OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – APRIL 24

Panama Covid-19 update – the early rains have arrived, if the thunder, lightning and monsoon shower (and the large toad watching me exercise on the veranda) are anything to go by.  Meanwhile, the daily new cases figure was 172, giving a total to date of 5,338; of whom 4,524 are in isolation (1,030 in requisitioned hotel rooms), 341 in hospital (of which 87 in ICU) and 154 fatalities (8 more since yesterday) – the balance being recovered cases. This weekend is another total lockdown, something that I for one have got used to…

24 April 2020

UK MAKING ‘IMPOSSIBLE DEMANDS’ OVER EUROPOL DATABASE IN EU TALKS

The Guardian on 23 April reported that the UK government is making impossible demands over access to Europol databases in the negotiations over the future relationship with the EU, according to a leaked assessment of the UK’s position drawn up by the German government. UK demands included a desire to continue to access Europol’s central intelligence database (EIS) – a wish the German report, summarising the EU’s position, described as “not possible”; and expressed an interest in included the Schengen Information System (SIS II), a database used by European border control agencies that includes around 90m entries, as well as a vast collection of air passenger data (PNR), which UK negotiators have proposed extending to cover those travelling on boats and by rail – although a 2018 report by the Council of the EU found that the UK was making improper use of it by illegally copying classified personal information and sharing it with US companies.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/23/uk-making-impossible-demands-over-europol-database-in-eu-talks

CORONAVIRUS UPENDS GLOBAL NARCOTICS TRADE

On 22 April, Reuters published a special report on the efefct of the pandemic on the global drugs trade. From the cartel badlands along the US-Mexico border and verdant coca fields of the Andes, to street dealers in London and Paris, traffickers are grappling with many of the same woes as legitimate businesses, Reuters has found. Reuters spoke with more than two dozen law enforcement officials, narcotics experts, diplomats and people involved in the illicit trade. They described a business experiencing busted supply chains, delivery delays, disgruntled workers and millions of customers on lockdown. The article says that disruptions are likely to be short-lived, some anti-narcotics experts said – cartels have proven adept at surmounting any obstacles. Raw materials are also bedevilling the Mexican cartels. Fentanyl and meth, which kill tens of thousands of Americans each year, are made with chemicals often manufactured in China, India and Germany – but factory closures, staff shortages, shipping slowdowns and tighter borders all along the methamphetamine precursor supply chain have created scarcity.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-latam-narcotics-sp/special-report-peruvian-coca-farmers-to-paris-pushers-coronavirus-upends-global-narcotics-trade-idUSKCN2242ZI

FUGITIVE IN THE KNOEDLER ART FRAUD GIVES HIS DEFENCE

On 24 April, KYC 360 reported a New York Times article concerned with a new documentary about a man accused of having been a central figure in one of the largest art world scandals of recent times, but little has been heard from José Carlos Bergantiños Diaz, who the authorities say helped orchestrate the sale of $80 million in phony works. Now, it says, he has blamed his former girlfriend, a Long Island art dealer, who sold many of the phony works through the auspices of Knoedler & Company, then one of the city’s oldest sellers of fine art, and a respected one. Ms. Rosales, who pleaded guilty to 9 counts of conspiracy, fraud and other crimes in 2013, told the authorities that Mr. Bergantiños Diaz used threats and abuse to coerce her into continuing with the scheme. He was arrested and charged him with wire fraud and money laundering as well as conspiring to defraud the IRS and other crimes in 2014, but US authorities have been unable to extradite him from Spain.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/from-afar-a-fugitive-in-the-knoedler-art-fraud-gives-his-defense/

UK GAMBLING COMMISSION PUBLISHES REASONING FOR TRIPLEBET’S LICENCE SUSPENSION

On 14 April, CMS Law published an article about the Gambling Commission having published its reasoning for the package of sanctions it handed down to online gambling operator Triplebet on 17 February 220, which included a suspension of its gambling licence and a fine. Triplebet operated a betting exchange and remote casino business, trading as “Matchbook”. The shortcomings identified included AML concerns, account-to-accounts transactions, a lack of due diligence in relation to members of gambling syndicates and non-compliance with social responsibility codes of practice. One point highlighted in the article are the Commission’s views on professional gamblers, indicating that operators should not presume such gamblers to be low risk for money laundering and should treat these customers no differently from others under their AML policies and procedures.

https://www.cms-lawnow.com/ealerts/2020/04/gambling-commission-publishes-reasoning-for-triplebets-licence-suspension?cc_lang=en

CUBA LAUNCHES P2P BITCOIN EXCHANGE

On 24 April, the EU Sanctions Blog reported that Cuba has launched QBita, a cryptocurrency peer-to-peer Bitcoin exchange, which it is said would allow Cubans access to financial services currently limited by US sanctions, such as PayPal and American Express.

https://qbita.org/

US HAS SUSPENDED THE EXPORT OF NUCLEAR BY-PRODUCTS TO PAKISTAN

Hindustan Times on 23 April explains that the decision of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) does not prohibit export of nuclear materials that are used as radionuclides embedded in devices but make it mandatory for exporters to seek government permission every time and for every specific consignment.  Radionuclides are radioactive elements used widely, among other fields, in medicine and for irradiation of food.  In the past, a number of Pakistani organisations and companies have been added to the US Entity List and had export controls imposed, and other individuals have been indicted for allegedly using front companies to evade US controls on supplies for the Advanced Engineering Research Organization and the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (which are both on the Entity List).

