea.gov/fentanylawareness

https://www.getsmartaboutdrugs.gov/sites/default/files/2021-08/Fentanyl-2020.pdf

EUROPE’S CHANGING ROLE IN METH AND COCAINE PRODUCTION AND TRAFFICKING

On 7 May, Homeland Security Today reported that new research from Europol and the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA) points to increased production activities in Europe and how collaboration between criminal groups worldwide is creating new security threats and expanding the market.  The new analyses cover trends along the supply chain from production and trafficking to distribution and use.  Europe is a major synthetic drug producing region, both for domestic and external markets.  Increasingly, it is also a key trans-shipment point for drugs originating elsewhere and destined for other world regions.

https://www.hstoday.us/subject-matter-areas/border-security/europes-changing-role-in-meth-and-cocaine-production-and-trafficking/

UK: GRAHAM BONHAM CARTER AND THE REAL ESTATE OF RUSSIAN OLIGARCH OLEG DERIPASKA

An article from Kharon on 10 May linked Bonham Carter to a central role in the high-end western real estate holdings of sanctioned Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.  The US and UK authorities are said to be investigating Deripaska and Bonham Carter. 

https://brief.kharon.com/updates/bonham-carter-stars-in-real-estate-blockbusters-of-russian-oligarch-oleg-deripaska

UK GOVERNMENT PROVIDES AN UPDATE ON THE REGISTER OF OVERSEAS ENTITIES

On 12 May, an article from Hogan Lovells provides details from Companies House update of 27 April and asks what comes next.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/the-uk-government-provides-an-update-on-1512733/

GUERNSEY: HOPE FOR OUT-OF-POCKET LOCAL VICTIMS OF PROVIDENCE PONZI SCHEME

On 12 May, Guernsey Press reported that hundreds of islanders who lost fortunes after investing in the Providence Investment Ponzi scheme scam in the 2010s have had the best news they have heard for years and can now hope they may get some money back.  This appears the position as legal claim for millions of pounds sought from PWC to repay investors has been settled out of court.  PWC’s attempt to have the case dismissed was rejected in 2020.  Investors in the Guernsey funds lost more than £37 million in total and were advised at the time of liquidation that they were ‘very unlikely’ to get any of their money back.

https://guernseypress.com/news/2022/05/12/hope-for-out-of-pocket-local-providence-investors/

THE EU COMMISSION HAS PRESENTED A SET OF ACTIONS TO HELP UKRAINE EXPORT ITS AGRICULTURAL PRODUCE

On 12 May, the EU said that, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its blockade of Ukrainian ports, Ukrainian grain and other agricultural goods can no longer reach their destinations. The situation is threatening global food security and there is an urgent need to establish alternative logistics routes using all relevant transport modes.  The Commission has now set out an action plan to establish ‘Solidarity Lanes’ to ensure Ukraine can export grain, but also import the goods it needs, from humanitarian aid to animal feed and fertilisers.  

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_22_3002

SWITZERLAND: EX-UBS BANKER LOSES APPEAL OVER SELLING CLIENT DATA TO GERMANY

On 12 May, Reuters reported that Switzerland’s highest court has dismissed an appeal by a former UBS banker convicted in absentia of espionage for selling information about wealthy clients to German tax authorities.  He had originally been found guilty in 2019 of spying and money laundering.

https://www.reuters.com/business/finance/ex-ubs-banker-loses-appeal-over-selling-client-data-germany-2022-05-12/?rpc=401&

SWEDISH ADMINISTRATIVE COURT UPHOLDS AML SANCTION OF GAMBLING OPERATOR MR GREEN

On 12 May, Casino Beats reported that Sweden’s Administrative Court in Linköping has dismissed an appeal regarding perceived violations of the Money Laundering Act and shortcomings in the group’s duty of care under the Gambling Act.  The penalty fees, which totalled €3 million, was considered to be proportionate.

https://casinobeats.com/2022/05/12/swedish-administrative-court-upholds-mr-greens-aml-sanction/

RUSSIA ISN’T MOLDOVA’S BIGGEST HEADACHE

An article from the Carnegie Center on 10 May argues that economic threats outweigh any danger posed by Russia or Transdniestria.  It is said that there is a risk of overstating the military threat the country faces from Russia and underestimating the economic one.

https://carnegieeurope.eu/strategiceurope/87099

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FATF AML/CFT EVALUATION CONSOLIDATED SCHEDULE              

Following the publication of the update report on Mexico, FATF has released an updated consolidated schedule of AML/CFT ratings to date.

https://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/4th-Round-Ratings.pdf

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OFAC: NEW SYRIA SANCTIONS GENERAL LICENSE AND NEW/AMENDED FAQ

On 12 May, OFAC announced General License 22 authorising activities in certain economic sectors in non-regime held areas of North-east and North-west Syria.  It also issued several new FAQ, and an amended FAQ 884.

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/faqs/added/2022-05-12

https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/126/syria_gl22.pdf

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/faqs/884

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CORRUPTION IN FREE TRADE AND SPECIAL ECONOMIC ZONES AS AN ENABLER FOR ILLEGAL WILDLIFE TRADE

A report from the WWF and its partners says that FTZ/SEZ can serve as facilitators for illicit trade, by offering an additional layer of opaqueness, complexity, and inadequate controls in which illegal economies can flourish.  The report uses 3 case studies, in Laos, Spain and China.

https://www.worldwildlife.org/pages/tnrc-topic-brief-open-secrets-corruption-in-free-trade-and-special-economic-zones-as-an-enabler-for-illegal-wildlife-trade

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ITALY AND BULGARIA BUST ‘CLONED’ COMPANIES TAX EVASION SCHEME

On 12 May, OCCRP reported that police had identified 26 suspects “who had illegally changed or ‘cloned’ Italian into Bulgarian enterprises, to avoid paying tax”.  Without actually transferring over ownership, the suspects administratively altered the registration of businesses in the tourism, construction, and food distribution sectors from Italian to Bulgarian, this way avoiding taxes in Italy since 2013.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/16315-italy-and-bulgaria-bust-cloned-companies-tax-evasion-scheme

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FATF: MEXICO AML/CFT EVALUATION FOLLOW-UP REPORT

On 12 May, FATF published a follow-up report on Mexico’s AML/CFT regimes.  Mexico has been in an enhanced follow-up process since its evaluation in 2018.  FATF has now re-rated the country on the following FATF Recommendations:

37 – Mutual legal assistance, from partially compliant to compliant
38 – Mutual legal assistance: freezing and confiscation, from partially compliant to compliant

Mexico is now compliant on 10 of the FATF 40 Recommendations and largely compliant on 22 of them. It remains partially compliant on 7 Recommendations, and non-compliant on 1 Recommendation.  It will continue to report back to the FATF on its progress.  As is usual with such follow-up reports, effectiveness is not addressed, only technical compliance.

https://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/reports/fur/Follow-Up-Report-Mexico-2022.pdf

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CYBERCRIME: NEW COUNCIL OF EUROPE RULES FOR COOPERATION AT INTERNATIONAL LEVEL

The Budapest Convention is the foundation for anti-cybercrime legislation in 80% of countries worldwide and has been signed by all EU Member States. A Second Additional Protocol provides tools to improve co-operation and disclosure of electronic evidence, while protecting fundamental rights, including with strong data protection safeguards. Such tools include for instance direct co-operation with service providers in other jurisdictions, co-operation in emergency situations, and joint investigation teams.  22 countries have so far signed the Protocol.  It will enter into force once ratified by 5 of the signatories.

https://www.coe.int/en/web/cybercrime/opening-for-signature-of-the-second-additional-protocol-to-the-cybercrime-convention

https://www.coe.int/en/web/portal/-/enhanced-co-operation-and-disclosure-of-electronic-evidence-22-countries-sign-new-protocol-to-cybercrime-convention

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MAY 11

Panama Covid-19 update – a bad set of statistics today – with 3,324 new cases leading to a 2,540 increase in active cases to 18,644 and 5 new fatalities. This was the highest number of fatalities since 1 March. There are 21 in ICU and 149 in other wards, with 41 in hospital-hotels.

