OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – APRIL 1

Panama coronavirus update – once again, too early for the daily press conference; but up to yesterday there had been added 106 new cases, giving a total of 1,181, with 30 fatalities.  A graph of daily cases for March show a hopeful sign of at least levelling off, suggesting that the lockdown etc may be working – but it is too early to say anything too positive yet. Today was the first “Ladies Day”, with only female non-essential people allowed out for their 2-hour time slot.  Tomorrow it will be only males.  On Sunday no-one will be allowed out, except for essential workers.  The National Assembly has been suspended after 3 members tested positive.

1 April 2020

FBI RE-SENDS ALERT ABOUT SUPPLY CHAIN ATTACKS FOR THE THIRD TIME IN 3 MONTHS

On 31 March, ZD Net reported that the FBI has issued a further alert about state-sponsored hackers using the Kwampirs malware to attack supply chain companies and other industry sectors as part of a global hacking campaign.  The FBI has highlighted that some of the group’s targets are organisations in the healthcare industry, currently grappling with the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

https://www.zdnet.com/article/fbi-re-sends-alert-about-supply-chain-attacks-for-the-third-time-in-three-months/

 

BREXIT: WILL THE TRANSITION PERIOD BE EXTENDED? AND, IF SO, HOW?

On 1 April, Osborne Clarke published a briefing posing this question, in the light of the coronavirus lockdown.

https://sites-osborneclarke.vuturevx.com/34/3674/april-2020/brexit-business-brief—only-one-question—coronavirus-legal-briefing.asp

 

LUXEMBOURG REGULATOR SUSPENDS ROTHSCHILD EX-CEO FOR 10 YEARS

On 1 April, KYC 360 reported that the Comite de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF) has suspended the former CEO of private bank Edmond de Rothschild (Europe), Marc Ambroisien, for a decade, no longer allowing him to work in finance in the country over that period.  He is accused of having failed to ensure strong internal governance and prudent risk management when managing the bank.  In 2017, 2 years after Ambroisien had stepped down, Edmond de Rothschild was fined almost €9 million by the CSSF.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/luxembourg-regulator-suspends-rothschild-ex-ceo-for-ten-years/

 

AUSTRALIAN SECURITY BUSINESS ‘ACTED AS A FRONT’ FOR $100 MILLION MONEY LAUNDERING SYNDICATE

On 1 April, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that 6 persons have been charged in connection with a south-west Sydney security business, Assure Protection Services, that allegedly acted as a front to launder $100 million from organised crime groups in Australia and abroad.  Police allege the security firm was a semi-legitimate business servicing retail, industrial and commercial industries, however its primary function was to “act as a front” for the money laundering operation.  The first arrests took place in July 2019.

https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/sixth-person-charged-over-100-million-money-laundering-syndicate-linked-to-security-business-20200401-p54fuy.html

 

WASSENAAR NATIONS SET NEW EXPORT CONTROLS ON DUAL-USE GOODS

Arms Control Today reports that transfers of military-grade software and chip manufacturing technology will face increased scrutiny following an amendment to the Wassenaar Arrangement, the international export control regime.  It says that members have agreed to adopt new export controls in such areas as cyberwarfare software, communications monitoring, digital investigative tools and forensic systems, suborbital aerospace vehicles, technology for the production of substrates for high-end integrated circuits, hybrid machine tools, and lithography equipment and technology.  It has also clarified existing export control measures regarding ballistic protection, optical sensors, ball bearings, and inorganic fibrous and filamentary materials.  However, they relaxed some controls, including those with respect to certain laminates and commercial components with embedded cryptography.  The enhanced export restrictions might affect sales by forensic cybersecurity and chip manufacturing companies.

https://www.armscontrol.org/act/2020-04/news-briefs/wassenaar-nations-set-new-export-controls

 

SUSPECTED NORTH KOREAN-LINKED SMUGGLING SHIP DETAINED IN RUSSIAN PORT

On 31 March, NK News reported that the Pulau-flagged Yuko Maru (IMO 9088031) vessel had been detained by authorities at Nakhodka port in Russia, near Vladivostok in early March for safety violations, data showed. It was cited for 21 deficiencies, including failure to have a passage plan to its next port and a lack of navigational charts to that destination.

