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PANAMA IN WORLD WAR 2 – CHAPTER 3 – THE NEUTRALITY PATROL


I have continued to add to my “scrapbook” project – now revised, with many additions and corrections (which continue!).

Attached is Chapter 3 of the revised version.

Also attached is (a very large) pdf file of the complete (to date) scrapbook!

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JANUARY 21

Panama Covid-19 update – nearly 2% of the population are now currently active cases of Covid-19 (and it seemed noticeably quieter at the hughe Albrook Mall – the largest in Latin America – today), with 11,933 new cases and 9 new fatalities reported today. The number of active cases has risen by over 6,600 to 84,113, with 68 in ICU (a fall of 3) and 662 in other wards (up 33). The 32,909 tests returned a 36.3% positive rate.

21 JANUARY 2022

TURKEY IS DRAWING INTERNATIONAL ATTENTION, AND AT TIMES ATTRACTING CRITICISM, OVER ITS DRONE EXPORT POLICIES

On 18 January, an article from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace was concerned with Turkish drone exports, saying that it has been capitalising on the noteworthy performance of its domestically-produced drones in operational theatres ranging from Syria and Libya to the South Caucasus as it seeks to steadily increase the number of drones it sells to other countries.  It argues that Turkey needs to take concrete steps to consolidate its image as a responsible drone exporter in a manner that strengthens its prospects in a competitive market. It can do so first and foremost by being more transparent about its drone transactions.

https://carnegieendowment.org/2022/01/18/strengthening-turkish-policy-on-drone-exports-pub-86183

DIRECTORS: PERSONAL LIABILITY FOR INDUCING A BREACH OF A CONTRACT BETWEEN THE COMPANY AND ANOTHER ENTITY

On 18 January, Addleshaw Goddard published an article says that a director can find themselves liable for losses caused by a company’s breach – for inducing a breach of a contract between the company of which he or she is a director and another entity.  It says that directors should also be alive to this cause of action and ensure that they are safeguarding themselves from any such claims.

https://www.addleshawgoddard.com/en/insights/insights-briefings/2022/litigation/blame-the-directors/

A NEW AND BETTER REGIME FOR ELECTRONIC SIGNATURES IN JERSEY

On 19 January, an article from Carey Olsen said that the Jersey legislation that governs electronic communications and related matters will be updated shortly by a new Law.  It says that the changes are to be made in light of new technologies, changes in business practices and lessons learned from the accelerated move to remote working as a result of COVID-19.  The further amendments to the existing law are likely to be made in the next few months: with the new Law having been approved by the Jersey States Assembly and is awaiting the final usual steps to come into force.

https://www.careyolsen.com/briefings/new-and-better-regime-electronic-signatures-jersey

SHIPPERS CHALLENGE CONTAINER LINE DEMURRAGE FEES IN US COURTS

On 21 January, Seatrade Maritime News also reported that the US authorities in December issued new guidelines with the intention of making it easier for shipper associations to challenge lines and to deter “unfair and unreasonable conduct by carriers, marine terminal operators, and intermediaries”. 

https://www.seatrade-maritime.com/containers/shippers-challenge-container-line-demurrage-fees-us-courts

IS TORNADO CASH COMPLICIT IN LAUNDERING CRYPTO? MIXERS AND TUMBLERS

On 21 January, an article in Coindesk is concerned with a mixing protocol that obscures details of the transactions on the blockchain in order to throw off investigators.  It says that mixers, also known as tumblers, aren’t new; they’ve been around almost as long as blockchain technology itself. 

https://www.coindesk.com/business/2022/01/21/is-tornado-cash-complicit-in-laundering-stolen-crypto-its-complicated-says-former-law-enforcement-agent/

UK SEEKS ADVICE ON CONTROLLING DANGEROUS OPIOID

On 21 January, the Home Office issued a news release saying that the Home Office will seek expert advice on tightening controls on a substance linked to multiple fatalities resulting from heroin overdoses.  The Home Secretary has written to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) to commission advice on 3 substances, including Isotonitazene, an opioid that has been used instead of or in addition to heroin.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/home-secretary-seeks-advice-on-controlling-dangerous-opioid

EU CHALLENGES RUSSIAN EXPORT RESTRICTIONS ON WOOD AT WTO

A news release from the EU on 21 January advised that the EU is requesting consultations with Russia at the WTO concerning export restrictions placed by Russia on wood products. The export restrictions consist of significantly increased export duties on certain wood products and a drastic reduction in the number of border crossing points through which exports of wood products can take place.  The dispute settlement consultations that the EU has requested are the first step in WTO dispute settlement proceedings.

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_22_410

JACK MA’S ANT GROUP IMPLICATED IN CORRUPTION SCANDAL BY CHINESE STATE MEDIA

On 21 January, the Irish Times reported that China’s state broadcaster has implicated Jack Ma’s Ant Group in a corruption scandal, ratcheting up pressure on the billionaire following a crackdown that has wiped billions of dollars from his internet empire.  China Central Television alleged that private companies made “unreasonably high payments” to the brother of the former Chinese Communist party head of Hangzhou, home to Ant Group’s headquarters, in return for government policy incentives and support with buying real estate.

https://www.irishtimes.com/business/technology/jack-ma-s-ant-group-implicated-in-corruption-scandal-by-chinese-state-media-1.4782337

ESTONIA: FORMER TRANSPORT ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL SUSPECTED OF CORRUPTION

On 21 January, ERR reported that the Internal Security Service suspects former Transport Administration public transportation department manager Kirke Williamson of violating an operating restriction stated in the Anti-corruption Act when knowingly making a decision based on personal interest worth some €200,000.

https://news.err.ee/1608474017/former-transport-administration-suspected-of-corruption

FORMER ZAMBIA ARMY CHIEF OF OPERATIONS ARRESTED OVER ILLEGAL EXPORT OF MUKULA LOGS

On 21 January, the Lusaka Times reported that the Anti-Corruption Commission has arrested former Zambia Army Chief of Operations and an Officer in the Office of the President Special Division, Brigadier General Gilbert Wails Mulenga (retired), 55, for corruption involving exportation of Mukula (rosewood) logs.

https://www.lusakatimes.com/2022/01/21/former-zambia-army-chief-of-operations-arrested-over-illegal-export-of-mukula-logs

OLAF DISCOVERED A GROUP WITH RAMIFICATIONS IN ROMANIA AND ITALY WHICH EMBEZZLED HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF EUROS FROM EU FUNDS

On 21 January, ACT Media in Romania reported that the EU agency had uncovered a group which allegedly embezzled €850,000 from EU funds for agriculture. 

https://actmedia.eu/daily/olaf-discovered-a-group-with-ramifications-in-romania-and-italy-which-embezzled-hundreds-of-thousands-of-euros-from-eu-funds/95905

NEW OECD HUB TO BOOST TRANSPARENCY ON THE TAX TREATMENT OF FOREIGN AID

A news release from OECD on 20 January announced that it had launched a new digital hub to improve transparency around the taxation of development aid by presenting approaches taken by participating donor countries to claiming tax exemptions on goods and services funded by official development assistance (ODA).  It compares policies for how ODA is taxed from 12 members of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC), who voluntarily provided details on their tax approaches of foreign aid.   It aims to help both donors and recipient countries clarify the tax status of ODA, which totalled $161 billion in 2020.

https://www.oecd.org/newsroom/new-oecd-hub-to-boost-transparency-on-the-tax-treatment-of-foreign-aid.htm

CENTRAL BANK OF RUSSIA PROPOSES A STRICTER BAN ON THE USE AND MINING OF CRYPTOCURRENCIES

On 21 January, Jurist reported that a paper from the bank states that cryptocurrencies threaten national financial stability since they are based on speculation and characterised by high risk and volatility.  It suggests widening the existing restriction on cryptocurrencies — which bans their use in payments — to impose legal liability on users and prohibit dedicated crypto exchanges, P2P platforms and other financial organisations from issuing or circulating them.  It also proposes a ban on crypto mining, and suggests the monitoring of transactions by Russian citizens on foreign crypto exchanges and the use of alternatives like the a central bank digital currency (CBDC).

https://www.jurist.org/news/2022/01/russia-central-bank-proposes-wider-ban-on-cryptocurrency-usage-and-mining/

US RETURNS STEINHARDT’S LOOTED ARTIFACTS TO IRAQ AND LIBYA

An article from OCCRP on 20 January reported that last year, the Manhattan DA concluded an investigation and, in a deal to avoid further prosecution billionaire Michael Steinhardt agreed to turn over the artifacts in his possession that they had proven were looted and was banned from possessing anything older than the 16th Century.  Now some of his ill-gotten goods are finally returning home.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/15806-the-u-s-returns-steinhardt-s-looted-artifacts-to-iraq-and-libya

FLAVOURED E-CIGARETTES TO BE BANNED IN LITHUANIA

On 21 January. TJI reported that the sale of e-cigarettes and e-liquids that contain flavours are to be banned from July.  Lithuania already has a sales ban on e-cigarettes and e-liquids that contain vitamins or other substances that allude to being healthy. The country also has an import ban in place that forbids e-cigarettes and e-liquids that contain caffeine, taurine or other stimulating compounds linked to energy and vitality.

http://www.tobaccojournal.com/Flavoured_e-cigs_banned.56844.0.html

INDONESIA LIFTS COAL EXPORT BAN ON 139 COMPANIES

On 21 January, an article from Out-Law said that Indonesia has lifted its coal export ban on 139 companies as they met domestic market sales requirements (domestic market obligation or DMO).  This is part of Indonesia’s plan to gradually lift the coal export ban it introduced at the start of the year, after securing enough supplies for domestic needs. 

https://www.pinsentmasons.com/out-law/news/indonesia-lifts-coal-export-ban-on-139-companies

AUTHORITIES IN CHILE HAVE REPORTED A STRING OF MASSIVE MARITIME SEIZURES OF “CREEPY” MARIJUANA

An article from Insight Crime on 20 January says that Chile’s maritime authorities seized almost 7 tons of creepy marijuana in 2021, culminating with the largest haul in November when 3.5 tons of creepy were found.  Primarily grown in Colombia, creepy marijuana, like skunk, contains far higher levels of the psychoactive drug THC than standard marijuana.

https://insightcrime.org/news/land-sea-chile-dealing-surge-creepy-marijuana/

29 ARRESTED IN ALBANIA, GREECE AND ITALY FOR SMUGGLING MORE THAN 1,100 MIGRANTS IN YACHTS

A news release from Europol on 20 January advised that an operation supported by Europol and Eurojust, led to the dismantling of a large organised crime group involved in migrant smuggling.  Authorities believe that the suspects, mainly of Iraqi and Syrian origin, are part of a criminal network of about 80 members that is allegedly responsible for at least 30 sea smuggling operations. 

https://www.europol.europa.eu/media-press/newsroom/news/29-arrested-in-albania-greece-and-italy-for-smuggling-more-1-100-migrants-in-yachts

RANSOMWARE ACTORS INCREASINGLY DEMAND PAYMENT IN MONERO

On 18 January, TechTarget reported that more and more threat actors are demanding to be paid in Monero following ransomware attacks, according to experts who work in the ransomware response process.  While Bitcoin is a more public and traceable coin, Monero is known as an anonymity-enhanced cryptocurrency (AEC) or “privacy coin” that utilises various technologies to obscure transactions and prevent users from being identified.

https://www.techtarget.com/searchsecurity/news/252512142/Ransomware-actors-increasingly-demand-payment-in-Monero

DANISH GAMBLING REGULATOR WARNS MR GREEN OVER MONEY LAUNDERING RULES BREACH

On 21 January, iGB reported that Spillemyndigheden has reprimanded Mr Green after the operator was found to have breached regulations regarding assessing the source of funds for a player.

https://igamingbusiness.com/danish-regulator-warns-mr-green-over-money-laundering-rules-breach/

CFATF PLENARY OUTCOMES

On 20 January, the FATF-style regional body for the Caribbean reported on the outcomes of the December Plenary.  The Plenary discussed and approved the MER of St Kitts and Nevis and approved.  It discussed the follow-up reports on the Bahamas, Haiti, Jamaica, Barbados, Turks & Caicos and St Lucia.

https://www.cfatf-gafic.org/home/cfatf-news/739-cfatf-liii-plenary-outcomes-december-2021-virtual-plenary-working-groups-meeting 

HOW TO PROTECT EUROPE FROM RISKY FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT

On 21 January, an article from War on the Rocks reflected on the case of Alpi Aviation in Italy.  Alpi is accused of violating the “Golden Power”, an Italian law intended to prevent the unregulated foreign acquisition of defence companies; sending a military drone to China marked as a “model aircraft”; and that it allegedly failed to notify the government of its opaque 2018 sale to a Chinese enterprise.  It is said that the case has prompted renewed debate over the EU foreign direct investment (FDI) screening mechanism, which was implemented in 2020 and will be up for evaluation by 2023. There are several challenges to current European efforts to screen foreign investments: not all member states have national screening mechanisms; Member States that do have screening mechanisms have uncoordinated approaches to information collection and regulation; and member states can ignore EU advice on how to manage potentially problematic investments.

https://warontherocks.com/2022/01/how-to-protect-europe-from-risky-foreign-direct-investment

FRENCH-SYRIAN MAN INDICTED OVER ALLEGATIONS OF SUPPLYING EQUIPMENT TO THE SYRIAN ARMY, INCLUDING GOODS THAT COULD BE USED TO MANUFACTURE CHEMICAL WEAPONS

On 27 December, Le Monde reported that a Franco-Syrian man at the head of a shipping company, has been indicted in France, suspected of having supplied equipment to the Syrian army, including components that can be used to manufacture chemical weapons, despite an international embargo.  He is accused of having, through a company based in different places, in France and the UAE, participated in the provision of means to different state structures of the Syrian regime responsible for the production of unconventional weapons.

https://www.lemonde.fr/societe/article/2021/12/27/un-franco-syrien-incarcere-en-france-pour-du-materiel-fourni-a-l-armee-syrienne_6107370_3224.html

CANADA: DELAY FOR BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP REPORTING REQUIREMENTS FOR TRUSTS

On 18 January, KPMG reported that the Canada Revenue Authority (CRA) has announced that trusts preparing to meet enhanced beneficial ownership reporting requirements need to continue filing their returns as usual for now.  New requirements were due to have been introduced on 30 December.

https://home.kpmg/us/en/home/insights/2022/01/tnf-canada-delay-for-beneficial-ownership-reporting-requirements-for-trusts.html

SEYCHELLES FORMER FIRST LADY IN COURT OVER CORRUPTION SCANDAL

On 21 January, the Mail Online reported that the former first lady of the Seychelles and several other high-profile figures have appeared in court over a $50 million embezzlement scandal that has gripped the paradise island nation.  6 people have been charged over the disappearance of the funds which were given to the Seychelles government by the UAE 2 decades ago.  Sarah Zarqhani Rene is the widow of late president France Albert Rene who ruled from 1977 to 2004.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-10427791/Seychelles-former-lady-court-corruption-scandal.html

NICOLAS SARKOZY’S FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF JAILED OVER POLLING FRAUD

On 21 January, the Guardian reported that Claude Guéant, the former chief of staff of the ex-French President Sarkozy was handed a new jail sentence, adding to a long list of convictions stemming from the rightwinger’s 2007-2012 term in office.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/21/nicolas-sarkozys-former-chief-of-staff-jailed-over-polling

MAN IN SCOTTISH COURT DENIES BEING INTERNATIONAL FUGITIVE WITH 16 ALIASES

On 21 January, the Guardian reported that the man, who was traced to an ICU in Glasgow while being treated for Covid-19 in December, denied being 34-year-old Nicholas Rossi, who is wanted by Interpol and faces extradition to the US over an allegation of sexual assault in Utah.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/jan/21/man-in-scottish-court-denies-being-international-fugitive-with-16-aliases

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where one-off contributions start as low as $3, at

https://www.buymea3coffee.com/KoIvM842y

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SEMICONDUCTOR INDUSTRY ENCOURAGES THE US AND EUROPE TO COLLABORATE ON EXPORT CONTROL POLICY

On 20 January, the Semiconductor Industry Association issued a news release saying that it supports the US and EU Trade and Technology Council (TTC) efforts to coordinate approaches to export controls under the Export Control Working Group (ECWG), and has submitted a response to the US Commerce Department Request for Information on Areas and Priorities for U.S. and EU Export Control Cooperation under the TTC Export Control Working Group (ECWG).  The SIA submission provides specific proposals, recommendations and analysis on how to adopt tailored, consensus-based export controls based on legitimate and sound national security goals.  The release also includes a chart which provides an overview of the similarities and differences between the US and partner country export control systems. 

https://www.semiconductors.org/sia-encourages-the-united-states-and-europe-to-collaborate-on-export-control-policy/

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where one-off contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymea3coffee.com/KoIvM842y

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OFAC DESIGNATES INTERNATIONAL HIZBOLLAH NETWORK

On 21 January, OFAC advised that it had designated Hizballah-affiliated financial facilitator Adnan Ayad, as well as members of an international network of facilitators and companies connected to him and to Adel Diab, Adnan Ayad’s business partner and fellow Hizballah financier who was designated by OFAC on 18 January.  Adnan Ayad, Jihad Adnan Ayad, Ali Adel Diab, and 10 companies are being designated under Executive Order (EO) 13224, as amended, which targets terrorists, leaders, and officials of terrorist groups, and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism.

