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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MARCH 4

Panama Covid-19 update – Phase 2 of the vaccination programme launched today, as it was announced that there were another 540 cases and 10 fatalities, with 7,677 active cases, of whom 151 are in ICU and 709 in other wards.

4 MARCH 2021

THE BIGGEST-EVER US TAX CASE – ROBERT BUCKMAN

On 3 March, the Wall Street Journal carried an article about the largest tax-fraud case in US history puts a spotlight on Robert Brockman, a billionaire who was charged in October with using a web of offshore entities to conceal about $2 billion in income from the IRS.  He has pleaded not guilty, including tax evasion, wire fraud, money laundering and evidence destruction.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-billionaire-behind-the-biggest-u-s-tax-fraud-case-ever-filed-11614785519

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/the-billionaire-behind-the-biggest-u-s-tax-fraud-case-ever-filed/

GERMANY: BAFIN HAS REFERRED MATTERS RELATED GREENSILL BANK AG TO CRIMINAL PROSECUTORS

On 3 March, the Wall Street Journal reported that BaFin said in a statement that it banned activity at the Bremen-based bank after an audit was unable to provide evidence of receivables purchased from GFG Alliance Group, which is the umbrella organisation of UK steel magnate Sanjeev Gupta.  It says that Gupta is a former Greensill shareholder and his businesses relied on Greensill financing.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/greensill-capital-planning-to-file-for-insolvency-in-u-k-this-week-11614768903

MALAYSIA POLICE INVESTIGATING SPOUSE OF EX-CENTRAL BANK BOSS OVER 1MDB FUNDS

On 3 March, Reuters reported that Tawfiq Ayman, the husband of former Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz, is facing a money laundering investigation over the alleged transfer of 1MDB-linked funds into a bank account he owns in Singapore, Malaysian police said. 

https://www.reuters.com/article/malaysia-politics-1mdb/malaysia-police-investigating-spouse-of-ex-central-bank-boss-over-1mdb-funds-idUSL3N2L1300

CYPRUS PLANS TO LAUNCH A REGISTER IN COMING MONTHS IDENTIFYING THE OWNERS OF THOUSANDS OF COMPANIES

On 3 March, Reuters reported that details of thousands of companies domiciled on the island, many thought to have Russian links, will be collected from 16 March to be entered in a Ultimate Beneficial Owner (UBO) register.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-cyprus-companies-aml/cyprus-to-lift-veil-of-secrecy-with-register-of-company-owners-idUSKBN2AV1FB

OFAC: AUTHORISING CERTAIN TRANSACTIONS WITH THE FEDERAL SECURITY SERVICES (FSB)

On 4 March, the EU Sanctions blog reported that the new General License licence authorises transactions and activities with the FSB which are necessary and ordinarily incident to the FSB acting in its administrative and law enforcement capacities.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2021/03/ofac-issues-gl-1b-authorising-certain-transactions-with-russias-fsb/

US: MARINE VETERAN SENTENCED FOR SMUGGLING GUNS TO HAITI TO TRAIN ARMY

On 3 March, Marine Times reported that a former US Marines sergeant who used fake papers to show he was a colonel as he illegally transported firearms to his native Haiti with aspirations of training the army and becoming the country’s president has been sentenced to 5 years in US federal prison.  Jacques Yves Sebastien Duroseau, 34, was convicted in December 2020.

https://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/your-marine-corps/2021/03/02/marine-veteran-sentenced-for-smuggling-guns-to-haiti-to-train-army-become-president/

WORKING GROUP ESTABLISHED FOR THE RISK ASSESSMENT OF MONEY LAUNDERING AND TERRORISM FINANCING IN BOSNIA

On 25 February, the Sarajevo Times reported that the Council of Ministers have passed a Decision to establish a Working Group to draft an amendment to the Risk Assessment of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing in Bosnia and Herzegovina for the period 2021-2023, and the accompanying action plan until 2023, prepared by the Ministry of Security in accordance with the conclusion from an earlier session of the Council of Ministers.  The working group will coordinate and direct the work of subgroups, formed in accordance with the specifics of individual areas.

https://www.sarajevotimes.com/working-group-established-for-the-risk-assessment-of-money-laundering-and-terrorism-financing-in-bosnia/

THE NATIONAL SECURITY AND INVESTMENT BILL AND THE DEFENCE & SECURITY SECTOR

An article from Bird & Bird on 2 March said that in November 2020 the UK Government published new proposals designed to restrict foreign investment in the UK and to potentially block securities listings on UK public markets, in each case on grounds of national security.  As part of a public consultation the UK Government proposed that 17 key sectors will be subject to the mandatory notification regime. These sectors will capture a wide range of entities within, and adjacent to, the Defence & Security sector.  The article considers the proposals.

https://www.twobirds.com/en/news/articles/2021/global/the-national-security-and-investment-bill-and-the-defence-and-security-sector

UK: CHECK IF A BUSINESS IS REGISTERED FOR MONEY LAUNDERING SUPERVISION

On 4 March, HMRC published updated information on how to search the Supervised Business Register to check if a business has registered with HMRC under the Money Laundering Regulations.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/money-laundering-regulations-supervised-business-register

UK: RESPONSE TO AN INSPECTION OF THE WORK OF BORDER FORCE ETC ON MODERN SLAVERY AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING

On 4 March, the Home Office published the Government response to an inspection of the work of Border Force, Immigration Enforcement, and UK Visas and Immigration by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration – for the period October 2019 to April 2020.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/response-to-an-inspection-of-work-to-deal-with-modern-slavery-and-human-trafficking

UK: USER GUIDE TO OPERATION OF POLICE POWERS UNDER THE TERRORISM ACT 2000 AND SUBSEQUENT LEGISLATION

On 4 March, the Home Office issued updated guidance for the operation of police powers under terrorism legislation, described as a useful reference guide with explanatory notes.  It includes sections on data providers, arrests and outcomes, terrorist and extremist prisoners and stops and searches.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/user-guide-to-operation-of-police-powers-under-the-terrorism-act-2000-and-subsequent-legislation

NETHERLANDS: MASSIVE FRAUD BY STATE ADVOCATE FIGUREHEAD LEAVES CONFUSION IN ITS WAKE

On 4 March, Dutch News reported that prestigious law firm Pels Rijcken, which represents the state in legal matters in its role of state advocate, was the victim of a large-scale fraud by former managing-partner Frank Oranje.  Oranje, who committed suicide last November, embezzled millions of euros from clients over a period of 10 years by transferring money to accounts outside the firm ‘in a cunning way whereby false documents were made to look legitimate’

https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/2021/03/massive-fraud-by-state-advocate-figurehead-leaves-confusion-in-its-wake

FRANCE CONVICTS EX-DEFENCE MINISTER, ACQUITS EX-PM BALLADUR IN KARACHI CORRUPTION TRIAL

On 4 March, France 24 and others reported that a court acquitted former prime minister Edouard Balladur, 91, on corruption charges after he was accused of using kickbacks from an arms deal but handed a suspended jail term to his former defence minister,Francois Leotard, 78.  The case arose from an arms deal with Pakistan in the mid-1990s and involving the sale of submarines.

https://www.france24.com/en/france/20210304-france-acquits-ex-pm-balladur-in-karachi-corruption-trial-convicts-ex-defence-minister

https://www.aninews.in/news/world/asia/ex-french-defence-minister-leotard-given-2-year-suspended-sentence-in-karachi-affair-case20210304183038

https://gandhara.rferl.org/a/balladur-france-corruption-karachi-affair-pakistan/31133367.html

ALLEGED FRAUD IN THE COUNTRY’S INSURANCE INDUSTRY HAVE PROMPTED CHINA’S BANKING REGULATORY COMMISSION TO CALL FOR AN INVESTIGATION 

On 4 March, Asia Times Financial reported that a whistleblower has lifted the lid on what some observers say is an industry rife with false expenses, false underwriting and false recruitment.  Former employees of China Life reported that the new revelations were just “the tip of the iceberg”.

https://www.asiatimesfinancial.com/china-life-scandal-just-the-tip-of-the-iceberg-say-insiders

UK: GOVERNMENT TO TACKLE ‘INEQUITABLE’ FUNDING ARRANGEMENTS FOR PRIVATE PROSECUTIONS

On 4 March, the Law Society Gazette reported that the UK government will review funding arrangements and look at how to level the playing field between prosecutors and defendants.  A Parliamentary Committee had called on the government to address an ‘inequality of access’ between prosecutors and defendants and said there should be no disparity between the claims that can be made from central funds by prosecutors and defendants.  The Government agreed that the present funding arrangements are ‘inequitable’ and that the costs recoverable from central funds by a private prosecutor should be capped at legal aid rates as they are for acquitted defendants.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/government-to-tackle-inequitable-funding-arrangements-for-private-prosecutions/5107652.article

https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/4916/documents/49317/default/

IRELAND: MAN ARRESTED OVER COMPLEX €20 Million MORTGAGE FRAUD USING IDENTITIES OF 16 PEOPLE

On 3 March, the Irish Times reported that Gardaí have arrested the chief suspect for a complex mortgage-based property registration fraud using the identities and bank accounts of 16 people, during which banks were conned out of an estimated €20 million.  The success of the fraud hinged on using forged documents to deceive property registration authorities into accepting the properties had no outstanding mortgages attached when they were being sold.  The Irish Times understands a large collection of forged documents and fabricated identities, including non-existent solicitors’ firms, had been created by the chief suspect.

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/man-arrested-over-complex-20m-mortgage-fraud-using-identities-of-16-people-1.4500367

US CUSTOMS URGED TO MAKE AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE ISSUANCE, REVOCATION, AND MODIFICATION OF WITHHOLD RELEASE ORDERS (WRO) ON GOODS SUSPECTED OF BEING MADE WITH FORCED LABOUR

On 4 March, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reported on a recent report from the Government Accountability Office on Customs and Border Protection communications with others about its enforcement of the prohibition on imports of goods made with forced labour.  It is noted that, in August 2020, CBP published a fact sheet with high-level information about WRO revocations and modifications that includes a list of selected documentation that could be helpful as well as examples of things to avoid.

https://www.strtrade.com/trade-news-resources/str-trade-report/trade-report/march/forced-labor-enforcement-communication-needs-improvement-gao-says

UK: LAW SOCIETY PRESIDENT TO STEP DOWN AMID DISHONESTY ACCUSATIONS

On 3 March, the Guardian reported that the president of the Law Society of England & Wales, David Greene, is stepping down from his role after being accused of dishonesty during a decade-long legal dispute that went to the High Court.  He is facing misconduct proceedings after the High Court ruling resulted in action being reinstated against him.

https://www.theguardian.com/law/2021/mar/03/law-society-president-david-greene-step-down-accusations-dishonesty

SUTTON COLDFIELD PHARMACIST JAILED OVER £1 MILLION BLACK MARKET PILLS SALE

On 3 March, the BBC reported that a pharmacist who illegally sold addictive prescription pills valued at more than £1m on the black market has been jailed for 12 months.  Balkeet Singh Khaira, 37, made about £59,000 selling pills for pain relief, anxiety, and insomnia to drug dealers.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-birmingham-56255803

CRIMINAL GROUPS CLEAR COLOMBIA’S FORESTS ONE HECTARE AT A TIME

On 3 March, an article from Insight Crime reported that illegal loggers and land grabbers in Colombia have begun clearing small, isolated patches of forest to avoid being spotted from the air — a change in tactics that could make it harder for authorities to combat deforestation.

https://insightcrime.org/news/criminal-groups-clear-colombia-forests-one-hectare-time/

WTO RULES: COMPATIBILITY WITH HUMAN AND LABOUR RIGHTS

On 4 March, a briefing paper from the EU Parliament Research Service says that supply chains are increasingly international, but many of EU’s trade partners fail to meet both the labour standards of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and international human rights norms.  EU trade policy is designed to ensure that economic development complies with WTO rules, while upholding human rights and high labour standards.  This briefing provides an overview of complex issues relating to human rights and WTO rules. It does not argue for a specific interpretation or position, and does not attempt to bring final clarification on aspects still disputed among legal experts.

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2021/689359/EPRS_BRI(2021)689359_EN.pdf

PARIS LOUVRE RECOVERS 16TH CENTURY ARMOUR STOLEN NEARLY 40 YEARS AGO

On 3 March, the Guardian reported that the museum has announced the recovery of a set of gold and silver-encrusted Renaissance-era armour – nearly 40 years after it was stolen.  A military antiques expert alerted police after being called in to give advice regarding an inheritance in Bordeaux in January and becoming suspicious about the luxurious helmet and body armour in the family’s collection.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/mar/03/paris-louvre-recovers-16th-century-armour-stolen-nearly-40-years-ago

US: CEO SENTENCED TO PRISON IN $150 MILLION HEALTH CARE FRAUD, OPIOID DISTRIBUTION, AND MONEY LAUNDERING SCHEME

On 3 March, a news release from US DoJ advised that Mashiyat Rashid, 40, the CEO  of Tri-County Wellness Group, a Michigan and Ohio-based group of pain clinics and other medical providers was sentenced to 15 years in prison for developing and approving a corporate policy to administer unnecessary back injections to patients in exchange for prescriptions of over 6.6 million doses of medically unnecessary opioids.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/ceo-sentenced-prison-150-million-health-care-fraud-opioid-distribution-and-money-laundering

FORMER VENEZUELAN MINISTER DENIED SWISS RESIDENCY

On 3 March, Swissinfo reported that a court in Switzerland has rejected giving a residency permit to a former vice-president of Venezuela, Nervis Villalobos Cárdenas, and his family.

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/former-venezuelan-minister-denied-swiss-residency/46416984

MONTENEGRO FIRES TOP POLICEMAN OVER ALLEGED CRIME LINKS

On 2 March, Balkan Insight reported that the Montenegrin government dismissed the senior police officer in charge of organised crime and corruption, Zoran Lazovic, after the ruling coalition accused him of having ties to criminal groups.

https://balkaninsight.com/2021/03/02/montenegro-fires-top-policeman-over-alleged-crime-links/

LATIN AMERICA’S FORESTS – ASIAN MARKETS DRIVING A TRADE IN WILDLIFE PRODUCTS – WILDCAT MINERS IN THE AMAZON JUNGLE FROM PERU TO GUYANA – ORGANISED ENVIRONMENT CRIME

On 3 March, a feature from Insight Crime does say that not all environmental crime is driven by organized crime: farmers clear forests for their cattle, and local communities exploit small gold deposits. The trade in wildlife largely begins with local trappers, many of them impoverished Indigenous and rural people who are employed for their knowledge of the terrain.  However, it also says that, as criminal groups diversify across the Americas, no longer solely dependent on drug revenues, they are finding more opportunity in environmental crime, which allows them some legal cover along with lucrative returns.  Widespread habitat destruction and loss of crucial biodiversity are now rampant.  Corruption also fuels such crime.

https://insightcrime.org/news/organized-crime-environment-latin-america-fatal-encounter/

HUMAN TRAFFICKING CORRIDORS IN CANADA

The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking has produced a report which is said to be the first research in Canada that investigates how trafficking corridors operate.  It says that many people in Canada continue to confuse human trafficking with international border smuggling. In reality, human smuggling and human trafficking are very different crimes, and a person may be forced or manipulated into an exploitative situation without ever leaving their home community.  Movement along human trafficking corridors can be a significant aspect of the exploitation experienced by survivors.

https://www.canadiancentretoendhumantrafficking.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Human-Trafficking-Corridors-in-Canada-Report.pdf

DELOITTE TO PAY MALAYSIA $80 MILLION TO SETTLE CLAIMS LINKED TO 1MDB

On 3 March, Reuters reported that audit firm Deloitte PLT will pay Malaysia’s government $80 million to resolve all claims related to its auditing of accounts of scandal-linked state fund 1MDB and its unit SRC International from 2011 to 2014. 

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-malaysia-politics-1mdb-deloitte/deloitte-to-pay-malaysia-80-million-to-settle-claims-linked-to-state-fund-1mdb-idUSKBN2AV10Y

ARMENIA SHARPLY INCREASED MONEY LAUNDERING INVESTIGATIONS SINCE 2018

On 4 March, Massis Post reported information sourced from the US State Department International Narcotics Control Strategy Report 2020.  This was that Armenia was gradually strengthening its AML legislation and had sharply increased its money laundering investigations and convictions since the 2018 “Velvet Revolution”.

https://massispost.com/2021/03/armenia-sharply-increased-money-laundering-investigations-since-2018-us-state-department-report/

3 TOP RUSSIAN CYBERCRIME FORUMS HACKED

On 4 March, the Krebs on Security blog posted that 3 of the longest-running and most venerated Russian-language online forums serving thousands of experienced cybercriminals have been hacked.  In 2 of the intrusions, the attackers made off with the forums’ user databases, including email and Internet addresses and hashed passwords. Members of all 3 forums are worried the incidents could serve as a virtual Rosetta Stone for connecting the real-life identities of the same users across multiple crime forums.

https://krebsonsecurity.com/2021/03/three-top-russian-cybercrime-forums-hacked/

BIG MONEY, NUCLEAR SUBSIDIES, AND SYSTEMIC CORRUPTION

On 12 February, an article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists comes in the wake of the “largest bribery, money laundering scheme ever perpetrated against the people and the state of Ohio”.  Taking this case as a start, the article looks at the situation in the US re the changing situation of electricity supply, financial subsidies and political support etc, identifying beneficiaries – apart from stock owners, the other major beneficiaries from the utility business are executives in the companies.  It claims that the crimes that are alleged in the Ohio case are just examples of the apparent systemic corruption that seems to permeate the nuclear industry.

https://thebulletin.org/2021/02/big-money-nuclear-subsidies-and-systemic-corruption/

US TO RUSSIA TO THE LIST OF COUNTRIES SUBJECT TO A POLICY OF DENIAL FOR EXPORTS OF DEFENCE ARTICLES AND DEFENCE SERVICES

On 4 March, the EU Sanctions blog announced that the US Directorate of Defence Trade Controls of the State Department is to amend the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) – but with an exception for exports to Russia that support government space cooperation, which can be used by exporters.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2021/03/ddtc-adds-russia-to-list-of-proscribed-destinations-under-itar/

WHAT THE POLICING RESPONSE TO THE KKK IN THE 1960S CAN TEACH ABOUT DISMANTLING WHITE SUPREMACIST GROUPS TODAY

An article in The Conversation argues that if history is a guide, providing police with new tools to address current white nationalist threats could result in further repression of activists of colour – saying that the efforts preventing white supremacists from capitalising on their momentum in the mid-1960s also spurred unforeseen consequences.  It sparked lone wolf and cell-based violence.  It is also said that police (and FBI) ultimately deployed their expanded powers not primarily against the KKK, but against activists in communities of colour – for example, FBI agents’ newly gained authority to infiltrate and disrupt the KKK quickly extended to members of the civil rights and Black nationalist movements.

https://theconversation.com/what-the-policing-response-to-the-kkk-in-the-1960s-can-teach-about-dismantling-white-supremacist-groups-today-153712 

NEW RULES ON THE PREPARATION OF FACT WITNESS TESTIMONY IN THE BUSINESS AND PROPERTY COURTS – THE END OF “OVER-LAWYERED” WITNESS STATEMENTS?

An article from field Fisher on 4 March says that, in England and Wales, on 6 April the way that litigators prepare witness statements for trials in the Business and Property Courts will change, following new rules set out in a Practice Direction.  It is said that judges often criticise witness statements in commercial disputes for being far too long, and for being drafted by lawyers in a way that the lay witness will not understand.  They can also tend to stray into argument and comment and producing numerous drafts and iterations can disrupt a witness’s unvarnished memory of events.  The article comments that the reforms are a significant shift in commercial litigation practice.

https://www.fieldfisher.com/en/insights/pd-57ac-could-this-spell-the-end-of-the-over-lawye

US AGREES TO SUSPEND TARIFFS UNDER LARGE CIVILIAN AIRCRAFT DISPUTE WITH UK

On 4 March, KPMG reported that the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has announced that the US and UK have agreed to a 4-month suspension of tariffs related to the ongoing large civilian aircraft dispute.

https://home.kpmg/us/en/home/insights/2021/03/tnf-united-states-agrees-to-suspend-tariffs-under-large-civilian-aircraft-dispute.html

UK: SENDING PARCELS TO AND FROM NORTHERN IRELAND

On 4 March, HMRC issued updated information on how to move goods, in parcels or large letters, between Great Britain and Northern Ireland using the Royal Mail Group or an express carrier – in the post-Brexit scenario.  It says that HMRC has adopted a temporary approach to applying declaration requirements for the movement of goods in parcels.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/sending-parcels-between-great-britain-and-northern-ireland

FRANCE: THE SARKOZY CASE AND THE CONTROVERSY AROUND THE NATIONAL FINANCIAL PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE

In an article from France 24 on 4 March, the media service examines 5 questions that arise from the conviction of former President Sarkozy.  These include criticism (as one would expect) levelled against the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) by the defence.  Created in 2013 by then-President François Hollande, the PNF has been the subject of fierce controversy since its start, particularly in regard to its investigative methods. Several elected officials on the right have called for its abolition.  It is said that elected officials on the right consider Sarkozy’s conviction as further proof of its bias.

https://www.france24.com/en/france/20210304-five-questions-raised-by-nicolas-sarkozy-s-conviction

HOW CHINA’S MASSIVE CORRUPTION CRACKDOWN SNARES ENTREPRENEURS ACROSS THE COUNTRY

On 4 March, NPR in the US published an article about the campaign launched by President Xi Jinping in 2018 with the slogan “Saohei chu’e”, meaning “sweep away black and eliminate evil”.  It is said that nearly 40,000 supposed criminal cells and corrupt companies have been busted, and more than 50,000 Communist Party and government officials punished for abetting them, according to official statistics.  Now China is signalling it will continue elements of the campaign.  It is also said that the latest campaign has served another function: enabling officials across China to lock away entrepreneurs and other citizens whom they perceive to have gained too much wealth or influence independent of the party.

https://www.npr.org/2021/03/04/947943087/how-chinas-massive-corruption-crackdown-snares-entrepreneurs-across-the-country

CHASING BRAZIL’S PREMIER MONEY LAUNDERER

On 4 March, an article from Insight Crime is concerned with Dario Messer, a dual citizen of Brazil and Paraguay.  In August 2020, he signed a deal with Brazilian authorities, which sentenced him to 18 years in prison in return for his cooperation with authorities on other money laundering and embezzlement cases.  Prosecutors later called him, the “doleiro dos doleiros,” roughly translated as “the money-changer of all money-changers”, who coordinating a network that moved money through hundreds of offshore and local accounts, businesses and properties. The cooperation could have widespread implications – on both sides of the border.

https://insightcrime.org/investigations/chasing-brazil-premier-money-launderer

THE STEINHOFF CASE: GERMAN AUTHORITIES HAVE REPORTEDLY INDICTED 4 PEOPLE ON CHARGES OF BALANCE SHEET MANIPULATION

On 4 March, the Daily Maverick reported that 3 years and three months after Steinhoff auditor Deloitte refused to sign off on the company’s accounts, triggering the resignation of the CEO and implosion of the share price, German authorities have reportedly indicted 4 people on charges of balance sheet manipulation.  In Germany, a conviction for fraud can carry a sentence of no less than 3 years, but meanwhile investigations in South Africa have not reached the point of prosecution. 

https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2021-03-04-steinhoff-implosion-balance-sheet-fraud-it-appears-is-taken-seriously-in-germany/

US: SWEDISH CITIZEN PLEADS GUILTY TO SECURITIES FRAUD, WIRE FRAUD, AND MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES THAT DEFRAUDED MORE THAN 3,500 VICTIMS OF MORE THAN $16 MILLION

A release on Mondo Visione on 4 March advised that Roger Nils-Jonas Karlsson, 47, (aka Steve Heyden, Euclid Deodoris, Joshua Millard, Lars Georgsson, Paramon Larasoft, and Kenth Westerberg) and his company, Eastern Metal Securities (EMS), were charged in March 2019.  Karlsson and EMS made fraudulent representations and convince victims to send funds using a virtual currency exchange.  During the same period, Karlsson and EMS used deceptive “devices and contrivances” to sell securities and then tried to conceal the proceeds of the wire fraud and securities fraud. 

