OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – NOVEMBER 18

Panama Covid-19 update – worryingly, La Prensa reported that within a week the admission of patients with Covid-19 to hospitalisation increased by more than 100, and between 3 and 17 November 200 people were hospitalised.

The numbers remain concerning, at 1,112 new cases and 14 additional fatalities; there are 17,171 active cases, of which 158 are in ICU, 711 in other wards and 613 in requisitioned hotels. There have been another 9,205 tests, despite the disruption caused by the hurricanes and flooding, with a positive rate of 12.1%.

18 NOVEMBER 2020

OECD RECOMMENDATIONS TO US ON BRIBERY

On 17 November, the Wall Street Journal reported on the OECD Working Group on Bribery report on the US, concentrating on recommendations made to improve the US systems.  The Working Group said the US could improve by extending protection to more whistleblowers and by offering additional transparency in the resolution of foreign-bribery cases; and extend anti-retaliation protection to all private-sector tipsters that may raise FCPA-related allegations, including those who report alleged corruption by companies that do not issue securities or those who only report tips to the DoJ.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/antibribery-group-praises-u-s-enforcement-against-foreign-bribery-11605655374

WIRECARD OVERPAID FOR STRING OF ACQUISITIONS, CAUSING LARGE SHAREHOLDER LOSSES

On 18 November, the Wall Street Journal reported that German prosecutors allege that Wirecard AG executives overpaid for a string of companies, causing massive losses to shareholders of the now disgraced financial-technology company.  It is said that Henry O’Sullivan was a behind-the-scenes payments consultant who was paid as an adviser on at least 10 separate acquisitions, among a larger group of deals done at inflated values.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-man-at-the-center-of-wirecards-deal-machine-11605696233

WHAT DOES THE SUPREME COURT JUDGMENT IN SEVILLEJA v MAREX MEAN FOR VICTIMS OF FRAUD?

On 29 July, an article from tenet Compliance & Litigation Ltd commented on the implications of a UK Supreme Court case from July which overturned nearly 20 years of precedent relating to the principle of “reflective loss”, and a rule of company law that a shareholder cannot bring a claim for reduction in the value of his shares which is merely the result of a loss suffered by the company in consequence of a wrong done to that company by the defendant.  Although the scope of potential claims was widened somewhat in 2002, this new decision says that the principle should be taken back to the very limited circumstances set out in the original 1982 case, and the Court also said that the “reflective loss” principle is a rule of company law and not a more general principle of the law of damages.

https://tenetlaw.co.uk/articles/what-does-the-supreme-court-judgment-in-sevilleja-v-marex-mean-for-victims-of-fraud/

AUSTRALIAN ACCUSED OF PROMOTING ALLEGED US$2.5 BILLION BitConnect PONZI SCHEME CHARGED

On 17 November, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that an Australian man, John Louis Anthony Bigatton, accused of running the local arm of an alleged cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme has been charged with offences that carry jail terms of up to 10 years.  BitConnect was an online currency platform with a market capitalisation of $2.5 billion.  It held events around the world that showcased the benefits of investing in its platform, including large seminars in Australia – but collapsed in early 2018 wiping out the investment.

https://www.smh.com.au/business/markets/australian-accused-of-promoting-alleged-us2-5b-bitconnect-ponzi-scheme-charged-20201117-p56feu.html

2 ARRESTED IN $1.5 MILLION HARVARD FENCING TEAM BRIBERY SCANDAL

On 16 November, the Guardian reported that a former Harvard fencing coach and a wealthy Maryland businessman have been arrested, on accusations that the coach accepted $1.5 million in bribes in exchange for helping the businessman get his 2 sons into the Ivy League school as fencers and face charges of conspiracy to commit federal programmes bribery.  The case is separate the recent college admissions scandal in which an admissions consultant ran a scheme to get students into top universities with rigged test scores or fake athletic credentials, but the allegations are similar.

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2020/nov/16/harvard-fencing-bribery-scandal-arrests

WHY FinCEN WANTS DETAILS ON ALL CROSS-BORDER TRANSACTIONS OVER $250

On 16 November, Coindesk reported that under a proposed rule change notified last month, FinCEN and the Federal Reserve would modify the thresholds at which banks must collect and store fund transfer information, reducing it from $3,000 to $250 for any transfers – in crypto or fiat – that go outside the US.  It reports that a FinCEN specialist has said that lowering reporting thresholds for international transactions will help law enforcement and other national security authorities, and that criminals are using smaller value transfers and virtual currencies to facilitate terrorism financing, narcotics trafficking and other illicit activities, like cybercrime.  The FATF Travel Rule aims to prevent money laundering by identifying the originator and beneficiary of a transaction when funds of over a certain amount are transferred. Applying this rule to the pseudonymous architecture of crypto is a challenge being worked through by FATF in collaboration with local regulators and the digital asset industry.

https://www.coindesk.com/fincen-fatf-travel-rule-threshold-v20-summit

JERSEY INTRODUCES STATUTORY MIGRATION REGIME FOR LIMITED PARTNERSHIPS INTO JERSEY

On 17 November, Ogier published an article saying that the statutory continuance regime came into force in July 2020 under the Limited Partnerships (Continuance) (Jersey) Regulations 2020.

https://www.careyolsen.com/briefings/jersey-introduces-statutory-migration-regime-limited-partnerships-jersey