https://www.nknews.org/pro/suspected-north-korean-linked-smuggling-ship-detained-in-russian-port/

 

FCPA ENFORCEMENT REPORT FOR Q1 2020

On 1 April, a post on the always interesting FCPA Blog is concerned with a summary of the settlements, convictions, indictments etc during the first 3 months of 2020.

https://fcpablog.com/2020/04/01/fcpa-enforcement-report-for-q1-2020/

 

BAHRAIN: 3 DEFENDANTS IN FUTURE BANK MONEY LAUNDERING CASE FINED AND JAILED

On 1 April, Asharq Al-Awsat reported that Bahrain has seen sentenced the 3 suspects in the Future Bank case, with fines of more than $9 million.  It was alleged that $7 billion had disappeared from Future Bank’s records and were used to finance Iranian groups, in violation of sanctions imposed against that country.   It is said that Future Bank operated under the supervision of Bank Melli Iran and the Export Development Bank of Iran.  The Future Bank officials were sentenced to 5 years in jail, as well being fined, with other fines for banks said to have been involved.

https://aawsat.com/english/home/article/2210881/bahrain-sentences-prison-suspects-money-laundering-cases-related-iran

 

PODCAST: THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON THE MOVEMENT OF GOODS INTERNATIONALLY

In the latest TRACE podcast, Melissa Duffy, a partner at Dechert LLP focused on international trade matters, provides an excellent review of the current status of the movement of goods into and out of the US by air, land and sea.  She also addresses relevant tariffs, including recent exemptions, and restrictions by other countries on the export of their own critical medical supplies and equipment. She wraps up with some very practical strategies for companies on managing the movement of goods in these uncertain times.

https://traceinternational.org/resources-podcast

 

EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS: NEW FREE ONLINE TRAINING COURSE

On 31 March, the Council of Europe says that it has launched an updated version of its free online, a 5-hour interactive training course on the human rights convention, aimed at legal professionals, public authorities, civil society and students.  The updated course is now available in English, with several other language versions due to be released in the coming months.

https://www.coe.int/en/web/portal/-/european-convention-on-human-rights-new-free-online-training-course

 

EUROPE SENDS MEDICAL GOODS TO IRAN, DESPITE US EMBARGO

On 1 April, the EU Observer reported that France, Germany and Britain have exported medical goods to Iran, in the first transaction conducted under a trade mechanism called INSTEX, set up to barter humanitarian goods and food after the US withdrawal from the JCPOA 2015 nuclear deal.

https://euobserver.com/tickers/147945

 

STATEMENT BY THE FATF PRESIDENT: COVID-19 AND MEASURES TO COMBAT ILLICIT FINANCING

On 1 April, FATF published a statement stressing the need for continued, even heightened vigilance, during the covid-19 crisis.

http://www.fatf-gafi.org/publications/fatfgeneral/documents/statement-covid-19.html

 

BRIBERY SCANDAL HITS THE ‘2020’ TOKYO OLYMPICS

The Nation on 1 April published an article about the allegations of corruption surrounding the now-postponed Tokyo Olympics.

https://www.thenation.com/article/world/tokyo-olympics-bribery-scandal/

 

THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC DEMANDS DIGITAL VIGILANCE, AMID INTENSIFYING SOCIAL ISOLATION

A Commentary from RUSI on 1 April warns that the effects of the crisis widens the target population for fraudsters in a substantial way, allowing them to adjust scams which play on people’s deepest fears.  Scams include the offer of non-existent or faulty products.  It says that responsibility is wide, and that the financial services sector and e-commerce companies must be active in identifying and rooting out malpractice.

https://www.rusi.org/commentary/coronavirus-pandemic-demands-digital-vigilance-amid-intensifying-social-isolation

 

THE UK NATIONAL LOTTERY: HOW DOES IT WORK?

