OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MARCH 31

Panama Covid-19 update – Too early for government news conference, so no details of today’s figures on new cases etc.  Last day before new, tighter lockdown rules start tomorrow – when only 2 hours every other day allowed.  However, can still get some exercise using cross-trainer and ab bench machine, on the veranda downstairs, while watching the hummingbirds and other exotic birds in the garden.  Makes me more aware, despite being (sort of) “stranded” here, I am in a far better situation than many others.  Trying to stay positive and keep busy, which I guess is the secret.

31 March 2020

OVER 500 NORTH KOREAN WORKERS REMAIN IN RUSSIA

On 30 March, NK News reported that 511 labourers reportedly stranded in Russia, having had their work permits revoked, Russia said, in line with the country’s obligations under UN SCR Resolution 2397.

https://www.nknews.org/2020/03/over-five-hundred-north-korean-workers-remain-in-russia-government-says/

 

INSTEX HAS SUCCESSFULLY CONCLUDED ITS FIRST TRANSACTION, FACILITATING THE EXPORT OF MEDICAL GOODS FROM EUROPE TO IRAN

A news release from the FCO on 31 March advised that France, Germany and UK confirm that INSTEX has successfully concluded its first transaction, facilitating the export of medical goods from Europe to Iran. These goods are now in Iran.  INSTEX is a mechanism designed to continue the supply of necessary goods to Iran, despite US sanctions.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/instex-successfully-concludes-first-transaction

https://www.dw.com/en/europe-and-iran-complete-first-instex-deal-dodging-us-sanctions/a-52966842

 

ISLE OF MAN: CHANGES REGARDING THE REGISTRATION AND REGULATION CHARITIES

On 31 March, a news release in the Isle of Man advised that the changes affecting Manx-registered charities come into effect from 1 April.  The Charities Registration and Regulations Act 2019 come fully into force on 1 April, as well as the Charities Regulations 2020, and the implementation of the Act will impact on all Manx registered charities.

https://www.gov.im/news/2020/mar/31/changes-regarding-the-registration-and-regulation-of-manx-registered-charities-will-come-into-force-from-1-april-2020/

 

US RENEWS WAIVERS ALLOWING FOREIGN FIRMS TO WORK AT IRANIAN NUCLEAR SITES

The Jewish News Syndicate and others on 30 March reported that the US State Department had announced that it has extended temporary waivers to continue allowing Russian, Chinese and European companies to keep operating at Iranian nuclear facilities.  The waivers affect the Arak and Bushehr facilities, and the Tehran Research Reactor, where the fuel is provided by Russia, which also removes the facility’s spent fuel after it’s used in the reactor.

https://www.jns.org/us-renews-waivers-allowing-foreign-firms-to-work-at-iranian-nuclear-sites/

 

MORE THAN 10,000 AIRCRAFT HAVE BEEN MOTHBALLED SINCE THE START OF THE CRISIS

On 31 March, EurActiv reported that airlines are scrambling to find parking spots as the coronavirus outbreak slashes demand for air travel, as quarantine measures and border closures have cut air traffic by up to 90% in places.  40% of the global commercial fleet were out of service, with Europe’s runways and aprons hosting the most of any continent, across 210 airports.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/aviation/news/airlines-hunt-for-parking-spaces-as-virus-grounds-flights/

 

EU FINALISES ITS OPERATION IRINI TO ENFORCE LIBYA ARMS EMBARGO

On 31 March, EurActiv carried an article saying that the EU will begin its operation in which ships will operate in the eastern Mediterranean, with authority to stop and board ships suspected of breaching the UN arms embargo.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/global-europe/news/eu-finalises-operation-irini-to-enforce-libya-arms-embargo/

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/fr/press/press-releases/2020/03/31/eu-launches-operation-irini-to-enforce-libya-arms-embargo/

 

TURKEY’S HALKBANK PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO HELPING IRAN EVADE US SANCTIONS

On 31 March, The National in UAE, and others, reported that Turkey’s state-owned Halkbank has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges in a US federal court over accusations that it helped Iran evade US sanctions.  Halkbank is charged with embezzlement, conspiracy, money laundering, fraud and helping Iran evade sanctions.  The bank is being accused of running a “brazen scheme” between 2012 and 2016 to evade US sanctions on Iran.  Among those involved is Turkish-Iranian business mogul Reza Zarrab, who is accused of bribing senior Turkish officials, including a member of Mr Erdogan’s cabinet, to help evade sanctions via Halkbank.