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy0564

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20220121

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where one-off contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymea3coffee.com/KoIvM842y

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CUBA:  AML/CFT ASSESSMENT FOLLOW-UP REPORT

On 21 January, the FATF-style regional body GAFILAT published the Fifth Report of Regular Monitoring and Requalification of Technical Compliance of Cuba.  The original evaluation was in 2015.  It is said that Cuba continues making significant progress towards addressing the technical compliance deficiencies identified in its MER and has been re-rated for FATF Recommendation 7 (from Largely Compliant to Compliant). Cuba will continue under the regular follow-up process and shall continue to report to GAFILAT on the progress made towards strengthening implementation of AML/CFT measures

https://gafilat.org/index.php/es/biblioteca-virtual/gafilat/documentos-de-interes-17/traducciones/4229-fifth-regular-follow-up-report-and-re-rating-of-cuba/file

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where one-off contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymea3coffee.com/KoIvM842y

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COLOMBIA: AML/CFT ASSESSMENT FOLLOW-UP REPORT

On 21 January, FATF-style regional body GAFILAT published the Sixth Intensified Follow-up Report and First Report of Requalification of Technical Compliance of Colombia.  The report was approved at the December Plenary of GAFILAT.  The original assessment was in July 2018.  As a result of progress, Colombia was re-rated in relation to FATF Recommendations 13, 16, 19, 33 and 34.  Colombia will continue in the enhanced follow-up process and will continue to report to GAFILAT on the progress made to strengthen its implementation of AML/CFT measures

https://gafilat.org/index.php/es/biblioteca-virtual/gafilat/documentos-de-interes-17/traducciones/4228-6th-enhanced-follow-up-report-and-1st-re-rating-report-of-colombia/file

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where one-off contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymea3coffee.com/KoIvM842y

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NEW ZEALAND: DIY COVID TESTS SEIZED AT THE BORDER – PERSONAL-USE IMPORTS ‘PROHIBITED’

On 21 January, Stuff reported that Covid testing kits are being stopped at the border as New Zealanders try to import them for home use, and the seizures have been criticised as unfair and illogical.  In New Zealand, people must go to a trained tester, such as a GP or pharmacy.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/300498855/doityourself-covid-tests-seized-at-the-border-personaluse-imports-prohibited

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where one-off contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymea3coffee.com/KoIvM842y

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EX-CIA OPERATIVE FACING MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR FRAUD CHARGES PLEADS FOR IRISH GOVERNMENT TO GRANT HIM ASYLUM

On 21 January, the Irish Mirror reported that Don Victor Cisternino — who is in jail in Croatia pending his extradition to the US for charges over an alleged €6.4 million loan scam — also has an Irish passport and has pleaded with authorities in Ireland to give him political asylum.  Florida prosecutors allege he swindled $7.2 million in Covid loans by falsely claiming he employed more than 400 people when the pandemic broke out in 2020.

https://www.irishmirror.ie/news/irish-news/crime/ex-cia-operative-facing-multi-26007748

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where one-off contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymea3coffee.com/KoIvM842y

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EU DELETES 3 ENTITIES FROM ISIL/AL-QAIDA SANCTIONS LIST

EU Regulation 2022/84/EU deletes Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation; Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation (Somalia); and Al-Haramain Foundation (Indonesia) following the decision of the relevant UN Sanctions Committee.

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv%3AOJ.L_.2022.014.01.0004.01.ENG&toc=OJ%3AL%3A2022%3A014%3ATOC

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JANUARY 20

Panama Covid-19 update – the TV news tonight opened with a debate over whether the carnival should go ahead next month…a sign of local priorities perhaps.

Meanwhile, a new daily record established, with 12,351 new cases reported. 10 new fatalities were also reported, with the number of active cases soaring by over 8,000 to 77,438; with 71 (up 14) in ICU and 629 (up 23) in other hospital wards. Very roughly, maybe nearly 1 person in every 50 in the country is currently infected and in hospital, hospital-hotels or other isolation or quarantine (including me, with today being the last of my 10 days’ mandatory quarantine).

20 JANUARY 2022

SHADOW TRADING UNDER INSIDER TRADING LAW

On 20 January, a post from the Compliance and Enforcement blog at the Program on Corporate Compliance and Enforcement at the New York University School of Law says that the SEC has long wanted to find the right case to pursue so-called “shadow trading,” where insiders armed with material non-public information about their own company use that information to trade in the securities of another company whose stock is closely correlated.  It says that in SEC v Panuwat, filed last year, the SEC may have found the perfect vehicle for extending the insider trading laws to shadow trading. 

https://wp.nyu.edu/compliance_enforcement/2022/01/19/sec-v-panuwat-shadow-trading-under-insider-trading-law/

CONSPIRACY TO EXPORT “GHOST GUNS” SENDS WARNING TO FREIGHT FORWARDERS AND THIRD-PARTY LOGISTICS OPERATORS

On 19 January, an article from a criminal complaint alleges that the defendant and others conspired to purchase parts of rifles and pistols, which they assembled to produce firearms that do not require serial numbers or registration with the federal government if intended for personal use.  The most common kits in these types of activities are “80% receivers,” which are unfinished firearms with the most complicated machining completed but which lack the final 20% of components that would place them under the authority of the US Federal Firearms Regulations.  Firearms enthusiasts claim the “ghost guns,” referred to as such due to their lack of serial numbers, allow hobbyists to customise the firearms to suit their needs and desires. However, others allege that these kits allow the assembly and sale of weapons by persons not authorised under federal law who skirt gun restrictions to produce guns that are untraceable if used in a crime.  The article says that the typical modus operandi in firearms smuggling cases include comingling the guns in household goods or personal automobile exports and for third-party logistics operators, it can mean transporting illegal merchandise.

https://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/export-controls-trade-investment-sanctions/1151754/conspiracy-to-export-ghost-guns-sends-warning-to-freight-forwarders-and-third-party-logistics-operators

US DoJ MONITORSHIPS: THEY’RE COSTLY, THEY’RE DISRUPTIVE, AND THEY’RE MAKING A COMEBACK

An article from Torres Law on 19 January says that knowing about the monitorship process – what may lead to it and what it can mean for your organisation – is crucial for general counsels and employees alike.  This article intends to demystify these court appointments, providing an overview of DoJ Monitorships, when they are imposed, what they can entail and cost, and what they mean for both industry and counsel.

https://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/export-controls-trade-investment-sanctions/1151748/department-of-justice-monitorships-they39re-costly-they39re-disruptive-and-they39re-making-a-comeback

PAPUPA NEW GUINEA TIMBER EXPORT LICENCES ONLY FOR LOCALS

On 20 January, One Papua New Guinea reported that Prime Minister James Marape said in Parliament that the licences for round log exports will only be given to locals and landowner companies including provincial government business arms. This will be done with the aim of migrating to downstream processing post 2025; and that the Government’s aim to end round log exports still stood.  He said that no new licences had been issued to foreign companies since 2020.

https://www.onepng.com/2022/01/export-licence-only-for-locals-says-png.html

https://www.looppng.com/png-news/no-log-export-license-pm-108805

US POTASH SANCTIONS MAY PUSH BELARUS DEEPER INTO PUTIN’S ARMS

On 20 January, BNN Bloomberg reported that US sanctions against Belarus’s potash industry that have helped push fertiliser prices to record highs may also draw President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime more tightly into Russia’s embrace to survive the shock to its finances. 

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/u-s-potash-sanctions-may-push-belarus-deeper-into-putin-s-arms-1.1710317

BUSINESSMAN’S WIFE JAILED FOR HER PART IN NEW ZEALAND’S LARGEST CIGARETTE SMUGGLING CASE

On 20 January, Stuff reported that an Auckland woman will spend 3 years behind bars for her role in New Zealand’s biggest illegal cigarette smuggling operation after bringing in more than 19 million cigarettes into the country with her husband.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/300500009/businessmans-wife-jailed-for-her-part-in-nzs-largest-cigarette-smuggling-case

MAS FINES VISTRA TRUST (SINGAPORE) $1.1 MILLION FOR FAILURES IN ITS AML/CFT CONTROLS

On 20 January, Singapore Business reported that the Monetary Authority of Singapore has penalised the trust company, Vistra Trust (Singapore) Pte. Ltd, for failures to comply with AML/CFT requirements in 2019.  It has paid the penalty of $1.1 million, and taken remedial actions to address the risk management deficiencies that led to the breaches.  The breach was found during an inspection carried out between April to June 2019. 

https://sbr.com.sg/financial-services/news/mas-fines-vistra-trust-singapore-11m-failures-in-its-amlcft-controls

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/banking-finance/licensed-trust-company-fined-s11m-for-lack-of-anti-money-laundering-scrutiny

https://www.statista.com/chart/26641/us-military-aid-obligations-by-country

‘HUNDREDS’ OF RUSSIAN MERCENARIES IN MALI

On 20 January, the EU Observer reported that Russia already has “hundreds” of mercenaries in Mali, but there was no sign they were using EU-trained Malian soldiers, the EU foreign service has said.

https://euobserver.com/world/154112

CHEMICALS: EU COMMISSION SEEKS VIEWS ON REVISION OF REACH, THE LEGISLATION ON CHEMICALS

On 20 January, the EU announced a public consultation on the revision of the Regulation on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regime.  The revision will aim to align the EU’s chemical rules with the Commission’s ambition for safe and sustainable chemicals and a high level of protection of health and the environment, while preserving the internal market.  The consultation runs to mid-April.

https://ec.europa.eu/eusurvey/runner/TargetedREACHRevision2022

THIRD COUNTRIES ALIGN WITH EU SANCTIONS ON SYRIA

On 19 January, the EU advised that North Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Georgia have agreed to align their laws with amendments to EU sanctions on Syria as of 13 December.

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2022/01/19/declaration-by-the-high-representative-on-behalf-of-the-eu-on-the-alignment-of-certain-countries-concerning-restrictive-measures-against-syria/

MARITIME SECURITY CONTRACT: NIGERIA HIRES COMPANY SACKED OVER CORRUPTION IN CONGO AND MALI

On 20 January, the Premium Times in Nigeria reported that the Nigerian government has approved the award of a major maritime project to a company allegedly immersed in high-level corruption in 2 other African countries.  It says that Frabemar UK Ltd is linked to an indictment in the DRC and Mali for corruption and embezzlement of public funds in 2012 and 2015 respectively.

https://www.premiumtimesng.com/business/business-news/506668-maritime-security-contract-nigerian-govt-hires-firm-sacked-over-corruption-in-congo-mali.html

ISRAEL SIGNS SCANDAL-RIDDEN €3 BILLION DEAL WITH GERMANY TO BUY NEW SUBMARINES

On 20 January, the Times of Israel reported that Israel is to purchase 3 submarines from Germany, even as cabinet ministers are set to vote on establishing a commission of inquiry into the agreement, which is entangled in an investigation into alleged corruption and bribes that has already resulted in multiple indictments.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-signs-scandal-ridden-e3-billion-deal-with-germany-to-buy-new-submarines

BULGARIA TO ABOLISH ITS GOLDEN VISA PROGRAM

On 20 January, Schengen Visa Info reported that the move has been announced by the government, which plans to submit a Bill to the parliament, as the Justice Ministry has announced that the golden visa scheme has not led to real investment in the country. It is said that 96 internationals have Bulgarian golden passports, many of them Russians, followed by citizens from Middle Eastern countries.

https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/news/bulgaria-to-abolish-its-golden-visa-program

VIETNAM: 390 CORRUPTION CASES INVESTIGATED, PROSECUTED IN 2021

On 20 January, Vietnam Plus reported that a total of 390 corruption cases involving 1,011 people were investigated and prosecuted last year.

https://en.vietnamplus.vn/390-corruption-cases-investigated-prosecuted-in-2021anticorruption-central-steering-committee/221014.vnp

GREECE: 3 ARRESTED AS POLICE SMASHES LARGE STEROID SUPPLY RING

On 20 January, Ekathimerini reported that the suspects are accused of membership in a criminal organisation, money laundering, forgery, as well as violations of the laws on weapons and laws on amateur and professional sports.  It is reported that the gang’s activity extended to Italy, Germany, Austria, Spain, France, Cyprus, Belgium, UK, Malta, US, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, where a large number of parcels were located.  The raw materials were mainly procured from China, Bulgaria and Poland.

https://www.ekathimerini.com/news/1175884/three-arrested-as-police-smashes-large-steroid-supply-ring

BUSINESS BOOMING IN SENEGAL’S ILLICIT MONEY FLOW AND DRUG TRAFFICKING CHANNELS

On 20 January, the Daily Maverick reported that Senegal is currently ranked 8th in the world for money laundering and terrorist financing risks.  According to the National Risk Assessment, one of the major drivers in the country is drug trafficking, an illegal economy that generates nearly $360-million annually, and drug traffickers use various operations to launder their money, with real estate and construction being the preferred industries.

https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2022-01-20-business-booming-in-senegals-illicit-money-flow-and-drug-trafficking-channels

