OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – SEPTEMBER 8

Panama Covid-19 update – the lottery is to make a comeback in October, it has been announced, with suitable safety requirements. Unlike the National Lottery in the UK, tickets are usually bought from nice ladies sitting at ad hoc tables outside supermarkets, and the winnings collected from the lottery offices – not life-changing amounts like the Euromillions, but a nice little boosts – and the funds raised are used for charity.

Another 829 new cases today, with only 8 fatalities (taking the total to 2,107). The number of tests remains high at 5,179 reported, but only 16% positive. There are 25,549 active cases, with 132 in ICU, 1,153 in other wards and 437 in hotels – but better news is that another 504 are said to have “recovered”.

8 September 2020

US SUBSIDIARY GERMAN OPTICAL SYSTEMS MANUFACTURER ZEISS SETTLEMENT FOR EXPORT LICENCE VIOLATIONS

On 3 September, the US Commerce Department issued an order under which Carl Zeiss SNE LLC would pay $55,000 for unauthorised supply of rifle telescopic sights to Canada on at least 10 occasions in 2014-15.

KENYAN GOVERNOR MUTHOMI NJUKI SURRENDERS TO FACE CORRUPTION CHARGES ALONGSIDE 9 OTHERS

On 7 September, The Standard in Kenya reported that Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki had surrendered to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission ahead of his planned arraignment.  He and his wife are among 10 people expected to be charged with corruption, in his case over a tender for a solid waste project, which investigators said was irregularly awarded.

https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/kenya/article/2001385516/tharaka-nithi-governor-surrenders-to-eacc

EXPOSÉ ON FORMER GENERAL’S VAST WEALTH SPURS DEBATE ABOUT MILITARY PRIVILEGE IN PAKISTAN

On 6 September, Rferl said that Pakistan’s powerful generals have for decades cited political corruption as a leading problem in the country that justified the toppling of governments through repeated coups and the military’s manipulation of power.  However, a recent report about the vast family business of a former army general who is a senior government adviser has prompted debate about alleged corruption among military elites.  A report linked Lieutenant General Asim Saleem Bajwa’s rise through the military to his family’s estimated $100 million fortune.

https://www.rferl.org/a/expos%C3%A9-on-former-general-s-vast-wealth-spurs-debate-about-military-privilege-in-pakistan/30823756.html

STANDARD CHARTERED IS FINED $13.6 MILLION IN INDIA FOR 2007 DEAL

On 8 September, KYC 360 reported that India’s AML agency has fined Standard Chartered Plc $13.6 million for breaking foreign exchange rules when it worked on the takeover of a local bank, marking one of the country’s biggest penalties imposed on an overseas lender.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/standard-chartered-is-fined-13-6-million-in-india-for-2007-deal/

AMAZON ETC RESTRICTING SEED SALES BUT THIS MAY NOT STOP MYSTERY MAILINGS

On 7 September, the Wall Street Journal reported that e-commerce companies’ action came after thousands of people in US and other countries received unsolicited seeds by post

https://www.wsj.com/articles/wish-joins-amazon-in-restricting-seed-sales-amid-global-seed-mystery-11599489002

DUTCH COURT REJECTS THE CONCEPT THAT US SECONDARY SANCTIONS CAN BE FORCE MAJEURE

On 8 September, the EU Sanctions Blog reported that a Dutch company failed to perform various services it had contractually agreed to perform in Iran when US sanctions were re-imposed on Iran in May 2018; but the court found that the US secondary sanctions involved did not make performance of the contract impossible, and the negative consequences of US secondary sanctions did not amount to force majeure.

CORONAVIRUS: UP TO £3.5 BILLION IN FURLOUGH MONEY COULD HAVE BEEN WRONGLY PAID OUT IN THE UK

On 8 September, Sky News reported that it is believed between 5% and 10% of furlough cash could have been handed out wrongly – either through deliberate fraud or error.  The job retention scheme covers up to 80% of an employee’s salary while they are on furlough.  It says that the government has so far paid out £35.4 billion in furlough money, according to the latest figures, meaning somewhere between £1.75 billion and £3.5 billion may have gone to the wrong places.

https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-up-to-3-5bn-in-furlough-money-could-have-been-wrongly-paid-out-12066311

IRAN ALLOWS UN ACCESS TO SUSPECTED NUCLEAR SITES AND URANIUM STOCKPILE IS GROWING

On 7 September, the Pass Blue website carried an article saying that the IAEA has just reported that Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium continues to grow.  The stockpile now exceeds by 10 times the limit set in the 2015 JCPOA deal.  However, the stockpile is still far below the amount of enriched uranium Iran had accumulated before the conclusion of the JCPOA.  The IAEA also reported that Iran had enriched its uranium to a purity of up to 4.5%, above the 3.67% limited under the JCPOA – although to build a nuclear bomb Iran would still have to further enrich its uranium to a purity of 90%, nuclear experts say.

https://www.passblue.com/2020/09/07/as-iran-allows-the-un-access-to-suspected-nuclear-sites-its-uranium-stockpile-is-growing

IRISH FUNDS STRUCTURES EXPLAINED

Irish law firm A & L Goodbody has published a series of articles which explain the structure etc of various types of funds available in Ireland, including –  Common Contractual Fund (CCF) a contractual arrangement whereby investors participate as co-owners of the assets of the CCF; Unit Trusts; Investment Limited Partnership (ILP); Irish Collective Asset-management Vehicle (ICAV); and Variable Capital Company (VCC).

https://www.algoodbody.com/insights-publications

61% OF IT COMPANIES EXPERIENCED AN INSIDER ATTACK OVER THE LAST YEAR

On 2 September, Homeland Security Today reported that a report from Bitglass, which partnered with a leading cybersecurity community and surveyed IT professionals to understand how their businesses balance budgetary and data protection concerns while defending against insider threats.