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/us-tightens-norms-for-nuclear-exports-to-pak/story-SyVRJRi1dzpmJrXK6NwB1L.html

AUSTRALIA: LIVE SHEEP EXPORTER EMANUEL FIGHTING LICENCE CANCELLATIONS

On 24 April, the Sheep Central website reported that live exporter Emanuel Exports and subsidiary EMS Rural Exports will continue to seek reversal of their licence cancellations after a criminal investigation into it over sheep losses during Middle East shipments in 2017 was dropped. Their export licences were cancelled in 2018. It is said that the decision to cancel the export licences is currently before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

https://www.sheepcentral.com/live-sheep-exporter-emanuel-continues-to-fight-licence-cancellations/

UN SECURITY COUNCIL IMPOSES SANCTIONS ON CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC (CAR) FORMER REBEL LEADER ABDOULAYE MISKINE

All Africa on 23 April reported that the Security Council has imposed sanctions on Central African Republic (CAR) former rebel leader Abdoulaye Miskine, who was last year one of the signatories of a peace agreement between the government and 14 armed groups. Under the terms of the 2019 accord, Miskine, founder and head of the Democratic Front of the Central African People (FDPC), was appointed technical adviser in the government, while other rebel leaders were given senior government positions with the aim of helping to cement the peace deal, but he never took the post he was offered.

https://allafrica.com/stories/202004240191.html

PRECIOUS STONES ILLEGALLY MINED IN AFGHAN PROVINCE

Rferl on 24 April reported that illegal mining of precious stones in the eastern Afghan province of Kunar is depriving its impoverished residents of resources and their country of much-needed revenue. It is said that its mountains are rife with the deposits of semiprecious tourmaline, aquamarine, kunzite, topaz, garnet, and various kinds of quartz, and the region also has deposits of lapis lazuli and fluorite. Expensive gems such as sapphires, ruby, and emeralds are mined in the province, which shares a long border with Pakistan.

https://gandhara.rferl.org/a/precious-stones-illegally-mined-in-afghan-province/30574298.html

NIGERIAN NAVY PRAISED FOR RESPONSE TO ATTACK OF MERCHANT VESSEL OFF BENIN

On 24 April, Defence Web reported that the Nigerian Navy has been praised for its role in the rescue of 11 crew members aboard the cargo vessel Tommi Ritscher after it was attacked by pirates off the coast of Benin on 18 April. 8 crewmembers were kidnapped from the vessel while the remaining 11 locked themselves in the citadel. They were subsequently rescued by the Nigerian and Benin Navies on 20 April. The Gulf of Guinea remains the world’s top piracy hotspot and attacks and piracy incidents in and off Benin anchorage have increased, according to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB).

https://www.defenceweb.co.za/security/maritime-security/nigerian-navy-praised-for-response-to-attack-of-merchant-vessel-off-benin/

EU COMMISSION ADJUSTS EXPORT AUTHORISATION SCHEME FOR PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)

On 24 April, the EU announced that the EU Commission has published a new export authorisation scheme for personal protective equipment (PPE). It reduces the list of products that require export authorisation to masks, spectacles and protective garments, extends the geographical exception (including to the Western Balkans) and requires Member States to swiftly grant authorisations for exports for humanitarian purposes.

https://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/press/index.cfm?id=2139

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2020.129.01.0007.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2020:129:TOC

US CUSTOMS IN CINCINNATI SEIZES 2,000 COUNTERFEIT 3M MASKS

A news release from US Customs and Border Protection on 23 April advised that Officers at an Express Consignment Operations hub in Cincinnati examined a package from China which had a declared value of $500. When the officers inspected the package they discovered 2,000 counterfeit 3M masks, an Intellectual Property Rights violation.

https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/cincinnati-cbp-seizes-2000-counterfeit-3m-masks#

UK: WHISTLEBLOWING FOR EMPLOYMENT, INTERNATIONAL AND COMMERCIAL LAWYERS

On 21 April, an article from Cloisters.com about a recent High Court case which provides an interesting new angle for employment, international and commercial lawyers whose clients are not entitled to the statutory whistleblowing protection embedded within the Employment Rights Act 1996. It says that, whilst the reach of the new duty of care is likely to be limited to very specific situations, it imposes a new duty of care on employers to protect against economic loss, in the form of loss of future employment opportunity, by providing an ethically safe work environment, free from professional misconduct (or indeed criminal conduct) in a professional setting.

https://www.cloisters.com/whistleblowers-a-novel-approach/

HOW THE US BUNGLED CASE OF ‘MAJOR’ MONEY LAUNDERER – THE WAKED MONEY LAUNDERING ORGANISATION

On 24 April, an article on Insight Crime is concerned with US actions in respect of Nidal Waked and other members of his powerful and well-connected family in Panama. Client were alleged to have included Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel and Colombia’s FARC rebels. However, it says, within 2 years of his high-profile arrest, he would secure a plea deal admitting to only the smallest of offenses and walk out of jail after serving just about 2 years. The investigation into the Waked family’s alleged criminal enterprise started with an anonymous tip 10 years before Nidal was arrested. OFAC claimed that the group directed “trade-based money laundering schemes” using “false commercial invoicing, bulk cash smuggling, and other money laundering methods to launder drug proceeds on behalf of multiple international drug traffickers and their organisations”, with a laundering network comprising 68 companies. The article asks what went wrong with the US investigation and prosecution. It says that the outcome of the case against Nidal suggests that the evidence laid out was weak, and that prosecutors would never have cut a deal with a defendant if the case was that strong. Despite the result of the court case, and Nidal and Abdul to have their OFAC listings dropped, while the criminal case has been resolved, Nidal and others with alleged links to the Waked Money Laundering Organisation continue to face OFAC sanctions.

