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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – AUGUST 3

Panama Covid-19 update – it is reported that some 1,748 travelers have tested positive for Covid-19 at the Tocumen International Airport since the terminal resumed operations in October.  In this period, 190,710 tests have been carried out, says the Ministry of Health.

Meanwhile, the Rt infection rate is back up to 1.0. It was also revealed that 62% of those in hospital are unvaccinated, and 99.5% are those not double vaccinated. Today another 932 new cases and 7 new fatalities reported, with 11,958 active cases and numbers in ICU and other wards up – 105 in ICU and 468 in other wards. To date, 3.4 million vaccine doses have been administered.

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3 AUGUST 2021

ISABEL DOS SANTOS ORDERED TO RETURN TO ANGOLA $500 MILLION IN SHARES ‘TAINTED BY ILLEGALITY’

On 2 August, ICIJ reported that an international tribunal ruled that the billionaire and her late husband corruptly obtained a lucrative stake from the state oil company Sonangol.  The one time the wealthiest woman in Africa must surrender one of her last remaining major assets.  Dos Santos denies wrongdoing and has previously claimed that legal actions against her amount to a “witch hunt.  Dutch prosecutors have launched a criminal probe into the deal and Dos Santos is also facing criminal charges in Angola.

https://www.icij.org/investigations/luanda-leaks/isabel-dos-santos-ordered-to-return-to-angola-500-million-in-shares-tainted-by-illegality/

SPANISH COURT TARGETS CHILEAN BANK TIED TO PINOCHET

On 3 August, KYC 360 reported a New York Times article which says that the Supreme Court of Chile was notified by the National Court of Spain that an investigation had been reopened into whether a bank, Banco de Chile, helped General Pinochet and his associates launder millions of dollars overseas, according to court documents sent to the lawyers in the dispute.  General Pinochet died under house arrest in Chile in 2006.  Banco de Chile had for years successfully argued that Chile rather than Spain had the jurisdiction to investigate its Pinochet-related operations. But in Chile, the judiciary closed a money-laundering investigation in 2013.  Banco de Chile was never charged in Chile over money laundering, but it paid $3.1 million to the Chilean authorities in 2009 over administrative irregularities relating to General Pinochet’s money.

https://kyc360.riskscreen.com/news/spanish-court-targets-chilean-bank-tied-to-pinochet

ITF LAUNCHES WEB TOOL FOR SEAFARERS TO IDENTIFY CREWING SCAMS

On 3 August, Seatrade Maritime News reported that scam manning agents are scourge of the crewing industry and the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) has launched a new web tool to help give seafarers the upper hand.  The tool features a directory of crewing agents rated from green (good to go) to red (best avoided), and the initial launch of the web tool covers the 4 major labour supply nations of India, Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines.

https://www.seatrade-maritime.com/ship-operations/itf-launches-web-tool-seafarers-identify-crewing-scams

https://www.itfshipbesure.org

DATA ON 20 MALTESE NATIONALS’ DUBAI OFFSHORE HOLDINGS GIVEN TO POLICE

On 1 August, the Times of Malta reported that details from the so-called ‘Dubai list’ was obtained from Germany following a request by Malta’s Inland Revenue Department.  It is understood that while some of those identified live and work in Dubai, others are domiciled in Malta, raising suspicions over their holdings in the emirate.  In June, Germany purchased for a reported €2 million data from an anonymous source in Dubai on millions of international taxpayers, including several thousand Germans.

https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/data-on-maltese-nationals-dubai-offshore-holdings-given-to-police.890743

EU TO CRACK DOWN ON LARGE CASH PAYMENTS

On 3 August, the Irish Independent reported that cash payments over €10,000 for transactions such as car purchases, home improvements or funeral bills will be banned under EU rules expected to come into force within 3 years.

https://www.independent.ie/news/cars-funerals-and-home-improvements-eu-to-crack-down-on-large-cash-payments-40713482.html

https://www.mondaq.com/uk/white-collar-crime-anti-corruption-fraud/1096756/six-pillars-of-wisdom-to-prevent-bribery-and-corruption

US: GEORGIA COMPANY PLEADS GUILTY TO VIOLATION OF THE EXPORT CONTROL REFORM ACT

On 2 August, WSAV reported that a Georgia company and its owner – Dali Bagrou and World Mining and Oil Supply – pleaded guilty.  It is said that an unnamed Russian government-controlled company was interested in buying a power turbine from an US-based manufacturer for more than $17 million. The turbine was to be used on a deep-water drilling platform.  KS Engineering (KSE), a Russia-based energy company and Oleg Vladislavovich Nikitin, general director, have also pleaded guilty in relation to the same transaction.  All parties submitted false documents stating it would be used by an Atlanta company, concealing the actual turbine’s user from both the US manufacturer and US government, resulting in arrests in 2019.

https://www.wsav.com/crime-safety/georgia-company-owner-pleads-guilty-to-evading-us-national-security-laws/

https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdga/pr/georgia-company-and-owner-admit-guilt-scheme-evade-us-national-security-trade-sanctions

NEW ZEALAND: FIU CALLS ON INDUSTRY TO RAMP UP AML EFFORTS

On 3 August, Regulation Asia reported that the FIU is calling on reporting entities to be more proactive in refusing transactions for customers suspected of criminal activity.  It is said that that reporting entities need to move from an approach dominated by their own legal exposure to one that is coupled with positive community outcomes, and when companies make a decision to de-risk, they should be doing it for the right reasons.

https://www.regulationasia.com/nz-fiu-calls-on-industry-to-ramp-up-aml-efforts/

SPAIN: former executive director of the state-owned Development Bank of Angola FACING EXTRADITION TO ANGOLA

On 3 August, Bob FM reported a decision by the Audiencia Nacional de Madrid, a Spanish court that takes decisions on extradition requests, concerning Carlos Aires da Fonseca Panzo, who was arrested in Spain in September last year, at the request of the Criminal Investigations Office in Angola.  Carlos Panzo, a former executive director of the state-owned Development Bank of Angola (BDA), is under investigation following a complaint that he received kickbacks of $11 million, paid in several tranches to Odebrecht, through a bank account in Switzerland.

https://www.bobfm.co.uk/spanish-court-authorizes-extradition-of-carlos-panzo/

UK: HIGH COURT ORDERS PAKISTAN’S NAB TO PAY ISLE OF MAN COMPANY

On 3 August, the News International reported that the High Court has ordered the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to pay 3 separate amounts to the Broadsheet LLC or else the United National Bank’s London branch will be forced to make payments.  The Isle of Man LLC was hired by Pakistan more than 2 decades ago to trace assets belonging to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family members, as well as several other politicians and businessmen, including Asif Ali Zardari and Benazir Bhutto.  Pakistan broke the contract in violation of the agreement it had signed and the case has so far cost Pakistan close to $65 million in legal fees and awards. In arbitration, a judge found that Pakistan had conspired to defraud Broadsheet and Broadsheet LLC’s lawyers convinced the High Court to seize Pakistan’s assets at the United Bank Limited (UBL) in December 2020. Since then Broadsheet has made further claims over the remaining sums, interests and costs.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/872540-uk-court-orders-nab-to-pay-broadsheet-or-face-action 

HONG KONG: AML/CFT REVIEW TRIBUNAL AND COMPETENCE ASSESSMENT FOR MONEY SERVICE OPERATORS

On 3 August, Tanner De Witt Solicitors published an article dealing with 2 aspects of controls in Hong Kong.  One is the role of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Review Tribunal.  The other concerns money service operators, which offer a money changing service, including currency exchange; or a remittance service, including sending and receiving money to and from a place outside Hong Kong – a licensable activity.  One of the licences which are subject to review by the Tribunal is a MSO licence.

https://www.tannerdewitt.com/anti-money-laundering-counter-terrorist-financing-review-tribunal-competence-assessment-money-service-operators/

US SECRETARY OF STATE TO URGE ASEAN COUNTRIES TO ‘FULLY IMPLEMENT’ NORTH KOREA SANCTIONS

On 3 August, NK News reported that virtual meetings with ASEAN ministers will present avenue for US to push continued sanctions enforcement.  It is said that recent events suggest that US efforts may be bearing fruit.

https://www.nknews.org/2021/08/us-secretary-of-state-to-urge-asean-to-fully-implement-north-korea-sanctions/

EXTERNAL BORDER MANAGEMENT: EUROPEAN TRAVEL INFORMATION AND AUTHORISATION SYSTEM ON TRACK FOR ENTRY INTO OPERATION BY END 2022

On 3 August, the EU reported that the rules making the future European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) interoperable with other EU information systems have entered into force.  The system will cross-check travellers against EU information systems for internal security, borders and migration before their trip, helping to identify ahead of time people who may pose a risk to security or health, as well as compliance with migration rules.  Visa-exempt non-EU nationals will only need a few minutes to fill in an online application which in a vast majority of cases (expected to be over 95%) will result in automatic approval. The process will be simple, fast and affordable: the ETIAS authorisation will cost €7, which will be a one-off fee, and will be valid for 3 years and for multiple entries. 

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/MEX_21_4041

https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/borders-and-visas/smart-borders/etias_en

HMRC: CUSTOMS DECLARATION SERVICE (CDS) WILL SERVE AS THE UK’S SINGLE CUSTOMS PLATFORM FROM 31 MARCH 2023

On 3 August, Accountancy Daily reported that HMRC will be closing its Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system on 31 March 2023 and then all businesses will need to declare goods through CDS.  It is currently used for Northern Ireland and Rest of World declarations and has already processed more than 1 million declarations since it went live in 2018.

https://www.accountancydaily.co/cch_uk/tat/news_014984_cdsuk1pf

SOUTH KOREA NARROWS DOWN 11 CRYPTOCURRENCY EXCHANGES TO SHUT DOWN

On 3 August, News BTC reported that the FSC is supposedly staging a closedown for some cryptocurrency exchanges. This move is linked to allegations of fraud in these exchanges.  It is said that the FSC will decline the operational approval for all the affected crypto exchanges and plans to enforce stricter regulatory actions on minor exchanges.

https://www.newsbtc.com/news/south-korea-cryptocurrency-shut-down/

LOOT BOXES IN VIDEO GAMES

On 3 August, the House of Commons Library issued an updated research paper saying that loot boxes have been defined as “features in video games which may be accessed through gameplay, or purchased with in-game items, virtual currencies, or directly with real-world money”. They often appear as chests, crates, or card packs.  It says that concerns have been raised about the structural and psychological similarities between loot boxes and gambling and that they can encourage children to gamble.

https://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-8498/CBP-8498.pdf

RUSI TO LEAD ASSESSMENT OF UK’S PERFORMANCE IN TARGETING THE FINANCES OF ILLEGAL WILDLIFE TRADE

On 3 August, RUSI announced that a new RUSI project commissioned by the Home Office will assess the UK’s performance on tackling financial crime related to illegal wildlife trade (IWT) ahead of September’s G7 Interior Ministers’ Meeting.

https://rusi.org/news-and-comment/rusi-news/rusi-lead-assessment-uks-performance-targeting-finances-illegal-wildlife-trade

DRUG POISONING DEATHS IN ENGLAND AND WALES REACH RECORD HIGH

On 3 August, The Guardian reported that deaths from drug poisoning have reached a record high, with a growing number of people dying after using cocaine and opiates, data shows.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/aug/03/drug-poisoning-deaths-in-england-and-wales-reach-record-high

HOW DOMINICAN GANGS BECAME MAJOR SECURITY THREAT IN SPAIN

On 2 August, Insight Crime reported that spiralling violence around Madrid is being blamed on the fracturing and spread of Dominican gangs, which have become Spain’s primary urban security threat.  It says that renewed violence indicates the DDP and Trinitarios are feuding over control of neighbourhoods and criminal activities.

https://insightcrime.org/news/violent-expansion-spain-dominican-gangs/

GUATEMALA: FAMILIES INVOLVED IN LOCAL POLITICS CAN PLAY A PIVOTAL ROLE IN THE REGIONAL COCAINE TRADE

On 3 August, Insight Crime reported that an anti-narcotics operation in western Guatemala has shed more light on how families involved in local politics can play a pivotal role in the regional cocaine trade.

https://insightcrime.org/news/family-politics-guatemala-cocaine-trade/

EU ANNOUNCEMENT THAT ‘RIGHT TO REPAIR’ RULES WOULD BE INTRODUCED AS PART OF ITS ‘ENERGY EFFICIENCY FIRST’ PRINCIPLES – AND IN UK

On 3 August, an article from Eversheds Sutherland reported that EU changes would form part of ‘Energy efficiency first’ principles.  In March 2021, the EU introduced the new right to repair measures under the framework of its Ecodesign Directive; and on 8 July, the UK introduced its equivalent measures through the Ecodesign for Energy-Related Products and Energy Information Regulations 2021.  Manufacturers will now have a 2-year grace period to put into place new practices to ensure that they are able to make available sufficient stocks of spare parts to customers. 

https://www.eversheds-sutherland.com/global/en/what/articles/index.page?ArticleID=en/Consumer/Ecodesign-right-to-repair-030821

UK: HIGH COURT DISTINGUISHES BETWEEN EX PARTE AND INTER PARTE HEARINGS OVER COSTS OF A WORLDWIDE FREEZING ORDER

An article from Eversheds Sutherland on 3 August considers the case of Darnitsa v Metabay Import/Export Ltd.  This is said to highlight again the different approach to costs as between freezing orders and other interim injunctions, which is borne of the different underlying tests, respectively a “good arguable case” and the “balance of convenience”, and the cost risk of not at least engaging when offers are made.

https://www.eversheds-sutherland.com/global/en/what/articles/index.page?ArticleID=en/Financial-services-and-dispute-investigation/Darnitsa_v_Metabay

NATO AND EU JOIN CRITICISM OF IRAN AFTER DEADLY TANKER ATTACK

On 3 August, Rferl reported that NATO and the EU have added to Western criticism of Iran over a purported drone attack on a merchant ship in the Arabian Sea that killed 2 crewmen on 29 July, urging Iran to respect its international obligations.

https://www.rferl.org/a/qatar-iran-tanker-attack/31390874.html

NUISANCE CALL BLOCKER COMPANY FINED £170,000 FOR MAKING ALMOST 200,000 ILLEGAL MARKETING CALLS

On 2 August, a news release from the Information Commissioners Office in the UK advised that Yes Consumer Solutions Ltd had been fined for calls were made over a 12-month period between October 2018 and October 2019.  While the company sells nuisance call blocking systems, and had the means to check their marketing lists against the Telephone Preference System (TPS) lists, it still contacted almost 200,000 people without their consent.

https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/news-and-events/news-and-blogs/2021/08/nuisance-call-blocker-company-fined-170-000-for-making-almost-200-000-illegal-marketing-calls/

PROPORTIONALITY IN BANK REGULATION AND SUPERVISION – A JOINT GLOBAL SURVEY

On 30 July, the Swiss-based Bank for International Settlements published a paper wherein the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and the World Bank released the results of a global survey conducted with bank supervisors and regulators. The report summarises the responses from 90 authorities, with a broad distribution across geographical regions and income groups.  The survey found that proportionate implementation is practised widely, but that challenges remain, including how to avoid opportunities for regulatory arbitrage.

https://www.bis.org/bcbs/publ/d523.pdf

https://www.visualcapitalist.com/which-country-is-the-cheapest-for-starting-a-business/

ESG ASSET MANAGERS AND INVESTMENT FUNDS—NEAR-TERM SEC ENFORCEMENT RISK

On 3 August, Wilmer Hale issued a Client Alert saying that the SEC intends to bring enforcement actions under existing legal provisions against investment advisers and funds that do not adhere to stated environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria.  Advisers and funds should therefore ensure that they have policies and procedures in place to adhere to their stated ESG criteria.

https://www.wilmerhale.com/en/insights/client-alerts/20210803-esg-asset-managers-and-investment-funds-near-term-sec-enforcement-risk

UK: SEARCH THE REGISTER OF CUSTOMS AGENTS AND FAST PARCEL OPERATORS

On 3 August, HMRC published updated information to help one find a customs agent or fast parcel operator to help you with import and export declarations – more important in the times of Brexit.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/list-of-customs-agents-and-fast-parcel-operators

PROPERTY TYCOON WHO LOST HIS WIFE AND BELGRAVIA HOME TO FOOTBALLER CESC FABREGAS IS CONVICTED OF £2 MILLION FRAUD

On 3 August, the Daily Mail reported that Elie Taktouk, 46, has been convicted of fraud after a developer claimed he left him £2 million out of pocket during a redevelopment project.  He was convicted of 8 counts of fraud by false representation, 1 of fraud by abuse of position and 2 of using a false instrument, 2015- 2017.  Last year Taktouk admitted 6 counts of violating a restraint order and 8 counts of contempt of court and was jailed for 7 months.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9856517/Property-tycoon-46-lost-wife-5-5m-Belgravia-home-Cesc-Fabregas-convicted-fraud.html

JERSEY: FATE OF AIRCRAFT REGISTRY HANGS IN THE BALANCE

On 3 August, the Jersey Evening Post reported that whether Jersey’s aircraft registry should be scrapped or not should be decided within 18 months and will depend on whether it can help develop a ‘sustainable and low carbon’ aviation sector.  In 2018 after it emerged that only 2 aircraft had signed up to the initiative after £900,000 had been spent on its development.

https://jerseyeveningpost.com/news/2021/08/03/fate-of-aircraft-registry-hangs-in-the-balance/

US: LEADER OF TRANSNATIONAL MONEY LAUNDERING NETWORK PLEADS GUILTY

On 3 August, a DEA news release advised that a Chinese national and naturalised US citizen pleaded guilty to his involvement in a conspiracy to launder at least $30 million in drug proceeds on behalf of foreign drug-trafficking organisations.  Another Chinese national was sentenced to 7 years in prison for his role in the same conspiracy.  Xizhi Li, 48, played a leadership role within a years-long conspiracy to use a foreign casino, foreign and domestic front companies, foreign and domestic bank accounts, false passports and other false identification documents to launder money on behalf of transnational drug-trafficking organisations.  Co-defendant Tao Liu, 46, of Hong Kong, helped to execute the money laundering scheme. At times, Liu accepted bulk drug cash on behalf of Xizhi Li, which he later deposited into bank accounts that Li provided. In April, co-defendants Jiayu Chen, 46, of Brooklyn, New York, and Jingyuan Li, 49, of San Gabriel, California, pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy.  In June, Eric Yong Woo, 43, of Alhambra, California, also pleaded guilty to his role; and Jianxing Chen, 40, of Belize is facing extradition following his arrest in Lima, Peru.

https://www.dea.gov/press-releases/2021/08/03/leader-transnational-money-laundering-network-pleads-guilty

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GAO FINDS US CARGO SCREENING WEAKNESSES AS TSA PLANS COVERT TESTING AT FOREIGN AIRPORTS

On 31 July, Homeland Security Today reported that the threat of explosives reaching the US via air cargo is significant.  The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) therefore requires air carriers to x-ray or screen the cargo by other means before it enters the US – but the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found weaknesses in TSA’s analysis of imaging technology in a field assessment January 2020-April 2021.  The problem was that TSA officials cannot use live explosives in the field to measure the probability of detection, they rely on image quality testing, using a manufacturer’s test kit to compare system performance in the field with earlier tests performed in a laboratory with live explosives – and GAO considered this unacceptable.  It is also said that GAO considered U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) role in securing air cargo. Its Air Cargo Advanced Screening program (ACAS) requires air carriers to submit shipment data on US-bound air cargo prior to departure from last point-of-departure airports.  The report comes as TSA implements new International Civil Aviation Organization security standards for air cargo, which now require countries to screen 100% of cargo before it is loaded on freighter aircraft, as they are currently required to do with belly freight.  The increase in screening has caused backlogs and carriers have reported confusion surrounding the new documentation requirements – but the article says that sometimes the relevant checks are still playing catch-up to passenger screening standards.

https://www.hstoday.us/industry/gao-finds-cargo-screening-gaps-as-tsa-plans-covert-testing-at-foreign-airports/

The report is at –

https://www.gao.gov/assets/gao-21-105192.pdf

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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THE EU’S ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE ACT: SETTING A GLOBAL STANDARD?

On 3 August, a briefing from Field Fisher says that the EU recently published proposals for an EU Regulation laying down harmonised rules on Artificial Intelligence (AI) – said to be the  first-ever regulatory framework on AI, to address the risks of AI in Europe.  The proposed Regulation would adopt a “risk-based” approach, dividing different uses of AI into four categories: Unacceptable, High Risk, Limited Risk, and Minimal Risk.  The briefing says that the penalties of breaching the Regulation are likely to be significant.  The EU Commission currently estimates that the Regulation could enter into force in the second half of 2022, and become applicable to AI operators in 2024. 

https://www.fieldfisher.com/en/services/competition-and-consumer/competition-connect-blog/the-eu-s-artificial-intelligence-act-setting-a-glo

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FOREIGNERS FILE LAWSUITS AGAINST ALLEGED ISRAELI BINARY OPTIONS INVESTMENT SCAMMERS

On 2 August, the Times of Israel reported that a new spate of lawsuits suggests that despite legislation and prosecutions by foreign governments, alleged investment fraud remains a lucrative business in Israel, with local law enforcement doing little to crack down on suspected online scammers.  It refers to lawsuits filed in Israel by alleged victims from countries including Australia, Azerbaijan, Germany, Holland, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Norway, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and US — claims against individuals who used to sell binary options investments and pivoted to other financial instruments. 

https://www.timesofisrael.com/foreigners-file-slew-of-lawsuits-against-alleged-israeli-investment-scammers/

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THE UK NATIONAL SECURITY AND INVESTMENT ACT: WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY?

On 2 August, an article from K & L Gates LLP says that, alongside commencement information, recent guidance publications shed light on what transactions will be caught and how the Secretary of State expects to use the new powers.  It says that the updated guidance pages3 answer the various questions referred to in the article.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/the-uk-national-security-and-investment-4055456/

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – AUGUST 2

Panama Covid-19 update – missed yesterday’s figures: with 820 new cases and 10 new fatalities reported; with 12,506 active cases and 105 remaining in ICU. Meanwhile today has seen another 337 new cases and 8 new fatalities reported, with 12,260 active cases, of which 103 are now in ICU and 452 in other wards.

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

2 AUGUST 2021

CRYPTOCURRENCY CRIME IN HONG KONG HITS RECORD LEVELS

On 2 August, the South China Morning Post reported that cases involving the digital currency tend to fall into categories such as money laundering, online shopping scams, or investment ruses.  It says that one victim was conned out of HK$124 million (US$15.9 million). Police logged 496 such cases involving victims losing a total of HK$214.4 million in the first half of 2021, whereas across the whole of last year, total losses from 208 cases stood at HK$114.4 million.

https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-and-crime/article/3143394/cryptocurrency-crime-hong-kong-hits-record-levels-one

INDIA TO PROBE BINANCE IN BETTING APP LAUNDERING PROBE

On 30 July, Bloomberg Quint reported that India’s AML agency is examining if Binance Holdings Ltd had a role to play in an ongoing investigation involving betting apps.  It is said that India is probing betting apps run by Chinese operators, which collected more than $134 million over the past 10 months, for allegedly laundering part of the money through the WazirX cryptocurrency exchange – which Binance acquired in 2019.

https://www.bloombergquint.com/business/india-said-to-examine-binance-in-betting-app-laundering-probe

UK: MONZO UNDER INVESTIGATION BY FCA OVER AML RULES

On 30 July, The Guardian reported that FCA  looking into potential breaches of UK rules related to AML and financial crime controls between October 2018 and April 2021.

