Panama Covid-19 update – thunder and lightning and long and heavy rain today – good job not able to go out to enjoy/endure it. Meanwhile, another 151 new cases registered (10,267 total now) and 4 more fatalities (up to 295 now).
22 May 2020
INTELLIGENCE AGENCY WARNS OF SECURITY CONCERNS LINKED TO FOREIGN INVESTMENT IN CANADA
On 21 May, CBC reported that the CISI warns of economic espionage’s ‘damage to our collective prosperity is very real’. It has issued a warning about the national security risk posed by some foreign investment — but isn’t saying which state-owned enterprises and foreign state actors it’s particularly worried about. CSIS’s annual report also touched on the threat posed in Canada by violent, ideologically-motivated individuals, including those associated with the so-called “incel” online movement. Incel refers to “involuntary celibates” – members of an online subculture who define themselves as unable to find a romantic or sexual partner despite desiring one, a state they describe as “inceldom”.
The report is at –
HOW A RUSSIAN TYCOON’S BIG US CANNABIS BET WENT UP IN SMOKE
On 21 May, Rferl reported on the Genius Fund in California, whose billionaire owner, Dmitry Bosov, now deceased, had blown $165 million on the hemp-growing operation without generating much revenue. Bosov was one of the oligarchs who made a fortune in the wild 1990s in Russia. It reports on a lawsuit which reveals that ownership of his organisation was transferred in March to his Soviet-born, New Jersey-based friend and adviser – a man with an opaque employment history who goes by multiple names and who, in 2018, was caught up in a bizarre international chess scandal involving a long-time Russian regional leader who is under US sanctions and once claimed to have been abducted by space aliens.
UK: SECRET DOCUMENTS SHOWING HOW A LONDON COUPLE BROUGHT AT LEAST £14 MILLION OF ALLEGEDLY CORRUPT MONEY FROM AN “AZERBAIJANI LAUNDROMAT
On 21 May, the Evening Standard reported that a judge has ruled that the newspaper had an “important story to tell” as she granted permission for access to court papers submitted by the NCA into the husband and wife at the centre of “dirty money” allegations. However, the judge also ordered that the couple’s names be kept secret at least until a later hearing. She also ordered a temporary “stay” on the release of the full details of the allegations against them because of a pending judicial review over a separate legal issue relating to the case.
PUSH PAYMENT FRAUD – HOW TO SPOT IT & HOW TO STOP IT UNDER COVID-19
On 21 May, an article from Baker McKenzie says that COVID-19 crisis presents fraudsters with a ripe opportunity to defraud businesses at a time when finances are tight, attention and resources are focused elsewhere, key staff may be absent and financial controls are under pressure. It explains what push payment fraud is, and the rise in the fraud. It goes on to explain how to spot and stop it, and what to do if it is suspected.
WHY ISOTONITAZENE IS NOT YET THE “NEW FENTANYL”
On 21 May, Filter Magazine carried an article saying that isotonitazene, a novel psychoactive substance (NPS), went from being practically unheard of to being implicated in a fatal overdose spike in the Midwest US amid warnings about the emergence of the designer drug. Aka “iso”, it was first detected on-the-ground as early as March 2019. The article says that anecdotal drug-user reports seem to signal that the already-limited presence of iso in the US is unlikely to surge anytime soon, and that may be because the producer of the novel opioid has allegedly discontinued it.
CAYMAN LAWMAKERS PASS RAFT OF AML BILLS
On 22 May, Cayman Compass reported that Members of the Legislative Assembly have adopted 4 Bills related to Cayman’s AML/CFT regime. Amendments to the Companies Law and the Limited Liability Companies Law introduce stricter administrative fines for Cayman’s beneficial-ownership regime, and ensure basic regulatory powers are listed on a company register and made available for public inspection. Changes to the Trusts Law and the Banks and Trust Companies Law provide clarification for individuals conducting trustee services as a business.
