PREVENTING CRIME IN THE UK’S FUTURE FREEPORTS

On 27 April, a Briefing Paper from RUSI analyses the possible criminal risks posed by the UK’s future freeports – which the current government appears keen on introducing post-Brexit. The Paper says that the misuse of freeports in other countries for drug trafficking, trade in counterfeits, money laundering and a vast array of other crimes has drawn the attention of key international stakeholders, including FATF, OECD and WCO. The European Parliament has gone so far as to call for the abolition of freeports in the EU.  The Paper makes a number of recommendations relating to –

  • the need to assess existing criminal risks in the geographical locations where freeports will be established;
  • the need for proportionate responses to the risk profile and volume of activity taking place in freeports;
  • the possibility that the envisaged ‘light-touch’ authorisation procedures for businesses will make it difficult to assess the risks they pose; and
  • the need for regular review of the effectiveness of Freeport Operators (who would actually run the freeport) in discharging their security-related responsibilities.

https://rusi.org/sites/default/files/27042020_freeports_final.pdf

 

 

 

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

NEW PAPER: COMBATING THE FINANCING OF PROLIFERATION

On 27 April, the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies announced a new study, dated 13 March, which aims to examine why most governments appear to attach less importance to countering proliferation finance than they do to countering money laundering or terrorist financing. It finds that there are presently significant gaps in CPF implementation at the national level, with resulting implications for private sector compliance. One key finding is said to be that most governments do not address the issue of proliferation finance as distinct from other forms of financial crime, such as terrorist financing or money laundering.  It identifies practical opportunities for improved financial sector implementation of counterproliferation finance controls.

https://www.nonproliferation.org/combating-the-financing-of-proliferation

 

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

US: ICE HSI LAUNCHES ONLINE RESOURCE PAGE TO COMBAT COVID-19 FRAUD

On 27 April, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced the launch of a dedicated “Operation Stolen Promise” web page Monday to provide information to the public on COVID-19-related fraud schemes.  The page will also highlight the investigative efforts the agency is taking to counter threats posed by individuals and criminal organizations seeking to exploit the pandemic for illicit financial gain.

https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/ice-hsi-launches-online-resource-page-combat-covid-19-fraud

OSP-NR

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

INTER-AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK DEBARS BRAZILIAN CONGLOMERATE FOR $60 MILLION KICKBACK SCHEME

A post on the FCPA Blog on 27 April reported (and provided details of) the 37-month debarment from IDB contracts of Andrade Gutierrez Engenharia S.A. and 11 subsidiaries for bribing public officials in connection with 4 IDB-financed projects in Brazil.  The company is said to have admitted that it schemed to bribe government officials in exchange for contract awards. It is reported that the debarment qualifies for cross-debarment by the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the African Development Bank.

https://fcpablog.com/2020/04/27/idb-debars-brazilian-conglomerate-for-60-million-kickback-scheme/

All current IDB debarments are listed at –

https://www.iadb.org/en/transparency/sanctioned-firms-and-individuals

 

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

UK: OFFICE FOR PROFESSIONAL BODY ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING SUPERVISION SECOND ANNUAL REPORT HIGHLIGHTS THE NEED FOR THE USE OF MORE ROBUST POWERS

A Commentary from RUSI on 27 April reminds on that OPBAS, within the FCA, was established in 2018 to drive improvements in the quality of AML supervision carried out by non-state professional body supervisors in the accountancy and legal sectors. The Commentary says that the significance of the report’s findings to the UK’s AML efforts should not be underestimated.  It says that the OPBAS second annual report makes heartening reading in many respects – for example, the Commentary says, 86% of professional body supervisors have a proper risk assessments in place to drive their supervisory approach, the vast majority are using on-site visits as a supervisory tool, the majority now have intelligence handling processes in place and there has been a significant increase in the number of enforcement actions taken. However, it also notes that OPBAS has had to resort to using one of its more coercive tools – the issuing of a ‘direction’ requiring information or documents to be provided – against 3 supervisors; and also highlights the continuing reluctance of many supervisors to use enforcement tools, rather than guidance.

https://www.rusi.org/commentary/survival-fittest-uk’s-anti-money-laundering-supervisory-regime

 

 

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

UK AND ISLE OF MAN: DETAILS FOR 1 PERSON ON BURMA/MYANMAR SANCTIONS AMENDED

A Notice from HM Treasury on 27 April advised that the details for Than OO had been amended.

