OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – OCTOBER 6

Panama Covid-19 update -another 683 new cases, as they continue to mount up, with well over 116,000 to date, of which over 73% said to have recovered. 10 new fatalities (2,440 to date). There are currently 21,212 active cases, 116 in ICU, 735 in other wards and 381 in hotels. Another 527 are said to have recovered in the last 24 hours.

6 October 2020

US COMMERCE DEPARTMENT PUTS TIGHTER EXPORT CONTROLS ON NEW TECHNOLOGIES

On 2 October, Law 360 reported that a new Rule implements controls on developing technologies identified at a December 2019 meeting of the 42 countries of the Wassenaar Arrangement, an international agreement covering exports of weapons and dual-use technologies that have both military and civilian uses. One of the new controls covers forensic hacking tools that allow for the circumvention of authentication or authorisation controls on computers and telecommunications devices to extract raw data, another covers surveillance software that can be used to monitor communications and related metadata from telecommunications service providers and a third covers suborbital craft, which launch into space and come back down without completing an orbit of the earth. The remaining 3 controlled technologies are all related to manufacturing.

https://www.law360.com/cybersecurity-privacy/articles/1316320/commerce-puts-tighter-export-controls-on-new-technologies

US STEPS UP EFFORTS TO COUNTER CHINA’S DOMINANCE OF RARE EARTH MINERALS

On 5 October, the Wall Street Journal reported that the US and other Western countries are stepping up their investments in projects and approved licenses to mine the minerals, which are needed for the production of electric vehicles, cellphones and wind turbines.  The US imports 80% of its rare-earth elements from China with more coming indirectly from the country. It has no domestic production for 14 of the 35 critical types of minerals.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-steps-up-efforts-to-counter-chinas-dominance-of-minerals-key-to-electric-cars-phones-11601884801

US ADDS NAMES TO BELARUS SANCTIONS LIST

On 2 October, OFAC advised that it had added 8 additional names to its sanctions lists over involvement in the August elections and subsequent crackdown.

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20201002

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm1143

LEGAL ACTION AGAINST US GOVERNMENT OVER INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT SANCTIONS

On 1 October, the Open Society Justice Initiative announced that it had commenced legal proceedings seeking to block the effect of the Executive Order imposing retaliatory sanctions against named individuals of the International Criminal Court.  The Open Society Foundation provides training and legal work that support its aim of an open society, and has providing advice and training on behalf of the ICC in the past.

https://www.justiceinitiative.org/litigation/open-society-justice-initiative-et-al-v-donald-j-trump-et-al

TEXAS ATTORNEY GENERAL ACCUSED OF BRIBERY BY STAFF

On 4 October, Courthouse News reported that 7 of Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s senior staff have asked federal officials to investigate possible bribery and abuse of office charges against him.

US: LINDE GMBH AND SUBSIDIARY TO PAY $22 MILLION TO SETTLE ALLEGATIONS RELATING TO EVADED CUSTOMS DUTIES

On 25 September, a news release from the US DoJ advised that Linde GmbH and its US subsidiary Linde Engineering North America LLC (LENA) have agreed to pay more than $22.2 million to resolve allegations that Linde violated the False Claims Act by knowingly making false statements on customs declarations to avoid paying duties owed on the companies’ imports.  Linde GmbH is a multinational corporation headquartered in Germany that, among other things, imports materials into the US for use in the construction of natural gas and chemical manufacturing plants.  Houston-based LENA managed procurement and logistics for Linde, which imported more than $500 million in goods into the US between 2011 and 2017.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/multinational-industrial-engineering-company-pay-22-million-settle-false-claims-act

RWANDA: HOW ALCOHOL DEALERS EVADED BILLIONS IN TAXES

On 5 October, The New Times in Rwanda reported that 2 men had been arrested after it was discovered that they were producing and selling alcohol that contained ethanol and methanol in amounts above the legal limit; then it was found that they were also involved in a complex tax evasion scheme.

https://www.newtimes.co.rw/news/how-alcohol-dealers-evaded-billions-taxes

“TURKISH DEFENCE INDUSTRY MOVING ON DESPITE EMBARGOES”

On 6 October, the Anadolu Agency carried an article saying that Turkey’s defence industry is proceeding on its way regardless of embargo decisions, the head of the country’s Defense Industries Presidency has said.  He cited the CATS [Common Aperture Targeting System] cameras, for armed UAV, which are going into mass production.  This came after Canada announced it had suspended exporting some defence products to Turkey over an allegation that the “Canadian technology is used in the military conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh”, with Turkey accusing Canada of double standards by suspending export permits of some military products.