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2021/jul/30/monzo-under-investigation-by-fca-over-anti-money-laundering-rules

NORTH KOREAN TRADE HITS 30-YEAR LOW AMID SANCTIONS AND COVID-19 PANDEMIC

On 2 August, NK Pro reported that a new report from KOTRA, a South Korean body, said that North Korea’s trading activity hit its lowest level in over 3 decades last year due to sanctions and COVID-19 control measures.  It is said to be the lowest since the agency began to record the figure in 1990 and around a quarter of the 2019 trade volume.

https://www.nknews.org/2021/08/north-korean-trade-hits-30-year-low-amid-sanctions-covid-19-pandemic-report/

US SEIZES SINGAPORE OIL TANKER FOR VIOLATING NORTH KOREA SANCTIONS

On 1 August, NK Pro reported that a federal court determined the tanker illicitly transferred more than $1.5 million worth of oil to a DPRK ship.   The MT Courageous is currently in Cambodia.  It has a capacity of 2,734 tonnes, was reportedly purchased by Kwek Kee Seng.

https://www.nknews.org/2021/08/us-seizes-singaporean-oil-tanker-for-violating-north-korea-sanctions/

https://www.scmp.com/news/asia/southeast-asia/article/3143312/us-seizes-singaporeans-tanker-used-deliver-illegal-oil

UK: AML EXPERT SENTENCED FOR LETTING FRAUDSTERS TRANSFER FUNDS

On 2 August, International Adviser reported that Dominic Thorncroft, the former chair of the Association of UK Payment Institutions, had been handed an 18-month sentence, suspended for 18 months, for money laundering offences.  He was convicted of failing to alert the authorities to money laundering, breaching money laundering regulations and retaining a wrongful credit.  He had allowed his business, Money Service Bureau, to be used by the fraudsters to transfer money to Hong Kong and China. No details were provided about the nature of the investment scam.

https://international-adviser.com/aml-expert-sentenced-for-letting-fraudsters-transfer-funds/

UK MAYOR ALLEGEDLY INVOLVED IN ISLE OF MAN COMPANY INVESTING IN LOGGING BUSINESS IN RAINFOREST IN NEW GUINEA

On 2 August, The Bristol Cable carried an investigation report claiming that the West of England Mayor Dan Norris was a director of a company which had shares in an Isle of Man company that tried to profit from logging timber in West Papua, on the island of New Guinea.  However, the company’s logging ambitions ultimately failed, in a business venture described by one insider as all “smoke and mirrors”.  It is said that Norris told the Cable that he provided environmental advice to the company with respect to a separate investment in British ceramics and was unpaid; and the company’s sole shareholder, Mohammed Suleman, denied the land in question was virgin rainforest.

https://thebristolcable.org/2021/08/west-of-england-mayor-directed-business-that-tried-to-profit-from-logging-on-conflict-ridden-island-dan-norris-west-papua-labour/

POLISH BORDER GUARD ARREST 16 AFTER DISCOVERY OF ILLEGAL CIGARETTE FACTORY

A news release from Europol on 2 August announced that an illicit factory was dismantled, and 16 suspects charged for their involvement in this illegal tobacco activity. The leader of the criminal organisation features among those arrested. Over 1.6 million counterfeit cigarettes were seized on site by the Polish authorities, alongside 13 tonnes of tobacco which could have been used to produce a further 13 million cigarettes. The factory’s production capacity was of approximately 1 million cigarettes per day.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/polish-border-guard-arrest-16-after-discovery-of-illegal-cigarette-factory

INSOLVENCY AND MACCLESFIELD FOOTBALL CLUB

On 2 August, a blog post from the Insolvency Service is concerned with the situation after HMRC obtained a winding-up order against the club in 2020.  The situation ended with the club being sold to new owners by the Official Receiver, which allowed the renamed Macclesfield FC to be ready to start its new season in the North West Counties League for the 2021-22 season.

https://insolvencyservice.blog.gov.uk/2021/08/02/the-world-of-football-comes-to-the-insolvency-service/

PODCAST – BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP DISCLOSURE: REALITIES AND POLICY IMPLICATIONS

On 30 July, RUSI released a podcast, including contributions from participants concerning the US, EU and Jersey on the efficacy of its legal framework around beneficial ownership disclosure.  It asks how should beneficial ownership information be best exploited to meet the needs of those using the information, and to prevent money laundering and illicit finance activities?

https://rusi.org/podcasts/financial-crime-insights/episode-19-beneficial-ownership-disclosure-realities-and-policy-implications

FUGITIVE EX-PRESIDENT ASKAR AKAYEV BROUGHT BACK TO KYRGYZSTAN

On 2 August, the Moscow Times and others reported that fugitive former President of Kyrgyzstan Askar Akayev has been brought to the country,  the State National Security Committee has said.  Along with other former high-ranking officials, Akayev was prosecuted for corruption during the conclusion of the general agreement on the Kumtor project in the 1990s.  He was President of Kyrgyzstan from 1990 until being overthrown in the March 2005 Revolution, and in March 2005, Akayev fled Kyrgyzstan with his family to Russia.  

https://akipress.com/news:661104:Fugitive_ex-president_Askar_Akayev_brought_to_Kyrgyzstan__GKNB

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2021/08/02/ex-president-brought-back-to-kyrgyzstan-in-graft-probe-govt-a74675

https://www.rferl.org/a/kyrgyzstan-centerra-akaev-kumtor/31389693.html

ALBANIA: PROSECUTION APPEALS RULING ON FORMER MINISTER REGARDING 2008 EXPLOSION

On 2 August, Exit News reported that the Special Prosecution against Corruption (SPAK) has appealed the Special Court’s decision not to launch a new investigation into former Minister of Defence, Fatmir Mediu, in connection with the 2008 explosions at an ammunition factory in Gerdec, near Tirana, in which 26 people died.  Mediu’s parliamentary immunity lapsed in 2012.  20 people have been convicted for involvement, and in 2017 In 2017, the Appeals Court declared that the Ministry of Defence was responsible for the explosion.

https://exit.al/en/2021/08/02/albanian-prosecution-appeals-ruling-on-former-minister-implicated-in-gerdec-explosion

FORMER SWISS GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL FACING TRIAL IN CORRUPTION SCANDAL AFFECTING THE PUBLIC SECTOR 

On 2 August, Swissinfo reported that the trial of the former civil servant accused of corruption in the purchase of computer equipment opened at the Federal Criminal Court, with 3 managers from private companies also facing charges. The former official allegedly favoured 3 specific companies between 2004 and 2014, and received gifts and invitations for himself and third parties.  He allegedly received benefits totalling more than $1.88 million.

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/latest-news/swiss-public-sector-scandal-reaches-court-room–/46835944

US CUSTOMS SEIZES 44 lb OF SILDENAFIL (VIAGRA) PILLS

On 30 July, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that officers in Cincinnati seized about 44 lb, approximately 23,610 pills, of sildenafil citrate, the active ingredient in the prescription drug Viagra.  The pills were in blister packets indicating they had been manufactured in India.  Prescription medications are restricted by the FDA and cannot be imported into the US without proper documentation and labelling. 

https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/cbp-cincinnati-seizes-44-pounds-sildenafil-pills-worth-712756

NIGERIA: OWNERS OF 30 PRIVATE JETS TO PAY CUSTOMS DUTIES

On 2 August, The Vanguard reported that the Nigeria Customs Service has said 30 of the 65 private aeroplanes verified so far were liable to pay required duties.  It is said that some entered the country by Temporary Importation agreement, which allowed the owners to bring in the jets without payment because it was secured by bond – but the owners failed to turn up to pay on the expiration of the agreement which necessitated the verification.

https://www.vanguardngr.com/2021/08/owners-of-30-of-65-verified-private-jets-to-pay-customs-duties-says-ncs-spokesman/

US CUSTOMS AGENTS THWART ATTEMPTED SMUGGLING OF 12th CENTURY ARTIFACTS IN KENTUCKY

On 1 August, KIRO 7 reported that a shipment of antiques containing more than a dozen artefacts, some of which dated to the 12th Century, was intercepted by customs officials in Louisville, being en route from Mexico to a residence in South Carolina. 

https://www.kiro7.com/news/trending/customs-agents-thwart-attempted-smuggling-12th-century-artifacts-kentucky/NVT2FLAOAJHZDBAKFQTK23QNPE/

CAYMAN ISLANDS: USE OF NORWICH PHARMACAL ORDER (NPO)

On 30 July, Appleby published an article about a recent appeal in the Cayman islands which it says highlights the power of a NPO as a key investigative tool for victims of fraud involving offshore jurisdictions.  The court confirmed that the Cayman courts have jurisdiction to grant an NPO in support of potential proceedings in a foreign court, such as the UK courts. This is an issue which has been the subject of debate under English law. It explains that an NPO is a type of disclosure order which allows information to be obtained from third parties ‘mixed up’ in wrongdoing.

https://www.applebyglobal.com/publications/fighting-international-fraud/

US AND UK BLAME IRAN FOR DEADLY OIL TANKER ATTACK

On 2 August, Eurasia Review reported that the US and UK had blamed Iran for a drone attack last week on an oil tanker off the coast of Oman that killed 2 people.  It is said that the drone attack ripped a hole through the top of the oil tanker’s bridge.

https://www.eurasiareview.com/02082021-us-britain-blame-iran-for-deadly-oil-tanker-attack/

https://www.rferl.org/a/israel-iran-tanker-attack-/31386355.html

MEXICO’S NAVY CALLED TO PROTECT AGAINST PIRATES

On 2 August, Insight Crime reported a spate of attacks on oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico this year, with items looted including breathing apparatus, diving helmets with cameras, protective gear, communications equipment, and employees’ personal belongings.  This surge in piracy has sparked calls for Mexico to provide more security in the Gulf of Mexico. 

https://insightcrime.org/news/guns-gulf-mexico-navy-called-protect-against-pirates/

DUTCH POLICE BUST COUNTRY’S ‘BIGGEST’ METH LAB

On 31 July, Deutsche Welle reported that the lab located in the countryside spanned 2 big storage rooms and was able to produce 100 kg of synthetic drugs per day.  The police said in a statement that the lab was one the “biggest and most professional” sites ever discovered in the Netherlands.

https://www.dw.com/en/dutch-police-bust-countrys-biggest-meth-lab/a-58712037

INDIA: FORMER MAHARASHTRA HOME MINISTER ANIL DESHMUKH MONEY LAUNDERING CASE

On 2 August, Scroll and others reported on the ongoing investigation into money laundering allegations and which Deshmukh has described as ‘neither fair nor impartial’.  The Nationalist Congress Party leader sent a letter to the Enforcement Directorate through his lawyer.  It is said that he had approached the Supreme Court last month seeking protection from any coercive action in the money laundering case. 

https://scroll.in/latest/1001801/ncp-leader-anil-deshmukh-skips-fourth-ed-summons-in-money-laundering-case

SHIPOWNERS’ ASSOCIATION BIMCO HAS PUBLISHED AN “AIS SWITCH-OFF CLAUSE” THAT CAN BE INCLUDED IN TIME AND VOYAGE CHARTER PARTIES

On 30 July, Insurance Marine News reported that BIMCO said that its purpose was in part to address certain expectations that OFAC has set out in its “Sanctions Advisory for the Maritime Industry, Energy and Metals Sectors, and Related Communities” of May 2020.  BIMCO said that AIS manipulation was one tool used by parties to evade sanctions, and that the new clause addressed this issue and was part of the BIMCO suite of sanctions clauses. It was intended to be part of a company’s sanctions CDD programme. 

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/ais-switch-off-clause-published-by-bimco/

RUSI TASKFORCE URGES THE US AND UK TO PUT ‘HOUSES IN ORDER’ ON ILLICIT FINANCE

On 30 July, RUSI published an article saying that, in its first meeting, RUSI’s ‘Taskforce on a Transatlantic Response to Illicit Finance’ (TARIF) focused on domestic policy actions – with international implications – that will serve as an essential first step in leading the global fight against illicit finance.  The taskforce also explored topics from technology solutions to real-time information sharing and proactive horizon scanning.

https://rusi.org/news-and-comment/rusi-news/rusi-taskforce-urges-us-uk-put-houses-order-illicit-finance

WORLD BANK PUBLISHES NEW ‘GLOBAL SUSPENSION & DEBARMENT DIRECTORY’

On 2 August, a post on the FCPA Blog advised that the World Bank had developed a Directory which serves as a resource for anyone interested in learning how countries and organisations employ exclusion.  The World Bank, like similar agencies, operates a system whereby companies involved in corrupt activities can be barred from future projects.  The Directory summarises the exclusion systems of 23 different jurisdictions.

https://fcpablog.com/2021/08/02/world-bank-publishes-new-global-suspension-debarment-directory/

The Directory is at –

http://www.worldbank.org/exclusionsurvey

EGYPT AML/CFT MUTUAL EVALUATION REPORT

On 31 July, the FATF-style regional body, MENAFATF, has published on its website the May 2021 mutual evaluation report on systems in Egypt following the on-site visit of March 2020.

http://www.menafatf.org/file/1349/download?token=3v8dsYj0

UN ARMS EMBARGO ON CAR EXTENDED FOR YEAR

On 29 July, US News reported that the UN Security Council has extended a Central African Republic (CAR) arms embargo and targeted sanctions regime for another year – although China abstained in the vote because it believes the measures should be removed.

https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2021-07-29/un-arms-embargo-on-car-extended-for-year-china-abstains

NORTH KOREA SENDS SOUTH KOREA DETAILED INFO ON ILLEGAL FISHING IN YELLOW SEA VIA RESTORED HOTLINES

On 2 August, the Korea Herald reported that North Korea has sent detailed information to South Korea on fishing boats operating illegally in the Yellow Sea.  The information is said to involve details about foreign fishing boats operating illegally in the Yellow Sea, such as their number and exact locations.  Most of the illegal fishing boats are said to be from China, and about 20 to 30 vessels are said to have been found near the inter-Korean maritime border recently.

https://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20210802000997

UK: UPDATE ON THE NEW DIGITAL EXPORT LICENSING PLATFORM LITE WHICH WILL REPLACE SPIRE

On 2 August, the Department of International Trade published Notice to Exporters 2021/08 saying that LITE will streamline the application process using increased automation to support robust licence decision-making.  It is said that its intuitive user interface, LITE will save exporters time with faster processing of licence applications and better signposting to helpful advice.  A Private Beta service is currently being used to apply for and process applications, by a limited audience of industry and government users. Following this testing, after the Public Beta launch, SPIRE will be decommissioned.  While this testing takes place, most applicants should continue using SPIRE in the normal way.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/notice-to-exporters-202108-lite/nte-202108-lite

CANADA: 2 TRAVELLERS WITH FALSIFIED PROOF-OF-VACCINATION DOCUMENTS FINED $20,000 EACH

On 2 August, The Independent reported that the Canadian Public Health Agency reported that the travellers from the US provided falsified proof-of-vaccination and pre-departure test screens, and did not comply with on-arrival testing protocols or a requirement that they stay in quarantine.  They received fines equalling to $19,720 each.  People that provide fraudulent documents to the Canadian government can incur fines of up to $750,000, 6 months in prison, or both.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/travellers-fined-canada-vaccine-papers-b1895471.html

https://news.yahoo.com/two-charged-20-000-travelling-203235717.html

UK: FRAUDSTER FILM PRODUCER, 56, WHO STOLE MORE THAN £159,000 FROM HER VICTIMS JAILED FOR 3 YEARS

On 2 August, the Daily Mail reported that Lois Bhagwan, 56, a fraudster who scammed her victims out of £159,000 by claiming she had links to Denzel Washington, the Dalai Lama and Princess Anne has been jailed for 3 years.  She convinced unwitting victims to invest in a dodgy humanitarian initiative called the Lionheart Project which she launched in 1992, and used the money on a luxurious lifestyle travelling the world meeting diplomats.  

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9853317/Fraudster-film-producer-56-stole-159-000-victims-jailed-three-years.html

UK: NATIONAL INSURANCE CONTRIBUTIONS (NIC) – AN EXPLAINER

On 28 July, the Chartered Institute of Taxation sets out to explain what National Insurance is, how it works and what the Government might do if it wishes to increase it to pay for social care.

https://www.tax.org.uk/national-insurance-contributions-nics-an-explainer

THE E-SPORTS INDUSTRY AND NEGLECTED ISSUES IN E-SPORTS LAW: CYBERSECURITY AND ANTI-CHEATING

On 2 August, Baker Hostetler published an article which sets out to explain why implementing robust security and anti-cheating measures and being prepared for inevitable security and cheating incidents is a crucial next step for e-sports stakeholders in ensuring the industry’s continued success.  It says that the shift toward online and increased gambling in the e-sports industry demand closer attention to cybersecurity and anti-cheating issues. 

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/game-on-addressing-security-challenges-3311916/

EU WARNINGS TO MEMBER STATES OVER FOLLOWING VAT RULES

On 29 July, VAT Live reported that the European Commission has issued a range of first warnings of infringement procedure to 3 Member States for infringing the rules contained in the VAT Directive. Member States generally have 2 months to respond to the warning, including having the right to appeal.  The warnings were issued to Cyprus, Lithuania and Romania.

https://www.avalara.com/vatlive/en/vat-news/eu-acts-on-vat-rule-breaking.html

THE CHINA QUESTION

In July, World ECR made available a Special Report as a free e-book and which looks at China’s developing relationship with the outside world and the effects on export control matters.  It does this in the context of the ambition to surpass the US, and the US determination to resist this.  Articles include those looking at China’s new export control law, growing pressure by US authorities on Chinese influence in universities, and the position of Chinese companies under CFIUS.

https://www.worldecr.com/the-china-question/

HOW EUROPEANS CAN HELP REBUILD LEBANON

On 27 July, an article from the European Council on Foreign Relations says that, a year on from the massive Beirut port explosion, Lebanon is in a deep crisis created by a corrupt and incompetent governing elite, but is a country home to key strategic interests for the EU, which does not want another failed state on the Mediterranean.  It concludes that Lebanon’s leaders will never engage in genuine reform and Lebanese people are already self-organising to fill the gaps in public service provision left by the government.  It argues that EU and other international bodies are right to withhold funding for high-level state institutions until real reform takes place, but that Europeans should support local institutions such as schools and hospitals to help ordinary people and create space for a new politics to emerge, including at next year’s parliamentary election.

https://ecfr.eu/publication/people-before-politicians-how-europeans-can-help-rebuild-lebanon/

US: FORMER CFO OF A PUBLICLY TRADED TRUCKING AND LOGISTICS COMPANY CONVICTED FOR HIS ROLE IN A COMPLEX SECURITIES AND ACCOUNTING FRAUD SCHEME

A release on Mondo Visione on 2 August advised that Peter R. Armbruster, 62, former chief financial officer of Roadrunner Transportation Systems Inc, formerly headquartered in Wisconsin, had been convicted on 4 counts of violating federal securities laws for his role in a complex securities and accounting fraud scheme.  He was convicted in relation to a sophisticated accounting fraud scheme that resulted in Roadrunner’s financial statements and SEC filings for the third quarter of 2016 being materially false and fraudulent.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/us-department-of-justice-former-chief-financial-officer-of-publicly-traded-comp/

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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EUROPEAN BANKING AUTHORITY PUBLIC CONSULTATION ON NEW GUIDELINES ON THE ROLE, TASKS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF AML/CFT COMPLIANCE OFFICERS

On 29 July, the EBA issued a consultation document, with responses required by 7 November.  It says that there have been a number of reports that suggest that the requirements set out in EU Directive  2015/849 have been implemented unevenly across different sectors and Member States, and that they are not always applied effectively.  This can have adverse consequences for the integrity of the EU’s financial system.  The EBA has a legal duty to prevent the use of the EU’s financial system for AML/CFT purposes, and a mandate to lead, monitor and coordinate the EU financial sector’s fight against laundering and terrorist financing.  The consultation puts forward guidelines which should be applied in a manner that is effective and proportionate to the financial sector operator’s type, size, internal organisation, and the nature, scope and complexity of its activities, and the risks to which the financial sector operator is exposed.

https://www.eba.europa.eu/sites/default/documents/files/document_library/Publications/Consultations/2021/

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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WORLD BANK PUBLISHES NEW ‘GLOBAL SUSPENSION & DEBARMENT DIRECTORY’

On 2 August, a post on the FCPA Blog advised that the World Bank had developed a Directory which serves as a resource for anyone interested in learning how countries and organisations employ exclusion.  The World Bank, like similar agencies, operates a system whereby companies involved in corrupt activities can be barred from future projects.  The Directory summarises the exclusion systems of 23 different jurisdictions.

https://fcpablog.com/2021/08/02/world-bank-publishes-new-global-suspension-debarment-directory/

The Directory is at –

http://www.worldbank.org/exclusionsurvey

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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THE LIFE CYCLE OF A BREACHED DATABASE

On 29 July, the Krebs on Security carried a post saying that every time there is another data breach, we are asked to change our password at the breached entity. But the reality is that in most cases by the time the victim organisation discloses an incident publicly the information has already been harvested many times over by profit-seeking cybercriminals.  The post provides a closer look at what typically transpires in the weeks or months before an organisation notifies its users about a breached database.  It also provides some tips to help avoid falling prey to incessant data breaches and increasingly sophisticated phishing schemes.

https://krebsonsecurity.com/2021/07/the-life-cycle-of-a-breached-database/

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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EU ADDS 8 NAMES TO NICARAGUA SANCTIONS LIST

EU Regulation 2021/1276/EU added new names to the sanctions imposed in response to the actions of the Nicaraguan authorities against opposition parties, media, journalists and other media workers, human rights defenders and civil society, including through the systematic detention and arrest of potential presidential candidates and opposition leaders.  Those designated include the Vice President (who is also the wife of President Daniel Ortega), the President of the National Assembly, the Leader in Nicaraguan National Police, the Attorney General, and the President of the Supreme Court of Justice.

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/AUTO/?uri=uriserv:OJ.LI.2021.277.01.0012.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2021:277I:TOC

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/AUTO/?uri=uriserv:OJ.LI.2021.277.01.0024.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2021:277I:TOC

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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EU REGULATION CREATES LEBANON SANCTIONS REGIME – NO NAMES LISTED

EU Regulation 2021/1275/EU creates a new sanctions regime which creates a framework for targeted restrictive measures to address the situation in Lebanon.  A linked EU Council Decision provides for the freezing of funds and economic resources of and the prohibition to make funds and economic resources available to natural persons responsible for grave financial, economic, social and political crisis in Lebanon and natural or legal persons, entities and bodies associated with them. The persons, entities and bodies subject to the restrictive measures would be listed in the Annex to that Decision.

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/AUTO/?uri=uriserv:OJ.LI.2021.277.01.0001.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2021:277I:TOC

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/AUTO/?uri=uriserv:OJ.LI.2021.277.01.0016.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2021:277I:TOC

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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LANDLOCKED MICRO-STATE SAN MARINO LAUNCHES INTERNATIONAL SHIP REGISTRY

On 2 August, Seatrade Maritime News reported that the Republic of San Marino has announced it is partnering with the newest ship registry to come to the market, the San Marino Ship Register (SMSR), and has published the registry’s guidelines for registration.  The Register says it will offer 48-hour registration process, attractive fee and tax regimes with no restrictions on nationalities.

https://www.seatrade-maritime.com/regulation/landlocked-micro-state-san-marino-launches-international-ship-registry

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – AUGUST 1

Panama Covid-19 update – more restrictions in particular areas with problems, beginning tomorrow (2 August) – with a 2000-0400 in several specific districts, and 2200-0400 in others. Here in the city and the rest of the country, the “usual” midnight curfew applies.

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

1 AUGUST 2021

“URBAN MINING” AND THE ENVIRONMENTAL AND HEALTH IMPACTS OF UNRECYCLED OR INFORMALLY RECYCLED E-WASTE

On 29 July, an article from the Center for International and Strategic Studies comprised a Q&A which starts by saying that the World produces about 50 million tons of e-waste annually, and only about 20% of this waste is recycled and that only 25 US states, plus DC, currently have laws that address e-waste recycling, and federal legislation falls short in incentivising proper e-waste management.  It explains that urban mining is the process of recovering raw materials — mostly metals and minerals — from e-waste largely found in cities. Urban mining has environmental, economic, and humanitarian benefits.  It concludes by saying that by promoting urban mining, the US and other nations can limit their dependence on foreign minerals, reduce carbon output in industrial production, fortify recycling supply chains, and provide economic opportunities in the e-waste management sector.

https://www.csis.org/analysis/canary-urban-mine-environmental-and-economic-impacts-urban-mining

UPDATE ON US FORCED LABOUR CONTROLS ON IMPORTED GOODS

On 21 July, Greenberg Traurig published a useful article which details recent developments and includes an “illustrative” list of industries using forced labour in Xinjiang and an update on withhold release orders (WRO) on the importation of specific products. 

https://www.gtlaw.com/-/media/files/insights/alerts/2021/7/gt-alert_second-update-on-forced-labor-for-imported-products.pdf

DUE DILIGENCE: HOW SHOULD COMMODITIES COMPANIES RESPOND TO INCREASING LEVELS OF CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY?

