Panama Covid-19 update – not a public holiday here (VE-Day doesn’t register, the war with Japan would be more relevant, although apparently Panama declared war on Germany before the US, after Pearl Harbor, being able to react more quickly to Germany’s declaration of war on the US). To make it worse, no alcohol either, despite the ban due to be lifted, because of a cock-up the relaxation (1 bottle and one 6-pack per customer, drinking only at home) is not yet in force. Meanwhile, 202 new cases of virus takes us to over 8,000, with 6 more fatalities, taking us to 231, and 85 people remaining in the ICU.
8 May 2020
CRYPTO BUSINESSES ESTABLISH MESSAGING STANDARD TO DEAL WITH FATF TRAVEL RULE
On 7 May, Coindesk reported that the standard, called IVMS101, defines a uniform model for data that must be exchanged by virtual asset service providers (VASP) alongside cryptocurrency transactions. The standard will identify the pseudonymous senders and receivers of crypto payments, with such information “traveling” with each transaction. The standard has now been commended to the Chamber of Digital Commerce (CDC), Global Digital Finance (GDF) and International Digital Asset Exchange Association (IDAXA), the 3 industry bodies that established the joint working group, to formally endorse it.
AUTHORITIES SEARCHES HOME OF EX-TAX CHIEF VERLANOV IN MONEY LAUNDERING CASE
On 7 May, the Kyiv Post reported that the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has searched the apartment of former State Tax Service Chief Serhiy Verlanov. The agency suspects the tax service’s former top management of tax evasion and money laundering. The SBU conducted at least 100 more searches across Ukraine that same day, investigating regional top managers of the tax service.
SUDANESE CORRUPTION COMMITTEE CONFISCATES BASHIR FAMILY PROPERTIES
On 8 May, Reuters reported that the Empowerment Removal Committee has said that it will confiscate several large plots of land and residential properties in the capital Khartoum from relatives of ousted President Omar al-Bashir after investigations found they were acquired largely due to family ties. Separately, it also dissolved the boards of the Khartoum International Airport Company and the Sudan Airports Holding Company over corruption accusations.
WEBINAR RECORDING: KEY COMPLIANCE ISSUES UNDER US, EU AND CHINA EXPORT CONTROLS
On 7 May, Baker McKenzie released a video recording of a webinar which covers basic key compliance issues under the EU, UK, US and China export controls. The session begins with a brief introduction to export control regimes, and then the speakers dive into the 4 regimes, providing the basics of the regime, common compliance issues, and recent developments and trends.
TURKEY CHARGES 7 PEOPLE OVER GHOSN’S ESCAPE FROM JAPAN TO LEBANON
On 8 May, NHK reported that Turkish prosecutors have charged 7 people including pilots for allegedly helping former Nissan Motor chairman Carlos Ghosn flee Japan, after he smuggled out in a private jet in late December to Turkey and then to Lebanon. Prosecutors are said to have charged 4 pilots and a manager of Istanbul-based MNG Jet with smuggling a migrant, as well as 2 flight attendants for failure to report a crime.
US CUSTOMS OFFICERS SEIZE COUNTERFEIT MARKER PENS
On 7 May, a news release from US Customs & Border Protection announced that officers had targeted a rail container and discovered (Sharpie-type) marker sets in violation of intellectual property rights (IPR) regulations. Officers seized 5,000 marker sets with an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $115,000 if the goods had been genuine.
UK: FINANCIAL CRIME SYSTEMS AND CONTROLS DURING CORONAVIRUS SITUATION
on 7 May, Eversheds Sutherland published a briefing highlighting key points of requirements for firms’ systems and controls during the coronavirus crisis, as the FCA publishes new information on financial crime expectations. The 3 elements highlighted are –
- Management of compliance activity, including transaction monitoring;
- Customer due diligence (CDD); and
- Risk identification and notifications to regulators.
The briefing notes that terrorism financing should remain a priority and that the FCA still expects to receive notification of any material issues that are impacting the effectiveness of firm-wide financial crime controls or causing significant delays to remediation plans.
UN: PROGRESS IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA HAMPERED BY POLITICAL STANDSTILL AND CORRUPTION
On 7 May, a news release from the UN advised that the UN High Representative to the territory had told the Security Council that corruption and political stalemate still hamper post-war progress in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 25 years after the Dayton Peace Agreement.
US SECRET SERVICE WARNS ID THIEVES ARE ABUSING US POST MAIL SCANNING SERVICE
A post on the Krebs on Security blog on 8 May was concerned with “Informed Delivery,” an offering from the US Postal Service that lets residents view scanned images of all incoming mail. The post says that a Secret Service internal alert (from November) warns that many of its field offices have reported crooks are indeed using Informed Delivery to commit various identity theft and credit card fraud schemes – using it to identify and intercept mail, and to further their identity theft fraud schemes.
This graphic, said to have been taken from the Secret Service alert, describes how the USPS Informed Delivery system works.
