OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JULY 14

Panama Covid-19 update – rumours continue (and seem to gain credence) of a further, tightened lockdown in the face of continuing poor statistics. Maybe back to total weekend lockdowns (at present the curfew does not begin until Saturday evening).

Meanwhile, I have been playing with the current figures to compare Panama to the UK and US – not easy because, frankly, the level of testing and reporting in the UK, at least, appears less good and less reliable than in Panama – for example, the UK ratio of deaths to reported cases seems wildly out of kilter with the international average.

Anyway, the percentages of reported/confirmed cases to overall population is approximately 1.1% in Panama, 0.44% in UK (though probably understated), and 1.05% in the US.

The fatality rate as a percentage of the population is approximately 0.02% in Panama, 0.07% in UK and 0.04% in the US.

The fatality rate as a percentage of confirmed cases is approximately 2% in Panama and 4% in the US – the worldwide average is estimated at 4.4%.  The UK percentage is unreliable, as far too high, for the reasons above.

So, on the face of it, a greater proportion of people in Panama have been affected/infected, but fortunately the death-rate appears much lower.  This might be attributable to earlier, better controls as well as demographic differences (the average population age is much lower here than in the UK, for example).

Today’s figures added another 923 new cases and 28 additional fatalities, with 1,172 hospitalised, including 157 in ICU.  Interesting charts shown in the daily news conference showed (as in parts of the US) figures of new cases shot up when a partial reopening of the economy began (from around 15,000 to over 45,000 cases between 1 June and early July); and that, despite saying older people are more at risk, only some 25% of the 960 deaths to date appear to have been in the higher-risk over-60 age groups.  The Rt transmission rate is given as 1.4.

14 July 2020

UK SELLING SPYWARE AND WIRETAPS TO 17 REPRESSIVE REGIMES INCLUDING SAUDI ARABIA AND CHINA

The Independent on 13 July reported that, despite rules saying the UK should not export security goods to countries that might use them for internal repression, ministers have signed off more than £75 million in such exports over the past 5 years to states rated “not free” by the NGO Freedom House. UAE was the biggest recipient of licences totalling £11.5 million alone since 2015. It says that the UK has also exported such goods to other states that are not officially rated “not free” but where supplying spyware could raise eyebrows, e.g. Hong Kong.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/uk-spyware-wiretaps-saudi-arabia-china-bahrain-uae-human-rights-a9613206.html

CHINA DESIGNATES LOCKHEED MARTIN FOR TAIWAN ARMS DEAL

On 14 July, the European Sanctions Blog reported that a China Foreign Ministry spokesperson has announced that it is imposing sanctions on Lockheed Martin, the main contractor in a deal with Taiwan which would allow Taiwan to buy parts to refurbish its Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2020/07/china-designates-lockheed-martin-for-taiwan-arms-deal/

https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1194528.shtml

UK FREEPORTS: AN OVERVIEW OF THE KEY ISSUES

On 22 June, as the UK Government consultation on post-Brexit free zones closes (on 13 July), this article considers the Government’s proposal and highlight some of the questions faced by the numerous sectors and industries that could benefit from a Freeports policy.

https://www.cms-lawnow.com/ealerts/2020/06/freeports-an-overview-of-the-key-issues?cc_lang=en

10 KUWAITI INFLUENCERS SUSPECTED OF MONEY LAUNDERING

On 12 July, Gulf News reported that 10 Kuwaiti social media influencers are on the radars of the Kuwaiti state security agency after their bank accounts showed massively inflated balance.

https://gulfnews.com/world/gulf/kuwait/10-kuwaiti-influencers-suspected-of-money-laundering-1.72550140

58 FOREIGNERS BOUGHT MALTESE PASSPORT WITHOUT PRESENTING BIRTH CERTIFICATE

On 13 July, the Times of Malta reported that an opposition MP has made this claim, saying that this is further testament to the fake due diligence of this programme which is tarnishing Malta’s reputation.

https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/58-foreigners-bought-maltese-passport-without-presenting-birth.804795

3 MILLION MORE GUNS: THE SPRING SPIKE IN US FIREARM SALES

On 13 July, the Brookings Institute published an article saying that estimates indicate that almost 3 million more firearms have been sold since March than would have ordinarily been sold during these months. Half of that increase occurred in June alone.