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/azerbaijan-front-line/turkish-defense-industry-moving-on-despite-embargoes/1997685

GPS-EQUIPPED DECOY EGGS REVEAL WILDLIFE SMUGGLING ROUTES IN COSTA RICA

On 5 October, New Atlas reported that a disguised GPS tracker is the approach being pursued by one group of scientists, who hope to use decoy eggs to tackle the illegal trade of endangered sea turtles in Central America.

https://newatlas.com/environment/gps-equipped-decoy-eggs-wildlife-smuggling-routes/

SAUDI ARABIA: COURT CHIEF UNDER TRIAL WHILE 7 JUDGES FACE PROBE INTO MONEY LAUNDERING, BRIBERY CHARGES

On 6 October, Al Khaleej Times reported that the Supreme Court and Public Prosecution are investigating alleged bribery and money laundering involving 8 judges, with a criminal trial having begun involving one of them.

https://alkhaleejtoday.co/saudi-arabia/5066962/Court-chief-under-trial-while-7-judges-face-probe-into-money-laundering-bribery-charges.html

SWISS BANK CAUGHT IN VENEZUELAN MONEY LAUNDERING SCANDAL

On 6 October, Swissinfo reported that FINMA has found that Banca Credinvest “seriously violated money laundering regulations” in its handling of Venezuelan client relationships and it has ordered the bank to monitor all private banking clients in order to identify and address any additional money laundering risks.  In 2018, FINMA opened enforcement proceedings against the bank in the context of suspected corruption linked to Venezuelan oil company PDVSA. 

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/swiss-bank-caught-in-venezuelan-money-laundering-scandal/46079364

EU REMOVES CAYMAN ISLANDS AND OMAN FROM TAX HAVEN LIST

On 6 October, the EU Observer reported that Anguilla and Barbados have been added to the EU list of “non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes”, while the Cayman Islands and Oman were removed from the list, having passed the necessary reforms to improve their tax-policy framework.  12 jurisdictions still remain on the blacklist: American Samoa, Anguilla, Barbados, Fiji, Guam, Palau, Panama, Samoa, Seychelles, Trinidad and Tobago, the US Virgin Islands and Vanuatu.

https://euobserver.com/tickers/149657

DO VICTIMS OF CORPORATE HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS GET JUSTICE?

On 6 October the EU Fundamental Rights Agency has issued a new report saying that holding big business responsible for its human rights violations is difficult and many victims never get justice and finds that victims have difficulties seeking justice using existing routes through the courts or alternative non-judicial solutions.  The report contains calls for the EU Member States to improve the situation, suggesting how this might be done.

https://fra.europa.eu/en/news/2020/do-victims-corporate-human-rights-violations-get-justice

The report is at –

HOW A CHILEAN RASPBERRY SCAM INVOLVING CHINESE FRUIT MADE ITS WAY INTO CANADA LEADING TO A NOROVIRUS OUTBREAK

On 6 October, Global News in Canada reported that low-cost frozen berries grown in China were shipped to a packing plant in central Chile, repackaged and rebranded as premium Chilean-grown organics, then shipped to consumers in Canadian cities – with at least $12 million worth of mislabeled raspberries were sent to Canada between 2014 and 2016.  The article says that the scheme lays bare the ease with which mislabeled, potentially risky products can be slipped past the world’s health and customs agencies, even as authorities across the globe scramble to ensure foods entering their countries are free of coronavirus.

SOUTH AFRICA: FORFEITURE UNIT SEIZES LUXURY CARS

On 6 October, Business Day reported that the cars form part of assets worth millions of rand that the state is attaching in the case of corruption against 7 businesspeople and government officials.  A white Bentley‚ a red Ferrari and a black Porsche Cayenne belonged to Edwin Sodi and his company, Blackhead Consulting and linked to allegations around a project to eradicate asbestos roofs in the Free State.

https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/national/2020-10-06-forfeiture-unit-seizes-edwin-sodis-luxury-cars

SOUTH AFRICA: 2 IN COURT OVER STREET INFRASTRUCTURE FRAUD IN THE EASTERN CAPE

On 6 October, IOL reported that 2 people are accused of defrauding the Mnquma Local Municipality in the Eastern Cape in a multi-million rand project.  The project was for construction of internal streets at Mnquma Local Municipality to the value of R 9.1 million during August 2013, and an investigation revealed that the values on invoices had been inflated, and 5 people have been charged with fraud.

https://www.iol.co.za/news/two-in-court-over-r9-million-street-infrastructure-fraud-in-the-eastern-cape–cbc9d30e-eb64-4c32-a08d-10642a5c466a

CUSTOMS SEIZE $900,000 GOLD CONSIGNMENT AT INDIAN AIRPORT

On 6 October, Idex Online reported that customs officials in India suspect smuggling after a 21 kg consignment of gold was found at a domestic air cargo complex. Gold bangles disguised as silver accounted for the majority of the haul at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad.

http://www.idexonline.com/FullArticle?id=46154

UK COURT OVERTURNS RULING ON $1.8 BILLION OF VENEZUELAN GOLD

On 5 October, the Guardian reported that the battle for the control of Venezuelan gold stored at the Bank of England has swung in favour of the government of Nicolás Maduro after an appeals court in London overturned an earlier High Court ruling concerning whom the UK recognised as Venezuela’s president.  The Court of Appeal granted an appeal by the Banco Central de Venezuela (BCV) and set aside July’s High Court judgment.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/05/uk-court-overturns-ruling-on-18bn-of-venezuelan-gold