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/us-department-of-justice-cryptocurrency-fraudster-pleads-guilty-to-securities-f/

SEC HAS ANNOUNCED THE CREATION OF A CLIMATE AND ESG TASK FORCE IN THE DIVISION OF ENFORCEMENT

On 4 March, a release on Mondo Visione advised that the task force will be a Division-wide effort, with 22 members drawn from the SEC headquarters, regional offices, and Enforcement specialized units.  The Task Force will develop initiatives to proactively identify ESG-related misconduct, and will also coordinate the effective use of Division resources, including through the use of sophisticated data analysis to mine and assess information across registrants, to identify potential violations.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/sec-announces-enforcement-task-force-focused-on-climate-and-esg-issues/

SEC: AWARD OF OVER $5 MILLION TO JOINT OVERSEAS WHISTLEBLOWERS WHOSE TIP CAUSED THE OPENING OF AN INVESTIGATION THAT RESULTED IN A SUCCESSFUL ENFORCEMENT ACTION

A release on Mondo Visione on 4 March announced that the whistleblowers provided significant information about misconduct abroad that directly supported certain allegations in the enforcement action.  The information alerted the staff to misconduct occurring abroad which could have been difficult to detect without their tip.  The SEC has awarded approximately $758 million to 142 individuals since issuing its first award in 2012.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/sec-issues-over-5-million-to-joint-whistleblowers-located-abroad/

SOUTH AFRICA: ACCOUNTANT GETS 12 YEARS FOR INVESTMENT FRAUD, MONEY LAUNDERING

On 4 March, IOL reported that a court has sentenced a 67-year-old accountant, Petrus Serdyn Louw, to 12 years’ imprisonment.  He was convicted of 49 counts of fraud, forgery and uttering, and money laundering which resulted in the complainants, some of whom were elderly, losing all their life and pension savings.

https://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/western-cape/accountant-gets-12-years-for-r60m-investment-fraud-money-laundering-9a0f3591-5b17-4a21-8e1d-a9695561d4aa

JERSEY: TRUST COMPANY FINED $835,000 FOR OPENING ‘GATEWAY TO POSSIBLE MONEY LAUNDERING’ IN ANGOLA

An article from ICIJ on 4 March said that a court in the Channel Islands has fined a team of accountants and economists who for years ignored “obvious” risks of possible corruption and embezzlement when providing services to an investment management company working with the government of Angola.  Jersey’s Royal Court fined LGL Trustees Ltd more than $835,000 for 2 breaches of the island’s AML laws. 

https://www.icij.org/investigations/paradise-papers/trust-company-fined-835000-for-opening-gateway-to-possible-money-laundering-in-angola/

US: ADVISORY ON UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE FRAUD DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

On 3 March, the CRI Group published an article saying that FinCEN had issued an Advisory on Unemployment Insurance Fraud During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic.  This advisory is aimed “to alert financial institutions to unemployment insurance (UI) fraud observed during the COVID-19 pandemic”. 

https://crigroup.com/ui-fraud-during-covid19/

FINANCIAL INTELLIGENCE FOR ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME

Manchester CF has produced a short brief that seeks to introduce and define environmental crime and the role of financial institutions.  It looks at the case of the mafia dumping of illegal waste in Campania and its effects.  It also looks at links to other crime – such as corruption.

https://media-exp1.licdn.com/dms/document/C4E1FAQEIaak2q2VmNw/feedshare-document-pdf-analyzed/0/1614880184869?e=1614985200&v=beta&t=mV8gb93O4WmKtzDzUeyrPoxzpeDBn8olnmUdCEFL0w8

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ITALIAN MAFIA BETS ON ILLEGAL ONLINE GAMBLING THROUGH MALTA

On 4 March, an article from OCCRP reported that Italian authorities have announced the seizure of over €80 million in assets and restriction orders against 23 people allegedly linked to Sicily’s Cosa Nostra for involvement in illegal gambling, aggravated fraud, tax evasion and money laundering.  This is said to be part of an investigation into a staggering 336 individuals tied to an illegal online gambling scheme that spanned the Italian regions of Sicily, Emilia Romagna and Puglia, as well as Malta, Poland and Germany.  At its heart is the Santapaola-Ercolano clan, the ruling mafia faction in Sicily’s eastern province of Catania.  This criminal consortium set up a sports betting website, basing its servers in Malta.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/13985-italian-mafia-bets-on-illegal-online-gambling

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SOUTH AFRICA’S ROLE ARMS SALES FOR USE IN YEMEN

On 3 March, an article in the Daily Maverick said that a new report claims that weapons produced in South Africa are awash in Yemen and being used by numerous parties in that war.  It says that South African arms companies, including Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM), have profited from the sale of weapons to parties central to the conflict.  It is said that since 2015 South African arms companies exported weapons worth R2.81-billion to Saudi Arabia, and weapons worth R4.74-billion to the UAE – and both countries are involved in the conflict.

https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2021-03-03-exposed-south-africas-role-in-yemeni-civil-conflicts-humanitarian-crisis/

The report from Open Secrets is at –

https://www.opensecrets.org.za/yemen/

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FATF: GUIDANCE FOR A RISK-BASED APPROACH FOR PRIVATE SECTOR AML/CFT SUPERVISORS

On 4 March, FATF published this Guidance intended to guide such supervisors on how to assess risks in the sectors they oversee and adapt their resources accordingly and includes strategies to address common challenges.  The guidance is based on the work of project team members and the extensive input by the FATF Global Network of FATF Members and FATF-Style Regional Bodies (FSRB), together making up more than 200 jurisdictions.  The guidance is also said to have benefited from informal consultation with a range of private sector representative bodies and financial inclusion stakeholders.  For the purposes of this Guidance, the term ‘supervisors’ refers to the designated competent authorities or non-public bodies with responsibilities aimed at ensuring compliance by regulated entities of AML/CFT requirements and includes self-regulating bodies (SRB) designated to perform this function.  Its objective is to clarify and explain how supervisors should apply a risk-based approach to their activities in line with the FATF Standards.  In addition to explaining common expectations, the Guidance is also forward looking and identifies innovative practices that can help improve the effectiveness of AML/CFT supervision and thus the overall AML/CFT system.

https://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/Risk-Based-Approach-Supervisors.pdf

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INDIGENOUS GROUPS SUE FRENCH SUPERMARKET CHAIN CASINO OVER AMAZON DEFORESTATION

On 3 March, France 24 reported that indigenous people from Brazil and Colombia sued retailer Casino in a French court over the selling of beef linked to land grabbing and deforestation in the Amazon.  It is the first time a French supermarket chain has been taken to court under a 2017 law.  The lawsuit alleges Casino regularly bought beef from 3 slaughterhouses owned by a major Brazilian meatpacker which allegedly sourced cattle from suppliers responsible for at least 50,000 hectares of deforestation between 2008 and 2020, according to the lawsuit.

https://www.france24.com/en/americas/20210303-indigenous-groups-sue-french-supermarket-chain-casino-over-amazon-deforestation

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HEROIN AND WAR CRIMES: CONFLICT RAGES ON IN MOZAMBIQUE

On 4 March, OCCRP reported that hundreds of civilians have been killed by Islamist insurgents, government security forces and a pro-government mercenary company in a poverty-driven conflict in the north of Mozambique – Cabo Delgado province.  There are allegations about the South Africa-based Dyck Advisory Group (DAG).  It is said that the conflict has especially worried observers due to the country’s deeply entrenched criminal economies, involving illegal timber trafficking, smuggling of gems and ivory and drugs. 

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/13980-heroin-and-war-crimes-conflict-rages-on-in-mozambique

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HMRC TASKFORCE TO COMBAT £3.5 BILLION COVID-RELATED FRAUD

On 4 March, Accountancy Daily reported that the UK will invest over £100 million in a taxpayer protection taskforce of 1,265 HMRC staff to combat the estimated £3.5 billion fraudulent claims of Covid-19 support packages.  The taskforce will focus on abuse of the Coronvirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

https://www.accountancydaily.co/budget-2021-hmrc-taskforce-combat-ps35bn-covid-related-fraud

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FRANCE: REGULATOR FINES ING BANK €3 MILLION FOR AML LAPSES

A statement from ING on 2 March advised that the Autorité de contrôle prudentiel et de résolution (ACPR), has imposed the fine following its inspection in 2018, for shortcomings in its AML and anti-terrorist financing framework.  ING says that it has put in place all the necessary corrective measures to strengthen its processes and management of compliance risks.

https://www.ing.com/Newsroom/News/ING-acknowledges-decision-by-French-financial-regulator.htm

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MARCH 3

Panama Covid-19 update – despite more news of re-opening businesses etc, with next weekend being the first without a lockdown for some time, another 722 cases reported today and 10 new fatalities. 7,912 active cases include 163 in ICU and 1,009 in other wards.

3 March 2021

INDIA: HAWALA DEALER MADE £55 MILLION AS CUT FOR LAUNDERING MONEY

On 2 March, the Times of India reported that he Enforcement Directorate has started a case against Naresh Jain, a hawala dealer, claiming that he earned the huge sum through commissions by laundering “black money” for businessmen, bureaucrats and politicians over the past few years.  Jain is said to be wanted by the police of 4 countries — Italy, UK, US and UAE.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/hawala-dealer-got-rs-565-crore-as-cuts-for-laundering-money/articleshow/81285055.cms

GERMANY: 10 ARRESTED IN OPERATION AGAINST NEO-NAZI CRIMINAL NETWORK ACCUSED OF MONEY LAUNDERING

On 2 March, OCCRP reported that German police have arrested 8 people aged between 24 and 55 and searched dozens of premises throughout the country as part of an operation that targeted right-wing groups allegedly involved in drug and arms trafficking and money laundering.  The suspects are alleged members of neo-Nazi brotherhoods Turonen and Garde 20.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/13963-germany-arrests-ten-in-mega-operation-against-neo-nazi-criminal-network

FCA CHAIR SAYS ITS OFFICIALS WERE TOO WORRIED THAT CHALLENGING A COMPANY COULD LEAD TO THE REGULATOR BEING SUED

On 1 March, Reuters reported that the Chair told a Parliamentary Committee that officials have been averse to acting because of a perception of risk, ended up with a much bigger risk than there would have been if the authority had acted. 

https://www.reuters.com/article/britain-regulator/update-2-britains-financial-watchdog-must-act-faster-in-fraud-cases-says-boss-idUSL2N2KZ1QW

UN PANEL OF EXPERTS REPORT ON MALI

On 17 February, the UN published the Midterm report of the Panel of Experts on Mali which included a reference to an inquiry in 2020 into the travel of Mohamed Ould Mataly, a designated person, to Mauretania in violation of a travel ban.  The Mauritanian authorities were reminded of the obligation to send an exemption request to and await approval by the UN Sanctions Committee before allowing entry to individuals included on the sanctions list.  The Maili authorities were asked Malian authorities about possible government payments to all 8 sanctioned individuals, but no response had been received.

https://undocs.org/S/2021/151

PROTECTED CELL COMPANIES (PCC) IN GUERNSEY

On 26 February, Carey Olsen published a briefing note that describes the key features of a protected cell company (PCC) and summarises the formation, structure and the liquidation procedures particular to this type of company.

https://www.careyolsen.com/briefings/protected-cell-companies-in-guernsey

NEW UK CUSTOMS IP RIGHTS NOTIFICATION PROCEDURE FOLLOWING BREXIT

On 1 March, FR Kelly published an article advising that the UK has introduced a new procedure for notifying UK IP rights to HMRC, now that it has left the EU system. Customs notifications are crucial to enable the HMRC officials to act on any suspected IP right infringements found in imports to, and exports from, the UK.  As with many Brexit changes, the immediate effect is administrative, but with little initial substantive change.

https://www.frkelly.com/library/new-uk-customs-notification-procedure-following-brexit-departure-eu-system

SUBMARINE ARMS PROLIFERATION IN ASIA

On 3 March, New Age reported that in 1981–1982, 8 Asian countries had 147 submarines in their naval inventories. Out of the 147 submarines, 144 were conventional, coastal and mini submarines and 3 were nuclear attack submarines.  In the 4 decades since 1981, the number of countries with submarine arms rose to 15. They together operate a total of 290 submarines.  Out of the 292 submarines, 20 are nuclear submarines, 180 are conventional and 90 are coastal and mini submarines.

https://www.newagebd.net/article/131595/submarine-arms-proliferation

US REPORTEDLY RENEWS INVESTIGATION OF ISRAELI SPYWARE COMPANY NSO GROUP

On 3 March, The Medialine reported that the US DoJ is showing renewed interest in an Israeli cyber company previously tied to the surveillance of journalists and rights activists around the world, after an FBI investigation began in 2017 was reportedly “stalled” in 2020.

https://themedialine.org/top-stories/us-reportedly-renews-investigation-of-israeli-spyware-company-nso-group/

UK: MUTUAL LEGAL ASSISTANCE (MLA) GUIDELINES FOR FOREIGN AUTHORITIES

On 3 March, the Home Office published guidelines that describe mutual legal assistance (MLA) that can be provided by the UK.  They outline the procedures to follow when requesting assistance from the UK and the role of central authorities in the execution of requests for legal assistance in criminal matters.  Also reproduced are forms for confiscation and freezing measures provided in the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mla-guidelines-for-foreign-authorities-2012

COVERT HUMAN INTELLIGENCE SOURCES (CHIS) ACT BECOMES LAW IN UK

On 3 March, the Home Office reported that the Act is said to provide a clear and consistent statutory basis so that our intelligence and enforcement agencies and public bodies have the right tools to keep us safe.  It is said to support the work of undercover agents in preventing and safeguarding victims from serious crimes, including terrorism, by ensuring they can gain the trust of those under investigation.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/vital-national-security-legislation-becomes-law

EU REGULATION DESIGNATES 4 RUSSIANS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES

EU Regulation 2021/371/EU of 2 March listed 4 persons designated for their involvement in the arrest etc of opposition leader, Alexei Navalny.

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv%3AOJ.LI.2021.071.01.0001.01.ENG&toc=OJ%3AL%3A2021%3A071I%3ATOC

UK: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY PROSECUTOR WINS LIBEL DAMAGES

On 3 March, the Law Society Gazette reported that business owners who accused a senior solicitor with the Environment Agency of initiating a ‘vindictive’ prosecution and being ‘willing to go to any length to gain a conviction whether fair or not’ have agreed to apologise and pay damages following a defamation action. 

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/environment-agency-prosecutor-wins-libel-damages/5107619.article

UK: LEGAL AID FRAUDSTERS FAIL TO SET ASIDE £5 MILLION JUDGMENT

On 3 March, the Law Society Gazette reported that the High Court has refused to set aside a judgment that will cost fraudulent former law firm owners almost £5 million.  The husband and wife defendants had applied to reverse a default judgment entered against them in August 2019, seeking to set aside or vary an order that they repay legal aid paid to them over several years.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/legal-aid-fraudsters-fail-to-set-aside-5m-judgment/5107626.article

https://www.legalfutures.co.uk/latest-news/legal-aid-fraud-solicitor-fails-to-set-aside-5m-judgment

US CONSTRUCTION EXECUTIVE IMPRISONED FOR $20 MILLION FRAUD

On 3 March, Global Construction Review reported that a former vice-president of American consultant MGT Construction has been sentenced to 27 months in jail for covering up a $20 million debt.  It is said that he concealed the company’s debt through “job-cost manipulations” and that this resulted in fraudulent applications to banks and insurance companies for lines of credit and bonding coverage.

https://www.globalconstructionreview.com/news/american-construction-executive-imprisoned-20m-fra/

UK: NCA OFFICERS INVOLVED IN DISMANTLING WESTERN BALKAN CRIME GROUP

A news release from the NCA on 3 March advised that around 100 officers from the NCA have been involved in a UK-wide operation targeting suspected members of a Western Balkan organised crime group.  20 people were arrested as part of an 8-month long investigation.

https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/nca-officers-involved-in-dismantling-western-balkan-crime-group

UK FAILED TO INFORM EU COUNTRIES ABOUT ALMOST 200 KILLERS AND RAPISTS

On 2 March, the Guardian reported that 112,490 criminal convictions not sent to relevant EU capitals over an 8-year period.  The conviction of 109 killers, 81 rapists and a man found guilty of both crimes in UK courts was not passed on to the criminals’ home EU countries due to a massive computer failure and subsequent cover-up. 

https://www.theguardian.com/law/2021/mar/02/uk-failed-to-inform-eu-countries-about-almost-200-killers-and-rapists

AFTER KBR, SHOULD COMPANIES STILL BE WORRIED ABOUT SFO POWERS?

On 3 March, an article from Appleby reminded one that KBR is a company incorporated in the US with no fixed place of business in the UK and does not carry on business in the UK.  The UK Supreme Court has ruled that the SFO cannot use its “section 2” powers to require information from an overseas business – unless there is a sufficient connection between the company and the UK.  The article says that the decision in KBR is not the final curtain on this issue, but rather the first act in a play which is likely to run and run. 

https://www.applebyglobal.com/publications/kbr-and-the-serious-fraud-office-should-offshore-companies-and-corporate-providers-still-worry-about-a-knock-at-the-door-from-the-sfo/

VENEZUELA: THE EVER-WIDENING CRIMINAL PORTFOLIO MANAGED BY MILITANT CIVILIAN GROUPS KNOWN AS “COLECTIVOS”

On 2 March, Insight Crime reported that there has been an increase in the number of reports of illegal invasions of homes and commercial establishments in Venezuela during the pandemic.  It is said that the invasions are part of a criminal enterprise that relies on the complicity of state agencies. And the colectivos operate with impunity, occupying residential or commercial properties to turn an illegal profit.

https://insightcrime.org/news/colectivos-ramp-up-property-seizures-in-venezuela/

UK: TRIAL WITNESS STATEMENTS BEFORE THE BUSINESS AND PROPERTY COURTS

On 3 March, articles from Eversheds Sutherland and Out-Law were concerned with the introduction of new court rules setting out the procedure for preparing witness statements will help ensure that oral and written evidence presented to the English courts is consistent.  A practice direction sets out the necessary content of witness statements, and requires witness statements to be accompanied by a statement of truth, signed by the witness, and a certificate of compliance, signed by their legal representative. It makes significant changes to the remit of witness statements in the business and property courts and imposes strict sanctions for non-compliance.

https://www.pinsentmasons.com/out-law/news/courts-to-put-new-focus-on-preparation-of-witness-evidence

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

SFO SECURES ITS SECOND CONVICTION OF 2021 IN UNAOIL CASE AS BRIBERY RETURNS TO THE COURTS’ RADAR IN THE UK

On 3 March, an article from Dentons was concerned with the SFO’s fourth conviction related to the long-running Unaoil case. Paul Bond, a former executive at Single Buoy Moorings Inc., was found guilty on 2 counts of conspiracy to give corrupt payments.  He was sentenced to 3½ years’ imprisonment.  The SFO commented that it will “relentlessly pursue” such cases.

https://www.dentons.com/en/insights/articles/2021/march/2/bribery-sfo-secures-its-second-conviction-of-2021

MONETARY AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE (MAS) HAS ISSUED PROHIBITION ORDERS AGAINST 4 INDIVIDUALS, FOLLOWING THEIR CONVICTIONS FOR MARKET MISCONDUCT OFFENCES

A release on Mondo Visione on 3 March advised that these 4 individuals are prohibited from providing any financial advisory service, or taking part in the management, acting as a director, or becoming a substantial shareholder of any licensed financial adviser under the Financial Advisers Act (FAA).  2 are prohibited from carrying out any regulated activities and from taking part in the management, acting as a director, or becoming a substantial shareholder of any capital market services licensee under the Securities and Futures Act (SFA). 

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/monetary-authority-of-singapore-bans-four-individuals-for-market-misconduct/

AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE WARNS EX-PATS, PARTICULARLY MEMBERS OF THE IRANIAN COMMUNITY, OVER THE DANGERS OF UNSOLICITED JOB OFFERS TO RECEIVE AND STORE INTERNATIONAL PACKAGES

A news release from the AFP on 28 February advised that it is warning the community, particularly members of the Iranian community, over the dangers of unsolicited job offers to receive and store international packages, following a spate of illicit drug imports linked to organised crime.  AFP has seen an increasing number of Iranian expats living in Australia being targeted. 

https://www.afp.gov.au/news-media/media-releases/expats-unwittingly-recruited-drug-mules-organised-crime

ROGUE LANDLORD TOLD TO PAY BACK £739,000 OVER ILLEGAL LONDON HOUSING

On 28 February, the Guardian reported that a rogue landlord who operated illegal rooming houses in london has been told to pay back £739,000 in illicit earnings or face jail, in one of the biggest confiscation orders of its kind, the council that investigated the case has said.  Planning enforcement officers at Brent council discovered up to 15 people living in some of the homes including, in 1 property, a family of 4 in 1 room, a family of 3 in another and 3 single men in another.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/feb/28/brent-rogue-landlord-pay-back-illegal-london-housing

TRANSNATIONAL CRIME ISSUES: ARTS AND ANTIQUITIES TRAFFICKING

On 1 March, an In Focus briefing note from the US Congressional Service examines the US and international legal framework, agencies and issues.

https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/IF/IF11776

US 2020 NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT

On 2 March, the DEA published this report, a comprehensive assessment of the threat posed to the US by the trafficking and abuse of illicit drugs, the diversion and abuse of licit drugs, and the laundering of proceeds generated through illicit drug sales.  It also addresses the role domestic groups, including organised violent gangs, serve in domestic drug trafficking.

https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2021-02/DIR-008-21%202020%20National%20Drug%20Threat%20Assessment_WEB.pdf

UKRAINE TO STEP UP FIGHT AGAINST MONEY LAUNDERING IN OFFSHORE ZONES

On 3 March, Ukrinform reported that the Cabinet of Ministers has approved a plan of measures to prevent tax evasion by business entities and to prevent money laundering in offshore zones. 

https://www.ukrinform.net/rubric-economy/3201476-ukraine-to-step-up-fight-against-money-laundering-in-offshore-zones.html

5 FORMER CHICAGO POSTAL EMPLOYEES AMONG 11 CHARGED IN THEFT, FRAUD CONSPIRACY

On 26 February, a news release from US Immigration & Customs Enforcement advised that 5 former US Postal Service employees are among 11 individuals charged with conspiring to steal credit cards and other financial instruments from the mail.

https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/5-former-chicago-postal-employees-among-11-charged-theft-fraud-conspiracy

OFAC ADDS 1 NAME TO FOREIGN NARCOTICS KINGPIN DESIGNATIONS

https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/126/20210303_cjng_abouzaid_chart.pdf

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20210303

A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE DATA ON WESTERN FOREIGN FIGHTERS IN SYRIA AND IRAQ: WHO WENT AND WHY?

