OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – OCTOBER 19

Panama Covid-19 update – A very Panamanian story I recently came across – Panama starting out driving on the left-hand side of the road, and often both (which seems much the same now at times). From 1936 the Government tried to get people to drive on the right (as they all drove US cars and trucks anyway), but without much success. It was only in WW2, with the influx of many more US military and civilians, and lots more traffic, that things actually changed. On the prescribed day, a siren sounded at 5 am and everyone had to get on the right side of the road! Having said that, there is still one street in Panama City (“English Street”) where the flow of traffic means that the traffic all drives on the wrong sides of the road…

Meanwhile, the virus continues to bubble along in the background – another 436 new cases reported today, with 10 more fatalities. There are now 21,062 actives cases, 115 in ICU and 637 in other wards.

19 October 2020

BUSINESSES IN THE EU PAID MORE THAN $400 MILLION IN FINES FOR 2 ISSUES DATA PROTECTION ISSUES

On 16 October, IT Pro Portal reported that businesses across Europe have paid more than $620 million in fines under GDPR, with two thirds (65%) stemming from security and data storage issues.  39% ($244 million) of GDPR-related fines were due to insufficient security, with affected companies including British Airways, Active Assurances and DSK Bank, more than a quarter of all fines were dished out as a result of unsecured and over-retained data. Other notable problems include the unlawful use of personally identifiable information and failure to comply with Data Subject Access Requests (DSAR).

https://www.itproportal.com/news/majority-of-gdpr-penalties-issued-as-a-result-of-these-two-problems/

NIGERIA: ANOTHER ANTI-CORRUPTION AGENCY

On 19 October, an article from Sofunde Osakwe Ogundipe & Belgore advised of news that the federal government’s intends to establish yet another anti-corruption agency, separate from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission – established in 2003 – and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission – established in 2000. The proposed name of the newest agency is the Proceeds of Crime Recovery and Management Agency, and its objective is to better manage the properties and proceeds of crime forfeited to the federal government. 

https://www.internationallawoffice.com/Newsletters/White-Collar-Crime/Nigeria/Sofunde-Osakwe-Ogundipe-Belgore/Yet-another-anti-corruption-agency

LARGEST SCOTTISH FRAUD CASE LINKED TO REGIME OF COLONEL MUAMMAR GADAFFI

On 19 October, KYC 360 reported that a money laundering operation that allegedly funneled tens of millions of pounds through Scotland from Libya is believed to be the largest fraud investigation in Scottish history.  Police Scotland began an inquiry in 2014 and a report by detectives from the FIU was handed to Scottish prosecutors a few months ago.  It is alleged that Ali Ibrahim Dabaiba, 74, a former Libyan official controlled Libya’s Organisation for Development of Administrative Centres (Odac), a public agency tasked with developing infrastructure, inflated the cost of construction projects and awarded tenders to firms he either owned or was connected with.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/largest-scottish-fraud-case-linked-to-regime-of-colonel-muammar-gadaffi/

AUSTRALIA: CROWN RESORTS IS FACING A NEW THREAT TO ITS CASINO LICENCES AND THE PROSPECT OF MULTIMILLION-DOLLAR FINES

On 19 October, the Guardian reported that Austrac has notified Crown that it has identified “potential non-compliance” by Crown Melbourne – referring to potential non-compliance includes concerns in relation to ongoing customer due diligence, and adopting, maintaining and complying with an AML/CFT programme.  It is said to be focused on Crown Melbourne’s management of customers identified as high risk and PEP.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/oct/19/crown-melbourne-casino-faces-austrac-investigation-for-potential-money-laundering-breaches

UK FIU PODCAST ON MODERN SLAVERY AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING

On 24 September, the UK FIU released its latest podcast which looks at modern slavery and human trafficking (MSHT) and the importance of SAR information in this. Reporters are in a unique position to help combat this crime.  Panellists from the UKFIU and the NCA Modern Slavery Human Trafficking Unit discuss what assists law enforcement and helps to safeguard victims.