11 MAY 2022

PARAGUAYAN ANTI-DRUG PROSECUTOR MURDERED IN COLOMBIA

On 10 May, La Prensa Panama reported that Marcelo Pecci, a prosecutor who specialised in the fight against drugs, was killed on the Caribbean island of Barú, near the city of Cartagena.  He had been married on 30 April in Cartagena.

https://www.prensa.com/mundo/asesinan-en-colombia-a-fiscal-paraguayo-antidrogas-marcelo-pecci/

OUTSOURCING CAYMAN ISLANDS AML/CFT COMPLIANCE OBLIGATIONS

On 10 May, an article from Mourant provided a guide as a practical overview of the relevant steps and considerations which should be borne in mind when an financial service provider (FSP) plans to outsource, or is reviewing existing outsourcing arrangements relating to the performance of an AML/CFT compliance function to a service provider.

https://www.mourant.com/news-and-views/guides/guides-2022/outsourcing-cayman-islands-aml-cft-compliance-obligations.aspx

PAYMENT SERVICES AND CROWDFUNDING SERVICES ARE NOW REGULATED UNDER CANADA’S AML FRAMEWORK

On 9 May, an article from Gowling WLG was concerned with changes affecting the Canada’s AML legislation from 5 April.  The changes, which were initially an emergency response to the protest convoys occupying major Canadian urban areas, are now permanently in force. 

https://gowlingwlg.com/en/insights-resources/articles/2022/canada-anti-money-laundering-framework-regulation/

SWITZERLAND ADDS 2 NAMES TO ITS RUSSIAN SANCTIONS LISTS

On 3 May, Swiss authorities added Ukrainian businessman Serhiy Vitaliyovich Kurchenko and Russian businessman Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin to its Russian sanctions.  Both are already designated under various US, EU and UK sanctions regimes.

https://www.seco.admin.ch/seco/de/home/Aussenwirtschaftspolitik_Wirtschaftliche_Zusammenarbeit/Wirtschaftsbeziehungen/exportkontrollen-und-sanktionen/sanktionen-embargos/sanktionsmassnahmen/massnahmen-zur-vermeidung-der-umgehung-internationaler-sanktione.html

MACAO BETS ON A NEW FUTURE AS CHINA CRACKS DOWN ON GAMBLING

On 11 May, Nikkei Asia reported that pressure from Beijing and pandemic travel rules are forcing the gamer’s paradise to diversify.  It says that the coronavirus restrictions for the past 2 years have all but stopped visitors from coming into the city, leaving the strip – and the rest of Macao – eerily quiet. 

https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/The-Big-Story/Macao-bets-on-a-new-future-as-China-cracks-down-on-gambling

FLIGHT OF SHOPS FROM LUXURY MALL IN MOSCOW SHOWS RUSSIAN ISOLATION AFTER UKRAINE INVASION

On 10 May, an article in the Wall Street Journal reported that the GUM shopping mall in Moscow, one of the most conspicuous symbols of Russian wealth is feeling the cost of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  For years, Russia’s most famous mall showed how Moscow could rival Western capitals in luxury services, but the shift in its fortunes embodies Russia’s growing isolation from the global economy.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/flight-of-shops-from-luxury-mall-in-moscow-shows-russian-isolation-after-ukraine-invasion-11652192150

GUATEMALAN ARRESTED IN PANAMA FOR WAR CRIMES

On 11 May, Infobae reported that former Guatemalan military officer Toribio Acevedo Ramirez has been detained at Panama’s Tocumen airport after a judge ordered prosecutors to search for and prosecute him for his ties to one of Guatemala’s most emblematic war crimes cases.

https://www.infobae.com/america/agencias/2022/05/11/detienen-en-panama-a-un-guatemalteco-por-crimenes-de-guerra/

DRUG SMUGGLERS STRAPPING CONTRABAND TO SHIPS’ HULLS IN BID TO OUTSMART AUSTRALIAN PORT OFFICIALS

On 11 May, Radio New Zealand reported that crime syndicates are attempting to smuggle drugs into Australia strapped to the hulls of cargo ships to evade detection.

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/top/466879/drug-smugglers-strapping-contraband-to-ships-hulls-in-bid-to-outsmart-australian-port-officials

NEW ZEALAND: POSSIBLE AML BREACHES AT ANZ NZ BANK REFERRED TO THE RESERVE BANK’S ENFORCEMENT

On 11 May, Interest in New Zealand reported that ANZ New Zealand, the country’s biggest bank, may have materially breached the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act.  ANZ says it “self-identified” 3 prescribed transaction reporting (PTR) matters to the Reserve Bank (RBNZ), its AML/CFT Act supervisor.

https://www.interest.co.nz/banking/115735/possible-anz-nz-anti-money-laundering-breaches-referred-reserve-bank%E2%80%99s-enforcement

JUST UNDER £2 MILLION IN RUSSIAN ASSETS IN THE ISLE OF MAN HAVE BEEN FROZEN

On 11 May, Manx Radio reported the announcement that assets of just under £2 million had been frozen in the Island.

https://www.manxradio.com/news/isle-of-man-news/minister-reveals-amount-of-frozen-russian-assets/

UK: NEW FINANCIAL SERVICES AND MARKETS BILL TO HELP VICTIMS OF FINANCIAL SCAMS

On 11 May, NS Banking reported that a new Bill will enable the Payment Systems Regulator to require the banks to reimburse the people who are victims of authorised push payment (APP) scams.

https://www.nsbanking.com/news/uks-new-financial-services-and-markets-bill/

SNC-LAVALIN AGREES TO PAY $30 MILLION OVER CANADIAN BRIDGE FRAUD CHARGES

On 11 May, Global Construction Review reported that Canadian construction company SNC-Lavalin has reached an agreement with Quebec provincial prosecutors to pay just under C$30 million to settle fraud charges made in September 2021 concerning the refurbishment of the Jacques Cartier Bridge in Montreal between 1997 and 2004.

https://www.globalconstructionreview.com/snc-lavalin-agrees-to-pay-30m-over-canadian-bridge-fraud-charges/

GERMANY: COURT DECLARES WIRECARD’S ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENTS NULL AND VOID

On 11 May, Hogan Lovells reported that Wirecard’s insolvency administrator has won a first victory before the Munich I Regional Court.  It is said that dividends of around €47 million were distributed to Wirecard’s shareholders from these profits, which probably never existed.  The firm says that the decision has paved the way not only for a reimbursement claim but also for a clawback action, the insolvency administrator now actually has an effective tool in hand to take legal proceedings against the shareholders. It remains to be seen to what extent he will take such action in each individual case, if only for economic reasons.

https://www.engage.hoganlovells.com/knowledgeservices/viewContent.action?key=Ec8teaJ9Var5ClLPX6l78MxgHJMKLFEppVpbbVX%2B3OXcP3PYxlq7sZUjdbSm5FIetvAtgf1eVU8%3D&nav=FRbANEucS95NMLRN47z%2BeeOgEFCt8EGQ0qFfoEM4UR4%3D&emailtofriendview=true&freeviewlink=true

US: CONGRESS AND THE EXECUTIVE CONSIDERING THE NOTION OF A NEW REGULATORY REGIME TO LIMIT CERTAIN TYPES OF US OUTBOUND INVESTMENT IN OTHER COUNTRIES

On 11 May, an article from Morgan Lewis said that, while such a regime would certainly constitute a sea change in US national security and economic policy, most commenters have largely overlooked the potential for US regulation of outbound investment to trigger similar regimes abroad, and thereby exponentially increase the effect on industry.

https://www.morganlewis.com/pubs/2022/05/us-national-security-review-for-outbound-investment-domestic-and-global-impact

BANKERS SUPPORT SWITZERLAND’S DECISION TO NOT CHANGE BANKING SECRECY LAW

On 11 May, OCCRP reported that Swiss bankers have defended the decision of a parliamentary commission not to strike down the controversial Article 47 from the country’s banking secrecy law that has been criticized by the UN, journalists and human rights advocates as violating press freedom.  The article prescribes a prison sentence of up to 3 years and a fine for whoever discloses confidential banking information about a Swiss bank’s client.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/16309-bankers-support-switzerland-s-decision-not-change-banking-secrecy-law