On 10 February, the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism produced a report which offers a concise, comprehensive, and critical overview of the empirical findings available on the background and possible motivations foreign fighters. It focuses on the young Western men and women who became jihadist foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq. The analysis compares 34 reports and academic articles published between 2014 and 2019. The analysis focuses on demographic factors, socio-economic marginalisation, past criminality, mental health issues, and ideology/ religion. The report summarises the findings, delineates the methodological limitations, and identifies interpretive biases present in much the research.

https://icct.nl/publication/a-comparative-analysis-of-the-data-on-western-foreign-fighters-in-syria-and-iraq-who-went-and-why/

UK: PRE-PACK SALES AND THE NEW DRAFT REGULATIONS

An article from McDermott, Will & Emery on 3 March says that on 24 February, the UK government laid The Administration (Restrictions on Disposal etc. to Connected Persons) Regulations 2021 before Parliament.  These introduce (among other items) new restrictions on “pre-pack” disposals to connected persons and are seemingly a policy response to growing criticism around the inequity of pre-pack sales.  The draft regulations are expected to enter into force on 30 April and will apply to England, Scotland and Wales.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/pre-pack-sales-and-the-new-draft-4407059/

COINBASE TRANSACTIONS UNDER REVIEW BY OFAC

On 3 March, the Wall Street Journal reported that cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global Inc said it may have provided products or services to blacklisted individuals, companies or jurisdictions subject to US sanctions.  In a regulatory filing said it has submitted disclosures to or responded to administrative subpoenas from OFAC.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/coinbase-transactions-under-review-by-u-s-sanctions-enforcer-11614803086

BRAZIL’S PETROBRAS OIL COMPANY HAS RECOVERED OVER $920 MILLION IT LOST TO GRAFT

On 3 March, OCCRP reported that Brazil’s state oil company Petrobras has announced that it has so far recovered more than $920 million as part of a series of reimbursements related to the so-called Lava Jato Operation (Car Wash) – the largest anti-corruption probe in Brazil’s history.  A group of prosecutors called The Curitiba Task Force who conducted the Lava Jato Operation for nearly 7 years estimated that the public coffers lost about $7.7 billion to corruption.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/13974-brazil-s-petrobras-recovered-over-920-million-it-lost-to-graft

CRIMEAN OPERA HOUSE: RUSSIAN SANCTIONS LOOPHOLE

On 3 March, Rferl reported that while sanctions have prohibited companies from doing business with the Russian authorities controlling Crimea for more than 6 years, Western participation in the development of a opera house flies in the face of that ban.  The Sevastopol State Opera and Ballet Theatre, designed by the avant-garde Austrian architectural firm Coop Himmelb(l)au is expected to open in 2023.  Among the most notable examples of Kremlin pet projects that have benefited from Western expertise and technology are the Crimean Bridge linking the peninsula to Russia’s Rostov region, and efforts to generate power using turbines manufactured by the German manufacturing giant Siemens.  The involvement of 7 Dutch companies in the bridge project sparked an investigation by the country’s public prosecutor.  Siemens, meanwhile, has said it was a “regrettable” and “individual” error that several of its turbines sold to Russia ended up in Crimea. 

https://www.rferl.org/a/crimean-opera-house-exposes-russian-sanctions-loophole/31131887.html

UK P&I CLUB JOINS MARITIME ANTI-CORRUPTION NETWORK

On 3 March, the Hellenic Shipping News reported that the UK P&I Club, a leading provider of P&I insurance and other services to the international shipping community, has announced it has joined the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) – a global business network which aims to free the maritime industry of corruption, enabling fair trade to benefit society as a whole.  It is said that MACN and its members work towards creating a culture of industrywide integrity and eliminating maritime corruption.

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/uk-pi-club-joins-maritime-anti-corruption-network/

L’AGENCE FRANÇAISE ANTICORRUPTION HAS ISSUED AN ENGLISH VERSION OF ITS NEW ANTI-CORRUPTION GUIDELINES

These guidelines from the AFA are intended to help public and private sector entities to prevent and detect bribery, influence peddling, extortion by public officials, illegal taking of interest, misappropriation of public funds and favouritism. The original French version was dated 4 December. 

https://media-exp1.licdn.com/dms/document/C4D1FAQFcMZt9ofFMDw/feedshare-document-pdf-analyzed/0/1614788898030?e=1614898800&v=beta&t=Hh9H-gp2z_JMV2I4YPKBGlNaauJAkrprSXONPU8cnTk

UK ANNOUNCES LOCATION OF 8 NEW FREEPORTS

On 3 March, Lloyds List reported that the new freeports will be located at East Midlands airport, Felixstowe and Harwich, the Humber, Liverpool city region, Plymouth, Solent, Thames and Teesside.

https://lloydslist.maritimeintelligence.informa.com/LL1136003/UK-announces-location-of-eight-new-freeports

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-55819489

ONLINE ARMS SALES IN SYRIA

On 3 March, the Armament Research Services (ARES) published Research Note 11: Analysing the Online Arms Trade in opposition-controlled Syria.  It examines more than 800 trades of small arms, light weapons, munitions, and blank-firing weapons conducted during a 3-month period between 1 November 2020 and 31 January 2021.  It is intended as the first step in an ongoing hybrid publications approach, which will include monthly digital reporting published in the ARES publication, The Hoplite.  Once a standard 12-month monitoring period has been completed, a final, significantly more detailed report will be made publicly available.  The research revealed small arms and light weapons manufactured in at least 22 foreign countries were documented in the dataset, in addition to craft-produced weapons made within Syria.

https://armamentresearch.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/ARES-Research-Note-11-Analysing-the-Arms-Trade-in-Opposition-controlled-Syria-1.pdf

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WORLD BANK DEBARS A SPANISH ENGINEERING SERVICES COMPANY FOR COLLUSIVE, CORRUPT, AND FRAUDULENT PRACTICES RELATED TO PROJECTS IN VIETNAM

On 3 March, a post on the FCPA Blog reported that World Bank had debarred a Spanish engineering services company for 3½ years for collusive, corrupt, and fraudulent practices related to 2 projects in Vietnam.  The company is Grupo Mecánica del Vuelo Sistemas SAU, a subsidiary of Spanish international technology group GMV.

https://fcpablog.com/2021/03/03/world-bank-hits-spanish-engineering-firm-with-long-debarment/

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US TO INVESTIGATE CLAIM OF FORCED LABOUR AT BOOHOO SUPPLIERS

On 3 March, the Guardian reported that US authorities have launched an investigation into allegations of forced labour in Boohoo’s UK supply chain, which could lead to the online fashion seller’s goods being impounded at ports.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/mar/02/us-should-consider-ban-on-boohoo-clothing-says-charity

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LATIN AMERICAN CRIME GROUPS SET SIGHTS ON EUROPE’S BUSTLING COCAINE MARKET

On 2 March, an article from Insight Crime says that, with higher profits and lower risks than the US, Europe has emerged recently as arguably the most important cocaine market in the world.  InSight Crime and the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime (GI-TOC) spent 2 years carrying out fieldwork in more than 10 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe to trace the evolution of the European cocaine trade, and the Latin American and European criminal networks that have shaped it.  The result is a 65-page joint investigative report titled “The Cocaine Pipeline to Europe”.  Gone are the days of a single criminal group controlling every link of the drug trafficking chain from Latin America to Europe. Instead, the supply chain is fluid, with different multinational mafias working together on shipments.

https://insightcrime.org/news/latam-europe-cocaine-market/

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FAKE COVID VACCINE DISTRIBUTION NETWORK DISMANTLED AFTER INTERPOL ALERT

On 3 March, an Interpol news release advised that South African authorities have seized hundreds of fake COVID-19 vaccines following a global alert issued by Interpol warning vaccines would be a prime target for criminal networks.  Some 400 ampoules – equivalent to around 2,400 doses – containing the fake vaccine were found at a warehouse. In China, police successfully identified a network selling counterfeit COVID-19 vaccines, raided the manufacturing premises, resulting in the arrest of some 80 suspects, and seized more than 3,000 fake vaccines on the scene.  The Interpol Secretary General said that this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to COVID-19 vaccine related crime.

https://www.interpol.int/News-and-Events/News/2021/Fake-COVID-vaccine-distribution-network-dismantled-after-INTERPOL-alert

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MARCH 2

Panama Covid-19 update – the Rt rate has crept up nationally to 0.99 (though here in the city it has fallen to 0.8). As Phase 2 of the vaccination programme begins on Thursday. there are 599 new cases today and 12 new fatalities. There are 8,048 active cases, with 170 in ICU and 1,026 in other wards.

2 MARCH 2021

COMMERCIALISING CANNABIS AND PATENT LITIGATION

On 1 March, Field Fisher released an Insight saying that there has been a significant growth in patenting in and around cannabis, for example in methods and apparatus to extract particular desired ingredients from the cannabis plant, or in relation to the use of cannabis or derivative products for the treatment of particular conditions.  The article says that so far, however, there has been very little cannabis-related patent litigation – that may be changing.  

https://www.fieldfisher.com/en/services/intellectual-property/intellectual-property-blog/commercialising-cannabis-and-patent-litigation

REPORT: BLOCKCHAIN, BITCOIN AND DIGITAL FINANCE 2021

On 18 February, JP Morgan released an 86-page report on the state of digital finance and fintech for 2021 summarising the overall growth of digital financial services such as cryptocurrency, the impact of corporate interest, and CBDC implementation.  Among other things it notes the rising global interest in CBDC testing and implementation spearheaded by China and other countries throughout Asia. 

https://www.tbstat.com/wp/uploads/2021/02/JPM_Bitcoin_Report.pdf

FORMER IMF CHIEF RATO TO STAND TRIAL IN SPAIN ON CORRUPTION CHARGES

On 1 March, Reuters reported that former IMF chief Rodrigo Rato, found guilty of embezzlement in 2018, is close to standing trial again in Spain after a court charged him with corruption, money laundering and tax dodging. 

https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKCN2AT2SQ

CANADIAN AML REGIME AMENDMENTS AFFECT SOME VIDEO GAME AND SOCIAL MEDIA VIRTUAL CURRENCIES

On 25 February, DLA Piper published an article saying that new amendments will come into force on 1 June.  The purpose is to close loopholes found in the existing regime and to adapt to commercial realities in ‎an era of e-commerce, FinTech, and digital technology. In order to understand whether a particular provider of an interactive entertainment service or platform is operating a “money service business” it is critical to understand what types of virtual currencies will subject a provider to the changed regulations.

https://www.dlapiper.com/en/us/insights/publications/2021/02/gems-coins-bells-and-bottle-caps-canadian-aml-regime-amendments-affect-some-video-game/

INDIA: OFFICIALS AND POLITICAL LEADERS ALLEGEDLY RECEIVED HUGE KICKBACKS EVEN AS THEY HELPED AN ILLEGAL COAL BUSINESS

On 2 March, The Statesman carried an article about an ongoing investigation by the CBI into a case involving illegal mining and the transport of illegal coal, and the associated kickbacks said to be involved.

https://www.thestatesman.com/india/cbi-nabs-handler-coal-smuggling-racket-kingpin-1502955006.html

MYANMAR USING ISRAELI-MADE TECHNOLOGY AND VEHICLES IN CRACKDOWN

On 1 March, i24 News reported a New York Times story that Israeli-built vehicles, US software and European hardware are enabling Myanmar to crackdown on protesters.  It is said that Israel banned military sales to Myanmar in 2018, but soldiers deployed on the day of the coup appeared to be trucks produced by Israel’s Gaia Automotive Industries produced after the ban.  Weapons manufacturer Elbit Systems and digital forensics company Cellebrite are also named as providing services to the Myanmar government.

https://www.i24news.tv/en/news/international/asia-pacific/1614660015-myanmar-using-israeli-made-technology-vehicles-in-crackdown

PRINCETON UNIVERSITY HAS AGREED TO PAY A FINE FOR 37 EXPORT VIOLATIONS RELATED TO CONTROLLED STRAINS AND RECOMBINANT ANIMAL PATHOGENS SENT TO FOREIGN RESEARCH FACILITIES

On 1 March, Chemistry World reported that 15 countries, including China and the UK, were involved, and that the university has settled with the US Commerce Department for $54,000 and it has also agreed to conduct external and internal audits of its compliance with regulations.

https://www.chemistryworld.com/news/princeton-fined-for-export-violations-involving-controlled-pathogens/4013318.article

HONG KONG REGULATORY ENFORCEMENT TRENDS – ANNUAL REVIEW AND LOOK AHEAD

On 2 March, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer reported on the work of the Securities and Futures Commission and Hong Kong Monetary Authority in 2020.  It also predicts some trends for the future.

https://knowledge.freshfields.com/en/Global/r/4406/hong_kong_regulatory_enforcement_trends___annual_review

UK GOVERNMENT ‘EXPECTS’ GREATER TRANSPARENCY FROM ISLE OF MAN AND CHANNEL ISLANDS BY END OF 2023

On 2 March, the Jersey Evening Post reported that, in a letter to a Parliamentary Select Committee in the UK, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said that Westminster would respect the ‘constitutional boundaries’ of the 3 islands, , and work with them as part of a global drive towards greater company-ownership transparency.  Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man are expected to have appropriate legislation ready within 2 years.

https://jerseyeveningpost.com/news/2021/03/02/uk-government-expects-greater-transparency-by-end-of-2023/

WHEN WILL HONG KONG DATA PROTECTION LAW BE UPDATED?

On 2 March, an article from Bird & Bird published article saying that a little over a year since the publication of a review paper, the proposed amendments have yet to be implemented as law.  The article takes a look at the current status of the proposed amendments and what businesses should expect.  It briefly lists the proposed amendments. 

https://www.twobirds.com/en/news/articles/2021/hong-kong/when-will-the-hong-kong-data-protection-law-get-its-facelift

GANG SMUGGLING INDIAN NATIONALS BUSTED IN ROMANIA

On 2 March, a news release from Europol announced that it had supported the Romanian Police to dismantle an organised crime group involved in migrant smuggling.  The migrants were paying between €5 000 and €6 000 per person to be smuggled in lorries and vans from Romania to Germany, Italy and Portugal. A number of Indian citizens, some of them residing legally in Romania, were coordinating the criminal activities. 

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/gang-smuggling-indian-nationals-busted-in-romania

EU COURT: ACCESS TO TRAFFIC OR LOCATION DATA IN RESPECT OF ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS, ALLOWING PRECISE CONCLUSIONS TO BE DRAWN CONCERNING A PERSON’S PRIVATE LIFE, IS PERMITTED ONLY IN ORDER TO COMBAT SERIOUS CRIME OR PREVENT SERIOUS THREATS TO PUBLIC SECURITY

A news release from the Court of Justice of the EU on 2 March was concerned with a case from Estonia ruled that access in criminal cases to a set of traffic or location data allowing precise conclusions to be drawn concerning a person’s private life, is permitted only in order to combat serious crime or prevent serious threats to public security.  In addition, it was held, EU law precludes national legislation that confers upon the public prosecutor’s office the power to authorise access of a public authority to such data for the purpose of conducting a criminal investigation.

https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2021-03/cp210029en.pdf

EU COUNCIL APPROVES PROPOSAL TO STRENGTHEN THE COOPERATION OF THE EU AGENCY FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE COOPERATION (EUROJUST) WITH NON-EU COUNTRIES

On 2 March, it was announced that the EU the Commission is to start negotiations on the exchange of information with 13 countries: Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey.

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/MEX_21_982

UK POST-BREXIT: PASSENGER PURCHASES OF ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO 

On 2 March, the House of Commons Library produced an updated briefing paper on duty-free sales to passengers on international journeys.

https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/sn01223/

UN: LIBYA INTERIM PM ELECTED THROUGH BRIBERY

On 2 March, the Middle East Monitor reported that Libya’s interim prime minister was elected after bribing participants to vote in his favour, according to a UN inquiry.  He reportedly offered sums between $150,000 and $200,000 in order to attract the votes of at least 3 attendees.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20210302-libya-interim-pm-elected-through-bribery-un-inquiry-says

KYRGYZSTAN: HEAD OF FINANCIAL POLICE DEPARTMENT DETAINED FOR ILLEGAL MONEY TRANSFER 

On 2 March, 24KG reported that the State Committee for National Security of Kyrgyzstan (SCNS) has detained the head of the Department of the State Service for Combatting Economic Crimes (Financial Police) for Bishkek city.

https://24.kg/english/185184_Head_of_Financial_Police_Department_detained_for_illegal_transfer_of_59_billion

UK GOVERNMENT NARROWS DEFINITIONS OF SECTORS IN SCOPE OF NEW NATIONAL SECURITY REGIME

On 2 March, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy reported that the Government has published further details about the sectors within scope of the mandatory notification regime under the National Security and Investment Bill.  This follows a consultation to gather views on how the definitions of the 17 sectors in scope of mandatory notification could be refined and narrowed to ensure they are as targeted and proportionate as possible.  Many of these sectors are emerging, such as quantum technologies and synthetic biology, and are being defined for the very first time in law.  The list may be further refined following continued engagement with stakeholders in the relevant sectors as the Bill continues its passage.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-narrows-definitions-of-sectors-in-scope-of-new-national-security-regime

UK: PAYMENT SYSTEMS REGULATOR CALLS FOR VIEWS ON APP SCAMS AND CONSUMER PROTECTION IN INTERBANK PAYMENT

On 1 March, Hogan Lovells reported that the PSR seeking views on potentially far-ranging measures which aim to reduce authorised push payment (APP) fraud and improve protection for victims.  Alongside this it is looking at increasing consumer protection in interbank payments (i.e. those payments consumers make from their bank account directly to another bank account using e.g. Faster Payments).  These protections could include an industry wide reimbursement model similar to that offered to consumers under the credit regime.

https://www.engage.hoganlovells.com/knowledgeservices/viewContent.action?key=Ec8teaJ9VaqiGIUNCuNVkcxgHJMKLFEppVpbbVX%2B3OXcP3PYxlq7sZUjdbSm5FIetvAtgf1eVU8%3D&nav=FRbANEucS95NMLRN47z%2BeeOgEFCt8EGQ0qFfoEM4UR4%3D&emailtofriendview=true&freeviewlink=true

https://www.psr.org.uk/media/5yvpidyc/psr_cp21-3_app_scams_call_for_views_feb-2021.pdf

ROMANIAN-OWNED COMPANY EXPLOITING MOLDOVANS IN FRANCE

On 1 March, OCCRP reported that a Romanian-owned string of French construction companies was suspected of employing 100-500 illegal Moldovan workers.  The criminal organization allegedly took its victims’ original identification documents and replaced them with fake Romanian IDs.  This news followed arrests made in France, coordinated by Eurojust and it is said that workers were reported to have made the French minimum wage, but authorities said they worked well beyond the maximum 35 hours per week.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/13959-romanian-owned-company-exploiting-moldovans-in-france

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/exploitation-construction-site-38-arrested-in-france-romania-and-moldova-for-abusing-migrant-workers

10 KEY ISSUES TO WATCH IN AFRICA IN 2021

On 1 March, Control Risks published an article saying that it had identified 10 key issues to watch in Africa in the year ahead, including elections in Ethiopia, Benin, Zambia and Gambia, and “preparations for high-profile leadership successions” in Kenya and Nigeria.  It highlights Covid-19 and vaccination, digital acceleration and threats.  It also refers to theAfrican Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which came into force on 1 January, bringing together 1.3 billion people in a $3.4 trillion economic bloc – set to become the world’s largest free trade area since the establishment of the WTO in 1995. 

https://www.controlrisks.com/our-thinking/insights/ten-key-issues-to-watch-in-africa-in-2021

FRENCH GUIANA’S UNPATROLLED WATERS LURE ILLEGAL FISHING CREWS

On 1 March, Insight Crime reported that illegal fishing off the coast of French Guiana surged amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as French maritime patrols struggled to mobilise resources, luring illegal fishing crews to the country’s pristine waters.  Nearly 20 tons of fish have been seized from illegal fishing vessels since the start of the year.  The combination of scheduled repairs and the COVID-19 pandemic allowed fishermen to target the relatively pristine waters of French Guiana.

https://insightcrime.org/news/french-guiana-waters-lure-illegal-fishing-crews/

4 KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM THE “ROMANIAN MAFIA” IN MEXICO

On 1 March, an article in Insight Crime examined a criminal group, led by Romanians based in Mexico and which specialised in ATM skimming and credit card fraud   Inquiries have continued to uncover fascinating details about how the group operated, including a network of political alliances.  It is said that federal authorities have announced suspected links between Florian Tudor, alias “El Tiburón” (The Shark), the gang’s Romanian leader, and a broad protection ring of Mexican politicians, including former governors of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, national lawmakers and local mayors of towns near Cancún.

https://insightcrime.org/news/romanian-mafia-atm-skimming-mexico/

BELIZE OFFICIALS AND POLICE HELP HIDE DRUG PLANES

On 1 March, Insight Crime reported that Belize is grappling with reports that corrupt officials have been facilitating the nation’s use as a transit point for cocaine.  Already this year, the driver of the commander of Belize’s defence force, was arrested along with 2 police officers after trying to flee the site where a plane carrying cocaine had landed – said to be among 9 suspects arrested while attempting to flee the illicit landing site in a boat.  Authorities in Belize have been making frequent attempts to intercept such aircraft, and the US classes Belize as a “major transit country for drugs coming from South America”, recognising the nation as vulnerable to exploitation by traffickers due to its central location, porous borders and sparsely populated landscape.

https://insightcrime.org/news/drug-planes-descend-belize-police-military-officials-arrested/

