OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – OCTOBER 29

Panama Covid-19 update – heard today that my wife’s aunt has been diagnosed with Covid-19. Although not apparently serious, given her age and general state of health she was considered vulnerable (as was her husband) and, while not requiring going into hospital, she needed to be quarantined and monitored. So she has been put up in one of the hundreds of requisitioned hotel rooms – and very nice it is too, it seems. In a really nice part of the city, in a lovely modern hotel with great sea views…and with the government picking up the tab. this seems to be another example that (despite complaints of some people – there always are some), the country has generally coped better with the crisis better than many others 9and, to be honest, better than I would have expected), and a lot better than other, richer and more “advanced” countries (e.g. the UK?).

Meanwhile, another 7,939 tests produced another 798 new cases; with 15 more fatalities taking us to 2,678 to date. There are currently 21,025 active cases of the total 132,045 recorded to date.

29 OCTOBER 2020

GREECE: FORMER MINISTER, WIFE AND HIS COUSIN FOUND GUILTY OF MONEY LAUNDERING

On 28 October, the National Herald reported that the former minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos, his wife and his cousin were found guilty of money laundering by a criminal appeals court.

https://www.thenationalherald.com/greece_politics/arthro/tsochadzopoulos_sentenced_for_money_laundering_over_swiss_contract-1093522/

BAHRAIN: 5 FUTURE BANK OFFICIALS JAILED FOR MONEY LAUNDERING

On 28 October, Gulf News reported that Bahrain’s High Criminal court has sentenced 5 Future Bank officials to 5 years in prison and fined them, in the latest of a series of money laundering cases against Iranian banks.  The Future Bank received requests for suspicious financial transfers in favour of the Central Bank and other Iranian banks through the SWIFT system without reporting them. 

https://gulfnews.com/world/gulf/bahrain/bahrain-5-future-bank-officials-jailed-for-money-laundering-1.1603915090467

UKRAINE’S TOP COURT DEALS CRITICAL BLOW TO ANTI-CORRUPTION AGENCY

On 28 October, Rferl reported that the Ukraine’s Constitutional Court has stripped the country’s anti-corruption agency of some of its critical powers.  The court declared it unconstitutional to hold officials criminally liable for intentionally providing false information on asset declarations. It also struck down several powers of the National Agency for Preventing Corruption (NAZK).  The court ruling is also controversial because 4 judges are under investigation by the NAZK for failing to properly declare assets in their declarations.  The judges did not recuse themselves from the case, despite calls to do so from the government and anti-corruption campaigners.

https://www.rferl.org/a/ukraine-s-top-court-deals-critical-blow-to-anti-corruption-agency/30917920.html

GOLDMAN SACHS 1MDB CLAWBACKS

On 28 October, Compliance Week reported that the board of Goldman Sachs will attempt to claw back approximately $174 million from a dozen current and former executives in the aftermath of the 1MDB scandal. in one of the largest clawback attempts ever.  Goldman Sachs also said that it has spent the past 5 years overhauling its compliance and internal control systems in response to the scandal involving violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) anti-bribery provisions.  The clawback would include long-term performance incentive awards made to former senior executives.

https://www.complianceweek.com/boards-and-shareholders/goldman-board-demands-accountability-with-widespread-1mdb-clawbacks/29658.article

UK: DISCLOSURE PILOT SCHEME: A ROUND-UP OF KEY CASES SINCE JANUARY 2020

On 26 October, an article from Stewarts examines the key case law and guidance that has emerged from the courts of England and Wales in relation to the Disclosure Pilot Scheme since January of this year, and also provides an overview of potential reforms on the horizonThe Disclosure Pilot Scheme (the “DPS”), which has been in force since 1 January 2019, was originally intended to finish at the end of December 2020, but has now been extended for another year (i.e. until the end of 2021).  This is the second follow-up report on the Pilot, the previous one for the period from January 2019.

https://www.stewartslaw.com/news/disclosure-pilot-scheme-a-round-up-of-key-cases-since-january-2020/

JERSEY: COURT GUIDANCE ON CONTRACTUAL INTERPRETATION AND FORMATION PARTICULARLY IN INSTANCES WHERE THEIR AGREEMENT IS NOT CAPTURED IN A SINGLE WRITTEN DOCUMENT

On 23 October, an article from Carey Olsen reported that, in a recent judgment the Royal Court of Jersey made some noteworthy comments on contractual formation and validity, having carefully considered Jersey, English and French jurisprudence.  This, it says, is of relevance to commercial parties operating in Jersey, particularly in instances where their agreement is not captured in a single written document.

https://www.careyolsen.com/briefings/royal-court-jersey-reinforces-guidance-contractual-interpretation-and-formation

CAN EVIDENCE GATHERED 26 YEARS LATER REALLY BE RELIED ON?

On 26 October, an article from Reed Smith reported that the Estonian government has committed themselves to re-investigate the disaster of the Estonia ferry in 1994. The decision to re-investigate comes after the release of a Discovery Network programme where it was claimed to have discovered new and crucial information.  With improvements in technology since 1994, the article says, it will be interesting to see what is discovered and it could open the door to other marine casualties being re-investigated in the future.

https://viewpoints.reedsmith.com/post/102gixp/can-evidence-gathered-26-years-later-really-be-relied-on

DRUG SMUGGLING IN COMMERCIAL SHIPPING

On 29 October, Splash 247 carried an article sayig that, with the maritime industry continually improving anti-narcotics operations around the world, traffickers are finding increasingly novel and ingenious ways of smuggling drugs. The article explores the indirect legal and commercial consequences to shipowners and charterers arising out of delays and losses caused.

https://splash247.com/drug-smuggling-in-commercial-shipping/

MALAYSIA’S GUIDELINES ON DIGITAL ASSETS ENTER INTO FORCE

On 29 October, Regulation Asia reported that Malaysia’s SC (Securities Commission) has announced that its guidelines on digital assets have come into force, providing a regulatory framework for IEO (Initial Exchange Offerings) and digital asset custodians.  Under the guidelines, IEO platform operators are required to assess and conduct the necessary due diligence on issuers, review issuer proposals and disclosures in their whitepapers, and assess their ability to comply with the requirements of the guidelines as well as the SC’s AML/CFT guidelines.  The guidelines also include rules and regulations to facilitate the provision of digital asset custody services by interested parties.

https://www.regulationasia.com/malaysias-guidelines-on-digital-assets-enter-into-force/