http://ukfiu.podbean.com/

NAZI LOOTED PAINTING REPATRIATED TO JEWISH FAMILY BY FBI

On 19 october, the Art Newspaper reported that, discovered at the Arkell Museum in Canajoharie, a painting looted by the Nazis has finally been returned to its rightful heirs after almost 90 years. This recent recovery is part of an international effort involving the FBI to restitute more than 1,000 artworks and artefacts seized in 1933 from the Mosse family, who were prominent Jewish residents of Berlin.  

https://artlawandmore.com/2020/10/19/nazi-looted-painting-repatriated-to-jewish-family-by-fbi/

ISLE OF MAN CONFIRMS ADDITIONS AND AMENDMENTS TO SYRIAN SANCTIONS

On 19 October, a news release advised that 7 new names have been added to Syrian sanctions lists, and 18 existing entries have been amended.

https://www.gov.im/news/2020/oct/19/financial-sanctions-syria/

BANK OF RUSSIA: DIGITAL RUBLE COULD BE TOOL AGAINST SANCTIONS

On 19 October, NASDAQ reported that the Bank of Russia (BoR) has said a role in side-stepping economic sanctions would be one reason to launch a ruble-backed central bank digital currency (CBDC).  The bank has launched a consultation exercise, with responses due by 31 December,After the consultation period, the regulator may run pilot of the digital ruble with a limited set of users, and a final decision on whether to go ahead with the digital currency would only be made after that, the report indicated.

https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/digital-ruble-could-be-tool-against-sanctions-bank-of-russia-says-2020-10-19

INDIA: UAE CONSULATE IN KERALA UNDER SCANNER FOR ALLEGED SMUGGLING OF FOREIGN CURRENCIES

On 19 October, the New Indian Express reported that a UAE Consulate, including its Consul General, has come under a shadow for allegedly smuggling out foreign currencies on several occasions.  Customs has mentioned the alleged involvement of diplomats in smuggling out foreign currencies in huge quantities.

https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2020/oct/19/now-uae-consulate-in-kerala-under-scanner-for-alleged-smuggling-of-foreign-currencies-2212257.html

https://www.deccanherald.com/national/south/consul-is-eating-mangoes-code-for-smuggling-via-diplomatic-cargo-in-kerala-903786.html

HONG KONG: SEA SMUGGLERS CARRYING $20 MILLION OF MEAT AND FRUIT FOILED

On 19 October, The Standard reported that Customs have cracked the first fruit-smuggling scheme to use sea vessels, seizing 4 tonnes of fruit in 600 boxes, in addition to 240 tonnes of frozen meat, totaling a combined HK$20 million.  It deployed more than 150 officers in an operation, arresting 22 local and mainland men.  All the suspects, who were crews and managers on 7 vessels, were believed to be members of a smuggling syndicate.

https://www.thestandard.com.hk/section-news/section/4/223929/Sea-smugglers-carrying-$20m-meat,-fruit-foiled

THE BIGGEST IMPORT ISSUE YOU HAVE NEVER HEARD ABOUT – REGULATION OF WOOD PACKAGING MATERIAL IN INTERNATIONAL TRADE

On 19 October, Thomas Fox hosted a podcast about wood packaging violations at import.  US Customs checks for pests in wood packaging, packaging that should be treated.  Re the ISPM 15 treatment requirements to keep damaging pests out of US (and other countries).

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/fcpa-compliance-report-episode-519-gar-82473/

For more information see –

http://www.fao.org/3/a-mb160e.pdf

The ISPM 15 standard describes phytosanitary measures that reduce the risk of introduction and spread of quarantine pests associated with the movement in international trade of wood packaging material made from raw wood. Wood packaging material covered by this standard includes dunnage but excludes wood packaging made from wood processed in such a way that it is free from pests (e.g. plywood)

TRIAL OF RUSSIAN CHARGED IN BITCOIN FRAUD BEGINS IN PARIS

On 19 October, AP reported that the trial of Alexander Vinnik, 41, ( who is also wanted in the US and in Russia), alleged to have used ransomware in a €135 million bitcoin fraud begins in France.  French prosecutors say Vinnik was one of the creators of malware called “Locky” which was delivered through email. If downloaded, the recipient’s data was encrypted and they were asked to pay a ransom in bitcoin to free it.