https://www.thenational.ae/world/the-americas/turkey-s-halkbank-pleads-not-guilty-to-helping-iran-evade-us-sanctions-1.999945

 

MEXICO BUSTS FORMER PEMEX CHIEF FOR GRAFT

On 31 March, OCCRP reported that authorities in Mexico have reportedly arrested a former public official accused of embezzling more than $1 million from the country’s corruption-riddled state-owned oil company.  OCCRP says that local reports have identified the man as Luis Alberto Núñez Santander, former deputy director of operations at Pemex Logistics.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/11968-mexico-busts-former-pemex-chief-for-graft

 

IRELAND: OVER 25% INCREASE IN REPORTED FRAUD OFFENCES IN 2019

On 31 March, RTE reported that the annual crime statistics show that reported cases of fraud increased by more than 25% to almost 8,000 last year, more than 20 a day.  There has also been an increase in drugs and gun crime, attempted murders and sexual offences.

https://www.rte.ie/news/crime/2020/0331/1127548-crime-cso-2019/

 

JAPAN BUSINESSMAN PAID $8.2 MILLION BY TOKYO OLYMPICS BID LOBBIED FIGURE AT CENTRE OF FRENCH CORRUPTION PROBE

On 30 March, Reuters reported that a businessman who received millions of dollars for his work on Tokyo’s successful campaign to host the 2020 Olympics said he played a key role in securing the support of a former Olympics powerbroker suspected by French prosecutors of taking bribes to help Japan’s bid.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-olympics-2020-lobbying-exclusive/exclusive-japan-businessman-paid-8-2-million-by-tokyo-olympics-bid-lobbied-figure-at-centre-of-french-corruption-probe-idUKKBN21I0D1

 

UK: CONSULTATION ON EXPANDING THE DORMANT ASSETS SCHEME – DEADLINE EXTENDED

A news release from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport on 31 March advised that the deadline for submissions on the consultation in order to gather views on its proposals to expand the dormant assets scheme to include new financial assets has been extended.  The new deadline is 16 July.  The public consultation follows 2 industry-led reports, which made a series of recommendations on broadening the current scheme beyond bank and building society accounts to include assets from the insurance and pensions, investment and wealth management, and securities sectors.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-on-expanding-the-dormant-assets-scheme

 

UK BAN ON RECREATIONAL FLYING

On 31 March, the UK Department for Transport issued guidance saying that government guidance on coronavirus precludes recreational general aviation flying.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-recreational-general-aviation/coronavirus-covid-19-recreational-general-aviation

 

UK WAIVES DUTIES AND VAT ON VITAL MEDICAL IMPORTS

On 31 March, HM Treasury advised that the Chancellor has waived import taxes on vital medical equipment including ventilators, coronavirus testing kits and protective clothing.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/chancellor-waives-duties-and-vat-on-vital-medical-imports

 

US BLOCKS TELECOM COMPANIES FROM FACILITATING ROBOCALL FRAUD

On 31 March, OCCRP reported that the DoJ has issued injunctions barring 2 telecom carriers from facilitating robocalls that led to people paying millions to fraudsters for solving made-up legal predicaments.  They follow the first-ever DoJ complaints against robocall companies.  It is said that, through the voice over internet protocol (VOIP) services offered by the companies involved, international call centres were able to forward robocalls to victims in the US.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/11965-us-blocks-telecom-companies-from-facilitating-robocall-fraud

 

UK: A STEP CLOSER TO PROSECUTIONS OF SUPPLIERS OF DRUGS FOR MANSLAUGHTER

A paper on 20 March from St Pauls Chambers considered a recent case where a person was convicted of manslaughter where the person who died was a 21 year old who suffered a number of mental disorders, bulimia nervosa, unstable personality disorder, depression and features of dependence syndrome.  The defendant had supplied her with 2.4 Dinitrophenol (DNP) over the internet. She had consumed a number of capsules of DNP.  The paper explains that DNP is technically classified as a food supplement, and the prosecution was for an offence under the Food Hygiene (England) Regulations for placing an unsafe food on the market intended or reasonably expected for human consumption, as well as 2 counts of manslaughter, unlawful act and gross negligence manslaughter.  The defendant was convicted on all counts, but appealed the manslaughter convictions and that appeal was allowed.  The Court of Appeal held that placing the product on the market was not sufficiently proximate to the victim’s death to provide a basis of an unlawful act manslaughter charge.  A retrial was directed in respect of the gross negligence manslaughter charge.  On 9 March, the defendant was convicted of gross negligence manslaughter, and the paper examines the background, details and implications of the case.