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front/2020/07/13/three-million-more-guns-the-spring-2020-spike-in-firearm-sales

MAJOR US BANKS FACE WORST QUARTER SINCE GREAT RECESSION

22266

https://www.statista.com/chart/22266/bank-loan-loss-provisions

PAKISTAN: STATE BANK REVISES AML/CFT RULES

On 14 July, the International News reported that the central bank has revised AML/CFT requirements to facilitate customers experiencing problems with operating bank accounts, ensuring execution of financial transactions, and getting financial services from banks.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/686422-state-bank-revises-aml-cft-rules

https://www.marketscreener.com/news/State-Bank-of-Pakistan-AC-MFD-Circular-Letter-No-06-of-2020-Measures-to-Mitigate-COVID-19-Pande–30917752/

UK MONEY LAUNDERING SUPERVISION APPEALS AND PENALTIES

On 14 July, HMRC issued an updated news release concerned with what to do if you disagree with an HMRC decision, and the penalties for not following the rules under the Money Laundering Regulations.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/money-laundering-regulations-appeals-and-penalties

EU STATE AID: EU COMMISSION RECOMMENDS NOT GRANTING FINANCIAL AID TO COMPANIES WITH LINKS TO TAX HAVENS

A news release from the EU on 14 July recommended that Member States do not grant financial support to companies with links to countries that are on the EU list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions. It also says that restrictions should also apply to companies that have been convicted of serious financial crimes, including, among others, financial fraud, corruption, non-payment of tax and social security obligations.

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_1332

LONDON COURTS TO DECIDE CASES INVOLVING ALLEGED CORRUPTION AND ROMANIAN BUSINESSMEN

On 14 July, G4 Media reported that a court is to rule in July on the extradition of Alexander Adamescu to Romania on corruption charges. He had already lost an appeal to the European Court on Human Rights against the Romanian arrest warrant, after his arrest in the UK in 2018.  In October, the same court is also expected to rule on the extradition of fugitive businessman Puiu Popoviciu to Romania.

https://www.g4media.ro/london-court-to-decide-in-romanian-corruption-related-case-involving-businessman-alexander-adamescu-another-romania-related-case-involving-businessman-puiu-popoviciu-expected-to-be-judged-in-october.html

INSPECTION REPORT ON THE NATIONAL CRIME AGENCY IN THE UK

On 14 July, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services published its report on the NCA and its criminal intelligence function.

https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmicfrs/wp-content/uploads/an-inspection-of-the-national-crime-agency-criminal-intelligence-function.pdf

UKRAINE PARLIAMENT APPROVES GAMBLING BILL WITH NO TAXATION POLICY 

On 14 July, SBC News approved a Bill passing the legislation to ‘form a new market for regulated gambling’ and repeal its current law which has imposed a blanket ban on all forms of gambling except state-run lotteries since 2009.

https://www.sbcnews.co.uk/europe/2020/07/14/rada-approves-ukraine-gambling-bill-with-no-taxation-policy/

ESPORTS ALERT: THE GLOBAL CRACKDOWN ON LOOT BOXES

On 13 July, an article from Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP says that the UK House of Lords Gambling Committee recently issued a report recommending that video games be classified as “games of chance,” and regulated and, referring specifically to loot boxes within video games, the Committee stated: “If a product looks like gambling and feels like gambling, it should be regulated as gambling”.  It says that loot boxes have become a major issue in the video game industry in the last 10 years.  It says that banning or restriction of loot boxes is a major concern for video game developers and publishers, who make a large part of its revenue stream from loot boxes.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/esports-alert-the-global-crackdown-on-92022/

FAKE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY THRIVES IN WEST AFRICA

On 14 July, the BBC reported that the counterfeit pharmaceutical industry is thriving in West Africa, with law enforcement agencies battling to crackdown on foreign-linked criminal syndicates.  There is concern that there may be more in the coming months due to the effect Covid-19 is having on the supply of drugs. It quotes a Nigerian customs officer, who says that more than 30 million counterfeit tablets shipped from India were seized in one week in Lagos. The lack of regulatory oversight is one of the reasons why the region is so attractive to criminals in the business of falsifying medicines.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-53387216

CUSTOMS AGENTS SEIZE 27 TONNES OF CHICKEN IN MOZAMBIQUE

On 14 July, the Poultry Site reported that the customs service had also seized 5,000 boxes of eggs. Mozambique has recently banned the import of all chickens and chicken derivatives in an effort to protect its national poultry industry.