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/analysis/us-panama-nidal-waked/

A ROADMAP TO A COST-EFFECTIVE HUMAN RIGHTS COMPLIANCE PROGRAMME

A post on the FCPA Blog on 24 April suggests a way forward, post-Covid-19, saying that the crisis is likely to lead to increased tensions and difficulties in many countries, creating “dramatic” business and human rights impacts, creating legal, reputational, and operational risks. The post suggests a way forward to implement a social responsibility/human rights compliance programme when the dust has settled.

https://fcpablog.com/2020/04/24/after-covid-19-my-roadmap-to-a-cost-effective-human-rights-compliance-program/

The author of the post also directs one to the white paper he has written and which is available from TRACE –

https://info.traceinternational.org/leveraging-anti-bribery-compliance-programs-to-address-human-rights-in-a-post-covid-19-world

THE FIRST YEAR OF HELMS BURTON LAWSUITS

On 23 April, Lawfare published an article reflecting on a year of lawsuits allowed under Title III of the Helms-Burton Act in the US, which permits US nationals to sue persons and companies that “traffic” in property expropriated by the Cuban government after the start of the Cuban Revolution in the late 50s.  The provision involved had been “suspended” from 1996 until activated by the Trump Administration last year. It is said that previous Administrations had feared activating the Title would produce a flood of complex lawsuits in US courts and cause diplomatic friction with close allies. The article says 26 such lawsuits have been filed, and the author expresses surprise that most of the lawsuits have targeted US, and not foreign companies. He argues that argue that the activation of Title III has not achieved the administration’s goals and should be reversed.

https://www.lawfareblog.com/first-year-helms-burton-lawsuits

THE INTERTWINED LAYERS OF CONFLICT IN YEMEN AND THEIR IMPLICATIONS FOR WAR RESOLUTION EFFORTS

On 24 April, the EU Institute for Security Studies issued an edition of its Conflict Series analyses the intertwined layers of conflict in Yemen and their implications for war resolution efforts. It examines the Yemeni crisis in all its complexity, focusing on existing and emerging dynamics. Interference by foreign state powers is both a cause and a consequence of the protracted conflict, while the potential for peace must be sought at local level. It says that the crisis in Yemen epitomises the complexity of contemporary intra-state conflicts: rather than a simple, binary war, the situation is characterised by various layers of conflict with multiple state, hybrid, non-state actors and foreign state powers playing active roles.

https://www.iss.europa.eu/sites/default/files/EUISSFiles/Brief%208%20Yemen.pdf

COVID-19: EXPORT CONTROLS AND LICENCES IN THE UK

The Institute of Export and International Trade has produced a webinar in conjunction with the Export Control Joint Unit at the UK Department of International Trade. The 1-hour webinar, covers –

  • EU controls relating to PPE and how they apply to UK;
  • Continuation of export licensing during the pandemic;
  • Controls on medical supplies;
  • Importance for Export Control staff to communicate with their companies and supply chains; and
  • The response of the Institute and the Export Control Profession board to the crisis.

https://opentoexport.com/webinars/covid-19-export-controls-and-licences/

COVID-19: US FEDERAL REGULATORS PROVIDE LIMITED AML RELIEF IN CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE, AND LIMITED SUPPORT FOR THE USE OF TECHNOLOGY IN FINANCIAL CRIME COMPLIANCE ACTIVITIES

A Client Alert from law firm Wilmer hale on 24 April sets out to summarise recent guidance from federal regulators and self-regulatory organizations—including FinCEN, OFAC, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), Federal Reserve Board of Governors (FRB), and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) — on how to adapt the AML regime to today’s unprecedented circumstances.

https://www.wilmerhale.com/en/insights/client-alerts/20200424-federal-regulators-provide-limited-aml-relief-in-coronavirus-response

WHY WE NEED MANDATORY DUE DILIGENCE IN SUPPLY CHAINS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, THE ENVIRONMENT AND PREVENTING CORRUPTION

On 23 April, an article from Transparency International marked the 7th anniversary of the tragedy when more than 1,100 textile workers died in the Rana Plaza building collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh.  It says that it is time to make supply chains more resilient by introducing mandatory due diligence for anti-corruption, human rights and environmental protection. It points out that the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights clarify that all businesses should undertake human rights due diligence, and that in the past decade, several international and multilateral frameworks have enshrined this principle.

https://voices.transparency.org/why-we-need-mandatory-due-diligence-in-supply-chains-for-human-rights-environment-and-prevention-9561785e6a86

US: COVID-19 FRAUD DOMAIN SEIZED FROM SELLER WHO ATTEMPTED TO SELL IT USING BITCOIN

A news release from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement advised that ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia had obtained a warrant authorising seizure of coronaprevention.org.  This was part of recently launched Operation Stolen Promise to protect the homeland and global supply-chain from the increasing and evolving threat posed by COVID-19-related fraud and criminal activity.

https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/covid-19-fraud-domain-seized-seller-who-attempted-sell-it-using-bitcoin

RELEASED FROM JAIL, WHERE DID THE UK’S COCAINE KING STASH HIS CASH?