IRISH REVENUE COMMISSIONERS PUBLISHES 2021 ANNUAL REPORT

On 11 May, the Revenue Commissioners published their 2021 Annual Report.  It comes against the backdrop of a fundamentally changed trading environment between Ireland and Great Britain post-Brexit, and the continued significant economic and social disruptions associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.  There are also a set of associated reports including research reports on Corporation Tax, Income Tax, VAT and VRT; summaries of the 2021 National Random Sampling Programme for marked mineral oil products and the results of the Tobacco Products Research Survey 2021. It notes that, 1 May 2022, a new Compliance Intervention Framework, supported by a revised Code of Practice for Revenue Compliance Interventions, came into effect.  It reports that drug seizures totalled almost €115 in value and tobacco seizures over €67 million.

https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/press-office/press-releases/2022/pr-051122-revenue-publishes-2021-annual-report.aspx

THE LARGEST FCPA ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS INVOLVING HEALTHCARE RELATED COMPANIES

On 10 May, the FCPA Professor website says that healthcare-related companies have resolved numerous FCPA enforcement actions.  The post highlights the 20 largest FCPA enforcement actions (as measured by settlement amount) involving healthcare related companies (broadly speaking pharmaceutical, medical device, life sciences, and diagnostic companies as well as those selling health related products).

https://fcpaprofessor.com/largest-fcpa-enforcement-actions-involving-healthcare-related-companies-2/

BERMUDA: BERMUDA MONETARY CIVIL PENALTIES TOTALLING $1,118,500 ON CONYERS TRUST COMPANY (BERMUDA) LIMITED (COMPANY)

A news release from the BMA advised that the penalties have been levied on the company for historic failures to adequately comply with the Trusts Act and the Proceeds of Crime (Anti-Money Laundering & Anti-Terrorist Financing) Regulations 2008.

https://www.bma.bm/news-and-press-releases/bermuda-monetary-authority-levies-civil-penalties-on-conyers-trust-company-bermuda-limited

NIGERIAN BILLIONAIRE BUILDING US CONSULATE IN NIGERIA IS AN EX-CONVICT

On 10 May, The Cable in Nigeria reported that Gilbert Chagoury co-founded the Chagoury Group in Lagos in 1971.  The conglomerate owns construction, real estate, hotel, glass and flour milling businesses.  It reports that, in 2000, he was reportedly convicted by a Swiss court for laundering some of the funds Abacha looted from the Nigeria.  He reportedly agreed to pay a fine of about $600,000 and handed back $66 million to the Nigerian government.  He denied knowing the funds were stolen.

https://www.thecable.ng/report-nigerian-billionaire-building-us-biggest-consulate-in-nigeria-is-an-ex-convict

‘CRAZY RICH’ INDONESIANS’ ARRESTS SPOTLIGHT INVESTMENT PERILS

On 10 May, Al Jazeera carried an article saying that a case against designer watch-toting influencers highlights opaque world of online trading apps in Indonesia.  A reality TV show had the influencers attributing their extravagant wealth to successful trading on Binomo and Quotex, respectively, binary option trading apps that allow users to bet on a stock’s rise or fall within a strict time limit to be in with a chance to win a fixed monetary amount.  2 of the influencers now face charges of fraud, online gambling, money laundering and violating Indonesia’s Electronic Information and Transactions Law (ITE) by spreading so-called fake news.

https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2022/5/10/crazy-rich-indonesians-arrests-spotlight-investment-perils

US-PROPOSED MISSILE TECHNOLOGY CONTROL REGIME (MTCR) CHANGES

On 10 May, a briefing from the US Congressional Research Service says that the US has submitted a series of proposals to the MTCR partners that would relax the regime’s export guidelines for certain Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS).

https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/IF/IF11069

GREEK-OWNED TANKERS TAKE ADVANTAGE OF RUSSIAN OIL SANCTIONS

A Lloyds List podcast claimed that a large number of tankers beneficially owned by Greek shipowners were involved in, legally, moving Russian oil product, after sanctions measures prevented (or deterred) others from doing do.

https://lloydslist.maritimeintelligence.informa.com/LL1140719/The-Lloyds-List-Podcast-Why-shipping-is-facing-a-compliance-crisis

PODCAST: “THINGS ARE WORSE THAN WE KNOW”

The latest TRACE podcast is a recording of a talk given by Drew Sullivan of the OCCRP at the University of Maryland.  Drew is the co-founder and editor of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (the OCCRP), a global network of journalists working collaboratively to evaluate and mine enormous amounts of data to expose corruption.  The OCCRP is also a past winner of the TRACE Prize for Investigative Reporting.

https://www.traceinternational.org/resources-podcast

US: 4-YEAR REVIEW OF SECTION 301 TARIFFS ON PRODUCTS OF CHINA

On 10 May, a Trade Alert from Wilmer Hale reported that the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) has announced a statutorily-mandated “four-year review” of the Section 301 tariffs that USTR has imposed on a wide range of China-origin products pursuant to Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.  It will consider acts, policies and practices are unreasonable and discriminatory and burden or restrict US commerce, and thus are actionable under Section 301.

https://www.wilmerhale.com/en/insights/client-alerts/20220510-ustr-initiates-four-year-review-of-section-301-tariffs-on-products-of-china

UK COMPANIES HOUSE REFORM ON THE HORIZON

On 11 May, an Insight from Field Fisher followed the Queen’s Speech which included the welcomed announcement that there will be a further Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill.  The purpose of the Bill is described as being to crack down on criminals abusing the open economy, ensuring that it drives out dirty money from the UK and strengthening the UK’s reputation as a place where legitimate businesses can grow and create jobs.  It considers the contents of the new Bill and the likely progress of the measures involved.

https://www.fieldfisher.com/en/insights/companies-house-reform-on-the-horizon

A GUIDE TO ANONYMISATION OF PERSONAL DATA

On 11 May, an Insight article from Field Fisher considers the anonymisation of personal data, asking if it is difficult to achieve and what practical steps do organisations need to take? 

https://www.fieldfisher.com/en/insights/and-it-feels-like-ooh-but-you-don-t-know-my-name

AUSTRALIA: ADDITIONAL SANCTIONS IN RESPONSE TO RUSSIA’S INVASION

On 4 May, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs issued a news release advising that the Australian Government has imposed targeted financial sanctions and travel bans on a further 110 individuals in response to Russia’s illegal war against Ukraine, made up of senior Ukrainian separatists and Russian MPs.  The list includes 34 senior members of the Russian-led movements in Ukrainian regions Donetsk and Luhansk, the so-called “People’s Council of the People’s Republic of Donetsk” and “People’s Council of the People’s Republic of Luhansk”.

https://www.foreignminister.gov.au/minister/marise-payne/media-release/additional-sanctions-response-russias-invasion

https://www.dfat.gov.au/international-relations/security/sanctions/consolidated-list

https://www.dfat.gov.au/international-relations/security/sanctions/sanctions-regimes/russia-sanctions-regime

UK: FCA REMINDS CONSUMERS OF THE RISKS OF INVESTING IN CRYPTOASSETS

On 11 May, a release on Mondo Visione advised that the FCA has said it has seen some recent social media posts regarding cryptoassets and non-fungible tokens (NFT).  The FCA has not been given regulatory oversight over direct investments in cryptoassets and NFT, and there are no consumer protections for those who buy them. As a result, if you buy cryptoassets you should be prepared to lose all the money you invest.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/uk-financial-conduct-authority-reminds-consumers-of-the-risks-of-investing-in-cr/

UK: CULTURAL OBJECTS (PROTECTION FROM SEIZURE) ACT 2022

The UK has published this new Act which amends section 134 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 (protection of cultural objects on loan: protected objects) to allow for an extension in the maximum period of protection for cultural objects on loan.  Under the 2007 Act, cultural objects on loan from abroad to UK museums and galleries were already protected from seizure or forfeiture for a period of 12 months from the date the object enters the UK.