Law firm HFW has produced a briefing containing detail what that increasing level of regulation and growing sensitivity around ESG issues means for the boards of commodities companies now.  It says that the key messages are that boards must carry out careful due diligence and act on it, taking into account a range of factors, when assessing ESG risk; and they must take a global, rather than a “backyard”, approach to doing so.  It says that a number of recent events have shown that companies are becoming subject to wider and more pro-active pressure to “raise their game” in relation to ESG; and all the signs are that higher levels of corporate responsibility will be required in future.

https://www.hfw.com/downloads/003185-HFW-How-should-Commodities-companies-respond-to-increasing-levels-of-corporate-responsibility.pdf

SCOTLAND: FRAUD GANGS BEHIND A FLOOD OF FAKE MESSAGES HAVE STOLEN £64 MILLION DURING THE PANDEMIC

On 1 August, the Sunday Post reported that it is believed that more than half of people in the country have been targeted by text scams since lockdowns began in March 2020.  People now receive up to 4 scam messages or more every week.

https://www.sundaypost.com/fp/online-scams-soar-in-lockdown

FAKE CALL CENTRE BUSTED IN DELHI AND 12 HELD FOR DUPING FOREIGN NATIONALS

On 1 August, Mint reported that victims from the US and Canada were made to pay the amount through gift cards which were redeemed in US-based bank accounts of these foreigners, said the Delhi police.  Police raided premises and recovered 19 computers, 13 mobile phones 2 internet routers, 1 switch, a cheating script, telecommunication software, VOIP-calling dialers and incriminating data in computers and mobiles.

https://www.livemint.com/news/india/fake-call-centre-busted-in-delhi-s-dwarka-12-held-for-duping-foreign-nationals-11627828451347.html

NEW REGULATIONS ISSUED IN OMAN TO STOP MONEY LAUNDERING IN REAL ESTATE SECTOR

On 1 August, the Times of Oman reported that real estate companies and developers in Oman will need to make sure they do not accept funding for projects from questionable or dubious sources.  Employees must be trained on how to detect suspicious transactions and the activities associated with them; and an effective audit system must be introduced to verify compliance with external and internal control processes, and policies put in place to act as a deterrent to using laundered funds to finance economic activities.

https://timesofoman.com/article/104865-new-regulations-issued-in-oman-to-stop-money-laundering-in-real-estate-sector

UK TAX TRIBUNALS: THE NEXT 10 YEARS

On 26 July, the Institute for Fiscal Studies is concerned with a report from the Institute’s Tax Law Review Committee which identifies present strengths of the Tax Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) and addresses areas for improvement.  It is said that major causes of dissatisfaction among FTT users include delay, a lack of communication by the FTT administration, a lack of engagement by some judges during the hearing and the allocation of cases to judges with the appropriate knowledge or skill. 

https://ifs.org.uk/uploads/The%20tax%20tribunals%20the%20next%2010%20years.pdf

home office follows department of work and pensions in receiving TAX FINE FOR WRONG IR35 ASSESSMENTS

On 30 July, The Recruiter reported that the Home Office faces fines because of incorrect assessments of their contractors’ employment and tax status between 2017 and 2021. It has received a £4 million penalty on top of liability for £29.5 million incorrectly assessed plus interest accruing on the outstanding amount.  However, the penalty has been suspended for 3 months, subject to conditions which the article details.

https://www.recruiter.co.uk/news/2021/07/hmrc-slaps-tax-fine-home-office-wrong-ir35-assessments

PODCAST: BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP DISCLOSURE: REALITIES AND POLICY IMPLICATIONS

On 30 July, a podcast from RUSI says that the UK is not alone in facing challenges in ensuring the efficacy of its legal framework around beneficial ownership disclosure.  Host Tom Keatinge asks CFCS colleague Anton Moiseienko, Global Financial Integrity’s Lakshmi Kumar, Transparency International EU’s Laure Brillaud, and Jersey’s George Pearmain: how should beneficial ownership information be best exploited to meet the needs of those using the information, and to prevent money laundering and illicit finance activities?

https://rusi.org/podcasts/financial-crime-insights/episode-19-beneficial-ownership-disclosure-realities-and-policy-implications

MARITIME SUPPLY CHAIN ACTORS BROUGHT TOGETHER TO STEP UP COLLABORATIVE EFFORTS TO TACKLE TIMBER AND WILDLIFE TRAFFICKING IN CONTAINER SHIPPING

On 28 July, FIATA, the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations, a 2-day Global Shipping Roundtable event to combat illegal wildlife and timber trade in containerised shipping brought together attendees representing 39 private shipping lines, freight forwarding companies and port operators, 18 public sector organisations, seven policy-making bodies, including the WCO and IMO, as well as 14 NGO.  The event is said to have presented a unique opportunity to hear insights, recommendations and the individual and collective needs of the private sector that will form the basis of further efforts to drive progress in combating this illicit trade.

https://fiata.com/news/press-releases/2021/28-july-2021.html

HOW A GLOBAL MINIMUM TAX WOULD DETER PROFIT SHIFTING AND ONE WAY IT WOULD NOT

On 23 July, the Petersen Institute for International Economics published an article and chart which is the second in its series on international tax reform.  This focuses on the G7 proposal for a global minimum corporate tax designed to prevent companies from shifting profits to low-tax countries to minimise their tax bills. It produces 2 diagrams, one showing how the proposed 15% maximum rate would deter profit-shifting, and the other how it would not stop reduction in tax bills using R+D contracts.

https://www.piie.com/research/piie-charts/how-global-minimum-tax-would-deter-profit-shifting-and-one-way-it-would-not

REVENUE OFFICERS SEIZE 187,000 CIGARETTES AND 38.5 KG OF TOBACCO AT DUBLIN AIRPORT

A news release from the Revenue Commissioners on 30 July advised that 97,000 cigarettes were seized from air cargo consignments from Italy; 31 kg of raw tobacco was discovered in tins of cat and dog food from Poland and Spain; and hand-rolling tobacco and 90,000 cigarettes were found on passengers arriving from Poland and Nigeria.

https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/press-office/press-releases/2021/pr-073021-revenue-seize-cigarettes-tobacco-dublin-airport.aspx

UK: MAN SENT BACK TO PRISON FOR THE NON-PAYMENT OF A CONFISCATION ORDER FOR HIS ILL-GOTTEN GAINS FROM A FAKE ‘GREEN’ INVESTMENT SCHEME

On 26 July, a news release from the CPS advised that Evdoros Demetriou, 82, originally convicted in 2017, was returned to prison to serve a default sentence of 9 years for failing to comply with the outstanding order of more than £4 million following enforcement action taken by the CPS. Together with 4 others he had offered a ‘green’ tax efficient investment scheme to wealthy investors to steal millions from them.  In total all the defendants were ordered to pay £20,611,738.00.

https://www.cps.gov.uk/cps/news/oxford-alumnus-sent-back-jail-non-payment-his-confiscation-order-worth-millions-pounds

TEXAS MAN PLEADS GUILTY OVER SCAM TO SELL NEW SOUTH WALES GOVERNMENT MASKS HE DIDN’T HAVE FOR $317 MILLION

On 29 July, The Guardian reported that Arael Doolittle has pleaded guilty to involvement in a scheme to fraudulently sell 50 million N95 respirator masks he did not have.  Prosecutors said Doolittle and co-defendant Paschal Eleanya tried to sell 3M-branded masks at 5 times the list price to representatives of the New South Wales government, hoping to collect up to $275 million, with the rest going to their “broker”.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/jul/29/texas-man-pleads-guilty-over-scam-to-sell-nsw-government-masks-he-didnt-have-for-317m

NEW REPORT SHOWS ONGOING CHARGEBACK STRUGGLES FOR RETAILERS

On 6 July, the British Retail Consortium reported that a new report shows the significant impact Covid-19 has had on retail merchants. But many of the trends observed — including a surge in “friendly fraud” chargebacks — were already underway years before the pandemic. On so-called friendly fraud, it is said that the impact is hard to overestimate, and the threat is outpacing retailers’ ability to deal with it: 90% of merchants said that “cardholder abuse of the chargeback process” was a leading concern for their business.  At the same time, less than one-third described their current efforts at managing friendly fraud as “effective”.  The frauds include the representment process, which allows merchants to “re-present” invalid claims to the issuer, hopefully leading to a reversal.

https://brc.org.uk/news/finance/new-report-shows-ongoing-chargeback-struggles-for-retailers/

US DoJ AND IRS PROBE PANAMA OFFSHORE SERVICE FOR POTENTIAL TAX EVASION

On 1 August, Newsroom Panama reported that the DoJ and IRS were making inquiries after a judge authorised the IRS, to require from various courier companies and financial institutions information on US taxpayers who may have used the services of the firm Panama Offshore Legal Services (POLS) and its associates (which together it calls Grupo POLS), to evade payment federal tax.

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/us-justice-and-irs-probe-panama-offshore-service-1

SOUTH AFRICA: POACHERS NOW TRAFFIC IN TINY SUCCULENT PLANTS

On 31 July, the New York Times carried an article about the latest global wave of succulent poaching driven by surging demand from collectors and enthusiasts around the world, but especially in China and Korea.  South Africa is home to around a third of all succulent species, according to the WWF, and experts say that this wave of poaching poses a severe threat to biodiversity.  The Covid-19 pandemic has boosted an already buoyant houseplant industry, with garden centres reporting a sharp rise in indoor plant sales since lockdowns were first imposed in many countries in 2020.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/31/world/africa/south-africa-poachers-tiny-succulent-plants.html

REPORT ON BOKO HARAM

On 1 August, Vanguard in Nigeria carried extensive quotes from a report from the Tony Blair Institute on the situation involving Boko Haram in the Lake Chad region of Africa.  among other issues, the Institute is said to have extensively investigated the origin of Boko Haram, its founders, funding, internal battles, strengths, sustaining factors and capacity to carry out attacks.  Boko Haram raised their initial funds by soliciting donations not only from their members but also from communities who sympathised with – and were manipulated by – the group’s causes.This grew into a sophisticated funding channel as Boko Haram became more influential.  A substantial part of this came from “Zakat”, an annual charitable payment made by wealthy Muslims, which Boko Haram then used to cultivate farms and properties as well as empower those who gave parts of their profits to the group.  It is said that while funds and supplies from 2011 onwards largely came from the vast land and water resources around Lake Chad, as well as raids or taxation on communities in the region, it is worth noting that the group also used members in disguise and middlemen to smuggle in items they could not produce themselves – including medicine and ammunition.  The report says that FATF and similar bodies need to acknowledge that a significant proportion of Boko Haram’s revenue is sourced from local channels, and not solely via transnational means nor global wire-transfer (such as Hawala networks).  It is recommended that local authorities should vet and run due diligence on large transactions in their jurisdictions, and flag when unusually large payments are made or buyers raise suspicions. Security forces should step up efforts to block Boko Haram’s finance and supply routes because this is an integral part of any strategy to combat the group.

https://www.vanguardngr.com/2021/08/1-868-security-men-killed-by-b-haram-tony-blair-institute-report/

MONEY LAUNDERING WORRIES RAISED IN CASE OF BRITISH COLUMBIA LAWYER WHO LET CLIENT MOVE MILLIONS THROUGH TRUST ACCOUNT

On 31 July, CBC reported that a Vancouver lawyer has been suspended after letting a client use her firm’s trust accounts to move more than $14 million from other countries without providing any legal services or asking where the money came from.  A hearing panel of the Law Society of B.C. raises the possibility she may have been unintentionally helping someone clean dirty money.  According to the disciplinary decision, the transactions all involved a client who is based in Hong Kong and initially retained the lawyer to incorporate a numbered company to buy a restaurant, but first suspicious transaction came in May 2015, with deposits coming from places including Panama, Singapore and a Singapore bank via Luxembourg. 

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/bc-money-laundering-lawyer-1.6124842

https://sdgpulse.unctad.org/trade-developing-economies/

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CITY OF LONDON POLICE AND ACTION FRAUD

On 29 July, a news release from the City of London Police (lead force in the UK on financial fraud) responds to a Times article on the replacement of the criticised Action Fraud agency.  It stresses that there is no intention to “scrap” the Action Fraud service; the service provided by Action Fraud is continuing – but the contract with the current supplier was due to end in 2022 and it was always the intention to procure a new supplier to take on the service beyond this.  It goes on to says that, as with all service procurements, this will take some time and we have extended the current contract past its end date in 2022 to ensure a smooth transition period.

https://www.cityoflondon.police.uk/news/city-of-london/news/2021/july/city-of-london-polices-response-to-an-article-published-in-the-times-today-about-action-fraud

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INDICATORS OF MONEY LAUNDERING OF PROCEEDS FROM HUMAN TRAFFICKING FOR SEXUAL EXPLOITATION

On 30 July, FINTRAC in Canada has released updated indicators, thus updating its 2016 publication on such red flags. 

https://www.fintrac-canafe.gc.ca/intel/operation/oai-hts-2021-eng.pdf

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JULY 30

Catching up on stuff from before set off on Staycation…

30 JULY 2021

IS CAMEROON BECOMING CENTRAL AFRICA’S BABY TRADING HUB?

On 14 July, ENACT Observer reported that police opened an investigation into a network of traffickers who allegedly buy babies from the country and then sell them in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria and Chad.  This is not the first-time baby trading and trafficking has been linked to the country.  Cameroon-based syndicates record and send videos of poor teenage mothers to the traffickers in the DRC to register their willingness. Other actors include medical experts, such as nurses, and babysitters who provide support and care for the pregnant girls and their infants in illegal shelters where the babies are kept in transit. The presence of these experts indicates the high value of babies that are traded.

https://enactafrica.org/enact-observer/is-cameroon-becoming-central-africas-baby-trading-hub

WHY KENYA’S CHARCOAL BANS DON’T WORK

On 28 July, an article from ENACT Observer says that Kenya’s charcoal industry may be mostly informal, but it’s a big deal to the millions of people who rely on it for fuel or to earn a living – and is Kenya’s fourth biggest revenue earner after tourism, horticulture, and tea.  But charcoal production is taking a toll on local ecosystems. To address environmental concerns, the Kenyan government has imposed a series of trade bans on the charcoal business. The article explains why these are not working.

https://enactafrica.org/enact-observer/going-deeper-underground-why-kenyas-charcoal-bans-dont-work

GERMAN SOCIALITE ART COLLECTOR JAILED IN UK FOR KUSAMA PUMPKIN FRAUD

On 29 July, Bloomberg Quint reported that a German art collector was sentenced to 3½ years in prison less time she’d already served after admitting to an art fraud involving the fake sale of a $1.3 million yellow pumpkin sculpture by Yayoi Kusama.  Angela Gulbenkian, married into oil baron Calouste Gulbenkian’s family, took the money from a Hong Kong-based art dealer but never delivered the artwork.

https://www.bloombergquint.com/onweb/art-collector-sentenced-to-3-1-2-years-over-1-3-million-fraud

CROWN PERTH DIRECTORS DENY KNOWLEDGE OF ALLEGED MULTI-MILLION-DOLLAR MONEY LAUNDERING ACCOUNT

On 30 July, ABC News reported that past and present directors of a key Crown Perth company say they were never told about the existence of a bank account allegedly used by international criminal syndicates to launder hundreds of millions of dollars.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-07-30/crown-perth-directors-deny-knowledge-of-money-laundering-account/100332860

US PLANNING TO TARGET IRAN DRONE, GUIDED MISSILE PROGRAMMES WITH SANCTIONS
On 29 July, The Hill reported that the US is reportedly planning to issue sanctions targeting Iran’s drone and guided missile programmes, with officials citing potential threats to US national security.  The planned actions are aimed at disrupting the development of Iran’s weapons programme.

https://thehill.com/policy/defense/565452-us-planning-to-target-iran-drone-guided-missile-programs-with-sanctions-report?rl=1

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1902451/middle-east

UKRAINE IMPOSES SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIAN E-TAILER WILDBERRIES AND EU-BASED NGO RELATED TO THE DONETSK PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC

On 28 July, Baker McKenzie reported that Ukraine has imposed economic sanctions against 6 individuals and 10 entities, including 3 non-profit organisations related to the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.

https://sanctionsnews.bakermckenzie.com/ukraine-imposes-sanctions-against-russian-e-tailer-wildberries-and-certain-eu-based-ngos-related-to-the-self-proclaimed-donetsk-peoples-republic/#page=1

AML: EU-LEVEL SUPERVISION AND A SINGLE RULEBOOK BY THE END OF 2025

On 29 July, Irish law firm Arthur Cox produced an article outlining EU plans published by the EU, including for a new EU-level Authority for Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism.  In addition, the existing AML/CFT framework will be recast into an EU regulation with direct effect in all Member States. This will remove the need for all EU AML/CFT rules to be transposed into the laws of each Member State, thereby reducing the risk of regulatory divergence.

https://insights.arthurcox.com/post/102h40b/aml-eu-level-supervision-and-a-single-rulebook-by-the-end-of-2025

IRELAND: PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO AUDIT STANDARDS SET TO PLACE A GREATER ONUS ON AUDITORS TO DETECT FRAUD

On 29 July, Field Fisher reported that the Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority (IAASA) recently issued a consultation paper, outlining IAASA’s proposals to amend a current audit standard, which will place a greater onus on auditors to assess companies’ financial statements for fraud.  The proposed effective date of the revised standards in Ireland is for the audits of financial statements with accounting periods beginning on or after 15 December.

https://www.fieldfisher.com/en-ie/locations/ireland/ireland-blog/proposed_amendments_to_audit_standards_set_to_place_a_greater_onus_on_auditors 

TAIWAN HARBOUR WORKER REFUSES BRIBE AND REPORTS CIGARETTE SMUGGLING TO AUTHORITIES

On 29 July, Taiwan News reported that a harbour worker in Kaohsiung turned down a US$10,700 bribe to look the other way when smuggled cigarettes arrived, and he reported the fact to the authorities.  The case involved a container full of cabbages from China substituted with a container of smuggled cigarettes. 

https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/4260698

GIABA HOLDS TRAINING ON LIBERIA’S MUTUAL EVALUATION ON COUNTRY’S AML/CFT REGIME

On 30 July, All Africa reported that FATF-style regional body GIABA will hold a Pre- Assessment Workshop on the second round of Mutual Evaluation of Liberia’s Anti Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing (AML/CFT) regime by GIABA.  This is in preparation for the on-site evaluation in February.

https://allafrica.com/stories/202107300479.html

AUSTRALIAN LOBSTERS ‘SMUGGLED TO CHINA’ DESPITE TRADE BAN

On 8 July, 9 News in Australia reported that, despite a Chinese ban, demand for rock lobsters continues to be strong, with some being smuggled into mainland China.

https://www.9news.com.au/national/australian-lobsters-smuggled-into-china-from-hong-kong-trade-tensions-ban/e0ece283-0dfc-4250-b238-156ddbf550ea

INDIA: UNITECH MONEY LAUNDERING CASE – LONDON HOTEL RESTRAINED

On 30 July, India Today reported that the Enforcement Directorate has attached a hotel in London owned by a UK-based firm in connection with the money laundering case against Unitech Group.

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/unitech-money-laundering-case-ed-attaches-london-hotel-worth-rs-58-crore-1834749-2021-07-30

DAIMLER IS FIGHTING THE TRADE IN FAKE REPLACEMENT PARTS

On 30 July, Automotive World reported that Daimler has continued its efforts to combat product counterfeiters with even more intensive measures in 2020.  The focus was above all on safety-related products such as fake brake discs or wheels.  It is said that over 1.7 million counterfeit Daimler products were confiscated in 2020, and the company initiated and supported over 550 raids by the authorities -although, owing to the worldwide lockdown, numerous raids had to be postponed.

https://www.automotiveworld.com/news-releases/increase-in-online-counterfeit-products-daimler-is-fighting-the-trade-in-fake-replacement-parts/

IRELAND: JUDGE RULES 84 VEHICLES SEIZED IN TIPPERARY REPRESENT PROCEEDS OF CRIME

On 30 July, The Carlow Nationalist and others reported that a High Court judge has ruled that 84 motor vehicles and a trailer seized by the Criminal Assets Bureau from a motor dealer’s yard in Co Tipperary represent, directly or indirectly, the proceeds of crime.  The judge concluded, from evidence presented by CAB, that Agne Khan and her husband Khurran Khan, who live in the UK West Midlands, were “at the heart of very large mandate frauds” and others, such as Jawad Khan, were employed in motor dealership businesses used to launder proceeds.

https://carlow-nationalist.ie/2021/07/30/judge-rules-84-vehicles-seized-in-co-tipperary-represent-proceeds-of-crime/

CHINA: FORMER SENIOR BANKING REGULATOR PROBED

On 30 July, Caixin reported that Cai Esheng, a former vice-chairman and Communist Party committee member of the now-defunct China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), has been put under investigation by the country’s top anti-corruption watchdog. 

https://www.caixinglobal.com/2021-07-30/former-senior-banking-regulator-probed-by-graft-buster-101749007.html

REFORM OF THE GERMAN TRANSPARENCY REGISTER ENTERS INTO FORCE

On 30 July, Taylor Wessing reported that on 1 August significant amendments to the German Anti-Money Laundering Act (Geldwäschegesetz, or “GWG”) will enter into force and which will significantly increase the importance of the German transparency register – with new reporting obligations for these companies triggered.

https://www.taylorwessing.com/en/insights-and-events/insights/2021/07/aenderungen-zum-transparenzregister-treten-in-kraft

EDPB ISSUES DRAFT GUIDELINES ON CODES OF CONDUCT FOR DATA TRANSFERS

On 30 July, CMS Law reported that the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) has issued its draft Guidelines on the codes of conduct to be used as a tool for facilitating data transfers – the second in a series that provide details and practical information on the provisions of the GDPR regarding codes of conduct.  The guidelines are open for public consultation until 1 October.

https://www.cms-lawnow.com/ealerts/2021/07/edpb-issues-draft-guidelines-on-codes-of-conduct-for-data-transfers

https://edpb.europa.eu/system/files/2021-07/edpb_guidelinescodesconducttransfers_publicconsultation_en.pdf

AUSTRALIA PREPARES TO DEPORT ‘NDRANGHRETA LEADER TO ITALY

On 29 July, OCCRP reported that Australia plans to deport convicted drug trafficker Francesco “Frank” Madafferi, who has been in an Australian prison since 2014 for helping import from Naples some 15 million ecstasy pills concealed in tomato tins.  It is also reported that  that his own lawyers, were police informants while ostensibly defending him.. Acquaro was shot dead outside of his office in 2016, after it was revealed that Gobbo was an informant.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/14925-australia-prepares-to-deport-ndranghreta-leader-to-italy

8 ARRESTS FOLLOWING THE SEIZURE AT SEA OF 15 TONNES OF HASHISH BY SPANISH AUTHORITIES

On 30 July, a news release from Europol advised that police have dismantled an organised crime network involved in large-scale drugs trafficking, arresting 8 of its members. These criminals were about to smuggle 15 tonnes of hashish into Spain when they were arrested. 

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/8-arrests-following-seizure-sea-of-15-tonnes-of-hashish-spanish-authorities

SOUTH AFRICA: SECURITY AND OPERATIONAL THREATS TO PERSIST

On 30 July, Control Risks issued this warning after the violent unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces in South Africa prompted by the sentencing and subsequent imprisonment of former president Jacob Zuma has begun to ease.

https://www.controlrisks.com/our-thinking/insights/south-africa-security-and-operational-threats-to-persist

RE-EVALUATING COMPLIANCE RISK ASSESSMENTS IN TODAY’S WORLD

On 30 July, Control Risks published an article presenting 5 considerations for demonstrating awareness of an evolving risk profile and for preventing and detecting issues.  It says that regulators expect one to meaningfully consider evolving risk, and to design procedures to detect when risk events occur and revise processes as new lessons are learned.  It says that the very nature of the “new normal” and subsequent changes to the business environment result in an evolving risk profile.   If anything, companies should be working harder than ever to demonstrate awareness of their evolving risk profile and doing everything feasible to prevent and detect issues.

https://www.controlrisks.com/our-thinking/insights/reassessing-compliance-risk-assessments-in-todays-world

COLOMBIA’S COCAINE KEEPS ON REACHING NEW HEIGHTS

On 30 July, Insight Crime reported that, while the amount of coca crops in Colombia has dipped for the third year, the country’s cocaine production continues to reach record highs, according to new figures from the UN.  It says that, while the trends may appear perplexing, there are reasons – technical, territorial and criminal – that coca and cocaine figures may plausibly be at odds.

https://insightcrime.org/news/colombia-cocaine-keeps-reaching-new-heights-unodc/

WHAT DOES THE UK NATIONAL SECURITY AND INVESTMENT ACT 2021 MEAN FOR FINANCE TRANSACTIONS?

On 30 July, Eversheds Sutherland published a briefing posing this question and focused on the potential implications of the Act on finance transactions. For the background and detail of the content of the Act it refers one to the briefings and podcast published by its Competition, EU and Trade team.  It briefly explains what the Act is and the sectors affected, mentions guidance issued by the UK Government and then goes on to list the 5 ways the Act may impact on finance transactions.

https://www.eversheds-sutherland.com/global/en/what/articles/index.page?ArticleID=en/Financial_services/nsi-act-finance

ISLE OF MAN: AML/CFT SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION DOCUMENT

On 30 July, the FSA published this supplement to the AML/CFT Handbook released on 23 July.  The new information requirements and guidance for persons, entities and arrangements which are covered by various Acts under which the various regulated industries operate in the Island. 

https://www.iomfsa.im/amlcft/amlcft-requirements-and-guidance/

https://www.iomfsa.im/fsa-news/2021/jul/amlcft-publication-of-the-amlcft-handbook-july-2021/

ADELAIDE MAN CHARGED OVER ALLEGED $38.5 MILLION TAX FRAUD

A news release from the Australian Federal Police on 30 July advised that a 74-year-old South Australian had been charged in relation to an alleged taxation fraud spanning 15 years and totalling more than $38.5 million.  Authorities allege the accused failed to disclose overseas trust assets in his income tax returns and therefore evaded income tax in Australia between 1999 and 2013.

https://www.afp.gov.au/news-media/media-releases/adelaide-man-charged-over-alleged-385m-tax-fraud

THE GLOBAL EXPANSION OF RUSSIA’S PRIVATE MILITARY COMPANIES

On 23 July, an article from the Center for Strategic and International Studies examines Russia’s growing use of private military companies (PMC) to increase its influence through irregular means. Although Russian PMC present only one of a variety of national security threats and challenges facing the US, this report assesses that they warrant a more substantive and coordinated response from the US and its partners.

https://www.csis.org/analysis/russias-corporate-soldiers-global-expansion-russias-private-military-companies

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THINGS YOUMAY HAVE MISSED – JULY 30/31

Still away, and operating on limitations (including trying to have a good time!),so apologies once more for any shortcomings…normal service should return shortly. Meanwhile –

30 July 2021

Panama Covid-19 update – 915 new cases, 10 new fatalities, 434,460 cases to date and 6,808 fatalities.  Currently, 12,387 active cases, 104 in ICU, 444 in other wards and 343 in hospital hotels.  There have been 10,854 tests carried out, with a “hit rate” of 8.3%.

IRAN NUCLEAR MILESTONES: 1967-2021 AND IRAN MISSILE MILESTONES: 1985-2021

The Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control has produced these 2 timelines that put the current situation re Iran and its nuclear and missile development into context.

https://www.iranwatch.org/our-publications/weapon-program-background-report/iran-missile-milestones-1985-2020

https://www.iranwatch.org/our-publications/weapon-program-background-report/iran-nuclear-milestones-1967-2017

LEBANON: EU ADOPTS A FRAMEWORK FOR TARGETED SANCTIONS

On 30 July, the EU Council announced that it had adopted a framework for targeted restrictive measures to address the situation in Lebanon. This framework provides for the possibility of imposing sanctions against persons and entities who are responsible for undermining democracy or the rule of law in Lebanon.  Sanctions consist of a travel ban to the EU and an asset freeze for persons, and an asset freeze for entities. In addition, EU persons and entities are forbidden from making funds available to those listed. 

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2021/07/30/lebanon-eu-adopts-a-framework-for-targeted-sanctions/?utm_source=dsms-auto&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Lebanon%3a+EU+adopts+a+framework+for+targeted+sanctions

OFAC DESIGNATES CUBAN POLICIA NACIONAL REVOLUCIONARIA AND ITS DIRECTOR AND DEPUTY DIRECTOR

On 30 July, OFAC announced that it has designated the POLICIA NACIONAL REVOLUCIONARIA alongside both the Director and Deputy Director under the Global Magnitsky sanctions regime.

