OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JUNE 29

Panama Covid-19 update – the latest statistics show 7 extra ICU beds taken up and a worryingly 33 more people in other hospital wards in the last 24 hours.  This is on top of a further 1,099 new cases being reported (now a total of 32,785 to date), but 125 more said to have joined the ranks of the “recovered” today. However, there were another 16 fatalities, taking the total to 620.  147 patients are in ICU and 744 in other wards.

29 June 2020

RUSSIAN HACKER GROUP EVIL CORP TARGETS US WORKERS AT HOME

On 26 June, the BBC reported that a Russian hacking group is launching ransomware attacks against a number of US companies, targeting employees who are working from home due to Covid-19. They have tried to access at least 31 organisations’ networks in order to cripple systems and demand millions of dollars in ransom. The group’s 2 alleged leaders were indicted by the DoJ in December 2019.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-53195749

EU COURT ANNULS ANOTHER UKRAINE SANCTIONS LISTING

On 29 June, the EU Sanctions Blog reported that the General Court of the EU has been annulling sanctions listings where the EU had not verified whether the decisions of the Ukrainian authorities leading to the allegations contained insufficient information or that the procedures respected rights of defence had been followed.  In the latest example, the Court annulled the listing for a Mr Klymenko’s, but the Blog notes that Klymenko was relisted in March 2020, and so remains on the EU sanctions list.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2020/06/european-court-annuls-another-ukraine-listing-klymenko-v-council/

http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=227742&pageIndex=0&doclang=FR&mode=lst&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=7345405

LIMITS ON AUTONOMY IN WEAPON SYSTEMS (AWS): IDENTIFYING PRACTICAL ELEMENTS OF HUMAN CONTROL

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute and the International Committee of the Red Cross offers in-depth analysis of the type and degree of human control that is required to mitigate the risks posed by AWS.  It proposes 3 types of control measures to reduce or compensate for the unpredictability introduced by AWS and associated risks for civilians: controls on the weapon’s parameters such as types of targets, controls on the environment of use and controls in the form of human supervision.

https://www.sipri.org/publications/2020/other-publications/limits-autonomy-weapon-systems-identifying-practical-elements-human-control-0

HOW IS COVID-19 ALTERING THE FINANCIAL CRIME RISK LANDSCAPE AND WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT?

Lexis Nexis has produced what it describes as a practical guide which examines the emerging criminal threats and warning signs that compliance teams should be looking out for. It sets out to show how criminals are using the crisis to exploit vulnerabilities in people and the system, how to spot the unusual when everything is unusual, and where to go for help with protecting your customers and your business.

http://images.solutions.lexisnexis.com/Web/LexisNexis/%7B99bedfc7-8aac-47fc-ace6-16bb00f38412%7D_facing-change-rg-uk.pdf

DoJ COMPLIANCE GUIDANCE PLACES NEW EMPHASIS ON MIDDLE MANAGEMENT AND USE OF DATA

On 29 June, KYC 360 reported that a recent revision to US DoJ guidance on corporate compliance is placing increased emphasis on the role of middle management and access to internal data as it broadens the scope of how prosecutors evaluate companies’ policies and controls. It says that the new version of the guidance adds emphasis to middle managers’ role in enforcing the compliance tone.  The guidance also asks prosecutors to evaluate whether a compliance programme is adequately resourced and empowered to function effectively.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/doj-compliance-guidance-places-new-emphasis-on-middle-management-use-of-data/

SANCTIONS: EUROPEAN COURT OF JUSTICE HAS DISMISSED APPEALS BROUGHT BY VTB BANK AND VNESHECONOMBANK

On 29 June, the European Sanctions Blog reported that the ECJ has dismissed appeals against the General Court’s judgments upholding their inclusion in 2014 in the EU’s sanctions restricting the access of some Russian banks to EU capital markets.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2020/06/ecj-rejects-appeals-by-russian-banks-vtb-vnesheconombank/