THE STATUS OF THE FRONT END OF SAUDI ARABIA’S NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE

On 7 October, the Middlebury Institute published a report saying that recently articles have appeared regarding possible developments in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s (KSA) nuclear programme.  Saudi Arabia has constructed a facility, with Chinese assistance, to produce long-range solid-propellant ballistic missiles that could serve as a delivery system for a future nuclear force.  A research team at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) has analysed recent media articles and has reviewed underlying, unpublished reports.  The purpose of the report is to capture the team’s findings and analysis up to the date of publication.  The report concludes that Saudi actions can be understood as a longer-term hedge against a nuclear-armed Iran.  In this context, insufficient safeguards on the KSA’s nuclear programme should be a point of concern for all countries.  International nuclear suppliers and assistance providers, including China, should not provide further support to the budding Saudi nuclear programme until Saudi Arabia has taken steps to demonstrate its peaceful nature.

https://nonproliferation.org/the-status-of-the-front-end-of-saudi-arabias-nuclear-fuel-cycle/

FINANCIAL STABILITY BOARD (FSB) REPORT ON STABLECOINS

On 29 October, Bird & Bird published an article saying that the Financial Stability Board (FSB) has published its report with recommendations on how to promote coordinated and effective regulation, supervision and oversight of Global Stablecoin (GSC) arrangements.  Global stablecoins are defined as a “specific category of crypto-assets which have the potential to enhance the efficiency of the provision of financial services, but may also generate risks to financial stability, particularly if they are adopted at a significant scale”.  It says that the report and its recommendations are addressed to authorities at a jurisdictional level and focus on privately issued GSC predominantly intended for retail use.  The main area of focus is the risk of financial instability that the mass-adoption of GSC could create, and how to mitigate this through effective and comprehensive regulation.

https://www.twobirds.com/en/news/articles/2020/global/client-alert-on-fbs-report-on-global-stablecoins

THE UK TRUST REGISTER – WHERE ARE WE NOW?

On 26 October, a briefing from Taylor Wessing says that changes anticipated due to 5MLD were potentially far reaching and caused significant concern to the private client world. 

https://www.taylorwessing.com/en/insights-and-events/insights/2020/10/the-uk-trust-register—where-are-we-now

UK: PRE-PACKAGED ADMINISTRATION (PRE-PACKS) 

The House of Commons Library has produced a briefing paper which looks in detail at how pre-pack administrations work in practice under revised Statement of Insolvency Practice (SIP 16) ; the “pros and cons” of the procedure; the recommendations of the Graham Review; and provides a summary of the measures introduced by a 2015 ActIt goes on to consider the Insolvency Service 2020 report and the proposed regulatory framework set out in the draft regulations.  This briefing paper applies to England and Wales, and Scotland.

http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN05035/SN05035.pdf

At the same time, Hogan Lovells produced a briefing, saying that on 8 October, the Insolvency Service published the outcome of its review of industry reforms to pre-pack sales in administration and made recommendations which will impact the way in which pre-pack sales to connected parties in particular operate in the UK in the future.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/second-time-lucky-pre-pack-reform-in-23607/

INTERPOL AND COUNCIL OF EUROPE COOPERATE IN PUBLISHING THE GUIDE FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE STATISTICS ON CYBERCRIME AND ELECTRONIC EVIDENCE

A news release from Interpol on 29 October advised that, to effectively tackle the multifaceted and imperceptible nature of cybercrime, criminal justice authorities need a good understanding of the scale, types and impact of the crime.  For this reason, the Council of Europe and INTERPOL have jointly developed the Guide for Criminal Justice Statistics on Cybercrime and Electronic Evidence to support countries develop a clearer vision of the global problem.

https://www.interpol.int/News-and-Events/News/2020/Building-a-solid-foundation-for-measuring-the-impact-of-cybercrime

The Guide is at –

https://www.interpol.int/content/download/15731/file/Guide%20for%20Criminal%20Justice%20Statistics%20on%20Cybercrime%20and%20Electronic%20Evidence.pdf

PERU AT A CROSSROADS: CORRUPTION, STABILITY AND THE 2021 ELECTIONS

On 29 October, an article from Control Risks says that the country’s Congress is to vote on a new attempt to impeach President Martín Vizcarra, after failing to oust him on 18 September due to corruption allegations.  He is the sixth consecutive head of state to be accused of corruption in Peru.  It says that Vizcarra is highly likely to survive the new impeachment attempt, as he did in September, but he will have very limited opportunities to enact significant reforms to combat corruption in the next 9 months.  It considers the likely continued political instability, saying that corruption risks are likely to persist in some public contracting processes, particularly in cases where the contracting agency is part of a regional or local government authority.

https://www.controlrisks.com/our-thinking/insights/peru-at-a-crossroads

WHAT ARE THE WIDER SUPERVISORY IMPLICATIONS OF THE WIRECARD CASE?

On 29 October, the EU Parliament Research Service published a briefing paper which highlights several lessons for the regulation and supervision of fintech companies.  It says that, although the case of Wirecard appears to be an accounting fraud of the more classical type, many lessons can be drawn for the design of fintech regulation and supervision.  To some extent, the inability of the authorities to detect such a misconduct in a prominent and well-known company is the result of regulatory loopholes, which may leave room for future transgressions.

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2020/651384/IPOL_STU(2020)651384_EN.pdf

UN: HOW EXTREMIST GROUP AL-SHABAAB FUNDS ACTIVITIES

On 28 October, the UN reported that a group of UN-appointed experts detailed in a recent report how the Al-Shabaab extremist group raises funds for its activities.  The briefing is said to have provided insight into the trafficking of components for improvised explosive devices, the maritime trade and Al-Shabaab’s revenue system, and the charcoal trade. 

https://www.un.org/press/en/2020/sc14340.doc.htm

LITHUANIA: GOVERNMENT GIVES GREEN LIGHT TO THE AML CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE

On 28 October, the Bank of Lithuania reported that a unique public-private cooperation project initiated by the Bank of Lithuania was given a green light, when the Lithuanian government approved the establishment of the Centre of Excellence in Anti-Money Laundering.  The centre set up to mobilise public and private efforts in combating money laundering and terrorist financing (AML/CTF) as well as to strengthen the prevention framework. The Centre was established by the Ministry of Finance, the Bank of Lithuania and the country’s commercial banks, while other financial market participants will also be invited to join its activities in the future.  The Financial Crime Investigation Service, the Police Department, the State Tax Inspectorate and the Prosecutor General’s Office are expected to take joint action with the centre as well.
https://www.lb.lt/en/news/government-gives-green-light-to-the-centre-of-excellence-in-anti-money-laundering