https://thepoultrysite.com/news/2020/07/customs-agents-seize-27-tonnes-of-chicken-in-mozambique

ORGANISED PROPERTY CRIME IN THE EU

On 14 July, a briefing paper from the EU Parliament Research Service is said to offer a strategic discussion on EU policies on this topic and highlighting key recommendations for future action. The study proposes a holistic approach to the problem, adding new elements to existing measures. Property crime occurs in a spectrum ranging from the most serious forms of crime committed by established organised criminal groups to petty criminality. There is currently no shared definition of “organised property crime” (OPC).   However, among the many activities OPC is involved in, the most relevant are residential burglary and robbery, organised shoplifting, cargo crime, and ATM attacks. It also takes into effect Covid-19.

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2020/656042/IPOL_STU(2020)656042_EN.pdf

DE BEERS SUBSEA DIAMOND MINING

On 14 July, an article in Hellenic Shipping News reported on contracts to power the world’s first custom-built diamond recovery vessel.  The vessel is being built by Damen at Damen Shipyards Mangalia on the Black Sea in Romania.  It deploys advanced subsea crawling – a technique for recovering diamonds from the seabed. The new-build will be delivered to Debmarine Namibia, a joint venture between the Government of Namibia and De Beers Group in 2022.

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/abb-to-power-the-worlds-largest-diamond-recovery-vessel-for-de-beers/

NIGERIA: OUTGOING MANAGING DIRECTOR OF NIGERIAN BULK ELECTRICITY TRADING COMPANY (NBET) CHARGED WITH FINANCIAL MISMANAGEMENT AND CONTRACT FRAUD

On 14 July, the Premium Times reported that the Office of the Auditor-General has indicted the embattled MD of Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading company (NBET), Marilyn Amobi, for financial mismanagement, disrespect for due process, and contract fraud. The charges are contained in a special report to the national assembly on audit monitoring and evaluation of NBET’s capital projects and programmes between June 2017 and June 2018.

https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/top-news/402872-just-in-auditor-general-indicts-nbets-outgoing-md-marilyn-amobi.html

US: JEWELLERY WHOLESALER CHARGED IN $200 MILLION PONZI SCHEME

On 14 July, Long Island Business News reported that Gregory Altieri, the president of LNA Associates and a jewellery wholesaler was charged at federal court in Brooklyn with running a 2-year, $200 million Ponzi scheme based on non-existent wholesale jewellery deals and false promises of inflated returns.

https://libn.com/2020/07/14/jewelry-wholesaler-charged-in-200m-ponzi-scheme

WHISTLEBLOWER GETS $3.8 MILLION FROM SEC FOR AIDING FRAUD CASE

On 14 July, BNN Bloomberg reported that the SEC did not provide information on the person’s identity or the company involved but credited the whistleblower with providing “significant information” to help the agency disrupt a fraudulent scheme and return millions of dollars to harmed investors.

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/whistle-blower-gets-3-8-million-from-sec-for-aiding-fraud-case-1.1465378

MALAWI POLICE ARREST FORMER PRESIDENT’S AIDE FOR ALLEGED CORRUPTION

On 14 July, VOA News reported that police have arrested Norman Chisale, a bodyguard of former President Peter Mutharika, and one of several persons detained in connection with allegedly helping the President avoid nearly $7 million in import duties. Mutharika has denied knowledge of the scheme, which saw cement for construction of his private property imported duty-free.

https://www.voanews.com/africa/malawi-police-arrest-former-presidents-aide-alleged-corruption

GLOBAL CHALLENGES FOUNDATION’S ANNUAL REPORT ON THE GREATEST THREATS TO HUMANITY

This cheery publication from the Swedish-based Global Challenges Foundation.  The Global Challenges Foundation’s Annual Report aims to give an overview of all the greatest threats to humanity, to track developments in the issues, to highlight their interconnectedness and to explore how they are being managed at the global level. The essays illustrate, more than ever, it says, the complex linkages between these global risks and how they can reinforce each other. The risks addressed include WMD, climate change, pandemics and even asteroid strike and super-volcanos.  It also considers the potential downsides of AI.