On 24 April, the Daily Mail carried an article about the release of Brian Wright, aka The Milkman, released from prison halfway through his 30-year sentence. During the 90s he built the biggest drugs empire Britain has seen, buying vast amounts of cocaine from Colombia’s Medellin cartel.  He was reputed to have amassed between £100 million and £600 million, but after a 6-year Customs and Excise investigation he and 16 of his henchmen were jailed.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8254957/Where-did-Britains-cocaine-king-stash-cash.html

US: TELEMEDICINE COMPANY OWNER BECOMES 23rd CHARGED IN $60 MILLION FRAUD SCHEME

A news release from a US Attorney’s Office in Georgia reported that a Georgia woman who operated a telemedicine network through 2 companies has been charged for her alleged participation in an ever-growing healthcare and telemedicine fraud scheme.  She is Charlene Frame, the operator of Royal Physician Network, LLC and Envision It Perfect, LLC, both Georgia companies.

https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdga/pr/telemedicine-company-owner-charged-60-million-fraud-scheme

FRANCE THE LATEST EUROPEAN COUNTRY TO BLOCK CORONAVIRUS BAILOUTS FOR FIRMS WITH OFFSHORE TAX HAVENS

On 24 April, The New European reported that France has blocked companies with offshore tax havens from accessing up to €110 billion in government coronavirus bailouts.

https://www.theneweuropean.co.uk/top-stories/france-latest-european-country-to-block-coronavirus-bailouts-for-firms-with-offshore-tax-havens-emmanuel-macron-bruno-le-maire-uk-government-1-6623440

SEC CHARGES FOUNDERS OF CRYPTO AUTOMATION DEVELOPER DROPIL WITH DEFRAUDING INVESTORS IN THEIR UNREGISTERED $1.8 MILLION ICO OF THE DROP TOKEN

On 24 April, Coindesk reported that the SEC has alleged that Jeremy McAlpine, Zachary Matar and Patrick O’Hara, all California residents, lied about Dropil’s financial status and DROP token profitability to their investors, who they also misled by drastically overstating the success of their ICO. Dropil’s founders said they raised $54 million from 34,000 global investors, but the complaint alleged they actually raised only a fraction of that: $1.8 million from 2,472 investors.

https://www.coindesk.com/dropil-charged-token-fraud-sec

SOLICITOR’S DUTY WHEN REDACTING DOCUMENTS

An article from Blackstone Chambers says that a recent case in which the High Court gave important guidance to solicitors in their approach to redaction of documents on grounds of confidentiality. It explains that a “confidentiality ring”, established by order of the court, (sometimes referred to as a confidentiality club) is an arrangement whereby disclosed documents may only be seen by a specific list of people (members of the ring or club). These might be lawyers only, or lawyers plus an expert, or lawyers plus named individuals or a similar combination. The idea is to strike a balance between the right of one party to see the other party’s relevant documents and the right of that other party to protect its confidential information in those documents by limiting their dissemination.  It says that the case contains helpful and important guidance not only on the correct approach to confidentiality rings but also on the duty of solicitors when redacting documents on grounds of confidentiality.

https://www.employeecompetition.com/solicitors-duty-when-redacting-documents-infederation-ltd-v-google-llc-2020-ewhc-657-ch/

COVID-19-Infects-All-Modes_FULL-4

https://www.freightwaves.com/news/covid-19-infects-the-modes

 

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COLOMBIA SUSPENDS GOVERNOR, INVESTIGATES 6 MORE ON CORONAVIRUS CORRUPTION CLAIMS

On 24 April, Colombia Reports said that one governor was suspended and another 6 are facing criminal investigations over alleged embezzlement of coronavirus emergency aid.  It also says that, even under normal circumstances, corruption costs the government approximately 10% of its annual budget, according to the country’s former Comptroller General.

https://colombiareports.com/colombia-suspends-governor-investigates-6-more-on-coronavirus-corruption-claims

 

If you’d like to help to contribute to the cost of the new laptop and desktop I have had to acquire, now that I am 5,000 miles away from my originals – https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

DIRECTORS DISQUALIFICATION: APPLYING FOR PERMISSION TO ACT DURING THE CORONA PANDEMIC

On 17 April, an article from Radcliffe Chambers is concerned with the Temporary Insolvency Practice Direction (TIPD) and a guidance note which has confirmed that, for the purposes of TIPD, applications under section 17 Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 are deemed urgent.

https://radcliffechambers.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Directors-Disqualification-Applying-for-permission-to-act-Article-by-Catherine-Doran-.pdf

 

 

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COVID 19 AND BUSINESS INTERRUPTION INSURANCE

A note from Hailsham Chambers says that it has also been widely reported that a number of insurers take the view that BI claims made on the basis of losses arising from the current pandemic are not covered, with various arguments are being advanced by insurers. In the first in a series of notes from Hailsham Chambers addressing insurance implications from the current situation, this describes very briefly the nature of BI insurance and then considers the first issue arising: is the cover engaged?

https://www.hailshamchambers.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Business-Interruption-Insurance-1.pdf

 

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ACCOUNT FORFEITURE AND FREEZING ORDERS (AFFO) IN THE PANDEMIC

Drystone Chambers has issued an article in which the author argues that one of the effects of the pandemic will be to increase the use of AFFO, as they require less investigator time, and less court time. Under the limits of the pandemic, he says, it is likely that issues will arise when applying for and making AFFO. He sets out a number of possible issues, saying that all practitioners dealing with AFFO at this time should be aware of these issues, as they might provide grounds for challenge.

https://drystone.com/files/8d12bd9163e95407d0ce2cfc6ed37687.pdf

 

 

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US CUSTOMS INTERDICTS 3 MEN SMUGGLING MORE THAN $3 MILLION IN CASH INTO US VIRGIN ISLANDS

A news release from US Customs and Border Protection on 22 April announced that US CBP, Air and Marine Operations (AMO) agents intercepted a vessel with 3 men onboard entering Brewers Bay, St Thomas transporting more than $3 million inside duffel bags.

https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/amo-interdicts-3-men-smuggling-more-3-million-cash-st-thomas

 