https://apnews.com/article/malware-paris-trials-money-laundering-russia-c692451d048fdbfc02668011f6515a75

ONLINE ESTATE AGENTS ARE MORE ATTRACTIVE TO MONEY LAUNDERING CRIMINALS, WARNS HMRC

On 19 October, The Negotiator reported that HMRC has updated its AML guidance for sales and lettings agents including a warning that online-only operators are at higher risk than traditional high street businesses.  HMRC claims that sales and lettings transaction made without face-to-face contact including online, over the phone or via an intermediary reduce an agent’s ability to spot whether money laundering is being attempted.  It has also highlighted the long list of key areas that agents should be watching out for when dealing with a vendor, buyer, landlord, tenant or guarantor – which are included in the article.

https://thenegotiator.co.uk/online-agents-are-more-attractive-to-money-launders-warns-hmrc/

US INTRODUCES STREAMLINED PROCESS TO APPLY FOR EXPORT LICENCE EXTENSION

On 17 October, the US Commerce Department Bureau of Industry and Security issued a news release advising of a new, online and streamlined process for exporters to apply for a 6-month extension to existing licences which are due to expire on or before 31 December.

https://www.bis.doc.gov/index.php/documents/about-bis/newsroom/press-releases/2645-extension-of-license-validity-announcement/file

BREXIT – DEAL OR NO-DEAL YOU CAN STILL EXPECT “A MOUNTAIN OF PAPERWORK”

On 19 October, Loadstar reported that businesses must “accept uncertainty” following prime minister Boris Johnson’s warning that the UK must prepare itself for a no-deal Brexit.  One executive is quoted as saying that UK companies will need to complete 400 million customs declarations a year, compared with 5 million last year – an increase of 8,000%, and that the UK would be required to spend £4 billion on customs paperwork alone if it wanted to continue importing 70% of its goods.

https://theloadstar.com/brexit-deal-or-no-deal-businesses-must-prepare-for-a-mountain-of-paperwork/

2020 UK ANNUAL REPORT ON MODERN SLAVERY

On 19 October, the Home Office published a report which provides an overview of modern slavery in the UK and explains how the UK has responded to this threat over the last 12 months.

Meanwhile, another webpage brings together documents and promotional material related to the UK government’s work to end modern slavery.

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/modern-slavery

LATVIAN REGULATORS WARN PUBLIC ABOUT CRYPTOCURRENCY FRAUD

On 19 October, the Coin Telegraph reported that Latvia’s Financial and Capital Market Commission has identified suspect transactions and attempted fraud in the domestic cryptocurrency space.  Within Latvia, the issuance and circulation of cryptocurrencies is mostly unregulated, with exceptions for certain types of investment services and contracts involving crypto that require a licence from the FCMC.  The regulator has shared several details of the “signs of fraud” it has identified within the domestic cryptocurrency market.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/latvian-regulators-warn-public-about-cryptocurrency-fraud

UK CHARITY COMMISSION WARNS OF RISE IN FRAUD

On 19 October, Accountancy Daily reported that the Charity Commission is warning trustees and donors to strengthen their defences as it fears the pandemic has created environments that are enabling charity fraud.

https://www.accountancydaily.co/cch_uk/tat/news_012666_riseinfraud

TAIWAN: 17 SUSPECTS HAVE BEEN ARRESTED FOR CREATING AN INVESTMENT SCAM THAT TOOK MILLIONS OF DOLLARS FROM UNSUSPECTING WOULD-BE INVESTORS

On 19 October, Focus Taiwan reported that police detained the suspects, including the ringleader surnamed Chiang, in separate raids.  The group running the scam allegedly defrauded some 100 people in Taiwan, amassing nearly $3.48 million since 2018 through an investment scheme involving cryptocurrency and precious metals, using a Facebook page that members would use to show off their earnings, posting stories of their lavish lifestyles in order to lure people into their business ventures, while promising customers that they would earn 6% to 10% returns every month, investigators said.