https://globalchallenges.org/wp-content/uploads/Global-Catastrophic-Risks-2020-Annual-Report.pdf

SEC CHARGES ARIZONA-BASED WIND TURBINE COMPANY AND 3 INDIVIDUALS FOR DEFRAUDING INVESTORS

A release on Mondo Visione on 14 July advised that the SEC had announced charges against Thunderbird Power Corporation, an Arizona-based company claiming to be developing a wind turbine technology, and 3 individuals – CEO Richard Hinds, president Anthony Goldstein and consultant John Alexander “Lex” van Aremfor, the latter 2 being Canadian – with defrauding investors out of more than $1.9 million in the unregistered offer and sale of Thunderbird stock.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/sec-charges-wind-turbine-company-and-individuals-with-defrauding-investors/

MARITIME SECURITY CAN HELP RESOLVE THE MOZAMBIQUE INSURGENCY

An article from the Institute for Security Studies on 14 July says that the bloody insurgency in the northern Mozambique province of Cabo Delgado has taken an unprecedented maritime turn, with insurgents attacking from the sea facing a low risk of being intercepted by Mozambique’s maritime security actors.  There is also the risk of attacks against people who have fled to islands, and many of some 200,000 displaced persons have fled from by boat to coastal towns elsewhere in Mozambique or over the border into Tanzania. With poor roads etc, water-borne traffic is the only feasible way to supply the increasing number of internally displaced people with aid. It is also warned that northern Mozambique would become a platform for launching assaults and furthering the aims of criminal networks across the region – including piracy.  Offshore gas exploration and production could be affected too.  It is said that Mozambican armed forces have struggled to combat the insurgency and rely on private military contractors, neither of which focus on maritime security.

https://issafrica.org/iss-today/maritime-security-can-help-resolve-the-mozambique-insurgency

RECOVERING ASSETS HIDDEN IN INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL CENTRES – LATIN AMERICA

A legal specialist from the Basel Institute of Governance recently took part in a webinar presentation via Facebook, part of a week-long conference (in Spanish) to disseminate perspectives on asset recovery, non-conviction-based confiscation and mutual legal assistance to practitioners and law students in Latin America. He spoke about recent experiences related to the identification and seizure of bribery funds in the context of the Odebrecht/Lava Jato (“Car Wash”) probes in Peru, Switzerland and Brazil. Among the key points he raised were –

  • among the main challenges for asset recovery are the systematic use of networks of offshore corporations and overseas bank accounts by bribe recipients;
  • the detection of stolen assets is complicated by the fact that bribe payments are often made via slush funds, shadow bankers (also referred to as doleiros), as well as cash transactions;
  • leaks of information by jurisdictions harbouring financial centres are frequently at the origin of asset recovery investigations by victim countries;
  • deficiencies in mutual legal assistance procedures continue to be a major stumbling block for asset recovery efforts; and
  • Latin American countries increasingly rely on amnesty agreements and plea bargaining in their corruption probes. However, these tools do not make traditional asset recovery techniques less important.

The Facebook presentation is available at –

https://web.facebook.com/SP.grupodeestudios/videos/718428385401070/

 

 

 

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CRITICISM OF THE GERMAN FIU AS IT IS RAIDED BY PROSECUTORS

An article in Der Spiegel on 14 July said that a Prosecutor’s Office has been searching the premises of the Customs-run FIU in Cologne on suspicion of criminal misconduct in office. It is said that it is alleged that the FIU failed to properly forward 8 suspected money laundering reports about transfers to African states to law enforcement authorities.  The article lays out various criticisms made of the FIU, which had been transferred to Customs from the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) in 2017. It has been claimed that FIU reports, which went to the police and prosecutors, were often incomplete, flawed and generally useless.

https://www-spiegel-de.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.spiegel.de/panorama/justiz/verdacht-auf-strafvereitelung-ermittler-gehen-gegen-zoll-spezialeinheit-fiu-vor-a-8d657c7f-f570-4a16-85c0-82134da79905-amp

 

 

 

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THE NEW ISO 20022 RE PLATFORMS FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF MESSAGES FOR CROSS-BORDER PAYMENTS