RETHINKING PROHIBITION: TOWARDS AN EFFECTIVE RESPONSE TO DRUGS IN SOUTH AFRICA

On 13 November, ENACT Africa said that a new report showed that prohibitionist and punitive drug policies in South Africa remain a fundamental barrier to an equitable and just society.  The report explores the universal costs and consequences of prohibition before providing a global contextualisation of current drug policy debates.  It then outlines the historical context of drug policy in South Africa and suggests what might be done differently in the present and future to reduce the burden of drugs and drug policy in the country.  The report found that, despite the vast expenditure on a prohibitionist and criminal justice approach to drugs globally over more than five decades, drugs are more readily available at lower prices, drug use has increased significantly and the social and health harms associated with current policies and responses to drugs are substantial; and that the criminalisation of people who use drugs is a massive burden on the police, courts and correctional services, as well as a significant barrier to resolving the economic, social and health challenges that communities face in developing an equitable and just society.

https://enact-africa.s3.amazonaws.com/site/uploads/2020-11-13-rethinking-prohibition-research-paper.pdf

PODCAST: “BLOOD AND OIL: MOHAMMED BIN SALMAN’S RUTHLESS QUEST FOR GLOBAL POWER”

In the latest TRACE podcast, Bradley Hope discusses his excellent book about the rise of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and key milestones like the “Ritz Carlton Prison”, the kidnapping of Prime Minister Hariri of Lebanon and the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. He also discusses some of MBS’s modernisation efforts and what the Kingdom might look like if he hadn’t risen to a position of power.

https://traceinternational.org/resources-podcast

OVERFLOW CONTAINER STACKS CONTINUE TO PROLIFERATE AROUND THE UK AS LOGISTICS INDUSTRY FAILS TO TACKLE THE GROWING CONGESTION HITTING SUPPLY CHAINS

On 17 November, Loadstar reported that stacks of empty containers have begun to appear at several ports around England.

https://theloadstar.com/uk-ports-need-outside-help-as-containers-pile-up-by-the-thousand/

SANCTIONS: THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S RECORD AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE NEXT ADMINISTRATION

A report from the Atlantic Council says that economic sanctions have become a default setting for the US Government and Congress to respond to policy problems that seem to require less than military action.  Results, as with any policy tool, have been uneven.  Under the uncertain policy direction of the Trump administration many of the gains achieved through the sanctions policy tool are in danger of unravelling while failing credibility and uneven application are weakening the tool.  What in sanctions policy works, what doesn’t, and what should the Biden administration do to make sanctions work better?  It makes a number of recommendations for the administration. 

https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/US-Sanctions-Policy-Report-v4-002.pdf

TRANSPORTING GOODS BETWEEN GB AND THE EU FROM 1 JANUARY: GUIDANCE FOR HAULIERS AND COMMERCIAL DRIVERS

On 18 November, a news release from HMRC says new guidance explains what documents you will need, how to follow new rules to manage traffic heading to ports and new border control processes.  There will be separate guidance on moving goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.  However, it warns that some of the rules are still being agreed between the UK and the EU and the guidance will be updated with the latest information as soon as it is available.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/transporting-goods-between-great-britain-and-the-eu-from-1-january-2021-guidance-for-hauliers

UK: FURTHER AMENDMENT ORDERS FOR SANCTIONS IN BRITISH OVERSEAS TERRITORIES

On 18 November, new Orders were published that extend several existing sanctions regimes to British Overseas Territories (except Bermuda and Gibraltar which implement sanctions through their own domestic legislation).

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/1287/contents/made

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/1286/contents/made

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/1285/contents/made

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/1284/contents/made

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/1283/contents/made

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/1282/contents/made

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/1281/contents/made

LOOT BOXES IN VIDEO GAMES

On 18 November, the House of Commons Library published a research paper saying that loot boxes have been defined as “features in video games which may be accessed through gameplay, or purchased with in-game items, virtual currencies, or directly with real-world money”.  They often appear as chests, crates, or card packs.  Concerns have been raised about the “structural and psychological similarities” between loot boxes and gambling and that they can encourage children to gamble, possibly leading to harmful behaviour.  However, the Gambling Act 2005 does not cover loot boxes but the Gambling Commission has also said that it is “concerned with the growth in examples where the line between video gaming and gambling is becoming increasingly blurred”.  A 2019 Parliamentary report called for regulations to be made to extend the 2005 Act to loot boxes, and a House of Lords 2020 report on gambling harm also called for loot boxes to be brought within the scope of the Act.  A DCMS call for evidence into the impact of loot boxes closes on 22 November.

https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-8498/

UK: FCA ISSUES WARNING ON UNAUTHORISED FINTECH LANISTAR

On 18 November, Finextra reported that the FCA  has issued a warning to would-be investors in Lanistar, a much-hyped fintech start-up aiming for a £1 billion valuation, stating that the firm is providing services or products without authorisation.

https://www.fca.org.uk/news/warnings/lanistar-limited

https://www.finextra.com/newsarticle/36972/fca-issues-warning-on-unauthorised-fintech-lanistar/startups

GAMBLING COMPANIES SEE SIGNIFICANT RISE IN ACCOUNT TAKEOVER FRAUD

On 18 November, Gambling Insider reported that online gaming companies have experienced a rise in account takeover fraud, new research has revealed.  It says that showed 52% of companies in the gambling industry have seen a notable increase in account takeover activity in the past year, which is when a fraudster gains access to an account that doesn’t belong to them to steal funds; 72% of retail operators believe account takeover is in their top 3 fraud threats, alongside online payment and friendly fraud, while 29% think such fraud is now their top fraud-related threat.