UK: NCA LAUNCHES INITIATIVE TO DIVERT STUDENTS FROM CYBERCRIME

On 20 January, OCCRP reported that, after the number of cyber attacks on schools’ networks doubled during the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Crime Agency (NCA) has announced the launching of a new initiative to divert young people away from cybercrime.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/15803-nca-launches-initiative-to-divert-students-from-cybercrime

UAE: INTEGRITY RISKS TO PERSIST DESPITE NEW, STRONGER AML MEASURES

On 20 January, Control Risks reported that last year the UAE announced that it will set up a specialised AML court within the court of first instance and the court of appeal.  The article says that recent measures will improve the UAE’s AML framework.  However, integrity risks for businesses operating in high-risk sectors will persist over the coming year.  It says that businesses operating in sectors such as commodity trading, international banking and real estate should continue to carefully monitor and identify transacting parties to mitigate integrity risks.

https://www.controlrisks.com/our-thinking/insights/integrity-risks-to-persist-despite-new-stronger-anti-money-laundering-measures

LIBYA: CONTINUED POLITICAL STALEMATE WILL POSE SERIOUS CHALLENGES FOR FOREIGN COMPANIES

On 20 January, an article from Control Risks says that, with the date for Libya’s long-planned presidential elections having come and gone in December 2021, the political deadlock between Libya’s eastern and western authorities will continue to pose serious challenges for foreign companies doing business in or with Libya.

https://www.controlrisks.com/our-thinking/insights/continued-political-stalemate-will-pose-serious-challenges-for-foreign-companies

INDIAN FUGITIVE VIJAY MALLYA TO BE EVICTED FROM LUXURY LONDON HOME

On 19 January, The Drinks Business reported that Vijay Mallya, the fugitive former head of India’s United Breweries and United Spirits, is to be evicted from his luxury London home after repeatedly failing to repay a £20.4 million mortgage which fell due in 2017.

https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2022/01/vijay-mallya-to-be-evicted-from-luxury-london-home/

LEBANESE JUDGE FREEZES ASSETS OF CENTRAL BANK GOVERNOR

On 18 January, ABC News reported that an investigating judge in Beirut has froze some assets belonging to the country’s central bank governor, Riad Salameh, who is accused of corruption and dereliction of duties during Lebanon’s unprecedented economic meltdown.

https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/lebanese-judge-freezes-assets-central-bank-governor-82328293

CRIMINAL GROUPS TURN TO ‘ELECTRONIC WARFARE’ TECH TO EVADE SANCTIONS IN SHIPPING

On 12 January, an article from Global Trade Review was concerned with research by maritime security company Windward.  It says that illicit actors are turning to new techniques to evade sanctions on maritime trade, with industry insiders warning of a spike in location signal manipulation and “deep” dark activity, as well as growing misuse of LPG exports.  Instances of global navigation satellite system (GNSS) manipulation, which allow vessels to report false information about their location, have increased dramatically over the past year. 

https://www.gtreview.com/news/global/criminal-groups-turn-to-electronic-warfare-tech-to-evade-sanctions-research-finds/

US SUPPORTS HUMANITARIAN AID FOR NORTH KOREA, BUT SANCTIONS MUST BE FULFILLED

On 20 January, the Korea Herald reported that the US State Department has said that the US strongly supports humanitarian assistance for the people of North Korea but UN Security Council sanctions must be fully implemented at the same time, noting that North Korea often diverts humanitarian aid.

http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20220120000121

SIGNS EMERGE THAT NORTH KOREA MAY RESTART EXPORTS OF CERTAIN GOODS

On 20 January, Daily NK reported that, amid signs that North Korea has recently restarted freight train service to acquire goods from China, there is now speculation that the country is relaunching exports, too.  It claimed that sources have said that provincial trading companies have begun securing export items in response to the order; and, apparently, they plan to first ship items that have been held in storage. 

https://www.dailynk.com/english/signs-emerge-north-korea-may-restart-exports-certain-goods/

US: IRANIAN INTELLIGENCE MINISTRY BEHIND HACKING GROUP MUDDYWATER

On 19 January, Kharon reported that a hacking group known in the private sector as MuddyWater was recently identified by the US Cyber Command Cyber National Mission Force as a subordinate element of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS).  It has primarily attacked Middle Eastern nations, but it also pursued European and North American countries.

https://brief.kharon.com/updates/iranian-intelligence-ministry-behind-hacking-group-muddywater-us-says

OFAC ISSUES AMENDED VENEZUELUAN SANCTIONS LICENCE

On 20 January, OFAC issued General License 5I which authorises certain transactions related to the Petróleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) 2020 8.5% Bond.  It has also issued updated FAQ 595.

https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/126/venezuela_gl5i.pdf

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/faqs/595

ISRAELI ATTACK DRONE MANUFACTURER AND 3 SENIOR EMPLOYEES HAVE BEEN CHARGED WITH VIOLATING THE ISRAELI DEFENCE EXPORT CONTROL LAW

On 20 January, the EU Sanctions blog reported that Aeronautics Ltd and the 3 individuals had reportedly been charged, but that a gag order was in place to prevent publication of further details of the indictment.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2022/01/israel-charges-export-control-violations-updates-cyber-end-use-controls/

IED IN THE SAHEL AND WEST AFRICA REGION

On 2 December, the Small Arms Survey published a post saying that it had documented the trafficking of IED components in the Sahel and West Africa, having undertaken fieldwork in Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, and Niger, to date.  By considering the regional dimensions of the trafficking in question, the aim is to be able to establish an evidence base for developing a regional response.  It uses the UN definition of an IED: ‘a device placed or fabricated in an improvised manner incorporating destructive, lethal, noxious, pyrotechnic or incendiary chemicals and designed to destroy, incapacitate, harass or distract’.  It says that some of the components tracked are also important for economic sectors such as mining and agriculture, and this is where the complexity lies. There are multiple stakeholders, from very different sectors — many not associated at all with armed violence.

https://smallarmssurvey.medium.com/a-primer-ieds-in-the-sahel-and-west-africa-7092007d68ab

US: LEADER OF COMPLEX INTERNATIONAL FRAUD AND MONEY LAUNDERING RING SENTENCED TO 14 YEARS IN PRISON

A US DoJ news release on 20 January advised that a federal court had sentenced Mary Kathryn Marr, 42, from Miami, to 14 years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit money laundering.  Marr was the leader of a large, international fraud and money laundering ring that operated out of the US and abroad. Marr contracted with various international “boiler rooms” to launder fraud proceeds that she and other conspirators had obtained from foreign victims, primarily by selling worthless investments.  The majority of the victims that Marr and her conspirators targeted were located in Australia, New Zealand, UK, and countries in Asia.

https://www.justice.gov/usao-mdfl/pr/leader-complex-international-fraud-and-money-laundering-ring-sentenced-14-years-prison

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https://www.buymea3coffee.com/KoIvM842y

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2021 SMALL ARMS TRADE EXPORTER TRANSPARENCY BAROMETER

On 20 January, the Small Arms Survey published this Briefing Paper which identifies the most and least transparent of 50 top and major small arms exporters, based on those states’ reporting of their authorized small arms exports undertaken.  This Briefing Paper provides a general overview of states’ reporting of their authorised small arms exports in 2018, while also analysing states showing the largest changes from the preceding year’s Barometer scores.  The overall trend shows an increase in the amount of information provided, yet no state managed to achieve the maximum score of 25, Switzerland being the closest with a score of 21.75.  It found that the least transparent exporters for 2018 are — in ascending order — Iran; North Korea (both with scores of zero); Saudi Arabia; Israel; and Taiwan, China.  The most transparent exporters in 2018, in descending order, were Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, Serbia, and UK.

https://smallarmssurvey.org/sites/default/files/resources/SAS-BP-TB21.pdf

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PANAMA IN WORLD WAR 2 – CHAPTER 2- PANAMA IN 1939-40

I have continued to add to my “scrapbook” project – now revised, with many additions and corrections (which continue!).

Attached is Chapter 2 of the revised version.

Also attached is (a very large) pdf file of the complete (to date) scrapbook!

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OFAC ADDS 4 UKRAINIAN INDIVIDUALS TO RUSSIAN SANCTIONS LIST

On 20 January, OFAC added 4 Ukraine nationals to its sanctions lists.  The individuals are said to have engaged in Russian government-directed influence activities to destabilise Ukraine.  2 of the individuals are current Ukrainian Members of Parliament from the party led by Victor Medvedchuk – who is already subject to US sanctions for his role in undermining Ukrainian sovereignty in 2014.  Another is the former Deputy Secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council.

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20220120

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy0562

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EX-FATF LEADER BREAKS SILENCE ON RESIGNATION AND CLAIMS GROUP DOES NOT SPUR ‘MEANINGFUL’ AML REFORM

On 19 January, an article from Moneylaundering.com reported that the former top official of FATF, David Lewis, said he left the post this month because of a perceived lack of support from the group’s president and frustration with its scant success in spurring fundamental improvements to nations’ efforts against illicit finance.

https://www.moneylaundering.com/news/exclusive-ex-fatf-leader-breaks-silence-on-resignation-claims-group-does-not-spur-meaningful-aml-reform/

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HOW THE AIR TRANSPORT INDUSTRY WAS TRANSFORMED TO COMBAT WILDLIFE TRAFFIKCING

On 18 January, a report from the NGO TRAFFIC says that, before 2015, there was very little awareness of wildlife trafficking via air transport among the aviation industry, but the formation of the USAID Reducing Opportunities for Unlawful Transport of Endangered Species (ROUTES) Partnership catalysed a global response.  At the end of 6 years of the Partnership the report reflects upon its impact and explain how the industry is effectively equipped to help combat this crime.

https://www.traffic.org/publications/reports/the-routes-partnership-from-take-off-to-touch-down/

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AML AND THE ART AND ANTIQUITIES MARKET – A US AND UK PERSPECTIVE

On 20 January, an article from law firm Mishcon de Rey takes a look at the key differences in terms of the position in the US and UK.  It summarises proposals in the US to introduce AML regulation to the art and antiquities market, notably via the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2020 in the US, which expands the definition of financial institutions under the Bank Secrecy Act 1970 to include “a person engaged in the trade of antiquities…”, together with the proposed ENABLERS Act, which would impact the wider art market.

https://www.mishcon.com/news/anti-money-laundering-and-the-art-and-antiquities-market-a-us-and-uk-perspective

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US BANS MEXICAN FISHING VESSELS FROM PORTS IN THE GULF OF MEXICO OVER ILLEGAL FISHING

On 19 January, OCCRP reported that from 7 February, the US will ban Mexican fishing vessels from calling in US ports in the Gulf of Mexico over concerns about illegal fishing.  This is said to be due to Mexico’s identification for IUU fishing in 2019 and subsequent negative certification in NOAA Fisheries’ 2021 report for its continued failure to combat unauthorised fishing activities by small-hulled vessels (called lanchas) in US waters.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/15802-u-s-bans-mexican-fishing-vessels-from-ports-in-the-gulf-of-mexico

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THE WARSAW CONVENTION CONFERENCE HAS CALLED ON STATES TO APPLY CORPORATE LIABILITY TO MONEY LAUNDERING OFFENCES EFFECTIVELY

On 20 January, the Council of Europe reported that the Conference of the Parties of Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime and on the Financing of Terrorism – aka the Warsaw Convention – has published a report which evaluates the extent to which 36 member states have legislative or other measures in place to ensure that legal persons can be held liable for money laundering offences when they are committed on their behalf and for their benefit.  The Warsaw Convention, opened for signature in Warsaw in 2005, is the first international treaty covering both the prevention and the control of money laundering and the financing of terrorism.  It says that 17 countries have fully transposed all the provisions of Article 10: Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Croatia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Portugal, San Marino, Serbia, Slovak Republic and Sweden.

https://search.coe.int/directorate_of_communications/Pages/result_details.aspx?ObjectId=0900001680a53541

The report is at –

https://rm.coe.int/c198-cop-2021-6prov-hr-art10-final/1680a53db0

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JANUARY 19

Panama Covid-19 update – Panama has been placed on the US travel Red List again. Meanwhile, another 10,763 new cases and 8 new fatalities reported, as the number of active cases rise by 6,451 to 69,369. Hospitalisations have risen, but numbers in ICU only by 2 to 57, with 606 in other wards. The testing of nearly 30,000 yielded a positive resuly of a new record of 36.3%, On the other hand, another 4,303 were recorded as having recovered.

19 JANUARY 2022

CHINESE INVESTMENT IN US AIRCRAFT MAKER DRAWS FBI AND NATIONAL-SECURITY REVIEWS

On 18 January, the Wall Street Journal reported on an investigation into Chinese investment in an aircraft start-up following allegations of improper technology transfer to China.  The case involves Chinese government-backed investment company’s nearly 47% stake in Icon Aircraft Inc, a California-based maker of small recreational, amphibious aircraft, with allegations of “hollowing out” Icon and moving its technology, which has possible military applications, to China.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/chinese-investment-in-u-s-plane-maker-draws-fbi-national-security-reviews-11642507206

APPARENT DECLINE IN WEST AFRICAN PIRACY SHOULD BE TREATED WITH CAUTION

On 19 January, an article in Defence Web reported a warning from security risk company Dryad Global that the decline last year in piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, which has for some time been the epicentre of maritime crime, should be treated with caution and does not mean the threat has disappeared.

https://www.defenceweb.co.za/security/maritime-security/apparent-decline-in-west-african-piracy-should-be-treated-with-caution/

RICO: A PRIMER

On 18 January, Freeman Law published what it described as a primer on the US Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act 1970, or “RICO Act”.  RICO provides for a civil action against persons engaged in a “pattern of racketeering activity” or “collection of an unlawful debt”.  A successful plaintiff may recover treble damages, costs, and attorneys’ fees.  The addresses several fundamental issues, such as what is “racketeering activity” and what or who is a RICO enterprise or person.

https://freemanlaw.com/rico-a-primer/

ENDO INTERNATIONAL PLC AGREES TO PAY $65 MILLION TO SETTLE ALL FLORIDA GOVERNMENTAL OPIOID-RELATED CASES AND CLAIMS

On 18 January, Jurist reported that the pharmaceutical company settled just in time to prevent claims against its subsidiaries from going to trial in April.  Pharmaceutical companies continue to face ongoing backlash through numerous lawsuits stemming from the opioid crisis. 

https://www.jurist.org/news/2022/01/pharmaceutical-company-agrees-to-settle-florida-opioid-case-for-65m/

NIGERIAN CYBERCRIME FRAUD: 11 SUSPECTS ARRESTED AND SYNDICATE BUSTED

A news release from INTERPOL on 19 January advised that the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) has arrested 11 alleged members of a prolific cybercrime network as part of a national police operation coordinated with INTERPOL. Many of the suspects are thought to be members of ‘SilverTerrier’, a network known for Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams which have harmed thousands of companies globally.

https://www.interpol.int/News-and-Events/News/2022/Nigerian-cybercrime-fraud-11-suspects-arrested-syndicate-busted

$8.7 MILLION IN FAKE JEWELLERY SEIZED BY US CUSTOMS

A news release from US Customs & Border Protection on 18 January advised that between 24 December and 5 January, officers in Cincinnati and Indianapolis seized four large shipments of jewellery deemed to be counterfeit.  This included counterfeit jewellery bearing protected trademarks of Bvlgari, Cartier, Coach, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors, Rolex, Tiffany, Tori Burch, and Versace.