https://focustaiwan.tw/society/202010190018

MONTENEGRO: MONEY LAUNDERING INVESTIGATION INVOLVES A FORMER PRIME MINISTER AND CLOSE FRIEND

On 19 October, MIA reported that the public prosecutor’s office had opened a money laundering investigation into 6 people including the former PM, Nikola Guevski and his close friend Risto Novachevski.

https://mia.mk/prosecution-opens-money-laundering-investigation-into-six-people

NCA UNDERTAKES ‘THOROUGH ASSESSMENT’ OF BANK SIGNATURE FORGERY CLAIMS

On 19 October, the Yorkshire Post reported on allegations of potential criminal activity occurring at banks, whereby home repossessions and other such documents are not being signed by the authorised signatory.

https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/business/consumer/national-crime-agency-undertakes-thorough-assessment-bank-signature-forgery-claims-3008028

UK’S POINTS-BASED IMMIGRATION SYSTEM: INFORMATION FOR EU CITIZENS

On 19 October, UK Visas & Immigration released information about the UK’s points-based immigration system for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens who will arrive in the UK after 31 December.  From 1 January, the UK will implement a points-based immigration system that treats EU and non-EU citizens equally, prioritising individuals’ skills and talent over where a person comes from.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-uks-points-based-immigration-system-information-for-eu-citizens

US: ANTI-BOYCOTT VIOLATIONS CAN STILL YIELD SUBSTANTIAL PENALTIES

On 19 October, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reminded one that US companies and their foreign affiliates are prohibited from participating in foreign boycotts that the US does not sanction. Such actions can result in substantial criminal and civil penalties.  The Arab League boycott of Israel is the principal foreign economic boycott that US companies must be concerned with today, but the anti-boycott laws apply to all boycotts imposed by foreign countries that are unsanctioned by the US.  US Treasury recently published its quarterly list of countries that require or may require participation in, or cooperation with, an international boycott. 

https://www.strtrade.com/trade-news-resources/str-trade-report/trade-report/amid-changes-in-middle-east-anti-boycott-violations-can-still-yield-substantial-penalties

US: EXPORTS RESTRICTED TO 26 PERSONS ADDED TO UNVERIFIED LIST – BUT 40 REMOVED

On 19 October, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reported that the Bureau of Industry and Security has issued a final rule adding 26 foreign persons to the Unverified List (UVL) because an end-use check could not be completed satisfactorily for reasons outside the US Government’s control.  However, BIS is also removing 40 persons from the Unverified List.  Parties listed on the (UVL) are ineligible to receive items subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) by means of a licence exception.  In addition, exporters must file an Automated Export System record for all exports to parties listed on the UVL and obtain a statement from such parties prior to exporting, reexporting, or transferring to such parties any item subject to the EAR which is not subject to a licence requirement.  The new entries consist of 3 persons in Armenia, 2 in Finland, 3 in Germany, 5 in Hong Kong, 3 in Pakistan, 2 in Turkey, 6 in UAE, and 1 each in China and Mexico.  The removals include 16 in China, 22 in Hong Kong, 1 in Indonesia, and 1 in the UAE.

https://www.strtrade.com/trade-news-resources/str-trade-report/trade-report/exports-restricted-to-26-persons-added-to-unverified-list;-40-removed

https://www.bis.doc.gov/index.php/policy-guidance/lists-of-parties-of-concern/unverified-list

PRIVY COUNCIL: REVIEW OF LAW ON JUST AND EQUITABLE WINDING-UP

On 16 October, an article from Exchange Chambers said that the Privy Council had provided a welcome clarification of the law applicable to the just and equitable winding up of a company, with emphasis on alternative rules which apply to companies having the status of quasi-partnerships.  The case involved partners to a BVI shipping company.  One of the conclusions is that a quasi-partnership status is a highly influencing factor in the approach the court will take in granting relief between feuding shareholders, including its considerations with regard to a winding up order on the just and equitable basis.