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20210730

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy0298

ICE ANNOUNCES FIRST RESOURCE GUIDE TO AID HUMAN TRAFFICKING VICTIMS

On 30 July, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued a news release saying that it had released a resource guide to assist federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement agencies nationwide with their human trafficking investigations and prosecutions. When used by law enforcement, it is a tool that will help increase the likelihood of success in human trafficking investigations and prosecutions.

https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/ice-announces-first-resource-guide-aid-human-trafficking-victims

UK WASTE COMPANY FINED £1.5 MILLION FOR ILLEGALLY EXPORTING HOUSEHOLD WASTE

On 30 July, The Guardian reported that the UK’s largest waste company, Biffa, has been fined £1.5 million after exporting filthy rubbish marked as waste paper for recycling in India and Indonesia, in actions a judge called “reckless, bordering on deliberate”.  The case sees the second time in 2 years that the company has been fined for illegally exporting household waste.  In addition to the fine, Biffa was ordered to pay costs of £153,827.99, and a proceeds of crime order of £38,388.  In 2019, Biffa was fined £350,000, with costs of £240,000 and a proceeds of crime order of £9,912, for sending household waste, described as waste paper, to China between May and June 2015.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jul/30/uk-waste-firm-fined-15m-for-exporting-household-waste

ISRAEL BLAMES IRAN FOR ATTACK ON TANKER THAT KILLED BRITISH SECURITY GUARD AND ROMANIAN CREWMAN

On 30 July, The Guardian reported that the Liberian-flagged Mercer Street, which is linked to an Israeli tycoon, was hit off the coast of Oman in what is thought to have been a swarm attack involving multiple drones.  Though the vessel is Japanese owned, it is managed by an Israeli-owned company, Zodiac Maritime, part of the billionaire Eyal Ofer’s Zodiac Group.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/30/two-reportedly-killed-in-attack-on-israeli-linked-oil-tanker-off-oman

US, AUSTRALIAN AND UK AGENCIES RELEASE JOINT ADVISORY ON TOP ROUTINELY EXPLOITED VULNERABILITIES

On 26 July, Homeland Security Today reported that CISA, FBI, NCSC and ACSC had released a joint advisory on top routinely exploited vulnerabilities. The Joint Cybersecurity Advisory was co-authored by the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), and the FBI. It provides details on the top 30 vulnerabilities—primarily Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE)—routinely exploited by malicious cyber actors in 2020 and those being widely exploited thus far in 2021.

https://www.hstoday.us/subject-matter-areas/cybersecurity/cisa-fbi-ncsc-and-acsc-release-joint-advisory-on-top-routinely-exploited-vulnerabilities/

https://us-cert.cisa.gov/ncas/alerts/aa21-209a

NIGERIA: PIRATES WHO HIJACKED A CHINESE VESSEL IN 2020 SENTENCED TO PRISON

On 27 July, Homeland Security Today reported that a court in Nigeria has sentenced 10 pirates to prison for hijacking a Chinese fishing vessel, FV Hai Lu Feng II, in May 2020.  They were convicted under the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offenses (SPOMO) ACT which was signed into Law by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 and which has been described as a major stride in Nigeria’s quest in ensuring prosecution of criminals in the Nigerian maritime domain.

31 July 2021

Panama Covid-19 update – 15 fatalities (6,823 to date) and 1,195 new cases (435,655 to date); 12,569 active cases; 13,106 tests carried out with a 9.1% hit rate; 105 patients in ICU,468 in other wards and 344 in hospital hotels.

UK: CORPORATE CRIMINAL LIABILITY: THE WHY AND THE HOW

On 27 July, BCL Solicitors produced n article about the recent Law Commission paper saying that it appears clear that while people agree that there are problems with the UK law on corporate criminal liability there is no consensus at all on precisely what is wrong, and what to do about it.  It considers some of the aspects, such as around DPA and the directing mind principle.  It argues for a more evolutionary than revolutionary approach to changes.

https://www.mondaq.com/uk/corporate-crime/1084110/corporate-criminal-liability-the-why-and-the-how?email_access=on

2 Pakistani Nationals Extradited to Face Charges over attempt to send large amount of heroin to US

A news release from the DEA on 30 July announced the extradition 2 Pakistani citizens, who will face charges for attempting to import large quantities of heroin into the US.  Apparently caught by a DEA sting, it is said that Maulabaksh Gorgeech and Niamatullah Gorgeech were Asia-based drug traffickers, began communicating and meeting with individuals whom they believed were heroin traffickers interested in purchasing multi-kilogram quantities of heroin for importation into the US in late 2019.

https://www.dea.gov/press-releases/2021/07/30/two-pakistani-nationals-extradited-united-states-face-drug-charges

ESG REPORTING MANIPULATION AND THE RISK OF FINANCIAL FRAUD 

The latest edition of the Thought 4 Leaders FIRE magazine includes an article about ESG misreporting, saying that the current environment provides all three elements of the oft-touted “fraud triangle” – pressure, opportunity and rationale.  However, it also says that there are several warning signs of ESG-related fraud, many of which are familiar to those involved in the investigation of financial statement fraud.

https://thoughtleaders4.com/images/uploads/news/TL4_FIRE_Issue_5_-_Future_of_Fraud.pdf

HOW CRYPTOCURRENCIES CAN BE TRACED

Another article in the latest edition of the Thought 4 Leaders FIRE magazine says that tracing crypto transactions is in many ways more feasible than other forms of asset tracing, provided one is equipped with the necessary expertise. The recent success of the US DoJ in recovering $2.3 million worth of misappropriated Bitcoins following the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack was only the latest demonstration of how this can be done.

https://thoughtleaders4.com/images/uploads/news/TL4_FIRE_Issue_5_-_Future_of_Fraud.pdf

IMPORTANT GUIDANCE AND FINDINGS OF BREACH OF FIDUCIARY DUTY OF A DIRECTOR IN A BVI REGISTERED COMPANY

Another article in the latest edition of the Thought 4 Leaders FIRE magazine concerns a recent case which is one of the rare occasions in which the Privy Council will overturn findings of fact from the lower courts.  The judgment also provides further commentary and assistance on when it will be appropriate for an appellate court to intrude upon and reassess findings of facts by lower courts. In this case the Privy Council overturned decisions of both the BVI High Court and the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal.  The case is described as is a timely reminder of the duties which BVI directors owe to the companies to which they are appointed and the need for directors to take reasonable steps to prevent any breach of duty or misapplication of the assets of the company concerned.

https://thoughtleaders4.com/images/uploads/news/TL4_FIRE_Issue_5_-_Future_of_Fraud.pdf

HOW TO PLEAD FRAUD CLAIMS – AND HOW NOT TO

Another article in the latest edition of the Thought 4 Leaders FIRE magazine concerns a recent case before the High Court in London which struck out a claim alleging unlawful means conspiracy.  It is said that the judgment contains important lessons for parties seeking to bring claims for conspiracy, or for fraud more generally, and on how such claims should be pleaded.  The case is also said to be a good example of issues that can occur where parties seek to bring multiple related claims arising out of the same set of facts.  In this case, the Claimants’ claim failed because they had not pleaded, and could not identify, a complete cause of action.

https://thoughtleaders4.com/images/uploads/news/TL4_FIRE_Issue_5_-_Future_of_Fraud.pdf

SEX TRAFFICKING IN THE US ISN’T WHAT YOU THINK: 4 MYTHS DEBUNKED – AND 1 REAL-WORLD WAY TO PREVENT SEXUAL EXPLOITATION

An article on Medium by an Assistant Professor of Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies, Oklahoma State University says that the common perception of sex trafficking involves a young, passive woman captured by an aggressive trafficker.  The woman is hidden and waiting to be rescued by law enforcement.  The author of the article says that she has been researching sex trafficking in the US Midwest since 2013 and presents what she says is the facts and the law. [Note: one thing she does highlight is that “trafficking” can take within a country, and does not need to involve crossing a border] The article emphasises the difference between sex work and sex trafficking, and that sex workers can be wrongly labelled and treated as “trafficked”. 

https://theconversation.com/sex-trafficking-isnt-what-you-think-4-myths-debunked-and-1-real-world-way-to-prevent-sexual-exploitation-158852

https://www.visualcapitalist.com/1-6-billion-disposable-masks-entered-our-oceans-in-2020/

BAHAMAS: ENVIRONMENTALISTS CONCERNED OVER TREE-KILLING BEETLE AND SHIP ORDERED OUT OF US

On 31 July, Eyewitness News reported that local environmentalists expressed concern after a vessel reportedly carrying wood infected with tree-killing beetles, and ordered out of New Orleans by US officials, was allowed to offload on Grand Bahama.  It was reported that the cargo ship out of the country after finding it infested with a type of Asian beetle that has been destroying trees in the US for more than 2 decades.

https://ewnews.com/horrifying-environmentalists-concerned-whether-tree-killing-beetle-onboard-ship-let-loose-on-gb

IRANIAN CITIZENS LIVING IN CANADA CHARGED WITH PLANS TO EXPORT EQUIPMENT USED TO ENRICH URANIUM

On 31 July, Texas News Today reported that Iranians living in Montreal are alleged to have exported lab equipment controlled for nuclear non-proliferation reasons from the US to Iran via Canada and the UAE.  The case involves attempts to export mass spectrometers to Iran.

https://texasnewstoday.com/iranian-citizens-living-in-canada-have-been-charged-with-plans-to-export-equipment-used-to-enrich-uranium/391830/

https://denvergazette.com/wex/man-charged-for-allegedly-exporting-controlled-lab-equipment-to-iran/article_0819c2be-91ff-53d8-8e16-6cf284517d21.html

HACKERS BEHIND THE SOLARWINDS CYBERATTACK IN DECEMBER BREACHED EMAILS IN DOZENS OF OFFICES OF US ATTORNEYS

On 31 July, UPI reported that the US DoJ had revealed that the attack breached the email accounts of employees in at least 27 offices across the country.

https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2021/07/31/doj-solarwinds/8421627749531/

UK: ORGANISED CRIME WARNING ISSUED TO PORT AND AIRPORT WORKERS

On 31 July, Homeland Security Today reported that the NCA has issued an alert to furloughed port and airport workers warning they may be vulnerable to organized crime groups seeking to exploit the COVID-19 crisis and that staff who have a detailed knowledge of controls and processes around the border could be targeted.  The warning has been issued to companies at the border, including port and airport operators, contractors, couriers and freight operators.

https://www.hstoday.us/subject-matter-areas/airport-aviation-security/organized-crime-warning-issued-to-port-and-airport-workers/

AUSTRALIA TO RETURN 15 HISTORIC ARTEFACTS TO INDIA

On 31 July, News of Bahrain reported that the National Gallery of Australia was to return to India 15 artefacts, including paintings sculptures and photographs, which it had acquired between 1989 and 2009 and which are associated with disgraced art dealer Subhash Kapoor.

https://www.newsofbahrain.com/trends/74331.html

IRAQ NATIONAL MUSEUM TO REOPEN AFTER RECOVERY OF LOOTED ARTEFACTS

On 31 July, New Kerala,com reported that the Baghdad museum was to reopen after some 17,000 looted artefacts were recovered from the US.

https://www.newkerala.com/news/2021/108050.htm

MEXICAN AUTHORITIES IDENTIFY 12 CRYPTO EXCHANGES INVOLVED IN MONEY LAUNDERING

On 31 July, the Cryptopolitan website reported that Mexican authorities has identified 12 local crypto exchanges which may have been involved in laundering money for the Jalisco drug cartel in the country. 

https://www.cryptopolitan.com/mexican-authorities-burst-exchange-firms/

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ESG REPORTING MANIPULATION AND THE RISK OF FINANCIAL FRAUD

The latest edition of the Thought 4 Leaders FIRE magazine includes an article about ESG misreporting, saying that the current environment provides all three elements of the oft-touted “fraud triangle” – pressure, opportunity and rationale.  However, it also says that there are several warning signs of ESG-related fraud, many of which are familiar to those involved in the investigation of financial statement fraud.

https://thoughtleaders4.com/images/uploads/news/TL4_FIRE_Issue_5_-_Future_of_Fraud.pdf

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ISRAEL BLAMES IRAN FOR ATTACK ON TANKER THAT KILLED BRITISH SECURITY GUARD AND ROMANIAN CREWMAN

On 30 July, The Guardian reported that the Liberian-flagged Mercer Street, which is linked to an Israeli tycoon, was hit off the coast of Oman in what is thought to have been a swarm attack involving multiple drones.  Though the vessel is Japanese owned, it is managed by an Israeli-owned company, Zodiac Maritime, part of the billionaire Eyal Ofer’s Zodiac Group.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/30/two-reportedly-killed-in-attack-on-israeli-linked-oil-tanker-off-oman

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UK WASTE COMPANY FINED £1.5 MILLION FOR ILLEGALLY EXPORTING HOUSEHOLD WASTE

On 30 July, The Guardian reported that the UK’s largest waste company, Biffa, has been fined £1.5 million after exporting filthy rubbish marked as waste paper for recycling in India and Indonesia, in actions a judge called “reckless, bordering on deliberate”.  The case sees the second time in 2 years that the company has been fined for illegally exporting household waste.  In addition to the fine, Biffa was ordered to pay costs of £153,827.99, and a proceeds of crime order of £38,388.  In 2019, Biffa was fined £350,000, with costs of £240,000 and a proceeds of crime order of £9,912, for sending household waste, described as waste paper, to China between May and June 2015.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jul/30/uk-waste-firm-fined-15m-for-exporting-household-waste

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Apologies – “out of office” for a day or two, normal service will be restored in due course!

On a “staycation”, as the British term it, but normal service will be resumed before the end of the weekend. Taking advantage of special rates due to under-occupancy in 4/5-star hotels…and very nice too. However, wifi not all it could be, and this laptop lacks all my usual links and tools

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OFAC DESIGNATES CUBAN POLICIA NACIONAL REVOLUCIONARIA AND ITS DIRECTOR AND DEPUTY DIRECTOR

On 30 July, OFAC announced that it has designated the POLICIA NACIONAL REVOLUCIONARIA alongside both the Director and Deputy Director under the Global Magnitsky sanctions regime.

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20210730

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy0298

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LEBANON: EU ADOPTS A FRAMEWORK FOR TARGETED SANCTIONS

On 30 July, the EU Council announced that it had adopted a framework for targeted restrictive measures to address the situation in Lebanon. This framework provides for the possibility of imposing sanctions against persons and entities who are responsible for undermining democracy or the rule of law in Lebanon.  Sanctions consist of a travel ban to the EU and an asset freeze for persons, and an asset freeze for entities. In addition, EU persons and entities are forbidden from making funds available to those listed. 

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2021/07/30/lebanon-eu-adopts-a-framework-for-targeted-sanctions/?utm_source=dsms-auto&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Lebanon%3a+EU+adopts+a+framework+for+targeted+sanctions

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THE GLOBAL EXPANSION OF RUSSIA’S PRIVATE MILITARY COMPANIES

On 23 July, an article from the Center for Strategic and International Studies examines Russia’s growing use of private military companies (PMC) to increase its influence through irregular means. Although Russian PMC present only one of a variety of national security threats and challenges facing the US, this report assesses that they warrant a more substantive and coordinated response from the US and its partners.

https://www.csis.org/analysis/russias-corporate-soldiers-global-expansion-russias-private-military-companies

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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EU IRAN SANCTIONS – MANY ENTRIES REPLACED

EU Regulation 2021/1242/EU contained many amended entries of persons and entities subject to sanctions under EU Regulation 267/2012/EU.  In addition, following the judgment of an EU General Court case, Sayed Shamsuddin Borborudi is removed from the sanctions lists.

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv%3AOJ.L_.2021.272.01.0004.01.ENG&toc=OJ%3AL%3A2021%3A272%3ATOC

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/AUTO/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2021.272.01.0073.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2021:272:TOC

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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EU: LIBYA SANCTIONS – ENTRY FOR GENERAL KHALED TOHAMI DELETED AND THAT OF BAGHDADI AL-MAHMOUDI AMENDED

EU Regulation 2021/1241/EU sees one entry deleted and another amended and replaced.

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv%3AOJ.L_.2021.272.01.0001.01.ENG&toc=OJ%3AL%3A2021%3A272%3ATOC

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/AUTO/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2021.272.01.0071.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2021:272:TOC

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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HOW A RUSSIAN COUPLE SOLD €679 MILLION WORTH OF WEAPONS FROM THEIR MADRID HOME

On 29 July, El Pais reported that the Kokorevs are accused of money laundering for Teodoro Obiang, the long-time dictator of Equatorial Guinea.  They are said to have received €120 million from the country through the sale of weapons, ships and helicopters.  It is alleged that Vladimir Kokorev, his wife Julia Maleeva and their children Igor and Vladimir moved €679 million through a giant web of companies in tax havens over 15 years.  The family’s world came crashing down in 2007.  There is now a 500-page report from Spain’s anti-corruption attorney’s office into the money laundering operation.  In 2018, Vladimir, Julia and Igor Kokorev were arrested in Panama and extradited to Spain, and they have been in pre-trial detention for more than 2 years.  In Mayof this year, a judge issued an order to open the trial against Vladimir, Julia and Igor Kokorev, who face charges of money laundering. The conditions imposed by Panama for their extradition to Spain mean they cannot be tried for other crimes and the family’s defence team has denied all charges and called for them to be acquitted.

https://english.elpais.com/spain/2021-07-29/how-a-russian-couple-sold-679-million-worth-of-weapons-from-their-madrid-home.html

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JULY 29

Panama Covid-19 update – another record, I think, 112,723 vaccinations in one day on 28 July. Meanwhile, today saw another 1,022 new cases and 6 new fatalities; with 12,629 active cases. However, numbers in ICU and other hospital wars, and in the so-called “hospital hotels”, fell again – numbers now being 100 in ICU, 447 in other wards and 329 in the hotel rooms.

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

HM CROWN PROSECUTION SERVICE INSPECTORATE (HMCPSI) PRAISES SFO’S “EFFECTIVE AND PROACTIVE” PROCEEDS OF CRIME RECOVERY

On 22 July, Security Matters reported that the SFO had been praised by HMCPSI for its work on recovering the proceeds of crime, with cases “handled proactively and efficiently” by “dedicated and skilled” members of staff.  It went on to provide a brief summary of the comments made by HMCPSI.

https://securitymattersmagazine.com/hmcpsi-praises-sfos-effective-and-proactive-proceeds-of-crime-recovery

VIDEO GAMING THE SYSTEM

On 21 July, the excellent Planet Money podcast series from NPR in the US released an about a world of wizards and dragons in a low-tech video game, which was being used by players in Venezuela as a means of earning money by accumulating rewards in the game that they could exchange for real cash with other players – showing a better return than they could achieve in the real world in the battered economy of Venezuela.

https://www.stitcher.com/show/npr-planet-money-podcast/episode/video-gaming-the-system-85586444

UN WARNS LIBYA’S BANKING SYSTEM AT RISK OF COLLAPSE

On 26 July, Dryad Global reported that Libya’s banking system “will likely collapse” if the country’s 2 parallel central bank branches don’t unify, the UN special envoy to the country warned. 

https://channel16.dryadglobal.com/un-warns-libyas-banking-system-at-risk-of-collapse

SRI LANKAN VESSELS INTERCEPTED IN SEYCHELLES WATERS FOR ILLEGAL FISHING

On 27 July, Dryad Global reported that Seychelles is considering destroying Sri Lankan vessels illegally fishing in Seychellois waters in the future following a half dozen incidents over the last year.

https://channel16.dryadglobal.com/sri-lankan-vessels-intercepted-in-seychellois-waters-for-illegal-fishing

IRAN GEARS UP TO USE NEW OIL EXPORTS TERMINAL

On 29 July, Dryad Global reported that oil has arrived at Iran’s new exports facility, the Jask Oil Exports Terminal off the Sea of Oman, and is ready for loading.

https://channel16.dryadglobal.com/iran-gears-up-to-use-new-oil-exports-terminal

THIRD COUNTRIES ALIGN WITH EU SANCTIONS MEASURES

On 29 July, the EU Sanctions blog reported that various third countries had announced that they would align themselves with EU sanctions measures: North Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania, Iceland and Norway with recent Belarus sanctions; Montenegro, Albania, Norway, Ukraine and Georgia with recent Russia sanctions; and North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Ukraine and Moldova with recent Myanmar sanctions.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2021/07/us-eu-renew-sanctions-regimes-third-countries-align-with-eu-sanctions/

NIGERIA: KIDNAPPERS BEGIN COLLECTION OF RANSOM THROUGH BANK TRANSFER

On 28 July, Daily Trust reported that kidnappers operating in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have started collecting ransom from their victims via bank accounts contrary to their usual style of receiving cash.

https://dailytrust.com/kidnappers-in-fct-begin-collection-of-ransom-through-banks

CREDIT SUISSE: INQUIRY CRITICISES BANK’S DUE DILIGENCE PROCEDURES

On 29 July, KYC 360 reported claims that Credit Suisse Group AG failed to properly monitor tens of billions of dollars of exposure that piled up while handling trades for Archegos Capital Management that generated relatively little revenue.  A report into how the bank lost about $5.5 billion tied to the collapse of Bill Hwang’s family office paints a picture of due diligence failings.  Its prime brokerage unit — which deals with hedge fund clients — suffered steeper losses than any competitor when Archegos’s massive, leveraged bets on a relatively small collection of companies soured early this year.

https://kyc360.riskscreen.com/news/credit-suisses-archegos-inquiry-rips-banks-due-diligence

FOCUS ON PANAMA – THE MARITIME SPECIAL REPORT

The report from the Informa Group considers the maritime-related sector in Panama.  It provides a commentary and analysis on emerging opportunities throughout the supply chain, as well as the impact of forthcoming regulatory updates and growing concern around crew welfare.

https://cloud.3dissue.com/176015/176412/205860/FocusOnPanama2021/index.html

2 CHARGED WITH BULK CASH SMUGGLING IN US VIRGIN ISLANDS

On 29 July, the Virgin Islands Daily News reported that 2 men are facing federal criminal charges after smuggling more than $100,000 cash on a boat from Puerto Rico to St. Thomas.  Customs agents stopped the men, who had been after a boat was spotted operating at night without navigational lights and a bag containing more than $100,000 was found.  It is said that US law makes it a crime to possess more than $100,000 in US currency onboard a vessel outfitted for smuggling.

https://www.virginislandsdailynews.com/news/two-charged-with-bulk-cash-smuggling/article_ea06859c-7064-5433-bc9f-ac4fc432da77.html

ANCIENT ARTEFACTS SMUGGLED INTO THE UK HAVE BEEN RETURNED TO BULGARIA

On 29 July, UKNIP reported that coins, pendants, brooches, statues and spearheads were among the antiquities found hidden inside a lorry full of trousers at the Port of Dover in October 2020.  The driver was working as a courier on behalf of a Bulgarian organised crime group and was jailed for 2 years in March.  The illegal excavation of antiques is an ongoing issue in Bulgaria, depriving its citizens of an important part of their cultural heritage.

https://uknip.co.uk/breaking/news-268566/ancient-artefacts-smuggled-into-the-uk-have-been-formally-returned-to-the-people-of-bulgaria-following-the-conclusion-of-a-kent-police-investigation/

CANADA: NON-PROLIFERATION EXPERTS SEND LETTER OF CONCERN OVER NEW BRUNSWICK NUCLEAR PROJECT

On 28 July, the National Observer reported that a group of US-based scientists have sent a second open letter to the Prime Minister requesting an expert review of a New Brunswick nuclear project over its plans to recover a radioactive material from spent uranium fuel by Moltex Energy.  It is said that any process involving plutonium production is risky because of its extremely high radiation and the letter says that the project is a serious threat to nuclear proliferation — the spread of nuclear weapons — and the environment.