https://www.gamblinginsider.com/news/10442/gambling-companies-see-significant-rise-in-account-takeover-fraud

MALAWI POLICE ARREST PASTOR WANTED IN SOUTH AFRICA FOR FRAUD AND MONEY LAUNDERING

On 18 November, Reuters reported that Malawi police arrested pastor and businessman Shepard Bushiri after he skipped bail in South Africa and fled to his home country.  Bushiri, who describes himself as a prophet, has a big social media following and a lifestyle that includes expensive clothes, mansions and sports cars. 

https://in.reuters.com/article/malawi-safrica-bushiri/malawi-police-arrest-pastor-wanted-in-south-africa-for-fraud-money-laundering-idINKBN27Y1GZ

RUSSIA: PROSECUTORS SEEK TO FORFEIT $2.7 MILLION ASSETS BELONGING TO EX-HEAD OF UDMURTIA

On 18 November, RAPSI in Russia reported that prosecutors have filed a lawsuit seeking to forfeit to the state over $2.7 million belonging to the former head of Russia’s Udmurt Republic, Alexander Solovyov, his family and businesses, according to a statement published on the website of the Prosecutor General’s Office.  According to the prosecution, in 2007 – 2016, he had a hidden extracurricular income exceeding his official earnings contrary to the anti-corruption legislation.

http://rapsinews.com/judicial_news/20201118/306513219.html

UK GOVERNMENT SERVICE DELIVERY OBJECTIVES, COMMITMENTS AND TARGETS FOR MANAGEMENT OF EXPORT LICENSING APPLICATIONS

On 18 November, a news release from the Department for International Trade contained a link to guidance on government performance targets for the administration of the export licensing system by Export Control Joint Unit (ECJU).

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/service-and-performance-code-for-export-licensing/ecju-service-and-performance-code

A GUIDE ON CONDUCTING CORRUPTION RISK ASSESSMENTS IN PUBLIC ORGANIZATIONS

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime has produced a guide saying that all organisations and government institutions face the risk of corruption.  Whether through the awarding of public contracts, collection of taxes or other revenues, payment of social benefits, or in any of the other ways in which a government interacts with its citizens, there is the ever-present chance that a public official will engage in corruption through the misuse of specific powers, insights and access to information.  Likewise, it says, persons interacting with government institutions and public officials might try to use corruption to, for example, influence or circumvent rules, procedures and decisions.  It explains that a corruption risk assessment is a systematic tool that can be used by public organisations to identify corruption vulnerabilities within their operations and devise efficient, cost-effective strategies to mitigate those vulnerabilities or risks.  The goal of any risk assessment is to identify a realistic set of potential areas or scenarios that may be vulnerable to corruption, determine which should be prioritised, and develop and implement mitigation measures.

https://www.unodc.org/documents/corruption/Publications/2020/State_of_Integrity_EN.pdf

CUSTOMS AUTHORITIES IN CHINA AND CONGO BASIN MEET ONLINE TO DEVISE STRATEGIES TO COUNTER ILLEGAL WILDLIFE AND TIMBER TRADE

On 18 November, the NGO Traffic reported that, earlier this month, customs officers from China, Cameroon and Republic of the Congo met online during an event entitled “International Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) and Timber Trade Governance Meeting for China-Congo Basin Countries Customs Authorities”.  Delegates made firm commitments on intelligence-sharing and joint trans-boundary law enforcement actions and spoke about illegal wildlife trade issues related to Chinese businesses operating in Africa. Such meetings have been ongoing from 2017.  This virtual meeting was funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, and also supported by the German Government’s Partnership against Poaching and Illegal Wildlife Trade (in Africa and Asia), implemented by GIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU).

https://www.traffic.org/news/customs-authorities-in-china-and-congo-basin-meet-online/

“ROBUSTNESS” OF SOFTWARE DEFINED AND THE POST OFFICE HORIZON SOFTWARE CASE

An article in the Digital Evidence and Electronic Signature Law Review discusses the use of the term “robustness” of software, as used in the case of Bates v Post Office Ltd, where the properties of the Post Office Horizon transaction processing system (at the heart of the scandal whereby numerous subpostmasters in the UK have been accused of, and even jailed for, alleged or purported fraud) were investigated and argued.  The concept of robustness was at the core of the defendant’s argument, which was that Horizon was “robust”, if not infallible.  It says that the notion of “robust” has a defined meaning in international standards for software engineering. 

https://journals.sas.ac.uk/deeslr/article/view/5171/5036

RECORD COCAINE HAUL AT BELGIUM PORT UNCOVERS POLICE CORRUPTION

An article in Insight crime on 17 November says that authorities in Belgium have arrested a former top counter-narcotics official being investigated for suspected involvement with a ring that concealed 11.5 tons of cocaine in cargo shipped from Guyana to the port of Antwerp, in a case that it says reveals how law enforcement corruption is crucial to moving massive amounts of drugs into Europe.  It is also reported that the official involved, the former head of the counter-narcotics division of Belgium’s Gendarmerie, has been arrested in the past and indicted for drug trafficking in 2001, the same year the Gendarmerie was abolished.

