Panama Covid-19 update – new cases figure up a lot again today at 208 (a lot more than over the last 3 days). However, the Rt figure to yesterday was 0.98 (if less than 1 it indicates infection is not spreading, if more than 1 the infection is spreading), which is better news (I think). Anyway, total cases to date are 7,731 with 8 more fatalities, taking us to a total of 218. On the other hand, 823 people are recorded as having “recovered”, these presumably being people who were in hospital or under medical case and included in the total cases figure.
6 May 2020
US JUSTICE DEPARTMENT EYES FRAUD IN LENDING PROGRAM FOR SMALL BUSINESSES HIT BY CORONAVIRUS CRISIS
On 5 May, the Wall Street Journal reported that federal prosecutors are mounting a broad search for fraud in emergency lending programmes designed to assist businesses battered by the coronavirus crisis, a top Justice Department official said. The Justice Department “has a lot of leads and there are multiple ongoing investigations of individuals and small businesses” and prosecutors also will apply scrutiny to the activities of banks, which are charged with disbursing the funds in some of the programmes.
US PROSECUTORS TARGET FOREIGN BANK RECORDS IN NORTH KOREAN CYBER HUNT
On 6 May, KYC 360 reported an article from Regulation Asia that highlighted points from the April notice from the US Departments of State, Treasury, and Homeland Security, and the FBI on North Korean cyber threats that “pose a significant threat to the integrity and stability of the international financial system”. These are said to be some points for financial institutions to keep in mind. The joint guidance highlights 5 major cyber attacks attributed to North Korea by the US government since 2014, including the theft of $81 million from the Bangladesh Bank in February 2016 and the theft of $250 million worth of digital currency from a non-US digital currency exchange in April 2018.
DUTCH CENTRAL BANK TO CRYPTO FIRMS: REGISTER IN 2 WEEKS OR SHUT DOWN
On 5 May, Coindesk reported that Dutch crypto companies must register with the Netherlands’ central bank, De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), by 18 May or cease operations immediately, the monetary authority has said.
WARLORD-LINKED SUDANESE FIRM HANDS OVER GOLD MINES TO GOVERNMENT
On 6 May, Wealth X reported a Bloomberg story that a company linked to Sudan’s most powerful militia leader is surrendering a network of mines that at one stage produced a third of the nation’s gold, as his group battles accusations of corruption and brutality. The company is Al Gunade, a construction and trading company owned by members of Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo’s family. A former enforcer for long-time ruler Omar al-Bashir, Dagalo joined the coup against him last year and now has a senior role in Sudan’s transitional government.
NETHERLANDS: POLICE FIND RECORD €12.6 MILLION IN CASH HIDDEN IN EINDHOVEN HOME
On 6 May, NL Times reported that when police and prosecutors raided a house in Eindhoven as part of a money laundering investigation, they discovered a massive €12.6 million in cash, weighing approximately 255 kg.
IS RUSSIA TRYING TO ASSASSINATE THE MAYOR OF PRAGUE?
On 29 April, an article on War on the Rocks picked up on a story first reported in a respected Czech news magazine, and then the Guardian, citing anonymous Czech intelligence sources, reported that an assassin with Russian diplomatic credentials arrived in Prague armed with the poison ricin, and under instructions to kill Prague mayor Zdenēk Hrib and another Czech politician. Hrib has spoken favorably about renaming the square in Prague on which the Russian embassy is located in honour of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, who was killed in Moscow in 2015.
3 VESSELS SHARING INVALID MMSI CONTINUE JOURNEYS TO NORTH KOREA’S NAMPO PORT
On 6 May, NK Pro reported that 3 vessels sharing the same invalid Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) number – the tanker Yang, a cargo ship JS 3, and the “fishing vessel” Spaceon Grace – have been observed making regular voyages between the ship-to-ship transfer hotspot of Zhoushan to the North Korean port of Nampho over the last 6 months.
GERMANY ISSUES ARREST WARRANT FOR RUSSIAN SUSPECT IN PARLIAMENT HACK
On 6 May, EurActiv reported that German prosecutors believe a 2015 hack attack on the country’s parliament was carried out by the same Russian operative who a year later derailed Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign by breaking into her emails. It is said that an arrest warrant has been issued for Dmitry Badin, 28, who is also wanted by US authorities for hacking into Clinton’s and the Democratic Party’s email servers.