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EU PUSHES TO ‘PHASE OUT’ MALTA AND OTHER CITIZENSHIP SCHEME

The Times of Malta on 24 April reported that the European Commission is recommending a “phasing out” of the citizenship programmes of Malta, Bulgaria and Cyprus. The Commission was in discussion with all 3 countries to see the “possible evolutions” of these schemes. A report prepared by the Commission last year said citizenship sale schemes posed money-laundering and corruption risks.

https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/eu-pushes-to-phase-out-maltas-citizenship-scheme.787523

 

 

If you’d like to help to contribute to the cost of the new laptop and desktop I have had to acquire, now that I am 5,000 miles away from my originals – https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – APRIL 23

Panama Covid-19 update – 174 newly confirmed cases today, taking us to over 5,000 to date, 5,166 to be precise, with 2 additional fatalities – taking us to a total of 146 to date.  Can it be that the strict controls are really suppressing the statistics.  The news conference this evening was preceded by a short video of the “solidarity” efforts at the Atalpa Convention Centre – now operating as a supply depot for the packaging and delivery of food and medicines packages to the poorer and other vulnerable people.  The operation is only allowed to use 20 to 30 year olds, and seemed quite impressive. The last “man” day until next Tuesday today, apparently men losing their Saturday time slots is fair, as the great majority of people detained for breaching lockdown rules have been male…

23 April 2020

TURKEY ANNOUNCES NEW MEASURES AGAINST FINANCIAL CRIMES

The Anadolu Agency reported on 15 April that Turkey’s Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK) has introduced new measures against money laundering and terror financing, based on FATF’s call to strengthen controls. Payments above 100,000 Turkish liras and below 1 million Turkish liras (or equivalent in foreign currency) to offshore entities are required to be uploaded to MASAK’s data system on a daily basis, and payments above 1 million Turkish liras (or equivalent) to offshore entities are required to be shared with MASAK one day in advance.

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/economy/turkey-announces-new-measures-against-financial-crimes/1805952

US REWARD OFFER FOR INFORMATION ON HIZBOLLAH’S FINANCIAL NETWORKS MUHAMMAD KAWTHARANI

On 10 April, the US State Department issued a news release offering a reward of up to $10 million for information on the activities, networks, and associates of Muhammad Kawtharani, a senior Hizballah military commander. This announcement is part of the Department’s standing reward offer for information leading to the disruption of the financial mechanisms of the terrorist organization Lebanese Hizballah.

https://www.state.gov/reward-offer-for-information-on-hizballahs-financial-networks-muhammad-kawtharani/

ARMENIAN TAX AUTHORITIES HAVE BROUGHT CORRUPTION CHARGES AGAINST MIKAEL MINASYAN, FORMER PRESIDENT SERZH SARKISIAN’S SON-IN-LAW

On 22 April, the Massis Post reported that authorities have brought corruption charges against Mikael Minasyan, former President Serzh Sarkisian’s son-in-law and reputed confidant for illegal enrichment, false asset disclosure and money laundering.  He served as Armenia’s ambassador to the Vatican from 2013 to 2018. He was sacked in November 2018, 6 months after Sarkisian was toppled.

https://massispost.com/2020/04/serzh-sarkisians-son-in-law-indicted-on-corruption-charges

LATVIA’S CORRUPTION PREVENTION BUREAU OPENS INQUIRY OVER OFAC REPORT ON MAYOR

The Baltic Times on 22 April reported that the Corruption Prevention Bureau (KNAB) has opened an inquiry over a report by OFAC that a mayor, Aivars Lembergs, has leveraged and corrupted officials in Latvia. According to OFAC, Lembergs has served as the mayor of Ventspils since 1988 and, from that time, he has been repeatedly accused of money laundering, bribery, and abuse of office. It is saisd that Lembergs controls entities through political parties and corrupt politicians, and systematically exploits those entities and individuals for his own economic gain.

https://www.baltictimes.com/corruption_prevention_bureau_opens_inquiry_over_ofac_report_on_lembergs/

WHISTLEBLOWING COMPLAINTS AT THE EUROPEAN INVESTMENT BANK ALLEGE A DISREGARD FOR AML RULES

On 23 April, KYC 360 reported that whistleblowing complaints at the European Investment Bank have revealed a disregard for AML rules when providing billions of euros to projects around the world. The bank has called for an inquiry into a pattern of wrongdoing, misconduct and obstruction, alleged in the whistleblowing complaints made last summer. The bank confirmed that the audit report had identified “gaps”, partly related to an “incomplete adaptation” of the bank’s policies in line with the latest AML/CFT regulations.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/eib-under-scrutiny-for-failings-after-aml-whistleblowing-complaints/

13640

https://www.statista.com/chart/13640/press-freedom-index

HOW SHOULD UK INSOLVENCY PRACTITIONERS DEAL WITH ACTIVE CASES DURING COVID-19?

On 9 April, Squire Patton Boggs published an article which aims to provide some guidance to help Insolvency Practitioners (IP) deal with certain practical issues that may arise in active cases.

https://www.restructuring-globalview.com/2020/04/qa-how-should-uk-insolvency-practitioners-deal-with-active-cases-during-covid-19/

IATA CARGO HANDLING MANUAL (ICHM) UPDATED

On 23 April Aviation Pros reported that IATA recently launched a new programme to improve global standards across cargo operations.  Now in its 4th edition, the ICHM is a high-level cargo handling procedural manual designed for airlines and ground-handling agents. According to IATA officials, 4 updates were made to the 2020 edition of the ICHM, including export rules and risk mitigation for embargoes and dual use items; and electronic Air Waybill (e-AWB) standard operating procedures to clearly promote e-AWB and its implementation.

https://www.aviationpros.com/ground-handling/article/21131437/how-the-industry-is-charting-a-course-for-cargo-handlers

