Panama covid-19 update – once more, too early for daily news conference, so no latest figures. However, TV reporting more arrests for curfew/isolation violations…crazy.
8 April 2020
ALLEGED HEZBOLLAH COMMANDER INDICTED IN AUSTRIA ON TERRORISM FINANCING CHARGES
On 16 March, The National in UAE carried a report saying that prosecutors in Austria have indicted a Lebanese man suspected of being a leading member of Hezbollah’s military wing and being involved with financing terrorism.
AUSTRALIA: HSBC OWNS UP TO POTENTIAL AML LAW BREACHES
On 8 April, KYC 360 reported that HSBC Australia HSBC has reported itself to Australia’s financial crime agency for potential breaches of AML laws by failing to report transfers to foreign banks and institutions.
COVID-19: WRONGFUL TRADING – PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS
On 2 April, Womble Bond Dickinson published an article about the effect of the temporary suspension of the wrongful trading provisions under section 214 of the Insolvency Act 1986 for a period of 3 months (back dated to 1 March). The article sets out to summarise the law as it stands and provide some practical considerations for directors seeking guidance.
WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT US CUSTOMS EXPORT SEIZURES
On 5 April, Torres Law published an article which discusses guidelines published last year by US Customs & Border Protection about the ability of exporters may pay a “forfeiture remission amount” to have the merchandise released from seizure. It also notes that the new guidelines acknowledge a difference between License Violations and Non-License Violations, with a recommendation that License Violations should generally necessitate a remission on the higher end of the range of amounts, which range from 10% to 80% of the value of the merchandise. The Guidelines also provide a description of several mitigating and aggravating factors that should be considered when CBP determines the remission amount.
WHEN FEDERAL R&D FUNDING MEETS U.S. TRADE CONTROLS
On 5 April, Torres Law published an article saying that if a company is fortunate enough to receive federal R&D funding, it is important to remember that these grants do not relinquish responsibility for compliance with trade regulations. It says that there are 2 important points to consider – technology developed under federal funding programmes is subject to US export control laws and regulations; and controls on foreign national involvement apply to collaborative activity.
GENERAL ELECTRIC LICENCE TO SUPPLY AIRCRAFT ENGINES TO CHINA
On 8 April, the EU Sanctions Blog reported that GE had received a licence to supply to China jet engines produced by CFM International, which is co-owned by GE and French company Safran Aircraft Engines.
NORTH KOREA COULD BE USING FERTILISER PLANTS TO MAKE MORE NUCLEAR MATERIAL
MSN News on 7 April reported a new study which says that this technique can be used by North Korea as a way to conceal it was attaining uranium as part of the country’s fervent drive to boost agricultural output. The country is said to be s building fertiliser plants for this purpose, and it “has the potential to considerably alter open-source estimates of how much yellowcake uranium the DPRK is able to produce annually, which in turn affects estimates of how many nuclear warheads the DPRK can make”. It is admitted that the author did not prove definitively that the country is making uranium from fertiliser factories. It is said that a site under construction could be the first phosphate fertiliser plant that will conduct uranium extraction activities at full scale.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION DESIGNATES DRUG CARTELS AS TERRORIST ORGANISATIONS?
A blog post on Lawfare on 8 April posed this question. It asks what new powers does the foreign terrorist organisation (FTO) designation bestow upon the federal government to combat Mexican cartels? It is said that there are 3 areas of the law that would be most affected by this change: criminal prosecutions, immigration and economic sanctions. On the latter, the author admits that designating cartels as FTO would not substantively increase the US government’s ability to target the cartels through financial sanctions.
OWNER OF GOVERNMENT-APPOINTED COMPANY ISSUING VISAS FOR PEOPLE WISHING TO TRAVEL TO NIGERIA FACING CHARGES OF FRAUD AND MONEY LAUNDERING
On 8 April, the BBC reported that the owner of the Nigerian government-appointed company which produces visas for people wishing to travel to Nigeria from around the world is facing charges of fraud and money laundering in Nigeria. It says that there is no suggestion of wrongdoing by the visa-processing company and the allegations have no relation to the management of the visa business. The owner, Mahmood Ahmadu, together with his former company Drexel Tech, and 3 others, including former Interior Minister Abba Moro, face charges.
AUTHORITIES IN GERMANY VICTIMS OF MULTI-MILLION-EURO FRAUD INVOLVING MASKS MUCH NEEDED IN THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
On 7 April, EurActiv reported that North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state and one of the hardest hit, paid €14.7 million for some 10 million masks in March only to discover they did not exist. The German MD of 2 distribution companies based in Zurich and Hamburg raised the alarm after realising he had been tricked.
UK EXTENDS FREEPORTS CONSULTATION PERIOD
On 8 April, the Department for International Trade announced that the public consultation on the introduction of freeports in the UK, due to end on 20 April, has been extended to 13 July.