https://www.stpaulschambers.com/the-supply-of-dnp-that-resulted-in-a-manslaughter-conviction/

 

NEW ZEALAND – RECKLESS AND INSOLVENT TRADING: TIME TO ALLOW DIRECTORS SOME BREATHING SPACE?

On 31 March, an article from Dentons Kensington Swan says that current New Zealand law provides that directors are obliged not to continue trading in a reckless or insolvent manner. It says that several countries (including Australia and the UK) have decided that some of the obligations on directors in respect of reckless or insolvent trading should be relaxed in the current circumstances, where even a fundamentally sound business may face serious cashflow problems.  The article asks if New Zealand will take the same approach?

https://www.dentons.co.nz/en/insights/articles/2020/march/31/reckless-and-insolvent-trading-time-to-allow-directors-some-breathing-space

21291

https://www.statista.com/chart/21291/countries-targeted-most-by-malicious-coronavirus-spam

 

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US BLOCKS TELECOM COMPANIES FROM FACILITATING ROBOCALL FRAUD

On 31 March, OCCRP reported that the DoJ has issued injunctions barring 2 telecom carriers from facilitating robocalls that led to people paying millions to fraudsters for solving made-up legal predicaments.  They follow the first-ever DoJ complaints against robocall companies.  It is said that, through the voice over internet protocol (Voip) services offered by the companies involved, international call centres were able to forward robocalls to victims in the US.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/11965-us-blocks-telecom-companies-from-facilitating-robocall-fraud

 

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FATF: US AML/CFT ASSESSMENT FOLLOW-UP REPORT

On 31 March, FATF issued the 3rd follow-up report following the 2016 mutual evaluation report on the AML/CFT systems of the US.  As a result of improvements, FATF has decided to upgrade its rating for FATF Recommendation 10 (Customer Due Diligence) – from Partially Compliant to Largely Compliant.  Like many other countries, the US has been in the enhanced follow-up process since 2016.  The new report also looks at whether the United States’ measures meet the requirements of FATF Recommendations that have changed since the 2016 mutual evaluation.  The US is now compliant on 9 of the 40 FATF Recommendations and largely compliant on 22 of them.  It remains partially compliant on 5 and not compliant on 4 of them. The US remains in enhanced follow-up and will report back to the FATF on progress to strengthen its systems.  As with such follow-up reports, only the technical compliance ratings are considered – not the effectiveness ratings.

US

http://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/reports/fur/Follow-Up-Report-United-States-March-2020.pdf

 

 

 

 

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OFSI IMPOSES £20 MILLION SANCTIONS PENALTY ON STANDARD CHARTERED BANK

In the UK, the Office for Financial Sanctions Implementation reports that it has imposed combined penalties of £20,471,809.83 on the bank.  The decision to impose the penalties was upheld by Economic Secretary to HM Treasury on 18 February.  The 2 penalties are imposed for breaches of the Ukraine (European Union Financial Sanctions) (No.3) Regulations 2014.  The penalties take into account a 30% reduction for voluntary disclosure.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/876971/200331_-_SCB_Penalty_Report.pdf

 

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MARCH 30

Panama Covid-19 update – Well, we’ve been behaving ourselves, but others obviously have not – with over 2,000 arrests for curfew/isolation contraventions in 24 hours.  We are up to 1,075 confirmed cases now, adding 89 in the last 24 hours, with 27 fatalities.  These figures are bad enough, but could be worse, especially if people don’t follow the rules.  Hence, from 1 April the lockdown is tightened again.  Instead of 2 hours per day, you are allowed 2 hours every other day – again based on your ID card or passport number or whether male or female (my slot is 0630-0830, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday) – although over-60s can use the 1100-1300 time slot to shop and visit pharmacies.  But Sunday will be a total, all-day lockdown.

