Panama Covid-19 update – Got to see the sea today, in a walk to the Cinta Costera today. The first time I had seen the sea with my own eyes since March…and the numbers keep clicking on, not going up perhaps, but not really dropping away totally either. Another 609 new cases reported today, giving21,202 active cases currently, with 110 in ICU and 652 in other wards. 455 patients are in the requisitioned hotel rooms. There were 11 more fatalities (2,557 to date).
17 October 2020
IRELAND: CENTRAL BANK ISSUES AML BULLETIN ON TRANSACTION MONITORING
On 16 October, an article from Dillon Eustace reported the Central Bank of Ireland published the sixth issue of its Anti-Money Laundering Bulletin, focusing on transaction monitoring. It highlights the importance of transaction monitoring, which the Central Bank states will continue to be a key focus area in its ongoing supervision of compliance by designated persons with AML/CFT requirements. The bulletin sets out the Central Bank’s findings following supervisory engagements across multiple credit and financial institutions, and also sets out the Central Bank’s expectations with regard to the application of transaction monitoring controls.
The Bulletin is at –
TRUMP RALLY ‘VIP’ AMONG 6 CHINESE NATIONALS CHARGED WITH DRUG MONEY LAUNDERING
On 16 October, NBC reported that a Chinese national whose Instagram page features pictures of him wearing a VIP pass at a 2018 rally for President Donald Trump, is now on US soil after being charged with conspiring to distribute cocaine and laundering the illicit funds. Tao Liu, whose alias is Antony Liu, is in custody. He is one of 6 Chinese nationals charged in a conspiracy that allegedly netted at least $30 million since 2008. Federal prosecutors allege that the men, in part, laundered their drug proceeds by purchasing products in the US and shipping them to China. The products were then sold through “black market merchants” in China, the indictment says, with the money sent back to drug traffickers in Latin America.
THE DOJ CRYPTOCURRENCY FRAMEWORK: A NEW PERSPECTIVE?
On 14 October, an Alert from Greenberg Traurig said that on 8 October, the Department of Justice’s Cyber-Digital Task Force published “Cryptocurrency: An Enforcement Framework”, which provides the DoJ perspective on emerging law enforcement issues and challenges in areas involving cryptocurrency. The article says that the publication of this Framework signals DoJ’s effort to prevent criminal activity using cryptocurrency, including a specific focus on the proliferation of cryptocurrency to facilitate terrorist activity and money laundering. While cryptocurrency provides many benefits to financial institutions and users alike – a fact that DoJ now openly acknowledges – companies and individuals dealing in the cryptocurrency space should be attentive to the illicit cryptocurrency uses and risks identified by DoJ to avoid unwanted law enforcement scrutiny.
BREXIT: CHECKING THAT AN HGV IS READY TO CROSS THE BORDER
BIFA reported that, to help hauliers and HGV drivers understand if they are carrying the right documentation, the UK is developing a new web service, known as “Check an HGV is Ready to Cross the Border” for the RoRo Freight Industry. This service will provide advice on documentation that HGV over 7.5 tonnes will need when exporting freight from GB to the EU after 31 December. The service will also generate a Kent Access Permit (KAP) for those who confirm either that they have, or will obtain en route, the necessary customs documentation.
ENVIRONMENTAL, SOCIAL AND GOVERNANCE (ESG) AT THE LONDON METAL EXCHANGE (LME)
A briefing from HFW explained that, in August, the LME issued a discussion paper on “LME Sustainability“1, a new and wide-ranging initiative proposing, among other things, new contracts and a new spot trading platform. According to the exchange, LME Sustainability builds upon the success of its responsible sourcing policy (LME Responsible Sourcing), which was rolled out in October 2019. The briefing considers both LME Responsible Sourcing and LME Sustainability and explain: what do these initiatives mean for LME participants and metals producers, and what should they be doing about them now?
