Panama Covid-10 update – international flights may restart on 12 September, but a tourism trade website warns that this is dependent on ongoing good (or at least no bad) news – the infection rate staying low, and hospital bed availability staying below certain percentage occupancy.
Meanwhile, fewer new cases again – 642, with 18 new fatalities (now at 1,966 to date); 24,056 active cases including 154 in ICU, 1,346 in other wards and 425 in the hotels.
28 August 2020
HSBC ‘AIDING CHINA’S HONG KONG CRACKDOWN’
On 28 August, KYC 360 reported an article from The Times saying that HSBC is facing mounting pressure over its stance on Hong Kong after the US claimed that the bank was helping China to crack down on pro-democracy supporters.
UK: COURT DOES HAVE POWER TO RELEASE INFORMATION ON FROZEN SYRIAN FUNDS FOR PURPOSES OF US CIVIL JUDGMENT
On 28 August, the EU Sanctions blog reported that the High Court in London has said that information on frozen Syrian assets could be released to reinsurers of an Egyptian aircraft that was hijacked in a terrorist attack in 1985. It was held that the Government does have power to release the information because it would “facilitate compliance” with the EU sanctions regime within the meaning of the regulation, and remitted the matter back to HM Treasury for reconsideration.
PRESSURE MOUNTS TO DISBAND BRAZIL’S CRACK ANTI-CORRUPTION SQUAD
On 26 August, Reuters reported that political pressure is growing in Brazil to disband a high-profile team of anti-corruption prosecutors that has put dozens of former executives and politicians behind bars, despite its strong popular support and hundreds of cases still pending. A decision will be made on 10 September on whether to renew for another year the mandate of the team, which has repeatedly made headlines over the last 6 years with its sprawling ‘Car Wash’ corruption probe.
FINANCIAL REGULATORS CLARIFY USE OF CEASE AND DESIST ORDERS IN BSA/AML ENFORCEMENT
On 13 August, the ABA Banking Journal reported that, in a joint statement addressing how US regulators will address non-compliance with the AML requirements, they describe the circumstances under which an agency would issue a mandatory “cease and desist” order or, at its discretion, issue formal or informal enforcement actions or other supervisory actions to address BSA/AML deficiencies.
SINGAPORE-BASED NORDIC MARITIME AND ITS CHAIRMAN FINED BY US OVER THE COMPANY’S USE OF US-ORIGIN SUBSEA SURVEY EQUIPMENT IN IRANIAN TERRITORIAL WATERS
On 27 August, Splash 247 reported that the US Bureau of Industry and Security has imposed a $31.43 million fine on Nordic Maritime and its chairman, Morten Innhaug, over the company’s use of US-origin subsea survey equipment in Iranian territorial waters. BIS said Nordic used the controlled equipment to perform a 3D offshore seismic survey in the Forouz B natural gas field in Iranian territorial waters.
THE ROTENBERGS AND BRITISH AUCTION HOUSES
In Issue 1529, British satirical and humour magazine carried an article about the Rotenberg brothers and the fortunes that brothers Arkady and Boris squirrelled through Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Bonhams in New York and London, both before and after they were sanctioned following Russia’s invasion of Crimea in March 2014.
FORMER NIGERIAN STATE GOVERNOR IBORI AND MISTRESS APPEAR IN UK COURT VIA VIDEO LINK FOR CONFISCATION HEARING
On 28 August, the Premium Times reported that Ibori, who admitted to stealing more than $250 million from the state when he was governor, with his mistress and conspirator, Udoamaka Onuigbo, appeared in a UK court via video link as the confiscation hearing of assets he stole began. He was sentenced to 13 years in jail after he pleaded guilty to money laundering in 2012. He has since served his term and has returned to Nigeria where he remains among the power brokers in his state.
SEYCHELLES HAS LAUNCHED ITS 2020-23 AML/CFT STRATEGY
On 28 August, the Seychelles News Agency reported that, according to the Ministry of Finance, the National Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Strategy should be fully implemented by the end of 2022.
BRAZILIAN STATE GOVERNOR SUSPENDED DURING CORRUPTION PROBE
On 28 August, AP reported that a Brazilian court has temporarily removed Wilson Witzel, a former federal judge, Rio de Janeiro’s governor from office for 180 days while being investigated about corruption charges.
SHIPPING COMPANIES TOLD TO RESTRUCTURE OWNERSHIP TO VOID US-HONG KONG DOUBLE TAX
On 28 August, Lloyds List reported that shipping companies that have large exposures in both Hong Kong and the US are being advised to consider alternative business structures or operating models to prevent them being double taxed after the previous reciprocal agreement was scrapped.
