OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – SEPTEMBER 24

Panama Covid-19 update – the malls are due to open up on Monday – will they see a rush or will be more cautious?

Meanwhile, slightly more reported new cases today, at 736, but fataliities remain low at only another 6 today. Of the 20,935 active cases, 128 are in ICU and 701 in other wards.

24 September 2020

THE BASICS (AND BEYOND) OF ITAR- AND EAR-CONTROLLED ITEM MARKING REQUIREMENTS

Torres Law in the US has published a briefing about accurately marking import- and export-controlled items and technology to identify them as subject to US export requirements.  It says that controlled item marking is a regulatory requirement in both the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).  Accordingly, accurate marking of items subject to the authority of those federal agencies must be a fundamental element of any effective internal trade controls programme. It goes on to say that overlooking this basic requirement can be a costly mistake, leading to significant fines for regulatory non-compliance. But the good news is that controlled item marking can be, in most companies, quickly brought up to required minimums for compliance.  It provides the necessary wording for export and EAR- and ITAR-controlled items.

SINGAPORE: REVIVING STRUCK OFF COMPANIES AND STAY OF WINDING UP

An article on 20 May from Tito Isaac & Co asks is there no way for the entrepreneurs to resurrect the existing company where much goodwill has accumulated? It explains the rules and processes for the restoration of companies that have been struck off.

SWISS WATCHDOG REPRIMANDS BANK SYZ FOR BREACHING MONEY LAUNDERING RULES

On 24 September, Reuters reported that FINMA has reprimanded private Bank SYZ over money laundering rules breaches involving business ties with a politically exposed Angolan client who made transactions worth tens of millions of Swiss francs.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-swiss-banks-syz/swiss-watchdog-reprimands-bank-syz-for-breaching-money-laundering-rules-idUSKCN26F0LB?il=0

IRISH TERRORISTS IN HEZBOLLAH WEAPONS STING MET WITH IRANIAN EMBASSY OFFICIALS

On 18 September, The National in the UAE reported claims that members of an Irish group, the New IRA, arrested on terrorist charges after seeking arms from Hezbollah met with officials at Iran’s Dublin Embassy.  It is claimed that security sources said that at least 2 people now in custody were at a commemoration ceremony in the embassy following the assassination of Iranian general Qassem Suleimani. 

https://www.thenational.ae/world/europe/irish-terrorists-in-hezbollah-weapons-sting-met-with-iranian-embassy-officials-1.1079651

AN EXAMINATION OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT’S COUNTERTERRORISM DESIGNATIONS EFFORTS

CTC Sentinel on 24 September published a report which  examines 2 sanctioning efforts the US government has employed against terrorist actors: the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) list and the designation of individuals as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT) under the authority granted by Executive Order 13224.  Although the specific purposes of each of these programs differ from one another, ultimately both represent a non-kinetic approach to counterterrorism that relies on the application of diplomatic and/or financial statecraft.  It sets out to provide an overview of the program and descriptive statistics regarding its implementation; and to provide some form of assessment regarding the impact that these programs have on terrorist groups and individuals.  This report attempts to provide a deeper understanding of the impacts of these tools, in addition to highlighting some of the structural limitations and gaps in the application of counterterrorism sanctions.

PROJECT TO DOWNBLEND KAZAKH HEU NUCLEAR FUEL COMPLETED

On 24 September, World Nuclear News reported that a project to remove the last remaining batch of unirradiated highly enriched uranium (HEU) fuel from Kazakhstan has been completed in a joint effort by Kazakhstan and the US.  They have also signed a new joint statement reaffirming their intention to continue to work together to support the common goal of minimising nuclear proliferation, ensuring nuclear security and strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime.

https://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Project-to-downblend-Kazakh-HEU-fuel-completed

BRITISH ARMS AND DRUGS SMUGGLING KINGPIN ARRESTED IN BRAZIL FOR SUPPLYING BOMBS USED BY RIO GANGS TO BLOW UP BANKS

The Irish Sun on 24 September reported that “El Gringo” – Anthony David Schethtman – claimed to be an intelligence consultant who advised on security for the 2016 Olympics and the 2014 World Cup.  He was arrested in Rio where he was found driving a stolen car with fake plates, and police also arrested 8 others allegedly linked with a drug trafficking ring.

