OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MAY 31

Panama Covid-19 update – as we prepare for an end to the total lockdown and gender-based 2-hours per day restrictions on going out from tomorrow, 347 new cases reported and 6 more fatalities – the latter figure taking us to 336 to date.  It appears the confusion over new cases reported is due to late reporting of some cases by the social security minister.  meanwhile, 79 people are in ICU, 279 in other hospital wards and 526 in requisitioned hotel rooms. It is also reported that now 9,514 people who were identified as having the virus have recovered.

31 May 2020

IRELAND: SEIZURE OF CONTAINER LOAD OF SMUGGLED CIGARETTES IN COUNTY ARMAGH LEADS TO CROSS-BORDER INVESTIGATION

On 30 May, Echo Live in Ireland reported that investigations on both sides of the border continued after the seizure of a container load of illicit, smuggled cigarettes worth £3million in Co Armagh.  A number of premises were raided in Co Louth as part of the joint cross border operation, involving the gardaí, the PSNI, Revenue Commissioners and HMRC.

https://www.echolive.ie/nationalnews/Seizure-of-container-load-of-smuggled-cigarettes-in-Co-Armagh-leads-to-cross-border-investigation-b93f1a67-80fd-4886-b71d-67147feb442b-ds

MALTA: ECONOMIC CRIMES POLICE GETS MANPOWER BOOST AS MONEYVAL TEST LOOMS

On 31 May, Malta Today reported that the police force has assigned 18 more officers to the economic crimes unit as Malta braces itself for the follow-up Moneyval report in the coming months.  The police force now has 79 officers assigned to the unit tasked with investigating financial crime, a 51% increase in human resources since March.  It has issued a call for cybercrime analysts and will shortly be doing the same to recruit financial crime analysts from outside the force to strengthen its analytical capacity; and the specialist unit is shortly expected to move into a dedicated building.

https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/102655/economic_crimes_police_gets_manpower_boost_as_moneyval_test_looms#.XtOuUEBFxes

RUSSIAN OPPOSITION LEADER CRITICISES SWISS ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR ‘TOO CLOSE CONTACT’ WITH RUSSIAN PROSECUTOR GENERAL’S OFFICE

On 31 May, Swissinfo reported that Alexei Navalny has criticised in a newspaper interview the Swiss Attorney General’s Office (OAG), claiming that that personal and tight contact between the offices had slowed or even halted important investigations into alleged money laundering cases in Switzerland.

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/sunday-papers_russian-opposition-leader-criticises-swiss-attorney-general/45796858

PLAYTECH, MOR WEIZER AND THE UK GAMBLING COMMISSION

On 31 May, the Daily Mail published an article attacking Isle of man-based gambling giant Playtech and its chief executive, mainly over the case of a Chris Bruney, a 25-year-old electrical engineer from Sheffield who took his own life in 2017 having lost almost £35,000 playing on the company’s casino websites, and the shareholders rejecting Weizer’s hefty pay award.  It is said that Bruney — who earned a salary of £60,000 — was then allowed to gamble on the site’s blackjack and roulette games, placing bets that eventually totalled an astonishing £4,458,782; and the Gambling Commission report notes that the company involved ‘failed to carry out any responsible gambling interaction’ with him.  The report also says that only 3 of the 40 most active gamblers on the site were given any responsible gambling advice, investigators found (while 39 of them were accorded ‘VIP’ status). A mere 0.26% of all customers were ever sent responsible gambling emails.  Playtech closed the site down and the company’s chairperson has agreed to make a personal apology to the family.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8371383/Desperate-man-lured-addiction-tycoon-GUY-ADAMS-exposes-truth-gambling-fat-cat.html

STIFF NEW PENALTIES FOR CORRUPTION OFFENCES COME INTO FORCE IN MALAYSIA

On 31 May, the Malay Mail reported that the Malaysian Institute of Integrity (IIM) is committed to helping companies to formulate sufficient procedures to prevent corrupt practices as the section 17A of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 will come into force on 1 June, imposing steep penalties for corporate corruption.  It will criminalise commercial organisations if their employees or associates had committed corrupt practices.  It provides a fine of not less than 10 times of the value of the gratification, or $230,000, whichever is higher or imprisonment of up to 20 years, or both.