US OFFERING $10 MILLION FOR TIPS THAT WOULD HELP AUTHORITIES PREVENT POSSIBLE CYBER INTERFERENCE IN THE NOVEMBER ELECTIONS
On 28 August, a Commentary from RUSI said that the US State Department is trying to deter such interference by offering rewards to people who turn in would-be interferers. Bounties alone will, however, not keep elections clean, the author of the Commentary argues.
FORMER CHIEF SECURITY OFFICER OF UBER ALLEGED TO HAVE HELPED COVER UP A CRIME USING BITCOIN
On 28 August, Calvin Ayre reported that a new criminal complaint in the US against the former Chief Security Officer of Uber, Joseph Sullivan, who was CSO for Uber until November 2017, alleges he helped cover up a crime, using Bitcoin to do so.
BREXIT: LOGISTICS UK SAYS FREIGHT SHIPPERS WANT THE PROPOSED CHANGES BROUGHT FORWARD AS SOON AS POSSIBLE TO MINIMISE FRICTION AT THE BORDER
On 28 August, Lloyds Loading List reported that freight shippers want proposed changes to UK border arrangements brought forward as soon as possible to minimise friction at the border, according to trade body Logistics UK. The organisation says that the quicker the changes are implemented, the sooner the UK can benefit from a joined-up approach – and it believes this must be before 2025.
UN GUIDE TO ASSIST POLICYMAKERS AND DECISION MAKERS IN THEIR EFFORTS TO PROMOTE THE INDEPENDENCE OF ANTI-CORRUPTION AGENCIES
On 28 August, the UN Office on Drugs & Crime announced the launch of the Colombo Commentary on the Jakarta Statement on Principles for Anti-Corruption Agencies saying that the UN Convention against Corruption calls for the establishment of independent anti-corruption bodies, yet a recent analysis undertaken by UNODC reveals that half of the States parties reviewed under the second cycle of the Convention’s implementation review mechanism received a recommendation to strengthen the independence of their anti-corruption body or bodies. The new publications aim to inspire and assist States parties and anti-corruption agencies in ensuring that national anti-corruption frameworks are developed and strengthened in line with the requirements of the Convention.
SALE OF ALMOST HALF OF SWISS MARITIME FLEET
On 28 August, Hellenic Shipping News reported that law firm HFW has acted on the sale of almost half of the entire Swiss maritime fleet. The firm acted in the sales of 40% of all Swiss-flagged commercial maritime vessels. A Swiss merchant navy was founded in 1941, with the purpose of supplying Switzerland with basic goods during the WW2.
CRYPTOCURRENCY AND THE DISMANTLING OF TERRORISM FINANCING CAMPAIGNS
On 28 August, an article in Lawfare said that the US DoJ has announced that U.S. counterterrorism authorities had dismantled a series of sophisticated online fundraising campaigns run by 3 separate US-designated terrorist organisations. The takedown of these networks underscores their vulnerabilities and also provides valuable lessons for future attempts at countering terrorism financing online.
AUSTRALIA: HOW TO UNDERTAKE AML/CFT RISK ASSESSMENT
On 28 August, AUSTRAC provided guidance on identifying and assessing the level of money laundering and terrorism financing risk to a business or organisation.
WHY AND HOW CYBER CRIMINALS TARGET SUPERYACHTS AND WHAT YOU SHOULD DO ABOUT IT
An article in the August/September edition of Compass magazine, says that the yachting industry is actively being targeted by multiple highly sophisticated criminal networks across the globe. Most superyachts and their owners will be the subject of “target packs” compiled on them by multiple international criminal groups. These are not tin-pot criminal opportunists, it warns, these are well financed, highly organised criminal businesses with business plans, budgets and resources available. It asks the questions of how criminals target superyachts and how they do so.
UK: INVESTMENT FRAUD
Action Fraud in the UK has produced information on “boiler room fraud”, where you get a cold call from someone pretending to offer you the opportunity to invest in a variety of schemes or products that are either worthless or don’t even exist. It says that it is also known as share sale fraud, hedge fund fraud, land banking fraud or bond fraud. The majority of investment frauds are run out of offices known as boiler rooms.
SHIPPING: UKRAINE FIGHTS FLAG-HOPPING CRIMEA CALLERS
On 28 August, Lloyds List reported that Lloyd’s List Intelligence data shows 17 ships de-flagged more than once for illegal Crimea visits, while one cargo ship has been de-flagged 4 times since 2017. Ukraine says the cat-and-mouse game around illegal shipping in Crimea is far from over, despite its efforts.