UK: MONEY LAUNDERING – ESTATE AGENCY OR LETTING AGENCY BUSINESSES INFORMATION UPDATED
On 22 May, updated information from HMRC has been published for letting agency businesses, to help them decide if they need to register for money laundering supervision.
PIRATES ATTACKED A TANKER CLOSE TO SHORE OFF PORT HARCOURT
On 22 May, Defence Web reported that the Nigerian flagged tanker Preyor 1 radioed it was under attack and a ransom of $25 000 asked for. It is not clear from the report whether the ransom was paid, the ship released or whether it was boarded by Nigerian Navy marines. Before this, the Chinese-flagged fishing vessel Hailufeng 11 was hijacked with 18 crew members. All crew members were released unharmed and 10 suspected pirates apprehended.
UK: FOOD FRAUD CONTINUES TO BE AN ISSUE IN THE GLOBAL FOOD SUPPLY CHAIN
On 22 May, a briefing paper from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology provides an overview of food fraud, including its drivers and impacts. It discusses methods for food authenticity testing, broader strategies to prevent food fraud and impacts of EU exit. It explains that food fraud encompasses a range of activities including intentional adulteration or substitution of ingredients and mislabelling of food products and estimates of its worth range from $6.2 billion to $40 billion. Modern food supply chains and manufacturing infrastructure have greatly increased opportunities for it to occur, its scale and impact. Examples of high-profile cases of food fraud include the addition of undeclared horsemeat to a variety of beef products in the UK and Europe in 2013, addition of melamine to baby formula in China in 2008 and the presence of other ingredients (including olive and myrtle leaves) in around one in four UK samples of oregano in 2016.
DATABASE EXPOSES OFFSHORE HOLDINGS OF PROMINENT GERMANS
On 22 May, Der Spiegel reported that a group of internet activists has posted data from a Bahamas corporate registry online and searches of the database have turned up a number of prominent Germans whose offshore holdings weren’t previously known to the public.
TEXAS MAN USING ONLINE NAME GENERATOR LATEST TO BE CHARGED WITH PPP LOAN FRAUD
On 22 May, an article from Foley Hoag LLP reported that Samuel Yates, a Texas man, allegedly used an online name generator to make up the names of hundreds of employees in an effort to obtain a $5 million loan. Despite not employing anyone, Yates’ application allegedly claimed that he employed 400 people and had $2 million in payroll expenses.
CHINESE NATIONAL IN US ARRESTED FOR ALLEGED ATTEMPTS TO ILLEGALLY OBTAIN $20 MILLION THROUGH COVID-19 SMALL BUSINESS LOAN PROGRAMMES
On 22 May, Kenneth Rijock in his blog reported that Muga Ma, aka Hummer Mars, is said to have sought government-guaranteed loans by means of false and fraudulent pretences and to have made false representations, alleging that some of his company’s business possessed a vendor contract with the State of New York to supply test kits and personal protective equipment, when he was not a registered vendor. Ma allegedly falsely claimed that he had hundreds of employees, and presented fraudulent and doctored banks records, tax record, insurance records, payroll records, and audited financial statements to five lender banks.
ROADMAP LEADS WAY TO DIGITAL BILLS OF LADING
On 22 May, Lloyds Loading List reported that the Digital Container Shipping Association is launching a process to establish the open collaboration it says is necessary to achieve full adoption of electronic bills of lading.
SAUDI ARABIA LAUNCHED 117 COVID-19 GRAFT PROBES DURING RAMADAN
On 21 May, OCCRP reported that Saudi Arabia has initiated no less than 117 investigations into administrative and financial corruption related to the COVID-19 pandemic during the past month of Ramadan, the Control and Anti-Corruption Authority has said.
UK “GLOBAL TARIFF” TO APPLY FROM 1 JANUARY 2021
An article from Dentons on 22 May considers the Tariff to replace the EU External Tariff from 1 January and what effect this will have.
UK AND EU CLASH OVER CRIME-FIGHTING DATABASE IN BREXIT TALKS
On 22 May, the Guardian reported on a dispute between the UK and EU in Brexit negotiations over the Schengen Information System (SIS II) database. The UK is set to lose access to the database where police agencies share information. UK police and Border Force were the 3rd largest user of the system in 2019 and issued over 36,000 alerts for persons and over a quarter of a million for vehicles.