The same day the Isle of Man followed suit.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/881366/Notice_Burma_2020_562.pdf

https://www.gov.im/news/2020/apr/27/burmamyanmar-sanctions/

 

 

 

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 26

Panama Covid-19 update – missed the news conference, when figures were slightly encouraging, but new cases figure up today at 241 (it’s been less than 200 per day since 16 April). There are now 5,779 confirmed cases, and there have been 165 fatalities (6 more since yesterday). 3 more patients were admitted to the ICU, giving a total of 88 – so that (touch wood), controls have so far succeeded in preventing health services being overwhelmed (the new hospital built for the crisis has 100 ICU beds alone).  The Government says it will review the lockdown rules in a couple of weeks…

 

26 April 2020

 

CHINA CLAMPS DOWN ON SUPPLIERS AFTER EUROPEAN OUTCRY

On 18 April, the Nikkei Asian review reported that, as a global shortage of masks, test kits and other medical equipment draws a flood of new manufacturers into the field, China has toughened restrictions to weed out unreliable suppliers and products.  More than 30 million masks were blocked for export in just under 2 weeks earlier this month.  More than 28,000 companies in China began manufacturing masks or other medical products between February and early April.  Customs authorities say that from April 1 to April 13 they confiscated 31.65 million masks, 500,000 protective gowns, 1.18 million test kits and 677 ventilators bound for export, for reasons including substandard quality.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Coronavirus/Bad-masks-China-clamps-down-on-suppliers-after-European-outcry

WHICH BANKS IN MALTA LAUNDERED FOR THE BILLION DOLLAR AMERICAN BIOFUEL FRAUDSTERS?

In his blog on 25 April, Kenneth Rijock says that a footnote in an announcement about a federal fuel tax fraud in the US has drawn attention to financial institutions in Malta and efforts to launder $511 million paid to the fraudsters.  He says that purported sales proceeds were moved around the world by the defendants, or on their orders, to give the false impression of huge biofuel sales, and names 3 banks in Malta which he says could have been involved.

http://rijock.blogspot.com/2020/04/which-banks-in-malta-laundered-for-1bn.html

UN MEMBER STATES CONCERN OVER RISE OF GROWING THREAT FROM RIGHT-WING EXTREMISM

A Trends Alert in April from the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee Enforcement Directorate re its role to identify and assess issues, trends and developments relating to the implementation of UN SCR 1373 (2001), 1624 (2005) and 2178 (2014), 2396 (2017) and other relevant resolutions.  It says that right-wing extremism is a not a coherent or easily defined movement, but rather a shifting, complex and overlapping milieu of individuals, groups and movements (online and offline) espousing different but related ideologies, often linked by hatred and racism toward minorities, xenophobia, islamophobia or anti-Semitism.  It says that although extreme right-wing terrorism is not a new phenomenon, there has been a recent increase in its frequency and lethality, with some individuals, groups and movements pursuing transnational aims in a national context, drawing on international networks, ideas and personalities and seeking to mobilize others, often using the Internet. Research indicates that there has been a 320% rise in attacks conducted by individuals affiliated with such movements and ideologies over the past 5 years, with most of such attacks carried out in the west.  On financing, it says that although there is limited information regarding fundraising by extreme right-wing terrorist actors, research suggests that extreme right-wing groups and individuals actively collaborate online and that financial and operational support for their collaboration is provided across national boundaries – and that studies indicate that similarly-minded groups and individuals engage across national boundaries, moving funds to show their support.  This financial support plays an important role in supporting and promoting violent extremist literature, and may be raised through event fees, merchandising and donations.

https://www.un.org/sc/ctc/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/CTED_Trends_Alert_Extreme_Right-Wing_Terrorism.pdf

RUSSIAN IMPERIAL MOVEMENT (RIM) FAR-RIGHT FRINGE GROUP

On 26 April, Rferl carried a video report about RIM, a far-right, white supremacist group that combines nostalgia for the Tsars together with a penchant for violence – and scepticism about the covid-19 pandemic.  It is subject to US terrorism sanctions.

https://www.rferl.org/a/the-gun-toting-tsarists-washington-calls-terrorists/30574960.html

