OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – OCTOBER 5

Panama Covid-19 update – the Metropolitan Park “jungle” reopened today, but I didn’t make it there…the only animals I saw were the (many) squirrels in the garden and a very friendly labrador…

Meanwhile, there were still 633 new cases and another 7 fatalities. There are 21,066 active cases, with 119 in ICU and 745 in other wards.

5 October 2020

HOW HAWALA REMITTANCES FACILITATE THE ILLICIT ARMS TRADE BETWEEN YEMEN AND SOMALIA

The Civil Society Observatory of Illicit Economies in Eastern and Southern Africa – Risk Bulletin #11 from the Global Initiative Against Transnational Crime includes an article saying that a new research paper presents data on arms-related remittances totaling $3.7 million that were sent between 2014 and 2020, seeks to identify the gaps in financial compliance that are exploited by arms traffickers.  The Risk Bulletin includes excerpts from this upcoming publication, including an analysis of the illicit activities of one prominent Somalia-based arms importer.

MILLIONS OF EUROS OF CASH ARE SMUGGLED INTO ALBANIA EVERY YEAR

The Civil Society Observatory to counter organized crime in South Eastern Europe – Risk Bulletin #1 from the Global Initiative Against Transnational Crime includes an article saying that over the summer season, police in Albania seized several hundred thousand euros in cash at key border crossings and the airport in the capital, Tirana.  This, it says, is just the tip of an iceberg: millions of euros of cash are smuggled into Albania every year, symptomatic of the illicit cash transfers in the Western Balkans that oil illegal economies.

JUDGE BLOCKS TRUMP’S BAN ON FOREIGN WORKERS

On 1 October, the New York Times reported that a federal court overruled limits on visas for hundreds of thousands of foreign workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

https://www.lawfareblog.com/federal-court-halts-trumps-ban-nonimmigrant-visas

MARITIME TERRORISM

On 1 October, an article from Sakshar Law Advocates in India considers the recent history of terrorism at sea and saying that existing international instruments to be used for the suppression of international terrorism are in a state of transition.

TECH MOGUL’S SECRECY CRUMBLES IN IRS CHASE OF ‘RECORD’ TROVE

On 5 October, KYC 360 reported that Robert T Brockman was just putting the finishing touches on a new private equity fund when law enforcement agents had raided the home of a tax lawyer in Texas who had worked for him.  The Houston businessman who had made his fortune selling software to auto dealers.  IRS agents then raided the home of a Bermuda adviser in whom Brockman had confided.  They seized a trove of encrypted devices that documented a web of Caribbean entities tied to a Brockman family charitable trust, which together held billions of dollars, according to Bermudian court records.  Investigators are examining Brockman’s business ties going back.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/tech-moguls-secrecy-crumbles-in-irs-chase-of-record-trove/

FinCEN FILES UPDATE –

HSBC Ignored Jersey Fraud Warnings

On 5 October, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism carried a story emanating from the recent FinCEN Files leak.  It says that a leak of data detailing alleged illegality at a Jersey trust company has revealed how corporate giants HSBC and Liberty Global appear to have failed to adequately investigate concerns over a major fraud after an heiress accused her businessman father of draining millions from trust funds set up to support her and her extended family.

https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/stories/2020-10-05/hsbc-ignored-jersey-fraud-warnings

UAE BOOSTED ARMS TRANSFERS TO LIBYA TO SALVAGE WARLORD’S CAMPAIGN

On 29 September, the Wall Street Journal reported that a UN Panel of Experts report claims that the UAE  ramped up deliveries of military supplies to Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar this year, according to the confidential UN report, flouting an UN arms embargo as it tried to salvage the leader’s military campaign and check the influence of regional rival Turkey.  The military flights surged as Haftar fought to prevent the collapse of his yearlong attack on Libya’s internationally recognized government in Tripoli, according to a diplomat with access to the unpublished report.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-a-e-boosted-arms-transfers-tolibyato-salvage-warlords-campaign-u-n-panel-finds-11601412059

AN ACUTE SHORTAGE OF CONTAINERS IS HAMPERING EXPORTS FROM BANGLADESH

On 5 October, Loadstar reported that an acute shortage of containers is hampering exports from Bangladesh via Chittagong, following a significant fall of imports as a consequence of Covid-19, with mainline operators bringing empty containers from other hub ports to Chittagong port to carry outbound cargo.

