Panama Cov-19 update – times goes on, as do the daily statistics, still seeming to me to be on the high side. On the other hand, maybe we will wing the first charity lottery draw since April on Sunday…
Meanwhile, 615 new cases and 21,666 active cases, with 116 in ICU, 662 in other wards and 481 in requisitioned hotel rooms. Another 17 fatalities, the number up again today.
16 October 2020
FinCEN FILES: BANKS FLAGGED FELIX SATER FOR $100 MILLION IN SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY
On 16 October BuzzFeed News carried an article saying that between 2013 and 2017, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, American Express and 3 others alerted the government at least 10 times to more than $100 million in unusual transactions by Felix Sater, his businesses, his wife’s granola company, and associates that included a powerful political family in Kazakhstan. Sater immigrated to the US from Russia when he was a boy. BuzzFeed describes him as a convicted felon who also helped the US fight financial crime; a guy from Brooklyn who went undercover in Cyprus and Istanbul to catch Russian and Ukrainian cybercriminals; and a man who’s always up for a hustle. He ran a $40 million “pump and dump” stock scheme and in 1998 he pleaded guilty to racketeering charges.
EUROPEAN COURT REJECTS SYRIAN SANCTIONS APPEALS
On 16 October, the EU Sanctions blog reported that the ECJ has rejected appeals brought by 6 Syrian entities, Razan Othman (Rami Makhlouf’s wife), and Eham Makhlouf (vice-president of one of the listed entities) challenging the General Court’s decision to uphold their 2016-2018 listings. The ECJ held that General Court was right to uphold the appellants’ listings because the EU’s Syria sanctions include membership of the Makhlouf family as a criterion on which a designation can be based.
SPAIN EXTRADITES FORMER BANKER SENTENCED IN IRAN FOR CORRUPTION
On 15 October, Al Jazeera reported that Spain has extradited Alireza Heydar Abadipour, the former CEO of Sarmayeh Bank, implicated in a large financial corruption case, in what Iran’s judiciary says is the first such extradition from Europe. He was arrested in Spain in June 2019 after Iranian police requested Interpol to issue a “red notice”. He had been tried in absentia and received a 12-year prison sentence.
BASEL COMMITTEE CONSIDERING CLIMATE RISK ASSESSMENT TECHNIQUES
On 14 October, the ABA Banking Journal reported that the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision is considering the use of stress tests, heat maps and scenario analysis to gauge the risks from climate change on financial institutions. Committee members identified a number of challenges in developing a framework to assess risks from climate change, including data gaps, methodological challenges and difficulties in mapping the transmission of climate risks to the banking system.
CONFIDENTIALITY AND NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENTS (NDA)
On 14 October, DLA Piper provided some helpful do’s and don’ts when thinking about an NDA.
JERSEY LIMITED PARTNERSHIPS
On 8 October, an article from Carey Olsen is concerned with the Limited Partnerships (Jersey) Law 1994 which governs Jersey limited partnerships. A limited partnership seeks to combine the flexibility and “tax transparency” offered by a partnership structure with the benefits, for limited partners, of limited liability offered by a company. The article says that the Jersey limited partnership has particular advantages over other offshore jurisdictions: no Jersey general partner is required, there is no upper limit on the number of limited partners, there is limited information required to be made publicly available, there is no audit or annual return requirement and a limited partner may have greater involvement in management than in some other jurisdictions.
A TECHNICAL RETROSPECTIVE OF THE FORMER SOUTH AFRICAN NUCLEAR WEAPON PROGRAMME
On 16 October, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute published a report which provides a detailed account of how engineers, physicists, policymakers and the military worked on the programme — often at cross purposes and without coordination. The result was a nuclear weapon programme that succeeded in producing credible nuclear explosives but for little purpose and too late. The author shows how sanctions combined with internal competition and an inability to execute the task on time prompted the government to give up its nuclear weapons.
