Panama Covid-19 update – rumours of further lockdowns, at least in some districts, with new infections today at 1,301 (45663 total to date), but relatively fewer fatalities at 16 today (909 in total to date). There are currently 19,867 active cases, which represents 0.46% of the total population. There are 1,146 currently under medical care – 159 in ICU, 987 in other wards
12 July 2020
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO: FOR DECADES, AN ILLEGAL GAMBLING OPERATION HAS ROBBED THE COUNTRY OF MILLIONS IN POTENTIAL TAX EARNINGS
On 11 July, the Trinidad & Tobago Guardian carried an article saying that upwards of 300 booths operated by mainly Chinese nationals as well as locals continue to flourish across the country with impunity. In most instances, these booths do not conceal what is taking place within them. Instead, they conduct business in the open, with offerings of odds that the legal NLCB booths cannot compete with. According to a source at the National Lotteries Control Board, the illegal game is worth more than $1.3 billion per year.
DIRECTOR OF ONE OF THE OLDEST BARS IN NORTHERN IRELAND TO STAND TRIAL ACCUSED OF LAUNDERING MORE THAN £1.1 MILLION IN CRIMINAL PROCEEDS
On 12 July, the Belfast Telegraph reported that Kelly’s Cellars director Elizabeth Mulholland. 55, and 36 others are accused of being involved in an alleged VAT fraud scheme related to the construction industry.
BANK RECOVERS ASSETS FROZEN BY NCA UNDER CIVIL RECOVERY ORDER IN UK
On 10 July, an article from Dentons was concerned with a case where the NCA had frozen assets (including 3 valuable watches, a car licence plate and a number of bank balances from a Nigerian national and sought a civil recovery order under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. However, the NatWest Bank intervened in the proceedings, asserting a proprietary claim to some of the frozen assets following frauds by which funds were removed from customer accounts. The court accepted that, since NatWest’s customers had been reimbursed by the bank, the funds that were disbursed from the customer accounts belonged to NatWest. NatWest had suffered the loss and it was to be considered the victim of the fraud.
DUBAI’S PROBLEMATIC GOLD TRADE
On 10 July, the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime published an article referring to recent reports by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP) and FATF discusses Dubai’s significant role as a global financial hub and as a leader in the gold trade pose a particularly complex challenge. FATF found that the UAE is not addressing money laundering effectively and raises concerns about the emirate’s ability to combat financing of terrorism. The precious-metal and stones sector (specifically gold, which generates tens of billions of dollars for the UAE) is identified by the FATF as a high-risk economy, and FATF reports that there are over 7 000 diamond and precious-metal dealers in the emirate state and that the sector is heavily exposed to cash transactions. Most of the activities related to this sector are located in Dubai, where significant volumes of goods pass through the Jebel Ali Free Zone. It is said that it is hoped that the FATF assessment and year-long period of observation will be the catalyst for change that many have been calling for and an end to business as usual in Dubai’s gold markets. The article says that most gold is hand-carried to Dubai by air and sold in the gold souk and because gold dealers in the souk need only a UAE customs form to trade, which does not require information about the gold’s origin, they are able to accept gold originating from any country, no questions asked. Gold purchases are often recorded as scrap, rather than sourced from artisanal and small-scale mining. This enables refineries that buy gold from the souk to claim that they do not source mined gold. In this way, gold is laundered into a refined product that is acceptable to the world’s most reputable gold hubs.
US SECRET SERVICE CREATES FINANCE-RELATED CYBER FRAUD TASK FORCE (CFTF)
On 12 July, Coin Telegraph and others reported that the CFTF aims to combat the growing trend of cybercrimes related to financial matters and was created by merging the Electronic Crimes Task Forces and Financial Crimes Task Forces into a single network.
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 “Buy me a Coffee” – https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y