30 March 2020

ROSNEFT PLANS TO SELL ALL ASSETS RELATED TO VENEZUELA

On 28 March, the Wall Street Journal reported that the comes weeks after Trump administration added a subsidiary of Rosneft to its financial blacklist for allegedly helping Venezuela sell its oil in violation of US sanctions.  Rosneft said it halt all Venezuelan-related activities.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/russias-rosneft-plans-to-sell-all-assets-related-to-venezuela-11585422401

 

RISING NUMBERS OF IRANIANS ARE USING A SANCTIONS-BUSTING SCHEME TO BUY PROPERTY IN TURKEY AND CLAIM CITIZENSHIP

On 30 March, KYC 360 reported that, using a network of money transfer offices, mostly in Istanbul, they are able to move funds out of accounts in Iran, even though US embargoes have severed the country’s banks from international payment networks.  It says that smuggled Iranian chip-and-pin machines connect the Istanbul offices with Tehran banks, and the system mostly serves Iranian tourists and the 67,000 Iranian citizens living in Turkey, but other users use it for bigger purchases.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/iranians-buy-turkish-homes-and-passports/

 

MUTUAL LEGAL ASSISTANCE: UK SUPREME COURT – DECISION TO PROVIDE INFORMATION TO US TO FACILITATE PROSECUTION FOR CRIMES CARRYING THE DEATH PENALTY UNLAWFUL

On 26 March, Simons Muirhead & Burton published an article saying that the Supreme Court held that the UK Government had acted unlawfully in providing or agreeing to provide material to the US, without seeking assurances that the death penalty would not be imposed.  The decision related to 2 men who were alleged to be part of a group of terrorists operating in Syria, involved in the murder of British and US citizens.

https://smab.co.uk/supreme-court-finds-governments-decision-unlawful/

 

HOW TO KEEP THE NEW CORONAVIRUS FROM BEING USED AS A TERRORIST WEAPON

On 27 March, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists published an article saying that CNN had reported that US agencies now consider the intentional spread by extremist groups of the coronavirus causing the current pandemic, SARS-CoV-2, to be a growing threat in the US; and that members of extremist groups are encouraging one another to spread the virus, if contracted, to targeted groups through bodily fluids and personal interactions.  It says that the possibility that extremist groups may attempt to deliberately spread SARS-CoV-2 should not be ignored.  The article looks at how authorities might prevent its use.

https://thebulletin.org/2020/03/how-to-keep-the-new-coronavirus-from-being-used-as-a-terrorist-weapon

 

ANTIQUITIES SMUGGLING IN MALAWI

On 30 March, Egypt Today reported that a person in Malawi has been arrested with 113 artefacts and coins dating back to the Pharaonic, Roman and Greek eras in his possession with the purpose of illegal trafficking.

https://www.egypttoday.com/Article/4/83168/Antiquities-smuggling-deal-thwarted-in-Minya

 

UK: SLOW DUE DILIGENCE BLAMED AS SME AVOID BANKING SERVICES

On 30 March, the Director of Finance reported that as many as 38% of UK businesses have deliberately abandoned an application for banking services in the past year due to “slow due diligence processes”.  This followed a survey, which polled 200 decision-makers in large and medium-sized businesses.  It also found that businesses plan to prioritise spending on cyber security over anti-financial crime compliance in 2020, with 44% putting plans in place.  On the other hand, 81% of organisations agree that they are confident in their understanding of exposure to financial crime and that they already have the processes in place to address it.

https://dofonline.co.uk/2020/03/30/slow-due-diligence-blamed-as-smes-scrap-banking-services/

 

OVERSEAS-OWNERSHIP OF GERMAN COMPANIES HIGHLIGHTED IN NEW SURVEY

On 26 March, HKTDC reports a survey that is said to show that US owns 7 times as many German-registered companies as mainland China – despite widespread concerns that China has been picking off many of Europe’s leading businesses through a continual programme of acquisitions.

http://economists-pick-research.hktdc.com/business-news/article/Economists-Pick-International-Market-News/Overseas-Ownership-of-German-Companies-Highlighted-in-New-Survey/imn/en/1/1X308LSH/1X0AKCME.htm

 

TRUMP MUST DEFEND FRAUD CLAIMS OVER PANAMA HOTEL

On 30 March, BNN Bloomberg reported that a former business partner of Donald Trump’s hotel company – Orestes Fintiklis, and his fund, Ithaca Capital Investments – can pursue its allegations that the president’s firm evaded income taxes on a project in Panama and under-reported employee salaries there, a federal judge has ruled.