A NEW WORLD OF SHIP LEASING AND SALE AND LEASEBACK TRANSACTIONS
On 16 October, a blog post on the Ship Law Blog from Reed Smith says that over the past decade, ship leasing has become a very significant competitor and alternative for the provision of finance for the acquisition of ships, and that it is likely to grow at a significant pace over the next 5 years. It explains what ship leasing is and what makes it so attractive, looking at Chinese companies.
TO PREVENT PROLIFERATION, STOP ENRICHMENT AND REPROCESSING IN THE MIDDLE EAST
On 15 October, Foreign Policy reported that there is a risk of a nuclear cascade across the region. The US can stop it by enforcing the gold standard of non-proliferation. It says that the US must apply a firm rule: no spent reactor fuel reprocessing or uranium enrichment — by anyone in the region. Uranium enrichment allows production of bomb-grade uranium, and spent fuel reprocessing extracts plutonium, the other important nuclear explosive.
HMRC RELEASES FURTHER GUIDANCE ABOUT MONEY LAUNDERING SUPERVISION
On 16 October, HMRC published further guidance for certain sectors to help them meet their requirements for money laundering supervision, including customer due diligence, record-keeping and reporting suspicious activity – for money service businesses, trust and company service providers, high-value dealers
EURO BANKNOTES MISAPPROPRIATED FROM CENTRAL BANK OF LIBYA
Released by HMRC on 16 October, this Amber Alert was released by the NCA in December 2019 to assist financial institutions in identifying a substantial volume of bank notes that were misappropriated from the Benghazi branch of the Central Bank of Libya (CBL) at the end of 2017 and which were then being channeled back to Europe for exchange.
COCAINE CARTEL SHIPPING FROM SOUTH AMERICA BUSTED IN SPAIN AND THE NETHERLANDS
On 16 October, a news release from Europol advised that Europol had supported a cross-border investigation, led by the Spanish Civil Guard, involving the Dutch Police and US Homeland Security Investigations and Customs and Border and Protection that resulted in dismantling an organised crime group trafficking cocaine from South America to Europe. Law enforcement officers raided locations in the Dutch cities of Amsterdam, Papendrecht, Rotterdam, Utrecht and the Spanish cities of Valencia and Malaga. They arrested 8 suspects (5 in Spain and 3 the Netherlands), one of them believed to be a leader of the network. During the operations, the officers from the Spanish police seized 6 tonnes of cocaine, jewelry, cash and encrypted devices. The suspects are believed to have used self-developed encrypted mobile applications to communicate with their counterparts. Individuals with military training and experience in war missions supported the logistical set-up of the criminal network.
UK DRUGS TRAFFICKER ADMITS GLOBAL MDMA CONSPIRACY
On 16 October, a news release from the NCA advised that a drugs trafficker Mubinar Rahman, 25, has admitted posting dozens of packages of Class A drugs around the world, after a NCA investigation, and is believed to have posted 104 packages with MDMA in to global destinations. The NCA recovered packages were destined for addresses in the UK, America, Israel, Norway, Thailand, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur.
UK JUDICIAL REVIEW PROBE EXTENDS DEADLINE TO SUBMIT EVIDENCE
On 16 October, the Law Society Gazette reported that the Independent Review of Administrative Law’s call for evidence was due to close on 19 October but has now been extended to 26 October after the panel, chaired by former Tory justice minister Lord Faulks, received several requests for an extension.
UK: APPEAL COURTS TO HAVE ‘FINAL SAY’ POST-BREXIT TRANSITION
On 16 October, the Law Society Gazette reported that the UK government has announced that the Court of Appeal will be allowed to depart from retained EU case law after the Brexit transition period ends on 31 December. Previously, only the Supreme Court and the High Court of Justiciary in Scotland were to have this power. The power to depart from retained EU case law is to be extended to the Court of Appeal in England and Wales, the Court of Appeal of Northern Ireland, the High Court of Justiciary in Scotland when sitting as a court of appeal in relation to compatibility or devolution issues, the Inner House of the Court of Session, the Lands Valuation Appeal Court and the Registration Appeal Court.