UK: CORPORATE INSOLVENCY AND GOVERNANCE BILL RECEIVES ROYAL ASSENT

On 29 June, Companies House published updated information about this new Act, saying that it contains new measures will help to relieve the burden on businesses during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. It notes that the new Act introduces temporary easements for Annual General Meetings (AGM) and filing requirements for public limited companies (PLC),; introduces new corporate restructuring tools to the insolvency regime to give companies the time they need to maximise their chance of survival; and temporarily suspends parts of insolvency law to support directors during this difficult time.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/corporate-insolvency-and-governance-bill-receives-royal-assent

US ARMS SUPPLIES TO GROUPS IN SYRIA IN FISCAL YEAR 2019

In the US, FY2019 started on 1 July 2018, and ended on 30 June 2019. On 10 October last year, the security Assistance Monitor produced an infographic detailing US DoD support in Syria, including the supply of 25,000 AK-47 and 400 RPG-7 rocket launchers. The total value of assistance requests was $300 million.

http://securityassistance.org/fact_sheet/security-assistance-focus-syria

10267112_1561566630503

The graphic above illustrates the traditional US arms sales process, as well as the emergency mechanisms President Trump, invoked in the summer of 2019 to circumvent congressional objections to arms transfers to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

THE TRUMP EFFECT: TRENDS IN MAJOR US ARMS SALES

On 22 June, Security Assistance Monitor published a report saying that the Trump administration made at least $85.1 billion in arms sales offers in 2019, the highest level of its 3 years in office, even as it continued to emphasize the supposed economic benefits of weapons exports to the detriment of human rights and security concerns. These sales were via the Pentagon’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme and through Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) licensed by the State Department. However, the report says that 2019 was the least transparent environment for public scrutiny of US arms exports since the Security Assistance Monitor (SAM) began tracking US weapons sales. In comparison to previous years, available data on Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) were much more limited.

https://raytoddblog.files.wordpress.com/2020/06/13213-3ba8a1_768ab66d079849fd98eabc50ed60a723.pdf

POWER, PROFIT, OR PRUDENCE? US ARMS SALES SINCE 9/11

This article, in the Summer 2020 edition of Strategic Studies Quarterly, evaluates arms sales in the post-9/11 era and finds evidence that strategic interests and economic considerations significantly impact arms sales but no evidence that risk assessment does so. It concludes with suggestions about how to better incorporate risk assessment by making the cost/benefit trade-offs more explicit in the arms sales decision process.  It says that from 2002 to the end of 2018 the US sold over $200 billion in major conventional weapons to 169 countries, and 31 of those countries purchased at least $1 billion in arms.

https://www.airuniversity.af.edu/Portals/10/SSQ/documents/Volume-14_Issue-2/Thrall.pdf

SANCTIONED RUSSIAN COMPANIES AND INDIVIDUALS NOW PROTECTED AGAINST LAWSUITS IN FOREIGN COURTS AND ARBITRAL TRIBUNALS

On 23 June, CMS Law reported that, on 19 June, amendments to the Commercial Procedure Code of the Russian Federation came into force, which provide for the exclusive jurisdiction of Russian courts to consider disputes involving Russian individuals and legal entities who are subject to international sanctions. The amendments protect both Russian citizens and legal entities that have fallen under foreign sanctions, and foreign individuals and entities who are caught by restrictive measures due to the sanctions imposed on Russian individuals or entities (e.g. foreign entities deemed affiliated with Russian individuals or entities under sanctions). The amendments are aimed at increasing access to justice for Russian companies and individuals who are experiencing difficulties protecting their interests during proceedings in foreign courts and arbitration tribunals because they are subject to foreign restrictive measures.

https://cms.law/en/rus/publication/sanctioned-russian-companies-and-individuals-now-protected-against-lawsuits-in-foreign-courts-and-arbitral-tribunals