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2020/05/31/malaysian-institute-of-integrity-ready-to-assist-companies-developing-anti/1871163

“ITAR-FREE SATELLITES” AND THE IMPACT OF ITAR REGULATIONS ON US SATELLITE MANUFACTURERS

On 15 May, CSIS published a paper which explains that from in 1976, the US has generally regulated commercial satellites as a defence article and, for 34 out of the last 44 years, controlled exports through the State Departments International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) which regulates the US Munitions List (USML).  However, during the other 10 years, 1996-98 and from 2014 to the present, commercial satellites have been regulated by the Commerce Department Export Administration Regulations (EAR) as a dual-use item on the Commerce Control List (CCL).  According to both industry leaders and government officials, these regulatory changes have had significant impacts on the global satellite industry.  The paper explores the emergence of ITAR-free satellites in the early 2000’s and evaluates the impacts of ITAR regulations on US satellite manufacturers.  For example, even though commercial satellites and satellite components were removed from ITAR, they could still not be sold to China and, as a result, the majority of customers who only wanted ITAR-free satellites in order to sell them in China still faced the same obstacle. The paper makes policy recommendations for a more global approach to studying export regulations moving forward.

https://aerospace.csis.org/the-myth-of-itar-free/

IRAN FUEL REACHES VENEZUELAN STATIONS AS FIFTH TANKER HEADED TO CARIBBEAN

On 31 May, Hellenic Shipping News reported that PDVSA has begun supplying the nation’s stations with fuel provided by ally Iran as drivers wait anxiously for the gasoline to be sold.  Meanwhile, the fifth cargo of Iran’s 5-vessel flotilla heads to the Caribbean Sea and is expected to reach Venezuelan waters on 31 May.

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/irans-fuel-reaches-venezuelan-stations-fifth-tanker-headed-to-caribbean/

CAYMAN ISLANDS NOW INDIA’S TENTH-LARGEST SOURCE OF FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT

On 31 May, the Business Standard reported that the Cayman Islands is now the 10th largest source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for India, leaving behind major nations like South Korea and UAE.  It also reported that the BVI contributed in $262.5 million, a small figure until someone considers that it only sent $46 million in 2018-19.

fdi

https://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/cayman-islands-now-india-s-10th-largest-source-of-foreign-direct-investment-120053101007_1.html

 

 

 

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JAMAICA: FINANCE MINISTER SAYS COUNTRY WILL REMAIN ON THE EU FINANCIAL BLACKLIST UNLESS THINGS IMPROVE

On 31 May, The Gleaner reported that Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke is saying that the country will remain on the blacklist if non-financial businesses and professions do not provide data on their dealings.  He explained some of the challenges facing Jamaica, pointing specifically to the non-financial businesses, adding that there has been very limited activity in the area of AML/CFT supervision of these professions and entities.  He went on to say that it was far too easy for those with ill-gotten gains to transact in real estate, acquire cars and jewellery, participate in gaming, and channel funds through unregulated moneylending institutions without any alarms being triggered.  However, he said the passage several pieces of legalisation has improved Jamaica’s compliance with FATF recommendations. It is mentioned that, in October 2019, FATF indicated that the 2016 national risk assessment did not include sufficient data from the non-profit sector and from non-financial businesses and professions – and the minister said that it was important that the assessment was updated, and has to be done again.

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20200531/far-too-easy-launder-money-real-estate-vehicles-admits-clarke-finance-minister

 

 

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CHILDREN OF FORMER AZERI SECURITY CHIEF ACQUIRED LUXURY UK PROPERTIES

The Observer on 31 May claimed that a string of luxury properties, including a £17 million home near Harrods, were acquired by the children of Azerbaijan’s former security chief, Eldar Mahmudov.  Customer files hacked from the Cayman National Bank (Isle of Man) Ltd (CNBIOM) in November 2019, and subsequently published online, reveal that Mahmudov’s family has built up an estimated €100 million business and property empire.  Almost all of its assets were acquired through companies linked to Mahmudov’s son, Anar, 36, and his daughter, Nargiz Mahmudova, 31.  It reports that, in 2016, the bank filed a disclosure with the FIU in the Island.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/may/31/children-of-azerbaijan-minister-eldar-mahmudov-built-up-100m-property-and-business-empire

 

 

 

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MAY 30

Panama Covid-19 update – the last full lockdown Sunday tomorrow is followed by a partial release from the lockdown on Monday, but with a continuing nightly curfew from 1900 to 0500.  This is despite relatively high figures for new cases, and a group of doctors at tone of the main hospitals warning of a breakdown in the health system, and calling for the opening  of the new, modular hospital built at the start of the crisis.