CHINESE STEEL TRADE BODY SEEKS SUPPORT TO OPEN COUNTRY FOR SCRAP IMPORTS
On 22 May, Hellenic Shipping Report said that the China Metallurgical Information and Standardization Institute (CMISI), has begun to rally support from industry participants to accelerate its appeal for the country to open its doors for ferrous scrap imports. The article explains that opposition to scrap imports began in 2017, as China sought to prevent itself being the region’s dumping ground for waste. Various bans and restrictions covering scrap took effect at the end of December 2018, and later widened in coverage to include more grades from July 2019.
US CONSIDERING SANCTIONS ON INDIA OVER RUSSIAN MISSILE DEAL
On 22 May, Export Compliance Daily reported that the Trump Administration was said to be still considering imposing sanctions on India in retaliation for its purchase of a Russian air-defence missile system.
POLAND’S HEALTH MINISTER DENIES CRONYISM AFTER GOVERNMENT BUYS “USELESS” MASKS FROM FAMILY FRIEND
On 15 May, Notes from Poland reported that Poland’s health minister has denied accusations of cronyism, after a newspaper uncovered evidence showing that his department had purchase over 100,000 masks from a family friend, but which turned out to be “useless”. The minister subsequently resigned.
HAS CORONAVIRUS BOOSTED MARITIME PIRACY?
On 19 May, Homeland Security Today carried an article which considers the impact of COVID-19 on maritime piracy, now and in the future. It is said that, already, the first three months of 2020 have seen a 24% increase in pirate attacks and attempted attacks, over the same period in 2019, and the author of the article says that he worries that the coronavirus pandemic may make piracy even more of a problem in the coming months and years. It concludes that, even with the early numbers suggesting an increase for 2020, global piracy still isn’t as high as it was during the Somali peak from 2009 to 2012 – but if economic conditions worsen around the globe and ships look like easy targets, more desperate people may turn to piracy, or ramp up their existing efforts in an attempt to survive.
SOFTWARE ENGINEER CHARGED IN WASHINGTON STATE WITH COVID-RELIEF FRAUD
On 22 May, the DoJ reported that Baoke Zhang, 35, a software engineer, was charged in a complaint for allegedly filing fraudulent bank loan applications seeking more than $1 million in forgivable loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
HOLLYWOOD FILM PRODUCER CHARGED WITH $1.7 MILLION COVID-RELIEF FRAUD
On 22 May, a DoJ news release reported that William Sadleir, 66, of Beverly Hills, has been charged with allegedly filing bank loan applications fraudulently seeking more than $1.7 million dollars in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
UKRAINE: HEAD OF NATIONAL ANTI-CORRUPTION BUREAU DECLARED PLOT OF LAND THAT HE ILLEGALLY SOLD TO RUSSIANS 2 YEARS AGO
On 22 May, 112 UA claimed that the director of NABU, Artem Sytnyk, declared a land plot that he actually sold to the Russians in occupied Crimea and paid taxes and fees to the budget of the Russian Federation. For providing false information in the declaration, he faces up to 2 years in prison.
SEC FILES EMERGENCY ACTION AND TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER AND ASSET FREEZE AGAINST A CALIFORNIA-REGISTERED INVESTMENT ADVISER AND HIS ENTITIES TO HALT AN ONGOING PONZI SCHEME TARGETING SENIOR CITIZENS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
On 22 May, a release on Mondo Visione reported that the SEC has announced that it has filed an emergency action and obtained a temporary restraining order and asset freeze against a California-registered investment adviser and his entities to halt an ongoing Ponzi scheme targeting senior citizens in Southern California. The Complaint names Paul Horton Smith Sr, who is said to have offered and sold securities in his company Northstar Communications LLC, and used his investment advisory firm eGate LLC and insurance and estate planning company Planning Services Inc to market the securities.
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