WHAT UK GOODS VEHICLE OPERATORS NEED TO DO TO CARRY OUT INTERNATIONAL ROAD HAULAGE FROM 1 JANUARY
On 16 October, the Department for Transport issued a news release that explains what goods vehicle operators need to do to carry out international road haulage from 1 January, when operator licensing requirements for journeys to, through or from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway will change.
2 EMPLOYEES OF A SYDNEY SOFTWARE COMPANY CONVICTED OVER THE 2019 NATIONAL RUGBY LEAGUE DALLY M BETTING SCANDAL
On 16 October, Calvin Ayre reported that the 2 men – company founder Joshua Dallas Wilson and the former director Benjamin David Tevisiol – were charged with using insider information to place bets on the outcome of the end of season award show. Court proceedings revealed that both Wilson and Tevisol were in charge of the confidential voting data which they then used to place bets.
US IMPORTS OF COUNTERFEIT GOODS BOUGHT AND SOLD ONLINE COULD BE SUBJECT TO INCREASED ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS
On 16 October, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reported that imports of counterfeit goods bought and sold online could be subject to increased enforcement actions under a memorandum from President Trump to the Department of Homeland Security on 13 October.
HONG KONG CUSTOMS SEIZE NEARLY 10 TONNES OF PROTECTED TIMBER IN SHIPPING CONTAINER BOUND FOR MAINLAND CHINA
On 16 October, the South China Morning Post reported that nearly 10 tonnes of rare, protected wood with an estimated value of US$ 774,000 was found hidden in a shipping container on its way from the Middle East to mainland China via Hong Kong. The suspected red sandalwood, which had been declared to be normal timber, was the biggest seizure of its kind this year, and was also the third major seizure of the wood in the past 6 months.
ARGENTINA MARIJUANA TRADE UNFAZED BY INCREASED SECURITY CONTROLS
On 16 October, Insight Crime reported that Argentina’s strategic location and booming consumer market have made it a major transshipment point for illegal drugs like marijuana, and massive seizures have raised questions about how well traffickers have adjusted to stepped-up security controls brought on by the coronavirus.
INDIA: CHARGES AGAINST BIHAR LIQUOR MAFIA IN MONEY LAUNDERING CASE
On 16 October, the Times of India reported that the Enforcement Directorate had has filed a charge sheet against Sanjay Pratap Singh and others in connection in a case related to a poisoned alcohol incident in which 21 persons lost their lives.
MAN SENTENCED TO LIFE IN PRISON AFTER CONVICTION FOR ORGANISING AND DIRECTING A DRUG TRAFFICKING ORGANISATION
On 16 October, a news release from the US DoJ advised that Aaron Michael Shamo, the CEO of a nationwide dark net drug trafficking organisation that distributed more than a half million counterfeit pills throughout the country, will serve life in federal prison. He organised and directed a drug trafficking organisation that imported fentanyl and alprazolam from China and used the drugs to manufacture fake oxycodone pills made with fentanyl and counterfeit Xanax tablets following a trial in August 2019. 47 witnesses testified at trial and hundreds of exhibits were received into evidence.
SWITZERLAND: GOVERNMENT OPENS INVESTIGATION INTO IKEA WOOD SOURCING
On 15 October, Swissinfo reported that Swiss authorities have launched proceedings against IKEA for alleged false declarations of where timber is sourced. The furniture company rejects the accusations. Administrative criminal proceedings have been opened in 2 cases of possible repeated false timber declarations.
SINGAPORE: CORRUPTION AND BRIBERY CHARGES INVOLVING SHIPYARD AND SUBCONTRACTORS
On 14 October, Maritime Executive reported that the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) had charged 7 individuals with corruption and conspiracy in a bribery and influence-peddling scheme involving the Keppel FELS shipyard and several subcontractors. The individuals involved in the alleged corruption scheme are due to begin appearing in court in November to face charges in their cases.
‘LOVER BOYS’ CASHING IN ON GIRLFRIENDS ARRESTED IN FRANCE
A news release from Europol on 15 October advised that French and Romanian, supported by Europol and Eurojust, have brought down an organised criminal group involved in human trafficking for sexual exploitation. It explains that the ‘lover boy’ technique is widely used by criminals to recruit victims confronted with economic and social hardship. The suspects target their victims’ vulnerabilities and seduce them with expensive gifts and promises of a better life abroad. This is how many women leave their families in search of love and new opportunities in other countries. However, once they find themselves in their new home, they are forced into prostitution to earn money for their handler. The victims are lured with affection, violence and threats against them and their families back home.