HERBALIFE RESERVES $123 MILLION TO SETTLE CHINA FCPA INVESTIGATION
A post on the FCPA Blog on 8 May said that the US company has reserved $123 million to settle FCPA offenses, following the indictment last year of 2 company executives charged with spending $25 million on entertainment and gifts for Chinese officials.
DELUGE OF MEDICAL CARGO CRIPPLES SHANGHAI PUDONG AIRPORT
On 8 May, American Shipper reported that lengthy inspection delays are causing shipments to miss flights, forcing consolidators to look for alternate routes. It says that the freight gridlock at Shanghai Pudong International Airport is so bad that some cargo planes are being forced to leave nearly empty and logistics companies are recommending ocean transportation as a faster option. The article says that an avalanche of personal protective equipment, test kits and disinfectant is descending on Chinese airports as China is the world’s largest source for respirator masks, surgical masks, medical goggles and protective garments, accounting for 50% of global exports in 2018, according to Chad Bown of the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
MALTA: FIAU GUIDANCE NOTE ON CURRENT AND ANTICIPATED THREATS
On 6 May, the FIAU in Malta released a new guidance note. Among other things it says –
Other guidance notes from FIAU include those on STR submissions by remote gambling operators, and risk factors, red flags and case studies for the property sector.
TAIWAN’S LAST STAND IN SOUTH AMERICA
On 7 May, an article in Americas Quarterly says that since 1957, Paraguay’s government has recognised Taiwan as the “true China”. But in mid-April, it seemed like the status quo might finally change. Paraguay was already an outlier, it says – the only country in South America, and one of just 15 in the world, that recognizes Taiwan. It does so at a distinct cost: When a country grants diplomatic recognition to Taiwan, it cannot also maintain relations with China. Paraguay does not receive the loans, credits and investments that China has showered on the rest of South America since the 2000s.
WHY DID ASSAD FAMILY SIDELINE SYRIAN BILLIONAIRE?
In its 9 May, Daily Sabah asks this question about Syrian billionaire business tycoon Rami Makhlouf, who has said that he is being pressured him to hand over $130 billion due to tax evasion and that officials were seeking to seize his assets. Then Syrian security forces reportedly arrested some of his senior employees who are working in the telecommunications giant Syriatel, which dominates the country’s mobile phone market. Makhlouf is a maternal cousin of President Assad and is the wealthiest man and one of the most powerful people in Syria. He owns a business empire ranging from telecom to oil trading. The article says that Makhlouf, who reportedly controls 60% of the country’s economy, is a symbol of corruption for opponents of the Syrian regime. The article discusses the possible reasons for the conflict.
CANADA CHARGES 3 BROTHERS IN $225 MILLION BINARY OPTIONS FRAUD
On 8 May, Finance Magnates reported that Joshua Cartu, Jonathan Cartu and David Cartu allegedly operated 2 binary options brands, Beeoptions and Glenridge Capital – which are understood to have been run from the Tel Aviv area by Tracy PAI Management Limited (Tracy PAI). The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) has charged the Canadian-Israeli brothers with defrauding over 700 Ontarian investors out of more than $1.4 million. According to the OSC complaint, from 2014 through 2017, the brands received about $225 million from investors worldwide, including Canada. Once the money was “invested,” the defendants usually refused to allow these clients to withdraw their money.
20 FORMER ALBANIAN JUDGES, PROSECUTORS ACCUSED OF CORRUPTION
On 8 May, ABC News reported that Albanian prosecutors have filed corruption charges against 20 former judges and prosecutors who previously were fired after a vetting process that checked their anti-corruption and professional standards. The judicial reform to uproot corruption has been a main request from the EU, which in March decided to launch full membership negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia.
SANCTIONED BUSINESSMAN “HELPS MADURO WITH IRAN OIL SCHEME”
On 8 May, Oil Price reported claims by Bloomberg that Alex Nain Saab Moran, a Colombian national under US sanctions for his ties to Nicolas Maduro, is helping the regime in Venezuela with a gold-for-oil products scheme with Iran. OFAC sanctioned Alex Saab over a corruption scheme that has enabled Maduro and his regime to profit from food imports and distribution in Venezuela.
US ACCUSES RUSSIA OF INFLAMING LIBYA CONFLICT AND SENDING SYRIAN FIGHTERS
On 8 May, Rferl reported that the US has accused Russia of worsening the situation in war-torn Libya and funnelling Syrian mercenaries to support Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar in his battle to capture the capital, Tripoli. This came after a UN report confirmed between 800 and 1,200 military contractors from Russia’s Wagner Group are actively fighting alongside the Libyan National Army that controls eastern Libya.
JAPAN NAMES 518 COMPANIES SUBJECT TO TIGHTER FOREIGN OWNERSHIP RULES
On 8 May, Nikkei Asian Review reported that Toyota, SoftBank and Mitsubishi Heavy on the list of more than 500 Japanese corporations published Friday by the Ministry of Finance which will be subject to tougher restrictions on receiving foreign investment, with effect from 7 June
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