A PATROL SHIP IN THE DUTCH CARIBBEAN HAS CAUGHT OVER 3 TONS OF COCAINE AND SHOWS HOW REGULARLY DRUG SHIPMENTS TRAVERSE THE AREA ON THEIR WAY TO EUROPE AND THE US

On 6 October, an article from Insight Crime says that this constitutes the most maritime seizures in 1 month since records began in 1974, but the combined volume of seized cocaine is not atypical.  2019 was a record-year for Dutch Caribbean drug seizures that saw around 9.2 tons of cocaine captured.  It says that, in recent years, the Dutch Caribbean has been a consistently attractive transit region for drug traffickers.

COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION (CFTC) – A RECORD-BREAKING YEAR FOR THE AGENCY’S DIVISION OF ENFORCEMENT

A release on Mondo Visione on 6 October advised that, among other things, it filed more enforcement actions (113) than any other year in the agency’s history; approved a case imposing the largest monetary relief in the agency’s history, with a $920 million resolution for violations relating to manipulation and spoofing; aggressively pursued fraud occurring during the COVID-19 pandemic; and continued its emphasis on coordination and parallel actions with criminal authorities and its regulatory partners.  It says that full details on FY 2020 enforcement actions will be available in the Division’s annual Enforcement Report, which will be issued later this year.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/cftc-posts-record-breaking-enforcement-year-filed-more-enforcement-actions-tha/

CREDIT CARD FRAUD IN EUROPE HITS $1.83 BILLION

On 5 October, Mobile Payments Today reported that research has revealed that Europe’s card fraud losses amount to over $1.83 billion, with the UK accounting for 45.36% of the losses and France having the second-highest losses.  The rest of the rankings put Germany in third place, while Spain closely followed then Italy.  Romania has the least losses at Є2.9 million.

https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/news/credit-card-fraud-in-europe-hits-155-billion-euros/

US: LUXURY CAR PURVEYOR EXTRADITED FROM UKRAINE ON FRAUD AND MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES

A news release from the US DoJ on 5 October advised that Mani Chulpayev, having been arrested in Ukraine and extradited to Atlanta, has been arraigned on federal charges of bank fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering.  He allegedly profited from years of fraud and by catering to drug traffickers looking for flashy cars and a way to launder their ill-gotten cash.

https://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga/pr/luxury-car-purveyor-extradited-fraud-and-money-laundering-charges

NETFLIX DOCUMENTARY SERIES: BAD BOY BILLIONAIRES OF INDIA

This investigative series sets out to portray India’s most infamous billionaires, including episodes on Vijay Mallya (of airline and Kingfisher beer fame), Nirav Modi (the jewellery king) and Subrata Roy (of the Sahara India Pariwar conglomerate).

https://www.netflix.com/pa-en/title/80990073

EX-ROMANIAN FOOTBALL FEDERATION OFFICIALS SENT TO TRIAL ON SUSPICION OF MONEY LAUNDERING AND EMBEZZLEMENT

On 6 October, Universul reported that 3 former Romanian Football Federation officials have been sent to trial on suspicion of siphoning off €740,000 from the Federation from a building project. 

INDIA: YES BANK CASE – 2 COX AND KINGS GROUP EXECUTIVES ARRESTED
On 6 October, the Times of India reported that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested the former CEO and former internal auditor of the Cox & Kings Group over the Yes Bank alleged loan default case. 

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/yes-bank-ed-arrests-2-cox-and-kings-group-executives/articleshow/78519192.cms

GUERNSEY: NATIONAL RISK ASSESSMENT WORKSHOPS

The Guernsey FSC has made available the presentation slides from 10 interactive sector specific workshops held in September to just under 400 attendees in Guernsey and Alderney, to assist firms in developing their mitigation of the money laundering and terrorist financing risks to their business as identified in the National Risk Assessment.  

JERSEY/SWISS FINANCIAL SERVICES FIRM ADMITS CONSPIRING WITH US TAXPAYERS AND OTHERS TO HIDE INCOME AND ASSETS IN OFFSHORE ENTITIES AND BANK ACCOUNTS

A release on Mondo Visione on 6 October advised that Strachans SA (in liquidation) had pleaded guilty to conspiring with US taxpayers and others to hide income and assets in offshore entities and bank accounts from the IRS. 

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/us-department-of-justice-jerseyswiss-financial-services-firm-admits-to-consp/

FRENCH OPEN MATCH-FIXING INVESTIGATION LAUNCHED BY PARIS AUTHORITIES AFTER WOMEN’S DOUBLES MATCH

ABC News reported on 6 October that the prosecutors’ office said the investigation into “fraud in an organised group” and “active and passive corruption”, began after a Romanian pair played a Russian and American at Roland-Garros.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-10-07/match-fixing-investigation-launched-over-french-open-match/12737680

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

Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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