US CIVILIAN FIREARMS EXPORTERS: TAKE HEED AS COMMERCE DEPARTMENT TAKES LEAD OVER ENFORCEMENT UNDER NEW RULE

An article from law firm Steptoe & Johnson on 22 April said that on 9 March, a new US federal firearms export control rule that has been in the works for many years went into effect, changing the way the US regulates international trade in firearms, guns, ammunition and related articles.  Essentially, the Rule makes the Commerce Department responsible for the regulation of most commercially available firearms exports and enforcement of those regulations, rather than the State Department. The article cautions that the Commerce Department is expected to be just as exacting in its civil/administrative regulation of the firearms trade, and just as tough in criminal enforcement. The article goes into some detail of the changes being made and potential enforcement by the Commerce Department.

https://www.steptoeinternationalcomplianceblog.com/2020/04/us-civilian-firearms-exporters-take-heed-as-commerce-department-takes-lead-over-enforcement-under-new-rule/#page=1

ALGERIA: FORMER AMBASSADOR “SMUGGLED ILLICIT CASH TO FRANCE THROUGH DIPLOMATIC BAG”

On 23 April, the Algiers Herald reported allegations that former UN ambassador of Algeria, Rachid Belbaki, smuggled hundreds of thousands of foreign currency using the diplomatic bag for the benefit of a corrupt oligarch’s brother, Rebouh Haddad, whose brother, Ali Haddad, is currently in jail on embezzlement charges. Belbaki is also alleged to have opened several bank accounts where the illicit cash was deposited, bank accounts opened in the region of Hauts-de-France while the diplomat was serving as consul for the city of Lille.

https://www.algiersherald.com/former-ambassador-rachid-belbaki-smuggled-illicit-cash-to-france-through-diplomatic-bag/

GIBRALTAR MOVES TO TIGHTEN REGULATION OF CRYPTOCURRENCIES

On 23 April, International Investment reported that Gibraltar is said to be working to ensure regulation of cryptocurrencies is on a par with that of the wider financial services sector, and is planning to introduce new regulations to further safeguard the digital coin sector and curb market manipulation. Gibraltar is also working to develop a platform to address some of the issues raised by FATF in a recent review of Gibraltar’s financial sector regulations.

https://www.internationalinvestment.net/news/4014264/gibraltar-moves-tighten-regulation-cryptocurrencies

ALBANIA: GOVERNMENT TO SEND CAPITAL AMNESTY DRAFT LAW TO PARLIAMENT

On 20 April, the Tirana Times reported that the Albanian government is planning to send the draft law on capital amnesty to the Parliament. The amnesty could last up to 1 year, divided into 3 time periods of 4 months. The prime minister is quoted as saying that revenues from criminal activities and corruption are excluded, and that all those who are convicted for certain activities that are part of the criminal activity which is also subject to the special law and Operation Force of Law (against organised crime) are excluded from the amnesty.

http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=145530

POLICE FREEZE £1.6 MILLION FROM ‘COMPLEX WEB’ OF 25 BANK ACCOUNTS LINKED TO MAFIA CASH AFTER PROBE INTO ITALIAN CRIME GANG MONEY LAUNDERING FIRMS IN LONDON

On 23 April, the Daily Mail reported that investigators from the Met Police Economic Crime Unit found that dozens of front companies were opened in the UK. Each had been set up or was partly managed by a third party in an attempt to hide the real movement of money. The investigation was begun in 2018.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8249361/Police-freeze-1-6million-complex-web-25-bank-accounts-linked-mafia-cash.html

http://news.met.police.uk/news/1-dot-9m-euros-seized-from-bank-accounts-after-two-year-money-laundering-investigation-400617

3 VILNIUS LAWYERS AND BUSINESSMAN DETAINED ON SUSPICIONS OF UNLAWFUL PRESSURE ON THE DIRECTOR AND AN INVESTIGATOR OF LITHUANIA ANTI-CORRUPTION AGENCY

On 23 April, LRT reported that the detention was connected to the STT investigation into the National Blood Centre’s activity in 2018 and a case which has not reached court. The lawyers and the businessman had been detained as part of their investigation into an alleged attempt to exert unlawful influence on the STT director and an investigator carrying out the pre-trial investigation in the National Blood Centre case.

https://www.lrt.lt/en/news-in-english/19/1166848/lawyers-detained-for-alleged-pressure-on-lithuanian-intelligence-officers

FINLAND: 2 DETAINED IN SUSPECTED FACE MASK FRAUD

YLE on 23 April reported that police have detained 2 men in connection with a dodgy deal to provide the state stockpile agency with personal protective equipment (PPE). It says that the National Emergency Supply Agency (Nesa) paid a businessman €4.9 million for a delivery of face masks from China to be used by healthcare workers. However, the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland determined that the masks did not meet the standards for hospital use. Users have also reported allergic reactions and a disagreeable odour.

https://yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/news/two_detained_in_suspected_face_mask_fraud/11319928

FRANCE BECOMES LATEST COUNTRY TO BAN COMPANIES REGISTERED IN OFFSHORE TAX HAVENS FROM CORONAVIRUS BAILOUTS

On 23 April, the Daily Mail reported that France had joined Denmark and Poland is saying that it would exclude companies registered in offshore tax havens from receiving virus compensation.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8248977/France-latest-country-ban-companies-registered-offshore-tax-havens.html

CREDITORS OF BRAZILIAN CONGLOMERATE ODEBRECHT APPROVE RESTRUCTURING PLAN

On 23 April, Reuters reported that creditors of Brazilian corruption-hit conglomerate Odebrecht SA have approved debt restructuring plans of 12 of its subsidiaries, after an online assembly that lasted more than 8 hours, and with restructuring of more than 99% of the $9.7 billion of the conglomerate’s debt.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-odebrecht-sa-restructuring/creditors-of-brazilian-conglomerate-odebrecht-approve-restructuring-plan-idUSKCN2243JV