HUNGARIAN FRAUDSTERS INDICTED AFTER OLAF INVESTIGATION

A news release from OLAF on 27 October advised that Hungarian public prosecutors have followed a recommendation from OLAF and opened proceedings against individuals accused of illegally overcharging for the renovation of children’s playgrounds using EU money.  Prosecutors are calling for prison sentences for the fraudsters, who illegally pocketed more than €1.7 million in European and Hungarian funding.

https://ec.europa.eu/anti-fraud/media-corner/news/27-10-2020/hungarian-fraudsters-indicted-after-olaf-investigation_en

CENTRAL BANK DIGITAL CURRENCIES (CBDC): DRIVERS, APPROACHES, AND TECHNOLOGIES

On 28 October, VOX, from the European Centre for Economic Policy Research, carried an article saying that CBDC are in the limelight, but the motives for issuance and, relatedly, the policy approaches and designs differ. The article surveys the drivers, policy approaches and technical designs, based on a comprehensive and publicly available database.  It finds that all CBDC projects aim to complement cash rather than replace it and many projects would allow for an important role of the private sector in the payment system.

https://voxeu.org/article/central-bank-digital-currencies-drivers-approaches-and-technologies

INDIA: KERALA CHIEF MINISTER’S FORMER SECRETARY ARRESTED IN A MONEY LAUNDERING CASE AND CPI(M) PARTY SECRETARY DETAINED IN DRUGS CASE

The Hindustan Times on 29 October reported that a day after the arrest of Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s former secretary M Sivasankar in a money laundering case, the ruling CPI(M) party suffered another setback after the Enforcement Directorate arrested party secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan’s son Bineesh Kodiyeri in a narcotics case.  The latter was arrested after he failed to give convincing answers about an alleged funding of the drug racket after 3-hours of questioning.  

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/day-after-cm-s-former-aide-s-arrest-kerala-cpi-m-secretary-s-son-held-for-funding-drugs/story-14EFANzH49mc3zsLNyQVHK.html

PODCAST: SHATTERED FAMILIES, A REFUGEE CRISIS AND THE US DIMINISHED REPUTATION

In the last TRACE podcast before the US election, Mandy Patinkin and Kathryn Grody describe with passion their work with the International Rescue Committee.  They say what America as a haven means to them and mourn the news that 545 children separated from their parents on the US southern border cannot be restored to their parents.  They conclude with a fervent appeal to Americans to turn out to vote in this election.

https://traceinternational.org/resources-podcast

US EXPORT ADMINISTRATION REGULATIONS (EAR) REVISED LICENCE REVIEW POLICY

On 29 October, the EU Sanctions Blog reported that the licensing of the export of items controlled for national security reasons and destined for China, Venezuela or Russia will require agencies to consider whether the proposed export/re-export/transfer of the controlled items will make a “material contribution to the development, production, maintenance, repair, or operations” of the weapons systems capability of those countries.  The blog post lists the criteria taken into account.  The new rules take effect from 29 October.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2020/10/bis-amends-licence-review-policy-for-controlled-items-to-china-venezuela-and-russia/

UK POINTS-BASED IMMIGRATION SYSTEM FOR EU WORKERS FROM 1 JANUARY

On 29 October, the Business Secretary said that the Brexit transition period is ending on 31 December and there will be no extension.  The current rules for hiring workers from the EU will change.  Time is running out and he says that he urges businesses to act now to prepare for a new relationship with the EU.  The new system will treat EU and non-EU citizens equally and transform the way in which employers recruit internationally.  You will need to be a licensed sponsor to hire eligible workers from outside the UK – this normally takes 8 weeks and fees apply.  New job, salary and language requirements will apply to anyone that you want to hire from outside the UK.  The new system will not apply to hiring Irish citizens, or EU citizens already living and working in the UK who are eligible under the EU Settlement Scheme.

https://www.gov.uk/transition

https://pbisemployers.campaign.gov.uk/

LATVIAN AVIATION INDUSTRY AND GOVERNMENT COLLABORATE TO FIGHT HUMAN TRAFFICKING

On 24 October, Homeland Security Today reported that Latvia’s Riga Airport, the national airline airBaltic, the Ministry of the Interior and NGO have signed a memorandum of cooperation committing to actively cooperate in the prevention of human trafficking. The purpose of the memorandum is to promote the prevention of trafficking of human beings and to strengthen cooperation between aviation companies, state institutions and NGO in identifying and referring victims for the provision of support, assistance and protection. 

https://www.hstoday.us/subject-matter-areas/airport-aviation-security/latvian-aviation-industry-and-government-collaborate-to-fight-human-trafficking/

US: INTERNATIONAL FIREARMS TRAFFICKER ARRESTED IN ICE INVESTIGATION

A news release from US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement on 28 October advised that a man from the state of Georgia has been arrested on charges of conspiracy and smuggling goods out of the US in violation of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).   According to court documents, between 2014 and 2020, Ihor Radionov, 51, with co-conspirator Vladimir Volgaev, and a further co-conspirator residing in Ukraine, conspired to export defence articles out of the US, including gun barrels and slides, without a licence or prior written approval from the Department of State.

https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/international-firearms-trafficker-arrested-ice-tampa-investigation

AUSTRALIA: COURT ORDERS COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA TO PAY A $150,000 PENALTY FOR CREDIT LEVEL INCREASE FOR PROBLEM GAMBLER

A release on Mondo Visione on 29 October advised that the Federal Court has ordered the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) to pay a $150,000 penalty after the Court found the bank breached the responsible lending provisions of the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/asic-commonwealth-bank-of-australia-ordered-to-pay-150000-for-credit-limit-i/

17-YEAR JAIL TERM UPHELD FOR FORMER SOUTH KOREAN LEADER

On 29 October, the Straits Times reported that former South Korean president Lee Myung-bak, who was president from 2008 to 2013, has been ordered back to prison as the country’s Supreme Court upheld a 17-year jail term for bribery and embezzlement offences.  He had been out on bail awaiting the ruling and was not in court for the decision. The ruling is not subject to further appeal and, at age 78, it means Lee is likely to die in prison unless he receives a presidential pardon.

https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/17-year-jail-term-upheld-for-former-s-korean-leader

IRELAND: FORMER AIRPORT POLICEMAN JAILED OVER €1 MILLION MONEY LAUNDERING

On 29 October, the Irish Times reported that Mark Adams, 41, a former airport policeman and male model has been jailed for 5 years for his role in the money laundering of a total of more than €1 million. 

