NEW IMF REPORT CRITICAL OF MALTA’S AML PROGRAMMES

On 13 April, Kenneth Rijock in his blog made available the IMF Article IV report which says that it is critically important to continue to address deficiencies identified with the AML/CFT system, and that the focus should be on improving and demonstrating effectiveness of the AML/CFT framework. In particular, the understanding of risks and the monitoring and supervision of banks and other higher-risk sectors and programmes should continue to be strengthened. It is also key to enhance AML/CFT enforcement actions, including through timely and adequate sanctions in case of breaches.  It also remarks upon the pressures on correspondent banking relationships, which follows a global trend in reduced payment flows for countries of similar size, but the loss per bank tends to be larger in Malta which may indicate concentration risk

https://www.imf.org/~/media/Files/Publications/CR/2020/English/1MLTEA2020001.ashx

 

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HOW ANGOLAN ELITES BUILT A PRIVATE BANKING NETWORK TO MOVE THEIR RICHES INTO THE EU

On 13 April, the Premium Times in Nigeria carried an article about how a group of Angolan government official and bankers funnelled millions of dollars out of the country using a private network which sent money into Portugal and other EU states.  The network sent at least $324 million through its banks, with most of the funds originating in Angola. In addition, $257 million was found to be held by European companies closely affiliated with these official.

https://www.premiumtimesng.com/investigationspecial-reports/387618-how-angolan-elites-built-a-private-banking-network-to-move-their-riches-into-the-european-union.html

https://www.occrp.org/en/28-ccwatch/cc-watch-indepth/12072-how-angolan-elites-built-a-private-banking-network-to-move-their-riches-into-the-european-union

 

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TRAVELEX PAID HACKERS MULTIMILLION-DOLLAR RANSOM

On 9 April, the Wall Street Journal reported that the UK foreign-exchange company paid about $2.3 million in bitcoin to cybercriminals – this coming before it then faced an accounting and governance scandal.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/travelex-paid-hackers-multimillion-dollar-ransom-before-hitting-new-obstacles-11586440800

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THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – APRIL 12

Panama Covid-19 update – the latest statistics show 3,400 confirmed cases to date, 166 being added in the last 24 hours and 87 fatalities to date.  Though not good, these figures compare favourably to those of the UK and US and others – a death rate of 1 in 50,000 or thereabouts.  whereas the, at least, 10,000 deaths in the UK equate to around 1 in 6,800 – and it looks worse when you think that most cases are concentrated in London and one or two other places.  This is the second, and final day of the 2-day Easter Weekend total lockdown, and tomorrow is a day for women only to get out to shop etc.  TV today entertained us with scenes of curfew-breakers doing mass community service work, cleaning and disinfecting the streets and public spaces of a town in the west, where the local mayor takes a hard line.

12 April 2020

THE 4 TYPES OF NARCO SUBMARINES

On 12 April, Forbes published an article saying that the US has highlighted the smuggling risk from submarines or submersibles being used to smuggle drugs.  What are these so-called “narco subs”, it asks, and what are the main types?  To a trained eye the vessels shown in US Government tweets are very different from each other, representing different categories.

subs

https://www.forbes.com/sites/hisutton/2020/04/12/the-4-types-of-narco-submarine-trying-to-escape-detection/#6821b86d70c1

 

CHINESE CUSTOMS BUST PANGOLIN SCALES SMUGGLING GANG

On 11 April, China.org reported that Chinese customs police in Chongqing have recently busted a smuggling gang trafficking pangolin scales and arrested 12 suspects.  More than 441 kg of pangolin scales, 14 kg of animal gall bladder and about $270,000 in cash were seized.

http://www.china.org.cn/china/2020-04/11/content_75920708.htm

 

THAI CUSTOMS SEIZES LARGE HAUL OF MEDICAL AND PROTECTIVE GEAR

On 12 April, the Bangkok Post reported that Customs officials have seized millions of baht worth of smuggled face masks, thermometers and other protective gear from a transport business.  An investigation found the products had been smuggled from China and Vietnam via Laos and across the Mekong River into Thailand. None of the shipments went through customs procedures.

https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/1897885/customs-seizes-large-haul-of-medical-and-protective-gear

 

