OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JULY 26

Panama Covid-19 update – well, it seems that Latin America and the Caribbean became this Sunday the region with the highest number of virus cases in the world…just overtaking the North America (chiefly US) total. Brazil, however, is responsible for over half of the 4.3 million infections (notably, another country that underplayed risks from the virus).  Meanwhile, the local airline COPA has, again, delayed the start of “normal” operations – from 22 August to 5 September, the fourth such deferral.

Meanwhile, cases up again, 1,432 (making a total of over 60,000 now; of which 24,871 said to be active), but fatalities down somewhat, to 19 (total to date now 1,294). There are 1,388 people in hospital – 151 in ICU and 1,237 in other wards, with 380in requisitioned hotel rooms and 22,803 in self-isolation at home.

26 July 2020

WHY IS THE GULF GOING NUCLEAR?

A video report from Al Jazeera says that the UAE is pushing ahead with its nuclear power plant but, it asks, is it safe for the region? Why diversify with risky nuclear energy when there are safer and cheaper alternatives – and could it lead to nuclear proliferation in the region?

https://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/start-here/2020/07/gulf-nuclear-start-200726060450057.html

US CITIZEN ARRESTED FOR SMUGGLING LOOTED SYRIA ARTEFACTS

On 26 July, Middle East Monitor reported that Mohamad Yassin Alcharihi, 53, from California, a US citizen, was arrested by police for smuggling a priceless ancient mosaic and grossly underestimating its true value to avoid import duty from Syria. The artefact was seized in 2016, and he has since been locked into a legal battle with federal authorities to reclaim the mosaic.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200726-us-citizen-arrested-for-smuggling-looted-syria-artefacts/

https://english.aawsat.com/home/article/2411861/man-accused-smuggling-ancient-mosaic-syria-us

NEW REPORT HIGHLIGHTS HOW INEFFECTIVENESS OF THE GLOBAL AML/CFT SYSTEMS

On 26 July, Regulation Asia reported on the publication of the Basel Institute of Governance AML Index which, it says, highlights continued failures from jurisdictions to make progress to effectively address AML/CFT vulnerabilities. Published annually since 2012, the AML Index provides risk scores based on data from 16 sources including FATF, Transparency International, World Bank and World Economic Forum, and covers 16 indicators in 5 domains relevant to assessing ML/TF risk at the country level.

https://www.regulationasia.com/new-report-highlights-ineffectiveness-of-global-aml-ctf-systems/

The AML Index is at –

https://www.baselgovernance.org/sites/default/files/2020-07/BaselAMLIndex2020_web.pdf

INDIA: FATF MUTUAL EVALUATION DELAYED TO 2021

On 26 July, various media in India reported that the FATF mutual evaluation of India’s AML/CFT regime and legal measures framed to check financial crimes, scheduled for this year, has been postponed till early next year due to the pandemic.  The review is being tentatively pushed to January-February next year.

https://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/fatf-review-of-anti-money-laundering-terror-financing-regime-postponed-120072600494_1.html

ISLE OF MAN: MEDICINAL CANNABIS REGULATIONS EXPECTED IN PARLIAMENT IN OCTOBER

On 26 July, Manx Radio reported that the enterprise minister says he’s “fully committed” to bringing in medicinal cannabis licensing later this year. Regulations for the sector are being prepared for October’s sitting of the Manx parliament.

https://www.manxradio.com/news/isle-of-man-news/medicinal-cannabis-regulations-expected-in-october-tynwald/

CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS IN NAMIBIAN 5G DEAL WITH HUAWEI

On 15 July, Al Jazeera claimed an exclusive with a report that a city Councillor in Namibia’s capital has alleged she was offered a bribe by a local politician to ensure Chinese tech giant Huawei would win an exclusive contract to build the 5G telecommunication network in Windhoek.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/07/exclusive-corruption-allegations-namibian-5g-deal-huawei-200715065812785.html

