FRANCE AND PANAMA TO LAUNCH BILATERAL BODY TO FIGHT TAX EVASION

Rfi reported on 20th August that France and Panama have signed a bilateral agreement to create a group designed to curb tax fraud.  The agreement includes creating a special group that will meet twice a year to improve the exchange of fiscal information.  While France and Panama already implement double taxation agreements, Paris is not satisfied with the information exchange.  Panama is considered a tax haven by France, and is included on its list of tax-dodging countries.

http://en.rfi.fr/france/20190820-tax-evasion-bilateral-group-created-france-and-panama-minister

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FATF: CONSOLIDATED SCHEDULE OF AML/CFT ASSESSMENT RATINGS

On 20th August, following the publication of follow-up reports on Myanmar, Fiji, Cambodia and Bangladesh, FATF published an updated consolidated schedule of AML/CFT assessment ratings.

http://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/4th-Round-Ratings.pdf

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FATF: ASSESSMENT FOLLOW-UP REPORTS ON MYANMAR, FIJI, CAMBODIA AND BANGLADESH

On 20th August, FATF published follow-up reports for 4 countries which have been subject to mutual evaluation reports on their AML/CFT systems –

Note that the reports deal with technical compliance and NOT effectiveness ratings.

Myanmar – 1st follow-up report from the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) on Myanmar, which was placed in enhanced follow-up following its MER of October 2018.  Myanmar requested re-ratings of Recommendations: 7, 14, 19 and 24 (which were rated NC); and 1, 10, 13, 26, 36 and 37 (which were rated PC).   APG has welcomed the steps that Myanmar has taken to improve its technical compliance with 1, 7, 10, 13, 14, 19, 24, 26, 36 and 37; and, as a result of this progress, Myanmar has been re-rated on Recommendations 1 and 19.  However, insufficient progress has been made to justify a re-rating of 7, 10, 13, 14, 24, 26, 36 and 37.  Myanmar will remain on enhanced (expedited) follow-up, and will continue to report back to the APG on progress to strengthen its implementation of AML/CFT measures.

myanmar

Fiji – 3rd follow-up report from the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) on Fiji, which had its MER published in September 2016.  Fiji requested re-rating of Recommendation 33, which was rated PC in the MER.   The APG has welcomed the steps that Fiji has taken to improve its technical compliance with R.33 and, as a result of this progress, Fiji has been re-rated to “Compliant” with R.33.  Fiji will remain on enhanced follow-up, and will continue to report back to the APG on progress to strengthen its implementation of AML/CFT measures.

fiji1

fiji 2

Cambodia – 2nd (enhanced and expedited) follow-up report from the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) on Cambodia followed the MER of July 2017 and given the results of the MER, Cambodia was placed in enhanced (expedited) follow-up.  Cambodia requested re-ratings of 14 Recommendations: Recommendation 7 (which was rated NC); Recommendations 1, 2, 8, 16, 19, 22, 26, 28, 33, 34 and 37 (which were rated PC); and Recommendations 6 and 30 (which were rated LC).   The review team concluded that progress to LC had been made on 2 of the 12 Recommendations rated NC or PC (Recommendations 19 and 34), but that insufficient progress had been made to justify re-ratings on the other Recommendations.  Cambodia will remain on enhanced (expedited) follow-up, and will continue to report back to the APG on progress to strengthen its implementation of AML/CFT measures.

cambodia

Bangladesh – 3rd follow-up report from the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) on Bangladesh followed the MER of September 2016, following which Bangladesh was placed on enhanced follow-up.  Bangladesh requested re-ratings in 2018 for 5 Recommendations (Recommendations: 16, 18, 19, 26 and 34).  However, the July 2018 APG Annual meeting concluded that insufficient progress was made to justify a re-rating of these Recommendations.  This year Bangladesh requested re-ratings of the following Recommendations: 9, 16, 18, 26 and 34 (which were rated PC).  APG has welcomed the steps that Bangladesh has taken to improve its technical compliance with 9, 16, 18, 26 and 34 and as a result of this progress Bangladesh has been re-rated on all of these Recommendations.  Bangladesh will remain on enhanced follow-up, and will continue to report back to the APG on progress to strengthen its implementation of AML/CFT measures.

bangladesh

http://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/reports/fur/APG-Follow-Up-Report-Myanmar-2019.pdf

http://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/content/images/APG-Follow-Up-Report-Fiji-2019.pdf

http://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/reports/fur/APG-Follow-Up-Report-Cambodia-2019.pdf

http://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/content/images/APG-Follow-Up-Report-Bangladesh-2019.pdf

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EU ADDS 2 NAMES TO ISIL/AL-QAIDA SANCTIONS LIST

EU Regulation 2019/1353/EU of 20th August formally added ALI MAYCHOU and BAH AG MOUSSA to its ISIL/Al-Qaida sanctions list, following the decision of the relevant UN sanctions committee on 14th August.