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/analysis/belgium-cocaine-seizure-corruption/

UN PANEL OF EXPERTS REPORT ON MALI SANCTIONS

On 17 November, a news release announced that the UN Security Council has held a meeting about the report from the Panel of Experts published in August, and which included mention that 8 individuals have so far have been sanctioned for obstructing implementation of the 2015 Mali Peace and Reconciliation Agreement. 

http://undocs.org/S/2019/636

GREECE: HUSBAND OF A WHISTLEBLOWER WHO PROVIDED EVIDENCE IN DAPHNE CARUANA GALIZIA CASE RELEASED A DAY AFTER POLICE ARRESTED HIM FOLLOWING A REQUEST FROM CYPRUS’ AUTHORITIES

On 17 November, OCCRP reported that the husband of a whistleblower who provided evidence of alleged corruption to slain Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was released after Greek police arrested him following a request from Cyprus’ authorities.  Pantelis Varnava, the husband of Maria Efimova (a former employee at the Malta-based Pilatus Bank) and a citizen of both Greece and Cyprus, is facing extradition from Greece on charges of fraud, embezzlement, forgery and money laundering.  Varnava was released with restrictive terms barring him from leaving the country, and is obligated to check in regularly with the police, his lawyer said.  

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/13415-husband-of-whistleblower-released-following-arrest-in-greece

SPAIN’S DISGRACED FORMER KING ‘SPENT OVER £7 MILLION ON FLIGHTS’

On 17 November, The Independent reported that the monarchy was plunged into fresh controversy after claims the disgraced former King Juan Carlos paid for private jet flights worth nearly €8 million to the Caribbean, US and the Middle East.  It is claimed that the flights were paid for from the Lichtenstein-based offshore account Fondation Zagatka, which is under investigation by a Swiss magistrate.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/bad-altitude-spain-s-disgraced-former-king-spent-over-ps7m-on-flights-b1724431.html

NEW ZEALAND: AUCKLAND LAWYER STRUCK OFF FOR LAUNDERING MONEY FOR COMANCHEROS 

On 17 November, Stuff reported that Andrew Neill Simpson, a lawyer who was jailed after admitting laundering $2.2 million for members of the Comanchero Motorcycle Club has been struck off.  He is said to have used specialist knowledge as a lawyer to advise on structuring the laundering scheme across the multiple trust accounts he set up.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/300160660/auckland-lawyer-struck-off-for-laundering-money-for-comancheros

LEGAL CLAIM IN US CLAIMED THAT PHILLIP MORRIS SMUGGLED CIGARETTES AND DISTORTED DATA

On 17 November, OCCRP reported that a former business partner says that Swiss tobacco giant Philip Morris International facilitated the theft of his intellectual property, a critical methodology used to measure worldwide flows of contraband cigarettes.  A complaint has been filed in the state of New York by Raoul Setrouk, an Israeli businessman who’s worked with the company for 25 years.  The complaint also says the company smuggled its cigarettes into Libya despite US sanctions.  The complainant’s company, MSIntelligence, uses a variety of methods to quantify illegal cigarette consumption in over a hundred countries, from Mexico to Algeria.  The article reminds one that, in the early 2000s, Philip Morris faced a massive lawsuit from the European Commission over facilitating the widespread smuggling of its cigarettes into the EU – following a similar lawsuit in the US, and settled for $1.25 billion.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/13413-complaint-phillip-morris-smuggled-smokes-distorted-data

3 DETAINED IN RAIDS OVER SPECTACULAR €1 BILLION GERMAN JEWEL HEIST

On 17 November, the Guardian reported that arrests have been made in large-scale raids in Berlin which link the jewel robbery at Dresden museum last year to the same “Lebanese mafia” family whose members were sentenced earlier this year over the theft of one of the world’s largest gold coins from a Berlin museum.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/nov/17/three-detained-in-germany-over-1bn-green-vault-jewel-heist

PODCAST: MONEY LAUNDERING IN THE CAYMAN ISLANDS

In the first of a planned series of podcasts, Appleby Global has released this short (5 minute) podcast providing a high-level overview of key Cayman Islands Regulatory topics with Cybersecurity.

https://soundcloud.com/user-641917806/qa-with-aq-cybersecurity

ANOTHER PIRATE ATTACK AND KIDNAP REPORTED IN GULF OF GUINEA

On 17 November, International Marine News reported that 14 crew members are reported to have been kidnapped from heavy lift vessel Zhen Hua 7 (IMO 9166560) on 13 November in the Gulf of Guinea. The vessel was about 78 nm northwest of Sao Tome. 27 seafarers were onboard the ship at the time of the incident.  This was the eighth offshore incident within the Gulf of Guinea in the previous 9 days and is the 21st kidnapping within the Gulf of Guinea within 2020, with 110 seafarers kidnapped.

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/another-pirate-attack-and-kidnap-reported-in-gulf-of-guinea/

INTERNATIONAL GROUP UPDATE ON THE NEW US SANCTIONS IN RELATION TO PIPELINES NORD STREAM 2 AND TURKSTREAM

On 17 November, International Marine News reported that the group of P+I Clubs says that both the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) and the Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Act (PEESA) have the potential to reach the activities of non-US ship owners and others in the marine industry – including insurers.  The International Group  said that a change in US policy meant that there was now a potential for sanctions (including being blocked by the US) against a person who sells, leases or provides the Russian Federation with goods or services that meet certain fair market value thresholds and that directly and significantly facilitate the expansion, construction, or modernisation of NS2 or TurkStream.  The International Group warns that those owning or operating vessels that are used in connection with NS2 or TurkStream or those providing services to such vessels should consider whether their activities might trigger an application of sanction provisions.