https://www.thesun.ie/news/5942705/brit-bombs-banks-brazil-gangs-arrested/

COVID-19 SPURS RISE IN CIGARETTE SMUGGLING, JAPAN TOBACCO SAYS

On 24 September, BNN Bloomberg reported that, according to executives from the company, organised crime rings have set up illegal warehouses and factories across European countries such as Greece, Ireland and Belgium, to be closer to target markets like the UK.  The global illicit tobacco market is worth between $40 billion and $50 billion annually, according to a World Bank report published last year.  It is said that lockdowns and border closures earlier this year disrupted the black market in tobacco, making it difficult to move counterfeit cigarettes from places where they’re made, like Belarus, via container transport; and that has led smugglers to regroup.

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/covid-19-spurs-rise-in-cigarette-smuggling-japan-tobacco-says-1.1498810

ENGLISH COMMERCIAL COURT CONFIRMS THAT LEGAL ADVICE PRIVILEGE APPLIES TO FOREIGN LAWYERS INCLUDING THOSE WHO WORK IN-HOUSE

An article from Bird & Bird on 24 September is concerned with a recent case which has held that legal advice privilege under English law extends to communications with foreign in-house lawyers provided they act in their capacity as a lawyer.  Further, the judgment makes it clear that there is no additional requirement that foreign lawyers should be appropriately qualified or recognised or regulated as professional lawyers.

https://www.twobirds.com/en/news/articles/2020/uk/english-commercial-court-confirms-that-legal-advice-privilege-applies-to-foreign-lawyers

WHY IS THE EU PARLIAMENT CALLING FOR NEW EU REVENUE-RAISING POWERS?

On 24 September, an EU news release reported that the EU Parliament is calling for new revenue sources to invest in Europe’s future and support the Covid-19 recovery without burdening taxpayers.  EU countries contribute to a common EU budget in order to achieve common objectives.

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/economy/20200918STO87405/why-is-parliament-calling-for-new-eu-revenue-raising-powers

UK: THE COVERT HUMAN INTELLIGENCE SOURCES (CHIS) BILL WILL UNDERPIN THE LONGSTANDING WORK OF INTELLIGENCE AND LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES

A news release from the Home Office on 24 September says that new legislation which underpins the work of MI5, police and other public authorities tackling serious crimes has been introduced to Parliament.  The Bill provides a clear and consistent statutory basis for a limited number of public authorities to continue to authorise participation by “human sources” in criminality (e.g. undercover operatives and informers), in carefully managed circumstances.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-legislation-protects-national-security-capability-to-fight-serious-crime

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covert-human-intelligence-sources-draft-code-of-practice

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/sep/24/uk-set-to-introduce-bill-allowing-mi5-agents-to-break-the-law

POLICE ARREST 87 SUSPECTS IN GROWING CALIFORNIA BENEFIT FRAUD SCANDAL

On 24 September, the East Bay Times reported that Beverly Hills Police have found 87 people who are allegedly connected to EDD fraud and identity theft.  Detectives said that they recovered 181 fraudulent EDD cards with a value of over $3.6 million. EDD is the California Employment Development Department, responsible for payment of unemployment benefit.

UK WITHDRAWS DRAFT LEGISLATION ON EU FDI INFORMATION-SHARING REGIME

An article from Morgan Lewis on 24 September said that, following a European Commission decision that the EU Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Regulation does not include the UK,  the UK has  announced the withdrawal of draft guidance on powers and procedures with respect to enforcing an EU regulation for screening FDI into the EU.  While the FDI Regulation will still come into force on 11 October in EU Member States, the UK government will progress its own FDI regime.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/uk-withdraws-draft-legislation-on-eu-41350/

BREXIT: UK UNVEILS PLAN FOR ‘KENT ACCESS PERMITS’ FOR LORRY DRIVERS

On 24 September, Lloyds Loading List reported that the UK has unveiled plans to force British and international lorry drivers to obtain an “access permit” to drive into the southeast England county of Kent from neighbouring counties from 1 January in a new move try to keep roads clear.  Freight body representatives have labelled the proposal “pointless”.

