Panama Covid-19 update – the latest news is that the local airline, COPA, now plans to start very limited operations this month – no transatlantic services available as yet, but it does plan to offer flights to the US. Mind you, it was a little surprising to hear that 3.5 million passengers had used the main airport in the first 7 months of 2020, albeit that this is 6.1 million down on expectations.
As we enter yet another total lockdown weekend, 1,142 new infections reported with a total of 24,294 active cases, 17 additional fatalities (total now 1,591), with 156 patients in ICU and 1,483 in other wards – the rest in the requisitioned hotels or at home.
7 August 2020
SANCTIONS FAILED TO STOP NORTH KOREA FROM DEVELOPING DANGEROUS WEAPONS TECH
On 7 August, NK Pro reported that an unpublished UN report details several key technological developments made by the DPRK in recent years.
NORTH KOREA NOW USING UNTRACEABLE CRYPTOCURRENCY FOR SANCTIONS EVASION
On 7 August, NK Pro reported that cyber groups linked to DPRK hide illicit trade and cash out stolen funds via ‘altcoin’ transfers, according to the UN Panel of Experts.
FinCEN ISSUES 3 FAQ ON CDD
On 3 August, FinCEN published, in consultation with the federal functional regulators, responses to 3 FAQ regarding customer due diligence requirements for financial institutions. They clarify the regulatory requirements related to obtaining customer information, establishing a customer risk profile, and performing ongoing monitoring of the customer relationship in order to assist financial institutions with their compliance obligations in these areas. They are aimed at a broker or dealer in securities registered, or required to be registered, with the SEC.
IRELAND: DUTIES OF DIRECTORS UPDATE
On 30 July, an article from AMOSS Solicitors says that, in an attempt to address certain difficulties faced by companies as a result of the pandemic, the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has published a general scheme of proposed legislation amending the Act, this includes a proposal to insert a new section into the Act which codifies a director’s duty to creditors as a company approaches insolvency.
GUERNSEY INTRODUCES STATUTORY MIGRATION REGIME FOR LIMITED PARTNERSHIPS
On 31 July, an article from Carey Olsen says that Guernsey has introduced a statutory regime to allow non-Guernsey registered limited partnerships to move their seat of registration to Guernsey, and Guernsey limited partnerships will also be able to migrate out of Guernsey provided that they register in another jurisdiction. The LP is deemed to continue on its registration in Guernsey and de-registration in the jurisdiction of origin (or vice versa). The statutory migration regime came into force on 30 July.
TILBURY AND LONDON GATEWAY HAVE ANNOUNCED A PARTNERSHIP TO BID TO ESTABLISH FREEPORT
On 7 August, Loadstar reported that the plan is to digitally connect the two sites, creating additional employment, with a bid expected to be submitted at the end of this year or early next.
DUBAI COURT TELLS BANK TO PAY CUSTOMER AFTER ACCOUNT HACKED
On 5 August, the Khaleej Times reported that Dubai commercial court order for a bank to repay a customer around $121,000 has been upheld by the Dubai Court of Appeals. In October 2019, a court found the bank responsible for the losses incurred by the complainant and ordered it to deposit the balance amount back into his account. It also ordered the bank to pay the complainant damages.
HONG KONG POLICE BUST LOAN SHARK SYNDICATE THAT TARGETED FILIPINO DOMESTIC WORKERS
On 5 August, the South China Morning Post reported that interest rates charged were as high as 195%, and the syndicate made HK$23 million in loans between January 2019 and February 2020, according to police. An initial investigation showed that from January 2019 to February, more than a hundred domestic helpers borrowed money from the syndicate, with 17 reporting their cases to police.
FORMER GUATEMALAN MINISTER CHARGED IN US WITH LAUNDERING $10 MILLION
On 5 August, Reuters reported that US prosecutors had charged Guatemalan former Economy Minister Asisclo Valladares with helping launder nearly $10 million in cash from drug traffickers and a corrupt politician.
US ACTION SHOWS JIHADISTS’ CASH FLOW CONTINUES FROM TURKEY
On 5 August, VoA reported that the US designation of a new Turkey-based member of the Rawi Network for allegedly facilitating money transfers to the Islamic State (IS) in Syria has raised fresh concerns among observers that jihadists continue to use Turkey to fund their activities in Syria. It says that the Rawi Network, founded by an Iraqi family, has been known to the US government for decades. In the 1990s, it was accused of using informal payment systems to help Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq evade international sanctions by buying and selling oil without reliance on formal banking systems.