INDIA: SQUADS TO CHECK STALE FISH SMUGGLING

The Hindu on 11 April reported that, faced with the threat of stale and contaminated fish being smuggled through interstate borders, the Kerala administration has intensified surveillance at check-posts. The move comes in the wake of over 21 tonnes of inedible fish being seized and destroyed in various parts of the district since the lockdown came into effect.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/squads-to-check-stale-fish-smuggling/article31319784.ece

 

GIBRALTAR TO CRACK DOWN ON DLT MARKET MANIPULATION

On 11 April, the Coin Telegraph reported that the minister for digital and financial services has announced forthcoming regulations to reduce market manipulation among blockchain companies, and that the government will introduce regulations to mitigate market manipulations in the blockchain sector “in the next few months”.  It also says that, in an interview, he has discussed his government’s decision to abandon its development of a legislative apparatus for token sales amid the bursting of the initial coin offering (ICO) bubble.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/gibraltar-to-crack-down-on-market-manipulation-in-dlt-sector

 

3M IS SUING A COMPANY ACCUSED OF TRYING TO RE-SELL FAKE N95 MASKS AT A 600% MARK-UP

Business Insider reported that the lawsuit accuses the defendant fraudulently presenting itself as an authorised re-seller of N95 masks to officials in New York City.

https://www.businessinsider.com/3m-sues-company-for-trying-to-sell-fake-n95-masks-price-gouging-2020-4

 

COVID-19 COULD FUEL SPREAD OF TERRORISM IN AFRICA

On 10 April, Defence Web carried an article saying that, a the Covid-19 pandemic affects the majority of countries in Africa, militant terrorist groups on the continent have continued to launch major attacks, raising concerns that the growing pandemic might create an attention vacuum that will present an unrivalled opportunity for these groups.  It refers to problems in Mozambique, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Chad, as well as Somalia.

https://www.defenceweb.co.za/security/national-security/covid-19-could-fuel-spread-of-terrorism-in-africa/

 

US: GEORGIA MAN CHARGED IN $750 MILLION SCHEME TO SELL NON-EXISTENT FACE MASKS

On 12 April, Patch.com reported that Christopher Parris, 39, allegedly tried to get the Department of Veterans Affairs to order 125 million face masks and other equipment.

https://patch.com/georgia/atlanta/ga-man-charged-750m-scheme-sell-nonexistent-face-masks

 

UAE BLOCKS 1,688 WEBSITES FOR POSTING FRAUD, ILLEGAL, OBSCENE CONTENT

On 12 April, the Emirates News Agency reported that the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of UAE has announced that up to 1,688 websites have been blocked in 2019 for using offensive, racist, moral, religious, defamatory and obscene content. 542 URL were blocked for obscene content, which accounted for around 32% of total sites banned during the year.  Nearly 25.8% (436 URL) websites were used for fraud, in addition to 253 more which tried bypassing web filters.  Others were banned for violating intellectual property rights, providing illegal online proxy services and other illegal activities.

http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302836203

 

EU INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OFFICE (EU IPO) WARNING ON ITS WEBSITE REGARDING FAKE AND MISLEADING INVOICES

An article from Ladas & Parry LLP on 11 April reported that the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has posted a warning on its website regarding fake and misleading invoices which appear to come from the EUIPO. The most recent fake invoice uses the logo, name, letterhead and acronym of the EUIPO stating it is a decision from the EUIPO and requests a registration fee to be transferred to a Polish bank.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/euipo-sends-out-warning-regarding-fake-12134/

https://euipo.europa.eu/ohimportal/en/news/-/action/view/5691046

 

US: PLOY BY ‘AUSTRALIAN AND KUWAITI SCAMMERS TO SELL FAKE STOCKPILE OF 39 MILLION N95 MASKS TO CALIFORNIA LABOUR UNION FOR $9 MILLION’

On 12 April, the Daily Mail reported that a major California labour union that claimed to have discovered a stockpile of 39 million masks for health care workers fighting the coronavirus was duped in an elaborate scam uncovered by FBI investigators.  Investigators claim that a businessman was in contact via WhatsApp with a supplier in Kuwait and a broker in Australia – both of whom are now the target of a federal probe.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8212621/Stockpile-39-million-masks-exposed-fake.html

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