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2019.217.01.0001.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2019:217:TOC

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FATF BUSINESS BULLETIN – COMMENT ON GREECE AND HONG KONG EVALUATIONS AND ICELAND FOLLOW-UP REPORT

On 19th August, FATF released its latest Business Bulletin.  In it it says that –

Greece – the June Plenary concluded that Greece has a sound legal framework to support effective action against money laundering and terrorist financing, but that the country needs to improve its prosecution of these crimes, the supervision of its designated non-financial professions and businesses and NPO sector, and the confiscation of proceeds of crime.

Hong Kong – the June Plenary discussed the joint APG-FATF assessment of Hong Kong and concluded that the jurisdiction has a strong legal foundation to underpin its AML/CFT regime.  It understands its risks, has effective measures in place to combat terrorist financing and to confiscate the proceeds of crime, and actively cooperates with international partners.  However, it needs to prioritise efforts to prosecute ML linked to foreign predicates, increase risk understanding and AML/CFT implementation by smaller institutions, and strengthen supervisory measures for some sectors.

The evaluation reports on Greece and Hong Kong are due in September.

Iceland – the June Plenary discussed the progress that Iceland has made since its mutual evaluation report was adopted last year.  It agreed to re-rate Iceland on a number of FATF Recommendations to reflect the country’s current level of technical compliance.  After a quality and consistency review, FATF will publish the follow-up report which sets out the actions that Iceland has taken to strengthen the effectiveness of its measures to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism and proliferation.

http://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/bulletin/FATF-Business-Bulletin-July-2019.pdf

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ISO 37002 – BEST PRACTICES IN WHISTLEBLOWING MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

On 14th August, WhistleB published an article saying that, since 2018, an international group of experts has been working together to develop ISO 37002, a new global standard with best practices for developing and implementing an effective and responsive whistleblowing management system.  The article sets out to answer some of the questions most commonly asked in relation to ISO 37002 – without getting into the details of the standard itself.

https://whistleb.com/blog-news/iso-37002-best-practices-in-whistleblowing-management-systems/

See also the firm’s blog post from February providing more detail on ISO 37002 –

https://whistleb.com/blog-news/iso-37002-whistleblowing-management-systems-the-new-global-standard-on-organisational-whistleblowing/

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SYNTHETIC DRUGS WILL CHANGE THE GLOBAL DRUG TRADE FOREVER

An excellent article on the Vice website on 20th August says that a new era of toxic, man-made highs could “dissolve” national boundaries and transform the global drug trade.  It says that much of the fight against illegal drugs involves the idea of keeping drugs “out” of a country, entirely built around how drugs have traditionally been produced and sold, with much of the global drug economy is truly global – needing opium from Afghanistan, cocaine from South America etc.  Most drugs seized by national authorities are interdicted at the border, not by police on the streets.  However, the article warns, the whole concept that underpins the global drug trade — authorities tighten the border, traffickers find new ways around it — is being challenged by a new way of doing things.  Drug policy experts and law enforcement have all recorded a boom time for synthetic drugs, which are made entirely in labs that often mimic the effects of plant-based drugs, but which are being mass-produced in chemical factories, marketed online, and often smuggled undercover via the global postal system.  Manufactured anywhere, from DIY bathroom labs to huge chemical factories, synthetic drugs are cheaper and easier to make than cocaine and heroin because there is no reliance on the cultivation of plants.  It provides examples from many parts of the world, then looks at the biggest source – China – and the impact in the US, particularly the synthetic opioid Fentanyl.  One thing the article highlights is that banning synthetic drugs means banning specific chemical formulas, which has produced a toxic game of “whack-a-mole” where a drug’s chemistry has been tweaked to sidestep the law, making the resulting product increasingly toxic and unpredictable.  The article concludes that if current trends continue, the production, sale, and consumption of synthetic drugs could eclipse that of plant-based drugs.  Borders would become even less relevant to traffickers and their profits while compromising law enforcement’s ability to monitor or regulate drug supply via seizures at borders.

https://www.vice.com/en_in/article/gyzx57/synthetic-drugs-could-change-the-global-drug-trade-forever-v26n3

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