UK E-COMMERCE EXPORTERS URGED TO RETHINK US LAST-MILE DELIVERIES AS POSTAL RATES RISE

On 29 June, Loadstar reported that UK online retailers targeting the US market are to face a dramatic increase in transatlantic shipping costs, following changes to the Universal Postal Union (UPU) international postal rates, with a call to reconsider the use of US-based fulfilment facilities. It is said that the new rates could lead to an overnight doubling of UK-US e-commerce shipping rates.

https://theloadstar.com/uk-e-commerce-exporters-urged-to-rethink-us-last-mile-as-postal-rates-rise/

AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT’S 2011 CATTLE LIVE EXPORT BAN WAS INVALID, COURT RULES

On 2 June, the Guardian reported that the Australian government will have to pay substantial damages to a cattle company after the federal court ruled that the blanket suspension of live cattle export in 2011 was invalid, “capricious and unreasonable”, and amounted to “misfeasance in public office”. To date 30 parties have joined the class action, calling for up to $600 million in compensation. A 6-month suspension had been imposed in response to an ABC report that showed shocking footage of Australian cattle being slaughtered inhumanely in Indonesian abattoirs.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/jun/02/australian-government-2011-cattle-live-export-ban-invalid-court-rules

CALL FOR BVI TO EXPUNGE CRIMINAL RECORDS OF THOSE COVICTED OF CRIMES INVOLVING CANNABIS

On 26 June, BVI News reported that a government legislator has called for the BVI to consider releasing persons who are serving prison sentences for marijuana possession, during the debate on the Cannabis Licensing Bill in the House of Assembly.  The legislation provides for the cultivation, processing, importation, exportation, distribution, and sale of medical cannabis in the BVI. The Bill outlines several types of licenses to include a Cultivation Licence, an Import and Export Licence, a Medicinal Cannabis Dispensary Licence, a Processing Licence, a Research & Development Licence, a Transportation Licence, and an Analytical Testing Licence.

https://bvinews.com/bvi-should-consider-releasing-expunging-criminal-records-of-persons-convicted-for-cannabis/

US: BANKING TRADE GROUPS CALL FOR INCLUSION OF AML/CFT BILL IN NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT (NDAA)

On 29 June, the ABA Banking Journal reported that the American banking Association (ABA) has joined 6 other financial trade organisations calling for the inclusion of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 as part of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act.  The Bill includes critical provisions for law enforcement investigations into organised transnational criminal operations, human trafficking, terrorism financing and other unlawful activity. It would direct FinCEN to create and maintain a secure beneficial ownership registry of legal entities.

https://bankingjournal.aba.com/2020/06/banking-trade-groups-call-for-inclusion-of-aml-cft-bill-in-ndaa/

BAHAMAS PUSHES FOR ON-SITE FATF VISIT

On 29 June, Eye Witness News reported that the Bahamas is pressing FATF to agree to hold an on-site visit ahead of the FATF plenary in October, when it will consider whether or not to remove the country from its list of countries with strategic AML/CFT deficiencies.

https://ewnews.com/bahamas-pushes-for-on-site-fatf-visit

US: DIGITAL DOLLAR PROJECT IN LIGHT OF RECENT CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS

On 29 June, Forbes published an article saying that the Digital Dollar Project released a whitepaper in May.  The Digital Dollar Project (DPP) is a partnership of the Digital Dollar Foundation, a not-for-profit and Accenture. The article goes into the details of 2 important recommendations laid out in the DPP whitepaper and their possible consequences.  It says that recent House of Representatives Finance Committee hearings expose the views of some of the principal players on retail central bank digital currency (CBDC) in the US. The aim of the DDP is to advocate a central bank digital currency, the digital dollar, and the article reminds one that the dollar is the world’s premier reserve currency.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/vipinbharathan/2020/06/29/digital-dollar-project-in-light-of-recent-congressional-hearings/#31491ddc2dc2