https://www.lloydsloadinglist.com/freight-directory/news/UK-unveils-plan-for-%E2%80%98Kent-access-permits%E2%80%99-for-lorry-drivers/77453.htm#.X2zUwj-SmM8

IN ONE NIGHT, US CUSTOMS MADE 5 SEIZURES OF SHIPMENTS CONTAINING COUNTERFEIT DESIGNER APPAREL THAT WAS WORTH MORE THAN $1.1 MILLION

A news release from US Customs & Border Protection on 24 September advised that the 5 shipments were of handbags, wallets, shoes, purses and other apparel.  Seizures included parcels which contained 200 YSL purses, and another 366 Louis Vuitton bags. 

https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/one-night-five-shipments-more-11-million-seized-louisville

CHINESE CUSTOMS REJECTS 59.2 TONNES OF SOLID WASTE

On 24 September, Xinhua reported that the waste was declared at customs as flax tow, but was later identified as solid waste prohibited from entering the country.

http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-09/24/c_139393520.htm

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE ECONOMIC INTEREST TEST IN THE UK’S NEW TRADE REMEDIES REGIME

A post from Brick Court Chambers on 24 September says that the new trade remedies regime contained in the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018 has an “economic interest test” which is different from that of any other jurisdiction.  Some jurisdictions, e.g. US and Australia, have chosen not to have one at all.  The test is designed to ensure that only remedies that are in the UK’s economic interests taken as a whole will be adopted.  It is said to be similar in nature to the public interest test which applies when the EU adopts anti-dumping or anti-subsidy measures.  The post provides some comments on the test, which will be applied when the UK starts to adopt its own trade remedies at the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December, and  outlines some of the test’s features, as well as explaining how and at what stages according to the Government’s published Guidance the test will be applied  It also discusses briefly how it compares with the EU public interest test.

SEC HAS CHARGED CONNECTICUT-BASED REVOLUTION LIGHTING TECHNOLOGIES INC OVER AN ACCOUNTING FRAUD THAT FALSELY INFLATED ITS REPORTED REVENUES OVER A 4-YEAR PERIOD

A release on Mondo Visione on 24 September advised that 4 — CEO Robert LaPenta, former CFO James DePalma, and 2 former CFO of the company’s largest division, Allen Garner and Daniel O’Neal— were also charged for their roles in causing Revolution Lighting to misreport its revenue 2014-18.  All have agreed to settlements to resolve the claims against them. 

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/sec-charges-lighting-products-company-and-four-executives-with-accounting-violat/

UK: FCA HAS BEGUN CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS AGAINST 3 FORMER EMPLOYEES OF REDCENTRIC PLC

A release on Mondo Visione on 24 September advised that FCA has begun criminal proceedings against Fraser Fisher, former CEO; Timothy Coleman, former CFO; and Estelle Croft, a former finance director of making a false or misleading statement.  Redcentric is an IT service provider and was censured in June for market abuse.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/uk-financial-conduct-authority-institutes-criminal-proceedings-against-three-for/

PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANY GILEAD AGREES TO PAY $97 MILLION TO RESOLVE ALLEGATIONS THAT IT PAID KICKBACKS

A news release from the US DoJ on 23 September advised that Gilead Sciences, Inc. (Gilead), based in California, has agreed to pay $97 million to resolve claims that it violated the False Claims Act by illegally using a foundation, Caring Voice Coalition (CVC), as a conduit to pay the Medicare co-pays for its own drug, Letairis.

https://www.justice.gov/usao-ma/pr/gilead-agrees-pay-97-million-resolve-allegations-it-paid-kickbacks-through-co-pay

US: THE RISE OF METH MIXED WITH FENTANYL

On 22 September, Fox San Antonio reported on a growing danger in Texas – the rise of a meth product stronger than ever before mixed in with fentanyl.

https://foxsanantonio.com/news/yami-investigates/dea-the-rise-of-meth-mixed-with-fentanyl

