OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – OCTOBER 31

Panama Covid-19 update – Well, the UK goes back into month-long lockdown; while here things would almost seem quite normal here – except for the face masks, social distancing, compulsory temperature-taking and hand cleansers etc…

Meanwhile, another 731 positive tests, with 7,446 tests carried out. 12 more fatalities and 20,346 active cases.

31 OCTOBER 2020

UN RIGHTS EXPERT TO ASSESS IMPACT OF UNILATERAL SANCTIONS ON QATAR

On 31 October, MENA-FN reported that the UN Special Rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures and human rights, Alena Douhan, plans to visit Qatar to assess the impact of unilateral sanctions on the enjoyment of human rights.  She says she is to examine whether and to what extent the adoption, maintenance or implementation of sanctions hinders the full realisation of the human rights of individuals.  Alena Douhan was appointed as Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights by the Human Rights Council in March 2020.  The Special Rapporteur will present her final report to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2021.

https://menafn.com/1101047257/UN-rights-expert-to-assess-impact-of-unilateral-sanctions-on-Qatar

US SANCTIONS ON NORD STREAM 2 PIPELINE

On 30 October, the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics published an article concerned with US State Department guidance about the new sanction regulations targeting a Russian natural gas pipeline, Nord Stream 2, that the US claims harms its national interests and those of the EU.

https://compliancecosmos.org/us-sanctions-nord-stream-2-pipeline?authkey=3e5bc02f04de389f7e62cfd55657e838a3510a12766b9a9fbe54cef0af5ac7fc

https://www.state.gov/protecting-europes-energy-security-act-peesa/

GLASGOW: FORMER TORY PARTY BRANCH SECRETARY CHARGED WITH MONEY LAUNDERING MORE THAN £200,000

On 31 October, the Glasgow Evening Times reported that Malcolm Macaskill, 61, allegedly sent cash deposits said to be from criminal property to the Rutherglen and Cambuslang Conservative Association and The Glasgow Conservative Forum before sending out numerous cheques to a snack shop’s bank account, while he was treasurer and deputy chairman of the associations between September 2005 and December 2013.

https://www.glasgowtimes.co.uk/news/18835039.former-tory-party-branch-secretary-charged-money-laundering-200-000/

EUROPEAN CONFERENCE OF MINISTERS OF TRANSPORT (ECMT) PERMITS

The British International Freight Association says that the present situation regarding trading with the EU after the end of the Brexit Transition period on the 31 December is complex – and in the road environment the 2 main issues are cabotage and market access.  BIFA says that it is still not clear in what circumstances the permit would be required. 

https://www.bifa.org/news/articles/2020/oct/european-conference-of-ministers-of-transport-ecmt-permits?l=y

See latest UK guidance at –

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/carry-out-international-road-haulage-from-1-january-2021

CHECK IF YOU ARE ESTABLISHED IN THE UK OR EU FOR CUSTOMS PURPOSES

BIFA refers one to UK guidance from 12 June, saying that a person or business needs to be established in the UK or EU to meet a number of customs rules. This includes being able to get a wide range of customs authorisations and simplifications.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-youre-established-in-the-uk-or-eu-for-customs

THE ECONOMIC COSTS OF EX ANTE REGULATIONS

The European Centre for International Political Economy published a report explaining that ex ante regulations broadly aim to identify problems beforehand and shape stakeholder behaviour and responses through regulatory intervention.  Ex ante regulations standardise certain practices and policies that solve sector-specific problems by specific predetermined outcomes.  In short: Ex ante regimes tell business precisely how to behave, or “what to do” whereas the norm is ex post where regulators tell them “what not to do” by describing the situations the society wants to avoid.  It says that the norm remains that regulatory action takes place once a market failure or distortion arises – which is ex post.  Until a certain undesirable effect is actually established, consumers and producers are allowed to act accordingly to what they believe maximises their welfare in accordance with well-known and pre-defined set of rules.  A study highlights the economic impacts of shifting from ex post to ex ante in the online services sector as stipulated by the proposals for the Digital Services Act. It estimates a loss of about €85 billion in GDP and €101 billion in lost consumer welfare, due to a reduction in productivity, after accounting for other control variables.

https://ecipe.org/publications/ex-ante/

BLOCKCHAIN FOR TRADE: THE NEXT GOLD STANDARD OR THE FOOL’S GOLD?