A post on the always interesting FCPA Blog on 14 July is concerned with the new ISO standard, saying that it provides for a flexible infrastructure that facilitates information exchange and helps to harmonise the payments language between old and new technologies.  Its focus is said to be on getting the global financial community on the same page and removing the barriers that complicate compliance.  The post argues that the new message format will speed up payments and increase transparency, improve sanctions screening, and help organisations better detect and prevent financial crime. ISO 20022 uses a central dictionary of business items used in financial communications.  Its objective is said to be to enable communication interoperability between financial institutions, their market infrastructures and their end-user communities.  The website for the new standard includes Powerpoint presentations introducing and explaining it.

https://fcpablog.com/2020/07/14/iso-20022-will-change-sanctions-compliance-forever/

https://www.iso20022.org/

https://www.iso20022.org/about-iso-20022

https://www.iso20022.org/sites/default/files/2020-07/Scripted_ISO_20022_ppt_long_version_v182_0.ppt

ppt

 

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UK: NEO-NAZI GROUP LED BY 13-YEAR-OLD BOY TO BE BANNED

Following up the Home Office news release of 13 July which advised that extreme right-wing group Feuerkrieg Division was to be proscribed in the UK, the BBC on 13 July reported that the Feuerkrieg Division (FKD), an international group that largely existed online, said earlier this year it had dissolved.  FKD was created in late 2018 and sought recruits online, particularly through its channels on encrypted messaging applications. The leader is said to be a boy, who used the alias “Commander”, who was identified this year by the Estonian Internal Security Service.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-53392036

 

 

 

 

 

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ASSAD REGIME IMPLICATED IN MASSIVE DRUGS BUST IN ITALY

On 14 July, an article from OCCRP reported that the recent record-breaking shipment of amphetamines seized by Italian authorities may not have been manufactured by terrorist group ISIS, as was first believed, but by the Syrian regime itself.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/12736-assad-regime-implicated-in-massive-captagon-bust

 

 

 

 

 

 

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UK AND ISLE OF MAN AMEND 49 ENTRIES ON LIBYAN SANCTIONS LIST

On 14 July, HM Treasury issued a Notice advising that there have been corrections for 49 listings in the Libya sanctions regime. These amendments bring the UK Consolidated List into line with Annex II and Annex III to EU Regulation 2016/44/EU.

The Isle of man followed suit on 14 July.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/900354/Notice_Libya_Corrections.pdf

https://www.gov.im/news/2020/jul/14/financial-sanctions-libya/

 

 

 

 

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CHINA AMENDS ITS CRIMINAL CODE TO COVER TRADE SECRETS THEFT BY FOREIGN COMPANIES

On 13 July, the South China Morning Post reported that China is amending its criminal code to cover trade secrets theft by foreign businesses, a change that could give it a tool to retaliate against the US for alleged economic espionage. The new clause will target any person or company that “steals, spies, buys, or illegally provides trade secrets to foreign institutions, organisations, and personnel”.

https://www.scmp.com/economy/china-economy/article/3092939/china-sharpens-economic-espionage-penalties-tit-tat-provision

 

 

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JULY 13

Panama Covid-19 update – no sign of new infections, or fatality rate, falling, with another 1,540 new cases added today (as the TV shows police dealing with night time and beach parties…) – taking the total to 47,173.  23 more fatalities take the total to date to 932. There remain 159 in ICU and 1,005 now in other wards, but with another 880 added to the “recovered” total – 23,919 so far (though dates on how much immunity this gives one is a worry). Over the past month, there have been on average 903 new cases added daily, with between 16 and 17 fatalities per day.  As a rough comparison, in the first couple of months following the state of emergency corresponding figures were about 86 and 5.3.

 

13 July 2020

CHINA TRADES SANCTIONS WITH US OVER UIGHUR MUSLIMS

On 13 July, CNBC reported that China had announced sanctions against US officials including 2 US senators in retaliation against Washington’s sanctions against senior Chinese officials over Beijing’s treatment of minority Uighur Muslims – senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, Representative Chris Smith, Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback and the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/13/china-trades-sanctions-with-us-over-uighur-muslims.html

EUROPEAN AEROSPACE AND DEFENCE PROGRAMMES

On 10 July, Aviation Week published an article detailing collaborative defence industry programmes in Europe, saying that an “alphabet soup” of defense initiatives has emerged as European mechanisms for defence cooperation are helping to encourage more pooling and sharing of assets, bolstering research and development funding. The types are mentioned as – PESCO (Permanent Structured Cooperation); EDF (European Defense Fund); PADR (Preparatory Action on Defense Research); EDIDP (European Defense Industrial Development Program) and EDA (European Defense Agency).