Meanwhile, 487 new cases take us to 13,081 to date (0.3% of the total population), with 4 more fatalities (330 to date, or 0.008% of the population, or 2.5% of the identified cases).

One reason for the continuing worryingly high number of new cases (if relatively modest by other countries’ standards) may be the news that 38,860 arrests had been made since mid-March for violations of the lockdown rules – with over 36,000 of these being men…

30 May 2020

UN EXTENDS ARMS EMBARGO AND OTHER SANCTIONS IN SOUTH SUDAN FOR A YEAR

On 30 May, CGTN reported that the UN Security Council has approved a resolution extending for a year an arms embargo on South Sudan and a travel ban and financial sanctions for targeted individuals (with Russia, China and South Africa abstaining).

https://africa.cgtn.com/2020/05/30/un-extends-arms-embargo-and-other-sanctions-in-south-sudan/

BNP PARIBAS CHINESE UNIT FINED FOR AML VIOLATIONS

On 30 May, Caixin Global reported that the Chinese unit of BNP Paribas SA has been fined $378,200 by China’s central bank for failure to verify client identification and report large and suspicious transactions as required.  3 senior executives of BNP Paribas (China) Ltd has also been fined for responsibility in the violations.  It also reports that 2 Chinese banks have been fined recently for shortcomings.

https://www.caixinglobal.com/2020-05-30/bnp-paribas-chinese-unit-fined-for-anti-money-laundering-violations-101560914.html

SWISS PROSECUTORS FORCED INTO CLIMBDOWN OVER MONEY LAUNDERING CASE INVOLVING RUSSIA’S OTKRITIE BANK

On 29 May, the FT reported a climbdown over one of the country’s highest-profile money laundering cases, a probe centred on Russia’s Otkritie bank and the 3 defendants have been offered 4- and 5-month suspended sentences by prosecutors.  The case involves the alleged theft of $173 million by a clique of the bank’s own employees and unravelled in London in early 2011.

https://www.ft.com/content/8b464b54-d977-4372-b9d4-bfb4833cf969

UPDATE ON OBLIGATION TO USE INDONESIAN VESSELS FOR CERTAIN EXPORTS AND IMPORTS

HFW has reported that the Indonesian Government has finally issued a new amending regulation on the use of national sea transport for the export and import of certain goods, replacing the previous regulation and applies to vessels with a capacity of not more than 15,000 DWT (deadweight tonnage). The export and import activities that are subject to this regulation remain the same, namely the export of coal and crude palm oil, and the import of rice and goods for government procurement.

https://www.hfw.com/Indonesia-New-Regulatory-Updates-on-the-Obligation-to-Use-Indonesian-Vessels-for-Certain-Exports-and-Imports-2020

UK: 2 INDIAN-ORIGIN MEN JAILED FOR £2.4 MILLION MONEY LAUNDERING

On 30 May, the Hindustan Times reported that 2 Indian-origin men have been jailed for a total of 12 years and 9 months following an international £2.4 million money-laundering operation and attempt to launder a further £1.6 million.  Police said they received a report in 2018 from Barclays Bank that several IP addresses were repeatedly accessing multiple business accounts suspected of being utilised for money laundering.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/two-indian-origin-men-jailed-for-2-4-million-money-laundering/story-rh9s2tf3Y54LuDsthRTyNM.html

IVORY COAST OPPOSITION LEADER HANDED 20-YEAR PRISON TERM IN ABSENTIA

On 30 May, IOL reported that Ivory Coast opposition politician Guillaume Soro has been sentenced in absentia to 20 years in prison on charges of embezzling public funds and money laundering.  It says that Soro, who has been living in Europe, diverted his plane instead of returning home to Ivory Coast in December when it became clear that Ivorian authorities had issued an arrest warrant for him.  Soro, a former ally of President Quattara, later fell out of favour while serving as parliament speaker and ultimately stepped down.