The European Centre for International Political Economy has published an article saying that the estimated benefits from the adoption of blockchain technology are considerable.  However, it says, to deliver on its trade promises, blockchain technology must bring in the regulatory agencies and be combined with other emerging technologies and backed by due diligence practices in line with existing international standards.

https://ecipe.org/blog/blockchain-for-trade/

BREXIT: NORTHERN IRELAND’S TRIPLE TREATY TRADE AMBIGUITY

On 29 September, the Centre for Cross Border Studies in Ireland which considers the global trading position of Northern Ireland with reference to thr3ee international legal texts, the WTO (Marrakesh Agreement 1994), Good Friday Agreement/Treaty of Belfast 1998, and Northern Ireland Protocol of the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement of 2020.  The article argues that each of these contains both core principles and ambiguities of relevance to Northern Ireland’s future trading position, which need to be navigated carefully and flexibly in determining future arrangements.  Ensuring that Northern Ireland does not remain the problem child of Brexit will be challenging.

http://crossborder.ie/northern-irelands-triple-treaty-trade-ambiguity/http://crossborder.ie/northern-irelands-triple-treaty-trade-ambiguity/

DATA PROTECTION REGISTRATION IN GUERNSEY FROM JANUARY 2021

On 26 October, Ogier published an article saying that the Office of the Data Protection Authority in Guernsey (ODPA) will introduce a new registration and levy regime from January 2021.  The new regime requires all entities, including local organisations, businesses and sole-traders established in Guernsey who process personal data to register with the ODPA.

https://www.ogier.com/publications/data-protection-registration-in-guernsey-from-january-2021

CBD ADVERTISING IN THE UK – THE BASICS

On 29 October, Field Fisher published an article saying that the UK CBD market is growing rapidly and is predicted to be worth more than $1 billion by 2025.  The UK high street now offers consumers a wide range of CBD products in a myriad of shapes and sizes and for a variety of purposes including foods, medicines, and cosmetics.  The article sets out a list of questions that we are routinely asked by US companies looking to sell CBD products into the UK, along with some brief thoughts.  

https://www.fieldfisher.com/en/services/franchising/franchise-commercial-law-blog/cbd-advertising-in-the-uk—the-basics

US CUSTOMS DISCOVERS ‘GREEN’ COCAINE IN SHIPMENT FROM COLOMBIA

A news release from US Customs & Border Protection on 30 October reported that, on 21 October, CBP officers seized 5.5 kg of green cocaine.  It explains that cocaine is produced from green coca plant leaves. Through a chemical process using gasoline, ammonia and other chemicals, the green colour is processed into the common white substance.  CBP officers periodically encounter coca leaves in plant form while inspecting travellers’ baggage and in air-shipped parcels, but rarely encounter the green powdery substance. Both of these forms of coca retain cocaine alkaloids and are regulated by the Controlled Substances Act.

https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/philadelphia-cbp-discovers-green-cocaine-shipment-colombia

DISEASE OUTBREAKS – DIFFERENTIATING BETWEEN NATURAL AND LABORATORY SOURCES OF INFECTION

On 28 October, the Middlebury Institute published a guide saying that COVID-19 has exposed key gaps in the global community’s ability to assess infectious disease outbreaks of international concern, in particular the ability to differentiate between natural and laboratory sources of infection.  It says that a deliberate biological attack may resemble an outbreak of natural or accidental origin, and a natural or accidental outbreak may be misattributed as an attack.  The purpose of this Occasional Paper is to outline a readily adoptable, stepwise methodology to guide the investigation of corresponding outbreak origins, building upon traditional epidemiological principles. 

https://nonproliferation.org/op-49-a-guide-to-investigating-outbreak-origins/

BANK’S QUINCECARE DUTY AND DISHONEST ASSISTANCE

On 27 October, CMS Law published an article saying that the English High Court has recently handed down an important judgment in relation to the Quincecare duty and dishonest assistance.  In the case, claimants alleged that a bank breached its Quincecare duty of care to take sufficient care that monies paid out from accounts were being properly paid out.  They further claimed against the bank for dishonest assistance relating to breaches of fiduciary duty by the ultimate beneficial owner of the Ponzi scheme operator involved.  The article explains that the Quincecare duty arises when bankers are asked to make payments in circumstances in which there are reasonable grounds to suspect a possible fraud.  Banks then owe a duty of care to their customers to refrain from making payments.

https://www.cms-lawnow.com/ealerts/2020/10/banks-quincecare-duty-and-dishonest-assistance?cc_lang=en

SWITZERLAND: COURT DELIVERS FIRST JUDGMENT IN FIFA CORRUPTION CASE

On 31 October, Eurasia Review reported that former FIFA number 2 Jérôme Valcke has been given a suspended sentence and fine in a corruption case, while the president of French football team Paris Saint-Germain has been acquitted.  Switzerland’s federal criminal court found Valcke guilty of forging documents linked to World Cup broadcasting deals in Italy and Greece, but he was acquitted of the more serious charges of accepting bribes and criminal mismanagement. 

https://www.eurasiareview.com/31102020-switzerland-court-delivers-first-judgment-in-fifa-corruption-case/

