In an article from the Texas National Security Review on 13th February, begins by saying that according to most theories of nuclear proliferation, North Korea did not stand much of a chance of successfully acquiring nuclear weapons. As an economically backward, neopatrimonial regime subject to the threat of preventive strikes and war, North Korea should have failed. Few theories gave it a sporting chance of successfully nuclearizing. However, it did it. What does this say about theories on proliferation? The article takes stock of how various theories of nuclear proliferation fared in predicting North Korea’s success in acquiring nuclear weapons – few faring well. It traces the history of the North Korean programmes. One of the conclusions is that, given enough breathing room, even a poor a state that wants nuclear weapons badly enough can acquire them, defying sanctions and threats of force — particularly if it has an ally (like China) to shelter it from a strong multilateral coalition. It also says that offering inducements to adversary proliferators may stand a better chance of success, this is politically challenging for countries like the US.
On 13th February, OFAC announced proposed measures against ABLV Bank of Latvia, as a financial institution of primary money laundering concern, alleging that ABLV management permits the bank and its employees to orchestrate and engage in money laundering schemes; solicits the high-risk shell company activity that enables the bank and its customers to launder funds; maintains inadequate controls over high-risk shell company accounts; and seeks to obstruct enforcement of Latvian AML/CFT rules in order to protect these business practices. In addition, illicit financial activity at the bank has included transactions for parties connected to US and UN-designated entities, some of which are involved in North Korea’s procurement or export of ballistic missiles.
Calvin Ayre on 13th February reported that the Malta Gaming Authority announced the formation of a new Anti-Money Laundering Supervisory Unit, which follows Malta’s adoption of the EU 4th ML Directive in December. The new Unit is now fully operational and will be conducting on-site and off-site inspections of MGA licensees, some of which will be conducted jointly with Malta’s Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU).
Information Age on 13th February reports that 7 of the largest cryptocurrency providers have come together to form a new crypto trade body, Crypto UK, bringing in the first self-regulation for the sector worth £290 billion. CryptoUK, whose members include exchange and trading platforms eToro and CryptoCompare, has produced a code of conduct for the crypto-industry to follow. The move is in the face of the UK Government speaking about official regulation. Coinbase, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges with more than 10 million account holders worldwide, has also joined CryptoUK. Other cryptocurrency companies BlockEx, CEX.IO, CoinShares and CommerceBlock are also included in the trade body.
On 13th February, Reuters reported that former Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom and a former finance minister who is now chairman of Oxfam International were arrested as part of a local corruption investigation, the public prosecutor’s office said.
The Herald in Scotland reports on 13th February about Alejandro Toledo, his country’s first indigenous president, denies any wrongdoing, but prosecutors allege he took around $10 million in illicit payments from the Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht in return for lucrative contracts to build a major highway. Peruvian authorities also say that the former president got nearly $6 million of that money – more than £4 million – through an account in the name of a Scottish limited partnership or SLP registered at the Glasgow addresses of blue chip law firm Burness, which later merged with another firm to create Burness Paull.
Deacons in Hong Kong reported on 12th February that amendments to Hong Kong’s principal AML legislation were passed by the Legislative Council on 24th January. This will take effect on 1st March and are part of the Hong Kong Government’s efforts to address perceived deficiencies in Hong Kong’s AML/CFT regime prior to a FATF review due this year. It explains that primary objectives include applying statutory CDD and record-keeping requirements to solicitors and foreign lawyers, accounting professionals, estate agents, and trust or company service providers (TCSP) (collectively called designated non-financial businesses and professions or DNFBP) when these professionals engage in specified transactions (as described); and introducing a licensing regime for TCSP to require them to apply for a licence from the Registrar of Companies and satisfy a “fit-and-proper” test before they can provide trust or company services as a business in Hong Kong.