LEBANON CENTRAL BANK FREEZES ACCOUNTS OF PORT AND CUSTOMS OFFICIALS
On 6 August, Reuters reported that Lebanon’s central bank is said to have ordered a freeze on the accounts of the heads of Beirut port and Lebanese customs along with 5 others, following the Beirut port warehouse blast. The requirement is said to be in a directive from the central bank special investigation commission for money laundering and terrorism fighting.
A FORMER U.S. SPECIAL FORCES SOLDIER WON A SECRET DEAL TO DEVELOP OIL FIELDS IN SYRIA
On 6 August, Defense One reported a Reuters article about deal involving a oil fields guarded by the US military and its Kurdish partners in the Syrian Democratic Forces. Reuters reported that the Syria’s foreign ministry has said that a US oil company had signed an agreement with Kurdish-led rebels who control north-eastern oilfields in what it described as an illegal deal aimed at “stealing” Syria’s crude.
HOW RESEARCHERS OVERTURNED US SANCTIONS ON A VIRTUAL SUMMER SCHOOL
On 7 August, Nature reported that US sanctions had forced an online neuroscience course to block people in Iran from signing up, but the organisers won a last-minute reprieve. Several hours before the neuroscience course was to start, OFAC provided an exemption — an emergency licence that allowed participants in Iran to attend. It is said that sanctions against scientists who want to travel to the US apply not just to Iranians, but also to some researchers from Syria, Cuba, Venezuela, Ukraine and Lebanon, among other countries.
LAWSUIT FILED ON BEHALF OF AIRBUS SE INVESTORS
On 7 August, a news release from law firm Portnoy Law on EIN Newswire advised that investors that a class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of Airbus SE investors that acquired securities between 24 February 2016 and 30 July 2020. It says that, even after the recent large-scale settlement with US, UK and French authorities, Airbus was at an increased and foreseeable risk of facing significant potential liabilities for other alleged illegal activities that would later be investigated by governmental authorities around the world. These activities, combined with the investigation into GPT, implicated all 3 of Airbus’s divisions, calling into question the sustainability of the Company’s reported earnings. The lawsuit alleges that Airbus made materially false and misleading statements regarding its business, operational, and compliance policies.
NIPPON STEEL APPEALS SOUTH KOREAN COURT-ORDERED ASSET SEIZURE
On 7 August, the Japan Times reported that Nippon Steel had filed an appeal against the seizure of its assets in South Korea that were earmarked for liquidation to compensate wartime laborers, in a move it says is sure to put the 2 countries on a diplomatic collision course yet again.
SOUTH KOREAN FARMERS BARTERING SUGAR FOR NORTH KOREAN BOOZE TO BYPASS SANCTIONS
On 6 August, Reuters reported that a South Korean farmers’ cooperative said that it has clinched a £96,000 deal, negotiated by a Chinese company, to barter sugar for North Korean liquor and food products, bypassing sanctions banning cash transfers. North Korea would swap 240 products -including its signature ginseng and blueberry liquors, crackers, candies, teas and health supplements – for 167 tonnes of sugar from the South.
LATEST DEVELOPMENTS IN AML/CFT IN MAURITIUS
On 7 August, the Bank for International Settlement published the text of a speech by the Governor of the Bank of Mauritius, at the launch of the Workshop for MLRO, organised by the Bank of Mauritius in collaboration with the FIU and the FSC. The speech referred to developments since the Mutual Evaluation Report, published by the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG) in September 2018. It is said that Mauritius has been rated compliant on 26 FATF Recommendations, largely compliant on 9 Recommendations, and partially compliant on 4 Recommendations. The Governor claims that this and the remarkable improvements in compliance speak for themselves, and that Mauritius, as at now, is therefore compliant or largely compliant to 35 out of 40 FATF Recommendations, including the so-called “Big 6” most important FATF Recommendations. The Governor also touches upon the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen a change in the payment habits with an increase in the use of mobile, electronic, digital and contactless payments.
INDIA: ENFORCEMENT DIRECTORATE RAIDS 14 LOCATIONS IN MONEY LAUNDERING CASE LINKED TO AIR FORCE SWISS TRAINERS
On 7 August, Zee News reported that the Enforcement Directorate has raided multiple premises in various cities in connection with a money laundering case linked to alleged corruption in the purchase of 75 Pilatus basic trainer aircraft for the Indian Air Force in 2009. It says that the case involves arms consultant and alleged middleman Sanjay Bhandari, who is already facing separate probes for corruption and alleged possession of undeclared assets in the country and abroad, and is said to be in the UK.
IRELAND: PROJECT EAGLE AND THE NAMA CASE – WHAT WAS IT AND WHY IS IT IN THE NEWS?