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2021/07/28/news/non-proliferation-experts-send-letter-concern-over-new-brunswick-nuclear-project

PANAMA PURSUES ORGANISED CRIME ON ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

On 29 July, La Estrella de Panama reported that Panama has created a police intelligence office to pursue “organised crime that has ventured into environmental areas by laundering money” and to curb the smuggling of species,  The Environmental Police Intelligence Office is part of the National Police.

https://www.laestrella.com.pa/nacional/210729/panama-persigue-crimen-organizado-temas

AMENDMENTS TO CANADA’S EXPORT CONTROL LIST TAKE EFFECT 

On 23 July, an article from Bennett Jones LLP advised that the changes took effect from that date and are contained in an updated version of A Guide to Canada’s Export Control List.  A tracked change version of the Guide is also made available.  The Guide is Canada’s detailed list of items subject to export restrictions and contains the detailed technical specifications and interpretive notes necessary to determine whether goods and technology are subject to export controls.

https://www.bennettjones.com/Blogs-Section/Amendments-to-Canadas-Export-Control-List-Take-Effect-July-23-2021

OVERVIEW OF THE GERMAN SUPPLY CHAIN DUE DILIGENCE ACT

On 28 July, Taylor Wessing published an overview of the Act, which it says means that companies will need to adapt and update their compliance, purchasing and contract drafting processes.  It explains when the Act comes into effect, on 1 January 2023 and 1 January 2024 and outlines what it requires.  The Act essentially requires that companies concerned must make reasonable efforts to ensure that there are no violations of human rights in their own business operations and in the supply chain. 

https://www.taylorwessing.com/en/insights-and-events/insights/2021/07/overview-of-the-german-supply-chain-due-diligence-act

IMF: PROMPT EXIT FROM THE FATF GREY LIST A PRIORITY FOR PANAMA

On 29 July, a news release from the IM following a review under the 2-year Precautionary and Liquidity Line (PLL) arrangement for Panama says that the country’s policy agenda during the PLL will focus on facilitating prompt exit from the FATF grey list, as well as strengthening data adequacy, and preparing the economy for the post-pandemic recovery.

https://www.miragenews.com/imf-executive-board-completes-first-review-604090/

COMPLIANCE IMPACT OF FinCEN STATEMENT OF PRIORITIES

On 28 July, an article from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner considers the likely impact of the Statement recently issued by FinCEN.

https://www.bclplaw.com/en-US/insights/compliance-impact-of-fincen-statement-of-priorities.html

NORTH MACEDONIA’S FUGITIVE EX-PM MAY FACE PROBE OVER HUNGARIAN BUSINESS

On 29 July, Balkan Insight reported that Nikola Gruevski could face a fresh money laundering probe, experts say, following reports that he has invested in a new business in Hungary, where he has obtained asylum.  It is said that Gruevski fled North Macedonia in 2018 to avoid a jail sentence.

https://balkaninsight.com/2021/07/29/north-macedonias-fugitive-ex-pm-may-face-probe-over-hungarian-business/

SINGAPORE: CONSULTATION ON AML/CFT NOTICE FOR PRECIOUS STONES AND PRECIOUS METALS ACTIVITIES AND UPDATES FOR FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS AND VARIABLE CAPITAL COMPANIES

On 29 July, a Client Update from Rajah & Tann reported on a recent consultation exercise by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), which closes on 10 August.  The article provides a summary of the proposals.  As well as precious stones and precious metals, other matters, including new requirements relating to Digital Token Services and ”higher-risk” shell companies, as well as new disclosure requirement for licensed trust companies and approved trustees re beneficial ownership.  It is said that MAS aim to implement the proposals in the Consultation Paper in Q4 2021.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/documents.lexology.com/460334ae-0294-4378-9493-51fb3bc2357d.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAVYILUYJ754JTDY6T&Expires=1627560768&Signature=oONgd2MObY4xyTUUKVM%2BmyHaURA%3D

NEW ZEALAND: AML/CFT ACT SUPERVISORS ISSUE NEW GUIDANCE REGARDING IDENTITY VERIFICATION

On 28 July, Russell McVeagh published an article saying that the 3 AML/CFT Act Supervisors (the FMA, RBNZ and DIA) recently issued new guidance regarding 2 aspects of identity verification – electronic identity verification and birth certificates with redacted information.

https://www.russellmcveagh.com/insights/july-2021/the-aml-cft-act-supervisors-issue-new-guidance-regarding-identity-verification

FAKE CLOTHES AND LUXURY ITEMS WORTH €16.5 MILLION SEIZED IN SPAIN

On 29 July, a news release from Europol advised that on an action day on 21 July Spanish Civil Guard, the Portuguese National Guard and the Authority for Food and Economic Security (ASAE), supported by Europol, dismantled an organised crime group involved in the production and trafficking of counterfeit clothing, accessories and luxury goods. The investigation was triggered in 2019 by a statement from an association of brand representatives, and they reported the sale of counterfeit goods in the Spanish towns of La Jonquera and Els Límits, close to the French-Spanish border.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/fake-clothes-and-luxury-items-worth-€-165-million-seized-in-spain

UK: NEW DISCLOSURE RULES FOR ‘LESS COMPLEX CLAIMS’ BELOW £500,000

On 29 July, the Law Society Gazette reported on proposals for reform of the disclosure pilot in the Business and Property Courts in England & Wales.  Other proposals explained include changes that will also enable multi-party cases to avoid the prescriptive disclosure pilot rules in favour of active case management by a judge.  Changes would introduce a lighter regime for straightforward claims that are worth less than £500,000, or that could be considered ‘less complex claims’ due to their nature.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/new-disclosure-rules-for-less-complex-claims-below-500000/5109407.article

AUSTRALIAN MOST WANTED MAN ARRESTED IN MYKONOS

On 29 July, Ekathimerini reported that anti-narcotics police arrested a 39-year-old Australian, who features on Interpol’s most-wanted list, at Mykonos airport.  He is facing charges in the US as a member of an international drug ring.

https://www.ekathimerini.com/news/1165375/australian-wanted-by-interpol-arrested-in-mykonos/

UK: BANS ON F GAS IN NEW PRODUCTS AND EQUIPMENT – CURRENT AND FUTURE

On 29 July, a news release from the Environment Agency was concerned with uses of fluorinated gases (F gases) that are banned or will be banned in the future.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/bans-on-f-gas-in-new-products-and-equipment-current-and-future

SOUTH AFRICA ARRESTS “WORLD’S MOST WANTED” RHINO HORN POACHERS

On 29 July, OCCRP reported that South Africa had arrested 2 of the biggest names in the industry, Johannes Groenewald – known as Dawie – and Schalk Steyn – known as AB Steyn. For more than a decade, the 2 were considered rhino horn kingpins and have been cashing in on this market, where rhinos can sell for up to $30,000.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/14920-south-africa-arrests-world-s-most-wanted-rhino-horn-poachers

US PAUSES COOPERATION WITH GUATEMALA ATTORNEY GENERAL AFTER REMOVAL OF ANTI-CORRUPTION CHIEF

On 28 July, Jurist reported that the pause comes as a response to the decision by Guatemala’s Attorney General, to remove Juan Francisco Sandoval as head of the Office of Special Prosecutor Against Impunity (FECI), which tackles corruption. 

https://www.jurist.org/news/2021/07/us-pauses-cooperation-with-guatemala-ag-after-ouster-of-anti-corruption-chief/

SWEDEN HAS CHARGED AN UNNAMED 60-YEAR-OLD IRANIAN NATIONAL WITH WAR CRIMES

On 29 July, Jurist reported that he is suspected of the murder of more than 100 political prisoners in Iran going back to 1988.  The accused individual was an assistant to the deputy prosecutor in Gohardasht prison in July 1988 when Ayatollah Khomeini ordered the execution of all those in Iranian prisons who sympathized with the Mujahideen group, responsible for several attacks in Iran during the final phase of the Iran-Iraq war in 1988.

https://www.jurist.org/news/2021/07/sweden-prosecutors-charge-iran-national-with-war-crimes-murder/

CHINA CUSTOMS CRACKS $110 MILLION DRAGON FRUIT SMUGGLING CASE

On 29 July, Produce Report reported that customs authorities are said to have uncovered a large-scale dragon fruit smuggling operation, with the smuggled dragon fruit weighing approximately 170,000 tons.  The smuggling ring had allegedly established bases in Vietnam to purchase and ship dragon fruit. Once these shipments had reached China’s Yunnan province, workers there reportedly received the goods and arranged onward distribution without going through formal import channels.  Chinese law allows citizens living in border regions to conduct small volumes of cross-border trade.

https://www.producereport.com/article/china-customs-cracks-110-million-dragon-fruit-smuggling-case

TALIBAN START CHARGING CUSTOMS DUTIES ON PAKISTAN-AFGHAN TRADE

On 29 July, SAMAA reported that traders said that the Afghan government is already charging taxes, and now the Taliban will increase the cost of doing business, which will affect trade in both countries.

https://www.samaa.tv/news/2021/07/taliban-start-charging-customs-duties-on-pak-afghan-trade/

THE ASSETS ARE ALREADY FROZEN – WHERE CIVIL FREEZING ORDERS AND CRIMINAL RESTRAINT ORDERS COLLIDE

On 7 July, an article from Gatehouse Chambers was concerned with a case where criminal restraint orders (CRO) had been made, on application by the SFO, against the Defendants under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. Meanwhile, the Claimants applied for worldwide freezing orders; and proprietary injunctions against the Defendants, with the freezing order being granted.  An appeal is said to make clear that there is, in principle, no reason why both cannot subsist over the same assets.  It says that there is a distinction between public and private proceedings; and the fact that a claimant is entitled to protect his own private interests in civil proceedings, notwithstanding that his means to do so may overlap with measures taken by the SFO in the public interest.

https://gatehouselaw.co.uk/but-the-assets-are-already-frozen-where-civil-freezing-orders-and-criminal-restraint-orders-collide/

RUSSIAN-SPEAKING HACKERS ARRESTED IN POLAND OVER ATM “JACKPOTTING” ATTACKS

A news release from Europol on 29 July announced that Polish authorities have arrested 2 individuals committing so-called ‘Black Box’ attacks against ATM, in which criminals connect electronic devices to a cash machine and remotely force it to spew out all its cash. 

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/russian-speaking-hackers-arrested-in-poland-over-atm-jackpotting-attacks

DRUG GANGS AND THIEVES TEAM UP FOR VIOLENT CARGO ROBBERIES IN RIO

On 29 July, Insight Crime reported that a cargo-theft ring in Rio de Janeiro partnered with a drug gang to steal millions of dollars-worth of goods, showing how criminal actors in Brazil come together to commit big heists.  Authorities estimated that the group ripped off $30 million in goods since 2018.

https://insightcrime.org/news/drug-gangs-thieves-team-up-for-violent-cargo-robberies-in-rio/

UK: VAT FRAUDSTER ORDERED TO PAY £37 MILLION

On 28 July, a news release from the CPS advised that Adam Umerji, 43, a high-level fraudster who skipped his trial and fled to Dubai has been ordered to pay more than £37 million – and faces 10 years in prison if he fails to pay.  It explains that Umerji played a major role in this missing trader (MTIC) fraud, which involves the theft of VAT from the government. He was part of a conspiracy to use a network of companies and a huge number of transactions to cover up the theft of VAT. The term “missing trader” is used because the fraudster has gone missing with the VAT.

https://www.cps.gov.uk/cps/news/fraudster-ordered-pay-ps37-million

KYC AND FCPA RISK ASSESSMENTS

On 29 July, a post on the FCPA Blog explained how KYC procedures should and can be applied to FCPA assessments as well as AML/CFT. 

https://fcpablog.com/2021/07/29/do-you-know-how-kyc-applies-to-fcpa-risk-assessment/

FORMER US AIR FORCE INTELLIGENCE ANALYST SENTENCED TO 45 MONTHS PRISON FOR LEAKING DOCUMENTS EXPOSING THE INNER WORKINGS AND CIVILIAN COSTS OF THE US DRONE PROGRAMME

On 27 July, The Intercept reported that Daniel Hale, 33, had pleaded guilty and that the conviction marked another victory for the US Government in an ongoing crackdown on national security leaks.

https://theintercept.com/2021/07/27/daniel-hale-drone-leak-sentencing

BREXIT AND TRADEMARKS: 10 THINGS TO KNOW

On 28 July, an article from Gowling WLG says that, for trademarks and the law in relation to trademarks, there are some important soundbites for businesses to be aware of. 

https://gowlingwlg.com/en/insights-resources/articles/2020/brexit-trademarks-10-key-points

HOW TO DEFEND YOURSELF AGAINST NSO SPYWARE ATTACKS

On 27 July, The Intercept reported that “The Pegasus Files” exposé from The Guardian and others showed that mobile phones were vulnerable to the surveillance software, which appears to have been used against activists, journalists, and others.  It says that while there may be no such thing as perfect security, as one classic adage in the field states, but that’s no excuse for passivity.  Hence the article provides practical steps one can take to reduce your “attack surface” and protect yourself against spyware like that from NSO.

https://theintercept.com/2021/07/27/pegasus-nso-spyware-security

WHAT ARE STABLECOINS? A BLOCKCHAIN EXPERT EXPLAINS

On 29 July, an article in The Conversation sets out to provide a short, concise definition of the term.

https://theconversation.com/what-are-stablecoins-a-blockchain-expert-explains-164812

AN OILMAN, A SWEDISH FISHING MAGNATE AND A FOOTBALLER: THE CURIOUS CASE OF NORWAY’S TAX EVADERS

On 29 July, EU Reporter carried an article saying that egalitarianism is so engrained in Norwegians that they even publish their tax returns, which are visible online to any nosey neighbour or jealous family member.  This culture of transparency means that 3 recent tax scandals in the country over the past five years have come as a great shock to the Norwegian public.  The first of the scandals broke in 2016, where the former CEO of Odjfell Drilling had been using companies based in tax havens like Cyprus and the Isle of Man to hide his wealth. The case of Magnus Roth involves the Swedish fishing magnate but has not yet resulted in a conviction.  The third case involves Norwegian footballer John Carew, who latterly turned to real estate, buying and selling luxury properties from Oslo to Florida.

https://www.eureporter.co/world/norway/2021/07/29/an-oilman-a-swedish-fishing-magnate-and-a-footballer-the-curious-case-of-norways-tax-evaders/

MALTA GOVERNMENT BEARS RESPONSIBILITY FOR JOURNALIST’S MURDER

On 29 July, VoA and others reported that an independent inquiry into the car bomb murder of anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in 2017 found that the state had to bear responsibility after creating a “culture of impunity”.  The inquiry, conducted by one serving judge and 2 retired judges, found that a culture of impunity was created by the highest echelons of power within the government of the time.

https://www.voanews.com/africa/malta-government-bears-responsibility-journalists-murder-inquiry-finds

WEALTHY AMERICANS TARGETED BY US IN PANAMA TAX-FRAUD PROBE

On 29 July, a news release on BNN Bloomberg advised that US authorities obtained a court order allowing them to demand financial information from banks and couriers about wealthy Americans suspected of using a Panamanian law firm to evade taxes.  The IRS can now get information about electronic fund transfers and courier deliveries between the firm and its US clients.  It is said that the new summonses are unrelated to the leak 5 years ago of more than 11 million documents, known as the “Panama Papers”, involving offshore entities created by a Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca. The disclosures have led to criminal convictions of at least 2 Americans.

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/wealthy-americans-targeted-by-u-s-in-panama-tax-fraud-probe-1.1634573

NEW MEXICO HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER UNDER CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION FOR SUSPECTED RACKETEERING AND MONEY LAUNDERING

On 29 July, Epoch Times reported that New Mexico House Majority Leader, Sheryl Williams Stapleton, a Democrat, is under criminal investigation by over allegations of racketeering, money laundering, receiving illegal kickbacks, and other violations.

https://www.theepochtimes.com/new-mexico-house-majority-leader-under-criminal-investigation-racketeering-money-laundering_3925042.html

https://kvia.com/your-voice-your-vote/new-mexico-politics/2021/07/28/new-mexico-house-majority-leader-under-investigation-for-racketeering-money-laundering/

NIKOLA ELECTRIC VEHICLE FOUNDER MILTON FREED ON $100 MILLION BAIL AFTER FRAUD ARREST

On 29 July, the Globe Gazette reported that Trevor Milton, 39, the founder and one-time executive chair of Nikola Corporation was freed on $100 million bail after pleading not guilty to charges alleging that he lied about the electric and hydrogen-powered truck start-up.  In an unsealed indictment Manhattan federal court, Milton was charged with securities and wire fraud.

https://globegazette.com/news/national/nikola-founder-milton-freed-on-100m-bail-after-fraud-arrest/article_b594d917-fa2b-57da-b471-a9f5e34693a9.html

ITALIAN PROSECUTORS AND THE NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT HAVE APPEALED THE ACQUITTAL OF ENI AND SHELL IN NIGERIAN CORRUPTION CASE

On 29 July, Energy Mix Report said that Italian prosecutors and the Nigerian government had appealed the acquittal of Eni, Shell, and a series of past and present managers, in the oil industry’s biggest corruption case involving the $1.3 billion acquisition of a Nigerian oilfield a decade ago.  A court in Milan had said there was no case to answer and acquitted the companies and all other defendants.

https://www.energymixreport.com/acquittal-of-eni-and-shell-case-in-nigeria-faces-appeal/

HIGH CRIMINAL COURT ISSUES VERDICT IN IRAN MONEY LAUNDERING CASE – THE LARGEST IN THE HISTORY OF BAHRAIN

On 29 July, the Bahrain News Agency reported that the Higher Criminal Court had issued its verdict in the largest money laundering case in the history of the Kingdom, convicting Future Bank and 6 of its officials, the Central Bank of Iran and other Iranian banks, fining them 19 million Bahraini Dinars, and confiscating laundering money, amounting to approximately $1.3 billion, while sentencing 6 convicted individuals to imprisonment.

https://www.bna.bh/en/HighCriminalCourtissuesverdictinthelargestmoneylaunderingcaseinthehistoryofBahrainconvictingFutureBanktheCentralBankofIranandotherIranianbanks.aspx?cms=q8FmFJgiscL2fwIzON1%2bDvc1JxWz5wRl1pQt8lTj4eU%3d

CANNABIS PART OF BAT’S FUTURE

On 29 July, TJI reported that British American Tobacco (BAT) has said cannabis will play a role in its future as it moves to reduce the health impact of its products.  BAT is actively trying to break away from selling traditional cigarettes and as part of this plan has already taken a stake in Organigram, a Canadian medical cannabis producer. 

https://www.tobaccojournal.com/Cannabis_part_of_BAT_s_future.56530.0.html

BRAZILIAN DATA PROTECTION – THE INTRODUCTION OF PENALTIES

On 29 July, CMS Law reported that Brazil passed the General Data Protection Law in 2018, and it came into force in September 2020.  However, the introduction of administrative sanctions was delayed until 1 August 2021.  The law led to the creation of the ANPD (the National Authority of Data Protection) which started operations in November 2020.

https://www.cms-lawnow.com/ealerts/2021/07/brazilian-data-protection-the-introduction-of-sanctions

UK: FCA SUCCESSFUL IN OBTAINING A HIGH COURT ORDER TO REMOVE AROUND 625 CHARGES, NOTICES OR RESTRICTIONS REGISTERED IN THE NAME OF ILLEGAL MONEY LENDER’S FORMER COMPANIES

On 29 July, a release on Mondo Visione advised that the application was the latest in several legal proceedings commenced by the FCA against ram Prakash Gopee arising out of his illegal money lending activities.  This action benefits hundreds of Mr Gopee’s victims by removing entries registered against their properties by Mr Gopee’s illegal activities. 

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/uk-financial-conduct-authority-obtains-high-court-order-to-remove-hundreds-of-hm/

FORMER KING OF SPAIN SUED BY MISTRESS FOR TRYING TO GET BACK FROM HER $100 MILLION HE GOT AS A BRIBE FROM SAUDI ARABIA

On 29 July, Panatimes reported a lawsuit against Juan Carlos filed by Corina Larsen, a former lover and who claims the former King demanded back $100 million he gave her – which he received from Saudi Arabia as part of a corruption case.  She is also said to be suing the Spanish Secret Service for allegedly using illegal means of surveillance against her in the UK.  It is also reported that Swiss prosecutors are looking at the transfer of several million euros that Saudi Arabia’s late King Abdullah gave to Carlos.

https://panatimes.com/the-former-king-of-spain-was-sued-by-a-mistress-for-trying-to-get-back-from-her-100-million-he-got-as-a-bribe-from-saudi

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CHINA PREPARES NEW ANTI-SANCTION LAWS FOREIGNERS IN HONG KONG AND MACAU

On 28 July, the Wall Street Journal reported that China’s government is said to be planning to introduce new laws in Hong Kong and Macau that could bar foreign entities and individuals in the cities from complying with sanctions against China.  The new laws are expected to mirror China’s own “antiforeign sanctions law”.  It could leave many companies and their employees caught in the middle as China and the US clash over the future of the former colony of Hong Kong.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/china-prepares-new-anti-sanction-laws-for-hong-kong-and-macau-11627475091

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UK: COMBATTING THE ILLEGAL EXPORT OF CONSTRUCTION AND DEMOLITION WASTE PLASTIC FILM AND WRAP

A blog post from the Environment Agency on 29 July says that its Illegal Waste Exports Team (IWE) have identified an emerging issue in the illegal export of highly contaminated plastic film and wrap from the construction and demolition (C&D) sector.  It explains the emerging issue with contaminated C&D plastic film and wrap.

https://environmentagency.blog.gov.uk/2021/07/29/combatting-the-illegal-export-of-construction-and-demolition-waste-plastic-film-and-wrap/

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HELPING THE MARITIME INDUSTRY SPOT WILDLIFE CRIMES

On 29 July, Ship Technology reported that the NGO TRAFFIC released a guidance document drawing attention to the red flags which indicate illegal wildlife trade within the containerised shipping industry.  This information will allow the industry to implement greater safeguarding measures to protect their business, employees, and security measures against these trafficking risks.  The article consists of an interview with Monica Zavagli, TRAFFIC programme manager for transport sector engagement and author of the compendium, to discuss how illegal smuggling takes place in the shipping industry, what the effects of smuggling can have, and what the compendium aims to achieve.

https://www.ship-technology.com/features/helping-the-maritime-industry-spot-wildlife-crimes/

The Guide is at –

https://www.traffic.org/site/assets/files/14693/red_flag_front_page.pdf

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SYRIAN DEMOCRATIC FORCES VIOLATE US SANCTIONS SUPPLYING OIL AND GAS TO THE SYRIAN REGIME

On 29 July, the Syrian Network for Human Rights claimed that Syrian Democratic Forces (mainly the Kurdish Democratic Union Party forces) are violating the US Caesar sanctions, supplying oil and gas to the Syrian regime, including around 6 million barrels of oil annually, that makes profits of $120 million.  A report says that whilst SDF have sought to curb smuggling operations via water crossings, they turn a blind eye to smuggling and sales that take place via the more lucrative overland route.

https://sn4hr.org/blog/2021/07/29/56595/

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HSBC FACES QUESTIONS OVER DISCLOSURE OF ALLEGED MONEY LAUNDERING TO MONITORS

On 28 July, The Guardian reported on a joint investigation by the Guardian and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism which suggested that HSBC may not have appropriately shared the information with the monitoring team installed by US regulators in 2012 after HSBC allowed drug cartels in Latin America to launder hundreds of millions of dollars through its accounts.  A report released in South Africa suggests that the bank uncovered the previously undisclosed multibillion-pound network as early as 2016, while it was trying to assess its potential exposure to the controversial Gupta family. 

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/jul/28/hsbc-faces-questions-over-disclosure-of-alleged-money-laundering-to-monitors

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UK: ACTION FRAUD SCRAPPED AFTER EXPOSÉ BY THE TIMES

On 29 July, KYC 360 reported that the UK police’s national fraud reporting service is being scrapped after damning failings were exposed and will be replaced with “an improved national fraud and cybercrime reporting system”, and a new force dedicated to fighting cybercrime will also be set up within the NCA to investigate the most complex and serious cases.  An investigation found that Action Fraud trained call handlers to mislead victims into thinking their cases would be investigated when most were never looked at.

https://kyc360.riskscreen.com/news/uks-action-fraud-scrapped-after-times-expose

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVCE MISSED – JULY 28

Panama Covid-19 update – some good news today, I think, with the Rt rate having fallen further, from 0.99 to 0.96; and with numbers if ICU, other wards and so-called hospital hotels all falling. The number of active cases has also fallen by 100 to 12,738. Nonetheless, there were 969 new cases reported today and 10 new fatalities. The various ICU have 114 patients, with 469 in other wards.

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

28 JULY 2021

SRI LANKA’S IMPORT BAN PUTS HUNDREDS OF BUSINESSES IN JEOPARDY

On 28 July, Nikkei Asia reported that a foreign exchange crisis led to the Sri Lankan government imposing an indefinite import ban last year to save hard currency.  Hundreds of businesses are now fighting for survival and smaller ones have shut down, costing many their livelihoods.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Economy/Sri-Lanka-s-import-ban-puts-hundreds-of-businesses-in-jeopardy

PayPal TO RESEARCH TRANSACTIONS THAT FUND HATE GROUPS, EXTREMISTS

On 28 July, KYC 360 reported that PayPal Holdings Inc is partnering with non-profit organisation the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to investigate how extremist and hate movements in the US take advantage of financial platforms to fund their criminal activities.

https://kyc360.riskscreen.com/news/paypal-to-research-transactions-that-fund-hate-groups-extremists

DOMESTIC VIOLENT EXTREMISTS RISE AS AML/CFT PRIORITY IN US

On 28 July, KYC 360 reported that recent Biden Administration actions make clear the government’s expectation that financial institutions will act as monitors of financial activity by extremists. 

https://kyc360.riskscreen.com/news/domestic-violent-extremists-rise-as-aml-cft-priority-in-united-states

MONGOLIA TACKLES COUNTERFEIT FUEL IMPORTS

On 27 July, Schmitt & Orlov reported that the issue of counterfeit fuel in Mongolia has become a major issue in the country and hotly debated in the country.  It is said that the counterfeit fuel has a high sulphur content and causes serious damage to both the environment and human health, as well as the machines who use it including mining equipment which is a key industry in Mongolia.  Counterfeit fuel is said to be causing up to 20% of the air pollution in Mongolia.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/documents.lexology.com/e48e1099-ffea-4a13-8609-44d070eb6170.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAVYILUYJ754JTDY6T&Expires=1627473520&Signature=TzFT65dtamCd5Cz5ge7shvWoFnc%3D

CRYPTOCURRENCY FINANCE COMPANY CIRCLE INTERNET FINANCIAL IS UNDER INVESTIGATION BY OFAC

On 20 July, Global Investigation Review reported that the firm is suspected of potential violations of US sanctions, including on Iran.  It is also said that Circle is currently involved in a separate case brought by the SEC against Poloniex LLC, its former crypto exchange business.

https://globalinvestigationsreview.com/just-sanctions/sanctions/ofac-investigates-crypto-finance-company

AUSTRALIAN SENTENCED FOR BREACHING UN SANCTIONS

On 28 July, The Mandarin and others reported that Chan Han Choi, 62, was arrested in December 2017 and has now been sentenced to more than 3 years imprisonment for brokering the sale of missile parts, coal and other commodities in contravention of Australian and UN sanctions.  It is said he was ‘acting as an economic agent of North Korea, generating income for the government through his facilitation of various commodities to and from North Korea’. 

https://www.themandarin.com.au/164318-australian-sentenced-for-breaching-un-sanctions/

FORMER REAL IRA BOSS LIAM CAMPBELL TO BE EXTRADITED TO LITHUANIA ON WEAPONS SMUGGLING CHARGES

On 28 July, Sunday World in Ireland reported that the Court of Appeal had dismissed an appeal by and Liam Campbell, who was found civilly liable for the Omagh bombing, is to be extradited to Lithuania, where he is suspected of international weapons smuggling in support of the Real IRA. He has been fighting extradition for more than 12 years.

https://www.sundayworld.com/crime/world-crime/former-real-ira-boss-liam-campbell-to-be-extradited-to-lithuania-on-weapons-smuggling-charges-40697280.html

US: HOBBY LOBBY ORDERED TO HAND OVER 3,500-YEAR-OLD SMUGGLED GILGAMESH TABLET WORTH $1.6 MILLION

On 28 July, the International Business Times and others reported that the DoJ has told the arts and crafts retailer to surrender the smuggled artifact which has been determined to belong to the Iraqi government.  Hobby Lobby purchased it in 2014 for $1.6 million from an international auction and it has been displayed at the Museum of the Bible.  Law enforcement seized the tablet in September 2019.

https://www.ibtimes.com/forfeited-hobby-lobbys-ordered-hand-over-3500-year-old-smuggled-gilgamesh-tablet-3261576

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/hobby-lobby-epic-of-gilgamesh-dream-tablet-forfeited-justice-department/

UNITED NATIONS OFFICE ON DRUGS AND CRIME (UNODC) PROJECT TO ‘COMBAT TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS AND SMUGGLING OF MIGRANTS’ IN PAKISTAN

On 28 July, the International News reported that UNODC in collaboration with the Federal Investigation Agency, had launched a 2-year project to ‘combat trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants’.  It aims to strengthen the capacity of the FIA for fighting trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants. 