BELARUS’ CUSTOMS STOPS ILLEGAL TRANSPORTATION OF 60 TONNES OF FRUIT TO RUSSIA

On 23 April, the Belta news agency reported that 7 cars driven by temporarily unemployed Russian citizens were stopped by law enforcement officers. The cargo included apples, pears and lemons (almost 60 tonnes of fruit). The drivers did not have the necessary shipping documents, including phytosanitary certificates, and some of the drivers were prosecuted for similar offences in 2019.

https://eng.belta.by/society/view/belarus-customs-stops-illegal-transportation-of-60t-of-fruit-to-russia-129996-2020/

CHINA: CUSTOMS CRACKS DOWN ON FALSELY DECLARED MEDICAL SUPPLIES

On 22 April, Shanghai Customs has seized several batches of medical supplies as they were attempted to be exported illegally with false declarations since the General Administration of Customs issued 2 earlier public notices on tougher supervision over the export of such items. Items include masks, protective clothing, test kits and goggles.

https://www.shine.cn/news/metro/2004226794/

 THEFT OF CRITICAL MEDICAL EQUIPMENT SURGES IN LATIN AMERICA

On 22 April, Insight Crime reported that thefts of tests, ventilators and personal protective equipment have shot up across Latin America amid the coronavirus pandemic, threatening lives and taxing governments that already face shortages of critical medical supplies.

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/brief/theft-medical-supplies-latin-america/

WCO PREVENTION OF ILLEGAL TRAFFICKING IN CULTURAL HERITAGE (PITCH) TRAINING HANDBOOK NOW AVAILABLE IN 4 LANGUAGES

On 23 April, a news release from WCO says that the new language versions come after publishing the first edition of this document in English and French less than a year and a half ago. This Handbook is a law enforcement sensitive document available only for the Customs officers who passed the WCO specialised PITCH training.

http://www.wcoomd.org/en/media/newsroom/2020/april/wco-pitch-training-handbook-now-available-in-4-languages.aspx

EU: HAS THE APPLICATION OF THE “FIT AND PROPER” REGIME IMPROVED GOVERNANCE STRUCTURES IN THE BANKING UNION?

On 23 April, a paper from the EU Parliament Research Service examines trends in the size and composition of the boards of significant institutions during the 2011-2018 period, comprising several years before and after the European Central Bank started conducting fit and proper assessments in 2014.

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/IDAN/2020/645727/IPOL_IDA(2020)645727_EN.pdf

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AN ASIA PACIFIC GUIDE TO FORCE MAJEURE

Eversheds Sutherland has produced a guide which identifies the position re force majeure for many jurisdictions in the Asia-Pacific region. It says that there is a wide range of approaches to the treatment of, what are broadly referred to as, force majeure events across the jurisdictions; some countries require an express clause to rely on a defence of force majeure, others do not require this and recognise by law a defence of force majeure. Some countries by their laws recognise a concept of “change of circumstances” which allows the party claiming it to seek different relief to what can generally be claimed where there is a force majeure event. The authorities in some countries, such as the PRC, issue force majeure certificates.

https://ezine.eversheds-sutherland.com/asia-guide/home/

THE OPEN SOURCE HUNT FOR SYRIA’S FAVOURITE SARIN BOMB

On 21 April, investigative website Bellingcat published a report saying that, following a series of Sarin attacks in March and April 2017, Bellingcat worked with open source evidence to slowly piece together the nature of the bomb used in the attacks. After the OPCW Investigation and Identification Team (IIT) report was published, confirming the type of bomb used in the March 24 and March 30 2017 Sarin attacks, it says it now has confirmation of the type of bomb used, the Syrian M4000 chemical bomb.  In the article, Bellingcat examines the evidence and processes it used to identify this same munition, and what it tells us about the use of Sarin as a chemical weapons in Syria, years after Syria was meant to have destroyed its chemical weapons stockpiles in the aftermath of the August 2013 Sarin attacks.

https://www.bellingcat.com/news/2020/04/21/the-open-source-hunt-for-syrias-favourite-sarin-bomb/

https://www.opcw.org/media-centre/news/2020/04/opcw-releases-first-report-investigation-and-identification-team

GLOBAL WITNESS RAISES QUESTIONS ABOUT NEW GOLD REFINERY IN DRC

On 23 April, a news release from Global Witness said that a new company, Congo Gold Raffinerie (CGR), in the Democratic Republic of Congo appears to be a joint venture between the East Africa Region manager for Erik Prince’s Frontier Services Group (FSG), one of the former Congolese president’s alleged middlemen and an alleged gold smuggler.

https://www.globalwitness.org/en/press-releases/new-gold-refinery-in-drc-links-a-senior-employee-of-erik-princes-security-firm-to-a-close-associate-of-ex-president-joseph-kabila-and-a-reported-gold-smuggler-global-witness-reveals/

BLOCKCHAIN FOR EXPORT CONTROL

An article from Stimson on 6 April says that distributed ledger technology (DLT), of which blockchain is a subset, has the potential to strengthen the implementation of export controls. The Stimson Center said that it is investigating potential applications for export controls in 3 areas: sensitive data management; detection and prevention of falsified documents and valid identities; and traceability of sensitive items and data.