https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/87-million-fake-jewelry-seized-cincinnati-indianapolis-cbp

COLOMBIA’S ‘KING’ OF DRUG SUBS GOES DOWN BUT VESSELS PROLIFERATE

On 18 January, Insight Crime reported that Óscar Moreno Ricardo has been arrested in Medellín , and is wanted for extradition by US authorities on charges related to drug trafficking, and allegedly was the principal actor responsible for coordinating the manufacture and launching of cocaine-laden semi-submersibles off Colombia’s Pacific coast.  However, the article says that the use of semi-submersibles to move cocaine – which dates back more than 3 decades – is only increasing, as the knowledge needed to build the vessels spreads.

https://insightcrime.org/news/arrest-king-narco-submarines-colombia/

UK PENSIONS REGULATOR HAS PUBLISHED ITS POLICY ON HOW IT INTENDS TO EXERCISE ITS CRIMINAL OFFENCES POWERS UNDER THE PENSION SCHEMES ACT 2021

On 18 January, Dentons reported that the key takeaway from the Policy is that the regulator is not intending to prosecute behaviour which it considers ordinary commercial activity. As with its “moral hazard” powers, it will adopt a risk-based and proportionate approach. It is said that the Policy contains some very helpful guidance on the “reasonable excuse” defence. 

https://www.dentons.com/en/insights/articles/2022/january/18/this-is-how-we-do-it-the-pensions-regulator-publishes-its-criminal-offences-policy

TAX SUBSTANCE: EU PROVIDES OBJECTIVE CRITERIA

On 18 January, Dentons reported that the European Commission released last month a proposal for a Directive to prevent the use of tax shells. It briefly details the criteria laid out.

https://www.dentons.com/en/insights/alerts/2022/january/18/paris-tax-alert-tax-substance-uncertainty-is-over-with-eu-commission-providing-objective-criteria

A THIRD OF COMMODITY-HUNGRY FIRMS HAVE NO DEFORESTATION POLICY

On 12 January, Yahoo News said that a report by NGO Global Canopy shows that a third of the 350 companies most exposed to commodities such as palm oil, beef and timber have no policies to ensure their products are not fuelling deforestation.

https://uk.sports.yahoo.com/news/third-commodity-hungry-firms-no-001745131.html

SPECIES EXPOSED IN CENTRAL AFRICAN BUSHMEAT TRADE

A report from NGO TRAFFIC on 15 January says that pangolins, great apes, African civets, and species of antelope were just some of the protected species found for sale in 2019 by 59 randomly selected bushmeat vendors across Cameroon and the Republic of Congo.  The report observed trends that may indicate the need not only to increase the monitoring of bushmeat markets but also expand surveys to include seemingly non-threatened, and therefore less-protected species that may be emerging as substitutes for traditional medicine markets.

https://www.traffic.org/publications/reports/species-in-bushmeat-trade-in-cameroon-and-the-republic-of-congo/

BIMCO FORCE MAJEURE CLAUSE 2022 FOR SHIPPING IS LAUNCHED

On 19 January, Hellenic Shipping News reported that, to help parties prepare for the unexpected, BIMCO has published a new clause which provides a comprehensive “code” for the parties to help resolve situations arising from unexpected events impacting the performance of the contracts. 

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/bimco-force-majeure-clause-2022-launched/

UK HAS AMENDED ITS BURUNDI SANCTIONS REGIME

On 19 January, the EU Sanctions blog reported that, following the generally peaceful transfer of power in Burundi after the May 2020 elections, the UK has revoked and replaced its 2019 sanctions regulations.  The UK says that the replacement sanctions regime under new 2021 regulations is designed to encourage the Government of Burundi to respect democratic principles and institutions, the rule of law and good governance in Burundi; and to refrain from policies or activities which repress civil society in Burundi and to comply with international human rights law and promote respect for human rights.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2022/01/uk-amends-burundi-sanctions-regime/

PODCAST: NEW ANTI-CORRUPTION MESSAGING FROM CHINA

In the latest TRACE podcast, Wendy Wysong of Steptoe & Johnson, TRACE’s Partner Law Firm in Hong Kong, joins the podcast to discuss recent new guidance from China’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI).  Applying only to bribes paid within China’s borders, the guidance highlights some challenges for companies operating in China, particularly with respect to multi-country settlements.

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

OFAC ENFORCEMENT UPDATE: SETTLEMENTS SHOW VALUE OF INTERNAL CONTROLS AND DISCLOSURE

An article from Bass Berry & Sims on 19 January reflects on 2 recent cases – involving the TD Bank NA and Sojitz Hong Kong – reached only a few weeks apart, serve as a reminder of OFAC’s broad remit to administer and enforce US sanctions regulations.

https://www.bassberrygovcontrade.com/ofac-settlements-show-value-of-internal-controls

INDONESIAN GOVERNMENT REVOKES THOUSANDS OF MINING LICENCES: WHAT’S NEXT?

On 19 January, Hogan Lovells published an article saying that Indonesia’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources has revoked 2,078 Mining Business Licences – 40% of all such licences issued by the Government because of business’ failure to comply with several requirements under Indonesian mining law.  The mining licences have been revoked after a series of evaluations since June 2021, which show several violations committed by mining companies holding the licences, ranging from failure to submit an annual work plan and budget, not carrying out operational activities or transferring licences to other companies.

https://www.engage.hoganlovells.com/knowledgeservices/viewContent.action?key=Ec8teaJ9Vaohq8Pb7x5ntcxgHJMKLFEppVpbbVX%2B3OXcP3PYxlq7sZUjdbSm5FIetvAtgf1eVU8%3D&nav=FRbANEucS95NMLRN47z%2BeeOgEFCt8EGQ0qFfoEM4UR4%3D&emailtofriendview=true&freeviewlink=true

MALTA: POLICE SEARCH HOUSE OF FORMER PRIME MINISTER MUSCAT

On 19 January, FX Empire reported that police had searched the residence of former Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat as part of a probe into alleged corruption in a deal struck by his government that handed management of 3 state hospitals to the little-known Vitals Global Healthcare group in 2016.

https://www.fxempire.com/news/article/malta-police-search-house-of-former-prime-minister-muscat-870955

ARMENIAN ARMY CHIEF AND EX-DEFENCE MINISTER GO ON TRIAL OVER ‘FAULTY’ WEAPONS

On 19 January, Rferl reported that the chief of the General Staff of the Armenian military, General Artak Davtian, former Defence Minister Davit Tonoyan, and several other officials have gone on trial 19 on fraud and embezzlement charges related to purchases of faulty weaponry and ammunition for the armed forces.  The defendants also include businessman David Galstian, who owns several companies that have supplied weapons and ammunition to the military for many years.

https://www.rferl.org/a/armania-military-weapons-fraud/31662118.html

SCRAPYARD OF 20 SEIZED AIRCRAFT USED TO SUPPORT ILLEGAL GOLD MINING IN BRAZIL

On 11 January, AP carried an article about the backyard of the federal police headquarters in the city of Boa Vista, where sit more than 20 aircraft — all seized.  In Roraima state, where all gold mining is illegal, the aircraft are essential for transporting prospectors and equipment to far-flung Indigenous reserves. Environmental and Indigenous rights groups estimate some 20,000 illegal miners are present on the reserve that is roughly the same size as Portugal.  Police have intensified their efforts to identify and capture aircraft supporting illegal mining, but tracking down planes’ owners is stymied by the fact they’re usually registered to fronts.

https://apnews.com/article/coronavirus-pandemic-business-health-environment-and-nature-environment-e263b862d495d7ea285a53a98995f82a

HOW KAZAKHSTAN’S ‘LEADER OF THE NATION’ CONTROLS VAST ASSETS THROUGH CHARITABLE FOUNDATIONS

On 19 January, an article from OCCRP claims that former President Nursultan Nazarbayev — laying low since the country plunged into protest and violence in early January — hid banks, hotels, and a $100 million jet in a network of foundations that answer only to him.  It says that there is no obvious connection between all of these businesses and assets, which are worth at least $8 billion – but the person behind all of them is Kazakhstan’s long-time leader Nursultan Nazarbayev.

https://www.occrp.org/en/investigations/the-nazarbayev-billions-how-kazakhstans-leader-of-the-nation-controls-vast-assets-through-charitable-foundations

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SYNTHETIC DRUGS AND NEW PSYCHOACTIVE SUBSTANCES IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN – 2021

The UN Office of Drugs and crime has published this report which provides a regional analysis of the key trends and emerging developments of the synthetic drugs and NPS market as well as options for response in Latin America and the Caribbean.  It says that the latest developments include an expanding methamphetamine market, growing concerns around the non-medical use of ketamine, the emergence of fentanyl and MDMA manufacture, as well as new “ecstasy” trends such as higher-dosed MDMA tablets and new forms of presentation such as crystalline MDMA.  The report also sheds light on the comparatively high prevalence of use of hallucinogens in the region and the high prevalence of use of tranquilisers among women.

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/scientists/2021-synthetic-drugs-and-new-psychoactive-substances-in-latin-america-and-the-caribbean.html

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ILLEGAL WILDLIFE TRADE AND ILLICIT FINANCE IN THE UK

On 19 January, RUSI published what it described as the first independent study to address the UK’s exposure and response to IWT-linked illicit finance, and offering recommendations to bolster enforcement action.

https://static.rusi.org/314_WHR_G7_IWT_UK.pdf

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12 OF THE UK’S MOST WANTED FUGITIVES WHO ARE BELIEVED TO BE HIDING IN SPAIN

On 19 January, LBC reported that the NCA has launched the campaign in conjunction with independent charity Crimestoppers, Spanish and UK police to target the fugitives after a previous campaign led to 86 arrests.  The article lists the 12 men involved.

https://www.lbc.co.uk/news/britains-12-most-wanted-fugitives-hiding-in-spain-national-crime-agency/

https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/twelve-fugitives-revealed-in-new-most-wanted-campaign

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UK REMOVES 3 ENTITIES FROM ISIL/AL-QAIDA SANCTIONS LIST AND ADDS UPDATED ENTRY FOR 1 PERSON TO THE LIBYA SANCTIONS LIST

On 19 January, HM Treasury advised that Al-Haramain Foundation (Indonesia); Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation; and Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation (Somalia) had been removed from its sanctions list; and that Quren Salih Quren al Qadhafi, the former Libyan Ambassador to Chad, had been added (this replacing a previous entry of the same individual).

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1047858/Notice_ISIL__Da_esh__and_Al-Qaida_190122.pdf

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1047851/Notice_Libya_190122.pdf

Also on 19 January – THE ISLE OF MAN FOLLOWED SUIT

https://www.gov.im/news/2022/jan/19/financial-sanctions-isil-daesh-and-al-qaida/

https://www.gov.im/news/2022/jan/19/financial-sanctions-libya/

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JANUARY 18

Panama Covid-19 update – today saw the highest-ever number of new cases – at 11,519, with 13 fatalities. A large number of tests were carried out – 34,739, with a 33.2% positive hit rate. The Rt rate has risen from 1.52 to 1.82. While numbers in other wards and the hospital-hotles have both risen – to 552 and 503 respectively, but numbers in ICU have fallen by 6 to 55. The number of active cases is at a new high of 62,918, but the vast majority are in isolation at home.

18 JANUARY 2022

ECONOMIC SUBSTANCE FOR JERSEY FUNDS

On 14 January, an article from Walkers says that Jersey’s economic substance regime has been in existence for nearly 3 years, and has recently been expanded to include partnerships as well as self-managed corporate funds.  However, it says that certain exemptions apply so that partnerships (and in many cases companies) acting as fund vehicles are out of scope.  The purpose of the article is to provide some information about the impact of the economic substance regime on Jersey’s funds industry.

https://www.mondaq.com/jersey/fund-management-reits/1150638/economic-substance-for-jersey-funds

DUAL US-IRAN CITIZEN CHARGED WITH CONSPIRING TO ILLEGALLY EXPORT US GOODS TO IRAN

A news release from US DoJ on 14 January advised that Kambiz Attar Kashani, a dual citizen of the US and Iran, had been arrested in Chicago with conspiring to illegally export US goods, technology, and services to end users in Iran, including the Government of Iran.  To procure US electronic equipment and technology for the Central Bank of Iran, he allegedly used 2 UAE companies as fronts to procure items from multiple US technology companies.

https://www.justice.gov/usao-edny/pr/us-citizen-charged-conspiring-provide-electronic-equipment-and-technology-government

PAKISTAN LOSING BILLIONS DUE TO TYRE SMUGGLING

On 18 January, Pakwheels reported that with an annual demand for approximately 14 million tyres, locally produced tyres make up 15% of that demand.  35% is met through legal tyre imports, and the remaining 50% are smuggled – meaning a market of 7 million smuggled tyres; many of which it says are of Indian origin. 

https://www.pakwheels.com/blog/pakistan-losing-billions-due-to-tyre-smuggling/

BRITISH TECH TYCOON SET TO LEARN HP FRAUD VERDICT AFTER 2-YEAR WAIT

On 18 January, BNN Bloomberg reported that British software tycoon Mike Lynch will finally learn the verdict of a $5 billion fraud suit some 2 years after the trial ended, in a decision that could have an impact on whether he is extradited to the US to face criminal charges.