On 6 August, the Irish Times reported that Project Eagle was the name given to an investigation into the National Asset Management Agency (Nama) Northern Ireland property loans, sold to US company Cereberus in April 2014 for about €1.6 billion. It is in the news again as 2 men are facing charges after an NCA investigation.
SOUTH AFRICA MUST BEWARE OF TERRORISM IN MOZAMBIQUE
On 7 August, Defence Web in South Africa reported that South Africa needs to take the spectre of terrorism in Mozambique seriously but must be very cautious about intervening or trying to assist its northern neighbour, experts have warned. It also says that South Africa needs to be careful about intervening because there is a lot of anger towards Mozambique’s security forces, whose abuses in trying to control the insurgency are resulting in sympathy for the insurgents.
HAWKS ARREST 23 POLICE OFFICERS IMPLICATED IN CORRUPTION AT OR TAMBO AIRPORT
On 7 August, IOL reported that a 3-year investigation into allegations of corruption at the OR Tambo International Airport has culminated in the arrests of 23 police officers – including 6 police sergeants, 4 constables and 2 warrant officers – on a range of charges from drug dealing to theft and racketeering.
NORD STREAM 2: US SENATORS THREATEN GERMAN PORT WITH ‘CRUSHING’ SANCTIONS
Deutsche Welle reported on 7 August that 3 Republican senators have ordered the small German port, Murkan Port on the island of Rugen, to stop assisting Russian vessels constructing the final sections of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Murkan Port, located in the small seaside town Sassnitz on Baltic Sea island of Rugen, along with storing sections of pipe, the port serves as a logistic and service centre for ships constructing the German end of the pipeline.
AUTHORITIES FIND ILLEGAL BITCOIN MINING FARM IN KYRGYZSTAN FREE ECONOMIC ZONE
Investing.com on 7 August reported an article from the Coin Telegraph that law enforcement authorities in Kyrgyzstan have reportedly detected an illegal cryptocurrency mining farm on the territory of a local free economic zone.
THE WORLD’S MOST WANTED FUGITIVE ISMAEL ‘EL MAYO’ ZAMBADA – MEXICAN KING PIN WHO CAN’T BE TRACED
On 7 August, Borderland Beat reported that Zambada is the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico, one of the most powerful drug trafficking organisations. The article sets out to provide everything you need to know about the drug lord, who hasn’t been seen in years.
PUBLIC PROSECUTOR UNDER PRESSURE NOT TO SETTLE ABN AMRO MONEY LAUNDERING CASE
On 7 August, Dutch News reported that the public prosecution department is coming under considerable pressure to prosecute ABN Amro staff over money laundering failings, rather than reach an out of court settlement. This followed the record €775 million out of court settlement reached with ING Bank, which attracted considerable criticism.
MAN WHO SOLD FAKE WATCHES THROUGH WEBSITE JAILED AGAIN – FOR BREAKING COURT ORDER WITHIN AN HOUR
On 7 August, the Yorkshire Post reported that a “dishonest” businessman jailed for selling fake designer watches has been sentenced again for breaching a restraining order “within an hour” of being freed. Warren Chung-Williams, 38, was jailed in June 2019 year for selling the counterfeit goods through his company, Wristy Business Ltd. He has been sentenced again at Teesside Crown Court to 10 months for contempt of court.
UPDATED: MOVING GOODS INTO, OUT OF, OR THROUGH NORTHERN IRELAND FROM 1 JANUARY
On 7 August, the Cabinet Office published updated guidance on what UK businesses can do to get ready for 2021.
ENVIRONMENTAL, SOCIAL AND GOVERNANCE (ESG)TAKES CENTRE STAGE AMID ECONOMIC CRISIS AND SOCIAL UNREST
On 7 August, an article from White & Case says that strong ESG credentials and long-term plans to improve their relationship with society and the environment are increasingly important to ensure companies’ access to capital. It explains that ESG matters encompass a wide range of issues, including climate change and other environmental risks and impacts, employee health and safety, pay equity, board and employee diversity, corporate governance, data security and customer privacy, consumer and product safety standards, business continuity, disaster recovery and crisis management, as well as human rights concerns, including the use of trafficked or child workers in the supply chain. It says that, outside of the US, mandatory ESG-related requirements and proposals are a growing trend. A number of countries, including Australia, UK, France, Germany and Switzerland, are toughening up their rules on human rights and environmental damage; and investors want better, more accurate insight into companies’ ESG credentials.