FRAUDSTER GAMBLED AWAY OVER HALF OF £1.5 MILLION STOLEN FROM NATIONAL LOTTERY FIRM CAMELOT AND PROPERTY SITE YOPA

On 29 June, the Leicester Mercury reported that a confidence trickster who stole £1.5 million from the National Lottery organisers and an online property firm has been jailed. Haroon Cassim defrauded the firms while working in trusted positions, at different times, for both companies – and gambled more than half of the cash away.

https://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/news/leicester-news/fraudster-gambled-away-800k-15m-4274783

INDIA: CHARGE SHEET AGAINST COMPANY ACCUSED OF RUNNING PONZI SCHEME

On 29 June, Outlook india reported that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had filed a charge sheet against a dozen entities in connection with its money laundering probe against an alleged ponzi scheme run by a Jaipur-based company, Gold Sukh Trade India Ltd, 2008-2011.

https://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/ed-files-charge-sheet-against-jaipur-firm-accused-of-running-ponzi-scheme/1880798

FORMER FRENCH PM SENTENCED TO JAIL FOR EMBEZZLEMENT

On 29 June, EU Observer reported that French former prime minister Francois Fillon has been sentenced to 5 years in jail, 3 suspended, for embezzling public funds in a scandal that ruined his 2017 run for president.

https://euobserver.com/tickers/148793

https://www.dw.com/en/francois-fillon-fake-jobs-trial-guilty/a-53980876

LIBYA URGES EU SANCTIONS ON KREMLIN MERCENARIES

On 29 June, EU Observer reported that Libya’s ambassador to the UN has said that the EU and US should “freeze the assets” of the Wagner Group, a Russian mercenary organisation.

https://euobserver.com/tickers/148785

CALL TO INVESTIGATE SOUTH AFRICAN DEFENCE EQUIPMENT IN LIBYA

On 29 June, Defence Web reported that the South African Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Defence (JSDC) has asked questions about military hardware exported to Turkey “that might” have found its way to Libya. It is said that a report has been requested from the Ministers responsible for International Relations and Co-operation (Dirco), the National Intelligence Co-ordinating Committee and the Department of Defence (DoD). The article says that there are published images of South African sniper rifles and Mbombe armoured personnel carriers in Libya – the latter are believed to have reached the troubled North African country via Jordan and are apparently in service with Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA).

https://www.defenceweb.co.za/featured/ncacc-to-investigate-sa-defence-equipment-in-libya/

DAC 6: REQUIREMENT FOR SOLICITORS TO REPORT CROSS-BORDER TRANSACTIONS TO THE AUTHORITIES HAS BEEN DELAYED BY 6 MONTHS

On 29 June, the Law Society Gazette reported that a controversial measure requiring solicitors to report cross-border tax transactions to the authorities has been delayed by 6 months, after the passing by the EU of an amendment allowing Member States to defer the DAC 6 reporting regime because of the pandemic. The requirement related to cross-border deals bearing the hallmarks of aggressive tax planning, but solicitors have raised concerns that compliance could put them in breach of legal professional privilege.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/law/new-aml-reporting-duty-postponed/5104807.article

UK IMPORT RESTRICTIONS: CONTROLLING THE SPREAD OF XYLELLA PLANT BACTERIA

On 25 June, the House of Lords published a short briefing on plans to prevent xylella disease being accidentally brought into the country on imported plants. It explains that an estimated 200-plus species of plants are susceptible to Xylella fastidiosa (and its sub-species), including oak, plane, and sycamore trees. It also infects plants such as lavender and rosemary. There have been outbreaks of the disease in mainland Europe, including in France, Italy, and Spain. Portugal confirmed its first case in 2019, on lavender.

https://lordslibrary.parliament.uk/infocus/uk-import-restrictions-controlling-the-spread-of-xylella/

UK: LOOKERS CAR DEALER FRAUD PROBE REVEALS £19 MILLION HOLE IN ACCOUNTS

On 29 June, the BBC reported that car dealership Lookers has agreed to correct its accounts after auditors found it overstated profitability by a total of £19 million over several years. Auditors Grant Thornton have been investigating potential fraud at the Altrincham-based company.