FUTURE UK FINTECH STRATEGY PUBLISHED IN KALIFA REVIEW

On 2 March, CMS law reported that, following the 2020 Budget, the Chancellor asked Ron Kalifa OBE to carry out an independent review of the UK’s fintech sector to establish priority areas for industry, policy makers, and regulators.  This has now been published.  It sets out the key threats and opportunities and proposes the creation of a Centre for Finance, Innovation, and Technology (CFIT). 

https://www.cms-lawnow.com/ealerts/2021/03/future-uk-fintech-strategy-published-in-kalifa-review

PURPORTED UZBEK CRIME BOSS TAKES FAMILY FEUD TO SOCIAL MEDIA

On 1 March, Rferl reported that a reputed crime boss from Uzbekistan has spoken out on social media about a violent family feud that involves the former head of international amateur boxing who is reputed to be one of the world’s leading drug kingpins.  Ravshan “Zolotoi” (Golden) Muhiddinov posted a 12-minute video on Instagram.  The dispute is with his uncle, Gafur Rakhimov, who headed the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) and has been named by the US as a leading international heroin trafficker.

https://www.rferl.org/a/uzbek-crime-boss-family-feud-social-media-rakhimov-muhiddinov/31128184.html

SWITZERLAND – INADEQUATE TRANSPARENCY, ENFORCEMENT AND LEGISLATION

Transparency International in Switzerland has published a 57-page report which sets out to provide a detailed analysis of the current legislation and practice in the field of corporate criminal law, including the applicable criminal proceedings.  In addition, it examines the respective corporate criminal law of the neighbouring countries, the UK and the OECD, as well as experiences from antitrust law, which provides mechanisms that are also relevant in the field of corporate criminal law.  The report shows that there is a need for improvement in all areas and Transparency Switzerland presents 10 requirements, along with specific suggestions.

https://transparency.ch/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Corporate_Criminal_Liability_Report.pdf

OFFSHORE JURISDICTIONS WITH AIRCRAFT AND SHIPPING DATA

On 1 March, Sayari provided a list, with links of offshore jurisdictions which provide readily searchable aircraft registries – the article pointing out that use and ownership of aircraft is often linked to shell companies and assets owned and used by those evading taxes and scrutiny.

https://sayari.com/blog/tax-havens-offshores-public-registries-network-analysis-can-mitigate-jurisdictional-challenges-to-kyc-investigations/

ICELANDIC CRIMINAL GROUPS ACTIVE ABROAD

On 1 March, the Iceland Monitor reported that the activities of Icelandic criminal groups abroad are much more extensive than you might conclude, and they known to be active in Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Denmark and South America.  Their main activity centres around illegal drugs, but they are involved, too, in fraudulent activity, such as money laundering. 

https://icelandmonitor.mbl.is/news/news/2021/03/01/icelandic_criminal_groups_active_abroad/

ROMANIAN POLITICIAN AND EX-PRESIDENT’S DAUGHTER GET JAIL TERMS FOR CORRUPTION

On 2 March, Reuters reported that a Romanian court has sentenced a former government minister as well as the daughter of former president Traian Basescu to jail for money laundering and instigating others to take bribes in a 2009 presidential campaign financing case.  Ioana Basescu, a public notary, received a 5-year prison sentence; and Elena Udrea, a former centre-right minister, lawmaker and close political ally of former president Basescu was handed an 8-year prison term.  The verdicts are not final and are subject to appeal.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-romania-corruption/romanian-politician-and-ex-presidents-daughter-get-jail-terms-for-corruption-idUSKCN2AU1EI?rpc=401&

JERSEY: CHANGES TO AML/CFT HANDBOOK ON CDD LEGAL PERSONS AND ARRANGEMENTS

On 2 March, Comsure Compliance in Jersey reported that the Jersey FSC is making changes to the AML/CFT Handbooks to comply with FATF Recommendations and following industry feedback to a consultation.  These changes will come into effect on 31 May.  Involving CDD and certain legal persons and arrangements, the changes are intended to demonstrate full implementation with FATF standards.  The article details where the changes are being made.

https://www.comsuregroup.com/news/jfsc-changes-to-amlcft-handbook-on-cdd-legal-persons-and-arrangements/

US POSTAL SERVICE (USPS) IS LOOKING TO BROADEN ITS OPTIONS OF SHIPPING PARCELS TO INTERNATIONAL DESTINATIONS WITH PRIVATE PROVIDERS

On 2 March, Loadstar reported that USPS has invited public comment on a preliminary proposal to partner with private commercial services for final-mile delivery of its outbound parcel shipments; but is also reportedly planning to scale back its first-class mail service.  A plan allegedly calls for an end of shipping first-class mail by airfreight. Instead, it will move on trucks, often involving a relay of distribution depots, and this would hit FedEx, which has held the USPS ‘Air Cargo Network’ contract since 2013, and it was extended last year to September 2024.

https://theloadstar.com/us-postal-service-eyes-partnerships-with-private-services-for-parcel-exports/

THE US ENTITY LIST: LIMITS ON AMERICAN EXPORTS

In February, a Paper from the Belfer Center says that the US Government is increasingly relying on export controls to restrict foreign companies from accessing critical made-in-America components.  Within the Commerce Department, the Bureau of Industry Security (BIS) maintains the “Entity List” of blacklisted firms under export control restrictions.  In the last 10 years the Entity List has increased 9-fold to nearly 1,200 entities, as hundreds of companies from China’s Huawei to Russia’s Gazprom join the ranks of foreign firms prohibited from receiving US exports. The Paper reports on a first-of-its-kind analysis of the makeup of the Commerce Department’s Entity List, by country, by sector, and by year of addition

https://www.belfercenter.org/publication/united-states-entity-list-limits-american-exports

US FEDERAL FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS EXAMINATION COUNCIL UPDATES BANK SECRECY ACT / AML EXAMINATION MANUAL

On 1 March, an article from Cadwalader Cabinet reported that the FFIEC had updated its BSA/AML Examination Manual which provides guidance to examiners for evaluating an institution’s BSA/AML compliance program and compliance with related regulatory requirements.  The updates are said to bolster its risk-focused approach toward BSA/AML examinations and provide examiners with updated information concerning transaction testing. 

https://www.findknowdo.com/news/03/01/2021/ffiec-updates-bank-secrecy-act/aml-examination-manual

THE EVOLUTION OF THE BOOGALOO MOVEMENT

On 26 February, Homeland Security Today reported that January 2021 marked 1 year of overt, offline Boogaloo movement activity in the US by the movement’s members, often referred to as the “Boogaloo Bois”.  Derived from an article in the CTC Sentinel, it says that the rapid evolution of the Boogaloo from niche internet forum meme to mainstream mobilisation narrative in hardened violent extremist milieus suggests it presents a unique security challenge for both social media companies and US law enforcement agencies going forward.

https://www.hstoday.us/subject-matter-areas/counterterrorism/the-evolution-of-the-boogaloo-movement/

https://ctc.usma.edu/the-evolution-of-the-boogaloo-movement/

US NATIONAL SECURITY COMMISSION ON ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (NSCAI) RECOMMENDATIONS ON US CONTROLS ON EXPORTS OF SEMICONDUCTOR TECHNOLOGY TO CHINA

A final report to the US Congress from the NSCAI calls for coordinated export controls on advanced semiconductor manufacturing equipment with other states; a policy of presumptive denial of licences for exports of such equipment to China; and targeted end-use export controls and reporting requirements to prevent the use of AI chips and equipment that enable human rights violations.

https://www.nscai.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Full-Report-Digital-1.pdf

NEARLY 100 ON TRIAL IN SICILY FOR SUSPECTED MAFIA EU FRAUD

On 2 March, the Daily Mail reported that a trial has begun in Sicily for 97 suspected Mafia members and white-collar professionals allegedly in cahoots with mobsters in what prosecutors contend was a scheme that fraudulently garnered millions of euros in EU agriculture funds.  Prosecutors alleged that local Cosa Nostra clans, with the aid of complicit notaries and bureaucrats handling the paperwork, managed to gain €10 million in EU aid starting in 2013 for a sprawling area of grazing land in a park in eastern Sicily.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-9318429/Nearly-100-trial-Sicily-suspected-Mafia-EU-fraud.html

SEC CLAIMS $45 “PUMP & DUMP” MILLION FRAUD TIED TO AIRBORNE WIRELESS STOCK

On 2 March, Bloomberg reported that the SEC is suing the company and the California man it claims secretly controlled the company – Kalistratos “Kelly” Kabilafkas, 45 – in a $45 million pump-and-dump scheme.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-03-02/sec-claims-45-million-fraud-tied-to-airborne-wireless-shares

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/sec-charges-seven-individuals-for-45-million-fraudulent-scheme/

UKRAINE: MINISTRY OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS, WITHOUT WARNING OR ANNOUNCEMENTS, HAS DISBANDED THE ENTIRE ARMS CONTROL SERVICE THAT ISSUED DOCUMENTS FOR WEAPONS IN UKRAINE

On 2 March, 112 UA reported that the Head of the National Police has said that reports of corruption schemes began to come from the regions during an inspection by the Department of Internal Security. Inspection of the work of arms control units lasted 6 months.

https://112.international/ukraine-top-news/arms-control-service-disbanded-in-ukraine-what-does-it-mean-59444.html

NIGERIA: DUTCH COUPLE, COMPANY ARRAIGNED FOR $330,000 OIL VESSEL FRAUD

On 2 March, PM News Nigeria reported that a Dutch couple, Peiter Borremans and Nkechi Borremans alongside Lagon Trade Limited have been arraigned before the Federal High Court, sitting in Port Harcourt, for suspected fraudulent dealings involving a marine tanker vessel.

https://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2021/03/02/dutch-couple-company-arraigned-for-330000-oil-vessel-fraud

2 MEN CHARGED IN MIAMI IN ECUADORIAN BRIBERY AND MONEY LAUNDERING SCHEME INVOLVING POLICE PENSION FUND

A US DoJ news release on 2 March announced that 2 Ecuadorian citizens have been indicted for their alleged roles in a bribery and money laundering scheme involving Ecuador’s public police pension fund (ISSPOL).  John Luzuriaga Aguinaga, 52, and Jorge Cherrez Miño, 46, were each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. It is alleged that between approximately 2014 and 2020, Cherrez, an investment advisor, paid more than $2.6 million in bribes to ISSPOL officials, including at least approximately $1,397,066 to Luzuriaga, ISSPOL’s Risk Director and a member of ISSPOL’s Investment Committee, in order to obtain and retain investment business from ISSPOL.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/two-men-charged-ecuadorian-bribery-and-money-laundering-scheme

MEXICAN JUDGE ORDERS ARREST OF FORMER GOVERNOR AND HIS DAUGHTER ‘WITH LINKS TO DRUG CARTEL’ OVER MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES

On 2 March, the Daily Mail reported an arrest warrant for Roberto Sandoval, the former governor of the state of Nayarit, and another for his daughter, Lidy Sandoval.  He reportedly had links to the JNGC cartel and purchased real estate with illicit money and then placed the properties under the name of his family, including his daughter.  He and his family were sanctioned by OFAC in May 2019.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9317893/Mexican-authorities-issue-arrest-warrant-former-governor.html

AN AFGHAN PARLIAMENTARIAN AND THE MYSTERIOUS STASH OF CASH, GOLD BARS SEIZED AT THE DUSHANBE AIRPORT

On 2 March, Rferl carried an article about $15 million in cash and some 90 kg of gold bars seized from smugglers at the Dushanbe airport, Tajikistan in November.  Mohammad Mirza Katawazai, the deputy chairman of the Afghan parliament, angrily rejects the claim by Afghan media that he is linked to the cash and gold.

https://www.rferl.org/a/katawazai-afghanistan-tajikistan-smuggling-cash-gold/31130013.html

LACK OF INTERNATIONAL ACTION LET PIRACY “BREED” IN GULF OF GUINEA

On 1 March, Insurance Marine News carried an article saying that shipping security business Dryad Global has claimed that the international community has acted too slowly in its response to the rapid increase in the level of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, based around kidnapping of crew.

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/lack-of-international-action-let-piracy-breed-in-gulf-of-guinea-says-dryad/

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US STATE DEPARTMENT AND OFAC DESIGNATE 7 RUSSIANS FOR THEIR PART IN THE POISONING AND IMPRISONMENT OF ALEXEI NAVALNY, AND ADDS 14 ENTITIES TO ENTITY LIST FOR INVOLVEMENT IN PROLIFERATION AND CHEMICAL WEAPONS ACTIVITIES

On 2 March a news release from the US State Department advised that the  US had joined with the EU in condemning and responding to the Russian Federation’s use of a chemical weapon in the attempted assassination of Russian opposition figure Aleksey Navalny in August 2020 and his subsequent imprisonment in January 2021.  OFGAC is designating 7 Russian government officials, 5 of whom were previously designated by the EU and UK for their role in Navalny’s poisoning and 2 whom the EU designated in response to Mr. Navalny’s arrest and imprisonment.  The Department of Commerce is adding 14 entities to the Entity List based on their proliferation activities in support of Russia’s WMD programmes and chemical weapons activities.

https://www.state.gov/imposing-sanctions-on-russia-for-the-poisoning-and-imprisonment-of-aleksey-navalny/

https://www.state.gov/u-s-sanctions-and-other-measures-imposed-on-russia-in-response-to-russias-use-of-chemical-weapons/

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy0045

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EU DESIGNATES 4 RUSSIAN OFFICIALS FOR SERIOUS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS LINKED TO ALEXEI NAVALNY

EU Regulation 2021/371/EU designates Alexander Bastrykin, Head of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, Igor Krasnov, the Prosecutor-General, Viktor Zolotov, Head of the National Guard, and Alexander Kalashnikov, Head of the Federal Prison Service for their roles in the arbitrary arrest, prosecution and sentencing of Navalny, as well as the repression of peaceful protests in connection with his unlawful treatment.

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2021/03/02/global-human-rights-sanctions-regime-eu-sanctions-four-people-responsible-for-serious-human-rights-violations-in-russia

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv%3AOJ.LI.2021.071.01.0001.01.ENG&toc=OJ%3AL%3A2021%3A071I%3ATOC

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OFAC SANCTIONS CHANGES – YEMEN, UKRAINE/RUSSIA ETC – PLUS CYBER-RELATED SANCTIONS GENERAL LICENSE AND FAQ

A news release from OFAC on 2 March advised that new General License 18 (Authorizing Certain Transactions with the Federal Security Service of Russia) had been issued, alongside 3 new FAQ.  9 individuals and 3 entities had been added to sanctions lists, and the entries relating to  2 individuals and 2 entities (the Russian security services FSS and GRU) have been amended.

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20210302

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US 2021 INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS CONTROL STRATEGY REPORT (INCSR)

On 2 March, the US State Department announced that the 2021 editions of this 2-volume report had been released.  An annual report by the Department for the US Congress, it describes the efforts of key countries to attack all aspects of the international drug trade in Calendar Year 2020.  Volume I is concerned with drug and chemical control activities and Volume II covers money laundering and financial crimes.

https://www.state.gov/2021-international-narcotics-control-strategy-report/

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US: 8 CHARGED IN $350 MILLION ‘FAKE AIRPORT’ AIRCRAFT REGISTRATION DRUG CASE

On 1 March, OCCRP reported that a federal grand jury in Texas has indicted 8 alleged members of a conspiracy to illegally register thousands of aircraft at an entirely fictional airport, some of which were later used by international narco-trafficking groups to smuggle drugs into the US.  It is claimed that these illegally-registered aircrafts were subsequently used by organized criminals from Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Belize, Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico, to smuggle multi-ton quantities of cocaine into the US.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/13956-cocaine-trails-u-s-charges-eight-in-350m-fake-airport-drug-case

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UK ADDS 3 NAMES TO SOMALIA SANCTIONS LIST

On 2 March, a Notice from HM Treasury advised that 3 names had been added to sanctions lists

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/965813/Notice_Somalia_020321.pdf

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NORWICH PHARMACAL ORDER (NPO) HELP SHEET

On 2 March, Professional Security Magazine reported that the UK Fraud Advisory panel had produced a 2-page briefing paper on the use of NPO.  An NPO is a civil disclosure court order available in England and Wales and allows information to be obtained from third parties who have become involved in wrongdoing; and are intended to help victims to investigate, pursue those ultimately responsible and recover their losses. 

https://www.professionalsecurity.co.uk/news/case-studies/norwich-pharmacal-order-help-sheet/

The helpsheet is at –

https://359zpa2vui8h3p4u7j2qlmlg-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Norwich-Pharmacal-Orders-1st-ed-Mar21.pdf

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STRUGGLING FinCEN REQUIRES REFORM

On 1 March, ICIJ reported that the US must remake the federal agency at the centre of the fight, according to a new report that draws on the views of top AML experts.  It is said to be underfunded and overstretched in its role as a leading player in the global effort to catch money launderers and other sophisticated financial criminals who use shell companies, cryptocurrencies and other tools to hide their activities.  The report urges the government to boost FinCEN’s funding and to embrace fundamental changes in how the agency operates, and to develop new ways to use data and cutting-edge technology to fight financial crime.

https://www.icij.org/investigations/fincen-files/major-reforms-needed-at-struggling-us-agency-that-leads-dirty-money-fight-report-says/

The Global Financial Integrity report is at –

https://gfintegrity.org/report/enhancing-national-security-by-reimagining-fincen/

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MARCH 1

Panama Covid-19 update – another 505 new cases today and 13 more fatalities. There are now said to be 8,245 active cases, with 166 in ICU and 1,036 in other wards.

1 March 2021

SUSPICIONS OF SECURITIES SCANDALS STAND OUT IN CHINESE MARKET

On 1 March, Nikkei Asia reported that China’s stock market has been hit by a string of cases of trading irregularities involving members of the party and state elite.  It says that one recent share trading scheme that has drawn a storm of criticism on the Internet involves Chinese miner Tianqi Lithium and Chengdu Tianqi Industry Group, an investment vehicle for Tianqi Lithium Chairman Jiang Weiping, the mining group’s substantial shareholder.  There has also been a plethora of stock trading scandals involving state-owned enterprises, and the number of stock trading violations is likely to continue rising as long as the party and the government control businesses and monopolize information.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Comment/Suspicions-of-securities-scandals-stand-out-in-Chinese-market

US ENERGY COMPANY’S INVOLVEMENT IN PROJECTS IMPACTED BY US SANCTIONS IS UNDER INVESTIGATION

On 1 March, the Wall Street Journal reported that Baker Hughes says it faces sanctions-related SEC probe.  The Texas-based company said it has told the SEC that it was notified in December that the regulator is conducting a formal investigation related to the company’s books and records and internal controls concerning sales of products and services in projects affected by U.S. economic sanctions.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/baker-hughes-says-it-faces-sanctions-related-sec-probe-11614365789

US: MORE THAN 460,000 COUNTERFEIT N-95 MASKS SEIZED EN ROUTE TO FIRST RESPONDERS

A news release from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement advised that more than 460,000 counterfeit 3M N95 surgical masks destined to be used by first responders in the Puget Sound region were seized by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)’s Border Enforcement Security Taskforce (BEST), US Customs and Border Protection and the FBI.  In the last several weeks, HSI has conducted enforcement actions across the country that have resulted in the seizure of almost 10 million counterfeit 3M N95 respirators.  Since December of 2020, HSI has initiated over a dozen criminal investigations, across the U.S. and overseas, based on information received from 3M, about millions of counterfeit N95 respirator masks being sold to medical facilities and government agencies for use by hospital workers, first responders and others all over the country. 

https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/hsi-fbi-cbp-seize-more-460000-counterfeit-n-95-masks-en-route-first-responders

NEW ZEALAND’S PROPERTY BROKERS GETS AML WARNING

On 28 February, the New Zealand Herald reported that a national 80-branch real estate agency called Property Brokers has received the first formal warning in the real estate sector for not complying with AML law but its chairman said the state only was trying to make an example of them.  An official is quoted as saying that inspection of Property Brokers highlighted concerns. 

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/new-zealands-property-brokers-gets-anti-money-laundering-warning/

https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/124394386/first-real-estate-agency-warned-for-antimoney-laundering-failures

REVEALING THE DUBIOUS LINKS OF AN AUSTRALIAN COMPANY IN TROUBLED MYANMAR

On 1 March, the Sydney Morning Herald reported on a a small Australian listed mining company, Myanmar Metals.  Its prized asset is the Bawdwin mine. Before World War 2 it was one of the biggest in the world and former US president Herbert Hoover made his fortune there.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/revealing-the-dubious-links-of-an-australian-company-in-troubled-myanmar/

INDIA: SERIOUS FRAUD INVESTIGATION OFFICE

On 24 February, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas produced a profile of the SFIO, established in 2003 under the aegis of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs for investigation and prosecution of white-collar crimes.  It examined certain aspects relating to the powers and functions of the SFIO. 

https://corporate.cyrilamarchandblogs.com/2021/02/serious-fraud-investigation-office-keeping-a-close-watch-on-frauds-in-india-inc/

ISLE OF MAN CONFIRMS 1 NEW NAME ON YEMEN SANCTIONS LIST

A news release from the Isle of Man confirmed that Sultan Saleh Aida Aida ZABIN, Director of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in Sanaa, had been added to the Yemen sanctions list.

https://www.gov.im/news/2021/mar/01/financial-sanctions-yemen/

LARGE-SCALE POULTRY SMUGGLING UNDERMINES PARAGUAY PRODUCERS

On 1 March, Poultry World reported that, according to unofficial data, the equivalent of 30% of the entire poultry production in Paraguay is smuggled into the country, representing more than 2,000 tonnes per month, according to local newspaper La Nación.  Another source says that the smuggling of eggs could be close to 3,000 dozen per day, causing a loss of approximately $1.4 million per year.  The smuggling of agricultural produce is nothing new and has been an issue for decades. However, it has got worse in the last year.  The sector’s representatives have warned about the consequences of the illegal distribution, as the health risk due to inadequate transportation is high, and the lack of cooling and control threatens consumer health.

https://www.poultryworld.net/Meat/Articles/2021/3/Large-scale-poultry-smuggling-undermines-Paraguay-producers-715467E/

2 WORKERS OF UKRAINE’S EMBASSY CAUGHT RED-HANDED WHILE SMUGGLING AT POLISH BORDER

On 1 March, UNIAN reported that 2 employees of the Ukrainian Embassy in Poland have been caught red-handed at the border while trying to smuggle foreign currency, gold and cigarettes into that country.

https://www.unian.info/society/smuggling-two-workers-of-ukraine-s-embassy-caught-red-handed-at-polish-border-11337641.html

AUSTRALIA: THE LAW ON MONEY LAUNDERING VIA BITCOIN

On 27 February, an article from Criminal Defence Lawyers Australia follows a case in which a man from Sydney is accused of running a criminal syndicate that laundered money via Bitcoin after he was arrested after police allegedly discovered $1million worth of cash inside his car.

https://www.criminaldefencelawyers.com.au/blog/the-law-on-money-laundering-via-bitcoin/

COVID-19 AND PEOPLE WHO USE DRUGS’

On 1 March, the Council of Europe reported the publication by the Pompidou Group and which presents experiences and responses to the Covid-19 pandemic by frontline workers on the one hand, and people who use drugs on the other. It builds on practice examples from 21 countries submitted to the Pompidou Group. 

https://www.coe.int/en/web/portal/-/new-publication-from-pompidou-group-covid-19-and-people-who-use-drugs-

IRELAND: MORE THAN 3,000 CASES OF SUSPECTED PASSPORT FRAUD

On 1 March, the Irish Examiner reported that almost 3,200 cases of suspected passport fraud have been investigated by the Passport Service over the last 3 years.  184 separate cases were passed on to An Garda Síochána for investigation, the Passport Service has said, and 229 passports were cancelled as a result of suspected fraud.  However, suspicious activity related to passports showed a sharp drop last year with the number of cases investigated dropping from 1,644 in 2019 to 1,033 in 2020.

https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/arid-40235537.html

ANTI-CORRUPTION NGO SLAMS ‘WEAK’ SWISS CORPORATE CRIME LAWS

On 1 March, Swissinfo reported that too few Swiss companies are made to answer for corruption or money laundering offences, exposing gaps in current legislation, says the Swiss chapter of campaigning NGO Transparency International.  This is despite the law being changed in Switzerland in 2003 to make firms criminally liable if they fail to take reasonable steps to prevent serious crimes. 