https://www.exchangechambers.co.uk/chu-v-lau-2020-ukpc-24-privy-council-review/

AUSTRALIA: FEDERAL COURT ORDERS – AGM MARKETS PTY LTD (AGM), OT MARKETS PTY LTD (OTM) AND OZIFIN TECH PTY LTD TO PAY $75 MILLION PENALTIES OVER “UNCONSCIONABLE CONDUCT WHILE PROVIDING OVER-THE-COUNTER (OTC) DERIVATIVE PRODUCTS TO RETAIL INVESTORS”

On 19 October, a release on Mondo Visione advised that AGM has been ordered to pay $35 million, while OTM and Ozifin have each been ordered to pay $20 million in connection with the sale to retail investors of derivatives which were complex instruments and risky investments and that, as a result of the contravening conduct, clients of each of the 3 defendants lost significant amounts of money, with total trading losses equating to approximately $32 million.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/asic-federal-court-imposes-75-million-penalty-on-otc-derivative-issuer-agm-mar/

INDIA: CHINESE GAMBLING AND MONEY LAUNDERING RACKET CHARGES FOR 8 CHINESE NATIONALS AND 14 INDIANS

On 19 October, Indian Wire reported that Indian operators were used to help Chinese nationals in becoming directors of various companies, establishing and networking in India, and police have also charged 40 gambling websites, betting sites and porn sites which were part of the network.

https://www.theindianwire.com/gambling-casinos/chinese-gambling-and-money-laundering-racket-ccs-hyderabad-files-chargesheet-against-8-chinese-nationals-and-14-indians-295336/

FIRST ‘NARCO-SUBMARINE’ CAUGHT AFTER CROSSING THE ATLANTIC

A feature in the Wall Street Journal on 18 October was concerned with a 66-feet vessel seized in Spain that was carrying tons of cocaine and represents a new tactic in trafficking to Europe.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/inside-the-first-narco-submarine-caught-after-crossing-the-atlantic-11603033200

THE WORLD’S LARGEST CRYPTOCURRENCY EXCHANGE HAS ANNOUNCED THAT IT WILL SOON CLOSE DOWN ITS JERSEY-BASED SUBSIDIARY: BINANCE JERSEY

On 19 October, Coin telegraph reported that Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, announced that it will soon close down its Jersey-based subsidiary, Binance Jersey, that was launched in February 2019.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/binance-jersey-shuts-operations-less-than-two-years-after-launch

FINCEN SUPPLEMENTS GUIDANCE ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING

On 16 October, Cadwalader Cabinet reported that FinCEN has supplemented its 2014 guidance with additional financial and behavioural indicators for identifying suspicious activity potentially associated with human smuggling and trafficking.  A new Advisory identifies various additional financial indicators of suspicious activity associated with human trafficking.

https://www.findknowdo.com/news/10/16/2020/fincen-supplements-guidance-human-trafficking

UK GOVERNMENT OUTLINES NEW PLANS FOR FREEPORTS

On 19 October, an article from KPMG says that bidding process in England is expected to open before the end of the year with sea, air and rail ports invited to bid for freeports status.  On 7 October, the UK Government published its response to the recent consultation on freeports and HM Treasury has also announced the next steps which involve a freeports bidding process in England opening before the end of the year, with sea, air and rail ports invited to bid for freeports status and the first freeports on track to be open by the end of 2021.

https://home.kpmg/uk/en/home/insights/2020/10/tmd-government-outlines-new-plans-for-freeports.html

US TO REMOVE SUDAN FROM STATE TERRORISM SPONSORS LIST WHEN IT MAKES PAYMENT TO VICTIMS

Reuters reported on 19 October an announcement by President Trump said that the US would remove Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism as soon as Khartoum sets aside $335 million for payments for American victims and their families.  Sudan’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism makes it difficult for its transitional government to access urgently needed debt relief and foreign financing.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-sudan-usa/trump-u-s-to-remove-sudan-from-state-terrorism-sponsors-list-after-payment-to-victims-idUSKBN2742BE