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/nord-stream-2-and-turkstream-ig-update-on-new-us-sanctions/

CRIMINALS LAUNDER CORONAVIRUS RELIEF MONEY THROUGH VENMO, CASH APP, PAYPAL AND OTHER APPS

On 18 November, NBC News reported that criminals are laundering illegally obtained funds meant for Covid-19 relief through the most popular apps for legally sending and receiving money, law enforcement officials say.  It is said said fraudsters find so-called “money mules” to deposit funds into the apps, then move them from one account to the other in an effort to hide the source of the funds.  The US Secret Service has 700 pending investigations related to the Paycheck Protection Program and the Unemployment Insurance Relief program and in an increasing number of those cases, the suspects used one of the apps to move the stolen money.  So far, 80 defendants have been charged with attempting to steal more than $240 million from the PPP program, a DoJ spokesman said.

https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/security/criminals-launder-coronavirus-relief-money-venmo-cash-app-paypal-apps-rcna180

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

EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION CLAWBACKS IN FCPA CASES

A timely and interesting post on the FCPA Blog on 18 November lists  5 things to bear in mind in connection with the Goldman Sach board’ plan to claw back $174 million from former and current executives following the $3.3 billion in fines and penalties imposed on the bank following the 1MDB scandal.  It looks at how clawbacks work, and asks whether they’re a good idea.

https://fcpablog.com/2020/11/18/at-large-five-things-to-know-about-executive-compensation-clawbacks-in-fcpa-cases/

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

DEFENDING THE US AGAINST RUSSIAN DARK MONEY

On 17 November, a report from the Atlantic Council claims that Russia has the world’s largest volume of dark money hidden abroad — about $1 trillion — both in absolute terms and as a percentage of its national GDP.  It says that an estimated quarter of this amount is controlled by President Putin and his close associates, and the Kremlin appears to be able to persuade dependent oligarchs to assist financially in its foreign policy undertakings.  The report argues that these funds pose a serious national security threat to the US because this money can be exploited and steered by the Kremlin for espionage, terrorism, industrial espionage, bribery, political manipulation, disinformation, and many other nefarious purposes.  It examines the pervasiveness of Russian money laundering practices globally, why the money is laundered, methods, and jurisdictions used, and how these exploit weaknesses in the US system.  It then discusses how to reframe AML/CFT strategy to focus not only on foreign policy threats emanating from abroad, but on domestic preventive measures and combating risks at home. 

https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Russia-Dark-Money-Printable-PDF.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

GERMANY IMPLEMENTS THE SIXTH AML DIRECTIVE

On 18 November, Client Alert from Dentons says that the 6th AML Directive aims to improve the harmonisation of the criminal liability of money laundering and terrorist financing across 27 Member States.  In doing so, it significantly differs from its predecessors and their implementation in previous German AML legislation which mainly dealt with regulatory issues such as the obligation to conduct KYC checks and to report suspicious transactions.  The Client Alert summarises the key proposals and highlights the gold plating approach taken by the German government and takes a closer look at its regulatory implications on financial services firms and insurance undertakings.  The new law out to achieve a “paradigm shift” in the prosecution of money laundering by abandoning the concept of a catalogue of predicate offences, and the proposed money laundering offence, as a matter of German law, will be able to capture profits derived from any criminal activity.  The Client Alert asserts that prosecuting money laundering will become considerably easier in Germany, and extends the investigative power of prosecutors, by making greater use of online searches as well as surveillance of electronic and telephone communications in the investigation of money laundering.

https://www.dentons.com/en/insights/articles/2020/november/18/germany-implements-the-6th-anti-money-laundering-directive

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 IRAN SANCTIONS: 9 NEW INDIVIDUALS, 49 ENTITIES AND 1 VESSEL ADDED WITH OTHER ENTRIES AMENDED

On 17 November, OFAC advised a number of changes added to its Iran-related sanctions lists, including the Iranian-flag vessel Bosco Gilan.  The entries for 1 individual and 3 entities have been amended.  The listings are said to target a key patronage network for the Supreme Leader of Iran, the Islamic Revolution Mostazafan Foundation, an immense conglomerate of some 160 holdings in key sectors of Iran’s economy, including finance, energy, construction, and mining.  It says that while Bonyad Mostazafan is ostensibly a charitable organisation charged with providing benefits to the poor and oppressed, its holdings are said to be expropriated from the Iranian people and are used by the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to enrich his office, reward his political allies, and persecute the regime’s enemies.  OFAC is also designating Iran’s Minister of Intelligence and Security, Mahmoud Alavi, pursuant to human rights authorities. 

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20201118

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm1185

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 – NOVEMBER 17

Panama Covid-19 update – extended my exemption from monthly fees for the gym for at least another month…though can’t see me wanting to go back anytime soon. especially as the news today is that the reinfection rate Rt has officially increased to 1.11 (and this is an average, so likely much higher in some districts). The Health Minister warns that the situation appears to be on an “uptick”, he stressed that the Government can have control over the pandemic – “It’s as soon as expected,” he is quoted as saying, presumably meaning that controls can be re-imposed quickly and as needed. He explained that there has been an increase in cases in recent weeks, but the number of patients recovered is also high. He said that Panama maintains 86.2% of cases recovered, compared to 64.3% of cases recovered globally.

1,054 new cases were reported today, with 12 new fatalities (being 3 from former days and not yet reported). Of currently 17,586 active cases, 154 are in ICU and 731 in other wards.

17 NOVEMBER 2020

The SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower issued about $175 million to 39 individuals in the fiscal year ended 30 September, according to the office’s annual report to Congress.