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/british-tech-tycoon-set-to-learn-hp-fraud-verdict-after-2-year-wait-1.1709090

https://www.irishtimes.com/business/technology/irish-born-entrepreneur-mike-lynch-to-learn-verdict-of-5bn-fraud-suit-1.4779540

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/ruling-in-5bn-fraud-case-expected-imminently-high-court-hears/5111180.article

SINGAPORE: MONETARY AUTHORITY THREATENS OVERSEA-CHINESE BANKING CORPORATION (OCBC) WITH ACTION WIDESPREAD PHISHING SCAM

On 18 January, The Register reported that the Monetary Authority of Singapore says it is considering supervisory action against SE Asia’s second-largest bank, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC), which was criticised for its incident response to a widespread phishing scheme. The phishing scheme first appeared at the start of December 2021 and became more aggressive through the holiday period.

https://www.theregister.com/2022/01/18/singapore_monetary_authority_threatens_action/

THE TAKEDOWN OF LabVPN – A SERVICE USED BY CYBER-CRIMINALS TO FACILITATE THEIR ILLICIT ACTIVITIES

A news release from the NCA on 18 January announced that action led by the Hanover Police Department in Germany, saw the seizure of 15 server infrastructures across the world, with NCA officers taking the UK node of the network offline.  The service has been used by cyber-criminals in the preparatory stages of ransomware attacks that have caused significant economic harm to UK businesses.  LabVPN, which was established in 2008, enabled cyber-criminals to control botnets and malware distribution. It offered virtual private network (VPN) services on the Dark Web based on OpenVPN technology and 2048-bit encryption to provide online anonymity for as little as $60 per year. 

https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/labvpn-takedown-nca-takes-uk-server-of-criminal-network-offline

https://www.europol.europa.eu/media-press/newsroom/news/unhappy-new-year-for-cybercriminals-vpnlabnet-goes-offline

UK GUIDANCE: HOW DIGITAL IDENTITY PROVIDERS CAN BECOME CERTIFIED TO COMPLETE DIGITAL IDENTITY CHECKS FOR THE ‘RIGHT TO WORK’, ‘RIGHT TO RENT’ AND DBS SCHEMES

On 17 January, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport issued guidance re new legislation coming into effect on 6 April.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/digital-identity-certification-for-right-to-work-right-to-rent-and-criminal-record-checks

UK: BRINGING CERTAIN CRYPTOASSETS INTO THE SCOPE OF FINANCIAL PROMOTION REGULATIONS

On 18 January, HM Treasury published a document which summarises feedback to the consultation in 2020, and sets out further detail on how the UK Government intends to regulate relevant cryptoasset promotions.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/cryptoasset-promotions

“AT REQUEST OF THE US”, RUSSIA ROUNDS UP 14 REvil RANSOMWARE AFFILIATES

On 14 January, the Krebs on Security blog reported that the FSB said the action was taken in response to a request from US officials, but many experts believe the crackdown is part of an effort to reduce tensions over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to station 100,000 troops along the nation’s border with Ukraine.  The FSB said that it had arrested 14 REvil ransomware members, and searched more than 2 dozen addresses in Moscow, St Petersburg, Leningrad and Lipetsk.  As part of the raids, the FSB seized more than $600,000, 426 million rubles (~$USD 5.5 million), €500,000, and 20 “premium cars” purchased with funds obtained from cybercrime.

https://krebsonsecurity.com/2022/01/at-request-of-u-s-russia-rounds-up-14-revil-ransomware-affiliates/

BACK-TO-BACK TRADES AND RED FLAGS

On 13 January, Global Trade Review published an article on trade transactions used primarily as a means of generating liquidity. It examines internal documents and leaked correspondence showing the inner workings of metals tycoon Sanjeev Gupta’s arrangements, and explores the growing nervousness among authorities and banks around circular trades, repo deals and related-party transactions.  It says that Back-to-back transactions have long been a staple of the commodity finance market; and by purchasing and immediately reselling cargo, a trader can boost its access to liquidity – reducing the risk of being stranded with illiquid assets and improving its ability to pay off debts as they fall due.  It says that, historically, back-to-back cargo trades – including circular or repo structures – have not been considered an illegitimate means of raising working capital, provided the parties involved are aware of the arrangement and there is a real-world underlying trade.  However, there are signs banks are becoming more wary of supporting such transactions.

https://www.gtreview.com/magazine/commodities-issue-2022/back-back-trades-red-flags/

RECENT MONEY LAUNDERING CASE INVOLVING SLOVAKIA AND ECUADOR PUTS LIBERIA ON THE RADAR

On 17 January, Front Page Africa carried an article saying that what is now being considered as one of the biggest money laundering cases in Liberia was unravelled after partners of the wire fraud made a huge transfer of half a million US Dollars from Ecuador and Slovakia to a GT Bank account in Liberia.

https://frontpageafricaonline.com/amp/news/recent-money-laundering-case-involving-slovakia-and-ecuador-puts-liberia-on-the-radar/

OFAC LICENCE FOR SOUTH KOREA TO PAY ARBITRATION AWARD TO IRANIAN FAMILY

The licence is to allow South Korea to meet an arbitral award to Iran’s Dayyani family using the US financial system.  The Dayyanis are major shareholders in the Iranian home appliance company Entekhab, and had filed an investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) complaint against the South Korean government in 2015 over a $50 million deposit paid as part of a failed attempt to acquire Daewoo Electronics.

https://www.mofa.go.kr/eng/brd/m_5676/view.do?seq=321975

WARNING TO SHIPPING TRANSITING THE LOWER RED SEA, EAST OF THE HANISH AND ZUBAIR ISLANDS

Dryad Global has issued an alert to all commercial traffic calling at Saudi Red Sea ports after Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for an attack that resulted in explosions of 3 petroleum tanker vehicles near the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company storage facility.

https://www.dryadglobal.com/advisory-notices-maritime-security

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NEW PAPER ADDRESSES BIAS AND INSIDER THREAT PROGRAMS

On 13 January, Homeland Security Today reported that the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) has released a new white paper that can help insider threat and security managers identify and mitigate biases that undermine the effectiveness of insider threat (InT) programmes in both government and industry.  It identifies sources of potential bias that can be attributed to both people and technology.  It offers several recommendations for how organizations can identify and mitigate bias in InT programmes.

https://www.hstoday.us/subject-matter-areas/intelligence/new-paper-addresses-bias-and-insider-threat-programs/

The white paper is at –

https://www.insaonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Bias-and-Insider-Threat-Programs-Paper.pdf

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OFAC DESIGNATES 3 HIZBALLAH-LINKED FINANCIAL FACILITATORS AND THEIR LEBANON-BASED TRAVEL COMPANY

On 18 January, OFAC announced that it had designated Adel Diab, Ali Mohamad Daoun, Jihad Salem Alame, and their company, Dar Al Salam for Travel & Tourism.  It says that Hizballah’s widespread network of financial facilitators has helped the group exploit Lebanon’s financial resources and survive the current economic crisis.  Through businessmen like these, Hizballah gains access to material and financial support through the legitimate commercial sector to fund its acts of terrorism and attempts to destabilise Lebanon’s political institutions. 

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy0558

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20220118

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ILLICIT FINANCIAL FLOWS IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA, MONTENEGRO AND SERBIA

On 17 January, the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime published a report which looks at current trends of IFF in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia from a civil society perspective.  It is to be published on 19 January.

https://globalinitiative.net/analysis/iffs-western-balkans-2/

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UN REMOVES 3 NAMES FROM ISIL/AL-QAIDA SANCTIONS LISTS

On 17 January, the UN advised that the relevant Sanctions Committee had removed 3 entities from the ISIL/Al-Qaida sanctions list – AL-HARAMAIN ISLAMIC FOUNDATION; AL-HARAMAIN ISLAMIC FOUNDATION (SOMALIA); and AL-HARAMAIN FOUNDATION (INDONESIA).

https://www.un.org/press/en/2022/sc14767.doc.htm

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JANUARY 17

Panama Covid-19 update – the health ministry has reported that 85.5% of those who died last week did not have the full vaccination schedule (of 3 jabs), and that in december and january over 80% of those hospitalised were unvaccinated.

Meanwhile today, 5,468 new cases and 7 new fatalities were reported; with there being 238 more active cases at 57,203. Numbers in hospital show increases – to 61 in ICU and 544 in other wards, although the number in the hospital-hotel quarantine falls by 37 to 490.

17 JANUARY 2022

MACAU WITH BEST RATINGS IN ASIA/PACIFIC GROUP MONEY LAUNDERING EVALUATION

On 17 January, Macau Business reported that FATF-style regional body APG has indicated that Macau continues to be its best-rated member in terms of technical compliance assessment.  In September, it submitted the second Follow-up Report to its 2016 assessment to demonstrate the latest developments of the AML/CFT regime, with the report then adopted by all APG members in December.

https://www.macaubusiness.com/sar-with-best-ratings-in-asia-pacific-group-on-money-laundering-evaluation/

QATAR IS CURRENTLY UNDERGOING THE FOURTH ROUND OF MUTUAL EVALUATION AND ASSESSMENT BY FATF

On 17 January, MENA FN reported that the evaluation process is still going on, and it would be difficult to predict when the evaluation will be completed especially amid the ongoing global pandemic.

https://menafn.com/1103549085/Qatar-set-to-be-9th-Mena-country-to-complete-latest-FATF-assessment-Official

AUSTRALIA: MONEY LAUNDERING THROUGH POKIES AND AML/CFT IMPLICATIONS FOR PUBS AND CLUBS

An article from Nyman Gibson Miralis on 17 January was concerned with pubs and clubs which operate electronic gaming machines (EGM), known as “pokies” in Australia.  It says that AUSTRAC provides a guide for pubs and clubs to ensure that they understand and comply with their AML/CFT obligations.  It warns that pubs and clubs which operate EGM may be exploited by criminals to launder proceeds of crime. These businesses need to be aware of and comply with their obligations or risk facing enforcement action, which may include steep fines.

https://ngm.com.au/money-laundering-pokies-pubs-clubs/

ISRAELI EXPORT CONTROLS AND SANCTIONS – A YEAR IN REVIEW

On 15 December, Herzog Fox & Neeman published an article containing a review of some of the major developments from the past year and what one might expect to see in the year ahead.  It says that the firm expects Israeli sanctions lists to continue diverging from UN lists and from lists implemented by other countries.  In the defence export control world, it says to expect tighter controls in the cyber industry, as well as controls over drones/UAV and over systems for monitoring data communications and audio traffic.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/documents.lexology.com/1d2d7160-0970-471c-94ed-ab42d4cf4723.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAVYILUYJ754JTDY6T&Expires=1642422001&Signature=0C331yqBeqzHFXW4izfCWnyHKh0%3D

COURT OF APPEAL: FORMER BOSSES OF A LEADING LEGAL EXPENSES INSURER SHOULD PAY BACK A TOTAL OF ALMOST £6 MILLION FOLLOWING CONVICTIONS FOR FRAUD

On 17 January, the Law Society Gazette reported that compensation orders were approved by the Court of Appeal and the trio will repay the money to DAS Services Ltd.  The 3 defendants had used their status to exploit the way DAS commissioned medical reports and kept their interest in a company they had set up to provide such reports hidden from DAS.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/fraud-trio-who-conspired-against-employer-ordered-to-repay-almost-6m/5111156.article

ARE COUNTERFEIT BEARINGS ON THE RISE?

On 17 January, Factory & Handling Solutions posed this question, saying that a petrochemical processor was recently forced to make an emergency shutdown to reveal that it was being supplied with counterfeit SKF bearings.  It says that bearings are among the most counterfeited critical components in industrial and engineering applications.

https://factoryandhandlingsolutions.co.uk/are-counterfeit-bearings-on-the-rise/

HALKBANK SHARES SURGE AFTER US COURT PUTS PROSECUTION ON HOLD

Ahval in Turkey reported on 17 January that a US appeals court had shelved a prosecution of the company for allegedly helping Iran evade economic sanctions.  It is said that the case is on hold until an appeal by the bank at the US Supreme Court is concluded.

https://ahvalnews.com/turkey-banking/halkbank-shares-surge-after-us-court-puts-prosecution-hold

KAZAKHSTAN: REVAMP OF CUSTOMS BORDER CONTROLS IN FACE OF “MASSIVE FRAUD”

On 17 January, Railfreight reported that the President has given an instruction for the revamp especially at the border with China, to end “long-running chaos”, with transit vehicles evading inspections and not paying customs duties, which has led to billions of lost tax revenues. Kazakhstan is one of the main transit countries on the New Silk Road.

https://www.railfreight.com/beltandroad/2022/01/17/massive-fraud-at-kazakh-chinese-border

US HAS POSTPONED TO 7 MARCH AN INTERIM FINAL RULE IMPOSING CONTROLS ON EXPORTS OF CYBERSECURITY ITEMS

On 17 January, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reported that the Bureau of Industry and Security has postponed the effective date to provide sufficient time for industry to implement necessary compliance measures and for BIS to provide additional public guidance.

https://www.strtrade.com/trade-news-resources/str-trade-report/trade-report/january/tighter-export-controls-on-cybersecurity-items-delayed

IRAQ ISSUES ARREST WARRANTS AGAINST 21 TOP OFFICIALS OVER GRAFT

On 14 January, OCCRP reported that Iraqi authorities last month issued arrest warrants against 21 high-ranking state officials, including a current minister, following an investigation that has seen 77 other officials summoned.  The country declared in 2017 a national war on corruption, but progress has been slow, and Iraq is in the bottom 20 of Transparency International’s 2020 Corruption Perception Index.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/15783-iraq-issues-arrest-warrants-against-21-top-officials-over-graft

UK THE FIRST COUNTRY TO PUBLISH ITS POLICY AND PRINCIPLES ON INTERNATIONAL ASSET RETURNS TO FOREIGN COUNTRIES

On 13 January, the Home Office issued a news release saying that the UK has become the first country in the world to demonstrate how it returns proceeds of corruption to foreign countries with a new framework.  The framework seeks to increase consistency in how the proceeds of corruption are returned and enshrines the requirement for transparency in the use of returned funds.  Under the UN Convention Against Corruption, the proceeds of crimes — that is, bribery, embezzlement of public funds, money laundering and trading in influence and other abuses of official functions — must be returned to the requesting state subject to certain conditions.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-sets-global-transparency-standard-for-asset-returns

PROLIFIC ROMANCE FRAUDSTER JAILED AS CPS ISSUES A WARNING

A news release from the CPS on 14 January says that stark warning to the public about falling victim to romance fraud has been issued by the Crown Prosecution Service as a fraudster is jailed for conning at least 9 people – with nearly £92 million having been reported lost in the UK in the last year.

https://www.cps.gov.uk/cps/news/prolific-romance-fraudster-jailed-cps-issues-warning

RE-BRANDING OF IMPORTED MEDICINES UNDER EU COURT SPOTLIGHT

An article from Out-Law on 14 January warned that parallel importers risk trade mark infringement if they seek to sell packets of generic medicines imported from one EU country to another under brand names for reference products developed by the same manufacturer.  An advocate general has said that it would only be justified in “exceptional cases” for importers to fix the trade marks for branded reference medicines to packets of imported generic medicines made by the same manufacturer.

https://www.pinsentmasons.com/out-law/news/re-branding-imported-medicines-eu-court-spotlight

FRAUD AND CORRUPTION ENFORCEMENT ANNUAL REVIEW 2021

On 17 January, law firm Eversheds Sutherland published its annual review which highlights some of the top developments from the past year relating to criminal investigations and enforcement actions tackling fraud, bribery and corruption offences in the UK. Looking forward, it highlights such things as the Law Commission’s review into reform of corporate criminal liability, due in early 2022 and which could see the potential introduction of a failure to prevent economic crime offence.

https://www.eversheds-sutherland.com/global/en/what/articles/index.page?ArticleID=en/Fraud_and_financial_crime/UK_Fraud_and_Corruption_Enforcement_review_Annual_review_2021

MALTA: GAMING COMPANY FINED €386,000 FOR AML BREACHES

On 17 January, the Times of Malta reported that Online Amusement Solution Limited failed to properly monitor its customers and failed to report suspicious activity or properly monitor PEP on its gambling sites. 

https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/gaming-company-fined-386000-for-money-laundering-breaches.928387

FIREARMS TRAFFICKING: MORE INFORMATION IS NEEDED TO INFORM US EFFORTS IN CENTRAL AMERICA

On 11 January, the Governmental Accountability Office produced a report says that gangs and drug cartels commit much of the violence in Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.  The guns they use are mostly from other countries, including the US.  It says that the State Department plans to focus more on gun trafficking but lacks information to tailor its programmes to each country’s needs. For instance, it says, the State Department hasn’t asked other agencies to analyse information about firearms in the countries.