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/trump-must-defend-fraud-claims-over-panama-hotel-1.1414632

 

SWEDISH GAMBLING AUTHORITY: “HIGH” CHANCE OF MONEY LAUNDERING IN ONLINE GAMBLING

On 30 March, e-Gaming Review reported that the Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA) has released a new risk assessment document which claims there is a significantly “high” risk of money laundering coming through online casino and sports betting sites.  It cites virtual currencies and greater player anonymity as increasing instances of fraud via gambling firms.

https://egr.global/compliance/news/swedish-gambling-authority-risk-assessment-claims-high-chance-of-money-laundering-in-online-gambling

 

UK: MAN ARRESTED OVER £10 MILLION FROZEN FISH COCAINE HAUL

The Belfast Telegraph on 30 March reported that a man has been arrested on the Isle of Wight as police investigate the seizure of almost 100 kg of cocaine from the back of a van carrying frozen fish.

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/uk/man-arrested-over-10m-frozen-fish-cocaine-haul-39087053.html

https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/nca-officers-arrest-second-man-over-10m-newhaven-cocaine-seizure-at-newhaven

 

INDIA WATERS DOWN TAX RESIDENCY REFORMS

On 30 March, STEP reported that proposals in India’s 2020 federal budget to significantly extend the tax residency rules have been diluted in the final version of the Finance Act 2020.  Significant changes have been made to the new residency tests in the final Bill, which was approved by parliament on 23 March.  A proposal to deem Indian citizens as Indian tax resident if they are not liable to tax in any other country, regardless of whether such individual meets the residency test has been dropped.

https://www.step.org/news/india-waters-down-tax-residency-reforms

 

FBI ACCUSES RUSSIAN MAN OF LAUNDERING MONEY FOR A TRANSNATIONAL CYBERCRIME NETWORK

On 30 March, Cyberscoop reported that an unsealed complaint against Maksim Boiko, 29, alleges that he worked with a transnational organized crime group, called QQAAZZ, by converting stolen money into cryptocurrency.  He is described as “a significant cybercriminal who launders money for other cybercriminals”.  US authorities previously indicted 5 Latvian men for their alleged involvement in the QQAAZZ operation.

https://www.cyberscoop.com/fbi-accuses-russian-money-laundering-qqaazz/

 

LIBYA WILL INVESTIGATE SEIZED TANKER AFTER QUARANTINE CONCLUDES

On 27 March, Insurance Maritime News reported that the internationally recognised Libyan government, which controls about half of the country has said that it would be beginning its investigation into alleged sanctions-breaking of a tanker after a period of quarantine ends.  It is alleged that the vessel had offloaded jet fuel in Benghazi and that it had broken an arms embargo and other international agreements.  Benghazi is the effective capital of the rival rulers in the east of Libya – Libyan National Army (LNA).  2009-built, the Liberia-flagged, Gulf Petroleum 4 is owned by AA Marine Inc, care of Gulf Shipping Services FZC of Ajman, UAE.

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/libya-will-investigate-seized-tanker-after-quarantine-concludes/

 

DoJ INVESTIGATES LAWMAKERS OVER CLAIMS OF INSIDER TRADING

On 30 March, Zero Hedge reported that in the US the DoJ is investigating whether lawmakers used information obtained during confidential coronavirus briefings to liquidate stocks ahead of the largest market sell-off in decades.

https://www.zerohedge.com/political/doj-investigates-lawmakers-following-accusations-insider-trading

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-52097349

 

FRAUDULENT LEDGER CHROME SCAM MAY HAVE STOLEN UP TO $2.5 MILLION IN CRYPTOCURRENCY

On 30 March, Cryptoglobe reported that a fake browser extension masquerades as an official add-on for cryptocurrency hardware wallet manufacturer Ledger. Users are asked to input their 24-word seed, which allows scammers access to the wallet’s contents.

https://www.cryptoglobe.com/latest/2020/03/fraudulent-ledger-chrome-scam-may-have-stolen-up-to-2-5-million-in-crypto/

 