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/869617-unodc-initiates-project-to-combat-human-trafficking

BREXIT: WHAT IS THE ‘LUGANO CONVENTION’ AND DOES IT MATTER?

On 28 July, an Opinion piece in EU Observer poses this question.  Following its exit from the EU, the UK ceased to be a member of the Lugano Convention, an international treaty which governs cross-border civil and commercial legal disputes.  In May, the European Commission published an opinion calling for the UK’s re-application to be rejected.

https://euobserver.com/opinion/152521

Meanwhile –

SWITZERLAND: LUGANO CONVENTION CONTINUES TO APPLY TO JUDGMENTS FROM THE UK ISSUED BEFORE 1 JANUARY 2021

The Swiss Supreme Court has ruled that, notwithstanding the UK not longer being party to the Lugano Convention for enforcement of cross-border judgments, so that a freezing order could be enforced.

https://media-exp1.licdn.com/dms/document/C4D1FAQGJ70i4RfxSRw/feedshare-document-pdf-analyzed/0/1627478151213?e=1627603200&v=beta&t=dib0DZjNUBGKLRwIyFyRl2gjmoirwITi3rkFi0wMQu0

BULGARIA’S CHIEF PROSECUTOR UNDER RENEWED FIRE

On 28 July, EurActiv reported that attempts by the outgoing caretaker government to oust Prosecutor General Ivan Geshev, who served under the previous government of Boyko Borissov, are continuing, alleging a number of violations by Geshev.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/politics/short_news/bulgarias-chief-prosecutor-faces-the-heat/

EU IMPLEMENTS FIRST ANIMAL WELFARE-BASED CONDITION IN TRADE AGREEMENT

On 28 July EurActiv reported that the EU has included the first animal welfare-based condition in the Mercosur trade agreement – with Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay – but stakeholders warned that this does not go far enough to save the controversial deal that is facing increasing opposition in Europe.  Mercosur egg producers will have to certify they respect EU-equivalent rules for laying hen welfare. 

https://www.euractiv.com/section/agriculture-food/news/eu-implements-first-animal-welfare-based-condition-in-trade-agreement/

FRENCH EX-MINISTER CHARGED WITH CORRUPTION IN GHOSN CASE

On 28 July, EurActiv reported that Rachida Dati, a former cabinet minister and close ally of ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy, had been charged over her dealings with disgraced former Renault chief Carlos Ghosn.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/french-ex-minister-charged-with-corruption-in-ghosn-case/

COMPLAINTS AND REQUESTS FOR REMOVAL OF PATENT-INFRINGING PRODUCTS FROM E-COMMERCE PLATFORMS

On 28 July, an article from Bird & Bird is concerned with requesting the removal of any alleged infringing products from e-commerce platforms, and the use and highlights of patent evaluation reports in China.  It says that with sales of products having moved to online platforms and products ordered by customers online being delivered directly to customers, it is hard to identify the sellers of infringing products or the locations where infringing products are manufactured or stored, leading to the difficulty in conducting administrative investigation and punishment. It contends that making intellectual property complaints to e-commerce platforms is a low-cost and fast response to solve the infringement-related matters, at present which are mainly involving trademark infringement. 

https://www.twobirds.com/en/news/articles/2021/china/countermeasures-for-knockoffs-sold-on-e-commerce-platforms

ELECTIONS IN LIBYA: DIM PROSPECTS FOR STABILITY

On 28 July, a Commentary from RUSI argues that the chances of carrying off a successful electoral process in December remain low.

https://rusi.org/explore-our-research/publications/commentary/elections-libya-dim-prospects-stability

GERMAN FEDERAL COURT REJECTS APPEAL IN CUM-EX TAX FRAUD

On 28 July, DPA International and others reported that the German federal court had rejected an appeal against a fine for tax fraud imposed on 2 former London share traders and the Warburg Bank by a Bonn district court in March 2020.  The Bonn court had ordered one of the traders to pay back €14 million and imposed a fine of around €176 million on Warburg. It also imposed suspended jail terms.  The Cum-Ex scandal saw dealers use a legal loophole to shift shares back and forth at high speed between parties around the time dividends were paid out, in order to receive tax repayments for taxes they had not paid.

https://www.dpa-international.com/topic/german-federal-court-rejects-appeal-cum-ex-tax-fraud-urn%3Anewsml%3Adpa.com%3A20090101%3A210728-99-577721

https://www.dw.com/en/germany-top-court-issues-first-ruling-in-cum-ex-case/a-58669226

CHINESE COURT SENTENCES WHISTLEBLOWING AGRICULTURAL TYCOON TO 18 YEARS IN PRISON

On 28 July, France 24 reported that agricultural tycoon Sun Dawu was jailed for a catalogue of crimes including “provoking trouble” after the outspoken billionaire and grassroots rights supporter was tried in secret.  He had also been a vocal champion of rural reforms and was a whistleblower during a devastating swine fever outbreak in 2019, posting photos of dead pigs online after local officials were slow to respond to the disease.

https://www.france24.com/en/asia-pacific/20210728-chinese-court-sentences-whistleblowing-agricultural-tycoon-to-18-years-in-prison

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/28/chinese-billionaire-pig-farmer-sun-dawu-jailed-for-provoking-trouble

FRENCH COURT UPHOLDS GUILTY VERDICT ON FRAUD CHARGES FOR EQUATORIAL GUINEA’S VICE-PRESIDENT

On 28 July, France 24 reported that France’s highest appeal court has upheld a guilty verdict against the son of Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang Mangue, who is also the Vice-President, for embezzlement.

https://www.france24.com/en/france/20210728-french-court-upholds-guilty-verdict-on-fraud-charges-for-equatorial-guinea-s-vp

US: 5,700 COUNTERFEIT AUTO PARTS SEIZED INCLUDING GRILLES AND BUMPERS

On 27 July, Repairer Driven News reported that customs officials in Philadelphia seized nearly $300,000 worth of counterfeit auto parts — including many components relevant to collision repair – in a shipment from China.  It contained 5,657 counterfeit parts and included grilles, rear bumper fascia, headlights, taillights, power mirrors and “paint kits”.

https://www.repairerdrivennews.com/2021/07/27/customs-5700-counterfeit-auto-parts-seized-in-pa-include-grilles-bumpers/

$400,000 IN UNDECLARED APPLE WATCHES & AIRPODS PRO SEIZED BY INDIAN CUSTOMS

On 27 July, iMore reported that 160 Apple Watches and 600 pairs of iPod Pro were seized at importation, said to be of Pakistani origin.

https://www.imore.com/400000-undeclared-apple-watches-airpods-pro-seized-indian-customs

UK: FOCUS ON FRAUD IN THE FCA BUSINESS PLAN

An article from Eversheds Sutherland on 28 July considers reference to consumer protection, fraud and digital in the 2021-22 Business Plan.  It concludes that FCA’s commitments hopefully mean that more fraudulent scams will be identified earlier and reduced at the source. Noting that it appears that the FCA intends to be more assertive, the article says that a key takeaway from the Business Plan is that awareness of fraud as well as the prevention of fraud should continue to be a key focus for firms and businesses.  It would therefore be wise to note how seriously the FCA is taking the increased incidence of fraud and consider ways to strengthen internal measures to detect fraud at an earlier stage and ensure strong processes are in place to enable action to take place immediately once fraud is detected.

https://www.eversheds-sutherland.com/global/en/what/articles/index.page?ArticleID=en/Fraud_and_financial_crime/FCA_business_plan

UK: 14,883 INSTANCES OF CYBER CRIME REPORTED SO FAR THIS YEAR, WITH THE TOTAL LOSSES OF £5.7 MILLION

On 28 July, a release on Mondo Visione advised that a new study reported the above statistics, also saying that while 90% of offences being made against the public, UK businesses have reported £1.9 million of losses – a third of the total figure, and the primary targets for cyber crime appear to be tech-savvy individuals under 40.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/uk-reports-57m-in-cyber-crime-financial-loss-so-far-this-year-with-one-third/

ABU DHABI CRIMINAL COURT CONVICTS 9 ACCUSED, 6 COMPANIES FOR MONEY LAUNDERING, CRYPTOCURRENCY TRADING

On 28 July, the Emirates News Agency said that one of the defendants, operating from outside the country, would contact the victims, claiming to be working for foreign investment companies specialising in trading cryptocurrencies and promising them huge profits.  He asked them to transfer money to company accounts inside the UAE to convince them of his claims. The accused persons have also been prosecuted for money laundering through an organised criminal group, by transferring and concealing the truth of the proceeds of the predicate crime, possessing money and using it immediately upon receipt in internal bank transfers, depositing them in their bank accounts and then transferring them between the accounts of their companies to send the larger amount out of the country.

https://www.wam.ae/en/details/1395302955778

https://coingape.com/abu-dhabi-court-orders-10-year-jail-for-9-people-in-crypto-money-laundering-case/

MD OF OUTDOOR CAPITAL PARTNERS (OCP) — A DENVER-BASED FUND SET TO INVEST IN A GROUP OF CYCLING COMPANIES — HAS BEEN ARRESTED AND CHARGED WITH SECURITIES FRAUD, MONEY LAUNDERING AND WIRE FRAUD

On 28 July, Cycling News reported that Samuel J Mancini has been arrested and charged with securities fraud, wire fraud and money laundering, and that OCP was set to invest in 3 speciality cycling brands: De Rosa, De Marchi and Limar. 

https://www.cyclingnews.com/news/director-of-ocp-arrested-for-securities-fraud-following-de-rosa-cycles-de-marchi-apparel-and-limar-helmets-acquisition-interest/

ORGANISED CRIMINALS ARE ‘TRUSTED INSIDERS’ IN SOME OF AUSTRALIA’S BIGGEST FREIGHT COMPANIES

On 28 July, The Age carried an article saying that intelligence gathered in multiple policing probes has found leading Australian freight, logistics and transport firms are being infiltrated by organised crime groups and bikies to import drugs and illegal tobacco then distribute them around Australia.

https://www.theage.com.au/national/organised-criminals-are-trusted-insiders-in-some-of-australia-s-biggest-freight-firms-20210727-p58dcm.html

7 MAJOR GLOBAL BANKS OFFER SWIFT GO – A NEW SERVICE AIMING TO OFFER LOW-COST, CROSS-BORDER PAYMENTS

On 27 July, Coindesk reported that the new service by the global interbank messaging system SWIFT aiming to offer low-cost, cross-border payments, is a possible threat to the real-time payments network offered by Ripple.  BBVA, BNY Mellon, DNB, MYBank, Sberbank, Societe Generale and UniCredit are the 7 banks using SWIFT Go.

https://www.coindesk.com/swift-go-launches-low-cost-network-with-7-major-banks

ACFCS REGIONAL REPORT – EUROPE: AGGRESSIVE AML OVERHAUL, NEW FINCRIME COMPLIANCE AUTHORITY, STRONGER RULES TO ILLUMINE CRYPTO AND STAMP OUT OWNERSHIP OPACITY

On 22 July, ACFCS published this report detailed AML/CFT developments in the EU.  It says that the reason for the extensive updates are recommendations to focus on effectiveness from global watchdog groups, terror attacks in and out of the EU and, in large measure, the multiple banking scandals that saw hundreds of billions of dollars in suspicious funds from more dubious jurisdictions flow through Member States.

https://www.acfcs.org/regional-report-europe-in-aggressive-aml-overhaul-eu-unsheathes-new-fincrime-compliance-authority-stronger-rules-to-illumine-crypto-stamp-out-ownership-opacity/

ILLEGAL LOGGING AND DEFORESTATION: MONEY DOES GROW ON TREES

On 27 July, a report from Arachnys says that, of all the environmental crimes, illegal logging (including illegal land clearing) is understood to be the most profitable, and that the illegal timber trade is said to account for up to 90% of tropical deforestation in some countries and attracting the world’s largest organised crime groups.   It points out that the illicit activity can extend right through the timber supply chain, from the obtaining of permits through corruption to obtaining logging licenses illegally, as well as exceeding of logging limits to the evasion tax and much more – including the setting up of illegal timber plantations.  It reviews the situation and makes a number of recommendations to address it.

https://www.arachnys.com/illegal-logging-and-deforestation-money-does-grow-on-trees/

PODCAST: AN UPDATE ON THE FINCEN FILES

In the latest TRACE podcast, Will Fitzgibbon of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) joins with an update on last year’s FinCEN Files story, including a prison sentence for the whistleblower who leaked the information.  The FinCEN Files project won the 2021 TRACE Prize for Investigative Reporting and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist.

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

UK: CORPORATE CRIMINAL LIABILITY CONSULTATION – CALL FOR EVIDENCE

On 28 July, Field Fisher says that its corporate crime team is seeking feedback on the Law Commission’s consultation on corporate criminal liability to submit combined findings on behalf of respondents and the firm.

https://www.fieldfisher.com/en/insights/corporate-criminal-liability-consultation—call-f

https://info.fieldfisher.com/e/pxew8z83tgwg39a

https://www.visualcapitalist.com/comparing-tax-systems-around-the-world/

PODCAST: DAVID MARCHANT OF OFFSHORE ALERT ON LIFE AS AN INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST

On 28 July, Offshore Alert released this podcast in which David Marchant discusses his career, how he was kicked out of Bermuda, founded Offshore Alert etc

https://www.offshorealert.com/David-Marchant-of-OffshoreAlert-On-Life-As-An-Investigative-Journalist/

UK: GUIDANCE AND INFORMATION ABOUT THE NATIONAL SECURITY AND INVESTMENT ACT

On 20 July, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy published updated information on this Act, which comes into force in January.  The Act gives the UK Government powers to scrutinise and intervene in business transactions, such as takeovers, to protect national security, while providing businesses and investors with the certainty and transparency they need to do business in the UK.

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-security-and-investment-bill

WHITE HOUSE TO SET CYBERSECURITY PERFORMANCE GOALS FOR CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE OPERATORS

On 28 July, Defense One reported that the White House is to issue a national security memo instructing the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the National Institute of Standards and Technology to establish cybersecurity performance goals for private-sector owners and operators of critical infrastructure.

https://www.defenseone.com/policy/2021/07/white-house-asks-cisa-nist-set-cybersecurity-performance-goals-critical-infrastructure-operators/184104/

MANCHESTER UTD AND NEWCASTLE AMONG CLUBS UNDER TAX INVESTIGATION AS HMRC CLAWS BACK £464 MILLION FROM FOOTBALL

On 28 July, the Mirror reported that HMRC has clawed back almost £464 million from football players, clubs and agents after a 6-year probe into the sport.  In the past year alone, it has recovered £55.6 million following investigations into 93 footballers over potential tax avoidance breaches.  The tax probe focused on image rights cash paid to players by clubs.  Image rights packages boost multi-million-pound player contracts, with the extra earnings taxed at a lower rate.

https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/man-utd-newcastle-tax-investigation-24639953

UK: LEGAL CHALLENGE TO THE ABOLITION OF TAX-FREE SHOPPING FOR TOURISTS HAS FAILED

On 27 July, Accountancy Daily reported that the claim by Heathrow Airport had failed.  Blackstone Chambers carries a report on the Court of Appeal case, saying that the case concerned a judicial review of a decision to abolish the abolition of the VAT Retail Export Scheme (RES) in Great Britain and the extra-statutory concession (ESC) for airside shopping in the UK following the exit of the UK from the EU.  These schemes had provided for VAT-free shopping for visitors to the UK who were resident in a non-EU country and passengers travelling to a non-EU country respectively, according to their rules.

https://d2na44yiugfnjt.cloudfront.net/news/r-heathrow-airport-limited-ors-v-her-majestys-treasury-anor/

US TREASURY BLACKLISTS ANOTHER BITCOIN ADDRESS WITH SUSPECTED TERRORIST TIES

On 28 July, Decrypt reported that OFAC has added a “Syria-based terrorist fundraiser and recruiter” to its list of Specially Designated Nationals (SDN).  Farrukh Furkatovitch Fayzimatov is accused of working with Hay’et Tahrir Al-Sham and his bitcoin address is being monitored.

https://decrypt.co/77089/treasury-blacklists-bitcoin-address-terrorist-syria

TEXAS MAN SENTENCED FOR $24 MILLION COVID-19 RELIEF FRAUD SCHEME

A news release from US DoJ advised that Dinesh Sah, 55, had been sentenced to more than 11 years in prison for wire-fraud and money-laundering offences in connection with his fraudulent scheme to obtain approximately $24.8 million in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.  He submitted 15 fraudulent applications, filed under the names of various purported businesses that he owned or controlled, to 8 different lenders.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/texas-man-sentenced-24-million-covid-19-relief-fraud-scheme

TUNISIA LAUNCHES PROBE INTO FUNDING OF ENNAHDA PARTY

On 28 July, Arab News reported that prosecutors in Tunisia have launched an investigation into allegations of illegal foreign campaign funding and anonymous donations to the Islamist Ennahda political party.  It said that investigations have also been opened into the national anti-corruption agency  and into the Truth and Dignity Commission created to confront abuses during Tunisia’s decades of autocratic rule.  This followed President Kais Saied’s dismissal of the prime minister and key Cabinet members, and the 30-day suspension of parliament, which is dominated by Ennahda.

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1901796/middle-east

Meanwhile –

TUNISIA PRESIDENT OFFERS ‘PENAL SETTLEMENT’ TO TUNISIANS WHO ‘STOLE’ $4.8 BILLION

On 28 July, France 24 reported that the President had indicated a coming crackdown on corruption cases but said there was “no intention to harm or abuse” business people.  He said 460 people had stolen $4.8 billion and offered a “penal settlement” if they returned the money.  He did not elaborate on his proposal.

https://www.france24.com/en/africa/20210728-tunisia-president-offers-penal-settlement-to-tunisians-who-stole-4-8-bln

EX-INDONESIAN MINISTER FACES 11-YEAR SENTENCE OVER COVID-19 SCAM

On 28 July, the Peoples Gazette reported that prosecutors of the Indonesian Corruption Eradication Commission have demanded an 11-year prison sentence for the country’s former Social Affairs Minister, Juliari Batubara, for the alleged involvement in the bribery linked to COVID-19 social aid.

https://gazettengr.com/ex-indonesian-minister-faces-11-year-sentence-over-covid-19-palliative-scam

“HUSHPUPPI” MAKES U-TURN AND PLEADS GUILTY TO FRAUD CHARGES IN US

On 28 July, Premium Times has reported that Nigerian Instagram celebrity Ramon Abass has finally agreed to plead guilty to the multi-million-dollar fraud charges filed against him by the US Government.  He was arrested in Dubai in June 2020, and subsequently extradited to the US.  He has spent the last year in custody maintaining his innocence.

https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/476281-hushpuppi-makes-u-turn-pleads-guilty-to-fraud-charges-in-u-s.html

FINANCIAL INTELLIGENCE AND THE FREEZING OF FUNDS. A STANDARDISED SCHEME

On 20 July, the Latvian FIU announced that it had prepared a standardised description of the financial intelligence process and the freezing of funds.

https://fid.gov.lv/en/news/financial-intelligence-and-the-freezing-of-funds-a-standardised-scheme

PODCAST: SECRECY JURISDICTIONS AND FINANCIAL CRIME – BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP TRANSPARENCY, AND CHALLENGES IN IDENTIFYING HIGH RISK SHELL COMPANIES

Regulation Asia hosted a discussion on 25 July in which the panellists discussed secrecy jurisdictions and their role in facilitating financial crime, barriers to beneficial ownership transparency, challenges in identifying high risk shell companies.  The discussion was part of Regulation Asia’s Fraud & Financial Crime Asia 2021.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h24_lF04Hao

SEC ENFORCEMENT TRENDS FROM ITS CHAIRMAN’S FIRST 100 DAYS

On 27 July, an article from Cooley in its Crime & Corruption blog said that Gary Gensler was sworn in as chair of the SEC on 17 April.  The firm says that it expects the SEC to be better resourced, highly active and more aggressive under his tenure. In this blog post, it reviews enforcement activity from the first 100 days of his term to identify preliminary indications of trends one can expect as the new regime’s enforcement initiatives gain steam. It refers to the use of special purpose acquisition companies (SPAC), support for strengthening the SEC’s whistleblower programme, continue focus on cybersecurity disclosures, a renewed focus on insider trading violations, and the creation of an ESG task force.

https://cc.cooley.com/2021/07/27/early-sec-enforcement-trends-from-chairman-gary-genslers-first-100-days/

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CARGO ALLIANCE OPPOSES REQUIREMENT THAT ALL FREIGHT CONTAINERS BE CERTIFIED “CLEAN” OF PESTS

On 28 July, Insurance Marine News reported that the Cargo Integrity Group (CIG) has said that it was “opposed to a new global requirement that all freight containers and their cargoes must be certified clean as a condition for ship loading because there is no risk-based evidence to support such a monumental change”.  The CIG claims that compliance and enforcement costs of such measures would be disproportionate to the benefits obtained, with scarce resources across the totality of the approximately 230 million containers moved internationally each year.

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/cargo-alliance-opposes-requirement-that-all-freight-containers-be-certified-clean-of-pests/

https://www.worldshipping.org/statements/the-cargo-integrity-group-issue-statement-on-the-avoidance-of-pest-contamination

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TERRORISM, SYRIA AND SYRIA-RELATED SANCTIONS DESIGNATIONS AND UPDATES

On 28 July, OFAC announced that 8 new individuals and 10 new entities added to SDN Lists.  In addition, the existing entries for Kifah MOULHEM and the SYRIAN MILITARY INTELLIGENCE have been amended. The changes include 8 Syrian prisons run by the Assad regime’s intelligence apparatus, which have been sites of human rights abuses against political prisoners and other detainees; and 5 senior security officials of regime entities that control these detention facilities.  OFAC is also sanctioning Syrian armed group Ahrar al-Sharqiya, which operates in northern Syria, for abuses against civilians, and is also sanctioning 2 of the group’s leaders.  OFAC has also designated a Turkey-based al-Qa’ida financial facilitator for materially assisting al-Qa’ida, and additionally designated a Syria-based terrorist fundraiser and recruiter for providing material support to Hay’et Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS).  These latter designations expose the continued efforts by al-Qa’ida and HTS to use the global formal financial system and highlight the need for continued vigilance against terrorist fundraising and recruitment on the internet.

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20210728

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy0292

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy0293

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2021/07/us-imposes-syria-and-syria-related-sanctions/

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UK’S SEARCH FOR TRADE WITH DEVELOPING COUNTRIES RAISES TBML ALARM

On 28 July, Global Trade review reported that the UK’s courtship of trade with developing countries after Brexit risks exacerbating the country’s exposure to trade-based money laundering (TBML), according to new research.  It is said that a pilot study published in the Journal of Money Laundering Control concludes that accelerated trade with less developed countries is likely to increase the UK’s exposure to TBML and that regulators and law enforcement are ill-equipped to investigate it and “underestimate” money laundering vulnerabilities of trading with high-risk jurisdictions after Brexit.

https://www.gtreview.com/news/europe/uks-search-for-trade-with-developing-countries-raises-tbml-alarm/

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FISHING COOPERATIVES USED TO MASK DRUG SHIPMENTS INTO MEXICO

On 28 July, Insight Crime reported that Mexico’s largest criminal groups are outsourcing the retrieval of cocaine shipments to smaller groups posing as fishing cooperatives.  The cartels are contracting local gangs, which then set up fake fishing cooperatives which register ships and use them to travel up to 350 nautical miles out to sea to receive drugs coming from Colombia and Ecuador.

https://insightcrime.org/news/fishing-cooperatives-drug-shipments-mexico/

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HONG KONG: 2 DOZEN HELPERS ARRESTED FOR INVOLVING IN MONEY LAUNDERING

On 28 July, The Standard reported that police said the syndicate made use of the 24 domestic helpers – an Indonesian and 23 Filipinas – to open at least 35 bank accounts to launder the “dirty money”.  Police Officers 29 people aged between 29 and 41, including 3 Nigerian and 2 Filipino “masterminds”, and another 24 domestic helpers who held the bank accounts were also arrested.

https://www.thestandard.com.hk/breaking-news/section/4/177746/Two-dozen-helpers-arrested-for-involving-in-money-laundering-worth-HK$27m

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INTERNATIONAL GUIDANCE ON WHISTLEBLOWING

ISO has published a short article introducing ISO 37002 Whistleblowing management systems – Guidelines, which provides guidance for implementing, managing, evaluating, maintaining and improving a robust and effective management system for whistleblowing.

https://www.iso.org/standard/65035.html

https://www.iso.org/news/ref2703.html

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MULTIPLE LIBEL CLAIM OVER ‘PUTIN’S PEOPLE’ OPENS IN LONDON

On 28 July, the Law Society Gazette reported that poceedings brought by three Russian billionaires and a state-owned oil company against publishing house HarperCollins in the High Court began in London.  The case relates to the 2020 book Putin’s People: How the KGB Took Back Russia and Then Took On the West, which covers the emergence of Putin’s regime and the renaissance of the KGB.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/multiple-libel-claim-over-putins-people-opens-in-london/5109386.article

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HMRC IDENTIFIES AML RISKS FACING THE ART MARKET

On 28 July, an article from Out-Law says that new guidance issued by HMRC emphasises the increased focus of law enforcement agencies to disrupt the use of the art market as a vehicle for money laundering.  It is said that the global art market is valued at more than £50 billion, with an estimated £2.3 billion of this per year linked to financial crime.  The extended deadline for registering as an art market participant (AMP) with HMRC expired on 10 June.

https://www.pinsentmasons.com/out-law/news/hmrc-identifies-aml-risks-facing-the-art-market

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JULY 27

Panama Covid-19 update – although another 1,110 new cases and 13 fatalities reported today, overall active cases and the numbers in ICU, other wards and “hospital hotel” rooms all fell. There are said to be 12,828 active cases, with 121 in ICU and 502 in other wards.