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2022/24/pdfs/ukpga_20220024_en.pdf

FAQ ON UNDERTAKING SCREENING FOR NEGATIVE NEWS AND OTHER FORMS OF ADVERSE INFORMATION 

On 11 May, the Wolfsberg Group published these FAQ showing how use of such screening can enhance a financial institution’s awareness of potential financial crime risk posed by both existing and prospective customers.  It refers to negative news screening (NNS) as part of a risk-based approach to AML/CFT, using a risk-based approach.

https://www.wolfsberg-principles.com/sites/default/files/wb/Negative%20News%20Screening%20FAQs%20%282022%29.pdf

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OFAC UPDATES 3 RUSSIA SANCTIONS FAQ

On 11 May, OFAC issued revised FAQ concerning prohibitions related to certain accounting, trust and corporate formation, and management consulting services; what is meant by the terms “credit rating services” and “auditing services; and what is meant by the terms “accounting,” “trust and corporate formation services,” and “management consulting” sectors of the Russian Federation economy.

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20220511_33

https://home.kpmg/us/en/home/insights/2022/05/tnf-united-states-updates-russia-related-faqs.html

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US: LEADING MSB INDUSTRY ASSOCIATIONS UNVEIL AML BEST PRACTICES

A news release from the Electronic Transactions Association (ETA) and other bodies on 11 May advised of the release of a set of best practices for AML/CFT compliance programmes.  It is said that the Best Practices reflect the MSB industry’s commitment to ensuring a safe and compliant environment for providing non-bank financial services amid rapidly evolving threats to the US financial system.

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/leading-msb-industry-associations-unveil-anti-money-laundering-best-practices-301544792.html

https://c212.net/c/link/?t=0&l=en&o=3532246-1&h=2438088042&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.electran.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2FMSB-Best-Practices-v29-5.6.22-FINAL.pdf&a=Best+Practices+for+U.S.+Money+Services+Businesses%3A+Anti-Money+Laundering+and+Counter-Financing+of+Terrorism+(AML%2FCFT)+Compliance+Programs.

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WHAT IS BLOCKCHAIN AND WHAT ARE THE LEGAL CHALLENGES?

On 9 May, an article from Irish law firm Matheson sets out to explain what it is, its uses and legal challenges.

https://www.matheson.com/insights/detail/what-is-blockchain-and-what-are-the-legal-challenges

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SANCTIONS: EU COMMISSION PUBLISHES CONSOLIDATED LIST OF TRAVEL BANS

On 11 May, the European Commission has published a consolidated list of travel bans.  The tool shows who is subject to a travel ban under sanctions measures, and therefore are prevented from travelling to the EU. 

https://www.sanctionsmap.eu/

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MAY 10

Panama Covid-19 update – today’s numbr of new cases, at 3,307, is the highest figure since 5 February, and the number of tests undertaken, at 15,537, is the highest daily figure since 8 February, and with a 21.5% hit rate.

Nevertheless, hospital numbers actually fell slightly, with 16 patients in ICU and 132 in other wards, although numbers in hospital-hotel quarantine rose slightly to 35, and there are 16,104 active cases records – a whopping rise of a further 2,372. The good news is this was another day with no deaths recorded.

10 MAY 2022

ISLE OF MAN CONFIRMS 88 NEW NAMES ON RUSSIA SANCTIONS LIST

On 10 May, the Isle of Man confirmed that 88 names had been added to the Russia sanctions lists.

https://www.gov.im/news/2022/may/10/financial-sanctions-russia/

UK: EXTRADITION – SUCCESSFUL ARTICLE 3 CHALLENGE ON BASIS OF LGBTQ+ PERSECUTION IN ARMENIA

In its latest Extradition and International Law Update, 5 St Andrews Hill chambers reported on a recent case in which extradition was refused on the basis that if extradited there was a real risk of breach of the man’s rights under Article 3 and Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights.  

https://www.5sah.co.uk/knowledge-hub/articles/2022-05-03/armenia-v-ab-successful-article-3-challenge-on-basis-of-lgbtq-persecution

FIRST UK/MEXICO EXTRADITION ORDERED FOR FORMER FIRST LADY OF MEXICO KARIME TUBILLA

In its latest Extradition and International Law Update, 5 St Andrews Hill chambers reported on a recent case involving the first-ever extradition received from Mexico by the UK.  Ms Tubilla’s is wanted by the Mexican authorities on charges of conspiracy to defraud, and was arrested on 29 October 2019.

https://www.5sah.co.uk/knowledge-hub/articles/2022-04-25/first-uk-mexico-extradition-ordered-for-former-first-lady-of-mexico-ms-karime-tubilla

THE QUESTION OF WHETHER A PERSON FACING EXTRADITION IS A “FUGITIVE”

In the latest Extradition and International Law Update from 5 St Andrews Hill chambers, an article addressed the question of whether or not a “Requested Person” (RP) is a fugitive, which is said to be a key consideration at each stage of an extradition case, whether it be in the consideration of bail at the initial hearing, the availability of certain bars to extradition or the consideration of human rights.  The article attempts to provide an overview of the concept of ‘fugitive status’, and the impact it can have at a final hearing.

https://www.5sah.co.uk/knowledge-hub/articles/2022-04-28/hide-and-seek-fugitive-status-in-extradition

BELGIAN GOVERNMENT PROPOSES COMPLETE BAN ON GAMBLING ADVERTISING

On 10 May, iGB reported that such a ban would apply to advertisements for all games of chance currently available legally in Belgium across online and land-based facilities, with the exception of the country’s National Lottery.

https://igamingbusiness.com/belgium-ban-gambling-advertising

SANCTIONS ROW PREVENTS SHIP FROM SAILING NORWEGIAN CRUISE

On 10 May, Travel Weekly reported that the Norwegian foreign affairs ministry rejected an application by the company for an exemption in order to insure the ship for the cruise.  The company had been given a sanctions exemption as it tries to refinance its fleet against the backdrop of the Russian invasion of Ukraine – but it has now emerged that the exemption did not entail a right to insure the ship.

https://travelweekly.co.uk/news/tourism/sanctions-row-prevents-first-havila-voyages-ship-from-sailing

JAPAN ANNOUNCES FRESH ECONOMIC SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA

On 10 May, News 18 reported that Japan has announced new sanctions on Russia to freeze the assets of more individuals and ban exports of cutting-edge goods to some Russian groups including scientific research institutions.

https://www.news18.com/news/world/japan-announces-fresh-economic-sanctions-against-russia-5143435.html

PANDORA PAPERS SHED LIGHT ON ‘GATEKEEPERS’ OF DIRTY MONEY

On 9 May, an article from ICIJ about the recent MONEYVAL annual report, in which it rebuked governments across Europe for failing to combat money laundering or police lawyers, accountants and other professionals who facilitate financial crime.

https://www.icij.org/investigations/pandora-papers/pandora-papers-shed-light-on-gatekeepers-of-dirty-money-says-european-watchdog/

THE VATICAN, MONEY LAUNDERING AND MONEYVAL

On 9 May, The Pillar and Infovaticana published articles about the MONEYVAL evaluation and follow-up of the Vatican, noting that MONEYVAL still flagged concerns about staffing and funding for financial security operations, which it said delays Vatican money laundering investigations.  The Holy See (including the Vatican City State) will be subject to MONEYVAL’s regular follow-up reporting process as a result of the most recent positive report.  The MONEYVAL report noted the risk of internal corruption — and adequate appreciation of the risk.

https://www.pillarcatholic.com/p/eu-financial-watchdog-upgrades-vatican?s=r

https://infovaticana.com/blogs/specola/el-fracaso-del-sinodo-del-papa-francisco-el-rescate-de-la-monja-moneyval-y-el-vaticano-un-cura-se-defiende-la-victoria-de-la-rusos/

US: TRIAL OF FOX EXECUTIVES IN FIFA CASE DELAYED TO JANUARY 2023

On 9 May, Yahoo News reported that the trial of a pair of former 21st Century Fox Inc executives and a sports marketing company on charges related to the US Government investigation of corruption in soccer has been postponed.  They were charged in March 2020 as part of an alleged scheme related to rights to the Copa Libertadores soccer tournament, South America’s club championship.  The Uruguayan sports marketing company Full Play Group SA also was charged.

https://ca.news.yahoo.com/trial-fox-executives-fifa-case-172001627.html

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO KNOW WHEN YOU DECIDE TO APPLY FOR AN INTERPOL RED NOTICE REMOVAL?