https://www.iol.co.za/news/africa/ivory-coast-opposition-leader-handed-20-year-prison-term-in-absentia-48709850

BOSNIA-CROAT FEDERATION PM DETAINED OVER DEAL TO BUY RESPIRATORS FROM CHINA

On 30 May, Rferl reported that Fadil Novalic, prime minister of Bosnia’s autonomous Bosniak-Croat Federation has been questioned in a potential corruption case involving the purchase of 100 respirators from China for coronavirus patients.  Neither the police nor the prosecutor’s office would comment on the matter.  The €5.4 million deal raised suspicions after it emerged that the authorities had hired a local fruit-processing company with no license to import medical equipment to procure the respirators.

https://www.rferl.org/a/bosniak-croat-federation-respirators-china-coronavirus-corruption/30642876.html

UNDERGROUND ARMS WATCH – MAY, PART 1

The regular update from the Firearms Blog looking at black market made and modified firearms which have recently surfaced.  They include modified blank-firing handguns and home-made sub-machine guns.

https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2020/05/26/underground-arms-watch-may-pt-1/

STRENGTHENING ENFORCEMENT OF THE OECD ANTI-BRIBERY CONVENTION

Transparency International has a campaign “Exporting Corruption”, a research project that rates the performance of 44 leading global exporters, including 40 countries that are signatories of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, and shows how well – or poorly – countries are enforcing the rules, and pointing out that more than 50% of world exports come from countries that fail to punish foreign bribery, according to a 2018 report.

https://www.transparency.org/en/projects/strengthening-enforcement-of-the-oecd-anti-bribery-convention-1

UK: MATALAN OWNER APPLIES FOR STATE-BACKED LOAN – AT SAME TIME AS HE’S BEING CHASED BY HMRC OVER £84 MILLION TAX BILL

On 30 May, the Daily Mail reported that John Hargreaves, who lives in Monaco, has revealed in a statement to his company’s lenders that Matalan expects to access £25 million under the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS), which is guaranteed by HM Treasury.  It says that the family-owned firm has already furloughed 11,000 staff under the Government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which the company estimates would save it £21 million over an 8½-week period. Matalan has also been given a 12-month holiday from paying business rates, which represents a saving of £44 million. However, the newspaper notes that courts had awarded Hargreaves victory last year in a battle with HMRC over the £84 million tax bill, which relates to a £237 million share windfall he received from his firm in 2002, although HMRC is appealing the case.

https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-8372263/Matalan-tycoon-big-tax-bill-seeks-state-loan.html

SOUTH SHIELDS FRAUDSTER SCAMS MORE THAN £100,000 FROM MULTINATIONAL OIL AND GAS COMPANIES

On 30 May, Chronicle Live reported that a 37-year-old woman from the north-east of England has been convicted after spinning a web of lies and defrauding businesses in Panama, Kuwait, UAE and Australia out of more than £115,000, falsifying emails and creating fake invoices, billing a total of £115,159.86 from 8 multinational companies.  She managed to convince investors to back a new recruitment company called Oil Recruitment Solutions by lying about her extensive skills and contacts in the oil sector.

https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/south-shields-fraudster-scams-more-18332979

TRADER “FLED UAE AFTER $1 MILLION FRAUD”

Gulf Today on 30 May reported claims that a trader carried out a fraud by purchasing over $1 million worth of goods before fleeing on a repatriation flight to India.  It is claimed that he purchased food and medical supplies against cheques, but that he sold the goods to a third party and fled from Abu Dhabi.

https://www.gulftoday.ae/news/2020/05/30/trader-flees-uae-after-fraud-worth-dhs6m

https://english.manoramaonline.com/news/nation/2020/05/30/indian-flees-on-repatriation-flight-after-conning-uae-biz-men-of.html

KUWAIT-MALAYSIA-CHINA DEALINGS IN 1MDB CASE UNDER SCANNER

On 30 May, Gulf News reported that financial transactions involved had been referred to the public prosecutor in UAE on suspicion of violating AML/CFT laws.  This is said to follow media and social media claims involving Kuwaiti companies or government agencies or officials of Chinese companies and the former government of Malaysia.