GUIDELINES ON THE CONCEPTS OF CONTROLLER AND PROCESSOR IN THE GDPR

On 29 October, an article from Baker McKenzie says that the European Data Protection Board has published draft guidelines on the concepts of controller and processor in the GDPR.  They replace the previous guidelines on the concepts of controllers and processors which the EDPB’s predecessor, had published in 2010.  In its comprehensive 45-page Guidelines, the EDPB not only provides guidance on the concepts of controllers, processors and joint controllers, but also long-anticipated guidance on data processing agreements pursuant to Article 28 GDPR.  The article summarises the key aspects of the Guidelines.

https://globalcompliancenews.com/europe-guidelines-on-the-concepts-of-controller-and-processor-in-the-gdpr22092020/

ALBANIAN WOMAN JAILED AFTER USING HER CHARITY TO HIDE AN ATTEMPT TO SMUGGLE PEOPLE INTO THE UK

On 30 October, the BBC reported that Police said Pranvera Smith intimidated immigrants into paying £1,000 each. From a shop in Birmingham, the 47-year-old would charge refugees for “free” services including benefits and housing support. She was jailed for 5 years and 4 months at Birmingham Crown Court.  Smith’s charity, Freedom to Stay, promoted itself as as helping newly-arrived Albanian asylum seekers find their feet by applying for benefits and care money as well as applications to stay.  She is thought to have made at least £130,000 from those she exploited.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-birmingham-54740649

US SELLS SEIZED IRANIAN GASOLINE CARGOES FOR MORE THAN $40 MILLION

On 31 October, Hellenic Shipping News reported that 4 Iranian gasoline cargoes that were bound for Venezuela but seized by the US earlier this year have been sold in a forfeiture auction for more than $40 million.

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/us-sells-seized-iranian-gasoline-cargoes-for-more-than-40-million-doj/

KENYA: GOVERNMENT ISSUES NOTICE FOR COMPANIES TO PROVIDE DETAILS OF KEY SHAREHOLDERS BY JANUARY

On 31 October, The Standard reported that all companies in Kenya have until January next year to submit to the government names of their key owners or controlling entities. This is said to be a move to enforce the law and create transparency in shareholding of companies as the state cracks down on illicit cash flows such as money laundering and terrorism financing.  The Business Registration Services (BRS) Director granted companies up to 31 January 2021 for preparation of beneficial ownership registers. 

https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/business/business-news/article/2001392185/state-cracks-down-on-shell-companies

I had omitted the following link (as it did not seem to generate much interest!), but it seemed time to add it again and say that, if you would like to make a (polite) gesture and help me with my removal and computer costs, I have a page at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

UK BARS SOUTH KOREA FROM SELLING FA-50 FIGHTER-TRAINER JET TO ARGENTINA

On 30 October, Janes.com and others reported that the UK has effectively barred the sale of the FA-50 to Argentina, with the South Korean manufacturer informing the South American nation that it is unable to supply the light fighter and strike jet with its British-made parts.

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news-detail/uk-bars-south-korea-from-selling-fa-50-to-argentina

https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidaxe/2020/10/31/no-fa-50s-for-you-uk-diplomats-swat-down-argentine-fighter-plan/?sh=1b0c000718d0

I had omitted the following link (as it did not seem to generate much interest!), but it seemed time to add it again and say that, if you would like to make a (polite) gesture and help me with my removal and computer costs, I have a page at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – OCTOBER 30

Panama Covid-19 update – another 822 new cases, with 8,103 tests carried out, leading to 20,810 currently active cases. There were also 10 additional fatalities, meaning 2,688 to date.

30 OCTOBER 2020

USE OF SANCTIONS AS US FOREIGN-POLICY TOOL LIKELY TO CONTINUE UNDER BIDEN

On 29 October, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Trump administration has imposed sanctions on more than 700 entities or individuals so far  this year and the assumption is that sanctions is going to remain the primary foreign policy tool.  It reports that, on average, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on more than 900 entities or individuals each year for the last 4 years, nearly 80% more than the annual number of designations imposed by the Obama administration from 2009 to 2016.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/use-of-sanctions-as-u-s-foreign-policy-tool-would-likely-continue-under-biden-11604050201

INDIA: AUTHORITIES INTERROGATE FORMER PUBLIC WORKS MINISTER AND SENIOR INDIAN UNION MUSLIM LEAGUE LEADER IN MONEY LAUNDERING CASE

On 29 October, the New Indian Express reported that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has interrogated former public works minister and senior Indian Union Muslim League leader V K Ebrahim Kunju in a money laundering case against him.

https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2020/oct/29/ed-grills-iuml-leaderebrahim-kunju-in-money-laundering-case-2216348.html

VATICAN INVESTIGATORS FOCUS ON LONG-TIME INVESTMENT MANAGER

On 28 October, the National Catholic Register reported that L’Espresso magazine has said that it has obtained a document in which Vatican investigators focus on a long-time investment manager for the Holy See as a central figure in the ongoing financial scandal, but the investment manager has said there is nothing unusual about his work at the Vatican.  The magazine said it had obtained a letter sent from the Vatican to Switzerland highlighting alleged activities of Enrico Crasso, an Italian-born Swiss citizen.