Types of Firearms Recovered in Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras and Submitted to ATF for Tracing, 2015–2019

https://www.gao.gov/products/gao-22-104680

HOW SHADY KAZAKH CASH IS BUILDING NEW YORK CITY’S POSHEST PADS

On 13 January, the New York Post published an article on construction financially backed by the “mysterious” private equity firm Meridian Capital.  It was founded in 2002 by Kazakhstan’s former oil and gas minister Sauat Mynbayev, Kazakh billionaire Askar Alshinbayev and top execs of Kazkommertsbank, Kazakhstan’s largest private bank.  It is incorporated in Bermuda, as an international investment firm headquartered in Hong Kong.

https://nypost.com/2022/01/13/how-shady-kazakh-cash-is-building-nycs-poshest-pads/

SWITZERLAND DESIGNATES 6 INDIVIDUALS AND 3 ENTITIES LINKED TO RUSSIAN WAGNER GROUP

On 17 January, the EU Sanctions blog reported that Switzerland had followed the EU lead of December in designating these people and entities.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2022/01/switzerland-lists-6-people-3-entities-linked-to-the-wagner-group/

HEAD OF BULGARIA’S ANTI-CORRUPTION BODY SUBMITS RESIGNATION

On 17 January, the Sofia Globe reported that the head of Bulgaria’s commission against corruption and for the confiscation of illegally-acquired assets, Sotir Tsatsarov, has submitted to Parliament an application to leave office ahead of term.

https://sofiaglobe.com/2022/01/17/head-of-bulgarias-anti-corruption-body-submits-resignation-reports

OPIOID SMUGGLING IN THE BLACK SEA

On 17 January, an article in the Eurasia Review is concerned with the modus operandi and maritime routes used by opioid smugglers.  The majority of illicit drugs transiting the Black Sea region are opioids and to a lesser extent acetic anhydride, a precursor for production of heroin.  The transit of acetic anhydride through the Black Sea has also increased. Smugglers have used commercial trade to conceal the transit of drugs in the Black Sea throughout the region’s history.  Within the Black Sea, ferries linking Georgia to Bulgaria, Romania, and Ukraine in particular have been linked to drug smuggling operations; and with a correlation in drug smuggling and the increasing popularity of roll-on roll-off ferries between Europe and Turkey, which offer effective means of transporting trailers and other wheeled cargo.  Georgia’s Black Sea ports connect drug smuggling routes through the southern Caucasus mountains to ports along the Black Sea’s western and north-western shores. Opioids manufactured in Afghanistan reach the southern Caucasus mainly through Iran. 

https://www.eurasiareview.com/17012022-opioid-smuggling-in-the-black-sea-analysis

https://elements.visualcapitalist.com/visualizing-nuclear-power-production-by-country/

EBA PUBLISHES A DISCUSSION PAPER ON ITS PRELIMINARY OBSERVATIONS ON SELECTED PAYMENT FRAUD DATA UNDER THE PAYMENT SERVICES DIRECTIVE

On 17 January, the European Banking Authority said that it had analysed payment fraud data reported by the industry and subsequently aggregated by national authorities covering the years 2019 and 2020. The Discussion Paper provides an overview of the preliminary patterns observed across a number of different payment instruments, including some inconclusive patterns, which require additional analysis.  The EBA has invited stakeholders to respond to the questions asked in the Discussion Paper, so as to better interpret fraud data that will be reported in future years.  The consultation closes on 19 April.

https://www.eba.europa.eu/eba-publishes-discussion-paper-its-preliminary-observations-selected-payment-fraud-data-under

CANADIAN SECURITIES ADMINISTRATORS (CSA) WARNING – INVESTMENT SCHEMES INVOLVING FRAUDULENT WEBSITES THAT SOLICIT INVESTMENTS IN FOREIGN EXCHANGE, BINARY OPTIONS AND/OR CRYPTO ASSETS

A release on Mondo Visione on 17 January advised that, in particular, fraudsters continue to capitalize on market interest in crypto assets to lure investors into scams, using high-pressure sales tactics and promises of high returns with little or no risk. The CSA and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) have also noted increasing concerns over imposter sites that closely resemble registered firms, regulators and fake endorsements by individuals.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/canadian-securities-regulators-issue-warning-about-fraudulent-investment-solicit/

It includes advice to know the Red Flags involved –

https://www.securities-administrators.ca/investor-tools/avoiding-fraud/know-the-red-flags-of-fraud/

MONETARY AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE (MAS) GUIDELINES THAT CRYPTOCURRENCY SERVICE PROVIDERS SHOULD NOT PROMOTE THEIR SERVICES TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC IN SINGAPORE

A release on Mondo Visione on 17 January advised that the new guidelines clarify MAS’ expectations that Digital Payment Token service providers should not engage in marketing or advertising of DPT services.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/monetary-authority-of-singapore-issues-guidelines-to-discourage-cryptocurrency-t/

HOW ARE NFT ARE USED FOR WASH TRADING & MONEY LAUNDERING?

On 17 January, makeuseof.com published an article which sets out to explain how NFT are used for wash trading and money laundering?

https://www.makeuseof.com/how-nfts-used-wash-trading-money-laundering/

REPRESENTING INDIVIDUALS IN INTERVIEWS: THE UK PERSPECTIVE

On 14 January, Global Investigative review published an article by 2 lawyers from law firm Corker Bining which considers the representation of individuals in 3 types of interviews: interviews in corporate internal investigations, interviews of witnesses in law enforcement investigations, and interviews of suspects in law enforcement investigations.

https://globalinvestigationsreview.com/guide/the-practitioners-guide-global-investigations/2022/article/representing-individuals-in-interviews-the-uk-perspective

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REPRESENTING INDIVIDUALS IN INTERVIEWS: THE UK PERSPECTIVE

On 14 January, Global Investigative review published an article by 2 lawyers from law firm Corker Bining which considers the representation of individuals in 3 types of interviews: interviews in corporate internal investigations, interviews of witnesses in law enforcement investigations, and interviews of suspects in law enforcement investigations.

https://globalinvestigationsreview.com/guide/the-practitioners-guide-global-investigations/2022/article/representing-individuals-in-interviews-the-uk-perspective

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where one-off contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymea3coffee.com/KoIvM842y

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KYRGYZ CUSTOMS CHIEF DETAINED ON SUSPICION OF CORRUPTION

On 17 January, Rferl reported that the head of Kyrgyzstan’s State Customs Service, Adilet Kubanychbekov, has been arrested on accusations of corruption.  He had only been appointed to the post in October 2021.

https://www.rferl.org/a/krgyzstan-customs-chief-corruption/31658604.html

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FORMER PARAGUAYAN PRESIDENT SUSPECTED OF LAUNDERING MONEY

On 17 January, MercoPress reported that Paraguay’s Interior Minister Arnaldo Giuzzio intends to bring former President Horacio Cartés before the Courts to account for the inconsistencies in his affidavits and tax and real estate returns. 

https://en.mercopress.com/2022/01/17/former-paraguayan-president-suspected-of-laundering-money

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BERMUDA MONETARY AUTHORITY HAS RELEASED ITS 2022 BUSINESS PLAN

BERMUDA MONETARY AUTHORITY HAS RELEASED ITS 2022 BUSINESS PLAN

On 17 January, the Royal Gazette reported that the 2022 road map includes spearheading several initiatives, which includes the further roll-out of its newly introduced Anti-Money Laundering/Anti-Terrorist Financing Service Provider Training course and the associated advanced track licensing programme. 

https://www.royalgazette.com/local-business/business/article/20220117/bma-release-2022-business-plan

The Business Plan is at –

https://www.bma.bm/publications/business-plan

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UK SANCTIONS LIST FORMAT CHANGES

The UK sanctions list is changing format from 31 January, and HM Treasury has issued a new guide to the new format –

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1047250/170122_Consolidated_List_Format_Guide.pdf

The Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office has also issued examples of sample data in the new formats –

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-uk-sanctions-list

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FATF CONSOLIDATED AML/CFT RATINGS

On 14 January, following the publication of the MONEYVAL follow-up report on Cyprus, FATF has issued an updated consolidated schedule of all AML/CFT ratings to date.

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

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FATF: CYPRUS AML/CFT FOLLOW-UP REPORT

On 14 January, FATF published the Enhanced Follow-up Report previously published by MONEYVAL.  Reviewing technical compliance only, it says that Cyprus is “compliant” with 16 of the 40 FATF Recommendations, “largely compliant” with 20 Recommendations and “partially compliant” with 4 Recommendations (non-profit organisations, correspondent banking, new technologies, and powers of law enforcement and investigative authorities).  Cyprus has no “non-compliant” ratings.

https://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/reports/fur/MONEYVAL-FUR-Cyprus-DEC-2021.pdf

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UK AMENDS ENTRIES FOR 2 RUSSIANS UNDER GLOBAL HUMAN RIGHTS SANCTIONS

On 13 January, HM Treasury announced that the entries for Dmitry Vadimovich KOVTUN and Andrey Konstantinovich LUGOVOY had been amended, as they are listed under the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020.  The 2 individuals are held responsible for the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko in November 2006.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1046404/Notice_Global_Human_Rights_130122.pdf

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JANUARY 16

Panama Covid-19 update – another 2,197 active cases added to running total, to give us now 56,965 – or around 1.3% of the population. 7,278 new cases and 8 new fatalities reported today. 54 patients in ICU (down 3) and 508 in other wards (up 18), and there are another 527 in the hospital-hotles isolation.

Since the programme began on 7 January, the health ministry say 26,050 vaccinations for the under-12s have been administered (as the country prepares for the start of the new school year in March).

Our son returned to the UK today and asked me to print out his paperwork – which would normally mean just the air ticket. This involved 8 pages of ticket, certificates, confirmation from the airline, etc…added to which was a health ministry certificate to confirm he had completed his mandatory quarantine after testing positive while here.

16 JANUARY 2022

WOMAN ARRESTED AT DUBLIN AIRPORT IS FIRST CHARGED UNDER NEW PEOPLE SMUGGLING LAW

On 15 January, the Irish Times reported that a Swedish woman has become the first to be charged under stronger laws brought in to tackle people smuggling.  She has been charged with an offence under the recently introduced Criminal Justice (Smuggling of Persons) Act 2021 and is accused of intentionally assisting entry, transit across or presence of another person in the State in breach of a specified provision.

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/woman-arrested-at-dublin-airport-is-first-charged-under-new-people-smuggling-law-1.4777694

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU REPORTEDLY NEAR TO PLEA BARGAIN IN CORRUPTION TRIAL

On 16 January, the Guardian reported that the former Israeli PM understood to be in advanced talks with state attorney’s office over admitting to 2 counts of breach of trust.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/16/benjamin-netanyahu-israel-plea-bargain-trial

ALIGNMENT OF THIRD COUNTRIES WITH EU SANCTIONS REGIMES

On 14 January –

  • Montenegro, Albania and Norway, member of the European Economic Area (as well as Ukraine) have aligned with EU sanctions on Ukraine updated on 13 December;
  • North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Georgia have aligned with EU sanctions on Syria as of 6 and 27 May;
  • North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Ukraine and Moldova have aligned with EU sanctions on Burundi as of 31 October; and
  • North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Norway, Ukraine and Georgia have aligned with EU sanctions on Mali as of 13 December.

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2022/01/14/declaration-by-the-high-representative-on-behalf-of-the-european-union-restrictive-measures-in-respect-of-actions-undermining-or-threatening-the-territorial-integrity-sovereignty-and-independence-of-ukrai/

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2022/01/14/declaration-by-the-high-representative-on-behalf-of-the-european-union-on-the-alignment-of-certain-countries-concerning-restrictive-measures-against-syria/

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2022/01/14/declaration-by-the-high-representative-on-behalf-of-the-european-union-on-the-alignment-of-certain-countries-with-council-implementing-decision-concerning-restrictive-measures-against-syria/

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2022/01/14/declaration-by-the-high-representative-on-behalf-of-the-european-union-on-the-alignment-of-certain-countries-with-council-decision-concerning-restrictive-measures-in-view-of-the-situation-in-burundi/

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2022/01/14/declaration-by-the-high-representative-on-behalf-of-the-european-union-on-the-alignment-of-certain-countries-concerning-restrictive-measures-in-view-of-the-situation-in-mali/

NORTH KOREA REGISTERS 8 TRADEMARKS AND 3 PATENTS IN 2021

On 14 January, RFA reported that North Korea last year issued 8 international trademarks and 3 international patents to 7 companies.

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/korea/patent-01122022164044.html

BRAZIL’S ILLEGAL GOLD RUSH IS FUELLING CORRUPTION, VIOLENT CRIME AND DEFORESTATION

On 14 January, Mongabay reported that illegal mining is once again surging across the Amazon and the article details a range of challenges facing efforts to rein in the gold mining sector.  The latest spike in wildcat mining is driven by international demand. The price of gold is up from $400 in 2000 to over $1,800 an ounce in 2022. 

https://news.mongabay.com/2022/01/brazils-illegal-gold-rush-is-fueling-corruption-violent-crime-and-deforestation/

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THE QUIET EXPANSION OF CHINESE PRIVATE SECURITY COMPANIES

On 12 January, a briefing from the Center for Strategic and International Studies says that estimates suggest as many as 20 to 40 Chinese PSC are operating abroad in some 40 countries, China operates more than 7,000 PSC domestically; and that they are a well-positioned tool for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to project power abroad. The briefing provides background on the use of private military and security companies for power projection;

  1. History of Chinese reliance on private companies in the military and security sectors, in particular the use of Chinese PSC;
  • Future areas of opportunity for China to leverage PSC, including deployments in support of projects along the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), in the maritime domain, and training foreign police forces; and
  • Policy options for the US to address Chinese use of PSC.

https://csis-website-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/publication/220112_Markusen_StealthIndustry_ChinesePSCs.pdf?agENkxBjcx0dJsycSrvu_Y_AmBObnHNk

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THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JANUARY 15

Panama Covid-19 update – after a technical problem with the supply of statistics, on 14 January the health ministry supplied 2 days’ worth – confirming the continued rise in cases due to (it is assumed) Omicron. Over 9,000 new cases recorded on both days, and 7 new fatalities each day. the number of active cases soared by over 16,000 to 55,069; with by the 14 January there being 69 in ICU and 477 in other wards. The thousands of tests being carried out showed a positive hit rate of 33% or more – indicating the extent of community spread.

Today’s data shows a drop of 301 in active cases to 54,768, despite 8,902 new cases and 11 new fatalities. Patients in ICU have dropped by 12 to 57, but there are 13 more patients in other wards at490. Positive test results are even higheer, at 35.3% of the over 25,000 tests returning positive results.