NATIONAL RISK ASSESSMENT HANDBOOK
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime has produced this Handbook which has been developed to provide assistance to jurisdictions in the conduct of money laundering and terrorist financing National Risk Assessments (NRA). It is said to be intended to build on, and extend beyond, ‘first-generation’ NRA methodologies such as those offered by the World Bank and the IMF.
JERSEY AML NATIONAL RISK ASSESSMENT
In case you missed it, in September Jersey published this NRA which, for the first time and in a centrally co-ordinated way across all authorities, looked to examine the money laundering risk to Jersey. The Report is made up of 2 parts: the national money laundering risk and the sectoral risk. While the NRA process also involved consideration of terrorism financing risk to Jersey, it will be publishing a separate report on the terrorism financing risk in 2021.
CANADA ADDS 31 BELARUS NAMES TO ITS SANCTIONS LISTS
On 16 October, the EU Sanctions Blog reported that Canada had amended its sanctions regime to impose sanctions against an additional 31 Belarusian officials in a coordinated action with the EU. It had originally listed 11 officials in September 2020 and has now designated the same 40 officials as the EU, as well as Alexander Lukashenko and his son Viktor.
FOUNDER AND CEO OF IRANIAN FINANCIAL SERVICES FIRM SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR CONSPIRING TO VIOLATE US SANCTIONS
On 15 October, a news release from the US DoJ advised that Seyed Sajjad Shahidian, 33, had been sentenced to 23 months in prison for his role in conducting financial transactions in violation of US sanctions against Iran. He was founder and CEO of PAYMENT24, an internet-based financial services company with approximately 40 employees and offices in Tehran, Shiraz, and Isfahan, Iran. Shahidian, a citizen of Iran, was arrested in London in November 2018, andwas extradited to the US in May 2020.
UK COULD SEE ‘INFLUX OF COUNTERFEIT MEDICINES’ WITHOUT FMD AFTER BREXIT
On 13 October, the Pharmaceutical Journal reported that the UK could see “an influx of counterfeit medicines” after the EU Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD), which came into operation in February 2019, ceases to apply at the end of the Brexit transition period on 1 January, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has said. The FMD involves mandatory safety features and an EU-wide database to prevent falsified medicines reaching patients. The president of the RPS said the lack of government plans to prevent falsified or counterfeit medicines entering the UK after the transition period was “unacceptable”.
US COMMERCE DEPARTMENT STRATEGY FOR CRITICAL AND EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES
A news release from the US Department of Commerce on 13 October says that the 6 emerging technologies now controlled on the Commerce Control List are:
- Hybrid additive manufacturing/computer numerically controlled tools
- Computational lithography software designed for the fabrication of extreme ultraviolet masks
- Technology for finishing wafers for 5 nanometer integrated circuit production
- Digital forensics tools that circumvent authentication or authorization controls on a computer and extract raw data
- Software for monitoring and analysis of communications and metadata acquired from a telecommunications service provider via a handover interface
- Sub-orbital spacecraft
This is the fourth set of emerging technology controls imposed by BIS division and the 31 technologies listed include 24 chemical weapons precursors controlled for chemical/biological and anti-terrorism reasons as well as:
- Discrete microwave transistors
- Continuity of operation software
- Post-quantum cryptography
- Underwater transducers designed to operate as hydrophones
- Air-launch platforms
- Geospatial imagery software (unilateral)
- Single-use biological cultivation chambers
The Strategy published on 15 October outlines how the US will promote and protect our competitive edge in fields such as artificial intelligence, energy, quantum information science, communication and networking technologies, semiconductors, military, and space technologies.