US CHARGES 6 RUSSIAN INTELLIGENCE OFFICERS WITH HACKING

On 19 October, the Wall Street Journal reported that the indictment links the Russians to several prominent cyberattacks in recent years, including the global 2017 NotPetya attack and engaging in operations that knocked out Ukraine’s energy grid, exposed emails from the French president’s party.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-charges-six-russian-intelligence-officers-with-hacking-11603126931?mod=hp_lead_pos6

BRITISH BRANDS HIT OUT AT END TO TAX-FREE SHOPPING

On 19 October, the Evening Standard reported that the bosses of 16 major British brands have written to the Chancellor warning that the end of tax-free shopping for foreign tourists (but not that at the airport duty-free) “will make the UK the least attractive shopping destination in Europe”.

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/british-brands-backlash-end-tax-free-shopping-a4572134.html

FinCEN FINES BITCOIN MIXER OPERATOR $60 MILLION

On 19 October, Decrypt reported that FinCEN has imposed on Larry Dean Harmon, the creator and operator of Helix and Coin Ninja, a $60 million civil penalty.  He is also facing criminal charges for allegedly helping obscure the source of over $300 million in Bitcoin for AlphaBay darknet patrons from 2014 to 2017.  It explains that a Bitcoin mixer is a software or service that “mixes” individual users’ coins with other users’ coins to maintain transaction privacy.

https://decrypt.co/45599/fincen-fines-bitcoin-mixer-operator-60-million

UK: LAWYERS AND ACCOUNTANTS AT ODDS OVER ECONOMIC CRIME LEVY

On 19 October, Legal Futures reported that solicitors and accountants are at odds over whether the new economic crime levy should be calculated by reference to their income or the number of suspicious activity reports (SAR) they made.

https://www.legalfutures.co.uk/latest-news/lawyers-and-accountants-at-odds-over-economic-crime-levy

 

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

US: IRS FIGHTS FRAUD AIMED AT CHARITIES, JOINS INTERNATIONAL AWARENESS WEEK

On 19 October, an article from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner said that the IRS is combating fraud by once again joining organisations around the world to highlight the 3rd annual International Charity Fraud Awareness Week, 19-23 October.  The International Charity Fraud Awareness Week (ICFAW) brings together everyone involved in the charity and not-for-profit sectors to raise awareness of and share good practices for tackling fraud and cybercrime.  The event’s Charity Fraud Hub features helpful documents, free tutorials, videos, case studies and on-demand webinars, including, ‘COVID-19 and charity fraud: what to watch out for and how to stay safe.’ Charities and anyone else interested in fighting fraud can also take part in the ICFAW social media campaign using #charityfraudout.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/irs-fights-fraud-aimed-at-charities-77493/

The Charity Fraud Awareness Week hub website is at –

https://gateway.on24.com/wcc/experience/elitebba/1917599/2071337/charity-fraud-awareness-hub

 

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

SANCTIONS: OFAC DESIGNATES AUSTRALIA-BASED AL-QA’IDA FINANCIAL FACILITATOR AND IRAN-LINKED SHIPPING LINES

On 19 October, OFAC advised that it had designated the Australia-based al-Qa’ida-associated facilitator Ahmed Luqman Talib, and a company, Talib and Sons, for being owned, controlled, or directed by Ahmed Luqman Talib.  At the same time, 2 other Chinese individuals and 4 Hong Kong/China shipping lines and a holding company were also added to the Iran sanctions lists.

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm1157

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20201019

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

THE MAN BEHIND HONDURAS’ $47 MILLION CORONAVIRUS DISASTER

On 19 October, OCCRP carried an article saying that after the first coronavirus cases in the country were detected in mid-March, the government spent millions on seven mobile hospitals. It says that many articles, audits, and reports have been written about Honduras’ disastrous — and possibly illegal — procurement process for the mobile hospitals. Now, OCCRP and Honduran outlet El Pulso say that they can reveal how it played out behind the scenes.  It claims Honduras chose an apparently unknown company it found on the internet and paid out a vastly inflated fee of $47 million for the hospitals without even signing a contract.  Confidential documents show a middleman hiked the price by at least $16 million while delivering equipment that was useless for the task — and months late.

https://www.occrp.org/en/coronavirus/mr-hispanopreneurtm-the-man-behind-honduras-47-million-dollar-coronavirus-disaster

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

EU AMENDS 5 ENTRIES ON DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO SANCTIONS LISTS

EU Regulation 2020/1507/EU advises amendment to the listings for 2 individuals and 3 entities subject to restrictive measures.

