1st December 2018
NICARAGUA’S ‘HOUSE OF CARDS’ STARS ANOTHER CORRUPT AND POWERFUL COUPLE
As a background to the recently announced US sanctions on members of the controlling regime in Nicaragua, the Miami Herald on 29th November published an article which starts by saying that Nicaragua is a political stage where a real-life “House of Cards” is now in its second season. President Daniel Ortega and his wife and partner in crime, Vice President Rosario Murillo, have together run the country as an increasingly violent family business for the last couple of years. Ortega has been continuously in power for the past decade and, all in all, for 4 long terms with no term limits. The next elections are scheduled for 2021. As well as the sanctions imposed under the Executive Order, Congress has passed the Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act (or NICA).
SHARPENING THE MONEY-LAUNDERING RISK PICTURE: HOW DATA ANALYTICS CAN SUPPORT FINANCIAL INTELLIGENCE, SUPERVISION AND ENFORCEMENT
On 15th November, RUSI published an Occasional Paper which reviews the efforts of national authorities to harness the opportunities of data analytics for AML purposes. It sets out potential methods and their benefits, as well as other factors that should be considered to ensure the proportionality and sustainability of innovative approaches. Cases reviewed as part of this research illustrate the value of data analytics for AML supervision and enforcement. It recommends that supervisors, financial intelligence units and relevant law enforcement agencies should adopt a strategy to identify and harness opportunities for the use of data analytics in an AML context; regional organisations such as the EU should foster a dialogue on the different approaches developed in this area by member states, to encourage a harmonised approach; and that assessment bodies such as FATF and the IMF should more systematically review to what extent member countries have considered and harnessed the potential of data analytics for AML intelligence, supervision and enforcement purposes. It also says authorities should include the private sector.
US FILES LAWSUIT TO SEIZE ASSETS TIED TO ALLEGED NORTH KOREAN MONEY LAUNDERING
The Wall Street Journal on 29th November reported that companies based in Singapore, Hong Kong and China helped launder more than $3 million on behalf of blacklisted North Korean banks, US authorities have said in a civil lawsuit they filed, seeking to seize the funds. The companies were named as Hong Kong-based wax company, Apex Choice Ltd; China-based lumber company, Yuanye Wood Ltd; and an unnamed Singaporean company. It says such front companies are instructed to strip information tying their dollar transactions to North Korea to prevent the US from blocking them.
UK CHARITY COMMISSION WARNING ON POSTAL STAMP FRAUD
Accountancy Daily on 30th November said that the Charity Commission has issued an alert to trustees, employees and volunteers about postal stamp fraud and the risks associated with it. Stamp fraud involves the preparation, distribution and sale of previously used stamps for reuse. Usually these stamps are sold online, at a lower price than the standard postal service rate. Anyone knowingly collecting, preparing, distributing, reusing or selling used stamps to avoid paying full postal fees may be committing a form of fraud. It warns that charities could inadvertently aid this fraud by collecting and selling on used stamps.
ASIA’S MANY SPACE RACES
The Diplomat on 1st December carried an article saying that it is not just the US and China; there are other equally strategic space races going on in Asia as well. It says that, whatever competition is going on in or regarding space between the United States and China, there are other equally strategic competitive space races going on in Asia as well. It points out that the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, signed by 107 countries including the US, describes space as a global commons, one open to peaceful use by all countries, but space assets have considerable strategic value in both the civil and military spheres, from the detection of nuclear weapons blasts to the multi-billion dollar businesses that rely on positioning and navigation data, making protection of those assets a national interest potentially worth fighting for. When its dual-use technology is of value to both the civil and military communities, as most space technology is, and it is impossible to tell if military technology is for offensive or defensive purposes, ambiguity reigns.
CONFERENCE WARNS AGAINST COMPLACENCY OVER SOMALI PIRACY
Defence Web on 29th November reported that delegates at the recent 43rd Shared Awareness and De-confliction (SHADE) conference have warned that complacency will see a rapid resurgence in the scourge of piracy, especially off the Horn of Africa. 10 years of counter-piracy operations has seen successful outcomes resulting from the partnerships between military navies and commercial shipping working closely together. Key to this success is the bi-annual Shared Awareness and De-confliction.
PACE CODES IN UK UPDATED
On 1st December, the Home Office reissued updated the codes of practice under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, the guidance on rights when detained and rights when having a voluntary interview have been updated.
FOUNDER OF FAMED FUGEES AND FORMER DOJ OFFICIAL TIED TO MALAYSIAN BILLIONAIRE’S 1MDB MONEY LAUNDERING SCHEME
NJ.com on 1st December reported that one of the founders of the rap group, the Fugees, and a former DoJ employee were accused of opening multiple bank accounts to funnel tens of millions of dollars in funds from overseas accounts controlled by a Malaysian business tycoon. Prakazrel (“Pras”) Michel and former DoJ official George Higginbotham were indicted.