If you’d like to help me buy that (badly needed) new laptop or, even better, a new desktop to replace the one now 5,000 miles away – https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

 

 

UK: TAX AVOIDANCE PROMOTERS TARGETING RETURNING NHS WORKERS

In its Spotlight 54, HMRC reports on tax avoidance schemes being used to target workers returning to the NHS to help respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.  It says that is aware that unscrupulous promoters of tax avoidance schemes are targeting workers returning to the NHS.  It cautions that you to be very careful not to sign up to these schemes, which HMRC considers to be tax avoidance.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tax-avoidance-promoters-targeting-returning-nhs-workers-spotlight-54

 

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THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MARCH 29

Panama coronavirus update – latest figures saw 88 new cases (the number down on the previous day), giving a total of 989 confirmed cases to date, with 24 fatalities.  There has been some unrest in a couple of the poorer areas, with a couple of small local shops looted and street protests – despite the government guaranteeing wages and providing food vouchers, free food supplies and other things for the poor and those who don;t have a regular job or wage.

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/police-injured-in-panama-city-looting-incidents

In other developments, Panama has facilitated the stranded Zandaam cruise liner off-loading some passengers to a fellow liner and both passing through the Canal en route to California (though who will know what will happen there).

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/panama-the-only-country-providing-humanitarian-aid-to-the-zaandam-cruise/

29 March 2020 

HOW THE SEC ENFORCEMENT DIVISION RESPONDS TO A CRISIS

On 28 March, a post on the Compliance & Enforcement blog of the New York University School of Law sets out to explain how the SEC is coping and on what its Enforcement Division will be concentrating during the crisis.  It is said, as one might expect, that it will be focusing on things and people seeking to take advantage of the crisis to carry out scams and frauds etc.  However, it is said that the majority of SEC staff have begun teleworking, and the agency has “transitioned to a full telework posture with limited exceptions”.  The post lists the types of investigations it expects the Enforcement Division to undertake.

https://wp.nyu.edu/compliance_enforcement/2020/03/27/how-the-sec-enforcement-division-responds-to-a-crisis/

 

QATARA: NASSER AL KHELAIFI, HEAD OF INTERNATIONAL PAY-TELEVISION GIANT BEIN MEDIA GROUP, RECEIVES BOOST OVER CORRUPTION INVESTIGATION IN SWITZERLAND

On 29 March, The Peninsula in Qatar reported that the Swiss federal court has rejected a prosecution case against the Qatari executive, who is also the president of French soccer giants Paris Saint-Germain.  He was cleared of bribery in a probe that also involves a disgraced former secretary general of FIFA, and a third unnamed accused, and relates to payments alleged to have been made for media rights for major tournaments.  However, a secondary charge of inciting Valcke to commit aggravated criminal mismanagement was maintained.

https://thepeninsulaqatar.com/article/29/03/2020/Favourable-court-ruling-for-Al-Khelaifi-in-Swiss-corruption-probe

 

EU COURT OF JUSTICE RULES THAT CONFISCATION LAWS ARE LAWFUL

On 29 March, the Irish Independent reported that the ECJ has held that proceeds of crime legislation, used to confiscate illegally obtained assets, is lawful.  In Ireland, the measure was brought in after the brutal murder of Sunday Independent investigative journalist Veronica Guerin in 1996.  The matter was referred to the Court by Bulgaria, which asked if EU law precluded Member States from providing for civil proceedings for confiscation, which were unrelated to a finding of a criminal offence, and arose from a case in which a Bulgarian banker is the subject of criminal proceedings for allegedly having incited others, between December 2011 and June 2014, to misappropriate funds belonging to the bank.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/crime-assets-confiscation-is-lawful-eu-court-rules-39084611.html

 

 

 

 

If you’d like to help me buy that (badly needed) new laptop or, even better, a new desktop to replace the one now 5,000 miles away – https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

 

 

EU COURT OF JUSTICE RULES THAT CONFISCATION LAWS ARE LAWFUL

On 29 March, the Irish Independent reported that the ECJ has held that proceeds of crime legislation, used to confiscate illegally obtained assets, is lawful.  In Ireland, the measure was brought in after the brutal murder of Sunday Independent investigative journalist Veronica Guerin in 1996.  The matter was referred to the Court by Bulgaria, which asked if EU law precluded Member States from providing for civil proceedings for confiscation, which were unrelated to a finding of a criminal offence, and arose from a case in which a Bulgarian banker is the subject of criminal proceedings for allegedly having incited others, between December 2011 and June 2014, to misappropriate funds belonging to the bank.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/crime-assets-confiscation-is-lawful-eu-court-rules-39084611.html