NEW UN PASSENGER DATA AGREEMENT AIMS TO CURB TERRORIST MOBILITY

On 1 September, Homeland Security Today reported that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) have formalised a new Memorandum of Agreement, aimed at building member state capacity to prevent, detect and investigate terrorist offenses and other serious crimes through the collection and analysing of Advance Passenger Information (API) and Passenger Name Record (PNR) data. 

https://www.icao.int/Newsroom/Pages/ICAO-UNOCT-conclude-important-agreement-to-curb-terrorist-mobility-through-the-global-exchange.aspx

UAE LAUNCHES ‘FAWRI TICK’ SYSTEM TO COMBAT ILLEGAL FINANCING

 On 8 September, Zawya reported that the National Committee for Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism and Illegal Organisations announced the launch of ‘Fawri Tick’, a smart system developed by the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR).  It is a unified system that integrates and aggregates various AML/CFT cases across federal and local authorities, facilitates communication among all relevant authorities allowing necessary actions and decisions for the relevant case to be implemented in a short time frame.

https://www.zawya.com/mena/en/business/story/UAE_launches_Fawri_Tick__to_combat_illegal_financing-WAM20200908083512597/

WHY AMERICA IS FACING OFF AGAINST THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT (ICC)

A Commentary from the European Council on Foreign Relations on 8 September followed the listing of 2 officials of the treaty-based international organisation of which most major US allies are members, the ICC move will strike most Europeans as a blatant attack on the international rule of law, but it is also the culmination of an evolving confrontation between the US and the ICC that stretches back to the organisation’s founding.  The ICC was set up by the Rome Statute in 1998, with a brief to prosecute those responsible for the most serious international crimes – war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. 

https://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_why_america_is_facing_off_against_the_international_criminal_cou

WHY TURKEY’S NUCLEAR PROGRAMME IS A THREAT TO REGIONAL STABILITY AND THE INTERNATIONAL NON-PROLIFERATION REGIME

On 8 September, an article in the International Affairs Review followed comments by President Erdogan which focused on the unfairness of Turkey not having nuclear weapons as a deterrent given the precarious geopolitical position the country has found itself in since the coup attempt against himself 4 years ago.  It says that Turkey’s burgeoning nuclear energy industry, aided by Russia, presents serious proliferation concerns, especially if Erdogan’s displeasure with the status quo is turned into policy. 

INDIA: HUSBAND OF FORMER ICICI BANK CEO ARRESTED ON MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES

On 8 September, Zawya reported that Deepak Kochhar, the husband of a former ICICI Bank CEO has been arrested on charges of money laundering – the latest development in a case that has ended the career of one of India’s most celebrated bankers.

https://www.zawya.com/mena/en/legal/story/Former_ICICI_Bank_CEOs_husband_arrested_on_money_laundering_charges-TR20200908nL4N2G51EQX1/

NETHERLANDS: THE TRADE IN EXCLUSIVE WATCHES IS BECOMING THE MONEY LAUNDERING OPERATION OF CHOICE FOR CRIMINALS

On 8 September, Dutch News reported the trade in exclusive watches is becoming the money laundering operation of choice for criminals, with legitimate dealers aiding and abetting the crime.  It says that expensive watches can fetch hundreds of thousands of euros and are used to launder money, as gifts, payment or rewards for criminal services rendered.
https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/2020/09/criminal-circuit-clocks-luxury-watches-for-money-laundering-telegraaf/

UK: MONEY LAUNDERING SUPERVISION FOR ESTATE AGENCY OR LETTING AGENCY BUSINESSES

On 8 September, HMRC published updated information on how to find out if you are an estate agency or letting agency business who needs to register with HMRC under the Money Laundering Regulations.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/registration-guide-for-estate-agency-businesses

THE FIT AND PROPER TEST AND HMRC APPROVAL TECHNICAL GUIDANCE

On 8 September, HMRC published update guidance, saying that most businesses supervised by HMRC for AML purposes are subject to either the fit and proper test or approval requirements under the regulations. These are to make sure that businesses beneficial owners, officers and senior management are suitable people to undertake those roles. Responsible persons must pass the relevant test before the business can register, and remain registered, with HMRC.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/money-laundering-supervision-fit-and-proper-test-and-approval/money-laundering-supervision-guidance-on-the-fit-and-proper-test-and-hmrc-approval