On 10 May, a video report from Estlund Law PA in the US.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/what-do-you-need-to-know-when-you-decide-58524/

US TREASURY ISSUES UPDATE TO IP-RELATED TRANSACTIONS IN RUSSIA

On 9 May, Haug Partners LLP reported that, on 5 May, OFAC issued a General License which authorises certain intellectual property-related transactions in Russia, including the filing and prosecution of any application to obtain a patent, trademark, or copyright, as well as payment of renewal and maintenance fees.  The article explains what the License covers.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/u-s-department-of-the-treasury-issues-2934958/

HONG KONG CUSTOMS ARRESTS TRUCK DRIVER AND SEIZES US$38 MILLION WORTH OF ILLEGAL CIGARETTES IN 2 OPERATIONS

On 10 May, the South China Morning Post reported that the seizures were made as part of the fight against black-market cigarette smugglers attempting to stash their haul in the city while finding overseas buyers – as, due to the coronavirus pandemic, ports around the world had tightened quarantine controls, which had seriously disrupted seaborne logistics supply chains, including shipping routes for contraband items.  One consignment had arrived from Cambodia and the other by road from Mainland China.

https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-and-crime/article/3177162/hong-kong-customs-arrest-truck-driver-seize-hk74

SALE OF DONKEY SKINS LINKED TO TRADE IN ILLEGAL WILDLIFE PRODUCTS

On 10 May, the India Education Diary reported that research published in Conservation Science and Practice has revealed links between the global trade in donkey skins and the wildlife trade and suggests that these trades operate in parallel, creating new avenues and transportation pathways for wildlife trade.  The trade of donkey skins is largely driven by demand for E-Jiao, a traditional Chinese medicine, which uses gelatine from donkey skins.

https://indiaeducationdiary.in/university-of-oxford-sale-of-donkey-skins-linked-to-trade-in-illegal-wildlife-products/

SPAIN’S SPY CHIEF SACKED AFTER PEGASUS SPYWARE REVELATIONS

On 10 May, the Guardian reported that the Spanish government has reportedly sacked the country’s spy chief following revelations that the intelligence service hacked the phones of leading members of the Catalan independence movement, and that Pegasus spyware was used in external attacks on the mobiles of the prime minister and the defence minister.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/10/spains-spy-chief-paz-esteban-sacked-after-pegasus-spyware-revelations

UK: WHAT IS ‘GHOST DOM’ STATUS?

On 9 May, The Independent carried an article explaining this status, which is said to be affecting implementation of Russia sanctions.  It explains that being a “non-dom” for remittance purposes allows individuals not to pay UK tax on their worldwide income – provided they keep it overseas. However, there is another form, labelled as ‘ghost dom’ status, as this allows individuals, even if they live in the UK 365 days a year, not to file a tax return to HMRC altogether.  It is said by officials and tax advisors that ‘ghost doms’ have included super-rich figures with criminal connections and individuals with links to the Russian regime and oligarchs.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/ghost-dom-non-dom-sanctions-russia-b2074733.html

SWITZERLAND: EX-BANKER AVOIDS DEPORTATION TO RUSSIA DUE TO WAR IN UKRAINE

On 8 May, Swissinfo reported that former Russian banker Oleg Schigajew, who has been fighting extradition from Switzerland to Russia on embezzlement charges, can remain after legal proceedings against him have been stopped.

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/ex-banker-avoids-deportation-to-russia-due-to-war-in-ukraine/47576330

SANCTIONED OLIGARCHS’ USE OF THE HAWALA PAYMENT SYSTEM IS NOT NECESSARILY ILLEGAL

On 8 May, an article from Insider claims that Russian oligarchs have managed to get around financial sanctions by moving money through the hawala informal payment system.  It is reported that someone using hawala does not necessarily mean they are making illegal transactions. 

https://www.businessinsider.com/oligarchs-using-hawala-desperate-move-not-illegal-one-2022-5?r=US&IR=T

US: 2 FORMER MANAGERS OF NATIONAL GRID SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR BRIBERY AND KICKBACK SCHEME

A news release from US DoJ on 6 May advised the sentencing of 2 former National Grid managers employed in the facilities department, who steered contracts to certain contractors in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and kickbacks.

https://www.justice.gov/usao-edny/pr/two-former-managers-national-grid-sentenced-prison-bribery-and-kickback-scheme

NICARAGUA: UN SAYS NEW AML/CFT LAW HERALDS DAMAGING CRACKDOWN ON CIVIL SOCIETY

On 9 May, UN News reported that, under the guise of preventing money laundering and cutting off terrorist financing, a new law in Nicaragua further restricts the functioning of civil society, “contrary to the country’s human rights obligations”, the spokesperson for the UN human rights office (OHCHR) has said.

https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/05/1117802

PUSHING PRODUCTIVE COCA SEEDS, MEXICAN CARTELS RESHAPE COLOMBIA’S DRUG INDUSTRY

On 9 May, Yahoo News reported that Mexican drug cartels are involving themselves more closely in cocaine production in Colombia, paying farmers in advance and pushing cultivation of highly-productive strains, coca growers.  Top Mexican cartels like Sinaloa and Jalisco Nueva Generacion have long purchased cocaine from Colombia’s guerrilla groups and crime gangs.

https://news.yahoo.com/pushing-productive-coca-seeds-mexican-131409442.html

URABEÑOS SEEK TO PARALYSE PARTS OF COLOMBIA AFTER OTONIEL’S EXTRADITION TO US

On 6 May, Insight Crime reported that, after the extradition of former Urabeños leader, Otoniel, to the US, the armed group ordered a show of force across Colombia, imposing strict curfews on communities, burning vehicles and blocking off highways.

https://insightcrime.org/news/urabenos-seek-to-paralyze-parts-of-colombia-after-otoniels-extradition/

ISRAEL: BROTHER OF FORMER PRESIDENT KATSAV SUSPECTED OF LAUNDERING MONEY FOR CRIMINALS

On 10 May, Ynet reported that Yoram Katsav, brother of Moshe Katsav who served 5 years in prison for rape, arrested alongside 21 others suspected of taking part in widespread criminal activity, which saw gangs take over businesses via extortion.  Yoram Katsav was arrested on suspicion of distributing fictitious invoices, as part of a widespread investigation into a series of criminal offenses, including money laundering and financing of extensive criminal activities.

https://www.ynetnews.com/article/h1f7ttv8c#autoplay

UKRAINE MAY CANCEL MARKETING AUTHORISATIONS FOR PHARMACEUTICALS HELD BY COMPANIES WITH TIES TO PHARMACEUTICAL MANUFACTURING IN RUSSIA OR BELARUS

On 9 May, a post from Baker McKenzie reported on a new Bill aiming to prevent the turnover of pharmaceuticals manufactured in Russia or Belarus, or marketed by marketing authorisation holders with ties to pharmaceutical manufacturing in these countries. The restrictions set forth in the Draft Law are discussed in the post.

https://sanctionsnews.bakermckenzie.com/ukraine-may-cancel-marketing-authorizations-for-pharmaceuticals-held-by-companies-with-ties-to-pharmaceutical-manufacturing-in-russia-or-belarus/

US LESSOR BELIEVES IT MAY YET BE ABLE TO RECOVER SOME OF THE AIRCRAFT IT OWNS BUT WHICH HAVE BEEN SEIZED BY RUSSIA

On 6 May, Flight Global reported that US lessor Air Lease (ALC) made this announcement, despite taking an $802 million write-down in the value of that fleet. It said that, as circumstances may change in Russia, there could be avenues where some of these aircraft could be reinstated.

https://www.flightglobal.com/airlines/alc-sees-potential-return-of-certain-jets-seized-by-russia/148552.article

US DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE EXPANDS EXPORT CONTROLS ON SHIPMENTS OF EAR99 ITEMS TO OR WITHIN RUSSIA

On 10 May, an Alert from Torres Trade Law advised that, on 9 May, the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) announced a new final rule expanding export controls against Russia under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). This imposes a licence requirement for exports, reexports, or transfers (in-country) to or within Russia for additional items subject to the EAR identified under specific Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) descriptions.

https://www.torrestradelaw.com/posts/Commerce-Expands-Export-Controls-on-Shipments-of-EAR99-Items-to-or-within-Russia/272

WHAT IS FENTANYL AND WHY IS IT BEHIND THE DEADLY SURGE IN US DRUG OVERDOSES?