CRYPTOASSET BUSINESSES UNDER UK REGULATORY SCRUTINY? 5 STEPS BUSINESSES CAN TAKE NOW
A briefing from HFW says that the FCA is maintaining its longstanding focus on financial crime. Cryptoasset businesses can expect to be subject to increased regulatory scrutiny and should take action now to prepare for this. For example, the FCA recently published its Consultation Paper CP20/17: Extension of Annual Financial Crime Reporting Obligation (CP20/17). It proposes that, among others, “cryptoasset exchange providers” and “custodian wallet providers” (broadly, businesses involved in the exchange, issuance or safeguarding of cryptoassets such as cryptocurrencies), should become subject to the annual financial crime reporting requirements at SUP 16.23 of the FCA Handbook.
PRETRIAL PROCEEDINGS RE ALLEGED CORRUPTION OF KYRGYZ CUSTOMS UNDER RAIYMBEK MATRAIMOV
On 17 October, 24KG reported that pretrial proceedings in the case involved alleged corruption at Kyrgyzstan Customs have begun. It is claimed that that the former deputy chairman of the Customs, Raiymbek Matraimov, and others established a corruption scheme to extract shadow revenues during customs administration since the beginning of 2016.
NIGERIA: HOW NON-EXISTENT COMPANY WAS AWARDED MULTI-BILLION RAILWAY CONTRACT
On 17 October, All Africa reported that Eser Contracting and industry Company Incorporated was unregistered but was nevertheless awarded a valuable railway rehabilitation contract, to rehabilitate a section of Nigeria’s Eastern Railway Line, in violation of public procurement regulations.
ANDORRA JOINS IMF
A news release from the IMF on 16 October advised that Andorra had become the 190th member of IMF.
ST KITTS & NEVIS ECONOMIC CITIZENSHIP COST REDUCTION
On 13 October, a briefing from Dixcart is concerned with temporary cost reductions, introduced in July, for the St Kitts & Nevis Economic Citizenship, provide an additional incentive to consider this programme. However, you only have until 15 January to take advantage of the reduced costs.
AFTER BREXIT, THE UK COULD BECOME A ‘DATA HAVEN’
An Opinion piece in the Guardian on 17 October claimed that if Britain were to host data acquired in unlawful ways, the financial and reputational damage would be huge – but that the UK could develop into a data haven, in the way some countries are tax havens. A data haven would be a country involved in “data washing”, being willing to host data acquired in unlawful ways (e.g. without proper consent or safeguards) that is then recycled into apparently respectable products, and such the malpractices as exporting unethical research activities to countries with poor regulation.
GAMBLING ADDICT WHO WORKED FOR MANCHESTER STOCKBROKERS CONNED VICTIMS OUT OF £700,000 IN ‘BREATHTAKING’ SCAM
On 17 October, the Manchester Evening News reported that a conman defrauded his victims out of almost £700,000 by promising generous returns on investments in a ‘breathtaking’ scam, a court has heard. In reality Sam Whittingslow, 29, was spending the money on online gambling and foreign holidays. About £414,000 will be returned to victims after intervention from the Gambling Commission.
FRAUD ALLEGATIONS CALL £400 MILLION COUNCIL INVESTMENTS INTO QUESTION
On 17 October, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported that a businessman has been accused of defrauding a local authority of £5 million as part of a taxpayer-funded investment deal a involving a deal for 19 solar farms. The company involved had received £145 million from Thurrock council in Essex to fund the refinancing of a series of solar farms. However, a document advertising the deal to the council failed to mention that the sites were at the centre of an ongoing legal dispute over alleged defects, and that a separate company, with the same owner, would take a £5 million commission fee. Despite repeated inquiries, including via the Freedom of Information Act, Thurrock Council has refused to reveal how much money it invested in projects of the companies’ owner.
SEC – TAKE EXTRA PRECAUTION FOR COVID DISTRIBUTIONS
On 16 October, an article from The Rosenbaum Law Firm PC says that the SEC is urging professionals to take extra steps to ensure the safety of investors’ assets, and particularly COVID-19 related distributions from retirement accounts.