ISLE OF MAN CONFIRMS ADDITIONAL NAMES ON CHEMICAL WEAPONS AND AL-QAIDA/ISIL SANCTIONS LISTS
A news release from the Isle of Man on 16 October confirmed the additional of 6 individuals and 1 entity to the sanctions list in the light of the attack on Navalny.
Another news release advised the addition of 1 new name, and the amendment of another entry, re sanctions relating to Al-Qaida/ISIL.
SEC AMENDS REGULATIONS TO STREAMLINE WHISTLEBLOWER AWARD PROCESS
On 16 October, an article from Alston & Bird was concerned with the new rules governing the SEC whistleblower programme that are designed to provide greater clarity to whistleblowers and increase the efficiency of the programme and transparency. The changes such things as giving the maximum award percentage for certain small awards, disposing of frivolous and untimely claims efficiently and considering award amount in award percentage determination.
FinCEN SOLICITS COMMENTS ON DUE DILIGENCE FOR CORRESPONDENT AND PRIVATE BANK ACCOUNTS
On 16 October, an article from Ballard Spahr LLP says that in September FinCEN published a request for comments on existing regulations regarding enhanced due diligence for correspondent bank accounts – as an opportunity to comment on the existing regulatory requirements and burden estimates. Written comments must be received on or before 30 November. It is said that FinCEN has not proposed any changes to the current regulations for correspondent or private banking.
SAUDI ARABIA ARRESTS 45 IN LATEST ‘ANTI-CORRUPTION’ DRIVE
On 16 October, Middle East Eye reported that Saudi authorities arrested at least 45 people, including military officers and public servants, as part of kingdom’s so-called anti-corruption drive. The anti-corruption body says it has begun almost 900 investigations for criminal and disciplinary cases, including probes into “suspicion over corruption, profiteering and influence peddling of public posts”. Those arrested included 4 army officers and 5 Defence Ministry contractors over suspicion of profiteering and another 14 people, including 2 police officers, were detained over alleged embezzlement and bribery. Authorities also seized funds and real estate assets worth $160 million.
US: RAPPER WHO BOASTED IN LYRICS ABOUT GETTING RICH FROM UNEMPLOYMENT FRAUD CHARGED WITH STEALING $1.2 MILLION IN PANDEMIC JOBLESS BENEFITS
On 16 October, the Mail Online reported that rapper Nuke Bizzle, a Los Angeles rapper has been arrested on federal charges of stealing jobless benefits, weeks after he released a song boasting of getting wealthy by the very same scheme.
EX-ROSNEFT CEO SAYS ROTHSCHILD BANK DRAINED HIS FUNDS VIA KICKBACKS
On 16 October, BNN Bloomberg reported that Sergei Bogdanchikov, a former CEO of Russian oil company Rosneft, has accused one of Europe’s oldest banks of conspiring with New York brokers in a kickback scheme that caused him to lose more than half of his $150 million investment portfolio. He also alleges that the bank also used the now-defunct Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca to form shell companies to hide the scheme. He has accused banking group Edmond de Rothschild of steering his funds to a pair of New York firms that he says lost money on bad investments and charged inflated fees to kick commissions back to the bank. It is reported that Bogdanchikov had sued Rothschild in Europe but did not learn about the alleged role of New York brokers until this year, according to his suit.
PIRACY AND ARMED ROBBERY AGAINST SHIPS IN ASIA JANUARY-SEPTEMBER
In an article dated 17 October, Hellenic Shipping News said that a total of 75 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships (comprising 73 actual incidents and two attempted incidents) were reported in Asia during January-September2020 compared to 54 incidents (comprising49 actual incidents and five attempted incidents) during January-September 2019. It provides a summary of the third quarter report from the ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre.
FIRST COURT ACTION LAUNCHED IN EU OVER COMPANY’S POST-PRIVACY SHIELD POSITION
On 14 October, a Client Alert from Cordery reported that a German pressure group issued proceedings in in Munich in what is possibly the first civil action against a multinational corporation for failure to clarify its data transfer position after the death of Privacy Shield. It says that the case serves as a reminder that organisations needs to develop a plan quickly to be able to transfer data out of the EEA. The case has been brought by a German consumer platform against Amazon.
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