OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – NOVEMBER 7

Panama Covid-19 update – 746 additional cases added to the total today, with currently 18,902 active cases – of whom 127 in ICU and 594 in other wards. 11 new fatalities, but 833 new “recovered” patients recorded today. Despite the distraction of the flooding in parts of the country, 6,448 new tests done, with a positive rate of 11.6% – there have now been a total of 708,085 tests carried out (out of a population of around 4.3 million).

The screenshot below shows the breakdown of cases and fatalities to date.

7 November 2020

US PROPOSES EXPORT CONTROL ON EMERGING TECHNOLOGY SOFTWARE TO OPERATE AUTOMATED NUCLEIC ACID ASSEMBLERS AND SYNTHESISERS

On 6 November, an article from Arent Fox reported that the Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has proposed a new ECCN to control “software” that is capable of being used to operate nucleic acid assemblers and synthesisers due to concerns the software could be used to create pathogens and toxins as biological weapons.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/us-proposes-export-control-on-emerging-84287/

BIRMINGHAM CHARITY BOSS AND A CRUEL PEOPLE SMUGGLING PLOT

On 7 November, Birmingham Live carried an article about a greedy boss whose lottery-funded charity was used as a shield for people smuggling.  Pranvera Smith launched the charity 6 years ago as Freedom 2 Stay, and boasted of its many successes in helping fellow countrymen and women gain UK asylum.  However, victims would part with £10,000 to be spirited into this country by gangs and were then “persuaded” to part with anything from £1,000 to £4,000 for Smith’s expert advice on immigration, housing and seeking benefits.  If they refused, their documents were snatched from them.

https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/behind-laughter-birmingham-charity-boss-19226109

MALTA: TREND OF AML/CFT REGULATORY FINES AND IDENTIFIED SHORTCOMINGS

On 18 September, an article from KPMG said that regulators in Malta stepped up the enforcement of AML/CFT laws and regulations which is more visible in the fines imposed and published on subject persons.  It says that AML/CFT compliance has become a credibility issue for regulators to demonstrate that Malta is part of the international network in combating money laundering/financing of terrorism.  A graph illustrates the trend of fines levied by the FIAU over the last 5 years. It is clear that the number and, more so, the amount of fines increased considerably during 2020. 

https://home.kpmg/mt/en/home/insights/2020/09/trend-of-aml-cft-regulatory-fines-and-identified-shortcomings.html

BREXIT: NATIONAL AUDIT OFFICE REPORT OF WIDESPREAD BORDER DISRUPTION COMES AS NO SURPRISE TO THE FREIGHT INDUSTRY

On 6 November, the British International Freight Association said that, commenting on the NAO report that there is likely to be widespread border disruption at the end of the post-EU Exit transition period, the freight sector says that it comes as no great surprise.  It is said that the NAO assessment corresponds with what it is hearing from its members, which believe that it will be take some time for a fully functioning border to be put in place.

https://www.bifa.org/news/articles/2020/nov/national-audit-office-report-of-widespread-border-disruption-comes-as-no-surprise-to-the-freight-industry?l=y

The report is at –

https://www.nao.org.uk/report/the-uk-border-preparedness-for-the-end-of-the-transition-period/

FCA FAIL TO SECURE CONVICTION IN FIRST CRIMINAL PROSECUTION FOR DESTRUCTION OF DOCUMENTS

On 2 November, an article from Bryan cave Leighton Paisner says that, in the first prosecution of its kind brought by the FCA in the UK, Konstantin Vishnyak has been acquitted by a jury at Southwark Crown Court of one count of destruction of documents under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.  The article considers the unusual nature of the defence that was put forward, why this case was such a loss for the regulator and what, if anything, it may reveal about the FCA’s mind-set in relation to similar cases in the future.  The defendant had said he’d deleted WhatsApp messages because he said he feared he would become a “bargaining chip” in the context of deteriorating relations between Russia and the UK, as thee messages involved with conversations with Andrei Lugovoi a politician who is wanted by British police in connection with the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko in 2006.

https://www.bclplaw.com/en-US/insights/fca-fail-to-secure-conviction-in-first-criminal-prosecution-for-destruction-of-documents.html

FinCEN REISSUES REAL ESTATE GEOGRAPHIC TARGETING ORDERS FOR 12 METROPOLITAN AREAS

On 5 November, FinCEN issued a news release that announced the renewal of its Geographic Targeting Orders (GTO) that require US title insurance companies to identify the natural persons behind shell companies used in all-cash purchases of residential real estate.  These renewed GTO are identical to the May 2020 GTO.  The purchase amount threshold remains $300,000 for each covered metropolitan area.

https://www.fincen.gov/news/news-releases/fincen-reissues-real-estate-geographic-targeting-orders-12-metropolitan-areas-2

