Panama Covid-19 update – lovely day and able to get and about, including the huge city park – odd though that only males in it, as gender-based restrictions still in place.
Meanwhile, 900 new cases and 16 new fatalities (1,948 to date), with 24,038 active cases – 157 in ICU, 1,355 in other wards and 421 in the hotel rooms – the other 22,105 isolated at home.
27 August 2020
JAPAN TO ESTABLISH INTELLIGENCE UNIT TO COUNTER ECONOMIC ESPIONAGE
On 27 August, Nikkei Asian Review reported that creating a new body specifically to investigate and analyse economic security issues – something Japan’s intelligence agencies reportedly lack – is expected to be a centerpiece of recommendations from the governing party, which will be submitted this year. There will also be plans for the government to create operating guidelines for businesses that handle important information, as well as call on corporate executives to set up internal counterintelligence teams.
IRAN GRANTS UN WATCHDOG ACCESS TO SUSPECTED NUCLEAR SITES
The Wall Street Journal reported that Iran has agreed to allow UN IAEA inspectors access to 2 sites where it is suspected of carrying out illicit nuclear-weapons work in the past, bowing to months of pressure in a bid to salvage backing for the 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal.
THE PHILIPPINES BIG BET ON CHINA’S ONLINE GAMBLING HABIT GIVES BEIJING POST-CORONAVIRUS HEADACHE
On 26 August, the South China Morning Post reported that an estimated $145 billion spent each year by Chinese gamblers on illegal betting sites, many streamed from the Philippines. It says that as China returns to a pre-coronavirus lifestyle, the government is working hard to kick its citizens off an age-old vice that has worsened due to months of strict lockdown measures. Gambling was outlawed in China when the Communist Party took power in 1949 and has remained banned. The emergence of online gambling – also illegal under Chinese law – has provided an opportunity for China’s gamblers. The Chinese government is well aware that the Philippines is the linchpin of the country’s online gambling market. Since the Covid-19 outbreak, the Chinese government has launched multiple campaigns targeting online gambling on different fronts, and one campaign launched by the Ministry of Public Security in February led to the closure of 27,000 bank accounts involved in cross-border gambling within 4 months.
US PLACES SANCTIONS ON THE WORLD’S LARGEST SHIPBUILDER
On 27 August, Splash 247 reported that China Shipbuilding Group is among 24 Chinese companies and individuals to be blacklisted by the US for its role in developing infrastructure in contested areas of the South China Sea. It has been added to the so-called Entity List maintained by the US Commerce Department.
THE RISKS OF MONEY LAUNDERING IN THE WORLD OF ONLINE GAMES
On 25 August, an article from Gilbert & Tobin in Australia sets out to consider the risks of money laundering in the world of online games, and whether current AML/CFT laws are sufficient to address these risks.
MEXICO: REPORT INDICATES BANKS LAUNDER MORE MONEY THAN BITCOIN AND OTHER CRYPTOCURRENCIES
On 27 August, Cryptoslate reported that a new report out of Mexico noted that financial institutions and banks launder a huge amount of money compared to newer financial businesses. It says that the second National Risk Assessment, Mexico’s FIU concluded that the money laundering activities originating from banks and other financial institutions greatly outweighed any similar issues encountered by and reported by other fintech businesses like “neo” banks.
NUMBER OF SUSPECTED MONEY LAUNDERING CASES IN GERMANY INCREASES
An article from Out-Law on 27 August says that the number of suspected money laundering cases in Germany has risen and changes to the law there could lead to a further increase. The FIU annual report for 2019 announced an increase of suspected money laundering cases in Germany of 49% from 2018. All but one per cent of the reports came from the financial sector.
3 PEOPLE ARE FACING CHARGES OVER ALLEGED HUGE MONEY LAUNDERING AND IDENTITY THEFT SYNDICATE TARGETING ‘HARD-WORKING’ AUSTRALIANS
On 27 August, the Daily Mail reported that officers allege stolen personal information was used to acquire credit cards, which were then used to get cash, cryptocurrency, telecommunication equipment and household goods. The scheme is said to have targeted ‘hard-working Australians across the state’,
CRIMINAL NETWORK DISMANTLED IN LITHUANIA, THE UK AND IRELAND
A news release from Eurojust on 27 August announced that judicial authorities and police in Lithuania, UK and Ireland, with support from Eurojust and Europol, have dismantled a criminal network responsible for drug trafficking, money laundering and trafficking in human beings. At least 65 people were exploited as street dealers.
RIGHTS AND STATUS OF FOREIGN “FRONTIER WORKERS” COMMUTING TO/FROM UK FROM 1 JANUARY
A news release from HMRC on 27 August provided updated guidance for frontier workers – being a EU, EEA or Swiss citizen who regularly commutes to the UK because they are employed or self-employed in the UK but live elsewhere.