On 1 April, the House of Commons Library published a briefing paper on the UK National Lottery which began in November 1994. Since then, it has raised over £40 billion for good causes and awarded over 535,000 grants.

http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-8744/CBP-8744.pdf

 

UK SUPREME COURT SIDES WITH MORRISONS OVER DATA PROTECTION VICARIOUS LIABILITY

On 1 April, the Law Society Gazette reported that, in what is described elsewhere as a landmark decision, the Supreme Court has sided with Morrisons in the UK’s first data leak group action, finding the grocery giant was not vicariously liable for a massive data breach committed by a disgruntled employee.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/supreme-court-sides-with-morrisons-over-vicarious-liability/5103709.article

 

FRENCH YACHT VAT AMENDMENTS CANCELLED

On 31 March, Superyacht News reported that the provisions which would have put an end to the flat-rate VAT reduction system for yacht charters in France, have been cancelled.  It is said that the decision is linked to the economic context created by the COVID-19 health crisis, and will certainly be re-examined when the crisis is resolved.

https://www.superyachtnews.com/business/superyachtnews-covid-19-advisory-

 

THE CLIFFORD CHANCE REPORT ON THE SWEDBANK LAUNDERING SCANDAL

On 1 April, Kenneth Rijock in his blog provided a link to the report prepared for Swedbank by Clifford Chance.

https://www.swedbank.com/

 

US CUSTOMS HAS SEIZED MORE THAN 100 SHIPMENTS OF ILLICIT DERMAL FILLERS SINCE JANUARY

A news release from US Customs & Border Protection on 31 March reported that cheap dermal filler they purchase online could potentially make them ill, and violate US import laws.  Since the beginning of the year, officers in Philadelphia have seized more than 100 shipments of dermal filler bearing the brand names of Juvederm, Teoxane, Teosyal, Sculptera, Orthovisc, Revanesse, Restylane, Dyasport, and the more popularly known Botox.

https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/philadelphia-cbp-seizes-more-100-shipments-illicit-dermal-fillers

 

LIST OF COUNTRIES THAT ADOPTED TEMPORARY EXPORT RESTRICTIONS ON CERTAIN CATEGORIES OF CRITICAL MEDICAL SUPPLIES IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19

On 31 March, the World Customs Organisation published a list of national legislation imposing such export restrictions.

http://www.wcoomd.org/en/topics/facilitation/activities-and-programmes/natural-disaster/list-of-countries-coronavirus.aspx

 

OVER 2 TONNES OF COCAINE FOUND AT ROTTERDAM PORT OVER ONE WEEKEND

On 31 March, the NL Times reported that Customs authorities had intercepted over 2,000 kg of cocaine at the port of Rotterdam in multiple discoveries on 27 and 30 March, the Public Prosecutor announced. The drugs were found hidden in shipments of fruit or fruit products from Brazil and Costa Rica.

https://nltimes.nl/2020/03/31/2000-kilos-cocaine-found-rotterdam-port-since-friday

 

UK: IN-HOUSE LAWYER WHO FACILITATED SHAM £16 Million PROPERTY SCHEMES STRUCK OFF

On 1 April, Legal Futures reported that Timothy Peter Ackrel, a solicitor who acted as head of legal and a “puppet director” for a variety of companies involved in sham property schemes in the north-west of England, has been struck off.

https://www.legalfutures.co.uk/latest-news/in-house-lawyer-facilitated-sham-16m-property-schemes

 

SEC WARNS OF FAITH-BASED FRAUDS AS SECURES JUDGMENT AGAINST ORGANISER OF CHRISTIAN CONCERTS

On 1 April, a release on Mondo Visione advised that the SEC had obtained a final judgment against Christian concert promoter Jeffrey E. Wall, of Freeport, Maine, and his business, The Lighthouse Events LLC.  He had been charged in April 2019 with operating a community-based financial fraud related to Christian music concerts and festivals.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/sec-obtains-judgment-against-promoter-who-fraudulently-raised-3-million-for-chr/

 

SWEDISH REGULATOR DELAYS ANNUAL AML/CFT REPORT DUE TO CORONAVIRUS

A release on Mondo Visione on 1 April reported that Finansinspektionen has postponed the deadline for the annual reporting on money laundering and financing of terrorism to 30 April.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/swedens-finansinspektionen-reporting-on-money-laundering-postponed/

 

CYBER CRIME AND INTERNET FRAUD ARE BIG BUSINESS IN GHANA

On 1 April, Deutsche Welle carried a short video report concerned with some of the fraudsters to find out more about this shady industry.

https://www.dw.com/en/internet-fraud-in-ghana-meet-the-sakawa-boys/av-52890318

 