15 JANUARY 2022

CHINA TURNS TO PRIVATE MILITARY CONTRACTORS TO PROTECT ITS WORKERS AND BRI INVESTMENTS IN AFRICA

On 14 January, Defence Web reported that, as through its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China has placed tens of thousands of workers in Africa to build Chinese-financed BRI infrastructure projects across the continent.  Now, in an effort to protect its workers, China is turning to private military contractors (PMC).  At least 9 Chinese security companies operate in Sub-Saharan Africa, where dozens of BRI projects produce more than $50 billion in revenue each year for Chinese state-owned companies. 

https://www.defenceweb.co.za/land/land-land/china-turns-to-pmcs-to-protect-its-workers-and-bri-investments-in-africa/

VIETNAM SEIZES OVER 6 TONNES OF SUSPECTED IVORY, PANGOLIN SCALES SMUGGLED FROM NIGERIA

On 14 January, Tuoi Tre News reported that a customs declaration claimed the contents to be cashew nuts, but upon opening the container, officers found suspected endangered animal parts, including 456 kg of ivory and around 6.2 metric tons of pangolin scales.

https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20220114/vietnam-seizes-over-6-tonnes-of-suspected-ivory-pangolin-scales-smuggled-from-nigeria/65222.html

ILLEGAL AMAZON GOLD SEEPS INTO SUPPLY CHAINS

On 13 January, ABC News reported on a Brazilian company called Marsam known for its commitment to the responsible sourcing of precious metals.  It says that a comprehensive review of public records by The Associated Press found that the Sao Paulo-based company processes gold for, and shared ownership links to, an intermediary accused by Brazilian prosecutors of buying gold mined illegally on Indigenous lands and other areas deep in the Amazon rainforest.

https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/tarnished-gold-illegal-amazon-gold-seeps-supply-chains-82242630

STOLEN CAMBODIAN SCULPTURES WORTH OVER $35 MILLION FINALLY RETURNING HOME

On 15 January, the New York Post reported that dozens of ancient Cambodian sculptures worth more than $35 million are going home, years after they were stolen, brought to the US and sold off in a long-running fraud by disgraced art dealer Douglas Latchford.

https://nypost.com/2022/01/15/stolen-cambodian-sculptures-worth-over-35m-finally-returning-home

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JANUARY 14

Panama Covid-19 update – in the Panama City metropolitan area, 23 temporary testing centres have been set up to cope with the seeming tidal wave of new infections. Also between 92% and 93% of the patients in ICU and special respiratory care do not have a complete vaccination schedule – being either unvaccinated or just having one or two doses.

14 JANUARY 2022

AUSTRAC BROADENS ONGOING INVESTIGATION INTO STAR ENTERTAINMENT OVER ALLEGED MONEY LAUNDERING AND TERRORIST FINANCING VIOLATIONS

On 14 January, various media in Australia reported that AUSTRAC will share notes with Queensland’s police and gaming watchdog as a widening investigation into Star Entertainment looks into its Sydney, Gold Coast and Brisbane casinos.  The original investigation began in September 2019 and only involved Star Sydney.

https://www.afr.com/companies/games-and-wagering/austrac-broadens-star-probe-20220114-p59o8i

https://www.marketscreener.com/quote/stock/CROWN-RESORTS-LIMITED-6500298/news/Australia-regulator-expands-money-laundering-probe-at-casino-firm-Star-37544852/

https://www.casinoguardian.co.uk/2022/01/14/austrac-broadens-ongoing-investigation-into-star-entertainment-over-alleged-money-laundering-and-terrorist-financing-violations/ 

WIRECARD FRAUD CASE: GERMAN PROSECUTORS BRING FIRST CHARGES

On 14 January, Gambling Insider reported that Markus Braun, a former Wirecard Executive and business associate of Jan Marsalek, is the first person to be charged by a German prosecutor for a multi-billion-euro fraud at the payment company.  He is suspected of having participated in Marsalek’s plan to launder £22 million of embezzled Wirecard funds.

https://www.gamblinginsider.com/news/14601/wirecard-fraud-case-german-prosecutors-bring-first-charges 

HONG KONG: MONETARY AUTHORITY TAKES DISCIPLINARY ACTION AGAINST 33 FINANCIAL SERVICES LIMITED OVER FAILURE TO FULFIL THE MINIMUM CRITERION RELATING TO AML/CFT MEASURES

A news release on 14 January advised that the Authority had completed an investigation and disciplinary proceedings for 33 Financial Services Limited under the Payment Systems and Stored Value Facilities Ordinance. The Monetary Authority has reprimanded and ordered 33FS to pay a pecuniary penalty of $875,000 for contravening section 8Q of the PSSVFO as it failed to fulfil the minimum criterion relating to AML/CFT measures.

https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202201/14/P2022011400508.htm 

EUROPEAN PUBLIC PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE (EPPO) TARGETS FIRMS IN SLOVAKIA AND CZECHIA FOR TAX AND CUSTOMS FRAUD

On 13 January, OCCRP reported that the the Slovak office of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) conducted an operation that targeted 4 Slovak and Czech companies suspected to have violated the EU tax and customs regulations, damaging the budget for over $54 million.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/15773-eppo-targets-firms-in-slovakia-and-czechia-for-tax-and-customs-fraud 

UKRAINE HIT BY ‘MASSIVE’ CYBER-ATTACK ON GOVERNMENT WEBSITES

On 14 January, the Guardian reported that Ukraine has been hit by a “massive” cyber-attack, with the websites of several government departments including the ministry of foreign affairs and the education ministry knocked out.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/14/ukraine-massive-cyber-attack-government-websites-suspected-russian-hackers 

HOW BRAZIL’S PORT OF SANTOS BECAME COCAINE’S WORLD TRADE CENTRE

On 13 January, Insight Crime reported that 3 shipments of cocaine were caught on the same day as they were about to head to France, Spain and Ghana.  All originated from the Brazilian port of Santos, from where cocaine shipments radiate around the world.  It is said that so much cocaine goes out of the port that some even seems to find its way back.  In January, 59 kg were found inside an empty container returning from Philadelphia, hidden behind thermal isolation.  Santos it is the second-largest port in Latin America after the port of Colón in Panama and, as such, it has become a crucial lynchpin for the global cocaine trade.

https://insightcrime.org/news/how-brazils-port-of-santos-became-cocaines-world-trade-center/

COOKIES SHOULD FORM PART OF DATA TRANSFERS DUE DILIGENCE

An article from Out-Law on 14 January said that a recent decision by the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) is a reminder to businesses of the need to consider cookies when assessing whether their international transfers of personal data comply with data protection laws.  The case involved tracking cookies which captured ‘online identifiers’ of site visitors and the EDPS considered those identifiers to constitute personal data and that the data was transferred to the US.

https://www.pinsentmasons.com/out-law/news/cookies-should-form-part-of-data-transfers-due-diligence

CONDITIONAL FEE ARRANGEMENTS NOW PERMITTED IN SINGAPORE

On 14 January, an article from Out-Law reported that lawyers and their clients in Singapore will now be able to enter into conditional fee agreements (CFA) in certain proceedings.  Such agreements will be only available in international and domestic arbitration proceedings, certain proceedings in the Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC) and related court and mediation proceedings.

https://www.pinsentmasons.com/out-law/news/conditional-fee-arrangements-now-permitted-in-singapore

UK REPORT: CENTRAL BANK DIGITAL CURRENCIES (CBDC): A SOLUTION IN SEARCH OF A PROBLEM? 

On 13 January, the House of Commons Economic Affairs Committee published a report which concludes there is no convincing case for why the UK needs a CBDC. The committee found that while a CBDC may provide some advantages, it could present significant challenges for financial stability and the protection of privacy.

https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/175/economic-affairs-committee/news/160221/central-bank-digital-currencies-a-solution-in-search-of-a-problem-report-published/

GOLD MINERS IN MALI SEE NO IMMEDIATE SANCTIONS IMPACT

On 12 January, Yahoo Finance reported that companies mining in Mali have not so far been impacted by tough economic sanctions imposed on the country by ECOWAS, they said, telling investors their mines can withstand potential supply disruption.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/3-gold-miners-mali-see-075504428.html

US SANCTIONED CHINA’S TOP FACIAL RECOGNITION FIRM OVER UYGHUR CONCERNS – BUT IT STILL RAISED MILLIONS

On 7 January, an article in the Guardian was concerned with SenseTime, China’s largest facial recognition start-up, which recently made its debut on the Hong Kong stock market.  It secures $512 million from non-US investors, including Chinese government-backed funds.  It is said that the situation highlights a larger dilemma of how the US can hold companies accountable for their role in human rights violations perpetrated by the Chinese government.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/06/china-sensetime-facial-recognition-uyghur-surveillance-us-sanctions

NORTH AMERICAN SECURITIES ADMINISTRATORS ASSOCIATION (NASAA) TOP INVESTOR THREATS 2022

On 10 January, the NASAA released its annual list of top investor threats and urged caution before purchasing popular and volatile unregulated investments – especially those involving cryptocurrency and digital assets.  It also announced guidance for investors, including steps to take to protect from fraud in the new year.  It said that the matters most cited most often by state and provincial securities regulators were –

  1. Investments tied to cryptocurrencies and digital assets,
  2. Fraud offerings related to promissory notes,
  3. Money scams offered through social media and internet investment offers and,
  4. Financial schemes connected to Self-Directed Individual Retirement Accounts.

https://www.nasaa.org/61477/nasaa-reveals-top-investor-threats-for-2022/

CARGILL – A MAJOR SUPPLIER OF ANIMAL FEED IS STILL BUYING SOYA AND CORN FROM A FARM LINKED TO THE DESTRUCTION OF THE AMAZON RAINFOREST

On 14 January, Unearthed reported that Cargill, a giant agricultural multinational that sells feed to British chicken farms, has been buying crops from a farm growing soya beans on deforested land in the Brazilian Amazon.

https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2022/01/14/agribusiness-giant-cargill-amazon-deforestation/

FIRST UK ANNUAL SANCTIONS REPORT

On 13 January, the Foreign Commonwealth and development Office published the first annual report which details the current sanctions regime ain place developments, saying that, in its first full year since leaving the EU, the UK has imposed sanctions against 160 individuals and entities.  The UK established 2 new autonomous regimes, which it says allows it to show greater global leadership on sanctions, while acting more in the national interest.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/first-uk-annual-sanctions-report-shows-how-uk-independent-sanctions-underpin-global-britains-role-on-the-world-stage

THE IMPACT OF SANCTIONS ON COMMERCIAL ARBITRATION INVOLVING RUSSIAN COMPANIES

On 13 January, a news release from Russian law firm Mansors announces the new 2022 RAA Sanctions Survey conducted among 182 respondents from various jurisdictions.  It reveals the effects of sanctions on attempts to enter into arbitration, with 21% of respondents reported that they are aware of situations where intermediaries have refused to administer cases due to unilateral sanctions.

https://mansors.com/media/blog/the_impact_of_sanctions_on_commercial_arbitration/

https://mansors.com/upload/medialibrary/aa4/xgw6i0nsfzvsm0a0wzgp9v7li7d7oxdv/RAA-2022-Study-on-sanctions_eng.pdf

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where one-off contributions start as low as $3, at

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DRAFT EU REGULATION ADDING BURKINA FASO, CAYMAN ISLANDS, HAITI, JORDAN, MALI, MOROCCO, THE PHILIPPINES, SENEGAL, AND SOUTH SUDAN TO ITS BLACKLIST AND DELETING THE BAHAMAS, BOTSWANA, GHANA, IRAQ AND MAURITIUS

On 10 January, this draft EU Regulation amends the list of third-country jurisdictions which have strategic deficiencies in their AML/CFT regimes that pose significant threats to the financial system of the EU.

https://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-5174-2022-INIT/en/pdf

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FEDERAL PROSECUTORS IN BELGIUM ARE PLANNING TO CHARGE 57 PEOPLE INCLUDING SOCCER COACHES, REFEREES AND OFFICIALS IN A MASSIVE FINANCIAL FRAUD AND MATCH-FIXING PROBE

On 14 January, the Daily Mail reported that Le Soir newspaper said the accused were suspected of charges including forgery, money laundering, match-fixing and taking part in a criminal organisation.  In October 2018, 9 Belgian clubs were raided as well as the homes of 6 club officials, 4 agents and 2 referees.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-10404289/Prosecutors-charge-57-Belgian-Footgate.html

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BLOCKCHAIN: LEGAL AND REGULATORY GUIDANCE

On 11 January, the Law Society of England & Wales has published the second edition of its guidance which covers a range of key issues for legal practitioners to be aware of when advising on DLT-related matters.  The report is divided into 2 parts – developing technologies and impacts on the wider landscape.  The Law Society says that lawyers need to be aware not only of how network technology and other code-based technologies operate, but how these technologies impact the wider areas of litigation. This includes how decentralisation and smart contracts are changing the way financial, property and legal services are carried out.

https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/topics/research/blockchain-legal-and-regulatory-guidance-second-edition

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THE LARGEST DARK WEB VENDOR OF STOLEN CREDIT CARDS RETIRES AFTER RAKING IN $358 MILLION IN CRYPTO

On 12 January, Elliptic reported that UniCC announced its “retirement” on dark web forums in both Russian and English.  It comes just under a year since the retirement of the previous market leader, Joker’s Stash.

https://www.elliptic.co/blog/unicc-the-largest-dark-web-vendor-of-stolen-credit-cards-retires-after-raking-in-358-million-in-crypto

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EU COULD SUSPEND VANUATU VISA-FREE TRAVEL OVER ‘GOLDEN PASSPORTS’ SCHEME

On 14 January, the Guardian reported that the EU Commission has proposed suspending a visa-free travel arrangement with Vanuatu due to concerns about its controversial “golden passports” scheme.  The citizenship-by-investment (CBI) programmes allow foreign nationals to purchase Vanuatu citizenship for $130,000 in a process that typically takes just over a month, without ever setting foot in the country.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/14/eu-could-suspend-vanuatu-visa-free-travel-over-golden-passports-scheme

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/QANDA_22_266

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JANUARY 13

Panama Covid-19 – no figures for today to report yet…maybe the numbers are too high to count….