https://www.ncregister.com/news/report-vatican-investigators-focus-on-longtime-investment-manager

BANK OF AMERICA FREEZES ACCOUNTS OF NEARLY 350,000 UNEMPLOYED CALIFORNIANS FOR SUSPECTED FRAUD

On 29 October, CBS Los Angeles reported that thousands of unemployed Californians who get their Employment Development Department (EDD) benefits through Bank of America debit cards are struggling to get answers after the bank froze nearly 350,000 accounts due to suspected fraud.  This came after attacks seem to have targeted ATM all across the state.

https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2020/10/29/bank-of-america-freezes-edd-accounts-of-nearly-350000-unemployed-californians-for-suspected-fraud

AUSTRALIA: PERTH BUSINESSMAN AND ALLEGED PONZI SCHEME LEFT INVESTORS BILLIONS SHORT

On 29 October, ABC News reported that the Federal Court has heard allegations Perth businessman Chris Marco ran a Ponzi scheme of “significant proportions” which left his investors $2.1 billion short of what they could have earned if he had delivered on his promises.  The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) claims Mr Marco ran an unregistered management investment scheme and also ran a financial services business without a licence from 2010.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-10-29/wa-businessman-chris-marco-ran-alleged-ponzi-scheme-court-hears/12824362

BINANCE’S ELABORATE SCHEME TO EVADE BITCOIN REGULATORS

On 29 October, Forbes reported claims that Binance Holdings Limited, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange conceived of an elaborate corporate structure designed to intentionally deceive regulators and surreptitiously profit from crypto investors in the US, according to a document thought to be created by its senior executives and obtained by Forbes.  Cayman Islands-based Binance is currently responsible for about $10 billion in total crypto trades per day and its founder and CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao is one of the few known cryptocurrency billionaires.  It is said that the 2018 document details plans for a yet-unnamed US company dubbed the “Tai Chi entity,” in an allusion to the Chinese martial art whose approach is built around the principle of “yield and overcome,” or using an opponent’s own weight against him.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaeldelcastillo/2020/10/29/leaked-tai-chi-document-reveals-binances-elaborate-scheme-to-evade-bitcoin-regulators/?sh=40ca41b02a92

US PAYDAY LOAN COMPANY OWNER PLEADS GUILTY TO WIRE FRAUD

On 15 October, a news release from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement advised that a payday loan company owner, Arsen Khumaryan, 41, of Glendale, pleaded guilty to a federal criminal charge for defrauding money transmitting companies by failing to remit to them, as promised, nearly $1 million of wire transfers sent on behalf of his customers over just 2 weeks.  He owns Ask Inter Inc (AII), a Glendale-based company that does business as Monroe’s Payday Advance, a financial services and cheque-cashing store.

https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/ice-hsi-probe-results-payday-loan-company-owner-pleading-guilty-wire-fraud

US DoJ CRYPTOCURRENCY ENFORCEMENT FRAMEWORK

On 29 October, Baker McKenzie published an article saying that the Framework provides a self-described comprehensive overview of what the DoJ considers to be emerging threats and enforcement challenges associated with cryptocurrencies.   The Framework also details the collaboration that the DoJ has built with regulatory and enforcement partners both within the US government and around the world.  Further, the Framework outlines the Department’s response strategies. 

https://blockchain.bakermckenzie.com/2020/10/29/u-s-department-of-justice-releases-cryptocurrency-enforcement-framework-avowing-authority-to-prosecute-individuals-located-inside-and-outside-of-the-u-s/#page=1

https://www.velaw.com/insights/cryptocurrency-101-dojs-new-cryptocurrency-enforcement-framework-provides-guidance-and-promises-of-heightened-scrutiny-of-virtual-assets-through-intergovernmental-collaboration/

FINANCIAL SERVICES (DISCLOSURE AND PROVISION OF INFORMATION) (JERSEY) LAW

On 29 October, an article from Ogier looks at the introduction of new legislation in relation to beneficial ownership and controlling interest requirements.  This new legislation aims to implement in Jersey the requirements set out by FATF.  Following a public consultation in 2019, the Law was adopted by the government on 14 July and is currently awaiting approval from the Privy Council.  It is anticipated that the Law will come into force on 1 December, with an order and regulations also taking effect from that date.

https://www.internationallawoffice.com/Newsletters/Private-Client-Offshore-Services/Jersey/Ogier/Financial-Services-Disclosure-and-Provision-of-Information-Jersey-Law-202