On 10 May, an article in The Conversation by a Professor of Emergency Medicine, at the UMass Chan Medical School, says that fentanyl has become ubiquitous across the US, and it has transformed the illicit drug market and raised the risk of overdose.  He explains that fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that was originally developed as an analgesic – or painkiller – for surgery.  It has a specific chemical structure with multiple areas that can be modified, often illicitly, to form related compounds with marked differences in potency.

https://theconversation.com/what-is-fentanyl-and-why-is-it-behind-the-deadly-surge-in-us-drug-overdoses-a-medical-toxicologist-explains-182629

NAVIGATING RUSSIAN SANCTIONS IN CORPORATE JET TRANSACTIONS

On 10 May, an article from Holland & Knight LLP says that sanctions targeting Russia and certain Russian oligarchs have created unprecedented risk for certain international corporate jet transactions.  It warns that buyers and their brokers’ counsel need to “double-down” on diligence to ensure that any transactions they enter into comply with international sanctions and export control restrictions.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/navigating-russian-sanctions-in-9550705/

NIGERIA: PLANNED ARRAIGNMENT OF A FORMER MINISTER OF AVIATION, SENATOR STELLA ODUAH ON MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES STALLED AGAIN

On 10 May, Sahara Reporters reported that the arraignment has been delayed for the sixth time.  There are 8 co-defendants alongside Ms Oduah. 

http://saharareporters.com/2022/05/10/court-adjourns-nigeria%E2%80%99s-ex-aviation-minister-oduahs-trial-over-malami%E2%80%99s-letter-amid

INDONESIA ARRESTS VESSEL AND CREW OVER ILLEGAL PALM OIL EXPORTS

On 10 May, Insurance Marine News reported that a container ship has been arrested, along with its 29 crew members, under suspicion of illegally attempting to export refined, bleached and deodorized (RBD) palm oil.  It was intercepted by Indonesian Navy, which claimed that the vessel was carrying 34 containers of RBD to Port Klang, Malaysia, despite the current Indonesian ban on palm oil exports.

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/indonesia-arrests-vessel-and-crew-over-illegal-palm-oil-exports/

UNICREDIT BANK LOSES CASE INVOLVING AN OIL CARGO IT WAS FINANCING THAT WENT MISSING AMID THE DEMISE OF OIL TRADER GULF PETROCHEM

On 10 May, Insurance Marine News reported that a court in the UK has rejected an attempt by Italy-based bank UniCredit to obtain $24.7 million in damages from shipping company Euronav after an oil cargo it was financing went missing amid the demise of oil trader Gulf Petrochem.  The case involved an alleged breach of the bill of lading contract in delivering part of a cargo of LSFO to a third party without production of the bills of lading.

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/unicredit-loses-24-7m-damages-claim-against-shipper-over-missing-oil-cargo/

COLOMBIA REMAINS THE LARGEST PRODUCER AND SUPPLIED THE MOST COCAINE TO NORTH AMERICA AND EUROPE BY SEA TRANSPORT

On 10 May, Insurance Marine News reported on comments following the publication of the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) report (World Drug Report 2021), and the 2021 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report.  It notes that, in 2021, the Colombian Navy broke its historical record of drug seizures, with 403 tons of illicit substances confiscated.  It was also noted that a method which had grown in popularity was the “rip-on/rip-off” method, where traffickers avoid profiling by breaking open containers of legitimate exports to ship the drugs, then using cloned customs seals to conceal the tampering.

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/skuld-updates-on-colombia-drug-smuggling/

https://www.skuld.com/topics/port/port-news/america/colombia-drug-smuggling—update/

RUSSIA SANCTIONS: LUXURY CARS PILE UP AT ZEEBRUGGE

On 10 May, Insurance Marine News reported that the logjam was the result of EU sanctions imposed on Russia from mid-March, which included a ban on the supply of luxury cars (those valued at more than €50,000). Since then, Zebrugge has received around 8,000 luxury cars for transshipment to Russia.

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/luxury-cars-pile-up-at-zeebrugge/

6 DRUG SMUGGLERS PRETENDING TO BE CRUISE PASSENGERS ARRESTED IN BRAZIL

On 10 May, Insurance Marine News reported that 5 Brazilians and an Argentinian had been arrested in Santos, Brazil.  They were arrested when they were about to board a cruise ship on a transatlantic cruise to Europe. It also notes an earlier case, on 10 April, 10 passengers had been arrested when a liner arrived in Spain during its transatlantic cruise from Brazil. 

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/drug-smugglers-pretending-to-be-cruise-passengers-arrested-in-brazil/

COMPANY INSOLVENCY AND THE ROLE OF THE LIQUIDATOR AS INVESTIGATOR – WALKING THE LINE BETWEEN INTERROGATION AND CO-OPERATION

On 9 May, M+P Legal in the Isle of Man published this article which discusses the statutory relief available to liquidators in Island legislation (the Companies Act 1931) to obtain company property (for example books and records) from officers or others connected with the company prior to its winding up. 

https://www.mplegal.im/info-centre/news/company-insolvency-and-the-role-of-the-liquidator-as-investigator-walking-the-line-between-interrogation-and-co-operation

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https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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FATF UPDATED CONSOLIDATED SCEHDULE OF AML/CFT ASSESSMENT OUTCOMES

On 10 May, following the publication of the latest report on Turkey, FATF issued an updated consolidated schedule of AML/CFT evaluation results to date.

http://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/4th-Round-Ratings.pdf

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AUTHORISED PUSH PAYMENT SCAMS

The UK Payment Systems Regulator has a website with much information on APP fraud and a set of FAQ for bank customers.

https://www.psr.org.uk/our-work/app-scams/

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FATF: TURKEY AML/CFT EVALUATION FOLLOW-UP REPORT

On 10 May, FATF published this report.  Turkey has been in an enhanced follow-up process following the adoption of its mutual evaluation in 2019.  To reflect Turkey’s progress, FATF has now re-rated the country on the following FATF Recommendations:

23 – DNFPB: Other measures – from partially compliant to compliant

24 – Transparency and beneficial ownership of legal persons – from partially compliant to largely compliant

25 – Transparency and beneficial ownership of legal arrangements – from partially compliant to largely compliant

Turkey is now compliant on 12 of the FATF 40 Recommendations and largely compliant on 22. It remains partially compliant on 4 Recommendations and non-compliant on 2 Recommendations.  It will remain in enhanced follow-up and will report back to FATF on progress achieved on improving the implementation of its AML/CFT measures in June 2023.  As usual, effectiveness was not addressed, only technical compliance.

http://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/reports/fur/Follow-Up-Report-Turkey-2022.pdf

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CUM-EX EXPLAINED

On 12 April, solicitors Rahman Ravelli produced a briefing document looking at all aspects of Cum-Ex case(s).  Its brief details the background to Cum-Ex, the current situation and the issues that may arise.  The 16-page publication was devised and designed to be a concise and informative point of reference for companies and individuals that may have had either direct or indirect involvement with Cum-Ex trading.  Cum-Ex is the name given to a huge volume of dividend trading strategies (also known as arbitrage) that came into use around the turn of the century.  Its use was only discovered by the authorities in 2012, in Germany.  Other European countries have also been heavily affected, with losses of approximately €55.2 billion.  Certain European states, such as Denmark and Austria, have demonstrated an aggressive approach regarding Cum-Ex transactions, and have engaged in criminal and civil proceedings and regulatory settlements.

https://www.rahmanravelli.co.uk/assets/408cf3e5c6/Cum-Ex-An-Update-on-Significant-Developments.pdf

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MAY 9

After a helpful reader advised me that the “Buy me a Coffee” link below didn’t work I have corrected it, in the unlikely event that someone wants to make a contribution…

Panama Covid-19 update – while the government has chosen not to close schools, to date 1,243 infections have been registered in schools, of which 40% are for students, teachers and administrators. It is said that students are 90% vaccinated, and more than 93% of teaching staff. hence, it is said that the school year remains normal and closures have not been considered, but that decisions will be made in some schools as required.