UK CRYPTOASSETS TASKFORCE ISSUES REPORT ON CHALLENGES POSED BY CRYPTOASSETS
On 30th November, Morgan Lewis published an article on the report issued by the UK Cryptoassets Taskforce (comprising representatives from the UK government, FCA and Bank of England), in which authorities break down the key concepts of cryptoassets; consider application of the current regulatory perimeter to different cryptoassets; and discuss the impact, risks, and benefits of cryptoassets as well as next steps for regulating this developing sector.
CANADA IMPOSES SANCTIONS FOLLOWING KHASKOGGI KILLING
On 30th November, the European Sanctions Blog reported that Canada has imposed targeted sanctions (asset freezes and travel bans) against 17 Saudi nationals under Canada’s Magnitsky law.
RIO GOVERNOR PEZÃO ARRESTED ON CORRUPTION CHARGES
Baker McKenzie on 30th November reported that police in Brazil have arrested the governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Luiz Fernando Pezão. Investigators say Mr Pezão took bribes when he was deputy governor of Rio from 2007 to 2014. He has denied taking any illicit funds.
THE DISCLOSURE PILOT SCHEME: A TESTING NEW YEAR?
Clifford Chance has issued a briefing that reports on the new disclosure pilot scheme in the Business and Property Courts of England & Wales being introduced from 1st January, and which aims to address the costs and other burdens of disclosure in civil proceedings. However, it says, the scheme is complex, and requires disclosure to start much earlier in proceedings than it does at present. New “Disclosure Duties” have been created for parties and their legal representatives; even where comparable duties already exist. The pilot scheme, which will run for 2 years, allows the parties and the court to adapt the disclosure to be given in a particular case to make it more bespoke to the case in hand.
‘CHINESE TRIAD LINK’ OVER £2 MILLION DRUGS FIND IN BELFAST
The BBC on 30th November reported that the discovery of about 100 kg of cannabis was one of the most significant seizures of drugs by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) this year. It is said that several lines of inquiry are being pursued – one is a potential link to a triad organised crime gang and another is potential links to paramilitary groups.
US LAWSUIT TO RECOVER $73 MILLION LINKED TO BANK FRAUD ALLEGEDLY TO CONCEAL INVOLVEMENT OF 1MDB’S JHO LOW
A news release on Mondo Visione on 30th November reported that the DoJ announced the filing of a civil forfeiture action seeking to forfeit and recover more than $73 million in funds associated with an international conspiracy to defraud US financial institutions and to launder funds controlled by Jho Taek Low, aka “Jho Low,” an individual who is the subject of an indictment alleging that Low and others conspired to launder billions of dollars embezzled from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), Malaysia’s investment development fund, and pay hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes to foreign officials, among other things.
SOUTH KOREA INDICTS 9 PEOPLE OVER SAMSUNG TRADE SECRETS TO CHINA
WIPR on 30th November reported that South Korean prosecutors have indicted 9 people on suspicion of selling Samsung technology to a Chinese company without authorisation. The CEO and 8 employees of an unnamed Korean supplier have been charged with selling trade secrets protecting Samsung’s organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels.
FOREIGNER SMUGGLING ‘COOL CASH’ WORTH N940M OUT OF NIGERIA
My Nation News on 1st December reported that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission have arrested a Lebanese for money laundering, Abbas Lakis. The EFCC said in a statement that the suspect was arrested with different foreign currencies. Lakis was picked up at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, with undeclared huge sums in various currencies (at least well over $2 million) aboard the Egypt Airline taking him en route to Lebanon.
SOME GLASGOW RANGERS SHAREHOLDERS ‘HAVE LINKS TO CRIME’
The Express on 1st December reported that Rangers’ chairman Dave King revealed how 4 people “linked to organised crime” had bought into the club. He gave the club’s version of the story of the crime ties in court before agreeing to offer up to £19 million of his own money to buy out shareholders by January 25th. A court had previously ordered King to mount a potential buyout of shareholders following legal action by the Takeover Panel. The businessman outlined how 4 individuals holding shares were prevented from selling them due to AML laws.
ESTONIA: AMENDMENTS TO AML REGULATIONS WILL TIGHTEN CRYPTO REGULATION
Coin Telegraph on 1st December reported that the Estonian Ministry of Finance will shortly add amendments to a recently-passed financial Bill that are meant to “tighten” crypto-related regulation, Estonian financial newspaper Äripäev has said. The current Bill refers to “virtual currency exchange service providers” and “virtual currency payment service providers,” while before there only was “alternative means of payment service provider”, but further amendments are to be made.