CHINA SAID TO RUN ILLEGAL INTIMIDATION SCHEME INSIDE THE US

On 28 October, NPR reported that 5 people have been arrested in connection with their roles in what US officials call an aggressive Chinese government operation to track down dissidents and critics of China in the US and try to repatriate them.  3 other people also facing charges are not in custody and are believed to be in China.  US officials say the defendants were part of a Chinese government effort known as “Operation Fox Hunt”, said by China to be an anti-corruption campaign designed to bring suspects home for trial.

https://www.npr.org/2020/10/28/928684913/china-runs-illegal-intimidation-scheme-inside-the-u-s-doj-charges

VIOLENT CRIMINAL GROUPS GAINING GROUND IN MEXICO

On 29 October, an article in the Washington Post says that organised crime groups are seizing power in communities, police forces and local government.  They have shifted from seeking territorial control to move drugs to extracting resources from the local populations, a former top Mexican security official has said, kidnapping Mexicans, trafficking migrants and shaking down businesses from farmers to mining companies.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/world/mexico-losing-control/mexico-violence-drug-cartels-zacatecas/

https://www.statista.com/chart/23326/countries-with-the-most-passenger-vehicle-imports-from-the-us

MALAYSIA: ILLEGAL CIGARETTE TRADE REACHES HISTORIC HIGH AT 64.5%

On 30 October, Malaysiakini reported that 64.5% of all cigarettes consumed in August were illegal, according to the Illicit Cigarettes Study (ICS) commissioned by the Confederation of Malaysian Tobacco Manufacturers (CMTM).  The illicit cigarette consumption in July was 62%.  It is said that approximately 12 billion illegal cigarettes are sold in Malaysia annually, the majority brought into the country through the abuse of transhipment routes via the country’s ports.

https://www.malaysiakini.com/announcement/548688

SWITZERLAND: PROPOSED INVESTMENT BAN TARGETS ARMAMENT INDUSTRY

On 30 October, Swissinfo reported that voters in a referendum will decide next month on a left-wing proposal to ban investments by the Swiss National Bank, pension funds and private foundations in weapons manufacturing companies.  The initiative also wants the Swiss government to push for an international agreement that would impose similar funding restrictions on the banking and insurance industry.

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/proposed-investment-ban-targets-armament-industry/46107968

AT LEAST 100 LIVE TARANTULAS SMUGGLED INSIDE SNEAKERS SEIZED IN PHILIPPINES

On 29 October, Yahoo News reported that the Bureau of Customs officials had seized 119 live tarantulas at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City and said to have arrived from Poland.  The arachnids which were hidden inside plastic vials after the parcel was x-rayed.

https://sg.news.yahoo.com/least-100-live-tarantulas-smuggled-020532366.html

http://www.china.org.cn/world/Off_the_Wire/2020-10/30/content_76860224.htm

4 SENTENCED IN BRITISH COLUMBIA STEROID SMUGGLING AND DISTRIBUTION RING

On 30 October, The Bellingham Herald reported that 4 British Columbia residents pleaded guilty in Vancouver Provincial Court for their roles in a steroid smuggling and distribution ring with more than $715,000 worth of drugs seized during the investigation.  The investigation begun in 2015 identified 34 mailboxes across the Lower Mainland of British Columbia and 5 mailboxes in Washington State in the US that were used to receive drugs that were then sold illegally in British Columbia and across Canada.

https://www.bellinghamherald.com/news/local/crime/article246818257.html

BULGARIA’S ‘GOLDEN PASSPORTS’ SCHEME BRING LITTLE INVESTMENT

On 30 October, an article on EurActiv reported that Bulgarian citizenship has been available for sale for 8 years now, but the scheme hasn’t brought any significant foreign investment into the country.  On 22 October, the European Commission officially urged Bulgarian authorities to end the investor citizenship schemes also referred to as “golden passport” schemes. Cyprus and Malta are the other EU countries selling passports.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/bulgarias-golden-passports-scheme-bring-little-investment/

SOUTH KOREA: PROSECUTION RAIDS 2 BROKERAGES OVER HIGH-PROFILE FINANCIAL SCAM CASE

On 30 October, the Korea Herald reported that 2 brokerage houses have been raided in connection with a snowballing financial fraud scandal involving a hedge fund.  They were Shinhan Investment Corporation and Korea Investment & Securities Co. 

http://www.koreaherald.com/

BIG TOBACCO USING NETHERLANDS TO DODGE TAXES

On 30 October, Dutch News reported claims that the 4 largest tobacco companies in the world funnel billions of euros through the Netherlands every year in order to avoid paying taxes in other countries, according to an investigation of the tobacco companies’ financial transactions in the period 2010-2019.  According to the researchers, British American Tobacco, Philip Morris, Japan Tobacco, and Imperial Brands use shell companies in the Netherlands to funnel at least €7.5 billion per year in dividends, royalties and interest payments. 