DRONE INDUSTRY TO BE WORTH $92 BILLION BY 2030 DESPITE COVID-19

Drone DJ on 5 October reported that research company ABI Research is predicting that the UAV sector will be worth $92 billion by 2030 despite COVID shutting down the world.  The growth is expected to be a result of Remote ID being rolled out and the use of 5G in drone operations.

CANNABIS FARM WITH DRUGS WORTH £50,000 FOUND IN EMPTY PUB 100 METRES FROM SWANSEA POLICE STATION

On 4 October, Wales Online reported that 2 Albanian ‘gardeners’ who had been smuggled into the UK were found working in the boarded-up Mountain Dew pub in the Mount Pleasant area of Swansea – a disused pub near Swansea’s main police station.

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/cannabis-farm-drugs-worth-500000-19041723

MALTA: FRENCH FINANCIAL PROSECUTOR ASKED TO INVESTIGATE LOAN TO ELECTROGAS

On 5 October, Newsbook in Malta reported that France’s National Financial Prosecutor’s Office has been asked to open an investigation for “money laundering of corruption, complicity, and concealment of stolen goods against four French banks and an investment fund, in connection with a large loan operation for the benefit of Electrogas Malta Limited” – the complaint was filed against BNP Paribas, Societe Generale, Natixis, CIC and Rivage Investment.

https://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2020-10-05/local-news/Daphne-Caruana-Galizia-Foundation-Sherpa-call-for-investigation-into-French-banks-on-Electrogas-6736227532

JAMES PACKER AND THE CROWN RESORTS INQUIRY INTO ALLEGED MONEY LAUNDERING AND CHINESE JUNKETS

On 5 October, the Sydney Morning Herald provided an Explainer about the investigation of allegations surrounding Crown Resorts casinos.  It asks why is the scion of one of Australia’s richest families facing this grilling?  What’s this inquiry all about?  And what is at stake for Crown’s casinos?  It says that Crown Resorts has been in trouble since last year when reports revealed how it went into business with figures linked to Asian organised crime gang, allowed itself to be used to launder drug money, and put its staff at risk of arrest in China.

https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/why-is-james-packer-fronting-an-inquiry-over-crown-s-behaviour-20201005-p561zt.html

TERRORIST NETWORKS: HOW ALLIANCES HELP MILITANTS SURVIVE

An article from Foreign Affairs on 5 October says that ISIS and Al-Qaida are both “rising from the grave” thanks to, in the case of ISIS, an international network of affiliates, allies, and supporters that ISIS has assembled have proved difficult to defeat.  Alliances have helped ISIS expand and gain influence in good times and have relieved pressure by deflecting attention toward affiliates in bad times.  Without defeating this whole network, accordingly, it will be hard to fully finish off the core group.  This reliance is not new, it says, referring to research into such militant groups going back to 1950.  It says that militant groups developed much broader networks than is commonly appreciated, and these alliances allow groups to survive.

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/middle-east/2020-10-05/death-and-life-terrorist-networks

NIGERIA TO BAR VESSELS WITHOUT LICENCES FROM OPERATING IN NIGERIAN WATERS

On 5 October, Defence Web reported that Nigeria plans to bar vessels without a valid licence to operate in Nigerian waters and has given shipping companies that trade in its coastal and inland waters 3 months to register.  Most of the vessels that use Nigerian waters are owned by foreign companies. 

PROCEEDS OF CRIME ACT 2002 (REFERENCES TO FINANCIAL INVESTIGATORS) (AMENDMENT) (ENGLAND AND WALES) ORDER 2020

This Order in England & Wales includes members of staff of the Ministry of Justice within specified references to Authorised Financial Investigators (AFI) in the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. The purpose of this is to enable HM Prison and Probation Service’s (HMPPS), an executive agency of the MoJ, to employ AFI to exercise powers under the POCA in relation to confiscation, cash recovery and investigations.

