An article from Transparency International on 19th March is triggered by the Troika Laundromat scandal. It refers to a recent report from the Tax Justice Network (TJN) which proposed a way of checking the validity of data provided: an information technology system combined with advanced analytics to identify red flags.
Adapted from “ Beneficial ownership verification: ensuring the truthfulness and accuracy of registered ownership information”, Tax Justice Network.
The report from TJN on 19th January is available at –
On 19th March, the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force released its 4th round mutual evaluation report on the Cayman Islands. It highlights local efforts to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, but it said gaps in resources at the financial crime unit, as well as, limited legislative oversight have left the country’s financial services sector open to abuse. The report mentions that, in 2015, the Cayman Islands concluded its first AML/CFT National Risk Assessment (NRA). However, it says that the NRA did not include an assessment of legal persons or arrangements, nor did it conduct sufficient analysis of the risks present in parts of the financial sector not subject to supervision (e.g. lawyers and excluded persons under the Securities Investment Business Law (SIBL). Further, the assessment did not fully address the international components of risk faced by the jurisdiction as a significant international financial centre or provide evidence that sufficient analysis was conducted with respect to the jurisdiction’s TF risks. This has resulted in major deficiencies that have inhibited the jurisdiction’s ability to analyse and understand its risks.
The Cayman Compass reported on 18th March that the Government has responded to what appears to be a damning evaluation of the effectiveness of Cayman’s AML framework by launching an action plan that aims to address any deficiencies within a year. The Premier announced the appointment of a dedicated task force, made up of several government agencies, to oversee the implementation of a “comprehensive action plan”. Actions it says are required by the CFATF report include that information on the directors of Cayman companies and limited liability companies should be publicly available. In addition, government should introduce provisions that will allow the General Registry to share information with other competent authorities. Meanwhile, fines for failure to maintain accurate beneficial ownership registers should be increased. The fact that partnerships are not subject to Cayman’s beneficial ownership regime is incompatible with the evaluation report’s requirements, and competent authorities should have the power to access beneficial ownership information for partnerships, the CFATF said.
The Cayman Government has issued a press release in response to the report –
On 20th March, Channel News Asia reported that the Monetary Authority of Singapore had issued its first enforcement report, which outlines cases – including S$16.8 million in fines and compositions on 42 financial institutions, S$698,000 in civil penalties for 2 insider trading cases and 1 case of unauthorised trading, 19 prohibition orders, 37 reprimands, 223 warnings, 31 letters of advice and 444 supervisory reminders issued to various individuals, companies and financial institutions. The cases include those linked to the 1MDB scandal. On the AML/CFT front, the report mentioned that MAS has shut down BSI Bank and the Singapore branch of Falcon Private Bank and imposed S$30 million of fines on financial institutions, including on DBS, UOB and Standard Chartered Bank Singapore. MAS said it focused on three key areas for enforcement, namely market abuse, financial services misconduct and money laundering-related breaches. Financial services misconduct had the greatest number of outstanding cases as of end-December 2018. For this year and next, MAS will prioritise enforcement efforts in 5 areas to better protect consumers and safeguard public trust in Singapore’s financial institutions, it said.
Healthcare Packaging in the US has published an article which says that, as interdiction efforts at the border have been successful, counterfeiters have shifted strategy. A cheap pill press, coloured binding ingredient (sold legally in the US), some tool and die sets to press brand name and numbers on the pills, as well as some sophisticated packaging materials is all that is needed to set up a counterfeiting operation. It says that API (Active pharmaceutical ingredient) smuggled in this country from China, India and Pakistan is manufactured into pills and are “pre-positioned” for sale and distribution. It says that even Chapsticks have been counterfeited, and sold cheaply at such places as filling stations. It says that it is relatively cheap to produce pills, and even with only a small table press a counterfeit operation may turn out 50,000 pills a month, and margins are huge and there is a lot of money to be made.
Eurasia Review on 20th March reported that a senior US official said that the US is monitoring ships involved in clandestine transfers of Iranian oil and will hold anyone involved in such transfers responsible for violating US sanctions against Iran. It also reported that TankerTrackers.com had said that it identified in February 2 cases of clandestine ship-to-ship transfers of Iranian oil with the transponders of the vessels involved being disabled.