VENEZUELA LEGALISES CRYPTO MINING BUT WILL FORCE INDUSTRY INTO NATIONAL POOL

Coindesk on 23 September reported that the government of Venezuela had legalised the mining industry, with a new Decree which states that any local entity wishing to mine cryptos must apply for a licence and be listed on a government register.  All mining activities must be carried out through an official National Digital Mining Pool, with those who operate outside it to face penalties.

https://www.coindesk.com/venezuela-legalize-cryptocurrency-mining-national-pool

SEC ENFORCEMENT ACTION AGAINST INVESTMENT ADVISER BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP REPORTING FAILURES

On 24 September, a post from the Program on Corporate Compliance and Enforcement the the New York University School of Law said that the SEC had announced the institution of a settled cease and desist proceeding against WCAS Management Corporation, an SEC-registered investment adviser to 5 private funds for failures to satisfy reporting obligations under Section 13(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  It is said that this latest action serves as another reminder of the SEC’s continued focus on beneficial ownership disclosures by institutional investors and the need to implement and adhere to robust controls and procedures to ensure compliance.

SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT BETWEEN OFAC AND KEYSIGHT TECHNOLOGIES INC

On 24 September, OFAC advised a $473,157 settlement with Keysight Technologies Inc, a company based in California, as successor entity to Anite Finland OY, based in Finland, which designs and sells test and measurement equipment, as well as related software products, to the wireless industry. The settlement relates to supplies made by Anite to Iran, in violation of US sanctions.

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USTREAS/bulletins/2a25faa

CENTRAL BANK DIGITAL CURRENCIES: TOOLS FOR AN INCLUSIVE FUTURE?

A policy brief from the Belfer Center says that Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC) have rapidly evolved from a sci-fi concept to a plausible alternative to cash that is being studied by central banks all over the world.  The brief outlines the common motivations driving central bank work on CBDC. It then explores CBDCs’ potential impacts on financial inclusion, a primary motivation in developing and emerging markets that has also gained significant traction in developed economies during the COVID-19 related global recession.  The brief concludes that for CBDC to achieve its financial inclusion goals, more technical advancement in offline adaptability and policy deliberations around issues of identity and traceability are needed. 

SEC ANNOUNCED THAT ENGINE MANUFACTURING COMPANY POWER SOLUTIONS INTERNATIONAL INC HAS AGREED TO SETTLE ACCOUNTING FRAUD CHARGES RELATED TO OVERSTATEMENT OF REVENUES BY ALMOST $25 MILLION

On 24 September, a release on Mondo Visione advised that the SEC had announced that Chicago-area engine manufacturing company Power Solutions International Inc, has agreed to settle accounting fraud charges related to the company’s overstatement of revenues by almost $25 million.  It had previously charged former CEO Gary Winemaster and 2 former senior sales executives, Craig Davis and James Needham, for their roles in the fraud.  Power Solutions agreed to cease and desist from future violations of these provisions, pay a $1.7 million civil penalty, and comply with an undertaking to remediate deficiencies in its internal controls over financial reporting.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/sec-engine-manufacturing-company-to-pay-penalty-take-remedial-measures-to-sett/

US ACCOUNTANT IN PANAMA PAPERS CASE SENTENCED TO PRISON

A release on Mondo Visione on 24 September advised that Richard Gaffey, aka Dick Gaffey, 76, a U.S. citizen, a US accountant has been sentenced to 39 months in prison for wire fraud, tax fraud, money laundering, aggravated identity theft, and other charges.  Gaffey was charged along with Harald Joachim von der Goltz, Ramses Owens, and Dirk Brauer in connection with a decades-long criminal scheme perpetrated by Mossack Fonseca & Co, a Panama-based global law firm, and its related entities.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/us-department-of-justice-us-accountant-in-panama-papers-investigation-sentenc/

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/us-accountant-panama-papers-investigation-sentenced-prison

ROMANIA’S CHIEF ANTI-CRIME PROSECUTOR RESIGNS AFTER HUSBAND CONVICTED ON CORRUPTION CHARGES

On 24 September, Universul reported that Giorgiana Hosu is to step down immediately to protect the reputation of the Directorate for Investigation of Organized Crime and Terrorism, or DIICOT.  The development comes amid increased scrutiny about Romania’s commitment to an independent justice system.  A Bucharest court had handed her husband, Dan Hosu, a 3-year suspended prison sentence for illegally accessing information for financial gain.