The pre-January, current guidance is at –
SWISS FEDERAL PROSECUTORS INDICT FORMER TOP BUSINESSMAN
On 27 August, Reuters reported that Swiss federal prosecutors have filed an indictment against well-known Swiss businessman Hans Ziegler for insider trading, corporate espionage and accepting bribes.
UK EXTRADITION JUDGMENT ON NIRAV MODI TO BE DELIVERED AFTER 1 DECEMBER
On 27 August, the Times of India reported that the decision on the extradition from the UK to India of Nirav Modi over the Punjab National bank case will be handed down in December.
MASSIVE FINANCIAL PYRAMID EXPOSED IN UKRAINE
On 27 August, UNIAN reported that the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) says it has exposed a financial pyramid whose masterminds attracted 600,000 depositors, having raised some $250 million. 20 suspects are believed to be part of the fraud ring that involved 100 affiliated legal entities. Acquisitions include an entire island on the Dnipro River with real estate on it, 18 elite SUVs, each worth over $100,000, as well as jewellery and other assets.
US ADDS ANOTHER 36 NAMES TO THE ENTITY LIST AS SUBJECT TO EXPORT LICENCE RESTRICTIONS
On 17 August, the US Commer Department Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) added 36 companies to its Entity List, including parties in France, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan, Switzerland, and the UAE for activities deemed contrary to US national security or foreign policy interests. These are in addition to the listing of 24 Chinese companies announced at the same time. A licence is required, to the extent specified on the Entity List, to export, reexport, or transfer (in-country) any item subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) when an entity that is listed on the Entity List is a party to the transaction.
SOME OF THE DRAWBACKS OF THE EU’S GDPR LAID BARE BY COVID-19
On 27 August, in the second of 4 articles on data protection regimes for Jurist, it is said that the pandemic and its fallout have proven especially revealing in the context of European data policy, which is governed by the General Data Protection Regulation. It says that while other countries are using are using AI to reveal groundbreaking insights into COVID, the EU has little to show, stymied largely by restrictions put in place by the GDPR.
UNODC AND PARTNERS FOSTER TRANSNATIONAL COOPERATION TO COMBAT FISHERIES CRIME
On 27 August, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime said that to address the challenges associated to fisheries crime, the UNODC -World Customs Organization (WCO) Container Control Programme (CCP) launched a training package in 2017 as part of the UNODC “FishNET” project. Through specialised trainings tailored to the specific needs of each region, the CCP brings together Port Control Units staff, fisheries agencies and the private sector to discuss fisheries crime, hence fostering stronger understanding and cooperation amongst stakeholders. Since 2017, over 750 officers from East and West Africa, and South and SE Asia were trained through the FishNET project.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: CUSTOMS SEIZES $2.2 MILLION ON CARGO SHIP
On 27 August, Dominican Today reported that Customs confiscated more than US$2 million dollars that were hidden in 3 sound horns, which were part of the cargo of a ship arriving in the country through the Port of Haina Oriental, coming from New York.
UK: COSTS JUDGE STRIKES DOWN CFA WORTH MILLIONS
On 27 August, Litigation Futures reported that, in what is described as a significant case, a costs judge has struck down 3 conditional fee agreements (CFA) in a big-money commercial case for having the potential to lead to a claim for a success fee exceeding 100%. He also accused the solicitors involved of overreaching, and leaving the client’s “best interests in their rear-view mirror” by trying to recoup the money lost on the first of the CFA by backdating the second, saying that this was clearly a case in which the costs of the costs could rival the costs of the underlying litigation.
UK SUPREME COURT RULING CLEARS WAY FOR ISIS PAIR TO BE TRIED IN US
On 26 August, the Guardian reported that a US trial of 2 members of ISIS accused of taking part in the beheading of hostages appears likely to go ahead, following a legal ruling that allows the UK to share evidence with US prosecutors. The Court said a stay preventing the Home Office from supplying intelligence must be lifted after the US said it would drop the possibility of death penalties.
BERMUDA’S NEW “WORK FROM BERMUDA” RESIDENCE CERTIFICATE
On 27 August, an article from Appleby was concerned with the new regime, introduced from 1 August, which targets so-called “super nomads”, those looking to work remotely, including students, and allowing one to work for up to 12 months in Bermuda. It is said that interest has been high with over 200 applications submitted to date. With a slowing birth rate and 30% decrease in retail sales due to COVID, enticing residents to the island is one way to bridge the financial gap.