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27 JULY 2021

CO-OWNER OF BEVERLY HILLS VAULT BUSINESS ACCUSED OF ‘EXTENSIVE’ CRIMINAL EMPIRE

On 26 July, the Daily Beast reported that the co-owner of a safe deposit box business allegedly acquired his stake in the company using dirty money he amassed through drug trafficking, health-care fraud, online marketing scams utilizing the names of unwitting celebrities, and even a fraudulent PPP loan.  Federal agents raided US Private Vaults Inc in March and prosecutors have charged the business with conspiring to launder money, structure financial transactions, and distribute controlled substances.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/co-owner-of-shady-beverly-hills-business-us-private-vaults-had-extensive-criminal-empire-feds-allege

SOUTH KOREA TO TOUGHEN RULES TO COLLECT CRYPTOCURRENCIES FROM TAX DODGERS

On 27 July, KYC 360 reported that South Korea will look to tighten a crackdown on tax evasion by cryptocurrency investors and high-income earners as it seeks fresh revenue to cover rising welfare costs.  The government proposes revising tax codes so that tax authorities will be able to seize crypto assets even if their cryptocurrencies are stored in digital wallets.

https://kyc360.riskscreen.com/news/s-korea-to-toughen-rules-to-collect-cryptocurrencies-from-tax-dodgers

US: DoJ PROBES IF TETHER EXECUTIVES COMMITTED BANK FRAUD

On 27 July, Bloomberg Quint reported that a DoJ investigation is focused on conduct that occurred years ago, and whether Tether concealed from banks that transactions were linked to crypto.

https://www.bloombergquint.com/business/tether-executives-said-to-face-criminal-probe-into-bank-fraud

UKRAINE’S REGULATOR BLOCKS 594 ILLEGAL GAMBLING SITES

On 26 July, iGB reported that the latest blocking order means that, to date, over 1,000 gambling sites and 100 land-based establishments that offered gambling services without holding the relevant licences have been detected.

https://igamingbusiness.com/ukraines-regulator-blocks-594-illegal-gambling-sites

UKRAINE SANCTIONS ON 4 RUSSIAN CITIZENS, 2 FRENCH CITIZENS AND 10 ENTITIES

On 27 July, EU Sanctions blog reported that the latest sanctions measures included Russian online retailer Wildberries LLC, its founder/CEO Tatyana Bakalchuk and her husband Vladislav Bakalchuk.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2021/07/leading-russian-ecommerce-site-sanctioned-by-ukraine/

CLAIMS WHERE CONTRACTORS OR CONSULTANTS WERE DOING BUSINESS IN COUNTRIES WITH A HISTORY OF CIVIL AND POLITICAL UNREST

Beale & Co has published an article about a recent UK Supreme Court judgment and the effect it could have on contractors / consultants doing business in countries with a history of civil and political unrest.  The case involved a UK company’s claim against the state of Libya following arbitration which had resulted in 2016 of an award to the claimant, but which Libya had not honoured.  In 2018, the UK courts had granted an enforcement order, which Libya sought to vary.  The article concludes that, whilst the potential to capitalise on an emerging market can be enticing, as this case proves, if the situation on the ground turns for the worse, businesses could find themselves out of pocket, and the Supreme Court decision makes for worrying reading for those with active interests in such countries.

https://beale-law.com/article/general-dynamics-united-kingdom-ltd-v-state-of-libya-2021-uksc-22/#

MEXICO READIES NAVY SHIPS TO BRING FOOD AND SUPPLIES TO CUBA

On 23 July, Euronews reported that Mexico will send 2 navy ships loaded with food and medical supplies to Cuba.  They will carry syringes, oxygen tanks and masks along with powdered milk, cans of tuna, beans, flour, cooking oil and gasoline.

https://www.euronews.com/2021/07/23/us-cuba-unrest-mexico

MADAGASCAR PRESIDENT TARGETED IN ASSASSINATION PLOT 

On 22 July, Deutsche Welle reported that several people have been arrested over an assassination plot against President Andry Rajoelina.  It is said that 6 people had been arrested — 1 foreign national, 2 dual nationals, and 3 Madagascan citizens.

https://www.dw.com/en/madagascar-president-targeted-in-assassination-plot-prosecutors/a-58586770

PANAMA FINES BANK OF CHINA $1.25 MILLION

On 26 July, La Estrella de Panama reported that the Superintendency of Banks of Panama (SBP) has imposed a penalty of $1.25 million on the Bank of China for breaches and violations of the banking and money laundering prevention regime – $1,000,000 for violations of the banking regime, and $250,000 for non-compliance with the money laundering prevention regime.  2 other banks received much smaller penalties.

https://www.laestrella.com.pa/economia/210726/superintendencia-bancos-panama-multa-1-25-millones-bank-of-china

EGYPT RECEIVES ARTIFACT SMUGGLED TO THE NETHERLANDS

On 27 July, All Africa reported that the artefact dating back to the Old or Middle Kingdom has been returned before being sold in a Dutch auction.  The statue was on display at the annual European exhibition of fine arts in Maastricht. It was found that the statue was illegally smuggled out of Egypt.

https://allafrica.com/stories/202107270279.html

SWISS CLOSE DECADE-LONG RUSSIAN MONEY LAUNDERING PROBE

On 27 July, Devdiscourse reported that prosecutors said that they have closed a decade-long investigation into suspected money laundering linked to a fraud scandal in which Sergei Magnitsky played a leading role.  The investigation involved activity between 2008 and 2010, and was launched in 2011, in part because of a report alleging criminal activity by London-based investor William Browder.

https://www.devdiscourse.com/article/law-order/1668047-swiss-close-decade-long-russian-money-laundering-probe

https://www.admin.ch/gov/en/start/documentation/media-releases.msg-id-84542.html

UK: INDEPENDENT REVIEW OF DRUGS

On 27 July, the Home Office published Part 2 of Dame Carol Black’s independent review of drugs, which focuses on drug treatment, recovery and prevention.  On the same day, the Home Office published the Government response. 

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/independent-review-of-drugs-by-professor-dame-carol-black

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/independent-review-of-drugs-by-dame-carol-black-government-response/government-response-to-the-independent-review-of-drugs-by-dame-carol-black

UK: BEATING CRIME PLAN

On 27 July, the Home Office published this report which sets out the Government’s plan to deliver the change that it says that Britain needs, with less crime, fewer victims, and a safer country.  It sets out a strategic approach to cutting crime: cutting homicide, serious violence and neighbourhood crime; exposing and ending hidden harms; and building capability and capacity to deal with fraud and online crime.  It is said to involve “bold new measures to drive down crime and tackle the underlying causes of repeat offending”.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1006019/Crime-plan-accessible.pdf

PwC SUED BY RACING CAR DEALER FOR FAILING TO SPOT ALLEGED FRAUD

On 27 July, City AM reported that PwC has been sued by the administrators of JD Classics, a racing car dealership, for allegedly failing to spot fraud resulting in losses of over £41 million.  It is reported that administrators claim that despite their identification of a “real risk of fraud”, PwC failed to detect that the true state of the business was being concealed.

https://www.cityam.com/pwc-sued-by-racing-car-dealer-for-failing-to-spot-alleged-fraud/

CRYPTOCURRENCY PUMP-AND-DUMP SCHEMES: EVERYTHING YOU SHOULD KNOW

On 27 July, cnet produced this short guide for the US, warning that the SEC, which investigates securities scams such as insider trading and pump and dumps, doesn’t yet have similar rules for cryptocurrency. 

https://www.cnet.com/news/dogecoin-creator-says-cryptocurrency-is-a-right-wing-funnel-of-profiteering/

RUSSIA PLANS TO TURN KURIL ISLANDS INTO TAX HAVEN

On 27 July, AsiaNews reported alleged plans to stimulate investment in remote areas of the Russian Far East, despite protests from Japan (the Kurile Islands were seized at the end of WW2)The planwas unveiled by Prime Minister Mikhail Mišustin.

https://www.asianews.it/news-en/Moscow-plans-to-turn-Kuril-Islands-into-tax-haven–53733.html

ALBANIAN SPECIAL PROSECUTION ARRESTS THREE PUBLIC OFFICIALS FOR CORRUPTION

On 27 July, Exit News reported that Albanian police have arrested 3 employees of the Tirana Cadastral Agency over charges of “passive corruption”.  This follows an investigation into the illegal registration of property in the capital through passive corruption and the falsification of documents.  Previously, 9 low-ranking public officials of the Ministry of Interior were arrested for rigging a tender worth €23 million in 2020 for the supply of Albanian police officers with uniforms.

https://exit.al/en/2021/07/27/albanian-special-prosecution-arrests-three-state-employees-for-corruption/

MOLDOVA’S PRESIDENT OPENS NEW PARLIAMENT SESSION ANNOUNCING ‘ZERO TOLERANCE FOR CORRUPTION’

On 27 July, BNE Intellinews reported that  President Maia Sandu opened the first session of the new parliament, where her Party of Action and Solidarity (PAS) holds a comfortable majority, with a message of “zero tolerance for corruption”. 

https://www.intellinews.com/moldova-s-president-opens-new-parliament-session-announcing-zero-tolerance-for-corruption-216576

UK STRATEGIC EXPORT CONTROLS ANNUAL REPORT 2020

On 27 July, the Department for International Trade published this report which provides a detailed overview of the UK’s strategic export controls policy and export licensing decisions for the period January to December 2020. 

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1006081/United-Kingdom-Strategic-Export-Controls-annual-report-2020.pdf

NCA WARNS FURLOUGHED PORT AND AIRPORT WORKERS COULD BE EXPLOITED BY ORGANISED CRIMINAL GROUPS

On 27 July, a news release from NCA warned that furloughed port and airport workers may be vulnerable to organised crime groups seeking to exploit the Covid crisis.  It warns that staff who have a detailed knowledge of controls and processes around the border could be targeted.  The warning has been issued to companies at the border, including port and airport operators, contractors, couriers and freight operators, as their furloughed staff return to work following the easing of Covid restrictions.

https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/nca-warns-furloughed-port-and-airport-workers-could-be-exploited-by-organised-criminal-groups

US TRADE BOYCOTT RULES CAN STILL YIELD SUBSTANTIAL PENALTIES

On 27 July, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reminded that US companies and their foreign affiliates are prohibited from participating in foreign boycotts that the US does not sanction, and that such actions can result in substantial criminal and civil penalties.  The Arab League boycott of Israel is the principal foreign economic boycott that US companies must be concerned with, but the laws apply to all boycotts imposed by foreign countries that are not approved by the US.  In addition, export regulations also require US persons to report each quarter requests if they have received to take certain actions to comply with, further, or support an unsanctioned foreign boycott.

https://www.strtrade.com/trade-news-resources/str-trade-report/trade-report/july/anti-boycott-violations-can-still-yield-substantial-penalties

SPANISH POLICE CUT SERBIAN CRIMINAL DRUG GANG’S OPERATIONS IN SPAIN

On 26 July, OCCRP reported that, with the help of Serbian investigators, Spanish police arrested 43 suspected members of a Serbian organised crime group suspected of having produced marijuana and hashish at plantations in Spain and having distributed their products in Germany.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/14904-spanish-police-cut-serbian-criminal-gang-s-operations-in-spain

US CHARGES 9 PEOPLE, INCLUDING A CHINESE PROSECUTOR, WITH CONSPIRING TO ACT AS ILLEGAL AGENTS OF CHINA, INTERNATIONAL STALKING, AND OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE

On 27 July, Jurist reported that at least 4 of the 9 individuals named in the indictment were residing in the US at the time of the indictment.  According to the indictment documents, the defendants allegedly acted at the direction and under the control of Chinese government officials, “conducted surveillance of and engaged in a campaign to harass, stalk and coerce certain residents of the United States to return to the PRC as part of a global, concerted and extralegal repatriation effort known as ‘Operation Fox Hunt’”.

https://www.jurist.org/news/2021/07/us-charges-chinese-prosecutor-8-others-with-obstruction-of-justice-international-stalking/

BOSNIA CHIEF PROSECUTOR GORDANA TADIĆ AXED FOR ‘NEGLIGENCE’

On 27 July, Eurasia Review reported that the  Disciplinary Commission of Bosnia’s High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council has axed Gordana Tadić as Chief Prosecutor of Bosnia and Herzegovina, citing professional negligence among other issues.

https://www.eurasiareview.com/27072021-bosnia-chief-prosecutor-gordana-tadic-axed-for-negligence/

LITHUANIAN COURT SENDS POLITICIAN TO 6 YEARS IN PRISON FOR SPYING FOR RUSSIA

On 27 July, Rferl reported that a court has sentenced politician Algirdas Paleckis to 6 years in prison after finding him guilty of spying for Russia.  It is said that Paleckis and an unspecified number of other Lithuanian citizens allegedly collected information for Russian intelligence for money, and Paleckis and several other Lithuanian citizens were arrested in December 2018 and charged with spying for Russia.

https://www.rferl.org/a/lithuania-spying-russia-paleckis/31379678.html

MONETARY AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE (MAS) PROPOSAL FOR A SERIES OF AMENDMENTS TO ENHANCE INVESTIGATION POWERS

On 27 July, an article from Dentons said that the proposed amendments seek to enhance the MAS’ investigative powers, and clarify and expand MAS’ reprimand powers, which will bolster the MAS’ supervisory and enforcement powers.

https://dentons.rodyk.com/en/insights/alerts/2021/july/27/enhancing-powers-of-investigation-protecting-singapore-reputation-as-a-key-finance-hub

https://www.mas.gov.sg/publications/consultations/2021/consultation-paper-on-proposed-amendments-to-mas-investigative-and-other-powers-under-the-various-acts

XINJIANG’S EXPORTS TO THE EU BOOM, DESPITE POLITICAL CONCERNS OVER FORCED LABOUR

On 25 July, the South China Morning Post reported that imports of products from the region rise 131% in the first 6 months – compared with a 35% increase in exports from China as a whole – and the debate on labour appears to be having little impact, analysts say. 

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3142389/xinjiangs-exports-eu-boom-despite-political-concerns-over

US: HOW UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE FRAUD EXPLODED DURING THE PANDEMIC

On 26 July, ProPublica published an article referring to Bots filing bogus applications in bulk, teams of fraudsters in foreign countries making phony claims, online forums peddling how-to advice on identity theft.  It says that what may turn out to be the biggest fraud wave in US history, is filing bogus claims for unemployment insurance benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

https://www.propublica.org/article/how-unemployment-insurance-fraud-exploded-during-the-pandemic

“FISHROT” – THE ICELANDIC-NAMIBIA CORRUPTION SCANDAL

On 20 July, Sage Journals published an article from the Index on Censorship about bribery, tax evasion and the plundering of massive fish stocks which belonged to the people of Namibia.  It focuses on the Icelandic fisherman who exposed the scandal, with 27 jurisdictions used for money laundering and tax evasion.

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/03064220211033797

US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE ANNOUNCES COMPETITION FOR AI TO DETECT ILLEGAL FISHING

On 22 July, the DoD announced that its Defense Innovation Unit and Global Fishing Watch, a non-profit that uses satellites to provide a view of global fishing activities, have launched a new xView3 Challenge to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.  This is a competition with a $150,000 prize that’s intended to attract skilled developers who like a challenge and are adept at exploring novel ways to harness satellite-based synthetic aperture radar data to detect “dark” vessels, which don’t publicly broadcast their location or appear in public monitoring systems.

https://www.defense.gov/Explore/News/Article/Article/2703739/dod-announces-ai-competition-to-detect-defeat-illegal-fishing/

https://www.ebf.eu/innovation-cybersecurity/unhacked-121-tools-against-ransomware-on-a-single-website/

MFA REFORM LOOKS TO ADDRESS MONEY LAUNDERING, CORRUPTION IN MALTA FOOTBALL 

On 27 July, Malta Today reported that the MFA President says new structures in how football clubs in Malta operate will help in reducing corruption and money laundering, while raising the sport’s standards.

https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/sports/football/111146/mfa_reform_looks_to_address_money_laundering_corruption_in_maltas_football_scene_#.YQA8s7qSmM8

THE POST OFFICE HORIZON SCANDAL: THE LAW SAYS COMPUTERS ARE RELIABLE

On 20 July, an article from the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers which involves a discussion which considers what is, arguably, the underlying legal cause of the scandal – that the law says that computers are presumed to be reliable.  The scandal involved a large number of sub-postmasters accused of fraud and theft on the basis of what the Post Office’s Fujitsu Horizon software appeared to indicate.

https://www.infolaw.co.uk/newsletter/2021/07/the-post-office-horizon-scandal-the-law-says-computers-are-reliable/

A COUP IN TUNISIA?

On 27 July, the Center for Strategic and International Studies offered this Q&A article, answering questions about the situation.  It starts by reminding one that President Kais Saied invoked emergency powers, fired the prime minister, and suspended parliament for 30 days.  He declared that he would govern alongside a new prime minister. Tunisia, long hailed as the only success story of the Arab Spring uprisings, now faces its most dangerous political crisis since the revolution a decade ago.

https://www.csis.org/analysis/coup-tunisia

THE BIDEN-HARRIS ADMINISTRATION’S ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE POLICY AGENDA: WHAT COMPANIES NEED TO KNOW

On 27 July, Wilmer Hale published a Client Alert saying that the Biden Administration has taken tangible steps to advance environmental justice (EJ) across the federal government, and the White House has provided key guidance to help agencies direct funding to advance EJ.  The firm recommends that regulated entities should consider incorporating several best practices to remain ahead of the evolving EJ regulatory and enforcement landscape.

https://www.wilmerhale.com/en/insights/client-alerts/20210727-the-biden-harris-administrations-environmental-justice-policy-agenda-what-companies-need-to-know

US 2020 REVIEW OF NOTORIOUS MARKETS FOR COUNTERFEITING AND PIRACY

Released in January by the US Trade Representative this annual report includes the “Notorious Markets List” which identifies online and physical markets that play a significant role in trademark counterfeiting or copyright piracy. In the 2020 report, China is named as the world’s “primary source” of counterfeit products, accounting for 82% of counterfeits.  It estimates that an estimated 2.5%, or nearly half a trillion dollars’ worth, of imports worldwide are counterfeit and pirated products.

https://ustr.gov/sites/default/files/files/Press/Releases/2020%20Review%20of%20Notorious%20Markets%20for%20Counterfeiting%20and%20Piracy%20(final).pdf

Guns, knives, swords and other offensive weapons: UK border control

On 27 July, HMRC issued update guidance following new prohibitions being introduced and relating to the possession of offensive weapons and the importation and supply of cyclone and spiral knives (a blade with one or more cutting edges that form a helix and come to a point). A new legal definition of flick knives, banned since 1959, also takes effect, resulting in more of these bladed weapons being outlawed.  The guidance summarises the requirements, controls and sanctions that Border Force applies to firearms and offensive weapons when they are imported into the UK.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/import-controls-on-offensive-weapons#history

See also –

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/ban-on-knives-firearms-and-offensive-weapons-comes-into-force

EU SCOPES SINGAPORE FOR ‘BLACKLIST’ AMID CRACKDOWN ON SHELL ENTITIES

On 27 July, the International Tax Review reported that Singapore is a part of scoping exercises for the EU list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions, meanwhile a consultation on shell companies could add greater substance tests for the list.

https://www.internationaltaxreview.com/article/b1swhnm5bbd86h/eu-scopes-singapore-for-blacklist-amid-crackdown-on-shell-entities

BREXIT – WHAT NEXT FOR .eu DOMAIN NAMES FOR UK HOLDERS?

On 27 July, CMS Law published an article saying that from 1 January, organisations, businesses or undertakings established in the UK (but not in the EU), and individuals who lived outside the EU and were not EU citizens, became unable to hold, register or renew .eu internet domain names in the UK.  Those who could not meet the eligibility criteria had their .eu domain names suspended on 1 January, with a deadline for reinstating these open until 30 June.

https://www.cms-lawnow.com/ealerts/2021/07/brexit-what-next-for-dot-eu-domain-names-for-uk-holders?cc_lang=en

UK GOVERNMENT EXPLORES AML REFORM FOR OPEN BANKING PAYMENT SERVICE PROVIDERS

On 27 July, CMS Law reported that HM Treasury issued a consultation paper on 22 July covering various proposed amendments to the UK AML framework.  HM Treasury is also inviting feedback on the potential money laundering and terrorist financing risks presented by payment initiation services (PIS).  The consultation process is open until 14 October, ahead of the proposed introduction of final legislation in Spring 2022.

https://www.cms-lawnow.com/ealerts/2021/07/uk-government-explores-aml-reform-for-open-banking-payment-service-providers

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/amendments-to-the-money-laundering-terrorist-financing-and-transfer-of-funds-information-on-the-payer-regulations-2017-statutory-instrument-2022

AFGHANISTAN AND HEROIN IN THE ERA OF FENTANYL

The RAND Corporation has published a paper considering potential economic and political impacts of a collapse in demand for Afghanistan’s opiates.  It points out that Afghanistan is the world’s largest producer of illegal opium poppy and is a key source for heroin markets across Europe and Asia, and illegal opiates have helped sustain farmers and workers in rural Afghanistan while funding nonstate actors and insurgent groups. Given the rise and dominance of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids as they displace heroin in major drug markets in the Americas, the authors assess what might happen to Afghanistan if demand for its opiates dropped off sharply and permanently. It is argued that the loss of demand for Afghan opiates could have significant impacts on economic and political conditions, depending largely on the pace of change.

https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/perspectives/PEA1000/PEA1088-1/RAND_PEA1088-1.pdf

SERIES OF STUDIES LAUNCHED BY THE EU AND UN SHED LIGHT ON THE SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE BEING CAUSED TO STATES AS A RESULT OF UNCHECKED ILLICIT FINANCIAL FLOWS – ARMENIA

The UN Interregional Crime & Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) published the latest in the series of studies, this one covering Armenia.

https://www.unicri.it/Publication/Illicit-Financial-Flows-Asset-Recovery-Armenia

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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COMBATTING ILLEGAL, UNREPORTED, AND UNREGULATED (IUU) FISHING IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

The Center for Strategic and International Studies has produced an article and podcast plus, on 20 July, a webinar on illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing in Latin America and the Caribbean.  The 80-minute webinar explored the link between IUU fishing and coastal livelihoods and economies, the environment, food security, and national sovereignty across Latin America and the Caribbean.

https://www.csis.org/events/assessing-impact-illegal-unregulated-and-unreported-fishing-latin-america-and-caribbean

The 20-minute podcast involved an interview with the Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Latin America and the Caribbean Bureau of the US Agency for International Development (US AID).  This covered who is impacted by IUU fishing and how, the challenges of combatting IUU fishing, the importance of multilateral efforts and interagency collaboration, as well why this is a priority for the Biden-Harris Administration.

https://www.csis.org/node/61663

A report from CSIS on 20 July says that IUU fishing in Latin America and the Caribbean is a major concern with effects extending far beyond the fishing industry.  IUU fishing itself has detrimental effects on the livelihoods of licit fishers, coastline ecosystems, and fish stocks. Beyond this, the industry also has ties to food insecurity, human trafficking, forced labour, and drug and weapons smuggling.  On the Pacific coast of South America IUU fishing is mostly perpetrated by large-scale operations of Chinese distant-water fleets, although some small-scale artisanal IUU fishing is present.  IUU fishing in the Caribbean is perpetrated mostly by small-scale fishers from within the region rather than distant-water fleet vessels.  Off the coasts of Mexico and Central America distant-water fleet overfishing along Mexico’s Pacific coastline is commonplace, and small-scale Mexican artisanal fleets also regularly fish illegally in the Gulf of Mexico along the US shoreline.  In Central America, the main perpetrators of IUU fishing are typically small fleets from neighbouring countries, which is difficult for most countries to combat given their minimal naval deterrence capacity.  The report also looks at links to the smuggling of weapons, drugs, humans, and animals, and the exploitation of workers on the vessels.  It says that weak governance and endemic corruption have hindered efforts to combat IUU fishing for decades, and that many governments turn a blind eye to IUU fishing in their waters to appease either domestic political interests or powerful global actors, especially China. Hefty investment packages and direct donations are leveraged for exceptions to port measures and impunity for IUU vessels.

https://www.csis.org/analysis/development-solutions-address-illegal-unreported-and-unregulated-fishing-latin-america-and

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EX-GLENCORE TRADER PLEADS GUILTY IN OIL BRIBERY CASE

On 27 July, Swissinfo reported that UK-based trader, Anthony Stimler, pleaded guilty to violating the FCPA and conspiracy to commit money laundering using, among other means, bank accounts in Switzerland.  Convicted in the US, Stimler will remain free in the UK on a $500,000 bond and is banned from travelling.  Sentencing is set for 28 January 28.  It is said that Stimler was allegedly helped by 7 people, citizens from the UK, Nigeria, Israel, Mexico and Spain. The case involved Nigerian oil contracts.