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-53217484

INSIDE THE SINALOA CARTEL’S FENTANYL SMUGGLING OPERATIONS

On 29 June, Vice published a feature said to follow every step in the Mexican cartel’s operation. It is said that Vice News gained access to a Sinaloa Cartel fentanyl trafficking operation for a few days last year, during the production of new podcast series.

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/pkyk37/inside-the-sinaloa-cartels-fentanyl-smuggling-operations

2,500 TONNES OF WASTE TRAFFICKED FROM THE CANARY ISLANDS TO AFRICA

On 29 June, a news release from Europol advised that an organised crime group has been dismantled by the Spanish Civil Guard SEPRONA, with the support of Europol and the Italian Carabinieri for illegally moving hazardous waste from the Canary Islands to several countries in Africa. Those arrested are also suspected of document fraud to carry out their illegal activities. The criminals loaded maritime containers with second-hand items, such as vehicle parts, household goods, and a huge amount of electrical waste and electronic equipment.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/2-500-tonnes-of-waste-trafficked-canary-islands-to-africa

NORTHERN IRELAND: PAIR SENTENCED FOR £500,000 FUEL LAUNDERING FRAUD

On 29 June, the Belfast Newsletter reported that 2 men have been sentenced for a £500,000 fuel laundering fraud after they left DNA and fingerprints at an illegal processing plant in Newry. A concealed fuel laundering plant and fuel sales point were uncovered with an underground plant that held thousands of litres of laundered fuel in its tanks and more laundered oil was found in the fuel point and 5 vehicles on the site.

https://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/crime/pair-sentenced-ps500000-fuel-laundering-fraud-newry-2898480

UK: VAT TREATMENT ON FIXED ODDS BETTING TERMINALS (FOBT) AND GAMING MACHINES

On 26 June, HMRC released Revenue & Customs Brief 5 (2020) which explains what customers with appeals related to the joint decision of the Upper Tribunal on 15 April – involving the Rank Group Ltd and Done Brothers (Cash Betting) Ltd (and others) – must do to claim VAT refunds. The decisions held that the different VAT treatment of the machines or games was a breach of the VAT legal principle of ‘fiscal neutrality’.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/revenue-and-customs-brief-5-2020-vat-treatment-on-fixed-odds-betting-terminals-and-gaming-machines/revenue-and-customs-brief-5-2020-vat-treatment-on-fixed-odds-betting-terminals-and-gaming-machines

FAKE ONLINE SHOPS ARE MAKING A KILLING FROM COUNTERFEIT TRAINERS

On 29 June, Netcraft reported that, while online shopping has surged since lockdown started in March, new fake shops have appeared, designed to entice shoppers away from bona fide outlets, as many brands have yet to find effective countermeasures. Trainers are said to be the most common item involved. The article says that fake shops can use at least 3 different models – payment is accepted, but no goods are delivered; a phishing attack has taken place (at the end of the checkout process the site says the goods are out of stock and no transaction occurs, but the fake shop has the consumer’s credential); or payment is accepted, and goods are delivered, but the quality of goods varies between junk and being identical to the bona fide item.

https://news.netcraft.com/archives/2020/06/29/fake-shops-are-making-a-killing-from-counterfeit-trainers.html

UK: PRIVATE INTERNATIONAL LAW (IMPLEMENTATION OF AGREEMENTS) BILL

On 29 June, the MoJ published various documents relating to this Bill which implements in domestic UK law 3 key Private International Law agreements (aka the ‘Hague Conventions’).  A connected power to implement further Private International Law agreements in future via secondary legislation is no longer part of the Bill following a division in the House of Lords at Report stage.  From a business perspective, the most important of the 3 agreements is the 2005 Hague Convention relating to cross-border commercial contracts which include a choice of court clause, ensuring there is no dispute over where a case should be heard, and enabling any resulting judgment to be recognised and enforced across borders. For more information in brief, see the factsheet –