SOLICITOR WHO DID NOT UNDERSTAND COMPLEX FINANCIAL TRANSACTIONS WHICH POTENTIALLY HAD CONNECTIONS TO MEXICAN DRUG CARTELS SUSPENDED
On 27 August, Legal Futures reported that a solicitor who did not understand the complex financial transactions he was acting on – which potentially had connections to Mexican drug cartels – has been suspended from practice for 15 months. However, the SRA accepted that he did not act dishonestly.
UK: CORPORATE CRIMINAL TAX INVESTIGATIONS ONGOING DESPITE PANDEMIC
An article from Out-Law on 27 August reported that HMRC has 10 live corporate criminal offence (CCO) investigations and a further 22 live opportunities are currently under review according to new statistics just published. It is said that HMRC has sustained its focus on the CCO despite the huge impact that administering and enforcing the furlough scheme has had on its business operations.
WCO PUBLISHES ITS 2020 ANNUAL REPORT
On 27 August, the World Customs Organisation published its annual report. It deals with the main activities undertaken during financial year 2019-2020, the main developments within the WCO and its regional structures, and the future challenges to be addressed by the WCO Secretariat and its Members. It also provides general information about the WCO, its structures, management and its main decision-making bodies. The last part of the Report is a compilation of data received from WCO Members which allows for the establishment of country profiles in terms of staff, WCO instruments implemented, progress made with the automation of procedures, and the main statistics on trade flows during financial year 2019/2020.
MALAYSIA: FINE AND 1-DAY JAIL SENTENCE FOR FOUNDER AND FORMER CEO GUILTY OF FURNISHING MISLEADING STATEMENTS TO BURSA MALAYSIA
A RELEASE ON Mondo Visione on 27 August advised that the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court today found Transmile Group Bhd (TGB) founder and former CEO Gan Boon Aun guilty of furnishing misleading statements to Bursa Malaysia. it sentenced Gan to a fine of RM2.5million (in default of 18 months’ imprisonment) and 1 day imprisonment.
WTO ISSUES NEW REPORT REGARDING IMPACT OF COVID-19 CRISIS ON AGRICULTURAL TRADE
On 27 August, the WTO reported that its Secretariat has published a new information note examining the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on world agricultural trade. The paper notes that agricultural trade has fared better than other sectors, and that initial measures focused on guaranteeing the immediate availability of food have been followed by a second phase of policies seeking to mend broken supply chains and help producers to cope with the “new normal” situation. The paper warns that countries are still fighting the pandemic, and its repercussions for food supply chains are still unfolding. While there is currently no reason why the ongoing health crisis should turn into a food crisis, disruptions to food supply chains constitute a risk, with governments’ trade policy choices likely to determine how the situation evolves.
The report is at –
US: 28 CHARGED IN MEXICAN CARTEL MONEY LAUNDERING SCHEME IN TEXAS
On27 August, a news release from the US DoJ advised that a Mexican cartel boss and 27 co-conspirators have been charged with laundering more than $10 million in drug proceeds through a local clothing retailer in Texas.
US: FASHION DISTRICT OUTFIT AND COMPANY OWNER AGREE TO PLEAD GUILTY TO CUSTOMS VIOLATIONS, TAX OFFENCES AND PAY NEARLY $118 MILLION
A news release from the US DoJ on 26 August advised that a company owner in Los Angelses was indicted in a scheme to undervalue imported garments and avoid paying millions of dollars in import duties. The case also allege a tax fraud scheme in which the company’s owner failed to report on tax returns millions of dollars derived from cash transactions.
KUWAIT SUSPENDS 7 JUDGES OVER POSSIBLE LINK TO MONEY LAUNDERING NETWORK
On 27 August, the Middle East Monitor reported that the Supreme Judicial Council of Kuwait has suspended 7 judges and referred them for investigation over their potential association to a money laundering network run by the Iranian citizen, Fuad Salehi, who is currently in jail facing charges of money laundering.
ARE CHINA COMPANIES BEYOND THE REACH OF THE FCPA?
A post on the consistently interesting FCPA Blog on 27 August poses this question, pointing out that China is the country mentioned most often in FCPA enforcement actions — 63 times the author asserts. And yet, only 1 PRC-headquartered parent company has been the subject of an FCPA enforcement action. The post says that a lot of China subsidiaries of non-PRC companies are named in FCPA enforcement actions – but not PRC-based parent companies.
NORTH KOREAN HACKERS USE LINKEDIN FOR CRYPTOCURRENCY HEIST
On 25 August, The Independent reported that hackers linked to North Korea have used LinkedIn as part of a major heist to steal cryptocurrency, new research has revealed. It says that the notorious Lazarus Group, which was behind the 2014 cyber attacks on Sony, carried out an attack against a cryptocurrency organisation using a tailored job advert posted to the professional social network.