US ARRESTS RUSSIAN RAPPER FOR ALLEGED MONEY LAUNDERING — USING HIS INSTAGRAM THAT PROMOTED HIS RAP CAREER AS EVIDENCE AGAINST HIM

On 1 April, the Coin Telegraph reported that it is alleged that Maksim Boiko laundered money using cryptocurrencies, including via exchange BTC-e.  The authorities also say that Boiko conspired with transnational organised crime organisation QQAAZZ.  Boiko is also a small-time rapper operating under the name Plinofficial — a name also used in an email address that the FBI identified as being connected with money laundering operations.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/fbi-arrests-russian-rapper-for-crypto-money-laundering-cites-damning-instagram

 

 

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WORLD TURNS TO VAT CUTS ON CORONAVIRUS COVID-19 THREAT

On 1 April, VAT Live provides a summary of VAT/GST initiatives being taken as countries around the world are turning to emergency tax breaks to support their stuttering economies under the coronavirus (COVID-19) threat.

https://www.avalara.com/vatlive/en/vat-news/world-turns-to-vat-cuts-on-coronavirus-threat.html

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CORONAVIRUS FRAUD IS SO BAD THE FTC IN THE US MADE A SCAM “BINGO CARD”

On 1 April, Yahoo Finance reported that the Federal Trade Commission in the US has already attempted to come down hard on scammers taking advantage of the crisis.  However, it says that things have gotten so bad that the FTC has experimented with other ways to get people to pay attention: like a “scam bingo” card.  The idea is that you use the card to check off the scammers you spotted, along with the steps you took to stop them.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/coronavirus-fraud-is-so-bad-the-ftc-made-a-scam-bingo-181324962.html

bingo

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2020/03/now-more-ever-spot-scams-ftcscambingo

 

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OECD: ACTIONS TAKEN BY TAX ADMINISTRATIONS TO SUPPORT TAXPAYERS DURING CORONAVIRUS CRISIS

On 1 April, a release on Mondo Visione reported that he OECD Forum on Tax Administration has published a document setting out actions that tax administrations are currently taking to support taxpayers.  These include measures to address cash-flow concerns, difficulties in meeting reporting and payment deadlines and communication initiatives. The intention of this document, which will be updated on a regular basis, is said to be to to assist administrations in the consideration and development of their domestic measures.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/tackling-the-coronavirus-oecd-forum-on-tax-administration-publishes-actions-tha/

 

 

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UK: CORONAVIRUS HITS PLAN TO TARGET AML LAGGARDS

On 1 April, Legal Futures reported that the coronavirus crisis has hindered the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s efforts to pursue law firms that have ignored its efforts to check they are complying with its AML rules.  The article also warns that the crisis has the potential to generate significant extra costs for the SRA, which may ultimately need to be borne by the profession through practising fees.

https://www.legalfutures.co.uk/latest-news/coronavirus-hits-sras-plan-to-target-aml-laggards

 

 

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WILDLIFE CRIME ONLINE TRAINING MODULES

The UN Office of Drugs and Crime says that the Education for Justice (E4J) initiative has developed, with the support of academics from around the world, a series of University Modules on Wildlife Crime to support lecturers with an interest in this area. The modules cover many aspects of this complex crime. They apply a multidisciplinary approach and use innovative and practical teaching techniques meant to inspire and encourage students to engage in this important topic.  3 modules are available online –

  • Illicit markets for wildlife, forest and fisheries products;
  • International frameworks for combating wildlife trafficking; and
  • Criminal justice responses to wildlife trafficking.

https://www.unodc.org/e4j/en/tertiary/wildlife-crime.html

 

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US CUSTOMS HAS SEIZED MORE THAN 100 SHIPMENTS OF ILLICIT DERMAL FILLERS SINCE JANUARY

A news release from US Customs & Border Protection on 31 March reported that cheap dermal filler they purchase online could potentially make them ill, and violate US import laws.  Since the beginning of the year, officers in Philadelphia have seized more than 100 shipments of dermal filler bearing the brand names of Juvederm, Teoxane, Teosyal, Sculptera, Orthovisc, Revanesse, Restylane, Dyasport, and the more popularly known Botox.

https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/philadelphia-cbp-seizes-more-100-shipments-illicit-dermal-fillers

 

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