FinCEN: JURISDICTIONS WITH AML/CFT/CPF DEFICIENCIES

On 6 November, an Advisory from FinCEN updated recipients on the outcome of the recent FATF Plenary and those jurisdictions with deficiencies in their AML/CFT/CPF frameworks.

https://www.fincen.gov/sites/default/files/advisory/2020-11-06/FATF%20October%202020%20Advisory%20FINAL%20508.pdf

ELECTRONIC SIGNATURES & E-SIGNING PLATFORMS

On 4 November, CMS Law published a guide designed to provide guidance on the law governing electronic execution of deeds and documents in all UK jurisdictions, and on the practicalities of engaging with e-signing platforms.

https://cms.law/en/gbr/publication/electronic-signatures-e-signing-platforms

CAYMAN ISLANDS: REGISTRATION OF VIRTUAL ASSET SERVICE PROVIDERS COMMENCED ON 31 OCTOBER

On 3 November, an article from Ogier reported that a new framework for regulating virtual asset businesses was introduced in the Cayman Islands on 20 May and, on 28 October, the Cayman Islands Government announced that the Virtual Asset (Service Providers) Law 2020 will commence in phases, with phase 1 commencing on 31 October.

https://www.ogier.com/publications/registration-of-virtual-asset-service-providers-commenced-on-31-october-2020

PRIVILEGE: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

On 6 November, Gowling WLG published a video guide and transcript which discusses the main types of privilege as well as giving some hints and tips as to how it can best be managed within an organisation.

https://gowlingwlg.com/en/insights-resources/on-demand-webinars/2020/privilege-what-you-need-to-know/

EX-FENERBAHCE CHAIR ACQUITTED OF FOOTBALL MATCH-FIXING CHARGES

On 7 November, Eurasia Review reported that, in a landmark retrial on an alleged 2011 football match-fixing scandal, a Turkish court acquitted all suspects, including former Fenerbahce President Aziz Yildirim, of match-fixing and incentive bonus charges.  Legal sources told Anadolu Agency that the not guilty verdict for Yildirim and former Fenerbahce executive Ilhan Eksioglu was due to lack of evidence.

https://www.eurasiareview.com/07112020-ex-fenerbahce-chair-acquitted-of-match-fixing-charges/

SECURITY TOKEN OFFERINGS – THE SHAPE OF REGULATION ACROSS ASIA-PACIFIC

On 5 November, an article from Clifford Chance says that security token offerings or STO, the issuance of digital tokens using blockchain or distributed ledger technology, are increasingly being seen as an alternative to mainstream debt and equity fundraisings.  STO are typically structured to sit within securities law frameworks.  This report considers how STO are structured and some of the benefits and challenges, and explore the evolving regulatory landscape for STO across key financial centres in Asia-Pacific.

https://www.cliffordchance.com/content/dam/cliffordchance/briefings/2020/11/security-token-offerings-regulation-across-apac-pacific.pdf

WHAT ARE THE WIDER SUPERVISORY IMPLICATIONS OF THE WIRECARD CASE?

On 5 November, a briefing from the EU Parliament Research Service discusses the policy implications of the Wirecard scandal.  A study has found that all lines of defence against corporate fraud, including internal control systems, external audits, the oversight bodies for financial reporting and auditing and the market supervisor, contributed to the scandal and are in need of reform.  To ensure market integrity and investor protection in the future, the authors make 8 suggestions for the market and institutional oversight architecture in Germany and in Europe.

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2020/651385/IPOL_STU(2020)651385_EN.pdf

CHINA PROVIDED NORTH KOREA WITH SUBSTANTIAL AMOUNTS OF FOOD AND FERTILISER THIS YEAR

On 6 November, North Korean Economy Watch reported that South Korean government sources say China has provided North Korea with 5-600,000 tons of food aid and fertiliser this year. Although it would not entirely make up for the estimated shortfall, it is still a highly significant contribution.  It also sent about 600,000 tons of corn and other types of grain between June and August, according to Chinese sources 

http://www.nkeconwatch.com/2020/11/04/asahi-shimbun-china-provided-north-korea-with-substantial-amounts-of-food-and-fertilizer-this-year

http://www.nkeconwatch.com/2020/11/04/asahi-shimbun-china-provided-north-korea-with-substantial-amounts-of-food-and-fertilizer-this-year

NORTH KOREA AND BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS: ASSESSING THE EVIDENCE

On 6 November, 38 North reported that North Korea’s announcement that it is developing a vaccine for COVID-19 has focused renewed attention on Pyongyang’s purported biological weapons programme.  It says that North Korea may once have had and may still be pursuing a biological weapons capability.  It is also possible that North Korea never moved beyond R&D on biological agents and the establishment of a biotechnical infrastructure that could support future biological warfare production. It is also possible that the North Korean programme never moved beyond planning or, whatever its previous nature, the programme has essentially ended. But one thing seems clear — nothing in the official public record to date indicates that North Korea has an advanced biological warfare programme, notwithstanding media reports to the contrary.