UK: CRIMESTOPPERS LAUNCHES NEW COVID FRAUD HOTLINE
On 17 October, the Falkirk Herald reported that, in an initiative between the UK government and independent charity Crimestoppers, the public can now call the new Covid Fraud Hotline on 0800 587 5030, anonymously and free of charge, to report suspected fraudulent activity or fill out a simple, secure anonymous online form.
CHINA’S TECHNOLOGY IMPORT AND EXPORT CONTROL REGIME
On 12 October, Field Fisher published an article saying that China has 2 sets of technology import and export control regimes –
- One is the import and export of civilian technologies; and
- The other is a separate export control regime for sensitive items and related technologies, such as nuclear dual-use items, missiles, biological supplies and export of specific chemicals.
It says that it is important to understand the differences and distinctions between them.
COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE ENFORCEMENT OF COURT JUDGMENTS AND ARBITRATION AWARDS ACROSS 44 JURISDICTIONS
On 14 October, Baker McKenzie produced this guide which examines the position in 44 jurisdictions, 13 of which are new to this edition. The firm says that the Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements allows judgments of one jurisdiction to be enforced in another, and provided a choice of court clause exists – it has gained significant momentum, with numerous new signatories and its first enforcement case. The more ambitious Hague Judgments Convention, which allows for cross-border recognition of judgments in specified situations, even without a choice of court clause, was concluded in July 2019, after 27 years in development, and now has its first signatories. The Singapore Mediation Convention, which aims to ensure cross-border enforceability of settlement agreements arising from mediation, was launched last year and has been ratified by several jurisdictions.
IS VIETNAM DEVELOPING AN ARMED UAV?
On 16 October, the International Institute for Strategic Studies asked this question saying that Vietnam recently revealed what a mock-up of a medium-size unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) during a display of Vietnamese military equipment was likely. It says that the country has been attempting to build UAV-based intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities for over a decade, and mock-up was the first weaponised UAV to be displayed by Vietnam.
NORTH KOREA’S STEADY PROGRESS MATTERS MORE THAN ITS BIG NEW MISSILE
On 16 October, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists reported on the recent military parade, saying that the stars of the parade were a new larger intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and a new submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). The new ICBM is touted as the “largest” road-mobile, liquid-fueled ICBM in the world – although the article notes that most countries that have ICBM work to create smaller, solid-fueled systems to make them more mobile, more concealable, and faster to deploy. It also says that the fixation on the new ballistic missiles has obscured a far more important story about North Korea’s overall military modernisation – the level and pace of North Korea’s broader military modernisation should compel US policy makers to rethink the current approach to denuclearisation.
BRIBES ALLEGATION INVESTIGATED AT ONE OF IRELAND’S LARGEST RETAILERS
On 15 October, the Irish Times reported that a senior member of staff at one of Ireland’s large retailers has been arrested after allegations by the company that he received corrupt payments. An audit was conducted by the retailer and it took its suspicions to the Garda and reported them for investigation. The company was concerned over the speed at which one of its trading partners, which was supplying services to it, had significantly increased the volume and monetary value of work it did for the retailer. The Irish Times says that it understands while it is alleged around €50,000 was paid, the value of the contracts the service provider managed to secure was worth millions of euro.
2020 UPDATE OF THE EU CONTROL LIST OF DUAL-USE ITEMS
The update to the EU dual-use export Regulation came into effect on 15 October, updating the EU control list in Annex I to Regulation (EC) No 428/2009, and this briefing note outlines the details of the update.
IMPROVING GOVERNANCE AND TACKLING CRIME IN FREE-TRADE ZONES
On 13 October, RUSI published this Occasional Paper which sets out to identify factors that render free-trade zones vulnerable to illicit trade and financial crime and proposes measures to detect and prevent it.
EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN – THE NEXT BIG DISRUPTION OF THE SUPPLY CHAIN NETWORK
A Commentary in American Shipper on 17 October says that while the Mediterranean Sea as a whole has been the centre of oil and gas explorations, it is in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea that massive gas fields exist. However, the discovery of oil and natural gas in the region has reignited territorial conflicts between Turkey and Greece, both members of NATO. It labels this area as the next area likely to have disruption.
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