ARGENTINA PUTS SEIZED ASSETS TO GOOD USE IN CORONAVIRUS FIGHT
On 7 April, Insight Crime reported that authorities in Argentina are using assets seized from drug traffickers to help fight the coronavirus pandemic.
CRYPTO-ASSETS: KEY DEVELOPMENTS, REGULATORY CONCERNS AND RESPONSES
On 7 April, the EU Parliament Research Service published a study which looks at developments which relate mainly to the continuing use of crypto-assets for money laundering and terrorist financing, the massive growth of private “tokens” used to raise funds, and to the emergence of stablecoins and central bank digital currencies. The study also addresses key regulatory concerns, taking into account these recent developments, and suggests regulatory responses.
CO-OWNER OF SANCTIONED FBME BANK PASSES AWAY
On 8 April, OCCRP reported that the co-owner of a bank that has been implicated in money laundering and other criminal financial activities has passed away. Fadi Saab, a Lebanese national who founded and co-owned FBME Bank, died at the age of 70. Saab owned FBME Bank with his brother Farid Saab and served as its managing director. FinCEN sanctions the bank in 2016.
MATCHBOOK OWNER FINED £740,000 BY GAMBLING COMMISSION OVER ‘SERIOUS FAILINGS’
On 8 April, the Racing Post reported that the licence of the owner of betting exchange Matchbook was suspended in the UK because of “serious failings” over its AML and social responsibility measures, the Gambling Commission has said. Matchbook’s owner Triplebet has been told to pay a £740,000 fine, while its licence will remain suspended until it can prove it has implemented the remedial measures required by the regulator. Triplebet’s licence was suspended in February following a review that began in August 2018.
UK GAMBLING COMMISSION SUSPENDS 2 OPERATOR LICENCES FOR FAILING TO PARTICIPATE IN SELF-EXCLUSION PROGRAMME
On 3 April, a news release from the Gambling Commission advised that it had suspended the licences of 2 online operators with immediate effect and commenced reviews for failure to fully integrate the self-exclusion scheme GAMSTOP – Dynamic, trading as Prophet, and Sportito. The licence suspension of Dynamic, trading as Prophet, was lifted on 7 April.
GERMANY INTRODUCES REQUIREMENT TO REPORT WEAPON STOCKS
On 20 March, Germany’s Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA) introduced its Kriegswaffenbuches – eKWB requirement which obliges all those who deal with “war weapons” to report their stocks and changes in stocks to BAFA on a 6-monthly basis. This replaced the previous paper-based reports. The new requirement took effect from 1 April and the first electronic notification to BAFA must be made at the reporting date of 30 September.
SWITZERLAND TO INTRODUCE EXPORT CONTROLS ON THE EXPORT AND BROKERING OF GOODS WHICH COULD BE USED FOR INTERNET OR MOBILE PHONE SURVEILLANCE
A notice from the Federal Assembly on 3 March said that a legal basis should be introduced to allow the Federal Council to be able to continue to refuse the export of internet and mobile phone surveillance devices and software if there is reason to believe that they are being used for repression. This permanent legislation would replace export controls contained in temporary legislation, which must be reviewed and approved every 4 years.
DOJ CIVIL SETTLEMENT IN BID-RIGGING AND FRAUD TARGETING DEFENSE DEPARTMENT FUEL SUPPLY CONTRACTS FOR US MILITARY BASES IN SOUTH KOREA
On 8 April, a news release from the DoJ announced that South Korea-based company Jier Shin Korea Co. Ltd., and its president, Sang Joo Lee, have agreed to pay $2 million to the US for civil antitrust and False Claims Act violations for their involvement in a bid-rigging conspiracy that targeted contracts to supply fuel to US military bases in South Korea. It also adds that the US previously reached civil settlements totalling over $205 million relating to the conspiracy with GS Caltex Corporation, Hanjin Transportation Co. Ltd., Hyundai Oilbank Co. Ltd., SK Energy Co. Ltd., and S-Oil Corporation.
US BANKS BLAME AML RULES FOR EMERGENCY LOAN LOGJAM
On 8 April, American Banker reported that US banks, facing criticism for prioritising existing customers over new ones who are seeking coronavirus rescue loans, put the blame on federal AML rules.
UKRAINE: POLICE RELEASE MORE DETAILS ABOUT ARMS TRAFFICKING RING DISMANTLED IN 2018
On the 3 April, the Ukraine National Police released a news release containing additional information about a large arms trafficking ring dismantled in 2018. The traffickers found buyers online and delivered the weapons via post. The release includes clear photographs of Turkish blank-firing pistols seized from the traffickers.
SOUTH KOREA CENTRAL BANK LAUNCHES DIGITAL CURRENCY PILOT PROGRAMME
On 8 April, Coin Telegraph reported that the bank had announced on 6 April that it has launched a pilot programme to assess the logistics of issuing a central bank digital currency — or CBDC. It is said that the bank has no immediate plans to introduce such a currency, the pilot scheme will ensure that it is prepared to do so in the face of changing market conditions.
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