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

FAKE FOREX AND A FRAUDULENT BALKAN CALL CENTRE

On 19 October, Balkan Insight carried an article saying that call centres are popping up across the Balkans, and one Israeli-run network was used to defraud tens of thousands of mainly elderly Europeans of an estimated €200 million.  In September, a court in Austria found the Israeli ringleader, Gal Barak, 33, guilty of fraud and money laundering and sentenced him to 4 years in prison.  However, while police in Austria and elsewhere in Western Europe spent several years investigating the case, it remains unclear whether authorities in Serbia and Bulgaria have done the same, fuelling suspicion among some that the large-scale operation – involving dozens of call centres and hundreds of employees – enjoyed protection by some elements of the state.  It says that call centres are a growing business in Belgrade, where many young, educated Serbs speak English and are IT literate but wages are far lower than in much of the rest of Europe.

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

ISLE OF MAN: CONSULTATION ON LEGISLATION AIMED AT IMPROVING PROCESS OF RECORDING AND RECOVERING DEBT

On 19 October, the Isle of Man announced an invitation for feedback on proposals to bring forward legislation aimed at improving how debts are recorded and made accessible in the Island, and for improving the effectiveness of debt recovery by the Coroners (a form of court bailiff).  The consultation is said to be part of a wide-reaching review of civil debt recovery in the Island, aimed at modernising civil debt recovery and insolvency and ensuring that arrangements are fair, effective and fit for purpose.

The Bill has 2 key policy outcomes –

  1. to introduce a more comprehensive and easily accessible register of judgments and other civil debts in the Island (a register of debts); and
  2. to level the playing field for the enforcement of civil debts in the Island by removing statutory provisions that impact the effectiveness of Coroners undertaking enforcement action. 

https://consult.gov.im/treasury/administration-of-justice-bill-2020/

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 18

Panama Covid-19 update – another Sunday lockdown…another 638 cases (now over 124,000 total to date, but 101,041 “recovered”). Also another 7 fatalities. There are now 21,140 active cases, 107 in ICU and 654 in other wards.

18 October 2020

ARMS EMBARGO ON IRAN EXPIRES DESPITE US OPPOSITION

On 18 October, Al Jazeera reported that, despite opposition from the US, a long-standing conventional arms embargo imposed on Iran has expired in line with the terms of the landmark JCPOA deal.  The end of the embargo means Iran will legally be able to buy and sell conventional arms, including missiles, helicopters and tanks, and the Iranian foreign ministry said the country can now “procure any necessary arms and equipment from any source without any legal restrictions, and solely based on its defensive needs”.  In August, the US tabled a UN resolution to indefinitely extend the arms embargo, but it was rejected.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/10/18/arms-embargo-on-iran-expires-despite-us-opposition

PAKISTAN CUSTOMS SEIZES 75 SMUGGLED FALCONS AND HOUBARA BUSTARDS

On 18 October, the News International reported that the Anti-Smuggling Organisation of the Pakistan Customs has seized 75 birds of endangered species.  The raids were conducted after a tip-off of birds being exported illegally to foreign countries. 

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/731012-customs-seizes-75-smuggled-falcons-houbara-bustards

SOUTH KOREA: FINANCIAL FRAUD SCANDAL INVOLVING A PRIVATE EQUITY INVESTMENT COMPANY

On 18 October, the Korea Herald reported that the case now involves a key suspect having claimed to have lobbied ranking prosecutors, one of whom is now part of the investigative team.  The article speaks of a rift between the prosecution and its oversight body, the Justice Ministry, which have been at odds over the reform issue as well as some politically sensitive cases.  The ministry had claimed that he probe by the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors’ Office into the Lime Asset Management’s hedge fund scam was “insufficient,” and that prosecutors had failed to properly look into the testimony of the suspect concerning the alleged illegal lobbying.