https://aviationweek.com/ad-week/closer-look-european-aerospace-defense-programs

LEGAL PRIVILEGE IN THE CURRENT CLIMATE AND HOW NOT TO LOSE IT

On 7 July, a post from Squire Patton Boggs says that in times like these it is more important than ever that appropriate steps are taken to ensure that legal privilege is obtained and maintained where possible and appropriate to do so. The post explains what legal privilege is, some do’s and don’ts, and says that implementation of an internal “privilege protocol” may be seen as a good governance and risk management matter.

https://www.downthewireblog.com/2020/07/legal-privilege-in-the-current-climate-and-how-not-to-lose-it/#page=1

COURT REJECTS AMNESTY PETITION TO REVOKE EXPORT LICENCE OF ISRAELI SPYWARE COMPANY

On 13 July, various media reported that the Tel Aviv District Court ruled against an Amnesty International petition to cancel the export licence of the Israel-based technology company NSO Group, whose spyware, Pegasus, enables the remote surveillance of smartphones.

https://www.clevelandjewishnews.com/jns/court-rejects-amnesty-petition-to-revoke-export-license-of-israeli-spyware-firm/article_c0a9ce18-593d-54b4-b20a-16256fc59789.html

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/israel-pegasus-nso-group-spy-software-licence-revoke-rejected

BANKERS ‘SMUGGLED’ $6 BILLION OUT OF LEBANON, SAYS EX-FINANCE CHIEF

On 12 July, the Financial Times reported that bankers have “smuggled” up to $6 billion out of Lebanon since October 2019, circumventing controls introduced to stem capital flight as the country plunged into its worst financial crisis in 30 years, according to the country’s former top finance civil servant.

https://www.ft.com/content/df234c78-a945-4199-befe-0272259dc755

BERMUDA COMPANY OWNERSHIP REGISTER WILL BE OPEN TO PUBLIC

On 12 July Bernews reported that the Bermudan Government has “announced its intention to make the companies central register of beneficial ownership information accessible to the public”.

https://bernews.com/2020/07/ownership-register-will-be-accessible-to-public/

NEW UK IMMIGRATION SYSTEM: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

On 13 July, the Home Office issued an updated news release concerned with the points-based immigration system being introduced from 2021. It will treat EU and non-EU citizens equally and aims to attract people who can contribute to the UK’s economy. Irish citizens will continue to be able to enter and live in the UK as they do now.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-immigration-system-what-you-need-to-know

LIBYA’S LNA SAYS BLOCKADE ON OIL WILL CONTINUE

On 13 July, defence Web reported that Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) has said that it would maintain a blockade on oil production and exports that the National Oil Corp (NOC) says has cost the country $6.5 billion in lost revenue. This is despite the loading of a first tanker since January with oil from storage.

https://www.defenceweb.co.za/security/border-security/libyas-lna-says-blockade-on-oil-will-continue/

UK: MAGNITSKY LEGISLATION PROVIDING FOR SANCTIONS AGAINST CORRUPT OFFICIALS WHO COMMIT GROSS HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE 

On 13 July, the House of Commons Library published a briefing paper which says that 2 major pieces of legislation to have ‘Magnitsky’ elements added to them – the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018.

http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-8374/CBP-8374.pdf

US: ALI SADR HASHEMI NEJAD – JUDGE TO DISMISS SANCTIONS CASE AMID THE SPECTRE OF DISCIPLINARY ACTION FOR PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT

On 13 July, BNN Bloomberg carried an article saying that in the case of Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejad, an Iranian native whose was convicted for violating US economic sanctions is now expected to see his conviction overturned, amid mishandling of the case and the prosecutors’ abandonment of it after conviction. Sadr was convicted in March of funnelling more than $100 million from a Venezuelan construction project to Iran-linked entities using the US financial system.  However, prosecutors have acknowledged that they had withheld evidence from the defence team that could have undermined the case, including a witness statement that contradicted key evidence and documents that raised doubts about the basis for the charges.