EX-FRENCH PRESIDENT SARKOZY PROBED OVER CLAIMS OF TAKING LIBYAN CASH

In its 25 September edition, The Age reported that Nicolas Sarkozy could be forced to stand trial after failing in his attempt to quash an inquiry into claims he used Libyan cash for his 2007 election campaign.  This followed an investigation into reports that he accepted £45 million from the regime of Muammar Gaddafi.

https://www.theage.com.au/world/europe/ex-french-president-sarkozy-fails-to-quash-election-fraud-inquiry-20200925-p55z3i.html

JERSEY: DRUGS GANG SENTENCES TOTAL NEARLY 74 YEARS

On 24 September, the Jersey Evening Post reported that members of a crime ring who tried to flood the Island with nearly a million pounds worth of class A and B drugs and launder tens of thousands of pounds have been jailed for a collective total of nearly 74 years.  It has also been revealed that that kingpin John Alexander Roy is wanted in Australia in connection with a billion-dollar drugs plot.

https://jerseyeveningpost.com/news/2020/09/24/drugs-gang-sentences-total-nearly-74-years/

PDVSA CUSTOMERS SCHEDULE LAST OIL CARGOES AMID US-IMPOSED WIND-DOWN 

On 24 September, Hellenic Shipping News reported that a handful of long-term customers of Venezuela’s PDVSA – including include Spain’s Repsol, Italy’s Eni, India’s Reliance Industries and Thailand’s Tipco Asphalt – have begun winding down oil trade with the state-run company by scheduling the last cargoes to depart from the sanctioned country ahead of a US deadline.

FinCEN FILES – UPDATE

How the FinCEN papers provide an opportunity to improve the SAR regimes

On 21 September, 5 St Andrews Hill Chambers in London published an article saying that the headlines will obviously focus on the amount of money involved and the details of particular prominent individuals, and that criticism is already being levelled at the banks for the way in which they have permitted these transactions to have taken place. It looks at problems with the SAR regimes, citing comments made by the Law Commission in the UK.  The article concludes that it is the lack of resources that prevents law enforcement from dealing with the global issue that money laundering represents.

https://www.5sah.co.uk/news-and-events/articles/2020-09-21/how-the-fincen-papers-provide-an-opportunity-to-improve-the-suspicious-activity-report-sars-regime

FinCEN Files: The art of evading sanctions

On 24 September, an article from Deutsche Welle reported that sanctions are popular means to frighten despots and enforce national interests – but the FinCEN files show that sanctions can be circumvented, often with the help of banks.

https://www.dw.com/en/fincen-files-the-art-of-evading-sanctions/a-55040214

One fix to the deluge of SAR

American Banker on 24 September suggests ending the US requirement to file SAR about otherwise legal (under state laws) cannabis businesses.  The opinion piece says that filing SAR on marijuana-related businesses is a relic of the “Reefer Madness” mentality whose time has long since expired.

https://www.americanbanker.com/opinion/one-fix-to-the-deluge-of-suspicious-activity-reports

The FinCEN Files – live aggregated news

FinCEN leak sheds light on the hidden money flows of Putin’s Russia

https://www.rferl.org/a/major-questions-fincen-leak-sheds-light-on-the-hidden-money-flows-of-putin-s-russia/30855925.html

Suspicious $462 million transferred from Citi Bank to Stanbic Bank Zambia

On 24 September, the Lusaka Times reported on the biggest transaction recorded in Zambia under the suspicious files.

FinCEN Files investigations from across Asia

https://www.icij.org/investigations/fincen-files/fincen-files-investigations-from-across-asia/

FinCEN Files: the documents

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/johntemplon/fincen-files-the-documents

Blame politicians, not banks, for the FinCEN mess

An article from Coda sets out to make an make an unfashionable observation – the leaks are evidence the banks were doing what we ask of them.  Fury should not be directed at them, but at the idiocy of the system they are operating within and ultimately, therefore, the blame lies with the politicians.