UK: 3 NEW BENZODIAZEPINES TO BECOME CLASS C DRUGS

On 8 September, the Home Office reported that flualprazolam, flunitrazolam and norfludiazepam will be controlled as Class C drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and placed in Schedule 1 to the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001, following a recommendation from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD).  It is explained that benzodiazepines are sedative and anti-anxiety drugs that are used clinically for the treatment of anxiety, insomnia, muscle spasms and epilepsy.  They can be misused in a number of ways, and are often taken with other illicit drugs to increase their effects, combat the effect of opioid withdrawal or to ease the aftereffects of stimulant use.  Especially when used in conjunction with other illegal substances or alcohol, benzodiazepines can cause serious physical and psychological harm.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/three-new-benzodiazepines-to-become-class-c-drugs

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/response-to-the-acmd-report-on-novel-benzodiazepines

SENIOR RUSSIAN ENERGY OFFICIAL DETAINED IN FRAUD PROBE

On 8 September, Rferl reported that Russian Deputy Energy Minister Anatoly Tikhonov has been detained in Moscow and questioned as a suspect in a fraud investigation.

https://www.rferl.org/a/30827808.html

UK: PERSONAL SERVICE COMPANIES & IR35

On 8 September, a research paper from the House of Commons Library says that the so-called ‘IR35’ rules to prevent the exploitation of personal service companies for tax avoidance were introduced in April 2000, following a long and contentious consultation exercise.  This legislation remains unpopular among freelancers who use this corporate form to provide services.  This paper looks at debates as to the effectiveness of these rules and wider concerns about the use of employment intermediaries to avoid tax, before discussing recent developments as to their application in the public and private sector.

FORMER G4S CARE & JUSTICE SERVICES EXECUTIVES CHARGED WITH FRAUD

On 8 September, The London Economic and others reported that 3 former executives of G4S Care and Justice Services have been charged with defrauding the Ministry of Justice in a case linked to the prisoner electronic monitoring scandal.  The parent company had previously accepted responsibility for 3 counts of fraud and agreed to pay a financial penalty of £38.5 million and the SFO costs of £5.9 million.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8710525/G4S-executives-charged-defrauding-Ministry-Justice.html

VENEZUELA’S BASEBALL ACADEMIES EXTORTION THREATS

An article in Insight Crime on 7 September says that, with dozens of Venezuelan athletes now playing on Major League Baseball teams in the US, a powerful gang has begun to extort local academies and scouts in charge of finding, training and developing them in their home country.

CAPTAINS ARE AT RISK OF BEING BLACKLISTED AS US AND UK TAKE A HARDER STANCE ON TRADE SANCTIONS VIOLATIONS AT SEA

On 8 September, Safety at Sea refers to OFAC having recently added the captains of 5 Iranian-flagged tankers to the SDN List on 24 June for delivering oil to Venezuela.  It says that the latest sanction regulations are holding captains responsible for the actions of the management companies or owners; a move that could be seen as the further criminalisation of captains in the shipping industry – if they cannot demonstrate that they took active steps to enhance their due diligence.

KNOWN ASSOCIATE OF PROMINENT BRAZILIAN MONEY LAUNDERER MAINTAINS CORPORATE NETWORK SPANNING 4 COUNTRIES

On 8 September, Sayari carried an article concerned with a recent court-approved cooperation agreement involving one of Brazil’s most prominent money launderers — Dario Messer.  The article is said to demonstrate the utility of public records in identifying corporate assets that could be at high risk of facilitating money laundering given their links to known associates of a convicted money launderer.

HOME OFFICE REPLACING JARD – 15-YEAR-OLD IT SYSTEM USED TO CAPTURE DATA ON CRIMINAL ASSETS BY A WIDE RANGE OF AGENCIES

On 7 September, the Computer Business Review reported that the IT system and associated database, called the Joint Asset Recovery Database (JARD), is used by the Police, CPS, HM Courts and Tribunals Service, SFO and local authorities.  Its replacement to be funded by assets seized under POCA 2002.

THE CYPRUS PAPERS

This is the home page for the Al Jazeera investigation into the “Cyprus Papers” which involve 2,500 names, and with 100 profiles which can be viewed.  It says that they include convicted criminals, oligarchs on the run from the law, and government officials. It says that it has only published the names of individuals when there is clear evidence of wrongdoing or if the person was a PEP at the time that they obtained citizenship. There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by the PEPs listed in the Cyprus Papers.

https://interactive.aljazeera.com/aje/2020/cyprus-papers/index.html

THE ABSENCE OF BLACK FINANCIAL REGULATORS IN THE US

A paper from the Brookings Institution on 2 September starts by saying that perhaps one of the biggest open secrets in Washington, D.C. is the virtual absence of African American financial regulators in the US government.  There are no Black Commissioners at the SEC or at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). There has never been a Black Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), SEC, or CFTC.  It provides a historical overview of African American financial regulators since Roosevelt’s the New Deal and examines what the data indicate about potential causes for such longstanding distortions in political appointments and staffing at federal agencies. 

https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/ES-09.02.20-Brummer.pdf

 

 

Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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