SOUTH AFRICA: ZUMA ARMS DEAL TRIAL POSTPONED TO JUNE
On 6 May, Defence Web reported that former president Jacob Zuma’s trial relating to alleged arms deal corruption has been postponed to June due to the coronavirus lockdown. Zuma faces 16 charges relating fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering covering a period between 1996 and 2005.
YEREVAN COURT ISSUES ARREST WARRANT FOR EX-AMBASSADOR MIKAYEL MINASYAN
Armenpress on 6 May reported that an arrest warrant had been issued for Mikayel Minasyan, the former Armenian Ambassador to the Vatican on charges of illicit enrichment, money laundering and failure to disclose assets against Minasyan. Minasyan, the son-in-law of ex-President Serzh Sargsyan, has denied wrongdoing through his social media account.
UK: COURT REFUSES PERMISSION FOR THE UK SUBSIDIARY OF PNB BANK TO APPEAL AGAINST A JUDGMENT DISMISSING ITS $45 MILLION CLAIM FOR FRAUD AND MISREPRESENTATION IN LOANS
On 6 May, Asian Lite reported that the Court of Appeal in London has refused permission for the UK subsidiary of Punjab National Bank (PNB) to appeal against a judgment dismissing its $45 million claim for fraud and misrepresentation in loans given to Indian and US renewable energy companies.
US DoJ DECLINATIONS UNDER FCPA CORPORATE ENFORCEMENT POLICY
On 6 May, an article from Vedder Price provides an examination of the facts surrounding declinations under the current policy and highlights key trends and takeaways from the DoJ’s 6 most recent declination letters. A definition of “declination” is that it involves a case that would have been prosecuted or criminally resolved except for the company’s voluntary disclosure, full cooperation, remediation, and payment of disgorgement, forfeiture, and/or restitution, and under the FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy such declinations would be made public.
See also –
ALLEGED USE OF FORCED LABOUR: US BANS IMPORT CHINESE HAIR PRODUCTS
On 6 May, Sandler Travis Rosenberg announced that US Customs and Border Protection has issued a new withhold release order against imported goods made wholly or in part with hair products manufactured by Hetian Haolin Hair Accessories Co. Ltd., which operates in the Xinjiang region of China, on the grounds that information reasonably indicates the use of forced labour.
101 ARRESTED AND 19,000 STOLEN ARTEFACTS RECOVERED IN INTERNATIONAL CRACKDOWN ON ART TRAFFICKING
On 6 May, news releases from Interpol and Europol reported that more than 19,000 archaeological artefacts and other artworks have been recovered as part of a global operation – Operation ATHENA II – spanning 103 countries and focusing on the dismantlement of international networks of art and antiquities traffickers. Seizures include coins from different periods, archaeological objects, ceramics, historical weapons, paintings and fossils. Facilitating objects, such as metal detectors were also seized.
LINKING OF WCO CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT NETWORK (CEN) DATABASE AND OLAF CUSTOMS INFORMATION SYSTEM (CIS+) AND THE FULLY AUTOMATED TRANSFER OF DATA ON TOBACCO SEIZURES CARRIED OUT WITHIN THE EU
On 6 May, a news release from the WCO advised that the linking of the WCO’s Customs Enforcement Network (CEN) database and the Customs Information System (CIS+) administered by OLAF. The machine-to-machine connection was launched on 22 April and enables the fully automated transfer of data on tobacco seizures carried out within the EU. CEN is a database of seizures and offences required for the analysis of illicit trafficking in the various areas of Customs’ competence. It allows users, among other things, to mine data in order to help define strategies, prepare risk indicators and identify trends in order to better tackle tobacco smuggling. CIS is part of the Anti-Fraud Information System (AFIS) managed by OLAF and allows the designated competent authorities in each of the EU’s Member States to exchange, store and share information, boosting cooperation between the various national authorities and improving control procedures.
UK: COURT ORDER FOR NEARLY £3.62 MILLION IN RESTITUTION TO MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC WHO BOUGHT SHARES THAT WERE PROMOTED UNLAWFULLY
A release on Mondo Visione on 6 May reported that the High Court in London has ordered 4 individuals and a company, Our Price Records (OPR), to pay nearly £3.62 million in restitution to members of the public who bought shares that were promoted unlawfully.
IS THE US USING SANCTIONS TO ELBOW RUSSIA OUT OF THE EUROPEAN NATURAL GAS MARKET?
On 6 May, Hellenic Shipping News posed this question in an article based on a Forbes report involving the Nord Stream 2 sanctions which are helping the US crack open European natural gas markets -saying that they have also had a practical and tangential effect of getting Russia to negotiate with Ukraine.