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/business/ex-glencore-trader-pleads-guilty-in-oil-bribery-case-/46820338

https://allafrica.com/stories/202107270586.html?src=ilaw&viewall=1

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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CLAIMING AGAINST ACCOMPLICES TO ASSET DISSIPATION UNDER ENGLISH LAW

On 23 July, Reed Smith LLP published an article saying that a developing area of English Law is the use of economic torts to bring damages claims against individuals or corporate vehicles who assist in the dissipation of the assets of a judgment debtor or receive the proceeds.  It refers to fairly recent court cases and to the so-called Marex tort, by which a third party may be liable for inducing or procuring the infringement of rights arising under a judgment debt (analogous to inducement of a breach of contract).

https://viewpoints.reedsmith.com/post/102h3en/judgment-enforcement-claiming-against-accomplices-to-asset-dissipation-under-en#page=1

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AUSTRALIA: ATO GUIDE TO IDENTIFYING SERIOUS FINANCIAL CRIMINALS

On 26 July, Nyman Gibson Miralis published an article advising that the ATO-led Serious Financial Crime Taskforce has released a guide to identifying serious financial criminals, encouraging the community to keep an eye out for and report suspicious activity. The guide outlines a number of “personas” to describe the kinds of criminals that are typically involved, and explain how to spot them based on their behaviours.  These are the Hardcore Criminal , the Lieutenant, the Launderer, the Straw Director, the Enabler, the Phoenix Operator, the Cyber Criminal, the Fixer, the Tax Fraudster, and the Rorter (who lies or withholds information to fraudulently access a range of government subsidies).

https://ngm.com.au/ato-guide-identifying-serious-financial-criminals/

The guide is at –

https://www.ato.gov.au/uploadedFiles/Content/ITX/downloads/SFCT_Identikit.pdf

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JULY 26

Panama Covid-19 update – “only” 495 new cases reported today, but then only 5,939 tests recorded – much lower than of late, perhaps staff are more busy with the vaccination drive. However, there were 8 new fatalities reported, with 12,998 active cases now on record, with 124 in ICU and 649 in other wards.

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

26 JULY 2021

RESPONSIBLE GAMBLING – SUPPLIERS ARE INCREASINGLY COMING UNDER SCRUTINY

On 26 July, iGB said that responsible gambling was once almost entirely the preserve of operators, but suppliers are increasingly coming under scrutiny. Now they are taking action to ensure player protection is built into their products.

https://igamingbusiness.com/responsible-gambling-and-the-supplier-challenge/

US: SOME INDEPENDENT DIRECTORS OF BANKRUPT COMPANIES SHOW BIAS

On 23 July, the Wall Street Journal reported that companies on the brink of insolvency are increasingly appointing independent directors to their boards as they prepare for a bankruptcy filing, but their neutrality is disputed by creditors, lawyers and academics.  The directors’ input carries significant weight with bankruptcy judges.  However, the article says that the problem, according to new research, is that some of these directors are biased in favour of the companies that hired them.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/some-independent-directors-of-bankrupt-firms-show-bias-study-says-11627032600

BIG 4 AUDITORS FAIL TO MEET UK REGULATOR EXPECTATIONS

On 23 July, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Financial Reporting Council has said audits performed by the big 4 accounting firms and smaller rivals failed to meet expectations, raising troubling questions about the financial statements upon which investors rely.  The FRC had said that performance had improved from the year before but still fell below expectations, with about 80% of audits assessed as good or requiring only limited improvements.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/big-four-auditors-fail-to-meet-u-k-regulator-expectations-11627045676

NEW DATA PROTECTION REGIME HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED IN THE BVI

Mourant have produced a short brief about a new regime in the BVI which aims to meet UK and EU standards of data protection, as established by the EU GDPR. The Data Protection Act 2021 came into force on 9 July.

https://www.mourant.com/news-and-views/updates/updates-2021/data-protection-regime-introduced-in-the-bvi.aspx

CANADA: NEW BILL CONCERNING ULTIMATE BENEFICIAL OWNERS

On 19 July, Lavery Lawyers published an article about an amending Act introduced as a Bill in December 2020 and given assent as an Act on 8 June.  It is said that the amendments set out new requirements for corporate transparency and now require registrants to disclose information about the natural persons who are their ultimate beneficiaries, including their names, domiciles and dates of birth, in order to prevent the use of nominees for tax evasion, among other things.

https://www.lavery.ca/en/publications/our-publications/4272-bill-78-and-the-notion-of-ultimate-beneficiary.html

BVI: APPLICABLE UK SANCTIONS EXTENDED TO THE BVI

The BVI FSC maintains a webpage containing details of the UK sanctions measures which have been extended using UK law to include the BVI.  The legislative framework thus created  enables the relevant authorities in the BVI to take the necessary action to (among other things,) freeze the funds/assets of designated persons and entities.  Failure to comply with restrictions and prohibitions in relation to sanctions imposed under the relevant legislation constitutes an offence that may result in the imposition of penalties or imprisonment when a conviction is secured.

https://www.bvifsc.vg/international-sanctions/Applicable-UK-Regulations-Legislative-Framework

BVI RISK ASSESSMENTS

The various risk assessments undertaken in the BVI are available on the FSC website.  The latest money laundering and terrorist financing assessments were in 2020, with final progress report on recommendations of the 2016 national risk assessment published in January.

https://www.bvifsc.vg/risk-assessments

5 THINGS TO TAKE AWAY FROM THE FCA’S BUSINESS PLAN

On 22 July, an article from CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP listed the top 5 takeaways from the Business Plan released on 15 July.  Among other things it says that the FCA intends to test its powers to the limit as a more assertive regulator.

https://www.cms-lawnow.com/regzone/articles/2021/july/5-things-to-take-away-from-the-fcas-business-plan?cc_lang=en

INCORPORATED CELL COMPANIES (ICC)

A briefing from Mourant in Guernsey on 22 July was concerned with ICC, that were introduced into Guernsey in 2006.  The briefing details what they are and what they are used for, their framework and advantages, including how to wind them up.

https://www.mourant.com/news-and-views/guides/guides-2021/incorporated-cell-companies.aspx 

GERMANY: SUPPLY CHAIN DUE DILIGENCE ACT

On 21 July, Covington & Burling LLP published a briefing, saying that the new legislation approved by the Bundesrat on 25 June and, as the remaining legislative steps are formalities, further changes to its scope are not expected.  The law will create new obligations and liability risks for many multinational companies active in Germany and may serve as a model for the EU as its legislative process toward mandatory environmental and human rights due diligence progresses.  It is advised that businesses caught by the new legislation should begin to prepare for its entry into force by reviewing and updating their human rights and environmental due diligence frameworks.

https://www.cov.com/en/news-and-insights/insights/2021/07/germany-passes-supply-chain-due-diligence-act

https://www.statista.com/chart/3389/us-airports-make-thousands-from-lost-change

CANADA: NEW COMPANY PLANS TO EXTRACT PLUTONIUM FROM USED NUCLEAR FUEL

On 26 July, an article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists reported on Moltex Energy, a start-up company that has received a federal grant to develop a nuclear project in New Brunswick that experts say will undermine Canada’s credibility as a non-proliferation partner.  It wants to extract plutonium from the thousands of used nuclear fuel bundles currently stored as “high-level radioactive waste”.  It is said that the idea is to use the plutonium as fuel for a new nuclear reactor, and if the project is successful, the entire package could be replicated and sold to other countries.  However, it is said that US experts’ primary concern is that other countries could point to Canada’s support of the Moltex programme to help justify its own plutonium acquisition programmes and so undermine non-proliferation efforts.  The article asks, as history has shown the dangers of promoting the greater availability of plutonium, why is the Canadian government supporting so-called pyroprocessing promoted by Moltex?

https://thebulletin.org/2021/07/will-canada-remain-a-credible-nonproliferation-partner/

ATTEMPT TO SMUGGLE ANTI-AIRCRAFT MISSILE PARTS FROM UKRAINE

On 26 July, Ukrinform reported that the SBU Security Service have prevented the illegal export of military goods subject to government export control.  It suspects a former employee with one of Ukraine’s defence plants was involved.  During house searches paperwork is said to have been found confirming criminal intent, as well as components for anti-aircraft missile weapons.

https://www.ukrinform.net/rubric-crime/3286933-attempt-to-smuggle-antiaircraft-missile-system-parts-out-of-ukraine-exposed-sbu.html

UKRAINE: ENTRY BAN FOR 160 FOREIGNERS AFFILIATED WITH EXTREMIST OR TERRORIST GROUPS

On 20 July, Ukrinform reported that the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has banned from entering the country 190 foreigners involved in terrorist and extremist organisations.  It also said that 17 persons had been detained at the border, including a Russian national, member of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, wanted by Interpol, and a militant with the Islamic State terrorist organisation, with 45 foreign nationals were expelled to their countries of origin. 

https://www.ukrinform.net/rubric-crime/3283793-sbu-issues-entry-ban-to-190-foreigners-affiliated-with-terrorist-extremist-groups.html

CANADIAN UNIVERSITIES WARNED TO BE ON ALERT FOR INTERNATIONAL ESPIONAGE

On 26 July, the Globe & Mail and others reported that in 2020 the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) had intensified its effort to warn universities and researchers that they could be the target of international espionage.  Documents obtained show that CSIS had given presentations for universities and others involved in critical aspects of the supply chain to sound an alarm about potential threats to Canadian research, which could lead to the potential presence of foreign agents in laboratories that could compromise intellectual property. 

https://granthshala.com/csis-warns-canadian-universities-to-be-on-alert-for-international-espionage/

SPIKE IN AMBERGRIS SEIZURES LINKED TO AWARENESS ABOUT ITS VALUE AND A BREAKDOWN OF TRADITIONAL SMUGGLING ROUTES

On 25 July, the Indian Express reported that 6 seizures of ambergris over the last month have highlighted the shadowy but lucrative trade in this waxy substance, at times described as whale vomit, and sometimes as whale faeces. Prior to these, there have been only 2 such seizures in recent years, once in 2019, and before that in 2018. Ambergris is an intestinal secretion in the sperm whale and, ejected by the whale, it floats on the surface of the water.  In the water it develops a fragrance, which is why it has been a valued ingredient in perfume.  The high price ambergris fetches can raise the suspicion that a whale might have been killed for it. However, in some European countries with a flourishing perfume industry, it is classified as “refuse” and considered legal.

https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/spike-in-ambergris-seizures-linked-to-awareness-about-its-value-breakdown-of-traditional-smuggling-routes-7421901/

TURKEY: “CHARADE OF PRETENDING TO STRIVE FOR COMPLIANCE” WITH FATF” RECOMMENDATIONS

On 26 July, an article from Nordic Monitor is concerned with a new Bill advertised as Turkey’s intention to address long-running shortcomings in the terrorism financing and money laundering framework, but which the article claims is full of new loopholes that were designed to give President Erdoğan a free hand in undermining FATF recommendations.  It says that the most striking shortcoming in the legislation is the absence of any provision concerning a PEP.

https://nordicmonitor.com/2021/07/president-erdogan-cheats-on-fatf-rules-in-cracking-down-on-terror-groups-in-turkey/

UAE CENTRAL BANK ISSUES NEW GUIDANCE ON AML/CFT

On 26 July, Urdu Point reported that the guidance, which came into effect from 8 July, is said to be supplementary to the guidance on financial sanctions for financial institutions and DNFBP, issued in May.   

https://www.urdupoint.com/en/middle-east/uae-central-bank-issues-new-guidance-on-anti-1310895.html

https://www.centralbank.ae/en/cbuae-amlcft

INDIA: HOW THE BLACK MONEY LAW IS HELPING CRACK DOWN ON UNDISCLOSED INCOME

On 26 July, India Today reported that a  law enacted by the government in 2015 to crack down on undisclosed foreign income and assets has started showing significant results.  It says that, under the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act 2015 up until May orders have been passed in 166 cases.

https://www.indiatoday.in/business/story/explained-how-govt-s-black-money-law-is-helping-crack-down-on-undisclosed-income-1832861-2021-07-26

EU: GOOD CATCH IN JOINT ACTIONS TARGETING ILLEGAL FISHING

On 26 July, a news release from Europol announced that the Portuguese Guarda Nacional Republicana led a Joint Action Day targeting illegal fishing which involved authorities from Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Sweden. Law enforcement and fisheries control agencies took part in the actions.  Seizures included plastic explosives, detonating caps and wick, almost 11 tonnes of fish, crustaceans and clams, high-tech equipment, computers and documents, 167 illegal fishing nets and 20 other illegal tools.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/good-catch-in-joint-actions-targeting-illegal-fishing

UK: HOW TO PLAY YOUR PART IN PROTECTING THE UK MEDICINES SUPPLY CHAIN

On 26 July, a post from the MHRA Inspectorate says that preventing falsified medicines entering the legal supply chain is a fundamental objective of good distribution practice (GDP) for distributors of medicinal products. The Agency is offering a new webinar which will provide further information and guidance around the challenges faced and real case studies of incidents it has been addressing.  It provides a list of questions one should ask whenever offered high-value stock, saying that it is essential to conduct due diligence checks to ensure the authenticity of the medicines. 

https://mhrainspectorate.blog.gov.uk/2021/07/26/too-good-to-be-true-how-to-play-your-part-in-protecting-the-uk-medicines-supply-chain/

LANDMARK VATICAN FRAUD TRIAL OF 10 INCLUDING A CARDINAL SET TO START

On 26 July, Reuters reported that the fraud trial of 10 people including a cardinal begins in the Vatican on 27 July.

https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/landmark-vatican-fraud-trial-10-including-cardinal-set-start-2021-07-26

MONEY LAUNDERING IN CANADA IS PERVASIVE, BUT LITTLE IS DONE ABOUT IT

An article in the Ottawa Sun on 26 July made this claim, saying that Canada is such an appealing money-laundering destination that there is a coined term to refer to illegal money laundered here: “snow-washing”.  It reports that, during the past 10 years, Ottawa-area banks flagged more than 10,000 suspicious transactions to Canada’s financial intelligence agency, but during that same period only 20 people faced money laundering-related charges in the city.

https://ottawasun.com/news/local-news/money-laundering-is-pervasive-but-little-is-done-about-it-experts/wcm/aad42c0a-e406-4dd0-a869-21046deee93f

INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST KHADIJA ISMAYILOVA PUSHES THROUGH PERSECUTION TO UNCOVER CORRUPTION IN AZERBAIJAN

On 26 July, the Globe and Mail carried an article about an interview with this journalist

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/world/article-investigative-journalist-khadija-ismayilova-pushes-through-persecution/

AUSTRALIA: STAR SYDNEY BACCARAT DEALER CONVICTED FOR $500,000 BETTING SCAM

On 26 July, Casino Beats reported that a former employee of Sydney’s Star Casino has been convicted for his part in an illegal betting scam that is said to have “cheated the casino out of almost A$500,000” in 2020.  Hieu Duc Lam, a baccarat dealer, was captured on CCTV footage.

https://www.casinobeats.com/2021/07/26/star-sydney-baccarat-dealer-convicted-for-500000-betting-scam/

FOURFOLD INCREASE IN UK INVESTMENT FRAUD REPORTS IN 5 YEARS

On 26 July, Investment Advisor reported that the number of investment fraud cases reported to Action Fraud has surged exponentially since 2016, but fraud convictions have not followed a similar trend. 

https://international-adviser.com/fourfold-increase-in-uk-investment-fraud-reports-in-five-years/

UK:  HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE EXCEPTION FOR PETROLEUM PRODUCTS UNDER THE SYRIA SANCTIONS REGIME

On 26 July, HM Treasury published a form is for notifying use of the humanitarian assistance exception relating to petroleum products affected by Syrian sanctions, and involving a person has received funding or economic resources from the UK Government for humanitarian assistance activity in Syria.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/petroleum-products-humanitarian-assistance-exception-notification-form

UNITED KINGDOM STRATEGIC EXPORT CONTROLS ANNUAL REPORT

On 26 July, the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office published this report, an annual overview of the UK’s strategic export controls policy and licensing regime.  It includes information on export licensing processes, procedures and responsible departments and policy developments. 

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/united-kingdom-strategic-export-controls-annual-report

US CUSTOMS MODIFIES WITHHOLD RELEASE ORDER ON IMPORTS OF CARPETS AND HAND-KNOTTED WOOL PRODUCTS FROM NEPAL

On 26 July, a news release from US CBP advised that the WRO had been modified and that products from the Annapurna Carpet Industries Pvt Ltd were permitted entry into the US.  CBP had originally issued a WRO in July 1998 to prevent the importation of carpets and hand-knotted wool products from 7 Nepalese companies, including Annapurna Carpet.  This was based on information reasonably indicating that those products were made with the use of forced labour.  It modified the WRO after evaluating detailed information on Annapurna Carpet, which sufficiently shows that the company’s products are not made with the use of forced labour.  This is the second time CBP has modified the Withhold Release Order on carpets and hand-knotted wool products from Nepal.

https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/national-media-release/cbp-modifies-withhold-release-order-imports-carpets-and-hand-knotted

8.17 KG GOLD SEIZED AT CHENNAI AIRPORT

On 26 July, OMMcom News reported that Customs said 2 passengers from Dubai have been arrested.  The gold was concealed in home appliances like rice cooker, juicer, food mincer and nebuliser.

https://ommcomnews.com/india-news/8-17-kg-gold-seized-at-chennai-airport-2-held

QUASHING ORDERS AND THE JUDICIAL REVIEW AND COURTS BILL

On 26 July, an article from the UK Constitutional Law Association said that, despite commissioning a wide-ranging review of administrative law, the Bill, as now unveiled, does not include restrictions on judicial review that many had feared. Indeed, it says relatively little about judicial review. The principal judicial review reform contained in the Bill would allow courts to suspend the effect of quashing orders and limit their retrospective effect.  The article considers this and its possible meaning and effect.  The author of the piece concludes that the Bill could, in fact, confer considerable additional powers on the judiciary, including in effect a power to legislate to change Acts of Parliament and alter private rights.   It is said that the new Bill would obviate the need for retrospective legislation, and that courts could step into Parliament’s shoes and tailor the retrospective impact of quashing orders themselves.  It concludes that the relevant clause in the Bill does not represent a restriction on judicial review or judicial power.  Another clause, by conferring on judges a discretion to limit the consequences of ultra vires decisions and acts, would represent a significant transfer of power to judges and potentially draw them into complex policy areas and the author makes recommendation to modify and improve the latter.

https://ukconstitutionallaw.org/2021/07/26/tom-hickman-qc-quashing-orders-and-the-judicial-review-and-courts-act/

DESPITE OUTRAGE, GUATEMALA CONTINUES TO DISMANTLE ANTI-CORRUPTION EDIFICE

On 26 July, Insight Crime carried an article arguing that the dismissal of Juan Francisco Sandoval, the country’s leading anti-corruption prosecutor, marks the formal end of efforts to strengthen anti-corruption bodies in Guatemala.  However, the article says that perhaps the most surprising aspect of Sandoval’s dismissal is that it took so long.

https://insightcrime.org/news/despite-outrage-guatemala-continues-bulldoze-anti-corruption-edifice/

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/7/24/guatemala-anti-corruption-prosecutor-flees-country-after-sacking

UK: MAN JAILED FOR 4 YEARS FOR FRAUDULENT TRADING, MASQUERADING AS A REGULATED FINANCIAL ADVISER

On 26 July, a release on Mondo Visione advised that Ian James Hudson had been sentenced to 4 years’ imprisonment for fraudulent trading, with 2 additional terms of 14 months, to run concurrently following an earlier guilty plea. This followed charges laid by the FCA namely carrying on a business, Richmond Associates, for a fraudulent purpose and carrying on regulated activities when not authorised or exempt.  Confiscation proceedings are being pursued by the FCA. Any sums recovered from Mr Hudson will be used to compensate victims.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/uk-financial-conduct-authority-ian-hudson-sentenced-to-4-years-imprisonment-for/

SURVEY: IN THE FINANCIAL SERVICES SECTOR IN THE UK, ON AVERAGE, ORGANISATIONS SPENT £53 PER CUSTOMER ANNUALLY ON FINANCIAL CRIME DEFENCE AND REFUSED £90,000 OF BUSINESS AND EXITED £90,000 MORE, FOR FINANCIAL CRIME REASONS

A release on Mondo Visione on 26 July said that a survey of 300 financial crime decision makers working in the financial services sector in the UK found that on average, organisations spent £53 annually on financial crime defence for each customer relationship they have; and that they refused an average of £90,240.77 and exited an average of £90,869.52 worth of UK customer relationships for financial crime reasons during the last 12 months.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/uk-financial-institutions-spend-an-average-of-374k-each-year-on-preventing-fina/

HISTORIC VATICAN FRAUD TRIAL TO EXPOSE LONDON SECRETS

On 25 July, France 24 reported that a once-powerful Catholic cardinal and 9 others stand trial at the Vatican in an embezzlement scandal that allegedly saw charity funds used in a ruinous London property venture.  It follows a 2-year probe into how the Secretariat of State — the key department in the Vatican’s central administration — managed its vast asset portfolio and, in particular, who knew what about a disastrous €350-million London investment.

https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20210725-historic-vatican-fraud-trial-to-expose-london-secrets

CAMEROON POLICE INTERCEPT PANGOLIN SCALES TRAFFICKED FROM 3 CENTRAL AFRICAN STATES

On 22 July, VoA reported that Cameroonian police say they have for the first time during the pandemic seized parts of an estimated 2,000 pangolins poached in Cameroon and neighbouring Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. Police say travel restrictions had slowed trafficking of the endangered anteater to Asia, where its meat is considered a delicacy and the scales are used in traditional medicine.  The traffickers were arrested while preparing to transfer the scales and animal skin to Cameroon’s neighbour, Nigeria.  It is said that police in Cameroon, Nigeria and Benin are collaborating to track other members of a group of Pangolin traffickers operating in the 3 countries.

https://www.voanews.com/covid-19-pandemic/cameroon-police-intercept-pangolin-scales-trafficked-3-central-african-states

FBI WARNING: CHINESE “TALENT PLANS”

The FBI has issued an alert saying that foreign governments sponsor talent recruitment programmes, or “talent plans”, to bring outside knowledge and innovation back to their countries — and sometimes that means stealing trade secrets, breaking export control laws, or violating conflict-of-interest policies to do so.  While various countries use talent plans, the FBI says that the Chinese government is the most prolific sponsor of these programmes, and that the US is one of China’s main targets.  It says that China oversees hundreds of talent plans and all incentivise its members to steal foreign technologies needed to advance China’s national, military, and economic goals.  It recruits science and technology professors, researchers, students, and others — regardless of citizenship or national origin — to apply for talent plans.  The alert outlines the risks for US businesses, universities, and labs.

https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/counterintelligence/the-china-threat/chinese-talent-plans

JAPANESE BANKS TO DEPLOY SHARED SYSTEM FOR AML/CFT MONITORING

On 23 July, Regulation Asia reported that the banking sector is planning to deploy a shared transaction monitoring and screening system for AML/CFT across the industry – a new shared platform for AML/CFT monitoring and screening, to address the issue of false positives in the banking industry.

https://www.regulationasia.com/japan-banks-to-deploy-shared-system-for-aml-cft-monitoring/

BBC PODCAST SERIES – DRUG SHIP: THE LAST VOYAGE OF THE PONG SU

The BBC has released a series of podcasts telling the “true story behind an international drug plot involving the rogue state of North Korea, South-East Asian drug lords, $100 million worth of heroin, spooks, sailors, Australian cops and a web of lies”. It consists of 13 30-minute episodes.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09glsys/episodes/guide

STAGE 2 PEER REVIEW REPORTS ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE OECD BASE EROSION AND PROFIT SHIFTING (BEPS) ACTION 14 MINIMUM STANDARD OF THE MUTUAL AGREEMENT PROCEDURE (MAP)

On 23 July, Accountancy Daily reported that 8 such reviews are now available – covering India, Latvia, Argentina, Chile, South Africa, Lithuania, Croatia and Colombia.

https://www.accountancydaily.co/cch_uk/tat/news_014921_oecd_inclusive_framework

LEEDS WOMAN WHO TRIED TO SMUGGLE £2 MILLION IN CASH OUT OF UK IN SUITCASES JAILED

On 26 July, the Yorkshire Post reported that a money launderer from Leeds who was caught trying to smuggle almost £2 million out of the UK in her suitcases has been jailed for almost 3 years.  She was stopped boarding a flight from Heathrow to Dubai in October 2020.

https://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/news/crime/tara-hanlon-leeds-woman-who-tried-to-smuggle-ps2million-in-cash-out-of-uk-in-suitcases-jailed-3324364

CANADIAN EXTRADITION FIGHT OF SOUTH KOREAN PROPERTY TYCOON REVEALED, HIS FRAUD CASE UNREPORTED FOR YEARS

In its 27 July edition, the South China Morning Post reported that former developer Jung Myung-soo is accused of fleeing to Vancouver from South Korea, where he is wanted in connection with a multimillion-dollar fraud case dating back 16 years.  He is a former real estate tycoon behind what was one of Metro Vancouver’s biggest property developments, and his fight against extradition has gone unreported to date.  It is said that the case demonstrates the potential marathon nature of such proceedings, with South Korean prosecutors pursuing Jung in Canada since 2011, as a result of alleged offences dating back another 6 years.

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/3142631/korean-property-tycoons-marathon-extradition-fight-canada-revealed-his

UK: FIRST JUDICIAL ANALYSIS OF THE NEW PRACTICE DIRECTION (PD) ON TRIAL WITNESS STATEMENTS

On 26 July, Field Fisher published a report saying that the decision provides an early indication that the Courts will take a robust and common-sense approach to implementing new reforms.  Concern had been expressed following the 6 April, when the way that litigators prepare witness statements for trials in the Business and Property Courts changed.

https://www.fieldfisher.com/en/insights/first-court-analysis-of-new-regime-for-trial-witne

https://theconversation.com/fight-for-control-threatens-to-destabilize-and-fragment-the-internet-162914

https://www.visualcapitalist.com/mapped-gdp-per-capita-worldwide/

RUSSIA WORKING CLOSELY WITH POST-COUP MYANMAR ON MILITARY SUPPLIES

On 21 July, Reuters reported that the head of Russia’s state arms exporter has said that Moscow was cooperating closely with Myanmar’s ruling junta to supply it with military hardware including aircraft.

https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/russia-myanmar-cooperating-military-equipment-supplies-ifax-2021-07-21/

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