13 JANUARY 2022

THE NATURE AND SCOPE OF IUU FISHING AND FISHERIES CRIME IN CAMEROON

On 11 January, Dryad Global published a profile, saying that the fisheries sector matters for Cameroon’s maritime security since it makes a significant contribution to the economy, food security and local livelihoods.  It says that IUU fishing and fisheries crime are 2 concepts increasingly being used to refer to a wide range of actions that directly or indirectly impact on fish value chains.  It is said that the violation of fishing zones especially by industrial fishers was reported as the most recurrent illegal fishing problem; other prominent illegal practices are that of twin or pair trawling, and fishing in breeding grounds (especially mangrove forests) and the deliberate destruction of these to smoke fish.  Bribery, extortion and corruption is also said to be rife.

https://channel16.dryadglobal.com/the-nature-and-scope-of-illegal-unreported-and-unregulated-fishing-and-fisheries-crime-in-cameroon

MARITIME PIRACY AND THE ENTITLEMENT TO RECOVERY FROM INSURERS FOR CONTRIBUTIONS FOR RANSOMS PAID

On 12 January, Rajah & Tann Asia in Singapore published an article concerning an English Court of Appeal case and asking are shipowners entitled to recover part of the ransom paid to pirates as general average contribution from the holders of the bill of lading?  The Court of Appeal said yes, arriving at its conclusion by interpreting the terms of the bills of lading and the terms of the voyage charter to the extent they were germane to the contract of carriage evidenced by the bills.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/documents.lexology.com/82780842-0f99-403f-b518-c688accafc0b.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAVYILUYJ754JTDY6T&Expires=1642075253&Signature=9cix2QODRrI4ubMjHHmnM8PbaWA%3D

SMUGGLED IRANIAN FUEL AND SECRET NIGHT-TIME TRANSFERS IN THE GULF

On 11 January, Dryad Global carried a Washington Post article about secret transfers which usually take place at night to evade detection by regional coast guards.  The ships anchor in the Persian Gulf just outside the territorial limits of the UAE, and then, individually, small boats carrying smuggled Iranian diesel shift their loads to the waiting vessels, according to seafarers who have witnessed the trade.

https://channel16.dryadglobal.com/smuggled-iranian-fuel-and-secret-night-time-transfers

UAE IS HUB FOR COMPANIES HELPING VENEZUELA AVOID US OIL SANCTIONS

On 12 January, Dryad Global said that 3 UAE-based entities had been identified by Reuters that have shipped Venezuelan crude and fuel during the second half of 2021; and that activity shows how the UAE, one of the closest allies of the US in the Middle East, is a hub for companies helping Venezuela skirt US sanctions. 

https://channel16.dryadglobal.com/uae-emerges-as-hub-for-companies-helping-venezuela-avoid-u.s.-oil-sanctions

INDONESIA RELAXES EXPORT BAN TO ALLOW 37 COAL VESSELS TO DEPART

On 13 January Nikkei Asia reported that the partial relaxation comes amid lobbying by other Asian nations that rely on supplies from the country.  However, if any coal companies that supplied the departing vessels have not fulfilled their domestic market obligations (DMO), they will be subjected to fines.  The export ban, introduced on 1 January, runs through the end of the month.  Japan, South Korea and the Philippines, which rely on Indonesian coal to generate electricity, had called on Indonesia to drop the export ban earlier this month.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Markets/Commodities/Indonesia-relaxes-export-ban-to-allow-37-coal-vessels-to-depart

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/policy-risk-remains-as-indonesia-eases-coal-export-ban/

PANAMA MARITIME REVIEW 2021/2022

Seatrade Maritime has released this e-book, available free online, which examines the position of the shipping and logistics sector in Panama.

https://digital.seatrade-maritime.com/en/special-reports/panama-maritime-review-2021.html

CRYPTO-SAVINGS LAWSUIT PUTS PRINCIPLES OF DEFI TO THE TEST

On 13 January, the Wall Street Journal reported on the case of PoolTogether Inc, a company associated with a blockchain-based app that gamifies savings by cryptocurrency holders.   A lawsuit, filed by a software engineer, has challenged the legality of PoolTogether’s operation, saying the scheme is essentially a lottery and prohibited under New York law.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/crypto-savings-lawsuit-puts-principles-of-defi-to-the-test-11642069806

TURKEY FREEZES ASSETS OF 770 INDIVIDUALS AND A US-BASED FOUNDATION

On 24 December, Reuters carried an article saying that Turkey has frozen the assets of a total of 770 people and a US-based foundation – Chicago-based Niagara Foundation – alleging terrorism financing; and links with the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, accused by Turkey of staging a coup attempt in 2016.

https://www.reuters.com/markets/europe/turkey-freezes-assets-770-individuals-us-based-foundation-2021-12-24/

UN INVESTIGATORS FOCUS ON ISIS TERROR CAMPS IN HUNT FOR $50 MILLION WAR CHEST

On 30 December, The National reported that UN investigators believe they are close to finding ISIS’s $50 million war chest after uncovering leads in the terror group’s “inner workings” that point to camps housing its fighters.  Unitad is the UN body investigating atrocities carried out by ISIS.

https://www.thenationalnews.com/world/uk-news/2021/12/30/un-investigators-focus-on-isis-terror-camps-in-hunt-for-50m-war-chest/

EU WILL FALL IN LINE WITH ECOWAS SANCTIONS ON MALI

On 13 December, Devdiscourse reported that the EU foreign policy chief has said that the EU would follow the ECOWAS sanctions on Mali – these including the suspension of financial transactions, over the interim authorities’ failure to hold democratic elections next month as agreed after a 2020 military coup.

https://www.devdiscourse.com/article/law-order/1881914-eu-will-fall-in-line-with-ecowas-sanctions-on-mali-borrell-says

BAHAMAS REMOVED FROM EU AML BLACKLIST

On 13 January, Eyewitness News reported that The Bahamas has been delisted from the EU AML Blacklist of countries, with the EU Commission having concluded that this nation has addressed the strategic deficiencies in its AML/CFT regime.

https://ewnews.com/bahamas-removed-from-eus-aml-blacklist

https://www.internationalinvestment.net/news/4043173/bahamas-delisted-eu-aml-blacklist

US: TACKLING TELEMEDICINE FRAUD

An e-magazine from Medical Technology considers how fraudsters are gaming the US healthcare system, regulating the grey area between drugs and devices, and more.

https://medical-technology.nridigital.com/medical_technology_jan22/in_this_issue

UK: THE REGULATION OF E-CIGARETTES

On 12 January, a briefing paper from the House of Commons Library outlines the new product requirements for e-cigarettes and identifies where national regulations have gone beyond what is in the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD).

https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-8114/

HOW BOSNIA BECAME AN EASY TARGET FOR THE FAR RIGHT

On 12 January, a Commentary from RUSI says that far-right European politicians such as Hungary’s Viktor Orbán have been making common cause with Serb nationalists who seek to tear Bosnia and Herzegovina apart.  It says that the new geopolitical relationships make it easier for Balkan nationalists to hide their irredentist aspirations towards Bosnia’s territory and their animosity towards Muslim Bosniaks behind the banner of fighting a mutual and insidious enemy alongside the European far right.

https://rusi.org/explore-our-research/publications/commentary/how-bosnia-became-easy-target-far-right

TYCOON ‘MOPPED UP’ ZIMBABWE’S SCARCE DOLLARS AND ACQUIRED A LUCRATIVE PLATINUM MINE

On 13 January, an article from OCCRP claims that, as Zimbabweans faced the economic consequences of a crashing currency, well-connected businessman Kudakwashe Tagwirei skirted the rules to convert government-backed securities into scarce US dollars — which he used to acquire shares in a lucrative platinum mine from a company led by people linked to the military.

https://www.occrp.org/en/investigations/as-us-sanctions-loomed-a-tycoon-mopped-up-zimbabwes-scarce-dollars-and-acquired-a-lucrative-platinum-mine

US CUSTOMS STOPS THOUSANDS OF FAKE ID LEAVING THE US

A news release from US Customs & Border Protection on 12 January said that, since early December, officers had intensified inspections on outbound shipments moving through the Cincinnati Port of Entry.  During Special Operation Red Phantom, officers focused enforcement efforts on fantasy and breeder documents produced in the US and shipped to countries on every continent.  From 6 December to 10 January, officers have seized 617 shipments containing 2,211 fantasy documents such as international driver’s licences (IDP) and accompanying booklets.  All of the licences originated in New York or Florida by a company not authorised to produce these types of documentation.  Only 2 companies have authorization by the Department of State to print international driver’s licences in the US: the American Automobile Association (AAA) and the American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA).

https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/cincinnati-cbp-stops-thousands-fake-ids-leaving-us

JORDAN REPORTS ‘DRAMATIC’ INCREASE IN DRUG SMUGGLING ATTEMPTS FROM SYRIA

On 12 January, Arab News reported that experts have warned of Syria becoming a narco-state, posing cross-border threats to nearby Jordan, the region and the rest of the world; with Captagon and tramadol being particular problems.

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2003206/middle-east

UK: RIGHT TO WORK CHECKS FOR EMPLOYERS FROM 6 APRIL

On 13 January, an article from Eversheds Sutherland detailed the changes being introduced from 6 April, saying that employers will no longer be able to carry out a manual right to work check on those who hold a biometric residence permit, biometric residence card or a frontier worker permit.  From that date, employers must use a specific gov.uk portal and share code process) for all checks. In addition, the Home Office recently announced that employers will be able to use certified Identification Document Validation Technology (IDVT) to carry out digital identity checks on new employees in the future. This will include candidates previously outside the scope of the Home Office’s current online services, such as British and Irish citizens. This change, once finalised and implemented, is likely to come into force in April 2022.  IDVT technology establishes the authenticity of documents such as passports and biometric residence permits for identity verification purposes. 

https://www.eversheds-sutherland.com/global/en/what/articles/index.page?ArticleID=en/Employment_and_labour_law/uk-immigration-right-to-work-check

CRYPTOCURRENCY-BASED CRIME DOUBLED IN 2021

On 12 January, an article from Out-Law was concerned with a recent report showing that cryptocurrency-based crime hit a new all-time high in 2021, constituting around $14 billion-worth of transactions – up from $7.8 billion in 2020.

https://www.pinsentmasons.com/out-law/news/cryptocurrency-based-crime-doubled-in-2021

DO EL SALVADOR SEIZURES SIGNAL PACIFIC COCAINE SURGE?

An article from Insight Crime on 12 January reported that El Salvador’s Navy has seized record amounts of cocaine recently, indicating a possible resurgence of maritime trafficking off the country’s Pacific coast.  The latest interdictions occurred at the close of 2021, when authorities intercepted 2 drug submarines carrying more than 4 tons of cocaine.  In 2021, authorities seized nearly 12 tons of cocaine, a massive jump from the 2.9 tons seized in 2020 and 1.4 tons in 2019.

https://insightcrime.org/news/el-salvador-pacific-cocaine-surge/

SEYCHELLES: HUNTING FOR A MISSING $50 MILLION

On 12 January, the BBC reported that 6 of Seychelles’ most prominent citizens including the former First Lady are facing charges in a corruption scandal involving $50 million of missing foreign aid. The money was a gift 20 years ago from the UAE, intended to help the struggling islands overcome a foreign exchange shortage and pay for basics: rice, flour, cooking oil.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-59866693

KPMG SAYS IT MISLED UK AUDIT WATCHDOG OVER CARILLION WORK

On 10 January, Swissinfo reported that KPMG LLP said it misled the Financial Reporting Council over major work it carried out for collapsed Carillion Plc and data services company Regenersis. 

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/kpmg-says-it-misled-u-k–audit-watchdog-over-carillion-work/47251150

FINANCING AND FACILITATION OF FOREIGN TERRORIST FIGHTERS AND RETURNEES IN SOUTH-EAST ASIA

On 13 January, FATF-style regional body APG has published this typology report which examines what is known and unknown regarding financial profiles of foreign terrorist fighters (FTF) connected to SE Asia and explores the collection and utilisation of financial intelligence related to FTF in the region.  To assist APG members and the broader counter-terrorism community, this report includes recommendations on enhancing information exchange and feedback channels to improve the use of financial intelligence in identifying FTF and returnees.  The report puts forward a number of recommendations for APG members, namely that there is a need to –

1. increase the understanding and awareness of the threats posed by returnees, including their financial linkages and support structures;

2. support the private sector in improving and refining their “red flags” to detect transaction patterns that could suggest foreign terrorist fighter and returnee activity;

3. strengthen feedback channels from law enforcement to support more effective high-quality analysis by FIU; and

4. continue to bolster mechanisms to facilitate the exchange of financial intelligence, including through public–private partnerships and ongoing regional forums.

http://www.apgml.org/news/details.aspx?pcPage=1&n=3184

THE WESTERN SAHARA ISSUE IS SOURING MOROCCO’S RELATIONS WITH EUROPE

On 13 January, World Politics Review published an article saying that securing broad international recognition for its sovereignty over the Western Sahara is more than a high priority for Morocco: It has been the main objective of the kingdom’s foreign policy over the past 2 decades.  It refers to tensions with Algeria, which supports the Polisario Front, a political and military movement that has fought for Western Sahara’s independence since 1973, when it was still a Spanish colony.  It remarks that skirmishes between Moroccan forces and the Polisario Front have once again become recurrent along the desert frontlines of Western Sahara. 

https://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/30245/the-morocco-western-sahara-conflict-is-souring-morocco-eu-ties

US DEMANDS ADDITIONAL UN SANCTIONS ON NORTH KOREA FOLLOWING MISSILE TESTS

On 13 January, The Korea Times reported that the US is pushing for additional UN Security Council sanctions against North Korea following a series of recent missile launches.  Both South Korea and the US called the weapons tests a violation of existing sanctions resolutions, which ban any launches using ballistic missile technology.

https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/nation/2022/01/103_322179.html

FINCEN ACTING DIRECTOR SPEECH – NEW THREATS, NEW INNOVATIONS, NEW PARTNERSHIPS

On 13 January, FinCEN published the speech given by the Acting Director at the at the American Bankers Association/American Bar Association Financial Crimes Enforcement Conference. 

https://www.fincen.gov/news/speeches/prepared-remarks-fincen-acting-director-him-das-delivered-virtually-american-bankers 

NIGERIA: FAKE ARMY GENERAL ARRESTED OVER FRAUD

On 13 January, Sahara TV reported that Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have arrested a fake Army General, for an alleged fraud valued at around $700,000.  He posed as a General in the Nigerian Army, allegedly made false representations to the complainant that President Buhari had shortlisted him and one other to be appointed as the Chief of Army Staff and that he needed a short grant “to press and process the appointment”.

http://saharareporters.com/2022/01/13/fake-army-general-who-%E2%80%98claimed-buhari-nominated-him-chief-army-staff%E2%80%99-arrested-over 

LARGE SWISS COMPANIES TO PAY MINIMUM 15% TAX RATE FROM 2024

On 13 January, Yahoo Finance reported that Switzerland will implement from 2024 the minimum tax rate for large multinational companies agreed last year by the OECD and G20 member states, the finance ministry has said.

https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/switzerland-implement-minimum-tax-rate-143607972.html 

SEC SUES CROWD MACHINE FOR ALLEGEDLY FRAUDULENT AND UNREGISTERED ICO

On 13 January, an article from Prokauer is about the first enforcement action of the year involving ICO, with the SEC having charged 2 companies and their founder for violations of anti-fraud and registration provisions of the federal securities laws in connection with an initial coin offering.  Australian citizen Craig Sproule and 2 companies he founded, Crowd Machine Inc and Metavine Inc have been charged with making materially false and misleading statements in connection with an unregistered offer and sale of digital asset securities in an ICO. 

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/sec-sues-crowd-machine-for-allegedly-8927831/

 

 

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where one-off contributions start as low as $3, at

https://www.buymea3coffee.com/KoIvM842y

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UK: 2 EXISTING SANCTIONS ENTRIES AMENDED

On 13 January, HM Treasury issued a Notice advising that the existing entries for Dmitry Vadimovich KOVTUN and Andrey Konstantinovich LUGOVOY have been amended following their designation under the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations and are still subject to an asset freeze.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1046404/Notice_Global_Human_Rights_130122.pdf

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where one-off contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymea3coffee.com/KoIvM842y

Featured

FINANCING AND FACILITATION OF FOREIGN TERRORIST FIGHTERS AND RETURNEES IN SOUTH-EAST ASIA

On 13 January, FATF-style regional body APG has published this typology report which examines what is known and unknown regarding financial profiles of foreign terrorist fighters (FTF) connected to SE Asia and explores the collection and utilisation of financial intelligence related to FTF in the region.  To assist APG members and the broader counter-terrorism community, this report includes recommendations on enhancing information exchange and feedback channels to improve the use of financial intelligence in identifying FTF and returnees.  The report puts forward a number of recommendations for APG members, namely that there is a need to –

1. increase the understanding and awareness of the threats posed by returnees, including their financial linkages and support structures;

2. support the private sector in improving and refining their “red flags” to detect transaction patterns that could suggest foreign terrorist fighter and returnee activity;

3. strengthen feedback channels from law enforcement to support more effective high-quality analysis by FIU; and

4. continue to bolster mechanisms to facilitate the exchange of financial intelligence, including through public–private partnerships and ongoing regional forums.

http://www.apgml.org/news/details.aspx?pcPage=1&n=3184

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where one-off contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymea3coffee.com/KoIvM842y