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/courts/criminal-court/former-airport-policeman-jailed-over-1-million-money-laundering-1.4394679

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

OFAC: NEW IRAN SANCTIONS, UPDATES, GENERAL LICENSE AND FAQ

On 29 October, OFAC advised that 5 individuals – 3 Iranian, an Indian and Chinese national and 11 entities have been added to its sanctions lists, including 8 entities for their involvement in the sale and purchase of Iranian petrochemical products – the AL-BILAD ISLAMIC BANK FOR INVESTMENT AND FINANCE PSC (additional aliases) and Mahmoud MADANIPOUR have been amended.  At the same time OFAC has issued General Licence M (Authorizing the Exportation of Certain Graduate Level Educational Services and Software) and new FAQ 853 on Iranian sanctions.

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20201029

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm1168

https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/126/iran_gl_M.pdf

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

SLOVAKIA: AML/CFT MUTUAL EVALUATION REPORT

On 29 October, MONEYVAL published the 5th Round mutual evaluation report on the Slovak Republic.  It says, among other things, that the report concludes that the Slovak Republic obtains poor results in using financial intelligence and other relevant information to collect evidence and trace criminal assets.  Since the last evaluation, the number of money laundering convictions increased, but an important part is related to simple property offences such as car thefts. The outcome of investigations and prosecutions of money laundering in other major proceeds generating crimes does not fully reflect the country’s risks.  The absence of a central bank account register and the lack of beneficial owner information are reported as the greatest challenges in conducting financial analysis.  MONEYVAL flags important shortcomings in the FIU’s mechanism  and says that that preventive measures are seriously affected by several issues, and furthermore there are no mechanisms in place to verify the information on the ultimate beneficial owners at the time of registration.  Based on the results of its evaluation, MONEYVAL decided to apply its enhanced follow-up procedure and invited Slovakia to report back in September 2022.

https://rm.coe.int/moneyval-2020-21-5th-round-mer-slovakia/1680a02853

MONEYVAL: SLOVAKIA SHOULD PROSECUTE MONEY LAUNDERING WITH MORE DETERMINATION

On 29 October, a news release from the Council of Europe says that MONEYVAL urges the authorities of the Slovak Republic to systematically pursue illicit funds generated by all proceeds generating crimes through effective seizure and confiscation, and to systemically tackle money laundering and terrorist financing occurring around such crimes. 

https://search.coe.int/directorate_of_communications/Pages/result_details.aspx?ObjectId=0900001680a02299

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

COURT ANALYSES THE BINDING NATURE OF OFAC SANCTIONS ON MALTESE BANKS

On 23 October, an article from Ganado Advocates reported a ruling in September that the Bank of Valetta had no legal right to arbitrarily and unilaterally restrict its customers from withdrawing their deposits, on the basis of sanctions imposed by OFAC.  The Court held that since BOV had no legal basis for its actions, the defendant bank had to release the funds to WWFL, together with any interest applicable at law.

https://ganado.com/insights/publications/court-analyses-the-binding-nature-of-ofac-sanctions-on-maltese-banks/

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

EXPERIAN CREDIT-RATING AGENCY FACES GDPR ACTION

IT Pro on 28 October reported that the Information Commissioner’s Office in the UK has ordered the credit-rating agency to stop profiting from the secretive enriching and processing of people’s personal data or face a massive GDPR fine.  It is said that the ICO discovered a data-broking operation across the entire credit rating industry, with 3 credit reference agencies, including Equifax and TransUnion, under fire for illegal practices.

https://www.itpro.co.uk/policy-legislation/general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/357564/experian-faces-gdpr-action

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

GUATEMALA REJECTS EX-PRESIDENT MARTINELLI SON’S APPEAL AGAINST EXTRADITION TO US

On 28 October, Newsroom Panama reported that the Guatemalan justice system denied appeals filed by Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Linares’ lawyer, one of the 2 sons of former Panama President Martinelli, seeking to prevent him from being extradited to the US, to face trial for conspiracy to commit crimes related to the Odebrecht scandal.  The 2 brothers were arrested in July as they were boarding a private jet.

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/guatemala-rejects-martinelli-son039s-appeal-against-extradition-to-us-1

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 28

Panama Covid-19 update – another 825 new cases added today – possibly in part because of 7,896 tests carried out, with 13 additional fatalities and now 21,193 active cases.

28 October 2020

CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION — KNOWLEDGE OF UNLAWFULNESS NOT REQUIRED FOR UNLAWFUL MEANS CONSPIRACY

On 26 October, Hardwicke published a briefing saying that the Court of Appeal in London had confirmed by majority that knowledge of unlawfulness is not required to establish the tort of unlawful means conspiracy and placed practical limits on what might be considered truly confidential information in the future, emphasising the need for careful pleadings.  The case involved 2 appeals in a complex case about betting information obtained (allegedly unlawfully) from racecourses for use by off-course (and often online) bookmakers.  The Court of Appeal had to resolve whether the information was truly confidential, whether it had been passed to the defendant in circumstances where a duty of confidentiality subsisted and the existence and scope of a tortious duty where contract otherwise governed the relationship.  It also had to consider whether knowledge of unlawfulness in the obtaining of confidential information was a necessary ingredient in establishing the tort of unlawful means conspiracy.

https://hardwicke.co.uk/confidential-information-knowledge-of-unlawfulness-not-required-for-unlawful-means-conspiracy-the-racing-partnership-ltd-v-sports-information-services-ltd/

CANADA: MONEY LAUNDERING INQUIRY HEARS OF $800,000 AND MORE IN BAGS, LUGGAGE, BACKPACKS

On 27 October, the Toronto Star carried more details from the inquiry into money laundering through British Columbia casinos.  It is said that vast amounts of cash started flowing into British Columbia’s largest casino in 2010 and transactions of $800,000 or more became common as players hauled in bags, suitcases and backpacks full of cash.  A surveillance manager recalled one case in 2014 of a player bringing in $200,000; the player then lost $6,000 and cashed out with $194,000 in $100 bills, which would receive less scrutiny when deposited in a bank.