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/1078/contents/made

COVERT HUMAN INTELLIGENCE SOURCES (CRIMINAL CONDUCT) BILL

On 2 October, a Research Briefing from the House of Commons Library is concerned with the Bill which introduces a power in the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 to authorise conduct by officials and agents of the security and intelligence services, law enforcement, and certain other public authorities, which would otherwise constitute criminality.

FUGITIVE LUXURY JEWELLER ORDERED BY LONDON COURT TO PAY BACK £1.6 MILLION OVER ROLE IN INSIDER-TRADING CASE

BNN Bloomberg on 5 October reported that Richard Baldwin, who is still on the run, must pay the confiscation order or face a further 8 years in prison, a judge has said, according to the FCA. He was convicted and sentenced last year in his absence on charges relating to a wider insider-trading probe, code-named Operation Tabernula, that resulted in the conviction of a Deutsche Bank AG broker.

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/insider-trading-fugitive-ordered-to-pay-back-2-1-million-1.1503728

https://www.fca.org.uk/news/press-releases/fca-secures-1-6m-confiscation-order-against-richard-baldwin

DEA: BUSINESS OWNER SENTENCED TO MORE THAN 28 YEARS FOR FALSIFYING HUMAN CLINICAL RESEARCH TRIALS

A news release from the DEA on 1 October advised that Sami Anwar, 41, of Richland, Washington, had been sentenced to a 340-month term of imprisonment for falsifying human clinical research trials in connection with a fraud scheme.  Between 2013 and 2018, he directed and carried out a conspiracy to have his companies fraudulently pose as legitimate human clinical research trial sites and provide of false clinical research trial data regarding drug safety and drug efficacy to dozens of drug companies and, through them, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

https://www.dea.gov/press-releases/2020/10/01/richland-business-owner-sentenced-more-28-years-falsifying-human-clinical

UK: POST OFFICE HORIZON IT INQUIRY 2020

On 5 October, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy published the terms of reference for the non-statutory inquiry into the scandal whereby subpostmasters were subject to threats, prosecution and imprisonment over alleged theft etc resulting, it seems, from problems with accounting software.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/post-office-horizon-it-inquiry-2020

NEW YORK ANTIQUITIES DEALER: ILLEGAL TRADE IS FAMILY BUSINESS

On 3 October, an article from OCCRP was concerned with research that says that a New York antiquities dealer who was arrested last month along with his business partner for falsifying provenance records has a family history in the illegal antiquities trade that goes back half a century.  Erdal Dere and Faisal Khan ran Fortuna Fine Arts Ltd. on Manhattan’s Upper East Side Neighborhood and are suspected of having forged documents to support their claims that the artifacts they sold previously belonged to collectors who had died. 

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/13201-for-arrested-nyc-antiquities-dealer-illegal-trade-is-family-business

SOME DETAILS FROM ITALIAN INVESTIGATION INTO MALTA EMERGE

On 5 October, a blog post from Kenneth Rijock was concerned with information about the investigation in Italy into money laundering activities in Malta, though he stresses he has not yet independently confirmed its accuracy – though obtained by “a reliable source”.  A Maltese fashion house with business connections in Milan and the Piemonte area is said to be under investigation by the Italian authorities.

https://rijock.blogspot.com/2020/10/some-details-from-italian-investigation.html

MORE THAN 8,300 BONGS SEIZED BY US CUSTOMS

On 4 October, Fox News reported that officers seized thousands of marijuana water pipes during an inspection at Dulles Airport in suburban Washington. They had arrived from China and were destined for California.  It is illegal to ship bongs to the US from other countries under drug paraphernalia laws.

https://www.foxnews.com/us/more-than-8300-bongs-seized-by-customs-and-border-protections-officers