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/896315/pil-factsheet.pdf

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/private-international-law-implementation-of-agreements-bill

LARGE AUDITING FIRMS PROBED FOR ROLE IN £230 MILLION INVESTMENT SCANDAL

On 29 June, OCCRP reported that the UK Financial Reporting Council has announced that it would investigate the audits of 2 of the “Big Four” accounting firms for their failure to spot the collapse of London Capital & Finance (LC&F), which left over 11,400 investors facing losses of at least £230 million. The FRC will look at audits by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in 2016, Ernst & Young (EY) in 2017, along with one conducted in 2015 by a smaller firm, Oliver Clive & Co.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/12646-large-auditing-firms-probed-for-role-in-230m-investment-scandal

US IMPOSES VISA RESTRICTIONS ON CHINESE OFFICIALS OVER HONG KONG

A news release from the US State Department on 26 June announced visa restrictions on current and former Chinese Communist Party officials who are believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy, as guaranteed in the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, or undermining human rights and fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong.  Family members of such persons may also be subject to these restrictions. No names have been released.

https://www.state.gov/u-s-department-of-state-imposes-visa-restrictions-on-chinese-communist-party-officials-for-undermining-hong-kongs-high-degree-of-autonomy-and-restricting-human-rights/

CHINA TO IMPOSE VISA BAN ON AMERICANS “INTERFERING” IN HONG KONG

On 29 June, Bloomberg reported that China will impose a visa ban on US citizens who interfere with sweeping national security legislation planned for Hong Kong, after the Trump Administration imposed visa bans on some Chinese officials.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/china-to-impose-visa-ban-on-americans-interfering-in-hong-kong/ar-BB165PlE?ocid=msedgntp

US CUSTOMS SEIZES MORE THAN HALF A TON OF SALMONELLA-INFECTED KRATOM

A news release from US Customs & Border Protection on 26 June advised that officers had seized more than a half ton of salmonella-laced Kratom at the Fort Street Cargo Facility. Kratom is a tropical tree native to SE Asia, and its leaves are often ingested in the form of tea. Depending on dosage, Kratom can produce both stimulant and sedative effects. It is not a scheduled substance under the Controlled Substances Act, though the DEA currently lists it as a Drug or Chemical of Concern.

https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/cbp-seizes-half-ton-salmonella-laced-kratom

UK: GOVERNMENT AND WATCHDOG ‘ARE TOTALLY FAILING PROBLEM GAMBLERS’

On 28 June, the Observer reported that the UK government and the Gambling Commission have an “unacceptably weak understanding” about the harmful effects of gambling and how to tackle them, the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee has warned. It report offers a critique of the failures by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Gambling Commission to help an estimated 395,000 problem gamblers in the UK and a further 1.8 million people who are considered at risk.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/jun/28/government-and-watchdog-are-totally-failing-problem-gamblers

MANUFACTURING MATTERS FOR THE UK ECONOMY — MORE THAN PEOPLE COMMONLY THINK

A post on the LSE Business review blog says that a new industrial policy could help avoid a major blow to the economy from COVID-19 and Brexit, whatever form it takes. The post says that the UK is largely seen as a ‘service-based’ economy and that manufacturing, on the other hand, only formally accounts for around 10% of the economy and 9% of employment. However, the post claims that manufacturing accounts for a disproportionate share of total exports (45%), wages in manufacturing are around 15% higher than the national average, and manufacturing accounts for 65% of private sector R&D spending.

https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/businessreview/2020/06/29/manufacturing-matters-for-the-uk-economy-more-than-people-commonly-think/