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/latest-news/anti-corruption-ngo-slams–weak–swiss-corporate-crime-laws/46409562

UK: INTRODUCTION AND THE IMPORT OF CULTURAL GOODS (REVOCATION) REGULATIONS 2021

On 1 March, the Department of International Trade advised that these Regulations revoke those parts of EU Regulation 2019/880 on the introduction and the import of cultural goods as form part of direct EU legislation.  These Regulations do not affect the continued application of that EU Regulation in respect of Northern Ireland.  It is said that revoking the general prohibition provision will not adversely affect our ability to prevent unlawfully removed cultural goods being brought into the UK. 

https://www.gov.uk/eu-withdrawal-act-2018-statutory-instruments/the-introduction-and-the-import-of-cultural-goods-revocation-regulations-2021

BARCELONA FC ISSUES STATEMENT AFTER POLICE RAID AND ARRESTS IN CORRUPTION AND MONEY LAUNDERING CASE

On 1 March, the Mirror in the UK reported that the club’s finance, legal and compliance departments are investigated over the BarcaGate scandal.  It is reported that it is understood that former president Josep Maria Bartomeu, current CEO Oscar Grau, Roman Gómez Ponti, the club’s head of legal, and Jaume Masferrer, Bartomeu’s former right-hand man, have all been arrested. The arrests are said to be on suspicion of “unfair administration, corruption between individuals and money laundering” after paying money in instalments to avoid internal financial controls.

https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/breaking-barcelona-statement-bartomeu-arrest-23585889

APPLE’S FULL ANTI-CORRUPTION POLICY

On 1 March, the always useful FCPA Blog reproduced the company’s anti-corruption policy includes some interesting details.

https://fcpablog.com/2021/03/01/benchmarking-alert-heres-apples-full-anti-corruption-policy/

FOREIGN INVESTMENT REGIMES: 3 THINGS THE WEST NEEDS TO BETTER PROTECT NATIONAL SECURITY

On 1 March, the LSE Blog says that that consistent rules, open lines of communication, and institutional capacity are all needed to have an effective transatlantic coordination regime on FDI and national security that fully addresses the risks posed by strategic foreign investments from China, Russia, and beyond. 

https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/businessreview/2021/03/01/foreign-investment-regimes-three-things-the-west-needs-to-better-protect-national-security/

SHIFTING COCAINE ROUTES TURN US ALLY PARAGUAY INTO MAIN TRANSIT COUNTRY

On 26 February, an article from the US Foundation for the Defense of Democracies says that Paraguay has no domestic coca cultivation, but in recent years it has increasingly become an important transit country for cocaine. It also says that recently authorities seized 50 canisters of chemical precursors needed to refine cocaine. This suggests that cartels are setting up local processing labs to bolster Paraguay’s role as a new narcotics hub in the region.  It also mentions that Hezbollah has had a presence on the Paraguayan border for at least 2 years.  It says that Paraguay has traditionally been a staunch US ally in the region. Despite its widespread corruption, Paraguay’s relatively low levels of violent crime and drug trafficking have made its economy and political system among the most stable in an otherwise turbulent region. All this is changing dramatically as crime syndicates and terror finance networks turn Paraguay into a new logistical hub for bulk shipments of cocaine.

https://www.fdd.org/analysis/2021/02/26/cocaine-routes-paraguay-transit-country/

RANSOMWARE GANG HACKS ECUADOR’S LARGEST PRIVATE BANK

On 26 February, the Bleeping Computer website reported that a hacking group called ‘Hotarus Corp’ has hacked Ecuador’s Ministry of Finance and the country’s largest bank, Banco Pichincha, where they claim to have stolen internal data.

https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/ransomware-gang-hacks-ecuadors-largest-private-bank-ministry-of-finance/

DEEPFAKE VIDEOS OF TOM CRUISE SHOW THAT THE TECHNOLOGY THREAT TO SOCIETY IS VERY REAL

An article from Input says that deepfake videos of actor Tom Cruise have made their way onto TikTok and look real. 

https://www.inputmag.com/tech/deepfake-videos-of-tom-cruise-show-just-fast-its-improving

BILLIONS OF CIGARETTES, MOST MADE BY BAT, ARE SMUGGLED NORTH THROUGH MALI EVERY YEAR ON THEIR WAY TO THE GREY MARKETS OF THE SAHEL AND NORTHERN AFRICA

An article from OCCRP on 26 February says that  profits of cigarette smuggling fuel the bloody struggle between jihadists, armed militias, and corrupt military officers that has turned northern Mali into a lawless warzone.  It alleges that BAT started to oversupply Mali, knowing its product would be fodder for traffickers.

https://www.occrp.org/en/loosetobacco/british-american-tobacco-fights-dirty-in-west-africa

PHILIPPINES: PHLPOST TIGHTENS SECURITY MEASURES FOLLOWING DRUGS HAUL

On 1 March, Parcel & Post Technology reported that the Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost) says it is to implement more stringent security measures following the seizure of approximately $100,000 worth of drugs at the Manila Central Post Office.  Authorities apprehended a person in the act of claiming a parcel containing the alleged ecstasy, or “party drugs”, at the Manila Central Post Office Parcel Division. 

https://www.parcelandpostaltechnologyinternational.com/news/cross-border/phlpost-tightens-security-measures-following-drugs-haul.html

THOUSANDS OF NORTH KOREANS LEFT RUSSIA IN 2020 WHILE NEW VISAS DROPPED BY 52%

On 1 March, NK Pro reported that new government data suggests that 14,000 North Koreans left Russia last year while about 1,800 entered the country.  It is reported that the number of North Koreans who received Russian visas dropped by 52% between 2019 and 2020, with thousands leaving the country last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

https://www.nknews.org/pro/thousands-of-north-koreans-left-russia-in-2020-while-new-visas-dropped-by-52/

BRAZIL’S ARMS EXPORTS

This paper from the Journal of Global Security Studies on 25 February studies a campaign and network led by the civil society group Viva Rio, which led to the introduction of a stricter policy on arms sales to most Latin American and Caribbean countries.  These findings imply that democratisation in Brazil had both short- and long-term effects on arms transfers and that democratic institutions can influence state behaviour regarding arms transfers even in countries with little tradition of civil society groups working with arms control.

https://academic.oup.com/jogss/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/jogss/ogab002/6149931?redirectedFrom=fulltext

UNFINISHED BUSINESS: MAGUFULI’S AUTOCRATIC RULE IN TANZANIA

On 5 February, the Center for Strategic and International Studies published an article saying that Tanzanian president John Magufuli is dragging the nation deeper into authoritarianism.  It says that his second term, emboldened by his October 2020 re-election against a backdrop of voter suppression, portends a tightened grip on information, increased alienation of foreign businesses, and a deepened isolationist stance, especially as Magufuli casts doubt on the efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccine.

https://www.csis.org/analysis/unfinished-business-magufulis-autocratic-rule-tanzania

ORGANISED CRIME IN SOUTH-EASTERN EUROPE,

On 25 February, the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime published its latest bulletin looking at a hotspot of organised crime – Novi Pazar in southern Serbia. Then it looks at the production and use of synthetic drugs in the Western Balkans, particularly in Serbia and North Macedonia; before moving on to focus on recent cases of smuggling of migrants off the coast of Albania and Montenegro.  It is said that a spate of violent incidents has put Novi Pazar in southern Serbia back on the map as a hotspot of organised crime.

https://globalinitiative.net/analysis/seeobs-risk-bulletin-5/

SOUTH AFRICA AND KENYA – HOW POLITICAL SHIFTS ARE SHAPING, AND BEING SHAPED BY, CRIMINAL NETWORKS

On 10 February, the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime published a bulletin which looks at Durban’s heroin market.  It then looks at illegal markets in Kenya that have a direct impact on the environment.  The business of waste in Nairobi has become big business for criminal groups with connections to the city’s government.  The analysis highlights how provision of services in cities can be subverted by criminal groups and corrupt officials.  It also looks at ongoing criminality in Kenya’s charcoal industry, which is a major contributor to deforestation in the region.  Finally, the bulletin reports on ongoing corruption and mismanagement at South Africa’s Central Firearms Registry, where corrupt officers working in the firearms registry have been able to facilitate firearms licences being issued to gangsters.

https://globalinitiative.net/analysis/esaobs-risk-bulletin-15/

UN ADDS 3 SENIOR MEMBERS OF AL-SHABAAB TO ITS SOMALIA SANCTIONS LIST

On 26 February, a news release from the UN advised that 3 persons had been added to its sanctions lists – Ali Adan Abukar, Al-Shabaab’s deputy leader; Ayman Maalim, the founder and leader of Jaysh Ayman, an Al-Shabaab unit that operates in and conducts attacks in Kenya and Somalia; and Karate Mahad, who is said to have played a key role in the Amniyat, Al-Shabaab’s intelligence wing.

https://www.un.org/press/en/2021/sc14455.doc.htm

INSIDER THREAT: US GAO WEIGHS ON AIRPORT WORKER SCREENING

On 27 February, Homeland Security Today reported that 1.8 million US airport workers have unescorted access to restricted areas, posing a potential insider threat.  The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has sought to mitigate such insider threats by conducting random physical screening of airport workers at mostly larger airports from 2007 to 2020, and at all TSA-regulated airports since 2020, and by requiring most airport operators to perform random worker screening, among other efforts.  The US Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) has now produced a report on TSA’s efforts.  The report makes recommendations for how the TSA can improve its guidance and systems.

https://www.hstoday.us/subject-matter-areas/airport-aviation-security/gao-weighs-in-on-airport-worker-screening/

The GAO report is at –

https://www.gao.gov/assets/720/712595.pdf

PODCAST: IMPLICATIONS OF BRAZIL’S “CAR WASH” INVESTIGATION FOR GLOBAL ANTI-CORRUPTION ENFORCEMENT

On 26 February, Cadwalader Cabinet released its latest LawWise podcast which discusses the legacy of the Brazilian “Car Wash” investigation and consider how Brazil fits into the increasingly global landscape of white-collar crime enforcement.

https://www.findknowdo.com/news/02/26/2021/attorneys-consider-implications-brazils-car-wash-investigation-global-anti-corruption-enforcement

SEIZED IN US: FOURTH DOMAIN NAME PURPORTING TO BE THE WEBSITE OF A COMPANY PRODUCING A TREATMENT FOR COVID-19

A news release from the US DoJ on 1 March advised that a fourth domain name seized in less than 3 months that used similar names, trademarked logos, and graphics of actual companies to create fraudulent websites in order to obtain personal information of victims and illegally profit from the pandemic.

https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/pr/maryland-us-attorney-s-office-seizes-fourth-domain-name-purporting-be-website-company

NORTHERN IRELAND: 14 CARS WORTH UP TO £750,000 SEIZED BY POLICE INVESTIGATING ORGANISED CRIME GANGS

On 1 March, UTV reported that 14 cars valued between £500,000 and £750,000 have been seized by the PSNI Organised Crime Branch – many of them were high-end vehicles.

https://www.itv.com/news/utv/2021-03-01/cars-worth-up-to-750000-seized-in-newry-by-police-investigating-organised-crime-gangs

4 PEOPLE ARRESTED OVER ALLEGED £500,000 COVID BOUNCE BACK LOAN FRAUD

On 1 March, LBC reported that HMRC was also involved as significant amounts of what is suspected to be illegally imported tobacco were also found. The fraud involved the use of false information and documents to obtain Bounce Back Loans from a number of financial institutions, through a network of unrelated businesses.

https://www.lbc.co.uk/news/four-arrested-alleged-covid-bounce-back-loan-fraud/

JERSEY: FRAUDSTER ASKED TO EXPLAIN ALLEGED PAYMENTS INCLUDING £395,000 ON CHANDELIERS

On 1 March, the Jersey Evening Press reported that a convicted fraudster who claims that he is unable to pay a £73 million confiscation order has been asked to explain why a car dealers were paid more than £1 million for around 13 cars from accounts all allegedly linked to him.  Gerald Smith, who once owned Jersey-registered company ORB, was jailed in the UK for 8 years in 2006 after committing a £35 million fraud.  When he was sentenced, he was handed a confiscation order of £41 million, which he claims he is unable to pay. This subsequently rose to £73 million after remaining unpaid and accruing interest.

https://jerseyeveningpost.com/news/2021/03/01/fraudster-asked-to-explain-alleged-payments-including-395k-on-chandeliers/

THE NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL HAS ISSUED 2 ALERTS IN RESPONSE TO THE “EXTREME RISK” POSED TO NEW YORKERS INVESTING IN VIRTUAL OR “CRYPTO” CURRENCIES

On 1 March, a release on Mondo Visione reported that the AG had issued an alert urging “extreme caution” when investing in virtual currencies, and another to industry members to remind brokers, dealers, salespeople and investment advisers of potential criminal liability if they do not meet registration obligations when doing business with virtual currencies.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/new-york-attorney-general-james-warns-investors-about-extreme-risk-when-invest/

GAFILAT PUBLISHES OUTCOME OF FATF PLENARY (IN SPANISH)

On 1 March, GAFILAT published an article outlining the outcomes of the recent FATF Plenary.

https://www.gafilat.org/index.php/es/noticias/131-resultados-plenaria-del-gafi-22-25-de-febrero-de-2021

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GIBRALTAR: COUNTER TERRORIST FINANCING GUIDANCE NOTES

The Gibraltar FIU has produced these guidance notes which has been prepared by the FIU.  It aims to provide entities with guidance on their CFT obligations and sector specific guidance on the threats they face.  They take into account the 2020 National Risk Assessment for AML/CFT and PF conducted by the national coordinator for AML/CFT.  It also draws on various FATF publications with their permission, which is gratefully acknowledged.  The reader’s attention is drawn to these where appropriate for their further information.

https://media-exp1.licdn.com/dms/document/C4E1FAQGCn1MpKLDc7A/feedshare-document-pdf-analyzed/0/1613204826526?e=1614726000&v=beta&t=Z0N9oYGTzm83K1ts9G1IP8_lmwP-EEbHIsu_p2XK3Mk

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FATF: PUBLIC CONSULTATION – GUIDANCE ON PROLIFERATION FINANCING RISK ASSESSMENT AND MITIGATION

On 1 March, FATF is developing guidance to help both public and private sectors in implementing the new requirements to identify, assess, understand and mitigate proliferation financing risk as defined in FATF Recommendation 1 and its Interpretive Note. The Guidance seeks to assist both sectors in conducting a risk assessment in the context of proliferation financing, and applying corresponding risk mitigation measures.  It says that it primarily seeks views from financial institutions and designated non-financial businesses and professions (DNFBP), but would also welcome contributions from other interested stakeholders.  It invites views on the content of the Guidance, in particular certain areas listed in the news release.  The consultation closes on 9 April.

The areas that FATF input are –

  1. Does the Guidance provide sufficient clarity in distinguishing the mandatory requirements of the updated FATF Standards on proliferation financing risk assessment and mitigation, and additional measures that may support the implementation of these new requirements?
  2. Do you consider the four categories of risk indicators (including a sectoral focus on the maritime sector and trade finance) relevant, useful, and sufficient for your understanding of the risk of potential breach, non-implementation of evasion of proliferation financing targeted financial sanctions in the context of FATF Recommendation 7? What other indicators could be included in this section?
  3. Does the risk mitigation section of the Guidance provide sufficient clarity on how financial institutions and DNFBP can address the risk of potential breach, non-implementation and evasion of targeted financial sanctions? What specific risk mitigation measures do you take to address such risks?
  4. Does the Guidance set clear expectations for financial institutions and DNFBP in case of high-risk and low-risk customers and business relationships, including likely impact on de-risking and financial inclusion?

https://www.fatf-gafi.org/publications/fatfgeneral/documents/public-consultation-proliferation-financing-risk.html

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GIBRALTAR FIU: SECTORAL TYPOLOGIES REPORT – A FOCUS ON TRENDS AND INSIGHTS 2018 – 2020

Also available online is this report from the FIU.  As part of the work undertaken by the FIU towards addressing the recommendations made by Moneyval in December 2019, an extensive data analysis exercise was undertaken.  This related to the analysis of SAR received during the period January 2018 – December 2020, in order to develop sector specific money laundering typologies often encountered in Gibraltar. This data will support future National Risk Assessments (NRA).

https://media-exp1.licdn.com/dms/document/C4E1FAQGfpUHCUvgBsg/feedshare-document-pdf-analyzed/0/1614610501456?e=1614700800&v=beta&t=CKZdkusPewa3NGoaJ-NNurvve9bdeVnnpJZAonRlkPA

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GIBRALTAR: FIU ANNUAL REPORT AND STRATEGIC ANALYSIS 2020

Available online is this report outlining the FIU annual report and strategic analysis

https://media-exp1.licdn.com/dms/document/C4E1FAQEEHaGvvZbbTQ/feedshare-document-pdf-analyzed/0/1614610316794?e=1614700800&v=beta&t=0L0TmsY3MyDzvk_AIjSt_aFz9TPB1YO1tdhXZmuIx-A

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US: HOW $100 MILLION IN JOBLESS CLAIMS WENT TO INMATES

On 1 March, the Krebs on Security blog carried a post saying that the US Labor Department’s Inspector General has said that roughly $100 million in fraudulent unemployment insurance claims were paid in 2020 to criminals who are already in jail.  The post examines some of what that company is seeing in its efforts to stymie unemployment fraud.

https://krebsonsecurity.com/2021/02/how-100m-in-jobless-claims-went-to-inmates/

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FRANCE’S FORMER PRESIDENT NICOLAS SARKOZY HAS BEEN SENTENCED TO 1 YEAR IN JAIL FOR CORRUPTION

On 1 March, The Journal and others reported that a French court has convicted former president Nicolas Sarkozy on charges of corruption and influence peddling, sentencing him to 1 year in prison and a 2-year suspended sentence. 

https://www.thejournal.ie/nicolas-sarkozy-convicted-france-5368848-Mar2021

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EUROPEAN BANKING AUTHORITY (EBA) PUBLISHES FINAL REVISED GUIDELINES ON MONEY LAUNDERING AND TERRORIST FINANCING RISK FACTORS

On 1 March, the EBA announced that it had published its final revised Guidelines on ML/TF risk factors. The revisions take into account changes to the EU AML/CFT legal framework and address new ML/TF risks, including those identified by the EBA’s implementation reviews.  In addition to strengthening financial institutions’ risk-based approaches to AML/CFT, the revision supports the development of more effective and consistent supervisory approaches where evidence suggested that divergent approaches continue to exist.  The Guidelines are central to the EBA’s work to lead, coordinate and monitor the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.  The Guidelines are addressed to both financial institutions and supervisory authorities. 

https://www.eba.europa.eu/eba-publishes-final-revised-guidelines-money-laundering-and-terrorist-financing-risk-factors

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – FEBRUARY 28

Panama Covid-19 update – the last weekend lockdown (for now), but still 470 new cases and 13 new fatalities, with 8,857 active cases.

Details of Phase 2 of the vaccination programme have been released, including for the over-60s, with time and day of vaccination based on the last 2 numbers of your cedula (ID card), and going province by province, starting with those areas worst affected by the virus, from next week.

28 February 2021

UK P+I CLUB PUBLISHES ARTICLE ON PREVENTING COCAINE SMUGGLING

On 26 February, Insurance Marine News reported that the P+I club recommends that shipping line employees involved in making commercial arrangements with customers should be aware of the potential for drug smuggling activity using reefers and containers; and proper due diligence should be conducted on new customers, especially when the shipper or consignee are unknown or there are no references.  Due care should also be taken with existing customers, especially if there are changes in their patterns of trading.  It also said that Drug Prevention Officers should be employed and stationed in known drug trafficking areas and reports should be made to the local authorities if there was any suspicion regarding a booking.

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/uk-club-publishes-article-on-preventing-cocaine-smuggling/

SINGAPORE PARLIAMENT PASSES LAW TO RECOGNISE ELECTRONIC BILLS OF LADING

On 23 February, the UK P+I Club reported that on 1 February, the Singapore parliament passed the Electronic Transactions (Amendment) Bill which adopts the UNICTRAL Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records, with certain modifications.  Amongst other things, the Bill enables the creation and use of an electronic bill of lading that is legally equivalent to a paper bill of lading.

https://www.ukpandi.com/news-and-resources/articles/2021/singapore-parliament-passes-law-to-recognise-electronic-bills-of-lading/

US: ROMANCE SCAMS IN 2020 SOARED TO RECORD MORE THAN $300 MILLION IN LOSSES, UP 50% FROM PRE-PANDEMIC 2019

On 15 February, ACFCS reported that the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says that, fuelled by more people working from home and missing out on genuine human contact and a jump in lonely hearts looking for love on social media and dating apps, romance scams reached a record $304 million in losses.

https://www.acfcs.org/my-bloody-valentine-romance-scams-in-2020-soared-to-record-more-than-300-million-in-losses-up-50-percent-from-pre-pandemic-2019-ftc/

MALAYSIA’S AmBank TO PAY $700 MILLION IN 1MDB-LINKED SETTLEMENT

On 26 February, Reuters reported that Malaysian banking group AMMB Holdings Berhad (AmBank) said it will pay the government $699 million to settle claims linked to a massive financial scandal at state fund 1MDB. 

