On 1st April, Malta Today reported that the government has authorised the publication of a report on Malta drawn up by the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), the Justice Ministry said. The government faced criticism for not having agreed to the publication of the report, which was leaked at the weekend.
Following publication of the MER on the Cayman Islands, FATF issued an updated schedule of consolidated ratings on 1st April.
On 1st April, FATF published the mutual evaluation report on the Cayman Islands prepared by the regional FATF-style body, CFATF. The on-site visit for the evaluation took place in December 2017. The report says that there are some important deficiencies within the technical compliance framework. Shortcomings in the area of simplified measures, reliance on third parties, higher risk countries inter alia, represent deficiencies that have the potential to weaken the jurisdiction’s AML/CFT regime from meeting expectations standards if left unaddressed. Some deficiencies identified in technical compliance are considered serious, and lack of adequate implementation in some cases were considered major shortcomings in effectiveness.
In an article dated 1st April about the settlement between OFAC and Stanley Black & Decker Inc and its foreign subsidiary, Jiangsu Guoqiang Tools Co Ltd, Wilmer Hale said that the enforcement action and ensuing settlement agreement are particularly notable for 2 reasons –
- on the settlement agreement, OFAC has provided significant guidance on what it appears to consider to be best practices in maintaining a risk-based sanctions compliance programme. Although it was unusual for OFAC to communicate that guidance in a settlement agreement, the firm says it expects that OFAC’s compliance and enforcement guidance will increasingly take that form; and
- the action hints at the trends that OFAC enforcement actions may follow in 2019.
It says that OFAC identified 5 overarching elements that are the pillars of what constitutes an effective compliance programme –
- management commitment;
- risk assessment;
- internal controls;
- testing and audit; and
The article says that the enforcement action is also consistent with the general increase in the ratio of OFAC enforcement actions against non-financial institutions.7 We expect that these trends will continue in 2019, particularly in the context of the US escalation of pressure on Iran and parties that transact with Iran.
Radio New Zealand reported on 1st April that Victor Rory had appeared in court after he was found guilty of the charges, which relate to money from the European Development Fund, being convicted on 20 counts of obtaining money by deception and money laundering. A Commission of Inquiry found $875,000 is still unaccounted for, and Victor Rory is the first conviction that stemmed from the scandal, but the inquiry recommended that more than 20 people be investigated.
Coindesk on 1st April reported that Canadian police have frozen assets owned by the founders of blockchain services company Vanbex, as part of a fraud investigation into a 2017 initial coin offering that raised $22 million.
On 29th March, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP published an article saying that the OECD Working Group on Bribery (Working Group) published its “Phase 4 Two-Year Follow-Up Report” on the UK implementation of the OECD anti-bribery convention. The Working Group’s report follows the written responses the UK submitted in March 2019 to the OECD’s “Phase 4” evaluation in March 2017. The report expresses some concern at the low level of finalised and ongoing foreign bribery enforcement cases in the UK, given the size of the UK economy. However, the Working Group welcomed the adoption of the Criminal Finances Act 2017, which grants new powers to the UK FIU. The UK has to report back report back by March 2021 on outstanding recommendations, and will make annual update reports.
The report is at –