RUSSIAN CYBERCRIME BOSS BURKOV GETS 9 YEARS

On 29 June, the Krebs on Security blog reported that Aleksei Burkov of St. Petersburg, Russia admitted to running CardPlanet, a site that sold more than 150,000 stolen credit card accounts, and to being a founder of DirectConnection — a closely guarded underground community that attracted some of the world’s most-wanted Russian hackers. He has been sentenced to 9 years in a US prison after pleading guilty to running a site that sold stolen payment card data, and to administering a highly secretive crime forum that counted among its members some of the most elite Russian cybercrooks.

https://krebsonsecurity.com/2020/06/russian-cybercrime-boss-burkov-gets-9-years/

UN REPORT ON ACTION TAKEN BY MEMBER STATES TO DISRUPT TERRORIST FINANCING

On 3 June, the relevant Sanctions Committee submitted to the UN Security Council a report which, inter alia, says that only half of UN member states had frozen the assets of a designated individual or entity, It also reports on how quickly states impose new designations. Most states are said to have a CFT policy, and it is said that the main challenges facing states are: ensuring that measures do not adversely impact humanitarian activities; integrating financial intelligence into CFT systems; investigative and enforcement capabilities; and ensuring legal frameworks keep pace with rapidly evolving financial tools and financing methods.

https://www.undocs.org/en/S/2020/493

US: RUSSIAN NATIONAL PLEADS GUILTY FOR ROLE IN TRANSNATIONAL CYBERCRIME ORGANISATION RESPONSIBLE FOR MORE THAN $568 MILLION IN LOSSES

A news release from US Immigration & Customs Enforcement advised that the cybercrime organisation victimised millions in all 50 states and worldwide in one of the largest cyberfraud enterprises ever prosecuted by the DoJ. Sergey Medvedev (aka “Stells”, “segmed” and “serjbear”), 33, pleaded guilty to charges relating to “Infraud”, an Internet-based cybercriminal enterprise engaged in the large-scale acquisition, sale, and dissemination of stolen identities, compromised debit and credit cards, personally identifiable information, financial and banking information, computer malware, and other contraband.

https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/russian-national-pleads-guilty-role-transnational-cybercrime-organization-responsible

UK: FRAUDSTER PAUL BLANCHARD LOSES SPANISH FRAUD EXTRADITION BATTLE

On 29 June, the BBC reported that Paul Blanchard, 74, from York, who was jailed for fraud has lost his fight against extradition to Spain to face charges that he acted as an alleged advisor to criminal gangs. He is accused of helping to launder cash from gangs in Tenerife 1999-2001.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-york-north-yorkshire-53219790

US SUPREME COURT REJECTS MACAU BILLIONAIRE’S BRIBERY APPEAL

On 29 June, Metro in the US reported that the Supreme Court has declined to take up billionaire Macau real estate developer Ng Lap Seng’s appeal of his conviction and 4-year prison sentence for bribing 2 UN ambassadors to help him build a multibillion-dollar conference centre. Ng was convicted in New York in 2017 on all 6 counts he faced, including bribery, money laundering and corruption.

https://www.metro.us/u-s-supreme-court-rejects-3

AFGHANS PAID $1.6 BILLION IN BRIBES IN 2018

Tolo News on 29 June said that a watchdog report has claimed that Afghans paid $1.65 billion in bribes in 2018, less than the $2.88 billion in 2016 but higher than the government’s annual revenue. It says that the report also finds that people still believe that corruption is highly endemic in the country and they no longer trust government officials.

https://tolonews.com/business/afghans-paid-16-billion-bribes-2018-report

US: WHAT WE KNOW AND CAN PREDICT ABOUT CARES ACT FINANCIAL FRAUD ENFORCEMENT

On 29 June, an article from Arent Fox says that, while gearing up to get trillions of dollars into the economy, the US government was also setting in place the mechanism to investigate and prosecute fraud related to these programmes.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/the-risks-are-real-what-we-know-and-can-88963/