HERBALIFE NUTRITION TO PAY $123 MILLION TO RESOLVE FCPA VIOLATIONS
On 28 August, TRACE published a summary of the case involving Herbalife and saying that under the terms of an SEC cease-and-desist order, Herbalife will pay a total of approximately $123 million, including disgorgement of $58,669,993 and prejudgment interest of $8,643,504.50. The deferred prosecution agreement with the DoJ includes imposition of a criminal fine of $55,743,093. The penalties reflected the company’s prompt remediation and continuing cooperation.
EU: RETROACTIVE INTERCOMPANY TRANSFER PRICING ADJUSTMENTS AFFECTING CUSTOMS VALUATION OF IMPORTED GOODS
On 28 August, KPMG published an alert warning that many companies are not aware that retroactive inter-company transfer pricing adjustments could potentially affect the customs valuation of goods imported into the EU. It says that many companies are experiencing problems due to Covid-19 and, as a consequence, are considering making retrospective (retroactive) inter-company transfer pricing adjustments or additional payments (insofar as this has not already taken place as part of a company’s regular transfer pricing policy).
RUSSIAN NATIONAL ARRESTED FOR CONSPIRACY TO INTRODUCE MALWARE INTO A NEVADA COMPANY’S COMPUTER NETWORK
On 26 August, Homeland Security Today reported that the Russian was allegedly involved in a conspiracy to recruit an employee of a company to introduce malicious software into the company’s computer network, extract data from the network, and extort ransom money from the company.
US ORGANISATIONS DOING BUSINESS IN CHINA WARNED OF MALWARE IN TAX SOFTWARE
An article from Robinson & Cole on 28 August says that the FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) have issued a joint Flash Alert to US-based businesses doing business in China about a remote targeting campaign whereby the tax software that Chinese domestic banks require foreign companies to install is loaded with malware. It also said that researchers warned in June 2020 that they had discovered a backdoor in the required tax software used by the Chinese domestic banks.
US: $28 MILLION PONZI SCHEME TARGETED CHURCHGOERS
On 28 August, a release on Mondo Visione reported that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CTFC) has announced the filing of a civil enforcement action charging Dennis Jali, a South African citizen who previously resided in Maryland, with orchestrating a $28 million Ponzi scheme. The complaint alleges that the defendants fraudulently solicited participants to trade in foreign currency (forex) and digital assets such as bitcoin through pooled trading accounts controlled by Jali.
SEC CHARGES 2 MARYLAND COMPANIES AND THEIR PRINCIPALS OVER A SCHEME THAT ALLEGEDLY DEFRAUDED APPROXIMATELY 1,200 INVESTORS, MANY OF THEM AFRICAN IMMIGRANTS, OF MORE THAN $27 MILLION
A release on Mondo Visione on 28 August reported that Dennis Jali, John Frimpong, and Arley Johnson, directly and through their companies 1st Million LLC and The Smart Partners LLC, allegedly falsely told investors that their funds would be used by a team of skilled and licensed traders for foreign exchange and cryptocurrency trading, promising risk-free returns of between 6% and 42%.
BVI COURT HAS NO JURISDICTION TO GRANT FREESTANDING INJUNCTIONS IN AID OF FOREIGN PROCEEDINGS – FOR HOW LONG?
An article in FIRE Magazine for August 2020 reflected on the position following a decision of the East Caribbean Supreme Court in May, in which the Court conceded that its decision may appear undesirable in the current climate, it commented that legislative intervention was required to resolve the issue.
SINGAPORE: HOW CAN VICTIMS RECOVER ASSETS SEIZED BY POLICE?
Another article in the August 2020 edition of FIRE Magazine says that while there are civil remedies that victims of fraud can avail themselves of to recover the proceeds of fraud, there are occasions where Singapore’s law enforcement authorities will also commence criminal investigations and prosecution against the fraudsters. In criminal cases, when police use their powers to seize the property or proceeds of the fraud and hold on to the same until the conclusion of the criminal inquiry or proceedings against the fraudster, what can claimants do to effectively recover assets seized by the police?
LIMITS TO THE COLLECTION OF EVIDENCE IN SWITZERLAND FOR PROCEEDINGS AND INVESTIGATIONS ABROAD
Another article in the August 2020 edition of FIRE Magazine says that Switzerland’s legislation and jurisprudence relating to the handing out abroad of information available in Switzerland for the use in foreign proceedings is unusual and often unknown. It goes on to say that any direct transfer of documents and information abroad, if these documents qualify as evidence collected for a foreign country, and could even result in criminal prosecution. It looks at the blocking statute and what one can do.