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/botched-iran-case-adds-to-woes-of-n-y-office-upended-by-barr-1.1464370

FORMER UNAOIL MANAGERS CONVICTED IN UK OF IRAQ BRIBERY

On 13 July, Reuters reported that 2 former managers of Monaco-based energy consultancy Unaoil – British-Lebanese Ziad Akle, its former Iraq territory manager, and Stephen Whiteley, a British former manager for Iraq, Kazakhstan and Angola – have been convicted of bribing Iraqi officials to clinch lucrative oil projects after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

https://www.reuters.com/article/britain-unaoil-corruption/former-unaoil-managers-convicted-in-britain-of-iraq-bribery-idUSL8N2DH2NE

https://fcpablog.com/2020/07/13/uk-enforcement-two-former-unaoil-execs-convicted-of-iraq-bribes/

COLOMBIA’S DEFENCE MINISTRY HAS BEEN REPORTING INFLATED STATISTICS ON THE FORCED ERADICATION OF COCA

On 13 July, Colombia Reports carried a feature claiming that 8 civilian eradicators and counter-narcotics officials confirmed the fraud that reportedly has been going on for at least 10 years and is known by the US Embassy. The forced eradication statistics are reportedly inflated to guarantee that targets set by the US and Colombia – and to justify the enormous cost of efforts that cost US and Colombian tax payers $100 million last year alone.

https://colombiareports.com/colombias-great-drug-war-swindle

CHINESE GOVERNMENT POLICY ON WILDLIFE TRADE: WHAT HAS CHANGED, WHAT HAS NOT, AND WHY IT MATTERS

On 13 July, a Commentary from RUSI says that legislation governing the wildlife trade in China has changed as a result of the current pandemic – but that a great deal remains to be done. It examines the current law and what has changed – and what has not changed. The new prohibitions did not, for example, cover aquatic species, despite the often serious impacts of farming and trade on groups such as amphibians and freshwater turtles.  Further they did not address breeding and trade for non-food purposes, such as traditional Chinese medicine or ornamental items.

https://rusi.org/commentary/chinese-government-policy-wildlife-trade-what-has-changed-what-has-not-and-why-it-matters

SNAIL

https://rijock.blogspot.com/

TAIWAN BUSTS CHINA-FACING ONLINE GAMBLING SUPPORT NETWORK

On 13 July, Calvin Ayre reported that  the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) had announced the arrest of 34 individuals suspected in involvement in a major online gambling software and payment processing support network for a variety of China-facing gambling sites – with police seizing 29 computers, 103 phones, 140 UnionPay cards and 323 ‘U Shields’ (apps that assist mobile banking transactions).  Taipei-based Yi Digital Entertainment Development is described as a front for unauthorised online gambling activity.

https://calvinayre.com/2020/07/13/business/taiwan-busts-online-gambling-support-network-2/

NEW ROLE FOR PRIVATE PROSECUTIONS IN THE WAKE OF COVID-19

In an article in Counsel Magazine on 22 May, lawyers from 5 St Andrews Hill and MSB Solicitors discuss the impact of Covid-19 on the role of private prosecutions in the light of a likely considerable log jam of cases waiting to be tried, as and when the courts get back to, something approaching, normal, and with the CPS, perhaps inevitably, re-examining priorities in the wake of challenges.

https://www.5sah.co.uk/news-and-events/articles/2020-05-22/new-role-for-private-prosecutions-in-the-wake-of-covid-19-counsel-magazine

THE 4 PRINCIPLES APPLICABLE TO TELEPHONE DISCLOSURE WHEN ASKED TO HAND OVER YOUR MOBILE PHONE

An article from Broadway House Chambers on 29 June considers the situation when, as a witness, you are asked to hand over your phone for examination, being told that without its use as evidence the case might not proceed.  It looks at a recent decision of the Court of Appeal, a judgment that provides guidance in relation to the retention, inspection, copying, disclosure and deletion of the electronic records held by prosecution witnesses.  It says that, while the 2 appeals under consideration related to sexual offences, the most frequent type of case where such issues arise, but the court made it clear that the guidance is applicable to all prosecution witnesses.