https://www.thestar.com/politics/2020/10/26/money-laundering-inquiry-hears-of-800000-and-more-in-bags-luggage-backpacks.html

NEW GUIDANCE FOR DUTCH PROSECUTOR ON THE INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION OF FOREIGN CORRUPTION

An article from Jones Day says that on 1 October, the new Instruction on the Investigation and Prosecution of Foreign Corruption for the Dutch Public Prosecution Service (DPPS) entered into force, indicating certain factors that play a role in determining the appropriateness of investigation and prosecution of foreign corruption cases.  The instruction replaces those of 2013.  Although the new Instruction does not appear to represent a major shift in the DPPS enforcement policy of foreign corruption cases, it does contain certain noteworthy elements.

https://www.jonesday.com/en/insights/2020/10/new-guidance-for-dutch-prosecutor-on-the-investigation-and-prosecution-of-foreign-corruption

CUSTOM WATCHES FOR IP RIGHTS GOODS AFTER BREXIT: ARE YOU PROTECTED?

On 26 October, an article from Carpmaels & Ransford LLP explains that such “watches” are an invaluable weapon for brands in the fight against counterfeit and copycat products entering the EU, with EU law allowing IP right-holders to apply to Customs authorities throughout the EU asking that they search for and detain goods entering or leaving the EU which are suspected of infringing their IP rights.  Customs enforcement offers many brands a cost-effective means of stopping large quantities of infringing goods from ever reaching the EU market.  Any EU Applications for Action (AFA) that were filed through the UK Customs authorities will become invalid after 31 December, even in the remaining EU Member States, and must be refiled via the Customs office of a Member State other than the UK.

https://www.carpmaels.com/custom-watches-after-brexit-are-you-protected/

EXPORTING DUAL-USE ITEMS TO EU MEMBER STATES FROM THE UK: THE NEW RULES

On 26 October, an article from Travers Smith LLP contained a reminder that UK businesses will require an Open General Export Licence (OGEL) will be required where a business is exporting dual-use items, as set out in Annex 1 of EU Regulation 428/2009, to any EU Member State, and the Channel Islands, from 1 January.

https://www.traverssmith.com/knowledge/knowledge-container/exporting-dual-use-items-to-eu-member-states-from-the-uk-the-new-rules/

INDONESIAN TYCOON SENTENCED TO LIFE IN JAIL FOR STOCK MANIPULATION

On 27 October, the Malaysian Star reported that an Indonesian court has sentenced businessman Benny Tjokrosaputro to life in prison for a stock manipulation scheme that helped trigger losses of more than $1 billion at state insurer Asuransi Jiwasraya.  3 of the insurer’s executives were among the 5 other defendants sentenced to life terms in one of Indonesia’s biggest anti-graft trials.

https://www.thestar.com.my/business/smebiz/2020/10/27/indonesian-tycoon-sentenced-to-life-in-jail-for-stock-manipulation

BRAZIL: DRUG DEALERS ACCUSED OF BANKROLLING SOCCER GAMES

On 27 October, Insight Crime reported that drug dealers in Rio de Janeiro have organised cash-prize soccer matches — in an example of how even low-level criminals use Brazil’s soccer-mad culture to net illicit cash.  It is said that suspected drug-funded matches — held in Rio’s São Gonçalo district — are followed by parties, where dealers peddle their wares.  IT says that soccer and street-level drug sales have gone hand-in-hand in other countries, and the game has long been linked to high-level corruption in Brazil.

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/brief/drug-dealers-in-brazil-accused-of-bankrolling-soccer-games/

CLAIMS THAT ISRAELI ARMS MANUFACTURERS PAID MILLIONS TO AZERIS THROUGH RUSSIAN BANK

On 27 October, the Times of Israel reported that, following a FinCEN Files report that Israel Aerospace Industries paid suspicious sums to a reported slush fund for Azeri elites, a new report claims to reveal Russian involvement.  In September, it was reported thatIsrael’s largest aerospace manufacturer, IAI, transferred at least $155 million in 2012-2014 to 2 companies that were reportedly used as a secret slush fund for Azerbaijan’s kleptocratic elite.  Now a report from Russia claims that a second Israeli state-owned arms manufacturer, Israel Military Industries Ltd, transferred close to $5 million in 2017 to one of these 2 same “slush fund” companies.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/report-israeli-arms-manufacturers-paid-millions-to-azeris-through-russian-bank/

COMPANY OWNERSHIP SECRECY PREVAILS IN SOUTH-EAST ASIA

On 27 October, ICIJ reported that SE Asian countries are lagging behind in the adoption of registries with information on companies’ true owners, a tool deemed crucial to fight corruption, money laundering and terrorism financing, according to a report from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.  In SE Asia, it says, the level of transparency varies between countries in the region with Thailand and Cambodia ranking among the most secretive. Those countries do not publish complete information on company and wealth ownership, according to the UNODC analysis – which does not include countries such as Singapore or Brunei.

https://www.icij.org/inside-icij/2020/10/company-ownership-secrecy-prevails-in-southeast-asia-un-report-says/

COVID-19 AND MIGRANT REMITTANCES: SUPPORTING THIS THREATENED ESSENTIAL LIFELINE

A briefing from the Brookings Institute on 26 October says that, in Africa, 1 out of 5 people sends or receives international remittances and since 2009, the flow of remittances to the continent has nearly doubled; they now comprise more than 5% of GDP in 15 African countries.  In 2019, migrant workers sent about $85 billion home.  However, under COVID-19, precarious working conditions facing expatriates and operational difficulties facing remittance service providers (RSP) have resulted in a major drop in this essential lifeline.  Remittance inflows to Africa are projected to decline by 21% – in comparison, global remittances to African countries fell by only 5% during the global financial crisis of 2008.  The article also criticises the high cost of fees involved.  It does say that some countries have rolled out support for families that typically rely on remittances, such as the Philippines, where remittances account for 10% of GDP.  It is said that the developed world has a part to play in supporting these lifelines too, including implementing the recommendations the Institute has outlined in a recent report.