https://nltimes.nl/2020/10/30/big-tobacco-using-netherlands-dodge-taxes-report

PODCAST: DARK MONEY AND DEMOCRACY

On 30 October, a podcast from RUSI asks if foreign ‘dark money’ has undermined democracy as we know it? And can a solution lie in a smarter understanding of financial flows? Tom Keatinge is joined by analyst Edward Lucas, Gemma Rogers of Fintrail and Josh Rudolph of the German Marshall Fund of the US. This episode forms part of a series that examines the impact of the 2020 US elections on global illicit finance.

https://www.rusi.org/multimedia/episode-three-dark-money-and-democracy

SRI LANKA: CUSTOMS TO REPATRIATE GARBAGE-FILLED FREIGHT CONTAINERS TO THE UK

On 30 October, News First reported that the Consumer Protection Unit of Sri Lanka Customs has taken the initial steps to repatriate multiple garbage-filled freight containers back to the UK.  20 garbage-filled freight containers that were lying inside the Colombo Port will be repatriated to the UK and another 65 Containers are scheduled to be repatriated on 4 November.  Another 21 garbage-filled freight containers were repatriated to the UK on 26 September. 

https://www.newsfirst.lk/2020/10/30/customs-to-repatriate-garbage-filled-freight-containers-to-the-uk/

HONG KONG CUSTOMS SEIZES LARGEST HAUL OF FAKE N95 MASKS MEANT FOR OVERSEAS MARKET

On 30 October, the South China Morning Post reported that Hong Kong authorities have made their largest ever seizure of counterfeit masks worth US$387,000 that were destined for the overseas market, and a 71-year-old owner of a local trading company was arrested on suspicion of violating the Trade Descriptions Ordinance.  About 100,000 bogus 3M-brand N95 respirators was found hidden in a warehouse.

https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-and-crime/article/3107816/hong-kong-customs-seizes-largest-haul-fake-n95-masks

UK: NEGLIGENT CONVEYANCERS CANNOT DODGE LIABILITY BECAUSE OF FRAUD

On 30 October, Legal Futures reported that negligent conveyancers should not be able to avoid liability because it emerges later that their client was engaged in mortgage fraud, the Supreme Court has ruled.  To do so “would be a disincentive to the diligent performance by solicitors of their duties”, it said.  It was upholding the Court of Appeal’s refusal of the appeal by the former Kent law firm, which was shut down by the Solicitors Regulation Authority in 2015.

https://www.legalfutures.co.uk/latest-news/negligent-conveyancers-cannot-dodge-liability-because-of-fraud

EL SALVADOR SEIZING THOUSANDS OF GUNS BUT FLOW OF WEAPONS CONTINUES

On 29 October, Insight crime reported that Salvadoran authorities recently claimed that an anti-gang campaign has led to thousands of weapons being seized.  But the numbers and types of weapons seized are unlikely to make a real difference to gangs and do nothing to halt the flow of weapons entering El Salvador.  By early October, El Salvador’s police had announced the seizure of 2,026 firearms, including 1,371 pistols and other small arms.

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/analysis/el-salvador-seizing-weapons/

IRAN AMENDS LAW TO ALLOW IMPORTS TO BE FUNDED WITH CRYPTOCURRENCY

On 29 October, Coindesk reported that Iran’s cabinet has amended recent legislation on digital assets to allow cryptocurrency to be used for import funding by the Central Bank of Iran (CBI).  The change means legally mined cryptocurrency in Iran can only be exchanged if used to fund imports from other nations, and miners will supply the cryptocurrency directly to the CBI within an authorised limit. 

https://www.coindesk.com/iran-amends-law-to-allow-imports-to-be-funded-with-cryptocurrency

SCHOOLBOY ARRESTED OVER CROSS-BORDER CREDIT CARD SCAM, AS HONG KONG AND MACAU DETAIN 35 SUSPECTED GANG MEMBERS

On 29 October, the South China Morning Post reported that a 12-year-old boy was among 36 people who were arrested when police in Hong Kong and Macau broke up a fraud syndicate that used stolen credit card data to make online purchases.

https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-and-crime/article/3107604/schoolboy-arrested-over-cross-border-credit-card-scam

TYPES OF US FREIGHT TRAIN CARS

GUIDANCE ON UBO OF DIFFERENT LEGAL ENTITY TYPES

Marcos Tinedo has produced a useful chart which identifies the controlling person etc for different types of business vehicle.

https://www.linkedin.com/posts/marcos-tinedo-42199a14_guidance-on-ubos-by-legal-entity-type-ugcPost-6727593300016062464-B7j9

DATA PROTECTION: GDPR AND SINGAPORE’S PDPA COMPARED

OneTrust DataGuidance has produced a document which compares the Personal Data Protection Act 2012 (the PDPA) in Singapore to the EU GDPR.  It is aimed at highlighting the similarities and differences between the 2 pieces of legislation in order to help organisations develop their compliance activities.