https://broadwayhouse.co.uk/4-principles-applicable-telephone-disclosure/

US: WHITE SUPREMACIST PROSECUTIONS ROUND-UP

On 13 July, Lawfare published an article saying that the US faces a growing terrorism problem from the far right and white supremacists. It says that over the past few years, the domestic terrorism landscape has shifted as a result of a growing threat from individuals and groups with racially motivated violent extremist ideologies — including white supremacist and anti-government views. Now, attacks on US soil by adherents of these ideologies outpace terrorism by other types of perpetrators. The article looks into how state and federal prosecutors have addressed the ever-growing threat of white supremacist violence. It is said that right-wing extremists perpetrated two-thirds of the attacks and plots in the US in 2019 and more than 90% of those between 1 January and 8 May this year.

https://www.lawfareblog.com/white-supremacist-prosecutions-roundup

JORDAN PRESSES SWEEPING TAX EVASION CRACKDOWN TO AID AILING ECONOMY

On 13 July, Reuters reported that Jordan’s Prime Minister has promised to deepen a crackdown on tax evasion that officials say has deprived the country’s cash-strapped economy of billions of dollars’ revenue in recent years. Tax authorities have raided around 650 companies so far, sometimes accompanied by security forces, according to officials who say this is the biggest campaign to combat tax evasion in decades.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-jordan-economy-corruption/jordan-presses-sweeping-tax-evasion-crackdown-to-aid-ailing-economy-idUSKCN24D0QM

US DEPORTS HEZBOLLAH FINANCIER TO LEBANON

On 13 July, a news release from US Immigration & Customs Enforcement advised that, on 8 July, ICE removed Kassim Tajideen, 65, sanctioned for financing Hezbollah, a designated foreign terrorist organisation since 2009, and convicted of violating those sanctions. It is said that the Lebanese businessman was detained in the US in 2017, having reportedly operated multiple Hezbollah front companies across Africa and the Middle East alongside his brothers.

https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/ice-removes-hezbollah-financier-lebanon

US AUTHORITIES SEIZE WEBSITE ILLEGALLY SELLING WEAPON COMPONENTS, SILENCERS FROM CHINA IN US

A news release from US Immigration & Customs Enforcement on 13 July advised that federal authorities had seized the internet domain “http://lafoauto.com/” pursuant to an international arms-trafficking investigation, having determined that more than 350 suppressors seized by law enforcement were purchased from the website and smuggled into the US from China as automotive parts. Suppressors (also called silencers) reduce the sound and muzzle flash generated from a gunshot. Without proper licence, they are illegal to purchase or possess in many US states. The website advertised the suppressors as automotive components but images on the site clearly resembled firearms components.

https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/ice-hsi-seizes-website-illegally-selling-weapon-components-silencers-china-us

AMERICAN WOMAN IS RESCUED AFTER BEING HELD HOSTAGE IN NIGERIA HOTEL ROOM FOR MORE THAN A YEAR BY MAN

On 13 July, the Daily Mail reported that the retiree was who lured with the promise of marriage before extorting her for $48,000 and sexually assaulting her. He had persuaded the woman to come to Nigeria and the victim, a retired civil servant in the US, was rescued by a Police Intelligence Response Team following information received from locals.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8518249/American-woman-rescued-held-hostage-Nigeria-hotel-room-YEAR-scammer.html

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-53390397

NATWEST FACES LEGAL BATTLE AFTER ITALIAN ENGINEERING GIANT FALLS VICTIM TO £4 MILLION BANKING SCAM

On 13 July, the daily Mail reported that Natwest is facing a legal battle with Italian engineering giant Maire Tecnimont after that group fell victim to a £4 million scam – the Saudi Arabian branch of Tecnimont accidentally sent £4 million to a bank account at NatWest’s Brixton branch after being contacted by a scammer who had hacked into the email account of the group finance vice president. Tecnimont is suing Natwest, claiming it had inadequate controls in place to prevent the scam occurring.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/news/article-8518513/Natwests-legal-battle-Italian-engineering-giant-Maire-Tecnimont.html

US DoJ ANNOUNCES $72.3 MILLION FALSE CLAIMS ACT SETTLEMENT

An article from Arent Fox on 13 July reported that the Oklahoma Center for Orthopaedic and Multi-Specialty Surgery, its part-owner and management company, a physician group, and other affiliated entities and individuals have settled False Claims Act and other alleged offences for $72.3 million. A whistleblower had alleged that the defendants were engaged in an illegal kickback scheme involving improper payments to referring physicians which allegedly led to the submission of false claims to the Medicare, Medicaid, and TRICARE programmes.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/doj-announces-72-3-million-false-claims-29708/

 

 

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