PODCAST: ETHICS AND COMPLIANCE IN ATHLETICS

On 5 October, Control Risks released a 20-minute podcast in which Jonathan Brown, Partner, and Alecia Futerman, Associate Director, from Control Risks’ forensics team hold a discussion with Niels Lindholm, who became first Ethical Compliance Officer to join World Athletics (formerly the IAAF) in 2018.  They discuss the wide-ranging reforms which were put in place at World Athletics to combat corruption risk at the organisation, following a well-publicised scandal that emerged earlier in the decade.  Niels provides an insight into World Athletics’ journey and discusses how compliance professionals and governance and integrity programmes can work together to build trust in a global sports organisation. 

https://www.controlrisks.com/our-thinking/podcasts/in-focus-channel/addressing-ethics-and-compliance-in-athletics

EL SALVADOR PRESIDENT’S “INFORMAL PACT WITH GANGS”

On 2 October, Insight Crime carried an article saying that El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele has vehemently denied swapping favors with gangs, but a slew of government officials and a person working directly with the government say there is an informal pact between parts of the government and the gangs.

A GUIDE TO THE GENERAL DATA PROTECTION REGULATION (GDPR)

On 5 October, Out-Law published an article that provides a succinct guide to the GDPR.

https://www.pinsentmasons.com/out-law/guides/guide-general-data-protection-regulation

COMPREHENSIVE ANALYSIS OF THE GUNS USED IN PUBLIC MASS SHOOTINGS IN EUROPE 2009-2018

On 3 October, the Flemish Peace Institute published a report which says that the weapons used were of differing kinds and came from different sources.

https://vlaamsvredesinstituut.eu/en/report/armed-to-kill-a-comprehensive-analysis-of-the-guns-used-in-public-mass-shootings-in-europe-between-2009-and-2018/

UK: RED DIESEL TAX CHANGES WILL HAMMER PORTS INDUSTRY WITH NO LIKELY IMPACT ON EMISSIONS

On 5 October, Hellenic Shipping News reported that the British Ports Association (BPA) had published its a report on the impact of planned changes to red ‘diesel’ tax rebates on the ports industry, which it says will add additional costs amounting to 3.1% of port turnover when they come into effect in 2022.  The UK Government has announced that it would be abolishing rate relief for non-road mobile machinery (NRMM) at the Budget in 2019, however 3 industries (heating, rail, and farming) would be exempt from the changes.

RESTRICTIONS ON NORWICH PHARMACAL ORDERS (NPO)

On 5 October, an article from Peters & Peters in the Law Society Gazette was concerned with these orders used to obtain evidence in civil cases.  It suggests that it may become increasingly difficult for prospective private prosecutors to obtain NPO where the authorities have not been approached, or have been approached and have taken a negative view of the case, despite the fact that the courts continue to uphold the principle that approaching the authorities is not necessary before the institution of private prosecutions.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/legal-updates/restrictions-on-norwich-pharmacal-orders/5105814.article

FRENCH ARREST 29 IN CRYPTOCURRENCY SCHEME TO FINANCE JIHADIS

On 29 September, ABC News reported that French police arrested 29 people around the country in an operation to break a complex scheme financing Islamist extremists in Syria through the use of cryptocurrencies.

https://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/french-arrest-29-cryptcurrency-scheme-finance-jihadis-73315042

WHY AND HOW CYBER CRIMINALS TARGET SUPERYACHTS AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT

An article in Compass Magazine for August/September 2020 says that the yachting industry is actively being targeted by multiple highly sophisticated criminal networks across the globe.  Most superyachts and their owners will be the subject of “target packs” compiled on them by multiple international criminal groups.  These, it says, are not tin-pot criminal opportunists; these are well financed, highly organised criminal businesses with business plans, budgets and resources available.

