ISLE OF MAN PUBLISHES NEW NATIONAL RISK ASSESSMENT OF MONEY LAUNDERING AND TERRORIST FINANCING

On 13 January, the Isle of Man advised of the publication of an updated NRA, which is a requirement of FATF.  As with the original NRA, it was carried out with cross-government participation and input from the private sector, but also builds upon the 2015 assessment and the findings and recommendations of the MONEYVAL Mutual Evaluation Report of 2016.  The NRA confirms the overall level of risk for the Island are that the money laundering risk remains “Medium-High” and the terrorism financing risk as “Medium-Low”.  Amongst the points mentioned is that –

  • the Customs and Excise Division of Treasury is engaging with OFSI in the UK new ‘Virtual Sanctions Network’ which has the aim of promoting dialogue and cooperation between the UK, the Crown Dependencies and the Overseas Territories;
  • reforms introduced by government, including increased investment, are taking effect. The reforms have been underpinned by strategy, policy and procedural development enabling the authorities to work together in a more collaborative and effective manner;
  • effective use needs to be made of new powers, procedures and resources that have been allocated to the authorities;
  • accuracy of the Beneficial Ownership database is tested by the FSA using a risk-based approach; however, the accuracy and completeness of identity and verification details on registration need to be reviewed;
  • the impact of the UK exit from the EU is currently unknown;
  • there has been a significant increase in casework for the Economic Crime Unit (ECU) from 34 cases in 2016/17 to 90 in 2018/19; the main predicate crimes for money laundering continue to be fraud, false accounting and deception. Two-thirds of the cases being investigated by the Economic Crime Unit arise from predicate offending outside the Island.

https://www.gov.im/news/2020/jan/13/isle-of-man-publishes-new-national-risk-assessment-of-money-laundering-and-terrorist-financing/

OFAC: ADDITIONAL VENEZUELA SANCTIONS LISTINGS AND AMENDMENT FOR CHINESE COMPANY PAMCHEL TRADING BEIJING CO LTD

On 13 January, OFAC announced the addition of 7 corrupt National Assembly officials to its Venezuelan sanctions list.  Those designated are said to have led a failed attempt to illegitimately seize control of the National Assembly and block interim President Juan Guaidó and other deputies.

It also announced the amendment of the entry for the recently-designated Chinese company said to be linked to Iranian activities.

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20200113.aspx

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm871

RUSSIAN OLIGARCHS LAUNDER DIRTY CASH IN UK COURTS USING “FAKE” TRIALS

On 13 January, KYC 360 reported on a report from the Henry Jackson Society which claimed that corrupt Russian oligarchs are bringing lawsuits in English courts to launder hundreds of millions of pounds in dirty money, with the “damages” paid over effectively becoming laundered funds.  It is said that oligarchs agree to sue each other in the English courts with the payment of damages being used to launder their funds, and they can also arrange to bring cases against themselves using sham companies.  In a foreword to the report, a prominent English QC says that the scale of Russian interference in the English judiciary is such that it now constitutes a “critical national security threat”.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/oligarchs-launder-dirty-cash-in-uk-courts/

https://henryjacksonsociety.org/publications/russian-kleptocracy-and-the-rule-of-law-how-the-kremlin-undermines-european-judicial-systems/

OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JANUARY 12

12th January 2020

 UK: WORKERS HIT BY CONSTRUCTION FRAUD PROBE

On 11 January, Click Liverpool reported that construction workers in Liverpool are facing a difficult time finding work after 2 high-profile projects were halted following a fraud probe after Elliott Lawless, the founder of the Elliot Group, was arrested along with a senior official at Liverpool council as part of a fraud investigation.

https://www.clickliverpool.com/business/36797-workers-hit-by-liverpool-construction-fraud-probe/