7 SUSPECTS ARRESTED IN SPAIN AND FRANCE AFTER 6 MILLION OF CIGARETTES SEIZED
A news release from Europol on 7 August advised that, on 22 July, Guardia Civil and customs officers raided in the Spanish town of Borjas Blancas an illegal tobacco factory producing 9,000 cigarettes per hour. 7 people were arrested in connection with these raids, including the criminal ringleader at his private residence. The illegal factory had the capacity to accommodate 14 workers who would work in shifts to maintain round-the-clock production. The action was part of an operation targeting a transnational organised crime network operating in the region of Catalonia and illegally manufacturing large quantities of tobacco products that were then sold primarily in Spain and France.
WILL CONVICTED DRUG MONEY LAUNDERER RUN FOR PRESIDENT IN HONDURAS?
On 7 August, Insight Crime asked this question in respect of a powerful business tycoon, Yani Rosenthal, jailed in the US for laundering drug money but who may soon be a presidential candidate in Honduras following his release this month. He is described as a former politician and presidential candidate in 2009 and 2013, comes from one of Honduras’ most wealthy and politically-connected families, a family which Insight Crime alleges has longstanding connections to both politics and organised crime. To make things worse, Insight Crime reports that the National Party likely candidate to succeed the current President is Mauricio Oliva Herrera, who it says has also been tied to a criminal gang through a number of properties he allegedly acquired from a shady business associate.
CALL FOR PAKISTAN’S ANTI-CORRUPTION AGENCY TO STOP ABUSING RIGHTS
An article on Ekklesia on 7 August reported that Human Rights Watch has said that Pakistani authorities should follow up a recent Supreme Court decision and cease using the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to detain critics of the government. The authorities should investigate and prosecute NAB officials responsible for unlawful arrests and other abuses.
US: HACKED DATA BROKER ACCOUNTS FUELED PHONY COVID LOANS AND UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS
A post on the Krebs on Security blog on 7 August reported that a group of thieves thought to be responsible for collecting millions in fraudulent small business loans and unemployment insurance benefits from COVID-19 economic relief efforts gathered personal data on people and businesses they were impersonating by leveraging several compromised accounts at a little-known US consumer data broker.
ADOPTION OF 2020 ASIA-PACIFIC GROUP MUTUAL EVALUATION PROCEDURES
On 3 August, the FATF-style regional body published this guidance, updated to reflect the experience of conducting assessments as well as any changes to FATF guidance.
THE PANDEMIC HAS CHANGED HOW CRIMINALS HIDE THEIR CASH — AND AI TOOLS ARE TRYING TO SNIFF IT OUT
On 6 August, the MIT Technology Review published an article saying that lockdown has forced criminals to launder money in new ways, but older technology has been slower to adapt than AI techniques. It says that a problem for criminals is that many of the best businesses for laundering money were also those hit hardest by the pandemic. Small shops, restaurants, bars, and clubs are favoured because they are cash-heavy, which makes it easier to mix up ill-gotten gains with legal income; and with bank branches closed, it has been harder to make large cash deposits. However, it says that, as the normal channels for money laundering closed, new ones opened up. Vast sums of money have started flowing into small businesses again thanks to government bailouts. This creates a flurry of financial activity that provides cover for money laundering.
THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES AND BEST PRACTICES TO MITIGATE RISKS IN MARITIME CYBERSECURITY
An article from Tripwire on 2 August said that ships are increasingly using systems that rely on digitalization, integration, and automation, which call for cyber risk management on board. It says that while the information technology (IT) world includes systems in offices, ports, and oil rigs, operational technology (OT) is used for a multitude of purposes such as controlling engines and associated systems, cargo management, navigational systems, administration, etc. Until recent years, these systems were commonly isolated from each other and from any external shore-based systems. However, the evolution of digital and communications technology has allowed the integration of these 2 worlds, IT and OT.
KENYA TO DEVELOP MARITIME SECURITY STRATEGY
On 3 August, Homeland Security Today reported that an ambitious roadmap to develop a National Maritime Security Strategy for Kenya has been agreed. The strategy is expected to bring significant opportunities for social-economic growth, by safeguarding and promoting the ‘blue economy’ and by providing a safe and secure operating environment for international maritime transportation. Participants at a virtual meeting agreed on the need for a holistic approach, noting that the response to national maritime security threats must be multi-faceted.
WYNN RESORTS DISCLOSES 2 AML SUBPOENAS FOR CASINOS
On 7 August, the Las Vega Review Journal reported that Wynn Resorts Ltd has received 2 grand jury subpoenas regarding its compliance with AML policies and procedures in respect of transactions at Wynn Las Vegas involving “certain patrons and agents” who either reside or operate in foreign jurisdictions. The news was contained in filings with the SEC.