 

If you’d like to help me buy that (badly needed) new laptop or, even better, a new desktop to replace the one now 5,000 miles away – https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

 

HOW THE SEC ENFORCEMENT DIVISION RESPONDS TO A CRISIS

On 28 March, a post on the Compliance & Enforcement blog of the New York University School of Law sets out to explain how the SEC is coping and on what its Enforcement Division will be concentrating during the crisis.  It is said, as one might expect, that it will be focusing on things and people seeking to take advantage of the crisis to carry out scams and frauds etc.  However, it is said that the majority of SEC staff have begun teleworking, and the agency has “transitioned to a full telework posture with limited exceptions”.  The post lists the types of investigations it expects the Enforcement Division to undertake.

https://wp.nyu.edu/compliance_enforcement/2020/03/27/how-the-sec-enforcement-division-responds-to-a-crisis/

 

 

If you’d like to help me buy that (badly needed) new laptop or, even better, a new desktop to replace the one now 5,000 miles away – https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

 

OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MARCH 28

Panama coronavirus update – still under lockdown – though apparently the Minister of Health has said it is OK to walk your dog (if only I had one)…  Too early to report latest statistics (daily press conference in half an hour), but have fingers crossed…  reports of last “rescue flights”, by KLM and Iberia, of Europeans this weekend.  On social media, people back home in Britain seem most shocked by decision of authorities here to ban sales of alcohol, which says something.

28 March 2020

AUSTRALIA: EVEN WHEN A PERSON DOES NOT HOLD A FORMAL “OFFICE” WITHIN A COMPANY, HE/SHE MAY STILL HAVE DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES AS AN “OFFICER” OF THE COMPANY

A briefing from Bird & Bird reports on a High Court case in Australia which it says has made it clear that even when a person does not hold a formal “office” within a company, that person may still have duties and responsibilities as an “officer” of the company.  The case involved a director of who ceased being a director some 9 months prior to a decision; but had acted as the overall boss of the group, assumed overall responsibility for the group, and had substantial influence over personnel.  The key question before the High Court was whether the man was an “officer” of MFSIM. If he was, he would be found to have breached his duties as an officer of a responsible entity.  It is said that this case is an important reminder that individuals can have the obligations of a director or officer of a company even if they are not formally appointed to the office.

https://www.twobirds.com/en/news/articles/2020/australia/high-court-of-australia—officer-of-a-company

 

CORONAVIRUS CRISIS EXPOSES ANOTHER PANDEMIC IN HONDURAS – CORRUPTION

On 26 March, Al Jazeera reported that analysts worry corruption will exacerbate the crisis facing Honduras’s already strained healthcare system.  They warned of a second pandemic that could exacerbate the public health crisis: “corruption”.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/03/coronavirus-crisis-exposes-pandemic-honduras-analysts-200327183808256.html

 

EGYPT AND TURKEY’S ENERGY FACE-OFF IN THE MEDITERRANEAN

On 27 March, the Al-Monitor carried an article saying that the US Geological Survey estimates there to be 122 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas reserves in the Mediterranean’s Leviathan Basin, and the countries in the region are on a quest to acquire their share of gas rights.  It says that Egypt expects exploratory drilling to begin early next year, which has intensified tensions with Turkey, which in November signed controversial maritime and military MoU with Libya’s UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli. It says that Turkey constitutes an important transit point for oil and gas exports bound for Europe from Russian and the Caspian Sea countries, but lacks its own petroleum reserves, having to import 75% of its energy requirements.

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/03/egypt-agreement-drilling-gas-mediterranean-turkey-libya.html

 

DoJ IN US SUES ANTHEM HEALTH INSURER OVER ALLEGED DIAGNOSIS FRAUD SCHEME

On 27 March, the Washington Examiner reported that the DoJ has sued Anthem for alleged diagnosis fraud scheme totalling millions of dollars.  It is among the largest Medicare fraud lawsuits yet.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/justice-department-sues-anthem-for-alleged-diagnosis-fraud-scheme-totaling-millions-of-dollars

 

PRETRIAL DETENTIONS CONTINUE TO PLAGUE LATIN AMERICAN PRISONS

An article in Insight Crime on 27 March says that a new US report documents how pretrial detentions are overcrowding Latin America’s prisons, leading to gang recruitment, violence and violations of prisoners’ human rights.  A US State Department report says that countries use pretrial detention in order to deal with high crime rates, despite the fact that mass incarceration props up criminal organisations working inside prisons.

