SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT BETWEEN OFAC AND COMTECH TELECOMMUNICATIONS CORPORATION OVER SUDAN SANCTIONS VIOLATIONS

On 17 September, OFAC announced a settlement agreement with Comtech Telecommunications Corporation. of New York, and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Comtech EF Data Corporation of Arizona. The company, which specialises in the sales of advanced communications systems, software, and services, has agreed to settle its potential civil liability for 4 apparent violations of the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations in 2014-15.  The end-user for the equipment and services involved was the Sudan Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA), a Government of Sudan entity located in Sudan.  The settlement includes payment of $894,111 penalty.

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USTREAS/bulletins/2a12968

OFAC ADDS 46 INDIVIDUALS AND 4 ENTITIES TO ITS COUNTER-TERRORISM AND IRAN AND CYBER-RELATED SANCTIONS LISTS

On 17 September, OFAC published a long list of 45 Iranian individuals who had been added to its SDN List. 

It also designated 2 Iranian and 2 Lebanese-based entities.

The Iranian entities – Advanced Persistent Threat 39 (APT39) and Rana Intelligence Computing Company (Rana) are said to be linked to the 45 named individuals, and  employed in a years-long malware campaign that targeted Iranian dissidents, journalists, and international companies in the travel sector.  The FBI has also released detailed information about APT39 in a public intelligence alert.

The Lebanese entities – ARCH CONSULTING and MEAMAR Sarl – for links to Hizballah.  These are said to be owned, controlled, or directed by Hizballah, and also designated Sultan Khalifah As’ad, a Hizballah Executive Council official, who is closely associated with both companies.

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20200917

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm1126

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm1127

https://www.ic3.gov/media/news/default.aspx

ILLUSORY TRUSTS IN DIVORCE PROCEEDINGS

An article in Thought Leaders 4 Private Clients Magazine Issue 2 says that there should shortly be persuasive guidance from the Privy Council on the existence and scope of illusory trusts.  Until then, the article states, existing case law suggests that the illusory trust concept is an attractive weapon in the armoury of applicant spouses seeking to attack trusts in financial remedy proceedings, and a growing concern for those seeking to “divorce-proof” assets using trusts.  An illusory trust, which need not be a “sham trust”, is an arrangement that gives the outward impression of being a trust, but is not in fact so because of powers retained in the settlor. The apparent trustee has no power to deal with the property of the trust. In illusory trusts the settlor retains so much control that, in effect, no trust exists.  Trusts & Trust from OUP says that “The question whether a trust is a sham is a different question from the question whether the control of the settlor over the trust fund and its income under the terms of the trust is so extensive that the trust is invalid as an illusory trust; and it does not follow from a decision that a trust is not a sham that it is not an illusory trust”.  It looks at recent divorce cases from New Zealand and the Cook Islands.  The article says that, subject to any changes following the Privy Council’s judgment in the latter case, determinations as to whether trusts are invalid on “illusory” grounds will be made on a case-by-case basis, based on the terms of the trust instrument in question.

https://doi.org/10.1093/tandt/tty046

ALERT: TARGETED RANSOMWARE ATTACKS ON THE UK EDUCATION SECTOR BY CYBER CRIMINALS

On 17 September, the UK National Cyber Security Centre issued an Alert saying that it has been investigating an increased number of ransomware attacks affecting education establishments in the UK, including schools, colleges and universities.  Since August 2020, it has been investigating an increased number of ransomware attacks affecting education establishments in the UK, including schools, colleges and universities.

https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/news/alert-targeted-ransomware-attacks-on-uk-education-sector

https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/news/alert-issued-following-rising-attacks-on-uk-academia

YUCCA CACTI THEFT ILLUMINATES MEXICO’S HIDDEN PLANT TRAFFICKING PROBLEM

On 16 September, Insight Crime reported that the theft of yucca cacti from indigenous communities – a plant on which they are economically reliant – in Mexico’s north-western state of Baja California for export is reportedly accelerating, underscoring the silent issue of plant trafficking in the country.

FinCEN PLANS MAJOR OVERHAUL OF AML RULES

On 17 September, KYC 360 reported an American Banker report that FinCEN has said that it plans to firm up the definition of an “effective and reasonably designed” AML compliance programme, something the regulator said had “no specific, consistent definition in existing regulation”.  FinCEN is also mulling whether it should play a more active role in guiding the priorities of financial institutions with AML compliance requirements. 

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/u-s-treasury-plans-major-overhaul-of-anti-money-laundering-rules/

https://cointelegraph.com/news/fincen-announces-sweeping-money-laundering-regulations-overhaul