NORTH KOREAN PROLIFERATION FINANCING IN SOUTHERN AND EASTERN AFRICA

On 24 April, an Occasional paper from RUSI says that southern and eastern Africa has been one of the regions targeted by North Korean proliferation financing activities, but that measures to address vulnerabilities can reduce countries’ risk exposure to this threat.  This paper focuses on North Korean PF activities in countries that make up the Eastern and Southern African Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG) – Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

https://www.rusi.org/sites/default/files/north_korean_pf_in_southern_and_eastern_africa_web_copy_final.pdf

 

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UK: CRIMINAL RECORD CHECKING AND DISCLOSURES REQUIRED UNDER AML REGULATIONS AFFECTED BY COVID-19

On 30 April, the Law Society of Scotland highlighted that because Disclosure Scotland was having to prioritise criminal records checks for people working on sectors deemed vital at this time (e.g. healthcare, pharmaceutical,  childcare and social work), legal firms are therefore currently unable to fulfil the criminal record checking and disclosures required of them by the money laundering regulations.  It says that it has highlighted this issue to HM Treasury, and it is said to be content that, on a temporary basis while Disclosure Scotland are operating under these restrictions, firms or new sole practitioners can provide a statutory declaration that the persons involved do not have a relevant criminal conviction as part of the application.  Checks must then be sought as soon as reasonably practicable once Disclosure Scotland are able to process applications.

https://www.lawscot.org.uk/news-and-events/law-society-news/money-laundering-registration-requirements-during-c19/

 

 

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ISRAELI BANK BANK HAPOALIM TO PAY $874 MILLION IN TAX EVASION SCANDAL AND $30 MILLION FOR LAUNDERING BRIBES, KICKBACKS TO CORRUPT FIFA OFFICIALS

2 news releases from the US DoJ advised that Israel’s largest bank, Bank Hapoalim, had –

  1. admitted to conspiring with US taxpayers to hide assets and income in offshore accounts. It has entered into a deferred prosecution agreement for criminal misconduct, agreeing to pay nearly $875 million, for hiding more than $7.6 billion in more than 5,500 secret Swiss and Israeli bank accounts.  This involved Bank Hapoalim B.M., and Bank Hapoalim (Switzerland) Ltd, its Swiss subsidiary.
  2. Bank Hapoalim B.M., and its wholly owned subsidiary, Hapoalim (Switzerland) Ltd, also agreed to forfeit $20,733,322 and pay a fine of $9,329,995 to resolve an investigation into their involvement in a money laundering conspiracy that fuelled an international soccer bribery scheme. For nearly 5 years, the Bank’s employees used the US financial system to launder tens of millions of dollars in bribe payments to corrupt soccer officials in multiple countries

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/israel-s-largest-bank-bank-hapoalim-admits-conspiring-us-taxpayers-hide-assets-and-income

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/bank-hapoalim-agrees-pay-more-30-million-its-role-fifa-money-laundering-conspiracy

 

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US AND ISRAEL HAIL GERMAN DECISION FULLY BANNING IRAN-BACKED HIZBALLAH

On 30 April, Rferl reported on the decision by Germany to extend its prohibition of Hizbollah, designating it a terrorist organisation.  The announcement came after German police conducted early morning raids in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Bremen, and the capital, Berlin, to detain suspected members of the group.  Germany had previously distinguished between Hizballah’s political arm and its military units.   It is said that as many as 1,050 people in Germany are part of Hizballah’s extremist wing, according to security officials estimates.

https://www.rferl.org/a/iran-backed-hizballah-banned-in-germany/30584725.html

 

 

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UK: MONEY LAUNDERING – ELECTRONIC VERIFICATION OF CUSTOMER IDENTITY IN THE TIME OF COVID-19

On 30 April, an article from Dentons says that many firms are exploring undertaking electronic due diligence to verify customer identities. This necessity it says was recognised by the FCA in its “Dear CEO” letter of 31 March, aimed at firms providing services to retail investors. This made it clear that, while the FCA would entertain some flexibility, firms were nonetheless expected to continue operating within the FCA rules and in accordance with the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017. The article looks at how the identity verification might be undertaken, including the use of third-party providers.  It concludes that while careful thought is required to ensure that the provisions put in place are adequate and meet the requirements of the MLR 2017. Nonetheless, as with many other things, it appears that electronic verification may become the “new normal”, even after we emerge from the current crisis.

https://www.dentons.com/en/insights/articles/2020/april/30/money-laundering-electronic-verification-of-customer-identity-in-the-time-of-covid19

 

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UK: AFGHANISTAN SANCTIONS – 1 ENTRY REMOVED AND 137 OTHERS AMENDED

A Notice from HM Treasury on 30 April reported that 137 entries on the Consolidated List had been amended and one entry, for AHMADULLAH, had been removed.  According to the Notice, this removal relates to a February 2017 decision by the UN.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/882517/Notice_Afghanistan_corrections_300420.pdf

 

 

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RUSHED PPE PROCUREMENT LEADS TO RASH OF CORRUPTION SCANDALS

BNE Intellinews on 29 April reported that a  series of scandals have already broken in South-east and East European countries Bosnia & Herzegovina, Romania, Slovenia and Ukraine, and more are likely to follow.

https://intellinews.com/rushed-ppe-procurement-leads-to-rash-of-corruption-scandals-182078

 

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