ISLE OF MAN UPDATE NOTICE OF CHANGES TO BELARUS SANCTIONS

On 5 October, a news release from the Isle of Man advised of changes which correspond to those previously advised by the UK.

https://www.gov.im/news/2020/oct/05/financial-sanctions-belarus/

JOHN McAFEE INDICTED FOR TAX EVASION IN THE US

On 5 October, CNET reported that it is alleged that McAfee allegedly earned millions of dollars from promoting cryptocurrencies as well as for speaking engagements, selling his life story for a documentary and consulting work. He also allegedly concealed assets like a yacht, a vehicle and real estate properties in other people’s names. None of the charges have any relation to the McAfee anti-virus software – the British-born software engineer had been the original founder of McAfee Associates.

https://www.cnet.com/news/john-mcafee-indicted-for-tax-evasion-in-the-us/

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/john-mcafee-indicted-tax-evasion?src=ilaw

EXTRA £500 MILLION IN TAX FOR UK SINCE END OF LVCR CHANNEL ISLANDS LOOPHOLE

On 5 October, Jersey Evening Post reported that the HM Treasury has netted an extra half a billion pounds in tax since it shut down a loophole which allowed Channel Island firms to export cheap goods VAT-free.  The removal of Low Value Consignment Relief in 2012 was a major blow to businesses in Jersey’s fulfilment industry, which shipped items such as DVD and CD bought online to the UK.

https://jerseyeveningpost.com/news/2020/10/05/extra-500m-tax-for-uk-since-end-of-lvcr/

EU PLENARY AGREES NEW RULES ON WHISTLEBLOWING

A release on Mondo Visione on 5 October advised that a plenary meeting had approved a deal struck by the EU Parliament with the Council in December on common rules to boost EU crowdfunding platforms and protect investors.  The new rules aim to help crowdfunding services to function smoothly in the internal market and to foster cross-border business funding in the EU, by providing for a single set of rules on crowdfunding services.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/final-vote-on-eu-rules-for-crowdfunding-platforms/

LITHUANIA: STRICT NEW KYC RULES FOR GAMBLING OPERATORS

On 5 October, iGB reported that Lithuania’s authorities have published a series of strict new KYC guidelines for gaming operators following accusations that the sector is an easy target for money laundering activities.  The guidelines outline which factors should be taken into account by gambling and lottery companies when assessing business relationships, monetary transactions and transactions related to the risk of money laundering and terrorist financing.

https://www.igamingbusiness.com/news/lithuania-unveils-strict-new-kyc-rules

LEBANON SEEKS ARREST OF OWNER AND CAPTAIN OF THE RHOSUS WHICH CARRIED THE AMMONIUM NITRATE TO BEIRUT

On 5 October, Hellenic Shipping News reported that Lebanon had requested international arrest warrants against Igor Grechushkin and Boris Prokoshev, the Russian owner and the captain of general cargo ship Rhosus. The vessel was the carrier of the 2,750 tons of ammonia nitrate to Beirut in 2013 and which was then stored by the Port in a warehouse that exploded in early August 2020.  More than 20 arrests have been made in the investigations so far.

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IRS ‘LAUNCHES CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION INTO NRA CEO OVER POSSIBLE TAX FRAUD’

On 5 October, the Daily Mail reported that the IRS is investigating the CEO of the National Rifle Association, Wayne LaPierre, 70.  He has been in charge of day-to-day operations of the NRA since 1991. 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8807799/IRS-launches-criminal-investigation-NRA-CEO-Wayne-LaPierre-possible-tax-fraud.html

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EUROPOL REPORT: COVID-19 SPARKS UPWARD TREND IN CYBERCRIME

A news release from Europol on 5 October advised that its 2020 cybercrime report updates on the latest trends and the current impact of cybercrime within the EU and beyond.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/covid-19-sparks-upward-trend-in-cybercrime

The report is at –

https://www.europol.europa.eu/activities-services/main-reports/internet-organised-crime-threat-assessment-iocta-2020

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GLOBAL SMART UPDATE – EMERGING PATTERNS AND TRENDS OF THE GLOBAL SYNTHETIC DRUG SITUATION

Volume 24 of this Update from the UN Office of Drugs and Crime says that the current opioid crisis is a far-reaching drug and public health policy issue affecting several geographical regions. Despite some progress, the crisis continues both to expand geographically and to deepen in complexity with the emergence of a new generation of new psychoactive substances (NPS) with opioid effects, including sub­stances belonging to chemical structural classes which were not significantly present on illicit drug markets previously. This evolution signals the potential development of similar new substances which may exacerbate the already significant challenges.