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-malaysia-politics-1mdb-ammb-idUSKBN2AQ1XF

9 MONTHS INTO COVID-19 LOAN PROGRAMME, BRITAIN ASSESSES CRIMINAL ABUSE

On 24 February, Moneylaundering.com reported that UK lenders face a mountain of potentially fraudulent claims to investigate.  It explains that the Bounce Back Loan Scheme has provided financial relief for struggling businesses after the UK government imposed the first nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.  Almost £45 billion has been lent to approximately 1.5 million businesses to date.  UK officials estimated in October that up to £26 billion in loans had been lost to defaults and fraud.

https://www.moneylaundering.com/news/nine-months-into-covid-19-loan-program-britain-assesses-criminal-abuse/

TRADEMARK AND TAX RECORDS TIE MULTI-TON COCAINE SEIZURE IN HAMBURG TO PARAGUAYAN PAINT COMPANY

On 26 February, Sayari reported that the previously unreported connection to the Paraguayan company underscores the value of public records in identifying actors potentially involved in transatlantic cocaine trafficking.  Dutch officials had identified 11 additional high-risk containers arriving in Antwerp from Panama, filled with fruit, seafood and wood.  The Belgian authorities then seized over 7,000 kg of cocaine from a container carrying wood, according to Dutch authorities.

https://sayari.com/blog/trademark-and-tax-records-tie-multi-ton-cocaine-seizure-in-hamburg-to-paraguayan-paint-company/

CHINA’S FENTANYL CONNECTION: THE SUPPLIERS FUELLING AMERICA’S OPIOID EPIDEMIC

On 28 February, the South China Morning Post reported that an investigation traces back to China supply lines of chemicals used by cartels to produce the opioid, and says that under Chinese law, many sellers of fentanyl-precursor chemicals are not committing criminal acts. 

https://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/long-reads/article/3123109/chinas-fentanyl-connection-suppliers-fuelling

CHINA IS EXPLORING DIGITAL YUAN CROSS-BORDER PAYMENTS BY JOINING WITH HONG KONG, THAILAND, UAE AND THE BANK OF INTERNATIONAL SETTLEMENTS

On 24 February, the South China Morning Post reported that the People’s Bank of China is joining the Multiple Central Bank Digital Currency Bridge, a project exploring cross-border payments using distributed ledgers; and, a joint venture with SWIFT, the project is the latest step towards Beijing’s long-term goal of internationalising the yuan at the expense of the US dollar.  The expansion of the project has received support from the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) Innovation Hub centre in Hong Kong, a unit created by the Switzerland-based organisation to study key financial technologies for central banks.

https://www.scmp.com/tech/policy/article/3122924/beijing-exploring-digital-yuan-cross-border-payments-joining-hong-kong

SERBIAN SOCCER CHIEF QUESTIONED BY POLICE OVER FAN-MAFIA LINKS

On 28 February, Rferl reported that the president of the FA of Serbia has been questioned by police in Belgrade in connection with recent arrests of several members of soccer fan groups who are accused of murder, kidnapping, and drug trafficking.   Leaders of Partizan Belgrade supporter groups who were arrested earlier in February in what officials say is a major crackdown against soccer’s links with organised crime.  Allegations include including decapitations and torture carried out in a special “bunker” at the Partizan stadium in the Serbian capital.

https://www.rferl.org/a/serbian-soccer-chief-questioned-by-police-over-fan-mafia-links/31126159.html

Photo said to show Russian diplomats and family members leaving North Korea using a hand-operated railway trolley due to coronavirus restrictions

https://www.rferl.org/a/top-shots-photos-week-8-2021/31115815.html

ISRAEL SAYS IRAN LIKELY BEHIND EXPLOSION ON ISRAELI-OWNED CAR TRANSPORTER SHIP IN GULF

On 28 February, Rferl reported on what is being seen as likely an attack by Iran against a an Israeli-owned cargo vessel, the MV Helios Ray, in the Gulf of Oman.  The explosion struck the Israeli-owned vehicle carrier above the water line as it was traveling from the Saudi port of Dammam to Singapore.  The Bahamas-flagged vessel currently docked in Dubai and is registered in the Isle of Man.

https://www.rferl.org/a/iran-persian-gulf-attack-on-israeli-ship/31125626.html

 

 

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ANTIGUA REVOKES CITIZENSHIP OF “FUGITIVE” INDIAN BUSINESSMAN MEHUL CHOKSI

In its 1 March edition, the Hindustan Times reported that he is currently fighting revocation of his citizenship in an Antiguan civil court. Associated with Nirav Modi, whose extradition from the UK was approved by a British court last week, Antigua and Barbuda cancelled the citizenship of Mehul Choksi granted under the Caribbean nation’s Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) in November 2017.  It is also said that after Choksi exhausts his appeal against revocation of citizenship, extradition proceedings will begin.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/antigua-revokes-citizenship-of-mehul-choksi-101614540096186.html

 

 

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FRANCE: BOLLORÉ GROUP FINED €12 MILLION IN TOGO CORRUPTION CASE

On 26 February, France 24 reported that the French industrial group dealing in transport, energy and logistics has reached a settlement over a decade-old corruption case in Togo, but a separate plea deal with 3 top company executives was thrown out by a judge.  The company agreed to pay €12 million as part of the deal.  The judge recommended that the 3 executives, including billionaire and chairman Vincent Bolloré, should stand trial under criminal charges.

https://www.france24.com/en/europe/20210226-bolloré-group-fined-€12-million-in-african-corruption-case

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LATIN AMERICA’S BUSTLING TRADE IN SEAHORSES TO CHINA

On 27 February, an article from Insight Crime reported that an investigation has identified Mexico as a major contributor to a global seahorse trafficking network centred around China but this trade is also affecting other Latin American nations.  A report says that close to 100,000 seahorses were trafficked illegally between Mexico and China, most often bound for Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai.  They were usually packaged inside personal luggage on commercial flights, but were also sometimes sent by courier and even by ship, making it harder to determine if the contents are illegal.

https://insightcrime.org/news/latin-americas-bustling-trade-in-seahorses-to-china/

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – FEBRUARY 27

Panama Covid-19 update – into the last lockdown weekend (for now, at least)

Meanwhile, another 664 cases reported and 11 more fatalities, with 9,123 active cases – 168 in ICU, 968 in other wards and 328 in hotels.

27 February 2021

2021 AML TRENDS AND DEVELOPMENTS (PART III)

On 26 February, the Compliance & Enforcement blog at the Program on Corporate Compliance & Enforcement at the New York University School of Law published the final part of its 3-part report, and discussing SAR return in the US.

https://wp.nyu.edu/compliance_enforcement/2021/02/26/2021-aml-trends-and-developments-part-iii-of-iii/

GUATEMALA SEIZES OF FORMER PANAMA PRESIDENT’S PRIVATE JET AT US REQUEST

On 27 February, Newsroom Panama reported that the authorities have seized the private jet of former President Ricardo Martinelli at the request of the US.  This is the aircraft that had been waiting to carry the former President’s sons, Ricardo Alberto and Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares, back to panama when they were arrested in July 2020.  They are awaiting extradition to the US facing charges of alleged conspiracy to commit money laundering.

https://www.newsroompanama.com/business/guatemala-seizes-martinellis-plane-at-us-request

US: CHINESE BUSINESSMAN CHARGED WITH CONSPIRING TO STEAL TRADE SECRETS

A news release from the US DoJ on 26 February announced that Chi Lung Winsman Ng, aka Winsman Ng, 64, a Chinese businessman residing in Hong Kong, was indicted for conspiring to steal General Electric’s trade secrets involving the company’s silicon carbide MOSFET technology worth millions of dollars.  The indictment alleges that between about March 2017 and January 2018, Ng and at least one co-conspirator plotted to develop a business that would manufacture and sell silicon carbide MOSFETs using trade secrets stolen from GE. MOSFETs, or silicon carbide metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistors, are small electronic semiconductors/switches that regulate the flow of electricity through devices and are used in a variety of products. 

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/chinese-businessman-charged-conspiring-steal-trade-secrets

2 CHINESE MILITARY SUPPLIERS TO MERGE TO COUNTER US SANCTIONS

On 26 February, SupChina reported that 2 military technology suppliers, China Electronics Technology Group (CETC) and SOE Potevio, will merge amid US sanction pressures and Beijing’s push for state-owned enterprises reforms.  CETC, a state-owned enterprise that supplies China’s military, will absorb Potevio, a fellow information technology state-owned company, to create China’s third-largest information technology company. 

https://supchina.com/2021/02/26/two-chinese-military-suppliers-to-merge-to-counter-u-s-sanctions/

US: GHANAIAN NATIONAL ARRESTED FOR WIRE FRAUD AND MONEY LAUNDERING ARISING FROM $1.7 MILLION “ROMANCE SCAM”

A news release from the US DoJ on 26 February advised that Kofi Osei (aka Paul Proia, Kenneth Buck, Jeffrey Anashe), 28, who most recently resided in Randolph, has been indicted on 7 counts of making a false statement to a bank, six counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering.  According to the indictment, from approximately 2016 to at least 2020, Osei opened bank accounts in the greater Boston area using fake identity documents. Those bank accounts were used to receive fraudulently obtained funds from a number of victims of romance scams.

https://www.justice.gov/usao-ma/pr/ghanaian-national-arrested-wire-fraud-and-money-laundering-arising-17-million-romance

RYA AND BRITISH MARINE CHALLENGE HMRC’S POST-BREXIT PLANS FOR PRIVATE PLEASURE CRAFT

On 25 February, the Royal Yachting Association reported that it and trade body British Marine have written to the Chief Executive of HMRC calling for a holistic approach and reconsideration of fundamental issues that are increasingly presenting adverse impact for private pleasure boaters, the second-hand boat market, and the UK marine industry as a whole. The letter outlines the key principal issues and offers workable solutions.   The matters mentioned includes the 1-year period of grace granted in October 2020 by HM Treasury in respect of the 3-year condition for returned goods relief (RGR), which fails to understand the many factors that affect the repatriation of vessels, including, global pandemic travel restrictions.

https://www.rya.org.uk/newsevents/news/Pages/rya-and-british-marine-challenge-hmrcs-post-brexit-plans-for-private-pleasure-craft.aspx

US: 11 ADDITIONAL DEFENDANTS PLEAD GUILTY IN $300 MILLION NATIONWIDE TELEMARKETING FRAUD SCHEME

A news release from the US DoJ on 26 February announced the guilty pleas of 11 additional defendants for their roles in a $300 million telemarketing fraud scheme that targeted elderly and other vulnerable victims.   It is said that the defendants participated in the fraud scheme in various roles, including telemarketers, call centre managers, or magazine company owners.  The defendants used, or directed their co-defendants to use, fraudulent sales scripts to defraud victim-consumers, many of whom were elderly or otherwise vulnerable, out of hundreds or even thousands of dollars.  The fraudulent sales scripts were designed to induce consumers, through a series of lies and misrepresentations, into making large or repeat payments to the companies.

https://www.justice.gov/usao-mn/pr/eleven-additional-defendants-plead-guilty-300-million-nationwide-telemarketing-fraud

US CHARGES SERBIAN MAN BEHIND STEVEN SEAGAL-PROMOTED Bitcoiin2Gen SCAM

On 26 February, Coingeek reported that authorities in the US had unveiled charges against a Serbian man who allegedly operated a $7 million cryptocurrency scam.  Krstijan Krstic founded Start Options and Bitcoiin2Gen, or B2G, in 2017.  It is claimed that Krstic funnelled all the money he raised to a bank account and digital wallet in the Philippines.  He raised roughly $7 million before he disappeared and stopped communicating with the investors.  He would later publish a press release that falsely claimed he had sold Start Options to Russian investors.

https://coingeek.com/us-charges-serbian-man-behind-steven-seagal-promoted-bitcoiin2gen-scam

FIELD FISHER “DATA PROTECTION TIMES” NEWSLETTER

Law firm Field Fisher produced the first edition of its new newsletter on 26 February – a round-up of the latest data protection developments that have caught the attention of the firm’s Privacy, Security and Information law team.

https://res.cloudinary.com/fieldfisher/image/upload/v1614357709/PDFs/The_Data_Protection_Times_-_February_2021_a7daxl.pdf

EUROPE COCAINE HAULS REACH NEW RECORD HEIGHTS

On 26 February, Insight Crime reported that, while the seizure of 23 tons of cocaine by German, Belgian and Dutch police — the largest-ever haul of the drug in the EU — was noteworthy, it serves as merely the latest proof of how Europe has become the epicentre of the global cocaine trade.

https://insightcrime.org/news/europe-cocaine-record-heights/

UN AGENCY: STANDARDS HELP TO TIGHTEN THE NET ON ILLEGAL FISHING

On 25 February, the UN Economic Commission for Europe Information Unit announced developments in the Agreement on Port State Measures (PSMA), which dates from 2016 and is intended to combat IUU fishing by preventing illegal fishers from using ports and landing the illegal catches. The Agreement counts 68 parties, including the UK, US and EU, and on 8 February, the Russian Federation announced that it was becoming a Party to the PSMA.

https://unece.org/sustainable-development/press/uncefact-standards-help-tighten-net-illegal-fishing

LITHUANIA SHOWCASES REGTECH PROTOTYPE AMID FOCUS ON AML EFFORTS

On 25 February, the Global Government Forum reported that Lithuania’s central bank, Lietuvos Bankas, has showcased a new regulatory technology (regtech) prototype that automates reporting procedures, cutting the administrative burden for financial market participants.  It is said that testing focused on AML uses, but could automate reporting procedures for other financial market participants, according to Lietuvos Bankas. It also gives the regulator “an entirely new level of monitoring and analysis”, according to a press release.  The importance of AML was highlighted in a report, published by Invest Lithuania, an agency of the Ministry of Economy, that focused on the country’s fintech sector.  This year Lithuania will also officially open a Centre of Excellence in AML. It is being established by the Ministry of Finance, Lietuvos Bankas and the country’s commercial banks. Other public and private organisations are expected to take part in its activities. The centre’s aims include to: share information on money laundering and terrorist financing; undertake analyses and prepare guidelines and legislative initiatives to improve Lithuania’s AML/CFT framework; and to help businesses with AML/CFT risk assessments.

https://www.globalgovernmentforum.com/lithuania-showcases-regtech-prototype-amid-focus-on-anti-money-laundering-efforts/

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GIBRALTAR: ADVICE AFTER G-REG CARS IMPOUNDED AT BORDER OVER VAT RULES

On 24 February, the Gibraltar Chronicle reported that the Gibraltar Government has called on individuals to regularise their tax residence in Spain to prevent their vehicles being impounded at the frontier.  Several owners of Gibraltar cars and motorcycles had vehicles impounded in Spain and a Government spokesman explained that anyone who is officially resident in Spain cannot own a Gibraltar-registered vehicle, and anyone who is resident in Gibraltar cannot own a Spanish-registered vehicle.

https://www.chronicle.gi/govt-offers-advice-after-g-reg-cars-impounded-at-border-over-vat-rules/

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MEASURING THE GLOBAL IMPACT OF DESTRUCTIVE AND ILLEGAL FISHING ON MARITIME PIRACY

On 25 February, an article from the Brookings Institute says that new research demonstrates that the incidence of piracy in a particular location is associated with higher catch volumes from high-bycatch and habitat-destroying fishing, even when controlling for conditions in proximate coastal areas. We find, additionally, that illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing exerts an especially pronounced effect on piracy.  It says that the findings highlight the need for anti-piracy solutions beyond enforcement to include the policing of fishing practices that are illegal or are perceived by local fishers in vulnerable coastal areas to be harmful to small-scale fishing economies.

https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/journal.pone_.0246835.pdf

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UN ADDS 3 NAMES TO ITS SOMALIA SANCTIONS LIST

On 26 February, the UN added 3 names to its Somalia sanctions list.

https://www.un.org/press/en/2021/sc14455.doc.htm

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LIBYA: THE EXTRAORDINARY STORY OF ITS OVERSEAS INVESTMENTS AND THE BATTLES OVER ITS CONTROL

Chatham House has released a report saying that since the 2011 revolution, the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) has been a battleground. Interests entrenched from the Gaddafi era have sought to preserve their stake while new actors work to wrestle control of parts of the organization.  And these Libyan battles have been exported to courtrooms around the world – from London to the Cayman Islands – while the UN asset freeze on the LIA does not in reality cover all of its structure, meaning some elements remain up for grabs.

https://chathamhouse.shorthandstories.com/libya-investing-wealth-of-nation/

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HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP ALLEGES NORTH KOREA USES PRISON LABOUR IN EXPORTS AND WEAPONS PROGRAMMES

On 26 February, Jurist reported that a South Korean human rights group has claimed that North Korea is using forced labour from its prison camps to mine coal and other minerals to boost exports and earn foreign currency.  It alleges that North Korea is using the money generated from the scheme to support its nuclear weapons programmes.

https://www.jurist.org/news/2021/02/rights-group-finds-north-korea-uses-prisoners-to-boost-exports-and-fund-weapons-program/

The report from the Citizens’ Alliance for North Korea Human Rights (NKHR) is at –

https://eng.nkhumanrights.or.kr/data/n_r_reports/20210224170215.pdf

I would be grateful for any modest contribution for my time and ongoing costs of computer, relocation, and (still ongoing) removal costs, I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – FEBRUARY 26

Panama Covid-19 update – the Ministry of Health has announced that Phase 2 of the vaccination programme (which includes me…) is to begin on 4 March and is expected to last about 2½ months.

One side effect of the pandemic, and contrary to the impression sometimes given by the nightly TV news, traffic accidents in Panama were down 29.3% in 2020, presumably due to the obvious reductions in traffic.

Today’s statistics – 398 new cases and 10 new fatalities; with 9,125 active cases – 167 in ICU, 986 in wards and 352 in hotel rooms

26 February 2021

GERMAN REGULATOR STEPS DOWN AND EY CHANGES LEADERSHIP FOLLOWING WIRECARD SCANDAL

The Wall Street Journal has reported on more fallout from the Wirecard scandal.  The head of Germany’s accounting regulator stepping down. Edgar Ernst, president of Germany’s Financial Reporting Enforcement Panel since 2011, said he would step down from his role at the end of the year.  Wirecard’s long-time auditor Ernst & Young named a new leadership team in the country.   The firm also said it launched a new quality improvement program and established an independent expert commission led by a former German finance minister.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/german-regulator-steps-down-ey-changes-leadership-following-wirecard-scandal-11614293542

CAYMAN ISLANDS, MOROCCO PLACED ON FATF GREY LIST

The Wall Street Journal reported that FATF had identified deficiencies vary for each jurisdiction, but included maintaining comprehensive beneficial ownership information and expanding the operations of countries’ FIU.  Being added to the so-called “grey list” means the 4 countries and territories involved – Burkina Faso, the Cayman Islands, Morocco and Senegal – will work with FATF on plans to address identified deficiencies in their counter-terror-financing regimes within agreed time frames and subject to extra checks.  Pakistan, a country on the grey list, has made significant progress in improving its frameworks to counter illicit finance, including demonstrating that its law enforcement agencies were identifying and investigating terrorist finance activities and taking enforcement actions against violations of targeted financial sanctions.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/cayman-islands-morocco-placed-on-terror-financing-watch-list-11614301887

UAE CENTRAL BANK IMPOSES PENALTY AND BANS INDIVIDUAL LINKED TO EXCHANGE HOUSE

On 25 February, Gulf News reported that the Central Bank of the UAE imposed sanctions on a non-authorised individual related to an exchange house operating in the UAE.  He was fined $162,000 and prohibited him from undertaking any future functions related to licensed financial institutions in the UAE. 

https://gulfnews.com/business/banking/uae-central-bank-imposes-dh600000-penalty-on-individual-linked-to-exchange-house-1.1614233356488

HOW WILL EU MEMBER STATES ENFORCE THE NEW EU HUMAN RIGHTS AND ENVIRONMENTAL DUE DILIGENCE LAWS?

On 25 February, an article from Mayer Brown asked how will EU Member States enforce the new mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence laws?  What disclosure will be expected of companies and what steps will be deemed adequate?  It says that a recent report suggests 6 “signals of seriousness” for human rights due diligence. The article asks how many companies can confidently assert that they currently exhibit these 6 signals?  The article details these signals.

https://www.eyeonesg.com/2021/02/human-rights-due-diligence-six-signals-of-seriousness/#page=1

EUROPEAN SECURITIES AND MARKETS AUTHORITY CONSULTS ON REGULATING CROWDFUNDING

A news release on 26 February from the ESMA says that the EU securities markets regulator, has launched a consultation on draft technical standards on crowdfunding under the European crowdfunding service providers Regulation (ECSPR).  The new EU Regulation on crowdfunding regulates for the first time at EU level lending-based and equity-based crowdfunding services.  It introduces a single set of requirements applicable to CSP across the EU, including strict rules to protect investors.

https://www.esma.europa.eu/press-news/esma-news/esma-consults-regulating-crowdfunding

BUSINESSES SHOULD THINK TWICE BEFORE USING A COMPETITOR’S INFORMATION DISCLOSED TO THEM

On 26 February, an article from Bird & Bird is concerned with a recent Court of Appeal case which has confirmed that equitable duties of confidentiality will protect a competitor’s confidential information from being misused by a business which has received the confidential information via a third party (in this case potential new employees).  The defendant had used confidential information supplied to it by ex-employees of the claimant and therefore this use breached the equitable duty of confidentiality owed to the claimant.

https://www.twobirds.com/en/news/articles/2021/uk/beware-of-receiving-confidential-information-from-a-business-rival-trailfinders-ltd-v-travel

SPAIN: FORMER KING PAYS €4.4 MILLION TO SPANISH TAX AGENCY

On 26 February, the Mail Online reported that a law firm representing Juan Carlos I says that the former Spanish monarch has paid close to €4.4 million to the country’s tax authorities in his latest attempt to regularise past undeclared income.  It is said that the latest tax debt relates to the payments that a private Liechtenstein-based foundation, made on behalf of the former king for “several travel expenses and other services”.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-9303759/Former-king-pays-4-4-million-euros-Spanish-tax-agency.html

CREATOR OF THE BUCHAREST ‘SHE-WOLF’ SCULPTURE CHARGED WITH FRAUD

On 26 February, CGTN reported that the Romanian creator of a much-mocked sculpture of the Emperor Trajan has been charged with fraud after 11 of his works turned out to be made of brass and not bronze.  Ioan Bolborea, 65, is accused of defrauding the Bucharest municipality of $4.5 million.

https://newseu.cgtn.com/news/2021-02-26/The-creator-of-Bucharest-s-she-wolf-sculpture-charged-with-fraud-Yb8QXFaG2Y/index.html

TREASURY ATTACHÉS, FOREIGN FIU LIAISONS AND FOREIGN FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS

An article from Foodman CPAs & Advisors on 25 February said that an Act passed in the US last year includes the creation of “Treasury Attachés” and the “Foreign Financial Intelligence Unit Liaisons” to be stationed abroad.   The article outlines the roles of these.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/treasury-attaches-foreign-financial-7834666/

IMPORTERS OF CHINESE GOODS FACE CONTINUED UNCERTAINTY ON FORCED LABOUR BAN

On 26 February, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reported that importers of goods from China are being scrutinised for a possible connection to forced labour with continued uncertainty due to a legislative debate on how to strengthen existing laws.  There are currently 2 different versions of legislation that have been introduced into the Congress. 

https://www.strtrade.com/trade-news-resources/str-trade-report/trade-report/february/importers-of-chinese-goods-face-continued-uncertainty-on-forced-labor-ban

UN: AMIDST OBSTACLES POSED BY PANDEMIC THE CONTAINER CONTROL PROGRAMME COCAINE SEIZURES SURPASSED 100-TONNE MILESTONE IN 2020

On 26 February, the UN Office on drugs & Crime reported that despite numerous obstacles due to the ongoing global COVID-19 health crisis, the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) seized more than 100 tonnes of cocaine in the course of 2020.  As a result of the concerted efforts of the Programme’s over 120 Port Control Units (PCU) and Air Cargo Control Units (ACCU) operating in strategic locations around the globe, the figure marks an unprecedented record.  Leading the seizures were Colombia with 32 tonnes, Ecuador with 23.5 tonnes, and Brazil with 16 tonnes, all of which were destined for European and Asian markets. The mission of the CCP is to build capacity in Member States seeking to improve risk management, supply chain security and trade facilitation in seaports, airports and land border crossings in order to prevent the cross-border movement of illicit goods.