TOMORROW GROUP CONTESTS TAKEOVER BY CHINESE REGIME

On 24 July, the Epoch times reported that the Tomorrow Group in China as responded on to an announcement by the Chinese authorities of the takeover of 9 of its subsidiaries.  It was founded in 1999 by Xiao Jianhua, who it says has been suspected of being a “white glove” (money launderer) for certain high-ranking communist officials in China. China’s banking and insurance regulatory commission seized control of 4 insurers and 2 trust firms, while the securities regulatory commission seized control of 2 securities firms and a futures company. An announcement accused the companies of violating Chinese laws, which thus triggered the process of takeover to protect the interests of investors.

https://www.theepochtimes.com/chinas-tomorrow-group-a-suspected-money-launderer-for-ccp-faction-contests-takeovers-by-regime_3437533.html

FINANCIAL INTELLIGENCE FOR THE ILLEGAL TRADE OF WILDLIFE

Manchester CF has produced this briefing paper that provides background to the illegal wildlife trade which it says is by some estimated to be worth $7 billion to $23 billion per year. It includes information on CITES and such things as where elephants are “sourced”, and the ivory trafficked and consigned to. It examines how financial intelligence could be used to combat wildlife trafficking.

WILDLIFE

https://media-exp1.licdn.com/dms/document/C4E1FAQFThvFUhhtuOg/feedshare-document-pdf-analyzed/0?e=1595890800&v=beta&t=N4R9Sy29h9V5j6oRXO4y8w-NaHpb_T-rd5LOjyHJe8s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REPORT: MAKING WHISTLEBLOWING WORK FOR SOCIETY

The grouping Whistleblowers UK has produced a report examining if Employment Tribunals in the UK are the right institution to handle whistleblowing cases, and aims to open the debate by examining the evidence.  A research team from the University of Greenwich analysed Employment Tribunal judgments in England and Wales, for cases that included a Public Interest Disclosure claim, between 2015 and 2018.  A total of 603 cases were included in the analysis.  Included in the study were only those cases that went to at least preliminary hearing. Cases that were withdrawn before preliminary hearing were discounted.  Its finding include that only 12% of whistleblowers whose cases go to preliminary hearing at Employment Tribunals in England and Wales are successful, whistleblowers are suffering more and longer than before, are receiving less legal support than before, and while whistleblowing cases commonly include a discrimination claim, those are the least successful whistleblowing cases. The report says that findings support the urgent establishment of the Office of the Whistleblower, as a centre of expertise, mandated to make interventions that increase access to justice.

https://a02f9c2f-03a1-4206-859b-06ff2b21dd81.filesusr.com/ugd/88d04c_56b3ca80a07e4f5e8ace79e0488a24ef.pdf

 

 

 

DUBAI’S ROLE IN FACILITATING CORRUPTION AND GLOBAL ILLICIT FINANCIAL FLOWS

On 7 July, the Carnegie Center published this report which describes Dubai as an enabler of global corruption, crime, and illicit financial flows, but says that addressing the emirate’s role presents anti-corruption practitioners, law enforcement agencies, and policymakers with particularly complex challenges.  It says that both its leaders leaders and the international community continue to turn a blind eye to the problematic behaviours, administrative loopholes, and weak enforcement practices that make Dubai a globally attractive destination for dirty money. It says that corrupt and criminal actors from around the world operate through or from Dubai giving as examples Afghan warlords, Russian mobsters, Nigerian kleptocrats, European money launderers, Iranian sanctions-busters, and East African gold smugglers.  It says that Dubai’s property market is a magnet for tainted money, with Dubai also a place to launder artisan-mined gold, especially from conflict-prone regions. It says that, with approximately 30 free trade zones, it is a haven for trade-based money laundering, over- and under-invoicing of goods, multiple invoicing, and falsifying of other trade documentation. – with minimal regulatory oversight or customs enforcement.

https://carnegieendowment.org/files/PageVittori_DubaiCorruption_final.pdf

UK: GANGS ARE MAKING MILLIONS SMUGGLING MENTHOL CIGARETTES TO BEAT AN EU BAN

On 26 July, the Mirror reported that mint-flavoured cigarettes were outlawed in May in a bid to deter young people from taking up the habit. Test purchases reveal shopkeepers in the UK are selling eastern European brands like Fest, NZ, Minsk and Queen under the counter. Manufactured in Belarus, border officials in neighbouring Lithuania seized 9 million on their way to the UK in the first 6 months of this year.

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/gangs-making-millions-smuggling-menthol-22416137