https://www.38north.org/wp-content/uploads/pdf/38-North-SR-2011-Elisa-Harris_North-Korea-Biological-Weapons-Assessment.pdf

FinCEN ADVISORY TARGETS RECOGNITION OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING

On 3 November, an article from Paul Hastings says that Advisory FIN-2020-A008 supplements FinCEN’s similar 2014 guidance, both of which are designed to assist financial institutions recognise activity that may be associated with human trafficking and modern slavery.  FinCEN also updated its SAR form to include a checkbox for financial institutions to identify potential suspicious activity related to human trafficking – and the implications for financial institutions became clear last month when Australia’s Westpac Banking Corporation agreed to an AUS$1.3 billion penalty over the bank’s breaches of controls that included transaction trails tied to child exploitation networks.  It includes new typologies and 10 behavioural indicators associated with third parties or customers and 10 red flags of financial indicators.

https://www.paulhastings.com/publications-items/blog/international-regulatory-enforcement/international-regulatory-enforcement/2020/11/03/recent-fincen-advisory-targets-recognition-of-human-trafficking

NEW US RESEARCH REVEALS TREMENDOUS DIVERSITY IN HATE CRIME OFFENDERS’ BACKGROUNDS AND MOTIVATIONS

On 26 October, START said that a new research brief explores hate crime offenders’ motivations, background and demographic characteristics, criminal histories and target selections.  It reveals tremendous diversity in offenders’ background characteristics and motivations – there is no singular type of hate crime offender.

ROMANCE SCAMS UP NEARLY 20% AMID CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

On 6 November, ABC7 said that reports of romance scams amid the coronavirus pandemic are up nearly 20% over last year, after a drop in incidents in 2019.

https://abc7.com/romance-scams-online-fraud-scam-love/7684820/ 

BELGIAN POLICE SEIZE 11.5 TONNES OF COCAINE IN ‘LARGEST OVERSEAS DRUG BUST EVER’

On 5 November, the Brussels Times reported that prosecutors said they had tracked the transatlantic journey of 11.5 tonnes of cocaine from Guyana, on the north-eastern coast of South America, and seized it upon its arrival at the Port of Antwerp.  The the street value of the drug load is valued at €900 million.

https://www.brusselstimes.com/news/belgium-all-news/justice-belgium/139361/belgian-police-seize-11-5t-of-cocaine-in-largest-overseas-drug-bust-ever-guyana-south-america-port-antwerp-gang-interception-narcotics-trafficking-belgium-record-breaking/

ITALY SEIZES COCAINE HIDDEN IN CARGO OF CHILEAN MUSSELS

On 5 November, an AFP report said that Italian police had seized over 900 kg of pure cocaine that was hidden in a container of frozen mussels from Chile.

https://www.barrons.com/news/italy-seizes-cocaine-hidden-in-cargo-of-chilean-mussels-01604574311

BAHRAINI COURT FINES CENTRAL BANK OF IRAN IN MONEY LAUNDERING CASE

On 6 November, Asharq Al-Aswat reported that the Bahraini High Criminal Court has sentenced 3 Iran-owned Future Bank officials charged with financial crimes and money laundering to 5 years in jail and to fines.  The court also fined the Iranian Central Bank and other Iran-owned banks, including Future Bank, implicated in the schemes and ordered the confiscation of the funds that the banks wanted to transfer illegally – the confiscated funds amounted to $173 million.  Investigations revealed that the Central Bank of Iran planned to launder billions of dollars through the Future Bank, established in Bahrain and managed by two Iranian banks, Bank Melli Iran and Bank Saderat Iran, to pass suspicious financial transactions in favour of Iranian entities, mainly the Central Bank of Iran, in violation of laws and regulations.

https://english.aawsat.com/home/article/2608601/bahraini-court-fines-central-bank-iran-money-laundering-case

THE UK’S POST-TRANSITION PERIOD SANCTIONS REGIME – CONTINUITY OR CHANGE?

On 6 November, a Client Advisory from Steptoe in the US says that whilst the new UK post-Brexit sanctions regime will broadly replicate existing EU sanctions measures, there will be divergence in certain areas.

https://www.steptoe.com/en/news-publications/the-uks-post-transition-period-sanctions-regime-continuity-or-change.html

THE SPIDER’S WEB – BRITAINS SECOND EMPIRE 

Available on YouTube, this 2017 documentary details the transformation of the UK as a colonial superpower to a global financial power. It suggests that the City of London Corporation and its banks have done tremendous damage to the world economy since the 1960s and that up to half of all offshore wealth (globally) is hidden in one of many British offshore jurisdictions. It is based in part on the book, Treasure Islands by Nicholas Shaxson.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwdC4-BpeiY&feature=youtu.be

I had omitted the following link (as it did not seem to generate much interest!), but it seemed time to add it again and say that, if you would like to make a (polite) gesture and help me with my removal and computer costs, I have a page at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

Author: raytodd2017

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

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