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/frontpage/2021/February/amidst-obstacles-posed-by-pandemic–container-control-programme-cocaine-seizures-surpassed-100-ton-milestone-in-2020.html

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/ccp/index.html

US CUSTOMS SEIZES LARGE SHIPMENT OF DESIGNER WATCHES WORTH $15 MILLION

A news release from US Customs & Border Protection on 25 February advised that, for the second time in the 7 days, officers assigned to the Port of Louisville made another seizure of counterfeit Rolex watches.  Officers inspected only 2 parcels.  The packages were again manifested as female bracelets. CBP inspected the shipments to determine if the goods were admissible in accordance with CBP regulations.  The officers found a total of 400 Rolex watches deemed to be counterfeit.  Historically, counterfeit watches and jewellery have been one of the top seized counterfeit products by CBP, with more than a quarter of the counterfeit goods coming from Hong Kong.  Counterfeit watches and jewellery make up almost half of the total MSRP of seized goods (an average of $650 million over the last 2 years).

https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/cbp-seizes-large-shipment-designer-watches-again-worth-15m

UKRAINE PUTS PRO-KREMLIN BLOGGER LIVING IN EUROPE ON WANTED LIST

On 26 February, Rferl reported that Ukraine’s Security Service had announced that it has put a pro-Kremlin blogger and politician, Anatoliy Shariy, on its wanted list after he failed to show up for questioning, after being charged earlier this month with high treason and hate speech.  Shariy is a former journalist who fled Ukraine for Spain in 2012 after authorities opened a criminal case against him for assault. He received asylum in Spain, where he currently lives.

https://www.rferl.org/a/ukraine-puts-pro-kremlin-blogger-living-in-europe-on-wanted-list/31122142.html

WHAT HAPPENS IF BITCOIN SUCCEEDS?

On 26 February, the VOX website from the Centre for Economic Policy Research says that, as the price of bitcoin continues to rise, this column argues that most of us would not want to live in a society where bitcoin succeeds.  Fortunately, the internal contradictions and perverse consequences of cryptocurrencies’ success mean that they are destined for failure. Until then, it might make sense for speculators to ride the cryptocurrency bubble, so long as they get out in time.

https://voxeu.org/article/what-happens-if-bitcoin-succeeds

THE HUNT FOR GADAFFI’S BILLIONS

On 1 March, the BBC is to broadcast on BBC Four a documentary about the search for the billions hidden away by the former Gadaffi regime.  When he was killed, Gadaffi is said to have a fortune of around $150 billion.  The documentary says that there are 2 rival teams hunting the money.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000st2l

HACKERS HAVE SHARED DETAILS OF A CANADIAN MILITARY SPY PLANE AFTER ITS MANUFACTURERS SEEMINGLY REFUSED TO PAY A CYBER RANSOM

On the 25 February, the Independent reported that Bombardier, whose Global 6000 plane is used as the vehicle for Saab’s GlobalEye spy system, says it was the victim of a “limited cybersecurity breach”. 

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/hackers-spy-plane-bombardier-saab-b1807037.html

BULGARIAN PROSECUTORS SAY HEROIN FOUND IN CARGO FROM IRAN

On 16 February, the Independent carried an article saying that Bulgarian customs officials in Varna confiscated more than 400 kg of heroin from a ship transporting goods from Iran.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/bulgarian-prosecutors-say-heroin-found-in-cargo-from-iran-cargo-iran-ap-ship-goods-b1802966.html

BRAZILIAN COURT OPENS PROBE AGAINST CAR WASH PROSECUTORS

On 25 February, OCCRP reported that the head of the second-highest court in Brazil has launched a probe into members of the task force that until recently was in charge of the investigation into Brazil’s biggest corruption affair in history – the so-called Car Wash Operation.  It is alleged that some of the prosecutors may have tried to intimidate judges and run unauthorised probes against them.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/13935-brazilian-court-opens-probe-against-car-wash-prosecutors

FATF IS OPEN TO AMEND ITS CRYPTO REGULATION RECOMMENDATIONS

On 26 February, Finance Magnates reported that FATF is open to amend the so-called ‘Travel Rules’, which guide the countries in imposing regulations on the cryptocurrency industry and were issued in June 2019.  The updated guidance will focus on some specific areas, including the implementation of FATF-standards on stablecoins, ways public and private companies can implement Travel Rule and ways to mitigate risks of peer-to-peer transactions.

https://www.financemagnates.com/cryptocurrency/regulation/fatf-is-open-to-amend-its-crypto-regulation-recommendations/

DIRECTOR’S BREACH OF FIDUCIARY DUTY THROUGH INACTION

A company case law update from The Malaysian Lawyer on 26 February is concerned with a Privy Council case in the UK which reiterates certain key points of law on the director’s fiduciary duty to the company.  A director who knows that a fellow director is acting in breach of duty or that an employee is misapplying the assets of the company must take reasonable steps to prevent that from happening.  The hearing involved a BVI case.  The article concludes that this decision serves as a stark reminder to directors that they cannot stand idly by and allow other directors or employees to misapply the assets of the company. Inaction can itself amount to a breach of the director’s fiduciary duties.

https://themalaysianlawyer.com/2021/02/26/case-update-breach-director-duty/

EXPORT CONTROL: GERMANY TO ISSUE DUAL-USE LICENCES EXCLUSIVELY IN ELECTRONIC FORM

On 25 February, an article from the European Studies Unit at the University of Liege reported that, from 1 March, the German competent authority for granting license related to trade of dual-use goods, BAFA, will start issuing authorisations, zero notices, information as well as renewals and amendments to decisions in the field of foreign trade law exclusively in electronic form.

https://media-exp1.licdn.com/dms/document/C4D1FAQEb8NPwEBdVHQ/feedshare-document-pdf-analyzed/0/1614335032255?e=1614441600&v=beta&t=Q9jCh-D2r2oAQixzSIhDqncfjDSg1EgiOn2t-TORZxk

ORGANISED OIL CRIME IN NIGERIA: THE DELTA PARADOX – ORGANISED CRIMINALS OR COMMUNITY SAVIOURS?

An article from ENACT Africa on 26 November says that the Niger Delta is a global focal point for oil crime that has devastated Nigeria’s environment, land, air and water.  It says that Niger Delta oil crime is one of the most serious natural resource crimes globally, with the systematic theft, sale and illegal refining of up to 20% of Nigeria’s oil output.  Illegal bunkering and artisanal refining have increased exponentially over the past decade.  A paper from ENACT Africa draws on qualitative interviews with citizens, and government and community experts, to examine the impact on society.  While state security forces continue to treat the crime with ‘extreme prejudice’ – destroying illegal camps and transportation – local citizens have normalised it, justifying it as an economic, energy and employment necessity despite its health and environmental toll.

https://enact-africa.s3.amazonaws.com/site/uploads/2020-11-26-organised-oil-crime-in-nigeria.pdf

HOW HONDURAS COMPLICATES BIDEN’S POLICY RESET IN CENTRAL AMERICA

On 22 February, the Americas Quarterly published an article starting with the US DoJ investigation of Honduras’ President Juan Orlando Hernández, linking it to President Biden’s plan for the region that “puts combating corruption at the heart of US policy in Central America”.  It says that, as a long-time US partner, the situation in Honduras will quickly put the new Administration’s policy reset to the test.  It notes that, in the 2020 Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), Honduras is only just above the 3 worst offenders in the region, Nicaragua, Haiti and Venezuela.

https://www.americasquarterly.org/article/how-honduras-complicates-bidens-policy-reset-in-central-america/

GUYANA’S OIL MAKES THE CASE FOR PUBLISHING PUBLIC CONTRACTS

On 26 February, an article from Transparency International argues that contracts signed between governments and companies organise the sharing of this economic wealth between populations and companies.  They must be public so that the public knows what share it will get of it.  This is the case for any contract signed between a public entity and another entity.  In 2016, Guyana signed an oil contract with ExxonMobil.  The contract was not made public.  After months of demands for publication, the Guyana Government published it at the end of 2017.  The conclusions that Guyanese and international civil society have drawn from their analysis have led to demands for renegotiation to which the company so far has not acceded.  The contract is said to include an income tax exemption, very low employment obligations, deferral of the costs of unsuccessful wells to those of successful wells, no increase in royalties if production improves, insurance premiums and financing costs fully recovered by the contractor, and a public financial contribution to the decommissioning of facilities towards the end of the project.

https://www.transparency.org/en/blog/in-depth-guyanas-oil-makes-the-case-for-publishing-public-contracts

THE UK RESPONSE TO CYBER FRAUD: A STRATEGIC VISION

On 22 February, RUSI published an Occasional Paper which sets out to provide targeted, long-term recommendations for stakeholders across government, law enforcement and the private sector to tackle cyber fraud.

https://rusi.org/sites/default/files/cyber_fraud_final_web_version.pdf

THIRD COUNTRIES ALIGN WITH EU SANCTIONS ON SYRIA

A news release from the EU on 16 February advised that North Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia have agreed to align themselves with updated EU sanctions on Syria, following EU Council Decision (CFSP) 2021/30 that added 1 new name to sanctions lists.

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2021/02/16/declaration-by-the-high-representative-on-behalf-of-the-eu-on-the-alignment-of-certain-third-countries-concerning-restrictive-measures-against-syria/

MARINERS WARNED TO WATCH FOR THIRD-PARTY IMPACTS FROM SOLARWINDS HACK IN US

On 25 February, Homeland Security Today reported that a Marine Safety Information Bulletin from the US Coast Guard cautions the maritime industry that even if they haven’t used the SolarWinds Orion software they might still be hurt by the continued exploitation of the software.  They are warned that using the software an attacker was able “to gain access to network traffic management systems”.  It is also said that the USCG “expects that US- flagged vessels and companies will incorporate cyber risk management into their SMS. Additionally, as a port state… companies with foreign-flagged vessels that call on ports in the US should ensure cyber risk management is appropriately addressed. 

https://www.dco.uscg.mil/Portals/9/DCO%20Documents/5p/MSIB/2021/MSIB-03-21-SolarWinds.pdf?ver=LFtVDZDULMEiwIrEwVspyw%3d%3d

US WITHDRAWS UN SANCTIONS SNAPBACK

The Arms Control Association newsletter on 26 February advised that the US had rescinded a request by former President Trump to re-impose all UN Security Council sanctions on Iran that were lifted per the 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal.  The UN Security Council had already determined that the US could not trigger the process since it was no longer a party to the deal.

https://www.armscontrol.org/blog/2021-02/p4-1-iran-nuclear-deal-alert#story4

PODCAST: ANTI-BRIBERY AND CORRUPTION – 2020 REVIEW

In its ABC podcast episode 9, Greenberg Traurig provides a 2020 year in review of FCPA enforcement cases and new compliance developments.

https://www.gtlaw.com/en/insights/2021/2/gt-abc-podcast-episode-9

WHAT’S IN STORE FOR CANNABIS IN 2021

On 26 February, an article from Foley Lardner LLP says that the cannabis industry entered 2021 poised for significant growth amid a landscape teeming with opportunity. Despite the pandemic, overall US cannabis sales increasing by more than 40% from 2019.  Although cannabis remains illegal at the US federal level, political and regulatory developments over the past year offer a basis for cautious optimism. 

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/reading-the-leaves-what-s-in-store-for-4122068/

JAMAICA: FORMER SENIOR POLICE OFFICER JAMES FORBES FREED OF CORRUPTION CHARGE

On 26 February, the Gleaner reported that the Court of Appeal has quashed the corruption-related conviction of former senior cop, James Forbes.  The Appeal Court ordered that the $800,000 fine paid by Forbes, a former senior superintendent, be returned to him “forthwith”.  Forbes was found guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice in 2014, and following a meeting he admitted facilitating between businessman Bruce Bicknell and 2 police sergeants at his St Andrew offices, after the 2 policemen arrested Bicknell for allegedly offering them a $2,000 bribe during a traffic stop. 

https://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20210226/james-forbes-freed-corruption-charge

PARAGUAY GRAPPLES WITH EVOLVING CRIME AND PERSISTENT CORRUPTION

On 26 February, an article in Insight Crime says that Paraguay has long been a key link in South America’s drug trafficking chain, but has grown in importance with the emergence of new criminal players and economies.  It examines the traffic flows, political involvement.

https://insightcrime.org/news/evolving-crime-persistent-corruption-paraguay

https://www.eurasiareview.com/26022021-paraguay-where-corruption-and-poverty-coexist-oped

US: NEW CRIMINAL OFFENCES RELATED TO FOREIGN POLITICAL FIGURES AND MONEY LAUNDERING ENTITIES

An article from Foodman CPA & Advisors on 26 February looked at new offences created by the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2020 (a part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, enacted late last year.  The article looks at provisions that prohibit the concealment of the source of those assets in monetary transactions or involving an entity found to be an institution of primary money laundering concern as 2 new criminal offences.   Both offences are punishable by a fine of up to $1,000,000 or 10 years of imprisonment, or both.  The article says that (obviously) Institutions need to figure out if senior foreign political figures (or their family members or close associates) and entities found to be of primary money-laundering concern are in their client roster. 

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/new-criminal-offenses-related-to-8757502

COVID MASK SCANDAL: PRESSURE RISES ON GERMAN LAWMAKER ACCUSED OF TAKING BRIBES FROM FACE MASK PRODUCER

On 26 February, Deutsche Welle reported on the corruption scandal around conservative lawmaker Georg Nüsslein.  The lawmaker pledged to fight the allegations, but also temporarily stepped down from his position as deputy leader of the ruling conservative bloc in the Bundestag.

https://www.dw.com/en/covid-mask-scandal-pressure-rises-on-german-lawmaker/a-56718568

UNITED AIRLINES TO PAY $49.5 MILLION TO SETTLE US INTERNATIONAL MAIL CONTRACT PROBE

On 26 February, Reuters and others reported that United Airlines has agreed to pay $49.5 million to resolve criminal charges and civil claims relating to fraud on Postal Service contracts for transportation of international mail.  It is said to have defrauded the US Postal Service by providing falsified parcel delivery information over a period of years and accepting millions of dollars of payments to which the company was not entitled 2012-15.

https://dailycaller.com/2021/02/26/united-airlines-pay-49-million-defrauding-us-postal-service

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-united-justice/united-airlines-to-pay-49-5-million-to-settle-u-s-international-mail-contract-probe-idUSKBN2AQ2NI

BREXIT – WHAT EVERY LAWYER NEEDS TO KNOW: VAT AND CUSTOMS LAW

London-based law chambers Monckton Chambers hosted an hour-long webcast on 25 February in which a panel of expert lawyers discussed the implications of Brexit for the UK’s system of VAT; the repercussions of being outside the EU customs union; and the particular issues thrown up by the special circumstances of Northern Ireland.

https://www.monckton.com/event/the-uk-legal-regime-after-brexit-what-every-lawyer-needs-to-know-vat-and-customs-law/

UKRAINE SLAPS SANCTIONS ON EX-YANUKOVYCH OFFICIALS

On 26 February, Rferl reported that Ukraine has announced a fresh set of sanctions against 10 individuals close to ousted pro-Russia President Viktor Yanukovych, the latest in a series of moves by the current administration against actors with ties to Russia.  Sanctions were announced against former Interior Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko, former Security Service Chief Oleksandr Yakymenko, and 8 other individuals.  It also reports on moves against pro-Russian media outlets.

https://www.rferl.org/a/ukraine-slaps-sanctions-on-ex-yanukovych-officials-/31124029.html

US AIR CARGO GOES CRAZY FOR K-9 SECURITY

On 26 February, American Shipper reported that a shortage of bomb-detection dogs for screening outbound shipments on freighter aircraft expected this SummerIt points out that, in just 4 months, new international security standards go into effect requiring countries to implement programs for 100% screening of every shipment on all-cargo aircraft.  This is a huge undertaking for the private sector, which is still waiting for the US Transportation Security Administration to issue rules detailing how to achieve that goal.  Many airlines and freight service providers are opting for trained canines to check for explosives, because they often are more cost-effective and cheaper than imaging technology or other methods.  Among the challenges mentioned are that screening systems being unable to fit large pallets or curved containers, employee training, equipment testing, and intensive record-keeping, and many types of cargo, such as frozen fish or pharmaceuticals, cannot be easily recognised by scanning technology.

https://www.freightwaves.com/news/air-cargo-goes-crazy-for-k-9-security

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US TREASURY SANCTIONS 17 INDIVIDUALS FOR THEIR ROLES IN THE KILLING OF JAMAL KHASHOGGI

On 26 February, the US Treasury advised that OFAC has designated Saud al-Qahtani, his subordinate Maher Mutreb, Saudi Consul General Mohammed Alotaibi, and 14 other members of an operations team for having a role in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.   These individuals are designated pursuant to Executive Order 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, to target perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption.  Also designated is the Saudi RAPID INTERVENTION FORCE (aka FIRQAT EL-NEMR).

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm547

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20210226

I would be grateful for any modest contribution for my time and ongoing costs of computer, relocation, and (still ongoing) removal costs, I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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US TRAVEL BAN ON THE FORMER SLOVAK REPUBLIC PROSECUTOR GENERAL DOBROSLAV TRNKA AND HIS SON

On 25 February, the US State Department issued a news release advising that the travel ban had been imposed due to his involvement in significant corruption.  It is said that in his official capacity as the Prosecutor General of Slovakia, he was involved in corrupt acts that undermined rule of law and the Slovak public’s faith in their government’s democratic institutions, officials, and public processes.  Both former Prosecutor General Trnka and his son, Jakub Trnka, are ineligible for entry into the US.

https://www.state.gov/designation-of-former-prosecutor-general-dobroslav-trnka-of-the-slovak-republic-for-involvement-in-significant-corruption/

I would be grateful for any modest contribution for my time and ongoing costs of computer, relocation, and (still ongoing) removal costs, I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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REPORT: DARKNET CYBERCRIME IS ON THE RISE IN SOUTH-EAST ASIA

On 25 February, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime published this report which is the first of its kind in analysis of darknet-enabled threats in the region.  The report assesses the Darkweb from the viewpoints of users, criminals, and law enforcement with a particular focus on cybercrime targeting countries in SE Asia.  It says that Darknet criminal marketplaces have become more popular during the COVID-19 pandemic.  English tends to be the predominant working-language on darknets, but content in SE Asian languages has recently varied, indicating a diversified client base and possible attempts to obfuscate the origins of criminal marketplaces.  Drugs are still the most common category of illicit products available in darknet markets.   The types of drugs most commonly available include methamphetamine, MDMA, amphetamine, cannabis, cocaine, heroin, opioids, LSD, psychedelic mushrooms, ketamine, and prescription drugs particularly benzodiazepines. Precursor chemicals to produce synthetic and semi-synthetic drugs are also traded on darknet sites catering to the region.  The report also offers insights into other categories such cybercrime-as-a-service (CaaS), wildlife trade, and online child sexual exploitation materials.

https://www.unodc.org/documents/southeastasiaandpacific//Publications/2021/Darknet_Cybercrime_Threats_to_Southeast_Asia_report.pdf

I would be grateful for any modest contribution for my time and ongoing costs of computer, relocation, and (still ongoing) removal costs, I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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CHART SHOWS THE CONNECTIONS BETWEEN CYBERCRIME GROUPS

On 25 February, ZD Net published an article saying that the cybercrime ecosystem is much smaller and far more interconnected than the layperson might realise.  It says that cybercrime groups often have complex supply chains, like real software companies, and they regularly develop relationships within the rest of the e-crime ecosystem to acquire access to essential technology that enables their operations or maximises their profits; and the third-party technologies can be classified into 3 categories: services, distribution, and monetisation.

https://www.zdnet.com/article/this-chart-shows-the-connections-between-cybercrime-groups/

I would be grateful for any modest contribution for my time and ongoing costs of computer, relocation, and (still ongoing) removal costs, I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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EU REMOVES 2 NAMES FROM ISIL/AL-QAIDA SANCTIONS LISTS

EU Regulation 2021/350/EU advised that 2 names from its ISIL/Al-Qaida sanctions lists following the decision of the Sanctions Committee of the United Nations Security Council on 19 February.

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv%3AOJ.L_.2021.068.01.0182.01.ENG&toc=OJ%3AL%3A2021%3A068%3ATOC

I would be grateful for any modest contribution for my time and ongoing costs of computer, relocation, and (still ongoing) removal costs, I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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EU RENEWS BELARUS SANCTIONS AND ISSUES AMENDED LIST OF THOSE SUBJECT TO SANCTIONS

EU Regulation 2021/339/EU renewed to 28 February 2022 the sanctions regime imposed in respect of Belarus and reissued, with amendments, the list of those persons and entities subject to sanctions.

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv%3AOJ.L_.2021.068.01.0029.01.ENG&toc=OJ%3AL%3A2021%3A068%3ATOC

I would be grateful for any modest contribution for my time and ongoing costs of computer, relocation, and (still ongoing) removal costs, I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – FEBRUARY 25

Panama Covid-19 update – despite the vaccination programme underway, and more re-opening of businesses in hand or soon to take place, there were still 20 more fatalities reported today, and 682 new cases. 9,417 active cases include 172 in ICU and 1,016 in other wards.