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/africa-in-focus/2020/10/26/covid-19-and-migrant-remittances-supporting-this-essential-lifeline-under-threat

TAXATION OF THE DIGITALISED ECONOMY

On 27 October, KPMG published the updated edition of this newsletter provides news of developments — in table format — of information on direct and indirect taxes, including a summary of tax measures implemented, proposed and announced in response to the challenges arising from the digitalized economy. 

https://tax.kpmg.us/content/dam/tax/en/pdfs/2020/digitalized-economy-taxation-developments-summary.pdf

TRADE IN MILITARY EQUIPMENT BECOMES MORE TRANSPARENT WITH EUROPEAN DATABASE

On 28 October, Market Screener reported that an EU public database on exports of military equipment by EU Member States is a further step towards greater transparency in the field of exports and trade in military equipment.  The database is based on the annual reports submitted by the Member States under an EU Common Position, which regulates arms exports at the European level by providing criteria for them. These reports, already public since 1999, can now be consulted in a more accessible form.

https://www.marketscreener.com/news/latest/Trade-in-military-equipment-becomes-more-transparent-with-European-database–31630479/

THE BRITISH MUSEUM IS NOT DOING ENOUGH TO FIGHT ILLEGAL ANTIQUITIES TRAFFICKING

On 27 October, Hyperallergic reported that, while the museum presents its attempt to identify trafficked antiquities as an altruistic enterprise, its policing of the antiquities market also distracts from its historic role in acquiring looted objects.

https://hyperallergic.com/597566/the-british-museum-isnt-doing-enough-to-fight-illegal-antiquities-trafficking/

PODCAST: THE 2020 US ELECTION: AN ANTI-CORRUPTION AND COMPLIANCE PERSPECTIVE

In the latest TRACE podcast, there is an edited version of a recent George Washington University Law School webinar reviewing the Trump administration’s impact on anti-corruption efforts–and forecasting the likely impact of either a second Trump or a Biden administration in January.

https://traceinternational.org/resources-podcast

TAIWANESE BANK UNDER OFAC INVESTIGATION FOR IRAN CONNECTIONS

On 28 October, the EU Sanctions Blog reported that Mega International Commercial Bank has disclosed that OFAC is investigating payments between Iran and Taiwan that may have been processed through its New York branch’s clearing mechanism between October 2011 to October 2018.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2020/10/ofac-investigating-taiwanese-bank-iran-payments/

BREXIT: UK IMPORT LICENCES AND CERTIFICATES FROM 1 JANUARY 

On 28 October, DEFRA and other UK Government departments published updated information, saying that you will need to get a licence or certificate to import some types of goods into the UK, and you might also need to pay an inspection fee for some goods before they’re allowed into the UK.  Animals, plants, food and agricultural products, drugs, chemicals and waste.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/import-licences-and-certificates-from-1-january-2021

EU COMMISSION PROPOSES NEW ‘SINGLE WINDOW’ TO MODERNISE AND STREAMLINE CUSTOMS CONTROLS, FACILITATE TRADE AND IMPROVE COOPERATION

On 28 October, the European Commission proposed a new initiative that will make it easier for different authorities involved in goods clearance to exchange electronic information submitted by traders, who will be able to submit the information required for import or export of goods only once.  It aims to enhance cooperation and coordination between different authorities, in order to facilitate the automatic verification of non-customs formalities for goods entering or leaving the EU.  The Single Window aims to digitalise and streamline processes, so that businesses will ultimately no longer have to submit documents to several authorities through different portals.

https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/sites/taxation/files/201028_commission_proposal_single_window.pdf

https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/sites/taxation/files/201028_single_window_factsheet.pdf

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/qanda_20_1969

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_1970

TACKLING GRAND CORRUPTION IN TAIWAN

On 28 October, Taiwan Insight from the University of Nottingham Taiwan Studies Programme began by saying that in September 5 Taiwan parliament members, including 4 current members and 1 ex-member, were formally indicted by the Taipei Prosecutors Office for bribery charges.  It says that Parliament members with notorious reputations are nothing new. However, what surprised the public is that this scandal involves the Secretary-General to the President, Su Jia-chyuan. Mr Su was previously the Speaker of Parliament, and his nephew was one of the 5 indicted MPs.  It says that Taiwan has been struggling with the transition from an authoritarian regime to a vibrant democracy, and looks at anti-corruption efforts in the country.  There are dual anti-corruption agency mechanisms in Taiwan.  Both the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau (MJIB) and the Agency Against Corruption (AAC) have legal mandates to investigate corruption cases.  However, it is said that these agencies prefer to compete than collaborate for historical reasons relating to an ongoing turf battle – and both report to the Justice Minister who is chosen by the Prime Minister who, in turn, is appointed by the President.  Therefore, the independence of the MJIB and the AAC tend to be in jeopardy when the ruling party’s interest overrides that of public interest.

https://taiwaninsight.org/2020/10/28/tackling-grand-corruption-in-taiwan

UK GAMBLING COMMISSION TAKES ACTION FOR SIGNIFICANT AML AND DUTY FAILURES

On 28 October, SBC News reported that the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has announced action against BGO Entertainment, GAN Plc and NetBet Enterprises Ltd after reviewing their licences following a number of failures which included not doing enough to keep consumers safe and failing to prevent money laundering and criminal spend.  2 of the businesses have had new conditions imposed on their licences and all 3 will now improve their policies and procedures as well as making payments to progress the work of the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms.  The Commission will also be reviewing the actions of the individual Personal Management Licence holders in all 3 of these cases.

https://www.sbcnews.co.uk/latestnews/2020/10/28/ukgc-takes-action-on-bgo-gan-and-netbet-for-significant-aml-and-duty-failures

SPAIN: POLICE INVESTIGATE CATALAN SEPARATISTS ON CORRUPTION

On 28 October, ABC News reported that a Spanish court has said that police were investigating several people with links to the Catalan separatist movement on suspicion of corruption and promoting public disorder and were investigating 10 people, including David Madi and Oriol Vendrell, 2 former politicians for Catalan separatist parties.  It is also said that Spanish police arrested a dozen influential Catalan businessmen as part of an investigation into allegations that public funds have been misused to pay the expenses of former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont in Belgium, where he fled following a failed separatist bid in 2017.

https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/spain-police-investigate-catalan-separatists-corruption-73874628

https://www.politico.eu/article/arrests-spain-illegal-financing-catalan-president-carles-puigdemont

ESTONIA: CORRUPTION TRIAL OF FORMER PORT OF TALLINN CHIEF WOUND UP ON HEALTH GROUNDS

On 28 October, ERR reported that the corruption trial of former Port of Tallinn (Tallinna Sadam) board member Allan Kiil has been terminated on health grounds.  The case had involved large-scale accepting of bribes and money laundering activities, over the period 2005-2015.  The former head of the authority’s service department, Martin Paide, has also been charged with bribe-taking, with 7 more individuals and 2 legal entities, of offering a bribe and complicity in bribe-giving.