MORE THAN 25 RANSOMWARE-AS-A-SERVICE (RAAS) PORTALS ARE CURRENTLY RENTING RANSOMWARE TO OTHER CRIMINAL GROUPS

On 16 November, ZD Net reported that Ransomware-as-a-Service is a cyber-security term referring to criminal gangs that rent ransomware to other groups, either via a dedicated portal or via threads on hacking forums.  Gangs rent the ransomware code, customise it using options provided by the RaaS, and then deploy in real-world attacks via a method of their choosing.  Payments from these incidents, regardless of how the affiliates managed to infect a victim, go to the RaaS gang, who keeps a small percentage and then forwards the rest to the affiliate.

https://www.zdnet.com/article/the-ransomware-landscape-is-more-crowded-than-you-think/

THE FUTURE OF INTERNATIONAL DATA TRANSFERS: NEW SCCS AND EDPB GUIDANCE

On 13 November, Linklaters LLP published an article which considers the effects of two recent developments.  The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) published 2 sets of recommendations on how companies should respond to the landmark Schrems II decision of the CJEU on international data transfers.  Meanwhile, the European Commission released a draft of the long-awaited revised set of standard data protection clauses (or standard contractual clauses, SCC), a template contract to put in place appropriate safeguards to enable data transfers.  The EDPB lays out a 6-stage process for guidance on how to assess data transfers after the Schrems II decision, including re-evaluating the use of SCC etc at regular intervals.  It notes that the EDPB guidance is open for consultation to 30 November.

https://www.linklaters.com/en/insights/blogs/digilinks/2020/november/the-future-of-international-data-transfers

AIRBnB HAS CONTACTED OFAC AND OFSI RE POTENTIAL SANCTIONS VIOLATIONS

On 16 November, the Wall Street Journal reported that AirBnB had told the SEC about discussions with the US and UK agencies about activities on its platform by certain users and in certain territories that are subject to US sanctions, namely the Crimea and Cuba.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/airbnb-reveals-potential-noncompliance-of-u-s-sanctions-11605577720

AUSTRALIA: CROWN CUTS ALL JUNKET PARTNERSHIPS

On 17 November, the Financial Review in Australia reported that Crown Casinos has said that it will stop dealing with any junket operators unless they are licensed.  This follows the company’s decision in September to suspend all junket activity for the remainder of the financial year pending a review.  Crown said it would only restart relationships with junket operators if they received a tick of approval from state gaming regulators.

https://www.afr.com/companies/games-and-wagering/crown-cuts-all-junket-partnerships-20201117-p56f8b#:~:text=Crown%20says%20it%20will%20stop,licences%20and%20its%20share%20price.

SFO INTERNAL GUIDANCE ON DEFERRED PROSECUTION AGREEMENTS

On 13 November, Ropes & Gray reported that the SFO had recently published a new chapter in its internal Operational Handbook, which provides guidance on the SFO approach to Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPA).  The article says that the new guidance largely restates the principles already set out in the DPA Code of Practice and DPA precedents and does not signal a change in policy. Nevertheless, the Guidance serves to reinforce the SFO’s focus on proactive co-operation by companies and implementation of effective corporate compliance.

https://www.ropesgray.com/-/media/Files/alerts/2020/11/20201113_London_Alert.pdf

ONLINE KYC IS SO RAMPANT THAT CRIMINALS ARE SETTING UP FAKE KYC PAGES TO BEAT THEM

On 26 October, SEON produced an article explaining how criminals obtaining real information to produce identity documents for use in other scams.  For example, using “make money from home” adverts they can obtain the necessary information, for a small sum, to use (or sell on for use) in bigger and better scams.  It looks at the other ways used to obtain personal information, and at what it says are better ways to combat the risks.

https://seon.io/resources/identity-proofing-more-important-than-ever-for-online-businesses/

NEW EDPB GUIDELINES ON DATA PROTECTION BY DESIGN AND DEFAULT: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

On 16 November, Bergren published an article with this title, concerned with new guidance issued by the European Data Protection Board  on 20 October and which provide guidance on the obligation of Data Protection by Design and by Default (DPbDD) under Article 25 GDPR that should be used by every organisation that processes personal data.  DPbDD obliges all data controllers to follow its principles regardless of the size of the organisation or the complexity of personal data-processing. It lists the key elements involved –  the key elements are (i) transparency, (ii) lawfulness, (iii) fairness, (iv) purpose limitation, (v) data minimization, (vi) accuracy, (vii) storage limitation, (viii) integrity and confidentiality and (ix) accountability.  It then goes on to address practical recommendations.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/documents.lexology.com/823b027c-83ca-4f59-851c-7c1c712938d3.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAVYILUYJ754JTDY6T&Expires=1605624061&Signature=ik2pm3rmkO4BClv53t2f3%2BG2%2BRk%3D

NORTH KOREAN BUSINESS DEALS AND SANCTIONS EVASION IN AFRICA

On 17 November, NK News released a podcast about a recent report in The Sentry which focuses on North Korea’s illicit financing, shady business deals and UN, US and EU sanctions evasions.

https://www.nknews.org/category/north-korea-news-podcast/latest/statues-and-sanctions-north-korea-in-congo-nknews-podcast-ep-157/895280/

THE CHALLENGES POSED BY THE PROLIFERATION OF PRECISION-GUIDED MUNITIONS

On 17 November, War on the Rocks published an article saying the growth in precision weapons means that they are available not just to the military but also to terrorists and other non-state actors, as well as rogue states.  This, it argues, is as much a problem, if not more, than proliferation of WMD, on which more attention is focused. It cites examples such as surface-to-air missiles launched from pro-Russian separatist-controlled territory in the Donbass shot down a Malaysian airliner, and there have been reports of Boko Haram using drones in Nigeria, as well as Mexican drug cartels.  The article argues that an arms control initiative could help tackle some of these challenges and move the international community to adopt a new paradigm to deal with these emerging, but very concrete, threats.