“LIFE-LONG CRIMINAL” CONVICTED OF HIS ROLE IN A PLOT TO IMPORT 96 LETHAL FIREARMS INTO THE UK

On 6 January, UK Haulier carried an article saying that Steven Spires, 37, from Slough has been convicted of his role in a plot to import 96 lethal firearms into the UK following an investigation by the joint NCA and Metropolitan Police Organised Crime Partnership (OCP).  This followed a retrial, after his original conviction in 2018.  He and 2 others were prosecuted following a discovery in 2017 of 79 handguns and thousands of rounds of ammunition by UK Border Force officers based at Coqeulles, France,

https://www.ukhaulier.co.uk/news/road-transport/crime/life-long-criminal-imported-lethal-handguns-into-uk/

PROTECTING LAW FIRM AND CLIENT FUNDS FROM CYBERCRIMINALS

In its 13 January edition, the Law Society Gazette published an article asking how can you avoid falling foul to a phishing scam and how can you mitigate the threat of cybercrime? It provides tips on improved security, including over passwords.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/features/protecting-your-funds-from-cybercriminals/5102637.article

INDIAN MAN ADMITS US CALL CENTRE FRAUD STEALING MILLIONS

On 12 January, the Desiblitz website reported that an Indian man has pleaded guilty in the US for his role in a multi-million dollar call centre fraud that targeted Americans.

Hitesh Madhubhai Patel, 43, is said to have played a prominent role in operating and funding the India-based call centres 2013-16.  Singapore authorities apprehended the Indian man, pursuant to a provisional arrest warrant in September 2018, after he flew there from India, and in 2019 extradited him to the US.

https://www.desiblitz.com/content/indian-man-admits-us-call-centre-fraud-stealing-millions

CROSS-BORDER OPERATION TARGETS PEOPLE-TRAFFICKING NETWORK USING GIBRALTAR AS GATEWAY TO EUROPE

The Gibraltar Chronicle on 12 January reported that police in Gibraltar and Spain have arrested 47 people suspected of involvement in a people-trafficking network that allegedly used Gibraltar as a gateway into mainland Europe from Morocco.

The operation began in late 2018 and involved months of surveillance and investigation in Spain and Gibraltar.  Arrests have taken place over the last 9 months.  The gang is said to have used UK short-stay tourist visas in Morocco with which migrants then travelled to Gibraltar by plane or ferry, later to be driven into Spain overland.

https://www.chronicle.gi/cross-border-operation-targets-people-trafficking-network-using-gibraltar-as-gateway-to-europe/

TRIAL OF FORMER IAAF PRESIDENT LAMINE DIACK SET TO OPEN IN PARIS

Inside the Games website on 12 January reported that disgraced former International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) President Lamine Diack, 86, faces prison if convicted at a trial beginning in Paris, where he stands accused of corruption, influence-trafficking and money laundering.  Allegations relate to payments made to companies connected to Diack and his son Papa Massata – who will not appear at the trial because he refuses to be extradited from Senegal but could be convicted in absentia.  It says that former Russian Athletics Federation President Valentin Balakhnichev and Alexei Melnikov, the former head Russian athletics distance coach, are also due to stand trial but have refused to cooperate with the long-running French investigation.

https://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1089052/diack-trial-to-start-in-paris

 

EMAIL PAYMENT FRAUDS – STAYING ONE STEP AHEAD

On 9 January, a briefing from HFW says that email payment frauds (aka business email compromise, or BEC, fraud) are becoming more elaborate and can have a heavy financial cost for those that fall victim to them.  In this briefing, the law firm examines what businesses can do to prevent themselves becoming a victim to these frauds and to recover money paid out if they do fall victim to such a fraud.  It says that the best protection against fraudulent emails is to identify them prior to making payment.  They will often appear genuine at first glance but there are measures, which are outlined in the briefing, which, if actioned, can increase your chances of identifying a fraudulent email.  However, if money is paid out into a fraudulent account, recovery is still possible in various jurisdictions, provided that you act promptly, the briefing says – and it looks at recovery in the UK and in Switzerland.

https://www.hfw.com/Email-payment-frauds-staying-one-step-ahead-Jan-20

CC_BECareful_screens_sep19_EN_02_1

https://www.interpol.int/en/Crimes/Financial-crime/Business-Email-Compromise-Fraud

CC_BECareful_screens_sep19_EN_02_3