EUROPE’S LARGEST PRIVATE HOSPITAL OPERATOR FRESENIUS HIT BY RANSOMWARE
On 6 May, the Krebs on Security blog reported that Europe’s largest private hospital operator and a major provider of dialysis products and services that are in such high demand thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, has been hit in a ransomware cyber attack on its technology systems. The company said the incident has limited some of its operations, but that patient care continues.
PODCAST: COMMERCIAL INTERMEDIARIES ARE NOT THE (ONLY) PROBLEM
In the latest TRACE podcast, Mike Ward, partner at Vinson & Elkins in San Francisco and former chief compliance officer with Juniper Networks, discusses the overstated role attributed to business partners as the sole conduit of corruption. He also addresses the widely misunderstood role that agents, distributors and channel partners play, and why companies often need to work through these sales and marketing networks to go to market worldwide.
BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES TO DETER PIRACY AND ENHANCE MARITIME SECURITY OFF THE COAST OF WEST AFRICA, INCLUDING THE GULF OF GUINEA
In March, an assortment of shipping industry bodies (including BIMCO and the International Group of P+I Clubs) published an updated best practice guide which aims to help ships plan their voyages in the region and to detect, avoid, deter, delay and report attacks.
US: CFTC ACTS AGAINST US, ISRAELI OPERATIVES OF $15 MILLION BINARY OPTIONS SCHEME
On 6 May, Finance Magnates reported that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has charged several marketing firms and their operators, mostly based out of Israel, with binary options and cryptocurrency fraud to the tune of $15 million. The case is said to involve 2 massive solicitation schemes that had been running from October 2013 to August 2018, one involving binary options and the other digital assets, and an Israel-based marketing company, Digital Platinum Limited (DPL), which allegedly “aided and abetted” an offshore company called All in Publishing (AIP), which was accused of marketing fraudulent binary options to US and foreign investors.
UK GAMBLING COMMISSION DEMANDS WHITE-LABEL OVERHAUL AND IMPOSES £600,000 PENALTY
On 6 May, e-Gaming Review reported that the UK Gambling Commission has fired a warning to white-label businesses after FSB Technology was hit with a £600,000 settlement for the compliance failures of its third-party partners. It ordered FSB to change the way it operates as a white-label business, having issued the financial package for advertising, money laundering and social responsibility on behalf of 3 of FSB’s third-party licensees, whose identity the UKGC didn’t disclose “for legal reasons”.
LIBYAN INVESTMENT AUTHORITY: INTERVIEW WITH LIA CHAIRMAN ALI MAHMOUD HASSAN
On 6 May, Libyan Herald carried this interview and says that ever since Libya’s descent into division and political and economic chaos in 2014, the affairs of the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) have mirrored those of the country. Competing claims to the authority’s leadership resulted in a lack of proper supervision of the LIA’s assets and subsidiaries, worth over $67 billion at the last proper assessment – but that was back in 2012. There were allegations, too, of corruption and mismanagement at various levels. However, it says, a decision in March has changed matters. The ruling by the Commercial Court that Dr Ali Mahmoud Hassan Mohamed, who was appointed by the Presidency Council in July 2017 to head the LIA, is indeed its chairman – not any of the other claimants – has allowed for order to be put into the LIA’s affairs. It points out that, quite apart from the turmoil caused by years of competing management, there has been the freeze on all LIA funds worldwide imposed by the UN. The freeze means that the LIA is being forced to hold on to investments even when they are making losses and which it needs to sell and reinvest elsewhere.
ICC TRADE REGISTER: IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON GLOBAL TRADE, AND TRADE FINANCE LOW-RISK PROFILE
On 6 May, Hellenic Shipping News reported that the International Chamber of Commerce has released its 2019 Trade Register Report, revealing COVID-19’s potential to disrupt global trade, while also highlighting the low-risk nature of trade finance. Looking at $16 trillion of exposures from 32 million transactions across 6 products and 25 banks worldwide over 10 years – default rates for trade finance products from 2008-2018 are low across all products and regions, averaging 0.36% for import letters of credit, 0.04% for export letters of credit, 0.73% for loans for import/export, and 0.45% for performance guarantees (all when weighted by obligor).
OBAMA’S UNDER SECRETARY FOR TERRORISM APPOINTED CEO OF LIBRA
On 6 May, the Coin Telegraph reported that the man who enforced AML/CFT under 2 US presidents has been named the CEO of the Libra Association. Stuart Levey served as an Under-Secretary for Terrorism under the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
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