THE EU TIPTOES INTO CYBER SANCTIONS REGIMES

An explainer article from RUSI on 12 October was concerned with the so-called “cyber sanctions” targeting Russian, North Korean and Chinese actors deemed responsible for cyber attacks against EU Member States.  It considers how the EU decides on imposing such sanctions, and what effect that they might have.

https://www.rusi.org/commentary/eu-tiptoes-cyber-sanctions-regimes

IRANIAN MILITARY EMPLOYS INDONESIAN FRONT COMPANIES

On 27 October, the Iran Watch website carried an article following a US grand jury indictment of Iranian businessmen Mohsen Faghihi and Sahebali Moulaei as well as the Indonesian nationals Alfrets and Arnold Kaunang.  According to the indictment, the network involved procured US-made products for IAMI, a branch of Iran’s military.  In addition to US sanctions, IAMI remains subject to sanctions enacted by Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, and EU over its contribution to Iran’s military development.  It is said that this case is not the first time that Iran has used Indonesian front companies to obtain US-origin aircraft parts.  It is reported that all the defendants in the IAMI and the earlier Mahan Air cases remain at large.  Because Indonesia does not have an extradition agreement with the US, the Kaunangs and Kuntjoro are unlikely to stand trial.

https://www.iranwatch.org/our-publications/international-enforcement-actions/iranian-military-employs-indonesian-front-companies

EXPORTING CORRUPTION REPORT: A TIMELY ALERT FOR BANGLADESH

On 29 October, Transparency International says that corruption is often most acutely felt in developing countries like Bangladesh which once ranked for 5 successive years (2001-2005) at the very bottom of the global Corruption Perception Index (CPI).  In addition, money laundering is a substantial concern for Bangladesh, as conservative estimates put the amount of annual illicit transfers out of the country at over $10 billion, most of which is through improper invoicing in foreign trade.  Bangladesh also performs poorly on nearly every governance indicator, including the Rule of Law Index, Regulatory Quality Index, Government effectiveness index, Political stability index, Voice and accountability index, Press Freedom Index, Political rights index and civil liberties index.

https://www.transparency.org/en/blog/exporting-corruption-report-a-timely-alert-for-bangladesh

SEAPORT EMPLOYEES CAN HELP STOP HUMAN TRAFFICKING

On 26 October, Marine Logistics Professional said that port employees have continued working throughout the pandemic, have not shut down or decreased hours like so many industries have. Another industry that has never shut down is human trafficking. In fact, as much of the world has turned its attention to the COVID-19 pandemic—the illegal crime of human trafficking has been able to flourish.  It says that crew members can be forced to work long hours, manipulated into extending their contracts, be paid less than they agreed to work for, or their wages are sometimes withheld entirely; and human trafficking can also occur in the cruise industry, where ship workers are sometimes paid by a third-party contractor who can withhold pay or pay workers less than they expect to receive.  It is not just labour trafficking that seaports need to watch for. Sex trafficking can happen at ports as well.  It is said that seaports are a critical checkpoint for stopping human trafficking.  Employees working at ports can be turned into advocates for human trafficking victims when they are properly trained to know how to spot a potential trafficking situation. 

https://www.maritimeprofessional.com/news/seaport-employees-help-stop-human-362680

SFO PUBLISHES ITS INTERNAL GUIDANCE ON DEFERRED PROSECUTION AGREEMENTS

On 30 October, a post on the Compliance & Enforcement blog from the Program on Corporate Compliance Enforcement at the New York University School of Law  said that the UK SFO had published the chapter on deferred prosecution agreements (DPA) from its Operational Handbook.  So far, the SFO has concluded 8 DPA, with 9th ninth DPA awaiting approval by the court on 30 October. 

https://wp.nyu.edu/compliance_enforcement/2020/10/30/the-sfo-publishes-its-internal-guidance-on-deferred-prosecution-agreements/

CANADA: FALLEN CONSTRUCTION MAGNATE ORDERED TO PAY $2 MILLION AFTER PLEADING GUILTY TO FRAUD

On 30 October, City News reported that one-time Quebec construction magnate Tony Accurso and several companies tied to him have been ordered to pay $4.2 million after pleading guilty to tax fraud.

https://toronto.citynews.ca/2020/10/30/fallen-construction-magnate-ordered-to-pay-2-million-after-pleading-guilty-to-fraud/

FORMER VENEZUELAN TREASURER CHARGED WITH ACCEPTING MILLIONS IN MIAMI CORRUPTION CASE

On 30 October, the Miami Herald reported that a former Venezuelan national treasurer Claudia Patricia Díaz Guillén, a former naval officer, and her husband, Adrián Velásquez Figueroa, a former presidential security guard, accepted massive bribes from a politically connected billionaire who paid them through US bank accounts so he could gain access to the government’s lucrative currency exchange system, according to a new federal criminal case filed in Miami.