https://gulfnews.com/world/gulf/kuwait/kuwait-malaysia-china-dealings-in-1mdb-case-under-scanner-1.71771668

POLAND TO TIGHTLY REGULATE MAJOR ACQUISITIONS BY NON-EEA ENTITIES

On 29 May, Dentons published an updated article saying that the Polish government is planning to implement a special procedure to control acquisitions of “protected entities” by buyers from outside of the EEA. “Protected entities” would include most listed companies, as well as private companies that hold assets critical for the Polish economy or operate in strategic sectors such as energy, oil and gas, military technologies, telecommunications, and pharmaceutical production.

https://www.whitecase.com/publications/alert/poland-tightly-regulate-major-acquisitions-non-eea-entities

SUSPECTED HACKER FACES MONEY LAUNDERING AND CONSPIRACY CHARGES: USED BITCOIN TO HIDE PROCEEDS

On 30 May, Bank Info Security reported that a New York City man is facing federal charges after FBI agents arrested him at John F Kennedy Airport in March 2019 after returning from Ukraine, with a PC allegedly containing thousands of stolen credit card numbers.  He has only now been indicted.  Vitalii Antonenko, 28, and the other 2 co-conspirators used bitcoin, as well as traditional banks, to allegedly launder money and hide the proceeds, according to the indictment.

https://www.bankinfosecurity.com/suspected-hacker-faces-money-laundering-conspiracy-charges-a-14359

 

 

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PODCAST: INSURGENCY AND ILLICIT TRADE IN NORTHERN MOZAMBIQUE

The latest “Deep Dive podcast from the Global Initiative Against Organized Crime asks how will the ongoing violent Islamist insurgency in the Cabo Delgado region of Northern Mozambique overlap with the organized criminal networks that operate in the area?  How has the corruption within the Mozambican state contributed to the growth of the insurgency?

https://globalinitiative.net/deep-dive-podcast/

 

 

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AML LAWS AND REGULATION 2020

On 14 May, ICLG has published its latest edition of this report on AML and its enforcement in 26 jurisdictions.  Some of its country chapters are freely available online, together with the following interesting and useful chapters –

  • The International Reach of US AML Statutes

https://iclg.com/practice-areas/anti-money-laundering-laws-and-regulations/1-the-international-reach-of-the-u-s-money-laundering-statutes

  • EU AML legislation: Historical Perspective and Where Are We Going?

https://iclg.com/practice-areas/anti-money-laundering-laws-and-regulations/3-eu-legislation-in-the-area-of-aml-historical-perspective-and-quo-vadis

  • The Intersection of AML Law and Real Estate

https://iclg.com/practice-areas/anti-money-laundering-laws-and-regulations/2-the-intersection-of-money-laundering-and-real-estate

  • AML in the APAC Region: Overview of Law Enforcement and Regulation

https://iclg.com/practice-areas/anti-money-laundering-laws-and-regulations/4-anti-money-laundering-in-the-apac-region-an-overview-of-the-international-law-enforcement-and-regulatory-framework

The entire report costs £295, if you want to whole thing, or you can purchase the individual country chapters that are not available free online (the UK, US, Isle of Man are among the 26 free country chapters).

https://iclg.com/practice-areas/anti-money-laundering-laws-and-regulations

 

 

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BELGIUM: CELL FOR FINANCIAL INFORMATION PROCESSING (CIF) ANNUAL REPORT

On 30 May, the Brussels Times reported that the yet unpublished report from the country’s FIU reveals that while the flow of money from traffic in cocaine alone is estimated at €30 billion in a year, the CIF was only able to send cases worth an estimated €11.5 million through to the courts.  It reported a total of €1.538 billion in suspected transactions last year to the justice system, roughly in line with past years, and 1,065 cases reported to prosecutors.  It also says that €11.5 million of suspect money was connected to the drugs trade – spread among 127 cases – an average of about €90,500 a case, compared to €311 million from serious tax fraud, €299 million from illegal arms and €228 million from social fraud.

https://www.brusselstimes.com/belgium/114273/financial-watchdogs-uncover-a-minimal-proportion-of-illegal-money/

 

 

 

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