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A GUIDE ON CONDUCTING CORRUPTION RISK ASSESSMENTS IN PUBLIC ORGANIZATIONS

The UN Office on Drugs & Crime has produced this guide, which says that a corruption risk assessment is a systematic tool that can be used by public organisations to identify corruption vulnerabilities within their operations and devise efficient, cost-effective strategies to mitigate those vulnerabilities or risks.  The goal of any risk assessment is to identify a realistic set of potential areas or scenarios that may be vulnerable to corruption, determine which should be prioritized, and develop and implement mitigation measures.  It provides a long list of corruption-related irregularities.

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BREXIT AND .eu DOMAINS

On 5 October, an article from Lock Lord LLP was concerned with the status and use of the “.eu” domain in or by the UK and UK businesses after the end of the Brexit transition period.  During the transition period individuals, businesses and organisations in the UK can continue to register and renew .eu domains. However, after the end of the ‎transition ‎period, EURid has the authority to revoke .eu domains held by ‎UK-based ‎registrants who no longer fulfil the eligibility criteria.  The EU authorities warned that it will make ‎such domains inoperable from 1 January 2021, and also plans to revoke the domains of ineligible registrants from 1 January 2022. 

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/brexit-and-eu-domains-78443/

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UK ADDS 35 NAMES, AND AMENDS OTHERS, ON BELARUS SANCTIONS LIST

On 5 October, a Notice from HM Treasury advised that 35 new names had been added to the UK Consolidated List, and that 5 existing entries had also been amended.  This followed EU Regulation 2020/1387/EU of 2 October.  A further Notice, also published on 5 October, advised a correction to 4 further entries.

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TACKLING ILLICIT FINANCE: SFO USES LISTED ASSET ORDER FOR FIRST TIME

On 30 September, an article from Kingsley Napley said that the SFO has followed in the footsteps of the NCA and HMRC by using, for the first time, a listed asset order to recover £500,000 worth of jewellery which it was satisfied represented the proceeds of crime.  They were introduced by the Criminal Finances Act 2017, and are a relatively new law enforcement tool targeting suspected illicit finances.

https://www.kingsleynapley.co.uk/insights/blogs/criminal-law-blog/tackling-illicit-finance-sfo-uses-listed-asset-order-for-first-time#page=1

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ISRAEL NOW SAYS DATA TRANSFERS TO US CAN’T RELY ON PRIVACY SHIELD

On 1 October, Law 360 reported that Israel’s Privacy Protection Authority (PPA) has now said that data transfers from Israel to the US cannot rely on the Privacy Shield, which a European court ruled invalid in July.  It says that since Israel’s regulation allow transfers to Europe and any jurisdiction “Europe deems adequate,” it has followed the EU lead in outlawing Privacy Shield transfers.  This decision follows a similar one in Switzerland.

https://www.law360.com/internationalarbitration/articles/1315545/israel-says-data-transfers-to-us-can-t-rely-on-privacy-shield

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CANNABIS TRAFFICKING AND ENDANGERED TORTOISE TRADE DRIVE CORRUPTION IN MADAGASCAR

The Civil Society Observatory of Illicit Economies in Eastern and Southern Africa – Risk Bulletin #11 from the Global Initiative Against Transnational Crime includes an article saying that Madagascar is home to some of the world’s rarest tortoise species, which in recent years have fetched enormous prices on international black markets. It also boasts a booming market for illegal cannabis, both for domestic consumption and for export to other Indian Ocean island states.  Recent research into both has found them to rely on extensive networks of corrupt officials to facilitate trafficking flows. This drives local level corruption in source regions for cannabis and tortoises, as well as in key transit points on trafficking routes, which may overlap with the routes of other illicit flows.

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