US SEEKS EXTRADITION OF MADURO’S ALLEGED DEALMAKER ALEX SAAB FROM CAPE VERDE

On 29 June, BNN Bloomberg reported that the US has asked Cape Verde to extradite Alex Nain Saab Moran, the Colombian businessman to face charges on money laundering by US authorities as a dealmaker for President Nicolas Maduro’s regime in Venezuela. Saab was arrested in Cape Verde on 12 June when the private jet he was traveling on stopped there. Saab was indicted in the US in July 2019 of bribing Venezuelan officials and funnelling more than $350 million to overseas accounts as part of a food program intended to serve those going hungry in Venezuela. He is also suspected of helping Maduro orchestrate a swap with Iran as part of a plan that has brought oil, workers and supplies to Venezuela.

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/u-s-seeks-extradition-of-maduro-s-alleged-dealmaker-alex-saab-1.1458171

SOUTH AFRICA TO REBUKE BOTSWANA FOR PURSUING BRIDGETTE MOTSEPE ON MONEY LAUNDERING AND COUP CHARGES

On 29 June, the daily Maverick reported that the South African Minister of State Security is to meet Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi to complain about the way Botswana is pursuing President Cyril Ramaphosa’s sister-in-law Bridgette Motsepe for alleged money laundering and financing a coup attempt against Masisi. It is said that South Africa is particularly offended that Botswana has hired the advocacy group AfriForum to represent it in the case.

https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2020-06-29-pretoria-to-rebuke-botswana-for-pursuing-bridgette-motsepe/

DRAFT REGULATION WITH PROVISIONAL SIMPLIFICATION OF KYC MEASURES FOR THE BANKING SECTOR IN MEXICO

ON 29 June, an article from White & Case said that the Mexican Banking and Securities Commission (CNBV) ―which is in charge of AML/CFT supervision of the banking sector in Mexico― communicated temporary simplification guidelines on certain KYC measures. Said guidelines are, in turn, part of draft regulation in process of enactment. The charges are said to be in order to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in Mexico.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/draft-regulation-with-provisional-12565/

CHICAGO-BASED FIRM AND 6 INDIVIDUALS CHARGED OVER ALLEGED OPTIONS FRAUD SCHEME

A release on Mondo Visione on 29 June reported that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has announced the filing of a civil enforcement action against Long Leaf Trading Group Inc, its principals James A. Donelson and Timothy M. Evans, and former Long Leaf associated persons Jeremey S. Ruth and Andrew D. Nelson  The defendants are charged with defrauding customers in connection with options on futures transactions. CFTC also issued 2 orders filing and simultaneously settling charges against 2 additional former associated persons of Long Leaf, Scott J. Gecas and James E. Leeney for their participation in the firm’s fraud scheme.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/cftc-charges-chicago-based-firm-and-six-individuals-in-multi-million-dollar-opti/

UK PUBLISHES POST-BREXIT CYBER SANCTIONS REGULATIONS

On 29 June, an article from Shearman & Sterling reported that the UK has published the Cyber (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 and an explanatory memorandum. The Regulations are made under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018, which was introduced to enable the UK Government to implement international sanctions following its departure from the EU. The new Regulations will come into force when further regulations are made to do so.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/uk-publishes-post-brexit-cyber-72737/

US: CHINESE NATIONAL GUILTY OF LAUNDERING MILLIONS FOR MEXICAN DRUG CARTELS

On 29 June, a news release from the US DoJ advised that a Chinese national had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering in connection with laundering more than $4 million in drug proceeds generated by large-scale cocaine trafficking in the US. It is said that Xueyong Wu, 40, cultivated relationships with Latin American drug trafficking organizations to transport and launder their US-based drug proceeds.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/chinese-national-guilty-laundering-millions-mexican-drug-cartels

 

 

 

 

 

If you would like to say thanks by making a small contribution, in case I need to upgrade or replace my computers and other paraphernalia, I have a page at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

 

 

 

Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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