UK: MONEY LAUNDERING SUPERVISION FOR ART MARKET PARTICIPANTS

On 7 February, HMRC published information to help one find out if you’re an art market participant and need to register with HMRC under the Money Laundering Regulations.  This follows implementation of the 5th EU AML Directive.  Those subject to control includes the operator of a freeport where the participant stores works of art in a freeport where the value for a person (or a series of linked persons) is €10,000 or more.  A freeport is a warehouse or storage facility within an area chosen by HM Treasury as a special area for customs purpose.  On the same day, HMRC also issued guidance on how to help prevent money laundering and terrorist financing for art market participants.  It includes information on customer due diligence (CDD), record-keeping and reporting suspicious activity.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/money-laundering-supervision-for-art-market-participants

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/art-market-participants-guidance-on-anti-money-laundering-supervision

PANAMA TAKES A TURN TOWARDS TRANSPARENCY, BUT WILL IT GO FAR ENOUGH?

An article on Medium on 4 February said that, in January, Panama took important steps towards a register that lists the real beneficiaries of companies in which a Panamanian lawyer, or a Panamanian law firm, provides the service of ‘resident agent’ – the role that Mossack Fonseca infamously played in thousands of companies inside and outside of Panama.  Unless the President of Panama partially or fully vetoes the Bill to create the new register, it will automatically come into effect.  However, the article says, questions remain about how effective the change will be.  It says that foreign states will not have direct access to the information (nor will be local police and judiciary in Panama): they will continue rely on exchange arrangements signed by Panama with specific counterparts or, for general cases, on lengthy mutual legal assistance requests every time a Panamanian company or a private foundation is involved in deals they are investigating.  Another point mentioned is that the custodian and administrator of the registry is not responsible for the truthfulness or accuracy of the information provided by the resident agent – nor, it seems, the resident agent either.  The resident agent may be liable for providing false information, but the penalty imposed is described as “very low” — only up to $10,000.

https://voices.transparency.org/panama-takes-a-turn-towards-transparency-but-will-it-go-far-enough-8643ea1c7c85

See also (in Spanish) –

http://barsallocarlos.blogspot.com/2020/01/panama-registro-privado-y-unico-de_39.html

OFAC ADDS CONVIASA AVIATION COMPANY AND LARGE NUMBER OF AIRCRAFT TO VENEZUELA SANCTIONS LISTS

On 7 February, OFAC announced that Venezuelan state-owned airline CONSORCIO VENEZOLANO DE INDUSTRIAS AERONAUTICAS Y SERVICIOS AEREOS, S.A. (aka CONVIASA) and 40 registered aircraft to the Venezuela sanctions lists.  CONVIASA operates as a commercial airline based in Caracas, Venezuela, flying both domestic routes as well as providing service to select international locations.

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20200207.aspx

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm903

EU AMENDS SOMALIA SANCTIONS

EU Regulation 2020/169/EU on 7 February amended Regulation 147/2003 to bring it into line with UN SCR 2498 (2019) which reaffirms a general and complete arms embargo on Somalia and amends the exemptions, advance approvals and notifications concerning the delivery of arms and related materials to Somalia.  Furthermore, the Resolution reaffirms the prohibition on the import of charcoal from Somalia and introduces restrictions on improvised explosive device components.

See also EU Council Decision 2020/170/CFSP.

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=OJ:L:2020:036:FULL&from=EN

GLOBAL SURVEY OF PRIVATE SECTOR REVEALS SIGNIFICANT PROLIFERATION FINANCE AND NORTH KOREA AND IRAN SANCTIONS IMPLEMENTATION GAPS

On 7 February, KYC 360 reported on a survey and report by RUSI, ACAMS and YouGov.  The survey of the global financial industry shows that international banks are leading efforts in counter-proliferation finance, with local and national banks at greater risk of being exploited by proliferators, such as North Korea.  It found that US banks are most exposed to proliferation risk from Iran and that few banks consult UN Panel of Experts Reports on North Korea, and that that international banks are likely to be more familiar with proliferation finance risk than national or regional ones.  Also worryingly, it found that 81% respondents think proliferation finance is primarily about the procurement and financing of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, rather than primarily about the proliferation efforts of specific state actors or non-state groups, and that survey respondents from the US are also less likely to be aware of and consult proliferation finance red flags, compared to other regions.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/global-survey-of-private-sector-reveals-significant-proliferation-finance-and-north-korea-and-iran-sanctions-implementation-gaps/

The survey and results are at –

https://rusi.org/PFSurvey2020

GHANA CHARGES EX-FINANCE MINISTER AFTER COLLAPSE OF BANK

On 7 February, KYC 360 reported that Ghanaian prosecutors charged a former finance minister for alleged crimes that contributed to the collapse of one of the West African nation’s biggest local lenders.  Kwabena Duffuor served as finance chief from 2009 to 2013, and was named along with 7 other individuals in connection with the collapse of Unibank Ghana Ltd, which was declared insolvent in August 2018.  A court filing also named Johnson Asiama, who served as a deputy governor of the Bank of Ghana until 2018, for granting a facility for the benefit of Unibank through another lender without following due procedure.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/ghana-charges-ex-finance-minister-after-collapse-of-bank/