26th December 2019
UK POLICE DROP INQUIRY INTO $4 BILLION ONECOIN SWINDLE
On 26 December, KYC 360 reported that City of London police have confirmed to The Times that its investigation into OneCoin, whose founders are thought to have stolen £4 billion in total and whose operations were partly run from London, has been concluded with no arrests or prosecutions.
HOW US SANCTIONS COULD HIT RUSSIA’S NORD STREAM GAS PROJECT
On 26 December, KYC 360 published a short article from Reuters containing an explanation of why the US move may have come too late.
IUU FISHING: PANAMA’S YELLOW CARD REINSTATED
On 25 December, Maritime Executive reported that the re-imposition of the yellow warning card against Panama is unprecedented, since no country has had a warning reinstated once it has been lifted, and it sends an important message to all exporting countries that progress on tackling illegal fishing must continue after the card is lifted. The warning that could lead to seafood import bans to the EU – was issued in November 2012 for inadequate monitoring of their fishing fleets or waters, neglecting to impose sanctions on illegal operators, and failing to develop robust fisheries laws. Panama imposed new laws and improved processes and the card was lifted in 2014.
CHINA TARGETS TIGHTER CONTROLS ON ITS GROWING ARMS TRADE
On 25 December, Yahoo News carried a report from the South China Morning Post saying that China is set to introduce legislation to tighten control over the country’s opaque sales of arms and nuclear technology, as it becomes a bigger player in the global weapons trade. Exporters would have to establish an internal compliance review system to ensure the items were properly used; there would also be a blacklist of importers who violated end-use terms, endangered national security, or used controlled items for terrorism. Government agencies would also assess buyers and take corresponding risk control measures, including banning exports to those countries.
US STATE DEPARTMENT PUBLISHES LONG-AWAITED ITAR RULE ON ENCRYPTION AND OTHER EXCLUDED ACTIVITIES
On 24 December, Steptoe & Johnson published an article saying that on December 26 the State Department was to publish a long-awaited rule amending the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) by providing a definition of activities that are not exports, re-exports, retransfers or temporary imports. This definition is said to provide much-needed guidance on whether and under what circumstances end-to-end encrypted technical data is controlled under the ITAR. The proposed effective date of the new final rule is set to be March 25. ITAR lists 5 activities that are not considered exports or other “controlled events” that would otherwise require a licence or approval.
WORKING PAPER ON MONEY LAUNDERING AND FINANCING OF TERRORISM RISKS IN ISLAMIC BANKING
On 26 December, Zawya reported that the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) has announced a joint paper titled ‘Joint Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) – Arab Monetary Funds (AMF) Working Paper on Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism Risks in Islamic Banking’. The 2 groups aimed to examine AML/CFT methods, trends and typologies as specifically related to Islamic banking, and attempted to address whether there is any evidence that ML/FT risks in Islamic banking are indeed different from those that arise in conventional banking. The Working Paper is said to be a response to risks which might emanate from the intrinsic characteristics of instruments and arrangements used in Islamic banking, or from the nature of the contractual relationship between Islamic banks and their customers. It is said that the paper discusses survey responses received from banking regulatory and supervisory authorities and does not find any significant difference in the risks between conventional and Islamic banking. The Working Paper includes a useful glossary of terms used in Islamic banking.
The IFSB is an international standard-setting organisation that promotes and enhances the soundness and stability of the Islamic financial services industry by issuing global prudential standards and guiding principles for the industry. The UAE-based AMF promotes development and trade among member countries and helps directing financial strategies by establishing policies and modes for co-operation.
IN CANADA, NEARLY ALL ACCUSED MONEY LAUNDERERS GET THEIR CHARGES DROPPED
An article in The Star in Canada on 26 December said that white-collar criminals have little to fear from the Canadian judicial system, in which nearly all money laundering charges get thrown out before trial, according to statistics obtained by the Star; with 86% of charges for laundering the proceeds of crime laid between 2012 and 2017 withdrawn or stayed. Only 9% of money laundering charges during that period resulted in a guilty plea or a conviction – while 64% of all criminal cases in Canada during the same period resulted in a guilty finding.
PERCENTAGE OF RESPONDENTS WHO WERE ASKED OR HAD TO PAY A BRIBE IN THE LAST 12 MONTHS IN PANAMA BETWEEN 2016 AND 2019
An article on the Statista website reported that, in a survey carried out between 2018 and 2019, nearly 16% of respondents in Panama said that they had been asked or had to pay a bribe in different interactions with public and private authorities (police officers, government employees, schools, hospitals, at work, among others) – a rise of 2% over the survey results in 2016 and 2017.
ANTI-BRIBERY AND CORRUPTION LAWS – COMPARISON OF COUNTRIES’ LAWS
A fascinating website tool from Dentons allows one to select 1, 2 or 3 countries, and any or all key points to view/compare key points in the selected territories.
BRIBERY SCANDAL CASTS SHADOW ON JAPAN’S CASINO POLICY
On 26 December, Reuters provided an “Explainer” saying that prosecutors have arrested a ruling-party lawmaker previously in charge of casino policy on suspicion he accepted bribes from a company seeking to build a casino.
AUTHORITIES IN TAIWAN DISRUPT AN UNAUTHORISED ONLINE GAMBLING OPERATION AND “LARGEST KNOWN” UNDERGROUND BANKING NETWORK MOVING MONEY FROM THE CHINESE MAINLAND
On 26 December, Calvin Ayre reported on coordinated raids on 72 locations in multiple cities, including the capital Taipei, searching for evidence of underground banking and illegal gambling. This followed disruption in August of an underground banking network that the authorities believe was an offshoot of the main network.
CAMBODIA’S CASINOS TOLD TO HALT THEIR ONLINE GAMBLING OPERATIONS BY JANUARY 1
On 26 December, Calvin Ayre reported that government officials would conduct inspections of local casino operators to ensure they are complying with Prime Minister Hun Sen’s August directive, which declared that no new online licences would be issued and that existing licences wouldn’t be renewed when they expired at the end of this year.