25 February 2021

ISLAMIC STATE’S MONEY SUPPLY NOT DRY YET

On 23 February, VoA reported that, nearly 2 years after losing the last of territory in eastern Syria, the Islamic State terror group seems to be generating substantial amounts of revenue that has been instrumental for funding its insurgency across Syria and Iraq.  The group’s growing terror activity in both countries in recent months has occurred largely because it is still capable of generating cash from criminal networks, military officials and experts say.  According to the US Treasury, IS has an estimated $100 million available in cash reserves, and with no territory to control, IS no longer has the administrative responsibilities that would require additional spending.  IS militants have also resorted to taking hostages for ransom as another means to fund its insurgency.  To eradicate IS financial networks, experts suggest that the global coalition against IS and its local partners in Syria and Iraq should deal with the group as if it were more like a mafia organisation.

https://www.voanews.com/extremism-watch/officials-experts-say-islamic-states-economic-spigot-not-dry-yet

NIGERIA: WEIGHING THE BAN ON CRYPTOCURRENCY TRANSACTIONS

On 16 February, This Day in Nigeria carried an article saying that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently directed banks and other financial institutions to close any accounts dealing in cryptocurrency or facilitating payment for cryptocurrency exchange.  It also directed banks to report any individual and entity running such accounts.  It was reported that the federal government and CBN were hinted by the FBI of the activities of fraudsters using cryptocurrencies to bring into the country hundreds of millions of US Dollars illegally obtained from the US and other western economies, giving rise to the policy.

https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2021/02/16/weighing-the-ban-on-cryptocurrency-transactions/

TURKEY: 3 FOUND GUILTY IN HELPING CARLOS GHOSN ESCAPE

On 24 February, the Wall Street Journal reported that 3 Turkish nationals were found guilty of smuggling Carlos Ghosn into Turkey after he fled Japan inside a musical-equipment box, becoming the first people convicted in connection with the escape from Japan in late 2019.  A judge in Istanbul handed down suspended prison sentences of 4 years and 2 months and fines equivalent to $4,352, to 3 men—an airline manager and 2 pilots who flew Ghosn from Japan to Istanbul.  2 other pilots who flew Ghosn from Istanbul to Beirut and were on trial for the same charges of migrant smuggling were acquitted.  A flight attendant was also acquitted, and the court dropped charges against a second flight attendant.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/three-turks-are-convicted-in-ghosn-escape-trial-11614190452

UK: EXECUTIVE CONVICTED IN BRIBERY CASE AGAINST UNAOIL GROUP AFTER RETRIAL

The Wall Street Journal has reported that Paul Bond, a former sales manager at Dutch oil company SBM Offshore NV, was convicted of 2 counts of conspiracy to give corrupt payments , conspiring to bribe public officials in Iraq. 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/executive-convicted-in-u-k-bribery-case-against-unaoil-group-after-retrial-11614196084

https://www.sfo.gov.uk/2021/02/24/fourth-executive-convicted-of-bribery-in-post-occupation-iraq/

ARE THERE LIMITS TO WHAT CAN BE DISCUSSED “WITHOUT PREJUDICE”?

An article from ParrisWhittaker in the Bahamas discusses the subject in the light of a recent Court of Appeal case in England, saying that, in certain situations the courts will lift what’s been described as the ‘veil of without prejudice’.  But given the usefulness of this type of discussion these exceptions will only be used sparingly.  It explains that the without prejudice principle essentially means that whatever the parties say during negotiations can’t be used against them in any subsequent court case, and that this encourages free and frank discussions between parties engaged in a dispute. Without prejudice talks also promote negotiated settlements.  It examine the limitations, primarily ‘unambiguous impropriety’, a recognised exception to the without prejudice rule (other exceptions include the existence of fraud, misrepresentation or undue influence). 

https://parriswhittaker.com/are-there-limits-to-what-can-be-discussed-without-prejudice

PRIVILEGE: LPP – WHEN MIGHT A LIMITED WAIVER BECOME A COLLATERAL WAIVER?

On 23 February, an article from Dechert LLP posed this question, saying that corporates sharing privileged material subject to limited waiver should be aware of the downstream risks entailed where this material is deployed in litigation.  This was in the light of a recent court case in England where the court considered the law on collateral waiver and on limited waiver of LPP.  It explains that a collateral waiver of privilege arises where a party to litigation deploys part of privileged material in order to advance its claim or defence, without disclosing the whole.  In such a case, in the interests of fairness, privilege over other material falling within the same transaction is also waived.  It may also arise where reliance is placed on documents which were formerly privileged, even in circumstances where the privilege has been lost due to deployment of the material by a third party in separate litigation. 

https://www.dechert.com/knowledge/onpoint/2021/2/privilege–when-might-a-limited-waiver-become-a-collateral-waive.html

CHARGES STAYED IN ONE OF ONTARIO’S LARGEST MOB BUSTS AFTER ALLEGED ILLEGAL CONDUCT BY INVESTIGATORS

On 24 February, CBC reported that one of the largest police investigations into organised crime in Ontario’s history has fallen apart after police allegedly illegally intercepted phone calls as part of a multimillion-dollar probe into suspected Mob activity in the Greater Toronto Area.  Defence lawyers raised concerns that investigators committed “significant breaches of solicitor/client privilege”.  The case, Project Sindacato was an 18-month, $8 million joint investigation that began in 2018 involving 8 different police services.  The group was accused of running illegal gambling operations, fraud, drug trafficking and laundering money through casinos.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/sindacato-charges-stayed-mob-york-police-1.5925133

SUPPORTING SMALL ARMS AND LIGHT WEAPONS (SALW) CONTROLS THROUGH DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE

On 25 February, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute released its latest report, which takes the form of a case study of sub-Saharan Africa.  It says that, in order to help states to address the multifaceted challenges posed by the proliferation of such weapons, some states as well as regional and international organizations have established a series of funding instruments and assistance programmes that support or provide SALW control-related assistance.  In view of the recognised linkages between SALW proliferation, security and development, official development assistance (ODA) has progressively become an eligible source of funding in this field.  The report says that research shows that only a limited number of donors have used ODA to support SALW control-related assistance and that they have different practices in the way they report on the use of these funds.  It also outlines the challenges that make mapping this assistance a particularly difficult exercise.

https://www.sipri.org/publications/2021/other-publications/supporting-small-arms-and-light-weapons-controls-through-development-assistance-case-sub-saharan

CHINA PULLS THE PLUG ON AUSTRALIA’S BIGGEST LIVE REEF FISH EXPORTER

On 24 February, ABC News reported that Queensland’s multi-million-dollar coral trout fishery is in jeopardy after the country’s biggest live-fish exporter failed to have its export licence renewed in China – the latest casualty of simmering tensions between the Australian and Chinese governments. 

https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2021-02-25/coral-trout-rout-as-china-pulls-plug-on-export-licence/13190640

US: HONG KONG RECORDKEEPING FAQ UPDATED CONSISTENT WITH REMOVAL OF HONG KONG FROM EAR COUNTRY CHART

An article from Husch Blackwell LLP on 24 February reported that the merging of Hong Kong with China with respect to Hong Kong’s treatment under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) is now reflected in the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security’s Hong Kong recordkeeping guidance.  On 19 February, BIS updated its Hong Kong record-keeping FAQ to make that guidance consistent.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/bis-updates-hong-kong-recordkeeping-8773270/

WORKING GROUP ESTABLISHED FOR THE RISK ASSESSMENT OF MONEY LAUNDERING AND TERRORISM FINANCING IN BOSNIA

On 25 February, the Sarajevo Times reported that the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina have passed a Decision to establish a Working Group to draft an amendment to the Risk Assessment of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing in Bosnia and Herzegovina for the period 2021-2023, and the accompanying action plan until 2023. 

https://www.sarajevotimes.com/working-group-established-for-the-risk-assessment-of-money-laundering-and-terrorism-financing-in-bosnia/

EX-CEO OF SWEDBANK ESCAPES LEGAL BATTLE AFTER LAUNDERING SCANDAL
On 25 February, Bloomberg Quint reported that the ousted CEO of Swedbank AB, Birgitte Bonnesen, is no longer facing a legal battle with her former employer after its lawyers advised against a drawn out and costly process.  Swedbank says it won’t move ahead with a lawsuit because its chances of winning are low.  Bonnesen, who was fired in early 2019 amid concerns she misled the public on the extent to which Swedbank had allegedly handled suspicious transactions via its Baltic operations, is still being investigated by Sweden’s public prosecutor for gross market manipulation and unauthorized disclosure of insider information.

https://www.bloombergquint.com/onweb/ex-ceo-of-swedbank-escapes-legal-battle-after-laundering-scandal

https://www.devdiscourse.com/article/business/1472637-swedbank-wont-sue-ceo-at-the-helm-during-baltic-dirty-money-crisis

UK COURT: NIRAV MODI CAN BE EXTRADITED TO INDIA TO STAND TRIAL

On 25 February, Scroll in India reported that the Westminster Magistrates’ Court has ordered that fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi can be extradited to India to face trial over the PNB Bank fraud.  He was arrested in 2019. 

https://scroll.in/latest/987898/money-laundering-charges-against-nirav-modi-accepted-by-uk-court 

BRITISH COLUMBIA: HALF-BILLION-DOLLAR UNREGISTERED ‘SHADOW’ MORTGAGE BROKER SAYS HE JUST MET DEMAND

On 24 February, an article from CBC reported on the testimony of a so-called unregistered “shadow” mortgage broker responsible for securing more than half a billion dollars’ worth of home financing through the use of altered tax and bank documents.  he says there will always be a demand for the services of people with his skills.  Jay Kanth Chaudhary was ordered by authorities to cease and desist his unregistered activities in 2019.  He is estimated to have earned $6 million in fees related to 900 deals fronted by registered mortgage brokers in the decade before regulators raided his offices in 2018. He was speaking before the Cullen Inquiry, which is looking at money laundering abuses of British Columbia casinos.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/shadow-mortgage-broker-money-laundering-1.5926924

https://www.statista.com/chart/24268/deaths-of-south-asian-migrants-in-qatar

VENEZUELA EXPELS EU AMBASSADOR AFTER NEW SANCTIONS

On 25 February, EurActiv reported that the Venezuelan Foreign Minister said that the head of the EU delegation in Caracas had 72 hours to leave the country and declared her persona non grata after the bloc imposed new sanctions on Venezuelan officials.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/global-europe/news/venezuela-kicks-out-eu-ambassador-after-new-sanctions/

UK AMENDS 1 ENTRY ON CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC SANCTIONS LIST

On 25 February, a Notice from HM Treasury advised that the entry relating to Bi Sidi SOULEMAN had been amended.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/964762/Notice_Central_African_Republic_250221.pdf

US: NEW REGULATIONS TO REVIEW AND RESTRICT IMPORTS AND OTHER TRANSACTIONS IN INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY AND SERVICES WILL LIKELY PROVE COSTLY TO IMPORTERS AND DOWNSTREAM USERS

On 25 February, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reported that new regulations allowing the Bureau of Industry and Security to review and restrict imports and other transactions in information and communications technology and services will likely prove costly to importers and downstream users, according to an analysis from the Department of Commerce.

https://www.strtrade.com/trade-news-resources/str-trade-report/trade-report/february/high-costs-anticipated-for-new-import-restriction-rule

CONSTRUCTION: 38 ARRESTED IN FRANCE, ROMANIA AND MOLDOVA FOR ABUSING MIGRANT WORKERS

A news release from Europol on 25 February advised that a criminal network smuggled and registered Moldovan workers in France with fake documents while keeping their real passports as a guarantee.  An investigation by the French Border Police, the Romanian Police and the Moldovan Police, supported by Europol and Eurojust, led officers to dismantle an organised crime group involved in migrant smuggling, human trafficking for labour exploitation, document fraud, social benefit fraud and money laundering.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/exploitation-construction-site-38-arrested-in-france-romania-and-moldova-for-abusing-migrant-workers

UK: SUSPENDED SENTENCE FOR FRAUDSTER WHO CREATED BOGUS CLAIMS COMPANY

On 24 February, Litigation Futures reported that a fraudster who faked a road traffic accident and invented a fictitious accident management company to facilitate a whiplash claim has been handed a suspended prison sentence.  Shajeel Malik was sentenced to 9 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, and 100 hours unpaid work in the community following a 10-day trial.

https://www.litigationfutures.com/news/suspended-sentence-for-fraudster-who-created-bogus-claims-company

SOLICITOR WHO LEFT CLIENTS “HIGH AND DRY” STRUCK OFF

On 25 February, Legal Futures reported that it is claimed that a solicitor left clients “high and dry” by failing to register their property purchases and pay stamp tax, while misappropriating some £175,000 of their money.

https://www.legalfutures.co.uk/latest-news/solicitor-who-left-clients-high-and-dry-struck-off

AUSTRIA TO EXTRADITE FORMER RUSSIAN OFFICIAL WANTED FOR EMBEZZLEMENT

On 25 February, Rferl reported that Spanish investigators say Boris Mazo might have laundered money he stole in Russia through the purchase of an expensive property in the southern city of Marbella.  Austrian authorities detained Mazo in November at Spain’s request.  However, the Austrian court decided to extradite Mazo to Russia, not Spain.

https://www.rferl.org/a/austria-to-extradite-former-russian-culture-official-wanted-for-embezzlement/31121630.html

NEW LAW APPEARS TO PROHIBIT BANKS IN NICARAGUA FROM DENYING SERVICES TO INDIVIDUALS AND ENTITIES TARGETED BY US SANCTIONS

On 25 February, an article from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer said that Nicaragua’s reforms to the “Law for the Protection of the Rights of Consumers and Users” have entered into force.  It points out that, since 2018, the US has imposed sanctions on dozens of Nicaraguan individuals and entities with ties to President Daniel Ortega for corruption, money laundering, and human rights violations.  It says that the new law and others like it put the banks between the US government and its foreign counterparts that are resisting that expansion, and the coming months may foreshadow how US authorities and the international financial community will react to similar blocking-type measures in other countries.  

https://riskandcompliance.freshfields.com/post/102grrt/nicaraguas-law-842a-test-case-for-new-us-anti-money-laundering-authorities

NCA SAR NEWSLETTER

In the UK, the NCA has issued the February edition of the “SARs in Action” newsletter.  It includes an article on interaction with the gambling sector.

https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/who-we-are/publications/497-sars-in-action-february-2021/file

TOBACCO COMPANY PR AGENCY TRIED TO BRIBE JOURNALIST IN KENYA

On 21 February, the ICIJ reported that an employee of a Kenyan PR agency working for British American Tobacco (BAT) is said to have offered a bribe to a journalist to leak details of the investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalists into how the company had targeted young smokers.  It is said that BAT, which is said to have had no knowledge of the matter, has parted company with the agency with immediate effect and is investigating the incident.

https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/stories/2021-02-21/bats-pr-agency-tried-to-bribe-bureaus-kenyan-reporter

CRYPTOCURRENCY CRIME AND ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING REPORT (FEBRUARY 2021)

Ciphertrace has released a new report which provides the latest news on cryptocurrency and AML. 

https://ciphertrace.com/2020-year-end-cryptocurrency-crime-and-anti-money-laundering-report/

JERSEY GUIDANCE: REGISTERED PERSONS AND FINANCIAL STABILITY

On 24 February, the Jersey FSC said that many businesses will be facing increased financial pressure as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and that it expects all Registered Persons to be able to demonstrate that due consideration is given to the financial position of the business and its client entities so that, in the event of financial difficulties, the Registered Person engages at the earliest opportunity with their Supervisor.  It lays out its expectations and stresses the importance of an open and honest dialogue between a Registered Person and their Supervisor.

https://www.jerseyfsc.org/news-and-events/registered-persons-and-financial-stability/

SEIZED VESSEL SHOWS WIDER TIES TO ILLICIT IRANIAN OIL TRADE NETWORKS

An article from Kharon on 23 February reports that a vessel seized last month by Indonesian authorities over a suspected ship-to-ship transfer with an Iranian tanker appears to be tied to a network previously sanctioned by the US for illicit Iranian oil trade.  The Freya is also connected to a broader network of actors sanctioned for Iran-related petroleum trade, according to a Kharon investigation.  The vessel is owned by a Marshall Islands-based company which shares an address in Singapore with the vessel’s operator which is owned by an individual with a China-based address identified by the US Treasury as linked to COSCO Shipping Tanker (Dalian) Seaman And Ship Management Co Ltd. 

https://brief.kharon.com/updates/seized-vessel-shows-wider-ties-to-illicit-iranian-oil-trade-networks

US: EXECUTIVE ORDER LAUNCHES A COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW OF US SUPPLY CHAINS TO IDENTIFY WAYS TO SECURE U.S. SUPPLY CHAINS 

On 25 February, KPMG reported that the Executive Order launches a comprehensive review of US supply chains and directs federal departments and agencies to identify ways to secure US supply chains against a broad range of risks and vulnerabilities.  It initiates a 100-day review of the supply chains of 4 key products – active pharmaceutical ingredients (API); critical minerals; semiconductors and advanced packaging; and large-capacity batteries (such as those used in electric vehicles).  A fuller 1-year long review will follow.

https://home.kpmg/us/en/home/insights/2021/02/tnf-us-executive-order-supply-chains.html

see the White House factsheet –

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/02/24/fact-sheet-securing-americas-critical-supply-chains/

https://www.wilmerhale.com/en/insights/client-alerts/20210225-biden-orders-reviews-of-critical-supply-chains

REPORT ON US MEASURES TO ADDRESS HUAWEI-RELATED ISSUES

On 25 February, KPMG reported that the US Congressional Research Service has produced a report on recent Huawei-related legal activities in the US and examines the statutory authorities underlying each action.

https://home.kpmg/us/en/home/insights/2021/02/tnf-crs-report-on-us-measures-to-address-huawei-related-issues.html

The report dated 23 February is at –

https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/R/R46693

ISLE OF MAN MYANMAR AND CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC SANCTIONS UPDATE

On 25 February, the Isle of man issued 2 news releases: one confirming the addition of 5 names (and amendment of the entry for another) on the Myanmar/Burman sanctions lists; and the other confirmed the amendment of 1 existing entry on the Central African Republic sanctions list.

https://www.gov.im/news/2021/feb/25/financial-sanctions-burma/

https://www.gov.im/news/2021/feb/25/financial-sanctions-central-african-republic/

EU TO FORCE MULTINATIONALS TO REVEAL TAX FILINGS AS IRELAND LOSES DEBATE

On 25 February, the Irish Times reported that the EU is to move ahead with a new law to force multinationals to reveal their tax payments and activities for each Member State, as backing for the measure outnumbered the opposition of a group of countries led by the Irish Republic.  The country-by-country reporting proposal for companies with revenue of more than €750 million had been stalled since 2016.

https://www.irishtimes.com/business/economy/eu-to-force-multinationals-to-reveal-tax-filings-as-ireland-loses-debate-1.4495172

https://www.rte.ie/news/business/2021/0225/1199415-charities-welcome-eu-move-on-enhanced-tax-transparency/

DOES THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT (ESA) APPLIES TO THE US FDA APPROVAL OF GENETICALLY-ENGINEERED ANIMALS FOR CONSUMPTION AS FOOD

An article from Wiley rein LLP on 25 February says that while genetic engineering has stirred passionate debates between its defenders and detractors, a recent federal court decision has attempted to settle this particular dispute.  In this case, the court held that FDA failed to comply with the ESA when authorising a company to grow genetically engineered salmon in landlocked pens, and that the “FDA failed to adequately assess the risk that the salmon would escape and survive in the wild”.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/when-genetic-engineering-met-the-3536038/

See also –

https://www.wiley.law/article-Genetic-Engineering-And-The-Endangered-Species-Act

COUNTERFEIT MEDICAL SCHEMES PERSIST A YEAR INTO THE GLOBAL CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

On 25 February, an article from Snell & Wilmer says that, even before COVID-19, counterfeits within the healthcare industry and military supply chains were a significant issue.  COVID-19 may only have exacerbated the issue for legitimate suppliers and desperate end-users.  It advises that healthcare facilities in the US should stay abreast of changing guidance from the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security regarding counterfeit PPE.  Entities may also want to consider adhering to alerts published by manufacturers themselves regarding characteristics of counterfeit products.  It also proposes that entities should also consider conducting internal compliance and audits of equipment to ensure that counterfeit PPE has not been distributed to its employees.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/catch-me-if-you-can-counterfeit-medical-7618035/

UK: SFO CHARGES FORMER BIODIESEL TRADER WITH FRAUD AND MONEY LAUNDERING

A news release from the SFO on 25 February advised that it had charged biodiesel trader Gianni Rivera with fraud and money laundering in connection with its investigation concerning the sustainable fuel sector.  A former employee of Greenergy, he is charged by the SFO with 2 counts of fraud by abuse of position and 1 count of money laundering. 

https://www.sfo.gov.uk/2021/02/25/sfo-charges-former-biodiesel-trader-with-fraud-and-money-laundering/

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/ex-biodiesel-trader-faces-u-k-fraud-money-laundering-charges-1.1568805

SHIPPING: 11 NEW CASES OF CREW ABANDONMENT IN OPENING WEEKS OF 2021

On 25 February, Insurance Marine News reported that a blog that has been tracking crew abandonment closely in recent months, has reported that 11 new cases of abandonment had been recorded in the opening weeks of 2021.  Iran, Yemen and the UAE led the locations of recent abandonment cases.

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/eleven-new-cases-of-crew-abandonment-in-opening-weeks-of-2021/

CARGO THEFTS FROM WAREHOUSES ARE ON THE RISE

On 25 February, Insurance Marine News reported that losses from warehouses and other storage facilities increased to 25% of all cargo theft, according to TT Club’s just-published report on annual cargo theft in 2020.  However, thefts of cargo in transit remained the highest percentage of the total.  It is said that new high-value targets had emerged, such as PPE, face masks and anti-bacterial gel. The vaccine supply chain was likely to come under threat as the roll out expanded.  However, food & beverage sector remained the largest target, at 31% of the total.

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/cargo-thefts-from-warehouses-are-on-the-rise/

I would be grateful for any modest contribution for my time and ongoing costs of computer, relocation, and (still ongoing) removal costs, I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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UNDER-25 MOST VULNERABLE TO CYBER ATTACKS

On 25 February, a release on Mondo Visione advised the findings of research from LexisNexis Risk Solutions which says that Generation Z are 84% more likely to be targeted by fraudsters than 25–35-year-olds, that over 75-year-olds typically lose almost twice (90%) as much money to fraud as other age groups, and that bot attacks buck global trend and soar in the UK as fraudsters target e-commerce and media organisations’ logins.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/under-25s-most-vulnerable-to-cyberattacks-according-to-lexisnexis-risk-solutio/

I would be grateful for any modest contribution for my time and ongoing costs of computer, relocation, and (still ongoing) removal costs, I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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PAKISTAN TO STAY ON FATF ‘GREY LIST’ DESPITE ‘SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS’

On 25 February, TRT in turkey and others reported that, following the review at the FATF Plenary this week, Pakistan is to remain on the so-called “grey list” over AML/CFT concerns.

https://www.trtworld.com/asia/pakistan-to-stay-on-fatf-grey-list-despite-significant-progress-44528

I would be grateful for any modest contribution for my time and ongoing costs of computer, relocation, and (still ongoing) removal costs, I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y