http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php

ENHANCING NUCLEAR REACTOR SECURITY

On 14 October, the Middlebury Institute reported on the European Nuclear Society meeting where research-reactor operators from across Europe and beyond to discuss the latest technical and policy developments.  The Society promotes the development of nuclear science and technology and the understanding of peaceful nuclear applications.  The meeting included a senior fellow of the Institute giving a presentation on “Current and Future Perceptions and Applications for Proliferation Resistance”.  A YouTube recording is available of a Zoom meeting of a proliferation resistance panel discussion.

https://nonproliferation.org/enhancing-nuclear-reactor-security/

UK: ACCOUNT FREEZING ORDERS

CMS Law has produced a briefing on Account Freezing Orders available under the Criminal Finances Act 2017.  It explains how one could be affected by an AFO and how to mitigate the risk.

https://www.cms-lawnow.com/publications/2020/10/account-freezing-orders-the-uks-quiet-revolution-in-white-collar-enforcement

10 TRADEMARK MYTHS AND HOW THEY CAN HURT YOUR BUSINESS

On 29 September, Williams Mullen in the US published an article on US trademark law.  It lists 10 “trademark myths” that may prove costly to a company, as well as recommendations to help evaluate potential trademark issues –

  • We cannot get sued for trademark infringement because we have a federal registration;
  • We can stop anyone from using our trademark because we have a federal registration;
  • Our name is a common or generic term, so we cannot get sued for trademark infringement;
  • We do not need to do anything else with our trademark once we register it;
  • The USPTO enforces my trademark for me;
  • Trademark applications are easy to file and registrations are easy to get;
  • Someone owns a trademark registration for the name I want to use, so I cannot use or register it;
  • I need a registration in order to “trademark” a mark (or acquire rights in it);
  • My mark is not identical to another’s mark, so I am safe from a claim of infringement; and
  •  I filed for the domain name or the business name incorporating my mark, so I am all set as far as trademark rights.

https://www.williamsmullen.com/news/ten-trademark-myths-and-how-they-can-hurt-your-business

HOW THE ‘DOMINANT PURPOSE’ TEST APPLIES IN PRACTICE

On 16 October, in the latest instalment of the Sports Direct series of decisions on privilege, this considers how the ‘dominant purpose’ test applies in practice and the importance of context for the High Court’s assessment of it.

https://www.clydeco.com/en/insights/2020/10/dominant-porpoise-sports-direct-get-the-dominant-p

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

AUSTRALIAN BARRISTER EMBROILED IN US LARGEST TAX EVASION CASE

On 18 October, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that Evatt Tamine, 56, a former Australian officer, who moved to Bermuda where he set up practice as a barrister in 1999 is at the centre of what law enforcement authorities claim is the largest ever tax evasion case in US history.  He is alleged to have created a complex network of offshore companies and trusts and utilised false paper trails to help Texan billionaire Robert T. “Bob” Brockman allegedly evade $2 billion.

https://www.smh.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/australian-barrister-embroiled-in-the-us-s-largest-tax-evasion-case-20201018-p56690.html

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

EURO PACIFIC BANK AND THE OPERATION ATLANTIS SWEEPING INTERNATIONAL TAX PROBE

On 18 October, The Age in Australia reported that Euro Pacific Bank, a Puerto Rico-based ban fronted by US financier and celebrity business commentator Peter Schiff, has been described as a “top tier” organised crime threat to Australia because of its suspected use by Australian and international organised crime syndicates.  It is alleged to be the target of Operation Atlantis, an international tax probe by the “J5”, a taskforce made up of the tax chiefs of Australia, the US, UK, the Netherlands and Canada that was set up after the Panama Papers leak.  The bank has been designated as an Australian Priority Organisation Target, which means that police suspect that it poses a grave organised crime threat to Australia and is the most serious classification by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission.

https://www.theage.com.au/national/westpac-mint-hundreds-of-australians-ensnared-in-global-tax-evasion-probe-20201015-p565la.html

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