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/brief/pretrial-latin-american-prisons/

 

WANT TO KNOW IF A NEW DRUG CRISIS IS GROWING? CHECK THE WASTEWATER

An article from the RAND Corporation on 26 March says that to respond rapidly to a crisis in its early stages, we need real-time warnings when drug use patterns are shifting, but that current measures are too slow.  The article proposes that wastewater checking could be the answer.  It explains that when an individual takes a drug, the body metabolises it and excretes metabolites. Just as urine tests detect these metabolites for individuals, wastewater testing can reveal what drugs are being used in a city or region in the aggregate.  When an individual takes a drug, the body metabolises it and excretes metabolites. Just as urine tests detect these metabolites for individuals, wastewater testing can reveal what drugs are being used in a city or region in the aggregate. It is said to be fast and cheap.

https://www.rand.org/blog/2020/03/want-to-know-if-a-new-drug-crisis-is-growing-check.html

 

BLOCKCHAIN PROTOTYPE FOR SAFEGUARDING NUCLEAR MATERIAL UNVEILED & DEMONSTRATED

An article from the Stimson Center in the US says that the prototype was created by a partnership between the Stimson Center, Finland’s Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK), and the University of New South Wales (UNSW).  “SLAFKA,” tests whether distributed ledger technology has the potential to increase efficiency, trust, and transparency in the management of nuclear safeguards information.  It is said that the project is important because nuclear regulatory authorities around the world often use outdated systems to track materials like spent nuclear fuel and account for material transfers between countries.  It is said that the project team will test the prototype to review the technology’s suitability and to investigate its applicability for similar data management related to non-proliferation and disarmament.

https://www.stimson.org/2020/blockchain-prototype-for-safeguarding-nuclear-material-unveiled-demonstrated/

 

COLOMBIA’S NARCO-SUBMARINES – A PHOTO ESSAY

On 23 March, the Guardian published an article saying that authorities on the country’s Pacific coast say crude semi-submersible craft have become a favoured tool to smuggle drugs toward the US, and even to Europe.  33 submarines were intercepted in 2019, an average of almost 3 a month, most of them along the Pacific coast.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/23/colombias-narco-submarines-a-photo-essay?CMP=share_btn_tw

Also available shortly, it seems –

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AML PROGRAMME CONTINGENCY PLANNING DURING COVID-19: RECENT GUIDANCE FROM FINCEN AND THE FEDERAL FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS EXAMINATION COUNCIL

On 27 March, an article from Crowell Moring reported that FinCEN had issued guidance, asked if any firm would encounter delays in necessary filings and advised of some trends in scams and risks it had noted.  It also said that the FFIEC had also issued guidance.  FFIEC comprises the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the National Credit Union Administration, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the State Liaison Committee.

https://www.cmtradelaw.com/2020/03/anti-money-laundering-program-contingency-planning-during-covid-19-recent-guidance-from-fincen-and-ffiec/

 

GENERAL PREVIOUSLY ACCUSED OF CORRUPTION HEADS RUSSIA’S LEADING RESEARCH INSTITUTE

UA Wire in Ukraine on 28 March reported that Major General Igor Bozhkov, who previously worked in the Russian Interior Ministry, was appointed the acting director of the Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Physics (ITEP).  He had refuted the claims of corruption made against him in 2013, only to be dismissed in 2016.

http://uawire.org/general-previously-accused-of-corruption-to-head-russia-s-leading-research-institute

 

RAISE COUNTRY RISK ON GUINEA?

In his blog on 28 March, Kenneth Rijock suggests compliance sections raise the risk rating for Guinea following street violence and a state of emergency.  This followed a referendum which effectively extends the President Alpha Conde’s ability to remain in office for a third term spawned widespread protests.

http://rijock.blogspot.com/2020/03/raise-country-risk-on-guinea-after.html

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