Meanwhile, today were reported 1,359 new cases and 1 new fatality, with the number of active cases rising by another 396 to 13,732. The test positivity rate remains high at 22.4%. There are now 19 people in ICU and 136 in other wards.

9 MAY 2022

LIMITATION PERIODS FOR FRAUD, CONCEALMENT OR MISTAKE: KNOW YOUR LIMITS

An article from Charles Russell Speechlys on 5 May focused on the Limitation Act 1980 in the UK, and which prevents the pursuit of stale claims and promotes finality in litigation. It refers to recent cases which have considered the appropriate test to apply when assessing a claimant’s knowledge where fraud, concealment or mistake were involved and provide important guidance on when the limitation period starts running.

https://www.charlesrussellspeechlys.com/en/news-and-insights/insights/litigation–dispute-resolution/2022/limitation-periods-for-fraud-concealment-or-mistake-know-your-limits/

DUTCH-POLISH GUN SMUGGLING GANG ROUNDED UP WITH 82 PEOPLE ARRESTED

On 9 May, Dutch News reported that police in the Netherlands and Poland have taken down a gang of gun-runners who were smuggling arms into Poland using parcel delivery companies. The arrests were made in late April but the investigation has only now been made public by Europol.

https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/2022/05/dutch-polish-gun-smuggling-gang-rounded-up-82-people-arrested/

https://www.europol.europa.eu/media-press/newsroom/news/gun-smugglers-behind-mail-order-service-arrested-in-poland-and-netherlands

INTERPOL LAUNCHES A DEDICATED FINANCIAL CRIME AND ANTI-CORRUPTION CENTRE

On 9 May, Nyman Gibson Miralis reported that INTERPOL had launched its Financial Crime and Anti-Corruption Centre (IFCACC) which will adopt a multi-agency approach, working closely with key stakeholders to strengthen collective efforts against financial crime and corruption.

https://ngm.com.au/interpol-financial-crime-and-anti-corruption-centre/

PAKISTAN: NATIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY BUREAU (NAB) ESTABLISHES AML CELL

On 9 May, The News reported that the chairman of NAB has said that an AML cell has been set up at the NAB headquarters, adding that liaison, implementation, monitoring, and analysis with the National Financial Action Task Force Secretariat and relevant stakeholders are the main responsibilities of this cell.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/956325-nab-establishes-anti-money-laundering-cell-chairman

IRISH GOVERNMENT PAYS €2 MILLION EU FINE FOR AML FAILINGS

On 9 May, The Times reported that the Irish Department of Justice has paid a €2 million fine imposed by the European Court of Justice for failing to transpose an EU AML Directive.  This followed the delay in implementing a money-laundering directive and the enactment of the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) (Amendment) Act in November 2018. 

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/state-pays-eu-fine-money-law-failings-ireland-36c8mpp2k

FINTRAC FINES LAURENTIAN BANK OF CANADA FOR STR SUBMISSION FAILINGS

On 9 May, Comply Advantage reported that FINTRAC had imposed a $486,750 fine for the bank’s failure to submit suspicious transaction reports (STR) when there were reasonable grounds to suspect the transactions were related to money laundering. 

https://complyadvantage.com/insights/fintrac-fines-laurentian-bank-of-canada-for-str-submission-failings/

US SANCTIONS NORTH KOREAN CRYPTO-LAUNDROMAT AND INDICTS BITCOIN MINING CEO

On 9 May, an article from OCCRP said that US authorities have sanctioned a cryptocurrency ‘tumbler’, Blender, used by North Korea to launder stolen digital currency, the first such measures to be brought against a virtual currency mixer.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/16297-us-sanctions-north-korean-crypto-laundromat-indicts-bitcoin-mining-ceo

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT GIVES GREATER POWERS TO EUROPOL

On 9 May, OCCRP reported that the European Parliament has given Europol greater powers, enabling the law enforcement agency to deal with new threats that have emerged with the digital age.  It will allow Europol to pursue research and innovation projects, handle massive datasets, and assist national agencies in security-related screenings.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/16296-european-parliament-gives-greater-powers-to-europol

HOW A RUSSIAN OPERATOR URGED CATALONIAN LEADERS TO BREAK WITH MADRID

A report from OCCRP on 8 May said that Catalonian leaders referred to the man who offered them troops and money in 2017 to secede from Spain as “Putin’s envoy” (allegedly in return for making Catalonia as a haven for cryptocurrency).  Reporters identified him as Nikolai Sadovnikov, a long-time diplomat who reportedly worked as a strategic adviser to the Russian foreign minister.

https://www.occrp.org/en/investigations/fueling-secession-promising-bitcoins-how-a-russian-operator-urged-catalonian-leaders-to-break-with-madrid

US CUSTOMS SEIZED OVER $10 MILLION WORTH OF COUNTERFEIT ROLEX WATCHES IN APRIL

On 7 May, CNN reported that US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Indianapolis seized 2 shipments of counterfeit watches in April, and the fake luxury watches would have had a total value of $10.1 million if real.  Both shipments had originated in Hong Kong and were destined for Brooklyn, New York.

https://edition.cnn.com/2022/05/07/us/counterfeit-rolexes-seized-customs-trnd/index.html

ILLEGAL, UNREPORTED AND UNREGULATED (IUU) FISHING

On 6 May, the EU Parliament Research Service published a briefing paper says that the IUU Regulation is the core of the EU’s legal framework for action against global IUU fishing.  Its primary objective is to prevent, deter and eliminate the trade of IUU-caught products into the EU.  One of its key components is a multiple-step procedure for dealing with non-EU countries considered uncooperative in the fight against IUU fishing. This edition further updates an earlier one, the previous edition of which was in March 2021.

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/ATAG/2017/614599/EPRS_ATA(2017)614599_EN.pdf

PEGASUS AND SURVEILLANCE SPYWARE

On 6 May, the EU Parliament Research Service published a briefing paper which looks into the confirmed or suspected use of the Pegasus spyware and other similar cyber-surveillance instruments in the EU and its Member States or targeting EU citizens or residents, EU reactions and previous activities on issues related to surveillance.

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/IDAN/2022/732268/IPOL_IDA(2022)732268_EN.pdf

UK: CRYPTOASSETS, MONEY LAUNDERING AND THE END OF THE TEMPORARY REGISTRATION REGIME

On 29 April, law firm Corker Bining reported that regulation of cryptoassets in the UK has reached a significant milestone following the expiration of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Temporary Registration Regime (TRR) on 31 March.  This article considers the immediate impact of the TRR expiry for UK businesses and investors.

https://corkerbinning.com/cryptoassets-money-laundering-and-the-end-of-the-temporary-registration-regime/

ROMANIA BLACK SEA PORT BECOMING UKRAINIAN EXPORT HUB

On 9 May, Hellenic Shipping News reported that Russia’s blockade of Ukraine’s seaports has forced the country’s exporters to look for alternatives to move their wheat.  So now the country’s grain is loaded onto trains, lorries or barges in the small Danube ports of Reni and Izmail in the south-west, for transport to the Romanian port.  Romania’s government has also come up with 2 projects to unblock road traffic and facilitate the flow of cargo to the port.

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/romania-black-sea-port-becoming-ukrainian-export-hub/

REPORT: FIU ROLE IN FIGHTING MONEY LAUNDERING WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

The Egmont Group has published this report dated February 2022.  It is said to present a corruption-related risk environment snapshot during the COVID-19 pandemic’s first year and considers how FIU efforts contributed to overcoming its challenges.

https://egmontgroup.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/FIU-Role-in-Fight-Against-ML-of-Corruption-Proceeds_COVIDContext_Public_Final.pdf

EX-VENEZUELA MAYOR SURRENDERS IN MIAMI FOR OIL BRIBE SCHEME

On 5 May, AP reported that Jhonnathan Marín, a one-time ally of Hugo Chávez wanted for prosecution by his socialist successor Nicolás Maduro has quietly surrendered in Miami in connection to a major bribery scheme involving joint oil ventures with foreign partners.

https://apnews.com/article/venezuela-miami-6ec951a0b1d55ceca10f389fcd75ad11

HONG KONG: $600 MILLION MAONEY LAUNDERING CASE

On 7 May, a news release from Hong Kong advised that Customs had announced that it detected a suspected money laundering case and arrested four people who were suspected of using personal bank accounts at various banks in Hong Kong, including virtual banks, to launder about $600 million from unknown sources since 2020.

https://www.news.gov.hk/eng/2022/05/20220507/20220507_114030_380.html

SWISS POLITICIANS VOTE AGAINST LOOSENING NOTORIOUS BANKING SECRECY LAW

On 6 May, the Guardian reported that Swiss politicians have voted against loosening the banking secrecy laws, drawing criticism from the UN and campaign groups who said the laws will continue to harm press freedom.  Article 47 makes it a criminal offence to disclose information about a bank’s clients, even if it is in the public interest.  It means whistleblowers and journalists who report on potential wrongdoing can be prosecuted.