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/article246791877.html

ROMANIAN PROSECUTORS OPEN BRIBERY CASE AGAINST EX-MINISTER AFTER PARLIAMENT LIFTED HIS IMMUNITY

On 30 October, Universul reported that Nicolae Banicioiu is accused that he took bribes worth about €800,000 while he served as youth and then health minister.  He is a member if ex-Prime Minister Victor Ponta’s party, Pro Romania, but the Parliament has stripped him of his immunity, leaving prosecutors free to pursue charges. He denies wrongdoing.

https://universul.net/romanian-prosecutors-open-bribery-case-against-ex-minister-after-parliament-lifted-his-immunity

SAUDI ARABIA: OVERSIGHT AND ANTI-CORRUPTION AUTHORITY INITIATES (123) CRIMINAL CASES

On 30 October, the Saudi Press Agency said that an official source in the Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority stated that the Authority had initiated 123 criminal cases lately, and gave example of some of them. 

https://www.spa.gov.sa/viewfullstory.php

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MALTA: LOMBARD BANK FINED €340,000 BY FIAU OVER AML SHORTCOMINGS

On 30 October, Malta Today reported that the FIAU finds low level of risk assessment and enhanced due diligence for PEP and voluminous transactions at Lombard Bank.  It has been fined €340,058 for breaching AML obligations by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit.

https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/business/business_news/105623/lombard_bank_fined_340000_by_fiau_over_money_laundering_shortcomings

https://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2020-10-30/local-news/Lombard-Bank-slapped-with-340-000-fine-by-FIAU-over-money-laundering-breaches-bank-to-appeal-6736228269

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OFAC ADVISORY: ADVISORY AND GUIDANCE ON POTENTIAL SANCTIONS RISKS ARISING FROM DEALINGS IN HIGH-VALUE ARTWORK

On 30 October, OFAC issued this Advisory to highlight sanctions risks arising from dealings in high-value artwork associated with persons blocked pursuant to OFAC authorities, including persons on the OFAC List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (the SDN List).

https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/126/ofac_art_advisory_10302020.pdf

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20201030

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IMPROVING GOVERNANCE AND TACKLING CRIME IN FREE-TRADE ZONES

This Occasional Paper from RUSI on 13 October identifies factors that render free-trade zones vulnerable to illicit trade and financial crime and proposes measures to detect and prevent it.  It points out that international organisations such as the OECD, WCO, FATF and the EU have all highlighted criminal risks related to FTZ.  Based on 74 interviews, 2 research workshops and an analysis of publicly available literature, the paper identifies key challenges faced by the case study countries, which are also likely to apply to other countries that host FTZ.

https://rusi.org/sites/default/files/20201012_ftzs_web_2.pdf

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ISLE OF MAN: DISCUSSION PAPER ON FUNDING FINANCIAL REGULATION AND DESIGNATED BUSINESS OVERSIGHT

On 30 October, the Isle of Man FSA issued a Discussion Paper, with responses required by 22 January.  The purpose of the paper is to discuss proposals for greater industry funding of financial regulation and Designated Business oversight in the Island.  Increasing funding from industry would provide greater independence from government and move the FSA towards a predominantly industry-funded model (PIFM) in the future.  A separate consultation paper was issued on 16 October with specific proposals to increase fees payable to the FSA from 1 April 2021 and 1 April 2022.

https://consult.gov.im/financial-services-authority/funding-financial-regulation-designated-business/supporting_documents/DP2001T14FundingRegulationandOversight.pdf

https://consult.gov.im/financial-services-authority/fees-from-1-april-2021-and-1-april-2022/consult_view/

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EU SANCTIONS ON BURUNDI – 2 ENTRIES AMENDED

EU Regulation 2020/1578/EU has amended 2 entries on its Burundi sanctions list.

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DUTCH PLEASURE BOAT REGISTRATION ‘USED BY CRIMINALS AND DRUG SMUGGLERS’

On 30 October, Dutch News reported that the Dutch government intends to toughen up licensing rules after investigations have revealed that Dutch pleasure boat registrations are being used to facilitate large-scale drug smuggling operations.
https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/2020/10/dutch-pleasure-boat-registration-used-by-criminals-and-drug-smugglers-nieuwsuur/

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THE IMPACT OF A PERSON’S OFAC DESIGNATION IN THE UK

On 27 October, Bright Line Law published an article which considers the scope for enforcement of OFAC designation against UK persons.  In certain scenarios, a US sanction will operate to prevent persons in the UK from dealings.  But although there is a need to tread carefully, assisting a person who is OFAC designated in or from the UK, including in relation to property, is possible as long as key points are remembered.

https://brightlinelaw.co.uk/the-impact-of-a-persons-ofac-designation-in-the-uk/

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