https://news.err.ee/1152242/corruption-trial-of-former-port-of-tallinn-chief-wound-up-on-health-grounds

AFGHAN PROBE UNCOVERS SCANDAL IN WASHINGTON EMBASSY RECONSTRUCTION

Rferl on 28 October reported that a fact-finding team for the Afghan parliament has alleged that a construction project at the country’s embassy in Washington was rife with corruption.

https://gandhara.rferl.org/a/afghan-probe-uncovers-scandal-in-d-c-embassy-reconstruction/30917377.html

FINANCIAL CRIME COUNTRY LISTS IN A FRAGMENTING WORLD ORDER

On 28 October, a Commentary from RUSI said that those that promote lists of countries, such as the EU and FATF, and that are slow to tackle financial crime must work harder to exclude politics and prove their integrity and value.  It says that naming and shaming countries that fail to meet the international community’s anti-financial crime standards is an increasingly popular pastime. It points at the apparent politicising of the decision over whether or not to list Pakistan as an example.

https://www.rusi.org/commentary/financial-crime-country-lists-fragmenting-world-order

5 PRINCIPLES FOR THE NEXT UK CYBER STRATEGY

On 27 October, a Commentary from RUSI argues that key decisions about the country’s cyber strategy must be taken soon.  The current cyber strategy covers a period which ends next year. That strategy was ground-breaking, and an inspiration for many other countries. Accompanied by £1.9 billion of funding for transformational activities, it was an all too rare example of a national cyber strategy underpinned by the money to implement it.  The article says that it is essential that the UK’s new strategy is transformational and proposes 5 principles that policymakers may wish to bear in mind when developing the next strategy for the UK.

https://rusi.org/commentary/five-principles-next-uk-cyber-strategy

LICENSED US CUSTOMS BROKERS COULD BE SUBJECT TO A NEW CONTINUING EDUCATION REQUIREMENT

On 28 October, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reported that the proposal is being considered by US Customs and Border Protection, and that comments in response to an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking are due no later than 28 December.

https://www.strtrade.com/trade-news-resources/str-trade-report/trade-report/customs-brokers-could-see-continuing-education-mandate-under-cbp-proposal

BRAZILIAN FEDERAL POLICE HAVE CAUGHT A TURKISH FUGITIVE CONVICTED OF SMUGGLING MIGRANTS TO THE UK FROM BELGIUM 

On 28 October, a news release from Interpol announced that the fugitive was sentenced by a Belgian court to 8 years in prison for his involvement in an international smuggling ring.  The group targeted migrants of Syrian nationality and charged hefty fees to organise their illegal travel to the UK by sailboat.  He escaped justice before ever serving his sentence and had been on the run from Belgian authorities since 2018.

https://www.interpol.int/News-and-Events/News/2020/Convicted-people-smuggler-caught-in-South-America

BELGIAN CUSTOMS DISMANTLE ILLEGAL CIGARETTE FACTORY IN BRUSSELS

On 27 October, the Brussels Times reported that Customs seized 170,760 Marlboro brand cigarettes and 11.5 tonnes of cut tobacco, representing €2.2 million in excise duties and VAT.  Empty packets, cigarette paper, filters and silver paper were also found in the factory.  The factory is the third production site to be dismantled this year. In addition, customs have found four illegal production sites for shisha tobacco and discovered 6 warehouses and a tobacco cutting site.

https://www.brusselstimes.com/brussels-2/137863/belgian-customs-dismantle-illegal-cigarette-factory-in-brussels-molenbeek-saint-jean-federal-public-finance-service-marlboro-europol-european-anti-fraud-office-olaf/

DUTCH AUTHORITIES STOP CONSIGNMENT OF PREMIUM BLUEBERRIES REPORTEDLY GROWN WITHOUT PERMISSION OF PLANT BREEDER 

On 28 October, Fruitnet reported that Dutch customs officials in Rotterdam have reportedly seized a consignment of premium imported blueberries from South Africa after an apparent complaint from Australian plant breeder OZblu.  They are said to have been produced without the required licence, prompting the authorities to raise a red alert.

http://www.fruitnet.com/eurofruit/article/183350/european-customs-seize-south-african-berries

TOOLKIT ON FMC FINAL RULE ON DEMURRAGE AND DETENTION

On 26 October, FIATA, the global trade body for logistics, released this publication which is designed to empower all FIATA members with the ability to leverage the findings and analysis of the US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) over its extensive 6-year investigation into demurrage and detention practices.  FIATA has previously welcomed the FMC’s detailed and reasoned analysis as to the identification of what have most likely been for years unjust and unreasonable practices – levying charges on cargo containers.  FIATA members are invited to use the information in their national exchanges, including with regulators, stakeholders, lobbyist groups, and global government agencies for their review in local and regional contexts.  The term “demurrage” relates to cargo (while the cargo is in the container) and “detention” relates to equipment (i.e. the container after unpacking or before packing).

https://fiata.com/news/fiata-e-flash/2020/fmc-toolkit-released-for-fiata-members.html

https://fiata.com/fileadmin/user_upload/2020_documents/FMC_Toolkit_final.pdf

352 STOLEN VEHICLES SEIZED IN JAD MOBILE 3 OPERATION SPANNING ACROSS 22 COUNTRIES

On 28 October, a news release from Europol advised that a total of 352 stolen motor vehicles have been seized on their way to their final destination as a result of the Joint Action Day (JAD) ‘Mobile 3’ supported by Europol.  A further 1,077 stolen vehicles parts have been confiscated, and dozens of forged or falsified vehicles documents seized.  The operation focused on checks on border crossing points and in-land activities in 17 EU countries and 5 countries in the Balkan region. 

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/352-stolen-vehicles-seized-in-jad-mobile-3-operation-spanning-across-22-countries

NEW UNIT COMBATS MINE HEISTS IN MEXICO

On 28 October, Insight Crime reported that, several months after a sophisticated robbery where gunmen hijacked gold alloy bars being loaded onto a plane in Mexico, the government has stood up a specialised force to secure mining sites long terrorised by organised crime.  In April, 5 heavily armed men stormed the Mulatos site as employees moved doré bars — made of gold and silver — onto a contracted plane at the mine’s airstrip.  Thefts of precious metals in transit have been a source of growing alarm among industry officials in Mexico.  However, the article warns that organised crime’s infiltration of the mining sector may undermine the new government force.