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2022/may/06/swiss-politicians-vote-against-loosening-notorious-banking-secrecy-law

ACTION AGAINST €69 MILLION TAX SCAM INVOLVING ILLEGAL ‘CLONING’ OF ITALIAN INTO BULGARIAN COMPANIES

A news release from Eurojust on 6 May advised that Eurojust had supported the Italian and Bulgarian authorities to counter an elaborate tax scam of at least €69 million, with 26 suspects were identified who had illegally changed or ‘cloned’ Italian into Bulgarian enterprises, to avoid paying tax.

https://www.eurojust.europa.eu/news/action-against-eur-69-million-tax-scam-involving-illegal-cloning-italian-bulgarian-companies

UK MIDDLEMEN ALLEGEDLY PAID £9.7 MILLION IN BRIBES TO SAUDIS FOR CONTRACTS

On 5 May, the Guardian reported on a London court case in which it is alleged that 2 men funnelled bribes totalling millions of pounds to a Saudi prince and other high-ranking officials to secure lucrative commercial contracts, to land the contracts for a British subsidiary of the European aerospace group Airbus.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/may/05/uk-middlemen-saudis-contracts-southwark-crown-court

US TREASURY SPECIFIES “SERVICES” PROHIBITED FOR EXPORT TO RUSSIA

On 9 May, Torres Law published an article explaining the new prohibitions introduced by the US Treasury affecting accounting services, trust and corporate formation services, and management consulting services.  The prohibition takes effect on 7 June 7, but and does not apply to services provided to entities located in Russia owned or controlled by US persons, or any services in connection with the wind down or divestiture of any entity in Russia not owned or controlled by a Russian person.

https://www.torrestradelaw.com/posts/Treasury-Specifies-%E2%80%9CServices%E2%80%9D-Prohibited-for-Export-to-Russia-under-Executive-Order-14071/271

FAA DOWNGRADES RUSSIAN AIR SAFETY RATING

Unsurprisingly perhaps, given the effect of sanctions on US aircraft and components, on 27 April, Homeland Security Today reported that the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has downgraded the air safety rating for Russia, restricting any expansion of service or partnerships since Russia’s Federal Agency for Air Transport does not comply with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety standards. 

https://www.hstoday.us/subject-matter-areas/airport-aviation-security/the-faa-downgrades-russian-air-safety-rating/

ISIS DECLARES IT A DUTY’ AND ‘WAR POLICY’ TO DEPLOY DISINFORMATION AS A WEAPON

On 6 May, Homeland Security Today reported that disseminating disinformation is a “duty” of jihadists in order to deceive and ultimately divide their foes and should be considered “part of the war policy,” ISIS Khorasan declared in a new issue of the group’s English-language magazine.

https://www.hstoday.us/featured/isis-declares-duty-and-war-policy-to-deploy-disinformation-as-a-weapon/

EX-FRENCH PM FRANCOIS FILLON AND HIS BRITISH WIFE LOSE BID TO OVERTURN FRAUD CONVICTIONS 

On 9 May, the Mail Online reported that the pair have lost a bid to overturn their fraud convictions after a court found they created a fake parliamentary job that paid Penelope Fillon nearly £1 million in public cash.  The so-called ‘Penelopegate’ scandal was revealed in a media report while Mr Fillon was the front-runner in the 2017 presidential race. 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10798755/Ex-French-PM-Francois-Fillon-British-wife-LOSE-bid-overturn-fraud-convictions.html

UK USED ‘DENIABLE FIDDLE’ TO HIDE £60 MILLION OF PAYMENTS TO SAUDIS, COURT TOLD

On 9 May, the Guardian reported that a court has been told that the UK government approved payments of up to £60 million to a future king of Saudi Arabia, his son and other high-ranking officials as part of a huge arms deal and then sought to conceal them in what it described as a “deniable fiddle”. It was also alleged that the UK government ensured payments continued to be paid to high-ranking Saudis until 2020 – 8 years after the SFO began an investigation into the same payments.  In the case, 2 men are being prosecuted by the SFO for authorising corrupt payments to senior Saudis between 2007 and 2012.  The payments were made, according to the SFO, to ensure that a British company, GPT, received lucrative contracts from the Saudi military.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/may/09/uk-deniable-fiddle-hide-60m-payments-saudis-court-told

FCA HAS PROHIBITED 5 DIRECTORS OF FINANCIAL ADVICE FIRMS FROM WORKING IN FINANCIAL SERVICES AND FINED THEM OVER £1 MILLION, AFTER THEY CAUSED SIGNIFICANT LOSSES TO PENSION CUSTOMERS

A release on Mondo Visione on 9 May advised that the 5 had failed to act with integrity having either acted dishonestly or recklessly.  Each had been directors at failed financial advice firms which provided unsuitable advice to over 2,000 customers causing them to place their pensions in high-risk financial products in self-invested personal pensions in which an unauthorised firm had a significant financial interest, and the customers had been referred to them by that same firm which was also involved in designing the pension advice process used by the other firms.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/uk-financial-conduct-authority-five-individuals-banned-and-fined-for-causing-lo/

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UK: AMENDMENTS TO UNEXPLAINED WEALTH ORDERS BROUGHT INTO EFFECT

The Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022 (Commencement No. 1) Regulations 2022 bring Part 2 of the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022 into force from 15 May.  It amends the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 in respect of UWO. 

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2022/519/contents/made

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2022/10/part/2

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US: NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY’S (NIST) UPDATES CYBERSECURITY GUIDANCE FOR SUPPLY CHAIN RISK MANAGEMENT

On 6 May, Homeland Security Today reported that a new update to NIST cybersecurity supply chain risk management (C-SCRM) guidance aims to help organisations protect themselves as they acquire and use technology products and services.  This provides guidance on identifying, assessing and responding to cybersecurity risks throughout the supply chain at all levels of an organisation. 

https://www.hstoday.us/subject-matter-areas/cybersecurity/nist-updates-cybersecurity-guidance-for-supply-chain-risk-management/

https://nvlpubs.nist.gov/nistpubs/SpecialPublications/NIST.SP.800-161r1.pdf

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UK ADDS A FURTHER 88 NAMES TO ITS RUSSIA SANCTIONS LISTS

On 9 May, a Notice from HM Treasury contained 88 new names to be added to the UK Consolidated List.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1073978/Notice_Russia_090522.pdf

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US TREASURY DESIGNATES FACILITATION NETWORK SUPPORTING ISIS MEMBERS IN SYRIA

A news release on 9 May advised that OFAC had designated a network of 5 ISIS financial facilitators operating across Indonesia, Syria, and Turkey.  The 5 individuals are said to have played a key role in facilitating the travel of extremists to Syria and other areas where ISIS operates.  This network also conducted financial transfers to support ISIS efforts in Syria-based displaced persons camps by collecting funds in Indonesia and Turkey, some of which were used to pay for smuggling children out of the camps and delivering them to ISIS foreign fighters as potential recruits.

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy0772

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20220509

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ALMOST 1,000 COMPANIES HAVE CURTAILED OPERATIONS IN RUSSIA — BUT SOME REMAIN

On 9 May, the Yale School of Management has updated its list of companies that operate or operated in Russia, which now consists of 5 categories — graded on a school-style letter grade scale of A-F for the completeness of withdrawal.  When this list was first published in the week of 28 February, only several dozen companies had announced their departure.

https://som.yale.edu/story/2022/almost-1000-companies-have-curtailed-operations-russia-some-remain

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