On 15 September, OFAC announced that the addition of 1 individual, Zineb Souma Yahya JAMMEH, a Moroccan-born Equatorial Guinea national. It also added 2 entities – a UK company, NABAH LTD, and a Cambodian company, UNION DEVELOPMENT GROUP CO LTD.
JAMMEH is designated for her roles in providing support to persons previously designated for their own corrupt behaviour. She is the former First Lady of The Gambia and the current wife of Yahya Jammeh (Jammeh), who is a former President of The Gambia who came to power in 1994 and stepped down in 2017.
NABAH LTD is also designated for providing support to persons previously designated, and is owned or controlled by Ashraf Seed Ahmed Al-Cardinal, who was part of a sanctions evasion scheme that violated South Sudan sanctions.
UNION DEVELOPMENT GROUP CO LTD is a Chinese state-owned entity, and is designated over the seizure and demolition of local Cambodians’ land for the construction of the Dara Sakor development project.
An official New Zealand Government website reported on 15 September that New Zealand will be the first country in the world to require the financial sector to report on climate risks. It is said that the new regime will be on a comply-or-explain basis, based on the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) framework, which is widely acknowledged as international best practice. Businesses covered by the requirements will have to make annual disclosures, covering governance arrangements, risk management and strategies for mitigating any climate change impacts. If businesses are unable to disclose, they must explain why. The new climate reporting requirements will apply to:
All registered banks, credit unions, and building societies with total assets of more than $1 billion
All managers of registered investment schemes with greater than $1 billion in total assets under management
All licensed insurers with greater than $1 billion in total assets under management or annual premium income greater than $250 million
All equity and debt issuers listed on the NZX
Crown financial institutions with greater than $1 billion in total assets under management, such as ACC and the NZ Super Fund
Overseas incorporated organisations would also be required to disclose in their New Zealand annual reporting.
On 15 September, an interesting post on the always interesting FCPA Blog is concerned with a new guide on connecting the anti-corruption and human rights agendas: A guide for business and employers’ organisations. It comes at a time when several jurisdictions will be introducing new regulations on human rights due diligence.
It also provided a link to this flyer from the Basel Institute on Governance from 7 September which looked at synergies in anti-corruption and human rights compliance – which says that companies invest significant resources in anti-corruption and human rights compliance programmes, often developing them separately within an organization. BIS says that it believes there are synergies between these areas that will contribute to the effectiveness and cost efficiencies of both programmes.
The guide referred to in the post is from Business at OECD (BIAC) and the International Organisation of Employers.
On 15 September, Accounting Web explained that the Consultative Committee of Accounting Bodies (CCAB) is responsible for producing the AML/CFT guidance for the accountancy sector. This guidance is then approved by HM Treasury and once approved must be taken into account by the courts when considering if an individual or business has breached the Money Laundering Regulations. A draft version of updated guidance was issued on 4 September, taking into account the 5th AML Directive. The article explains the changes made.
On 9 September, Kroll published an article saying that brutal, diamond-funded civil wars fought in the 1990s across Angola, Liberia, and Sierra Leone have tarnished the image of a gem historically more associated with fairy tales and royal dynasties; and more recently, in its 2018 List of Goods Produced by Child or Forced Labor, the US Department of Labor identified abusive labour practices in diamond mines across Central and West Africa, and noted that deaths or injuries due to dangerous working conditions remain frequent. In 2003, the UN implemented the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (the Kimberley Process). The article asks: looking beyond the Kimberley Process: what risks arise from purchasing diamonds? It cautions that Kimberley Process-compliant certification is not a guarantee of ethical practice or sanctions compliance. It also warns that the high value, portability, lack of regulatory framework and traceability, stable and indexed prices are all appealing factors for those tempted to use diamonds in illicit transactions outside of the formal banking system and as a store of value for criminals, terrorists and tax evaders alike. It asks what Are suppliers doing to improve their transparency processes?
A post from Kenneth Rijock in his blog on 15 September explained the process whereby someone seeking to disguise their true origin or identity obtains first a new passport from a willing Caribbean state, and then, with a “new” name and passport, goes on to obtain another EU passport from Malta or Cyprus.
An article from Axios said that US Customs and Border Protection has issued a series of orders barring some imports of cotton, apparel, hair products, computer parts and other goods from China’s Xinjiang region due to the government’s “illicit, inhumane, and exploitative practices of forced labour”.
On 15 September, El Nacional reported that a court in Andorra is to investigate the former Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy, ministers Cristòbal Montoro (finance) and Jorge Fernández Díaz (interior), as well as former interior ministry undersecretary Francisco Martínez. in relation to coercion accusations. The Andorran judiciary has accepted the complaint, filed by the country’s Institute of Human Rights. The claim is that the Spanish authorities threatened to close an Andorran bank – the Banc Privat d’Andorra (BPA) – unless it provided them with politically-useful information – and when the bank refused, Spain put its threat into action, by reporting alleged money laundering activities to the US Treasury.