https://warontherocks.com/2020/11/the-paradox-of-precision-nonstate-actors-and-precision-guided-weapons/

CFTC ENFORCEMENT DIVISION ISSUES COMPLIANCE PROGRAM GUIDANCE

On 17 November, a blog post from Compliance & Enforcement at the Program on Corporate Compliance and Enforcement at the New York University School of Law saying that in September the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Division of Enforcement director issued a memorandum to Division staff setting forth a framework for evaluating the effectiveness of a company’s compliance program in the context of an enforcement matter.  The post says that while the memorandum largely consolidates and formalises existing CFTC guidance, and is consistent with the more detailed DoJ Guidance, it provides some additional insight into the emphasis the Division places on the scope and speed of remediation in the enforcement process. 

https://wp.nyu.edu/compliance_enforcement/2020/11/16/cftc-enforcement-division-issues-compliance-program-guidance/

ISLE OF MAN CONFIRMS REMOVAL OF 1 ENTITY FROM IRAN SANCTIONS LISTS

On 17 November, a news release from the Isle of Man confirmed that the NEDA INDUSTRIAL GROUP had been removed from sanctions lists.

https://www.gov.im/news/2020/nov/17/financial-sanctions-iran-nuclear-proliferation/

UK: CONSULTATION ON REVISIONS TO THE EXTRADITION POLICE CODES OF PRACTICE

On 17 November, the Home Office launched a consultation, closing on 14 December, which seeks views from practitioners and other interested parties as to whether the draft codes are correct and applicable for operational demands, while protecting the rights of individuals sought for extradition.  The draft is a revision of existing codes of practice that govern the exercise of police powers in extradition cases. 

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/revisions-to-the-extradition-police-codes-of-practice

CYPRUS: PARLIAMENT NEEDS CODE OF CONDUCT TO BETTER FIGHT CORRUPTION

On 17 November, the Council of Europe published a news release about a new GRECO report.  Fully implementing all the recommendations of the report has become “all the more pressing” given recent “serious allegations of undue influence of third parties over some MPs”, the reports says.  The report assesses measures taken by Cyprus to implement 16 GRECO recommendations concerning corruption prevention with respect to MPs, judges and prosecutors and follows an initial compliance report in 2018.  Of 16 recommendations from 2016, 7 have been fully implemented, 6 remain partly implemented and 3 have not been implemented.

https://www.coe.int/en/web/portal/-/cyprus-judicial-code-of-ethics-praiseworthy-but-parliament-needs-code-of-conduct-to-better-fight-corruption

AIRLINE BOSS WANTED FOR £2.3 MILLION FRAUD IN RUSSIA SAID TO BE A VICTIM OF POLITICAL WITCH HUNT LED BY VLADIMIR PUTIN

On 17 November, Mail Online reported that a lawsuit in London claims that Alevtina Kalashnikova is said to have swindled money by selling bogus tickets while working at VIM Airlines 2014 to 2017.  As the deputy general director allegedly worked alongside CEO Alexander Kochnev to use the now defunct air carrier as a pyramid scheme moving foreign currency into their own accounts.  But lawyers claim that she is the victim of a witch hunt and did nothing wrong, and her legal team claim Putin wanted scapegoats following the collapse of the airline ahead of his election campaign in March 2018.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8957437/Airline-boss-wanted-2-3m-fraud-Russia-victim-political-witch-hunt-led-Putin.html

UK: FREEPORTS

On 17 November, the House of Commons issued an updated research paper on freeports (and will be updated in due course as matters develop).  The UK is currently asking for bids to run new free zones, post-Brexit.

https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-8823/

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/freeports-bidding-process-opens-for-applications

UK FREEPORTS PLAN PRESENTS ‘REAL CHALLENGE’ TO SHIPPING

On 17 November, Lloyds Loading List reported that the big 2 sector trade associations welcome publication of bidder prospect, but warn on complexity and lack of buy-in from devolved administrations.  It is said that the bidding process is too bureaucratic with ports needing more time to prepare and the prospectus is only currently for interested parties in England.  It says that not all economists are convinced that the policy will generate jobs on the scale proponents hope, arguing that it will simply displace employment that would have been created elsewhere anyway.

https://www.lloydsloadinglist.com/freight-directory/news/UK-freeports-plan-presents-%E2%80%98real-challenge%E2%80%99-to-shipping/77865.htm#.X7P4NOWSmM8

BORDER FORCE IN NORTHERN IRELAND SEIZE MORE THAN 2 TONNES OF BLACK MARKET TOBACCO

On 17 November, a news release from Border Force announced that the tobacco was detected within a shipping container which had arrived at Belfast Docks from the Netherlands and was labelled as air filters.  It was found on 9 pallets which weighed a total of 2.34 tonnes.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/border-force-in-northern-ireland-seize-more-than-2-tonnes-of-black-market-tobacco

UK INTERNAL MARKET BILL 2020: POLICY STATEMENTS

On 17 November, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy published a news release announcing the publication of policy statements which explain the intention behind the provisions of the UK Internal Market Bill, as it progresses through Parliament.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-internal-market-bill-2020-policy-statements 

REVISING EU EXPORT CONTROLS: A PATH TO GREATER COHERENCE?

