JUDGE ORDERS SEIZURE OF £5 MILLION LONDON FLAT LINKED TO PETROBRAS SCANDAL

On 20 July, the Guardian reported that a high court judge has allowed the seizure of a luxury London apartment allegedly bought by a Brazilian businessman using “corrupt funds” linked to the Operation Car Wash money laundering scandal. It is said to be a Kensington property linked to Julio Faerman, who is described as a middleman accused of funnelling tens of millions of dollars into Swiss bank accounts.

https://www.theguardian.com/law/2020/jul/20/judge-orders-seizure-of-5m-london-flat-linked-to-petrobras-scandal

 

 

 

 

 

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EX-NEW YORK ASSEMBLY SPEAKER SENTENCED TO 6½ YEARS

On 20 July, NBC New York reported that the former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, 76, was sentenced for bribery and extortion.  He was once one of New York’s most powerful politicians in his 21 years as Assembly speaker. He was convicted in a scheme that involved favours and business traded between 2 real estate developers and a law firm. Silver supported legislation that benefited the developers. The developers then referred certain tax business to a law firm that paid Silver fees.

https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/ex-new-york-assembly-speaker-sentenced-to-6-1-2-years/2521907

 

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US VISA RESTRICTIONS IMPOSED ON GUYANESE INDIVIDUALS FOR UNDERMINING DEMOCRACY

A news release from the US State Department on 15 July advised that the US had imposed a travel ban on individuals said to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy in Guyana.  Immediate family members of such persons may also be subject to these restrictions. It says that all international observers of the vote in the election in March agreed that result based on the procedures used would not be credible. The visa sanctions were placed on members of Guyana’s ruling government and the US also called for President David Granger to “step aside”.  However, the US has not made public the names of those subject to the ban.

https://www.state.gov/u-s-department-of-state-imposes-visa-restrictions-on-guyanese-individuals-undermining-democracy/

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/article244241167.html

 

 

 

 

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US IMPOSES TRAVEL BAN SANCTIONS ON RAMZAN KADYROV, HEAD OF THE CHECHEN REPUBLIC OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION, AND HIS FAMILY

On 20 July, a statement from the US State Department announced that the US had imposed visa bans.  The US already has multiple layers of sanctions against Kadyrov and his associates, and this latest designation expands those sanctions to Kadyrov’s wife and 2 daughters, including visa bans.

https://www.rferl.org/a/us-adds-sanctions-against-chechen-leader-kadyrov-for-rights-abuses/30737872.html

https://www.state.gov/public-designation-of-russian-national-ramzan-kadyrov-due-to-involvement-in-gross-violations-of-human-rights/

 

 

 

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UNAUTHORISED FLAGS IN SHIPPING: A THREAT TO THE GLOBAL MARITIME REGIME

On 20 July, the Centre for International Maritime Security published an article saying that unauthorised flag use is a practice whereby a vessel uses a state’s flag without its consent and, oftentimes, without its knowledge. Although this can take many forms, often overlapping, it may be helpful to think of this issue in 2 broad categories: fraudulent flagging and false flagging. It says that the issue of fraudulent flagging came to attention in 2015, when the IMO became aware of a registry purporting to operate on behalf of the Federated States of Micronesia. In 2017, the DRC reported that 77 of 84 ships said to be flying its flag were doing so without authorisation. In 2019, it was estimated that some 300 ships were using fraudulent flagging. The article says that false flagging poses a more complex challenge – being much easier to perpetrate, does not require anchoring the deception in an official recognition by the IMO, but instead involves creating a false identity that is good enough to get away with illicit activity – such as by transmitting false AIS information.  The article concludes that fraudulent and false flagging is a complex issue requiring action from multilateral organizations like the IMO, national authorities, and the private sector, and that it is only through steps taken collectively by all relevant stakeholders that this problem can be addressed.

http://cimsec.org/unauthorized-flags-a-threat-to-the-global-maritime-regime/44697

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A FISHY BUSINESS: SHIFTING PROFITS OUT OF AFRICA

On 20 July, OCCRP published a report on the “Fishrot” scandal in Namibia says that leaked documents and an affidavit from a whistleblower working at a major Western fishing company (from Iceland) operating in African waters have given rare insight into how food multinationals can shift profits around the world to avoid paying taxes in developing countries.  Icelandic fishing giant Samherji supplies sardines and mackerel to major supermarkets such as Tesco and Carrefour.  The whistleblower’s complaints were not limited to allegations of bribery – he also claimed Samherji had shifted significant revenues to group companies in what he believed to be a tax avoidance scheme.  Arrangements are said to have included sending at least $8.2 million in controversial “fee” payments to the group’s other companies in low-tax Mauritius and the U.K., and selling fish below market prices to group companies in Cyprus.

https://www.occrp.org/en/investigations/a-fishy-business-shifting-profits-out-of-africa

 

 

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FORMER CATALAN PREMIER AND ENTIRE FAMILY FACING TRIAL OVER SUSPECT FORTUNE

El Pais reported on 17 July that a court says there is enough evidence to try the one-time regional chief, Jordi Pujol, his wife and their 7 children for taking bribes in exchange for government contracts and other favours.  This follows a 7½-year investigation into the origins of a fortune amassed by former Catalan premier.

https://english.elpais.com/spanish_news/2020-07-17/ex-catalan-premier-jordi-pujol-and-entire-family-facing-trial-over-suspect-fortune.html

 

 

 

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GERMANY RAIDS ITS OWN FIU OVER BACKLOG OF SAR

On 17 July, Freshfields Bruskhaus Deringer published an article about the astounding raid on 14 July when state prosecutors entered the German FIU armed with a search warrant.  It says that, while unusual, the raid does not come as a complete surprise to German AML circles, as there has been mounting criticism of the FIU recently.

https://riskandcompliance.freshfields.com/post/102gbph/germany-raids-its-own-financial-intelligence-authority-over-backlog-of-suspicious

 

 

 

 

 

 

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PODCAST: LATEST AML PODCAST FROM RUSI – THE UAE MUTUAL EVALUATION

On 20 July, RUSI released this podcast, in which host Stephen Reimer unpacks the UAE’s latest FATF mutual evaluation report with Ibtissem Lassoued, Partner and Head of Advisory, Financial Crime at Al Tamimi & Company in Dubai. She reveals the on-ground realities of the AML system so strongly critiqued by the global watchdog.

https://rusi.org/multimedia/season-two-mutual-evaluation-retort

 

 

 

 

 

 

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