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/brief/new-squadron-mine-heists-mexico/

POLAND AND SPAIN TAKE DOWN INTERNATIONAL DRUG TRAFFICKING NETWORK ASSOCIATED WITH KRAKÓW FOOTBALL HOOLIGANS AND MOVING DRUGS TO UK

On 27 October, a news release from Europol advised that a 3-year-long investigation culminated in September in 13 arrests in Poland and Spain of the alleged members of a large drug trafficking network operating in multiple European countries.  Supported by Europol and Eurojust, the Polish Police Central Bureau of Investigation, Polish Border Guard, Spanish National Police and UK Regional Organised Crime Units joined forces during series of coordinated action days between May 2019 and September 2020 to bring down the gang.  The Polish criminal group was associated with football hooligans of one of Kraków’s sports clubs.  The criminal network bought, smuggled and sold large quantities of drugs mainly hashish, marijuana and cocaine. The gang collaborated with an Albanian-speaking organised criminal group to smuggle cocaine to the UK.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/poland-and-spain-take-down-international-drug-trafficking-network-associated-krak%C3%B3w-football-hooligans

ISRAEL: POLICE RAIDED THE OFFICES OF MERCANTILE DISCOUNT BANK

On 27 October, Al Khaleej reported that, as part of the bribery and fraud investigation involving tenders in the Eilat municipality, police raided Mercantile Discount Bank, conducted searches at management offices and detained employees for investigation.  Police are said to have arrested a senior bank official. 

https://alkhaleejtoday.co/international/5206810/Police-raided-the-offices-of-Mercantile-Discount-Bank-arrested-a-vice.html

BRITS LOSE £2,500,000 TO ‘CRYPTOCURRENCY PYRAMID SCHEME’

On 27 October, Metro reported that a group 14 buyers of Lyfcoin are pushing UK authorities to take action, having collectively lost £100,000 between them.  They estimate around £2.5 million has been lost by investors across the UK, but Lyfcoin has also been sold internationally.

https://metro.co.uk/2020/10/27/brits-lose-2500000-to-cryptocurrency-pyramid-scheme-13459274/

AUSTRALIA: WHY HAS SHINING A LIGHT ON CROWN’S MURKY WORLD TAKEN SO LONG?

An Opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald on 28 October posed this question in the light of the current inquiry into the Crown Casino operations, particularly in respect of high-rollers and junkets. 

https://www.smh.com.au/national/victoria/why-has-shining-a-light-on-crown-s-murky-world-taken-so-long-20201027-p56939.html

FinCEN FILES – INSIDE DANSKE ESTONIA AND THE SHELL COMPANY “FACTORIES” THAT SERVED IT

A report from Re:Baltica on 21 September from ICIJ journalists says that newly-leaked Estonian police files, including internal paperwork taken from Danske Estonia, reveal the extraordinary steps that a tiny division of the Tallinn bank took to serve a shadowy, and highly lucrative, clientele largely from Russia and from former Soviet republics and satellites in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The documents show that many bank accounts were held in the name of UK vehicles, known as “limited liability partnerships,” or LLP, and “limited partnerships,” LP, which had no purpose other than to hide the identity of who really owns the money.  Looking at company formation agents, it says that for some formation agencies, creating shell companies is a volume business.  It considered one of the busier agencies found in ICIJ’s analysis – CMC, a network of companies in the Seychelles, the UK and Latvia; and the role of companies and LP in the UK.

https://en.rebaltica.lv/2020/09/the-global-money-laundering-conveyor-belt/

OFAC: AMENDED YEMEN SANCTIONS REGULATIONS

On 28 October, OFAC announced the publication of amended regulations which replace the regulations of 2012 with a more comprehensive set of regulations that includes additional interpretive and definitional guidance, general licences, statements of licensing policy, and other regulatory provisions that will provide further guidance to the public.  

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20201028

HOME OFFICE REJECTS (AGAIN) CALL FOR REVIEW PROCESS FOR PROSCRIBED ETERRORIST ORGANISATIONS

On 28 October, the EU Sanctions Blog reported that the Home Office had once again rejected a call by the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation for a review process for proscribed terrorist groups.  The Reviewer had recommended that proscription orders should automatically lapse after a set number of years, unless the Secretary of State extends the order before its expiry, subject to annulment in Parliament.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2020/10/uk-publishes-response-to-the-independent-reviewers-2018-terrorism-report/

US CRYPTOCURRENCY DEVELOPER CHARGED WITH NORTH KOREA SANCTIONS VIOLATIONS BY SPEAKING AT A CONFERENCE ON BLOCKCHAIN IN PYONGYANG FILES MOTION TO DISMISS

On 28 October, the EU Sanctions Blog reported that US national Virgil Griffith, a cryptocurrency developer, has filed a motion to dismiss the indictment in a New York federal court.  The grounds for dismissal include the argument that giving a speech at a conference, does not fall within the definition of “services” under the relevant OFAC regulations.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2020/10/us-cryptocurrency-developer-files-motion-to-dismiss-indictment/

WIRECARD: PROVISIONAL LIQUIDATORS APPOINTED TO IRISH ARM

Breaking News on 28 October reported that the Irish High Court has appointed joint provisional liquidators to the Irish arm of failed Munich-based electronic payments provider Wirecard AG, which is subject of an investigation by the German authorities over an alleged fraud.

https://www.breakingnews.ie/business/wirecard-provisional-liquidators-appointed-to-irish-arm-1026638.html

FAKE CIA OPERATIVE LANDS 7-YEAR PRISON TERM FOR FRAUD

On 28 October, Stuff reported that Garrison Courtney had convinced people he was not just a federal public affairs officer but in fact a covert CIA operative working on a classified task force.  Now he has been sentenced to 7 years in prison for a years-long scheme that netted more than $4 million from companies and contractors who thought they were doing their patriotic duty by supporting him.  Courtney would approach private companies and tell them he was a covert CIA operative and they needed to add him to his payroll to provide off-the-books funding for the classified task force. He promised the companies they would be reimbursed for their participation.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/world/americas/300144598/a-diabolical-series-of-crimes-fake-cia-operative-lands-seven-year-prison-term-for-fraud 

 

 

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