JERSEY FSC: CHANGES TO ON-SITE INSPECTION PROCESS IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19

On 9 April, the FSC in Jersey published an Industry Update saying that it had reviewed its processes and timetable and produced some guidance about how it intends to continue carrying out examinations while both the it and regulated businesses are working from home. It has issued amended guidance and timelines –

https://www.jerseyfsc.org/industry/on-site-visits/interim-guidance-for-examinations-covid-19/

COVID-19 (CORONA VIRUS) BRIBERY AND CORRUPTION RISKS

In April, Standard Chartered provided a brief which covers 3 areas of increased bribery and corruption risks presenting to a financial institution during times of social, economic or political unrest and suggested best practices to address them.  It refers to –

  • government stimulus and charitable donation risks;
  • procurement risks; and
  • employee risks,

Together with a case study about corruption at the time of the ebola crisis.  The brief also warns that the global response to the pandemic is a windfall for kleptocrats; corrupt individuals in positions of power are able to exploit disaster incidents or times of social and political unrest for illicit personal gain, so PEPs need to be closely watched, and the brief provides recommendations.

https://av.sc.com/corp-en/content/docs/DeepDive-Covid-19-ABC-risks.pdf

THE WAR IN THE SAHARA

The BBC has produced a photo-rich feature on unrest, fighting and terrorism in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.  It links the problems for Mail to 2012, and the collapse of neighbouring Libya in 2011.  It says that the extremist groups involved have grown and divided, splintered and reformed, as those backed by al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group battle for power and influence. Boko Haram, and its offshoot, the Islamic State in West Africa Province, have displaced and terrorised hundreds of thousands of people in north-eastern Nigeria and the bordering countries of Niger, Chad and Cameroon. It says that, currently, the most powerful group (of several) is known as JNIM, which was formed in March 2017 when 4 al-Qaeda-backed factions merged, overcoming years of splits and divisions over strategy and ideology: al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM); al-Mourabitoun; Ansar Dine; and the Macina Liberation Front.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/war_in_the_desert

UK: GOVERNMENT MUST ADDRESS IR35 INHERENT FLAWS AND UNFAIRNESS, SAYS PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE

A news release dated 27 April from the UK Parliament reported calls from the House of Lords Economic Affairs Finance Bill Sub-Committee to re-examine the IR35 system, saying that the Government has not sufficiently analysed the unintended behavioural consequences of proposed reforms.  It says that IR35, the framework intended to tackle tax avoidance by those in ‘disguised employment’, has not worked properly throughout its 20-year history.  As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic the Government had decided to defer by a year its plans to extend the off-payroll rules to the private sector, and the Committee says that it should now use this extra time to completely rethink this legislation.

https://www.parliament.uk/business/lords/media-centre/house-of-lords-media-notices/2020/april-2020/government-must-address-ir35-inherent-flaws-and-unfairnesses-says-lords-economic-affairs-finance-bill-sub-committee/

US: SUPREME COURT TO ADDRESS QUESTION OF AUTHORISED COMPUTER ACCESS WHEN USED FOR AN IMPROPER PURPOSE

An article from Kramer Levin on 25 April says that the Supreme Court agreed to review a decision in United States v. Van Buren, which broadly interpreted the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), the main federal anti-hacking statute, as prohibiting otherwise authorised access of electronically stored information when that access occurred for an improper purpose or outside the scope of the authorisation.  The Supreme Court will resolve a split between court decisions over the meaning of criminal “unauthorised access”.  The Buren case involved a low-level police officer making improper use of authorised access to computer records, and there are fears that a too broad an interpretation of the Act could create criminal liability for what may be otherwise commonplace and generally harmless conduct that would not ordinarily be considered “hacking”.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/supreme-court-to-resolve-circuit-split-66089/

ARMENIA’S NEW ANTI-CORRUPTION LAW DRAWS SCEPTICISM

On 26 April, Eurasianet reported that the parliament has passed a law allowing prosecutors to seize property they suspect was acquired with illicit funds; and just after, tax authorities introduced 2 more draft laws that would allow the state to take its anti-corruption fight further. The reforms are eliciting scepticism, including from a transparency activist.  A spokesman of Transparency International says he is sceptical the unexplained wealth law can be implemented effectively.

https://eurasianet.org/armenias-new-anti-corruption-law-draws-skepticism

 

 

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