14th April 2019
ONLINE LEAK CLAIMS RUSSIAN MAFIA USED SCOTS FIRM TO LAUNDER £400,000
On 14th April, the Daily Record carried a story saying that a Scots investment firm has been named in an online leak that allegedly shows how Russian mafia money was laundered via companies in the west, and an international money trail mystery over claims transactions passed through Edinburgh-based firm Mirabax Investments offshore to Panama in 2009. Mirabax Investments was set up in 2004 and its registered office was at a residential flat in Edinburgh. A Cypriot accountancy firm of Marios Papantoniou’s, Axiano, filed the original paperwork in 2004 and was the firm’s sole director before it was dissolved in 2016. Public documents don’t mention the payments made to Panama in 2009.
TANZANIA: OPPOSITION CLAIMS THAT GOVERNMENT USING MONEY LAUNDERING CASES TO COLLECT REVENUE
On 13th April, The Citizen reported that Opposition MPs claimed in a debate in the parliament that the government was turning money laundering cases into a source of revenue, and this could turn away investors.
FATF MINISTERS GIVE FATF AN OPEN-ENDED MANDATE
On 12th April, FATF reported, on its 30th anniversary, that Ministers had agreed an open-ended mandate for the FATF and its role leading global action to counter money laundering, terrorist financing and the financing of proliferation of WMD. The adoption of an open-ended mandate is said to reflect the fact that these threats are enduring concerns for the integrity of the financial system. FATF members also agreed to greater ministerial engagement and support for FATF through regular and more frequent ministerial-level meetings, and by extending the term of the FATF Presidency, and by agreeing to a new funding model for the organisation. FATF’s new mandate recognises the need for FATF to continue to lead decisive, co-ordinated and effective global action to counter the threats of the abuse of the financial system by criminals and terrorists, and strengthens its capacity to respond to these threats.
IRELAND: ONLINE BOOKIES FACE HIT AS GOVERNMENT WEIGHS 2-TIER TAX
On 14th April, the Irish Independent reported that online bookmakers could face a 20% tax on gross profits as the Government seeks EU approval for a new 2-tier betting tax plan; and a review of the decision to double betting tax to 2% of turnover is now focusing on a dual-tax system that would see traditional betting shops pay 10% tax on gross profit. The proposal originated from the industry itself, which has warned of significant job losses and shop closures as a result of the doubling in betting tax on turnover.
MONEY LAUNDERING LAW PREVAILS OVER BANKRUPTCY ACT, INSOLVENCY CODE, SAYS DELHI HIGH COURT
On 14th April, the Financial Express reported that the Court has held that the money laundering law, PMLA, prevails over the Bankruptcy Act and insolvency code when it comes to attachment of properties obtained as “proceeds of crime”. The Court handed down the decision on appeals made by the Enforcement Directorate against the orders of money laundering Act’s appeal tribunal following applications by various banks. It had challenged the tribunal’s orders on the issue of third-party rights over a property attached by the agency. The tribunal had held that third parties, banks in this case, which have legitimately created rights such as a charge, lien or other encumbrances, have a superior claim over such properties. The High Court set aside the tribunal’s orders.
JAMAICANS “MASTERMINDS” OF CARICOM SKILLS CERTIFICATE FRAUD
The Gleaner on 14th April reported that Jamaicans are the main culprits in an emerging illicit scheme of Caribbean nationals submitting fraudulent skills certificate to obtain the right to work in CARICOM countries, an issue likely to inflame anti-free movement passions to the detriment of an already struggling integration movement. Up to 2018, some 168 fraudulent skills certificates were detected or seized in 6 CARICOM territories. Jamaicans were holders of the false documents in 167 cases, and the other case involved a Guyanese. 148 of the certificates were submitted in Trinidad and Tobago. Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, St Kitts-Nevis, and St Lucia were the other receiving countries.
BROTHER OF VIETNAM’S RICHEST MAN FACES ARREST FOR BRIBERY
The Star Online in Malaysia reported on 14th April that police in Vietnam have issued an arrest warrant for the brother of the country’s richest man for allegedly bribing officials in a telecoms scandal. Accused is Pham Nhat Vu, the former chairman of a television company Audio Visual Global (AVG), whose brother has a net worth of $7.6 billion, according to Forbes.
IRELAND: CENTRAL REGISTER OF BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP – IT’S TIME FOR CORPORATES TO GET READY
On 12th April, Matheson published an article saying that 2019 Regulations require that, with effect from 22nd June, certain entities must also file their beneficial ownership details on a central beneficial ownership register. Those entities affected are the same as are currently required to establish and hold such information. The article details the relevant requirements, timelines and access.
“‘ONEROUS’ FATF RECOMMENDATIONS HARMFUL FOR CRYPTO TRANSPARENCY”
On 14th April, Baker McKenzie reported that a public comment letter filed this week by blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis, in response to a draft recommendation by FATF, says that it is unrealistic and bad for the crypto industry to expect exchanges to send know-your-customer (KYC) information to recipient platforms with every transaction.
LEGAL AND PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS OF THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S DESIGNATION OF THE IRGC AS A FOREIGN TERRORIST ORGANISATION
On 12th April, an article from Akin Gump points out that the Iranian Republican Guard Corps is already subject to US sanctions due to a variety of illicit activity over the last decade, but now there will be criminal liability for both US and non-US persons who knowingly provide material support to the IRGC (or attempt or conspire to do so) including agents of the IRGC. It says that, because of the IRGC’s global reach, this action increases the need for heightened due diligence in transactions that may have direct or indirect connections with Iran, including IRGC-owned or-controlled entities anywhere in the world.
RUSSIANS IN VENEZUELA: WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR
On 4th April, the always interesting Bellingcat website produced a summary of what it (think it) knows about the presence of Russians in Venezuela.