https://www.stimson.org/2020/blockchain-for-export-controls/

OIL GIANT ENI TO PAY MILLIONS OVER ‘SHAM CONTRACTS’ IN PANAMA PAPERS BRIBERY CASE

On 23 April, ICIJ published an article about a settlement in the US over bribes allegedly paid in Algeria by Italian oil company Eni.  The oil company allegedly bribed Algerian politicians through a middleman who controlled a constellation of shell companies. Eni, via the subsidiary Saipem, obtained at least 7 contracts worth at least $10 billion with Algeria’s state-owned oil company between 2007 and 2010 after it paid €198 million to an intermediary, unnamed in the SEC announcement but whose description matches Farid Bedjaoui.

https://www.icij.org/investigations/panama-papers/oil-giant-eni-to-pay-millions-over-sham-contracts-in-panama-papers-bribery-case/

PENNSYLVANIA ATTORNEY PLEADS GUILTY FOR ROLE IN $2.7 MILLION PONZI SCHEME

A DoJ news release on 23 April about Todd H. Lahr, 60, who pleaded guilty to 1 count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud, 2 counts of securities fraud and 4 counts of wire fraud. From 2012 through 2019, Lahr conspired with others to perpetrate a securities fraud scheme targeting his own law clients, which involved the fraudulent sale of the securities of 2 entities, THL Holdings LLC and Ferran Global Holdings Inc  Lahr used investor funds to finance his own lifestyle, paying his home mortgage, his child’s school tuition, utility bills and other personal debts.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/pennsylvania-attorney-pleads-guilty-role-27-million-ponzi-scheme

US PROBES INSIDER TRADING TIED TO OPEC+ OIL DEAL

On 23 April, Oil Price.com reported that the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is investigating whether non-American traders had obtained insider information about Russia’s position in the OPEC+ negotiations last month, which they may have later illegally used to bet on crude oil futures. The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has also opened an investigation into suspicious crude futures trades for the same reason.

https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/US-Probes-Insider-Trading-Tied-To-OPEC-Oil-Deal.html

ISRAEL: PROSECUTOR DROPS BRIBERY PROBE AGAINST BUSINESSMAN SAMY KATSAV AND ISRAEL SHIPYARDS

On 19 April, Haaretz reported that the state prosecutor has closed a bribery investigation against Samy Katsav, a veteran Israeli businessman who made his fortune in the defence industries.  Inquiries opened 2 years ago into allegations that bribes were paid to officials of an African government re a $21 million sale more than 10 years ago of 2 patrol boats to the Nigerian navy. The article notes that bribing a foreign official is a relatively new crime in Israel. It was added to the criminal code in 2008 as part of a commitment Israel made to OECD and in connection with Israeli ratification the following year of the UN Convention against Corruption.

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/business/prosecutor-drops-probe-against-businessman-samy-katsav-and-israel-shipyards-1.8793992

CANADIAN MAN AND COMPANY SETTLE WITH US CFTC OVER FRAUD ALLEGATIONS

A release on Mondo Visione on 23 April advised that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission had announced a consent order of permanent injunction against defendants Simon Jousef of Ontario, and his business, FuturesFX, imposing more than $1.7 million in civil monetary and equitable relief. The CFTC complaint charged the defendants with fraudulently soliciting members and prospective members in the US and other countries to subscribe to a trading system that included a supposedly “live” foreign exchange and commodity futures online trading room, educational videos, and online support.  The CFTC also charged Jousef with making false or misleading statements to the National Futures Association (NFA). The news release also notes the CFTC Fraud Advisory on Commodity Trading Systems Sold on the Internet

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/federal-court-orders-defendants-to-pay-over-17-million-to-settle-cftc-enforcem/

EUROPEAN SUPERVISORY AUTHORITIES CONSULTATION PAPER ON PROPOSED ENVIRONMENTAL, SOCIAL AND GOVERNANCE (ESG) DISCLOSURE STANDARDS FOR FINANCIAL MARKET PARTICIPANTS, ADVISERS AND PRODUCTS

A release on Mondo Visione on 23 April advised that the 3 European Supervisory Authorities (EBA, EIOPA and ESMA – ESAs) have issued a consultation paper seeking input on proposed environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosure standards for financial market participants, advisers and products. Responses are requested by 1 September.

The consultation paper is at –

https://eba.europa.eu/sites/default/documents/files/document_library/Publications/Consultations/2020/Joint%20Consultation%20Paper%20on%20%20ESG%20disclosures%20standards%20for%20financial%20market%20participants/882742/JC%202020%2016%20-%20Joint%20consultation%20paper%20on%20ESG%20disclosures.pdf

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/european-supervisory-authorities-joint-consultation-paper-on-esg-disclosures-st/

SANCTIONS CONSIDERATIONS FOR MARITIME ARBITRATORS

An article on Insurance Maritime News on 23 April reports that a partner and associate at law firm Clyde & Co have written on Sanctions Considerations for Maritime Arbitrators. They note that, in recent months the US had increased the force and scope of its sanctions regimes and had targeted the shipping sector in particular, directing a “maximum pressure” campaign on enforcement of Iran and Venezuela sanctions. It is said to be necessary for arbitrators to recognise the risk and to consider the due diligence and other requirements necessary to comply with the relevant sanctions – and the article from Clyde has summarised some potential pitfalls, illustrating how sanctions risk could arise in maritime arbitration – for example, that one of the entities or persons in the dispute is listed as a SDN by OFAC under a sanctions regime, which could be a shipowner, charterer, manager, cargo shipper, intermediate cargo owner or cargo consignee or end-receiver.

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/sanctions-considerations-for-maritime-arbitrators/

The Clyde Alert is at –

https://www.clydeco.com/insight/article/sanctions-considerations-for-maritime-arbitrators?utm_source=vuture&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=sanctions%20considerations%20for%20maritime%20arbitrators

 

 

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