PHOENIXING: HOW UNSCRUPULOUS DEALERS RISE DEBT-FREE FROM THE ASHES OF FAILED COMPANIES

On 24 September, the Guardian in Australia reported that the Australian Tax Office claims it has been ripped off by as much as hundreds of millions of dollars under mass tax evasion schemes allegedly run by professional advisers.  The article claims that Australia is in the grip of a new wave of tax evasion and money laundering allegedly orchestrated by unscrupulous firms of professional advisers, including accountants.  The schemes involve “phoenixing” – the art of liquidating a company and allowing the directors to rise from the ashes in a new entity, free of debts – and prior to the Covid-19 crisis, a number of them were being intensively targeted by the ATO.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/sep/25/phoenixing-how-unscrupulous-dealers-rise-debt-free-from-the-ashes-of-failed-companies

ITALIAN CUSTOMS SEIZE 3.7 TONNES OF ILLEGAL REFRIGERANT

On 23 September, Cooling Post reported that Customs officers have seized nearly 4 tonnes of illegal refrigerant, including the banned HCFC R22, at the port of Livorno.  The shipment is said to have comprised 300 illegal non-refillable cylinders of Chinese origin. 

UK SEEKS TO SEIZE $39 MILLION FROM LAWYER WHO HELPED CORRUPT NIGERIAN POLITICIAN

On 24 September, Reuters reported that prosecutors have launched an attempt to confiscate £30.8 million from a London lawyer who assisted a Nigerian politician, James Ibori, in looting and laundering funds from the oil state he governed.  Bhadresh Gohil was convicted in 2010 of 13 counts of money-laundering and other offences and sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-nigeria-corruption/uk-seeks-to-seize-39-million-from-lawyer-who-helped-corrupt-nigerian-politician-idUKKCN26F2I9

UK GUIDANCE: RECRUITING PEOPLE FROM OUTSIDE THE UK FROM 1 JANUARY

A news release from the Home Office on 24 September about guidance for employers who, from 1 January will need to have a sponsor licence to hire most workers from outside the UK.  The freedom of movement between the UK and EU will end and the UK will introduce an immigration system that will treat all applicants equally, regardless of where they come from. Anyone one wants to recruit from outside the UK, excluding Irish citizens, will need to apply for permission first.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/recruiting-people-from-outside-the-uk-from-1-january-2021

POKERSTARS ISAI SCHEINBERG AVOIDS PRISON BUT JUDGE IMPOSES $300,000 FINE

On 24 September, SBC Americas reported that the founder of online gambling company PokerStars, has been issued with a $300,000 fine and sentenced to ‘time served’ following his initial indictment in 2011 that alleged that he knowingly ran operations in contravention of UIGEA – the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.  He was arrested in June of last year in Switzerland and extradited to the US in January of this year. 

IRELAND: GARDAÍ SEIZE 80 CARS WORTH €2 MILLION AS PART OF MONEY LAUNDERING INVESTIGATION

On 24 September, the Irish Times reported that the CAB has seized cars worth more than €2 million as part of a continuing operation in counties Clare and Tipperary – as part of an operation that also involves officers from the Economic Crime Bureau attached to West Midlands Police in the UK; and focussed on the assets of an international organised crime group who are suspected of laundering the proceeds of mandate fraud committed in the UK, via a used car outlet in County Tipperary.

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/garda%C3%AD-seize-80-cars-worth-2m-as-part-of-money-laundering-investigation-1.4363605

EL SALVADOR’S PRESIDENT BUKELE (AND PANAMA) LINKED TO VENEZUELAN MONEY LAUNDERING SCHEME

On 24 September, Insight Crime carried an article saying that a new report claimed that public officials and private individuals close to the president of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, have been linked to a massive money laundering scheme involving Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA.  It is said to involve Alba Petróleos, a PDVSA subsidiary in El Salvador and part of a massive money laundering scheme carried out in Venezuela, El Salvador, the US and Panama, among other countries. The article claims that Alba Petróleos sent huge sums to bank accounts in Panama, Switzerland, Gibraltar, Luxembourg and Russia, with transactions being passed off as debts acquired by Panamanian companies and corporations based in Miami.