On 17 November, a Commentary from RUSI said that the EU is close to agreement on expanding the list of dual-use cyber-surveillance technology to be banned from sale to autocratic regimes. The move would strengthen the EU’s human rights advocacy and bolster the European Commission’s geopolitical ambitions.  It said that the urgent need to revise the EU export control regime became clear almost a decade ago during the Arab uprising, the wave of popular movements which gripped the Middle East and North Africa, during which some regimes used digital surveillance to crack down on protests.  If the current proposal is accepted, the revised EU framework will result in a fundamental deviation from international regimes. Currently, the EU control list represents a compilation of the export controls from the multilateral export control regimes, including the Wassenaar Agreement, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Australia Group and the Missile Technology Control Regime.  With the update, the dual-use goods list would go beyond that internationally agreed scope and include such items as facial recognition and spyware.  The revised Regulation proposes to include an EU-level coordination mechanism for greater exchange of information between member states and improved cooperation between licensing and customs authorities.  The commentary says that the adoption of stricter export controls will provide the EU with a geostrategic instrument to defend its security interests and could serve as a way back to a coordinated transatlantic relationship.

https://rusi.org/commentary/revising-eu-export-controls-path-greater-coherence

UK: £1 BILLION FRAUD PROBE DELAYED AGAIN

On 17 November, OCCRP reported that results from an internal investigation launched in 2017 into an alleged cover-up of a £1 billion fraud scandal dating back over a decade have been delayed again, and likely won’t be revealed until next year.  The probe examines whether executives of the Lloyds Banking Group were aware of the fraud – one of the worst in Britain’s history – when the bank made an acquisition in 2009 of HBOS, the company responsible for the scandal, and the UK’s largest mortgage lender at the time.  Dating back to at least 2003, HBOS left hundreds of small business owners in financial ruin.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/13406-uk-1-billion-fraud-probe-delayed-again-victims-left-uncompensated

FinCEN FILES: PREVEZON HOLDINGS LTD – “THE BLACK MONEY COLLECTOR”

On 17 November, OCCRP published an article which says that Prevezon Holdings Ltd is a small international real estate investment company that leaves an unusually large footprint in stories about global crime and politics.  The Cypriot company, owned by Russian citizens, was a beneficiary in Russia’s biggest public fraud ever, involving the whistleblower Sergey Magnitsky.  OCCRP says that bank documents obtained by OCCRP and ICIJ as part of the FinCEN Files investigation indicate that Prevezon lies at the intersection of far more fraudulent activity than previously known.

https://www.occrp.org/en/the-fincen-files/prevezon-holdings-the-black-money-collector

THE UNODC-WCO CONTAINER CONTROL PROGRAMME TAKES STOCK OF ACHIEVEMENTS

On 17 November, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime issued a news release which reflects on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the work of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) and its 59 participating countries.  It says that the CCP was among the first to rise to the challenge and shift gears towards online training seminars as early as May 2020.  It reports that the Port Control Units (PCU) and Air Cargo Control Units (ACCU) in participating countries, as of 28 October, in 2020 made seizures of cocaine amounted to approximately 78.3 tonnes (the total amount for 2019 was 77 tonnes).  There were also numerous detections of counterfeit pharmaceuticals and medical supplies in the context of COVID-19 pandemic, as well as large consignments of chemicals for drug production, among others.  Also, the seizures of 750 kg of Captagon from Syria in Ukraine, and the biggest cocaine seizure in Paraguay’s history of 2.9 tonnes of cocaine, mark the latest achievements by the officers cooperating with the CCP.

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/frontpage/2020/November/the-unodc-wco-container-control-programme-takes-stock-of-achievements.html

COVID-19 CRIME: INTERPOL ISSUES NEW GUIDELINES FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT

On 17 November, Interpol announced that it had released updated INTERPOL guidelines draw on the lessons learned and best practices developed around the world to help police identify and address crimes impacted by COVID-19, including domestic violence, child abuse and cybercrime.  The guidelines also include recommendations in relation to deliberate contamination spread, public order, fraud and money laundering and should be considered in accordance with applicable human rights standards, national legislation, policing best practices and in coordination with national public health authorities.

https://www.interpol.int/News-and-Events/News/2020/COVID-19-crime-INTERPOL-issues-new-guidelines-for-law-enforcement

INTERPOL AND UN LAUNCH INITIATIVE ON CBRNE TERROR THREATS

On 17 November, Interpol announced that it and the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT) of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) have launched a joint initiative to produce a Global Threat Study on Non-State Actors and Their CBRNE Materials.  The 5-year initiative will help the international community counter the threat posed by non-state actors’ access to CBRNE materials.

https://www.interpol.int/News-and-Events/News/2020/INTERPOL-and-UN-launch-initiative-on-CBRNE-terror-threats

THE EU-US DISPUTE OVER CIVIL AIRCRAFT SUBSIDIES (AIRBUS v BOEING)

On 17 November, the EU Parliament Research Service published a research paper about the continuing dispute which says that, since the 1980s onset of intensified sales competition between US and European civil aircraft manufacturers, aircraft trade has been a point of contention in transatlantic trade.  The WTO authorised US imposition of countermeasures worth nearly $7.5 billion in 2019 and on 9 November, the EU imposed tariffs on $4billion worth of US aircraft, food and drink production.

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/ATAG/2020/659347/EPRS_ATA(2020)659347_EN.pdf

LATVIA BLACKLISTS THE HEAD OF BELARUS’S ICE HOCKEY FEDERATION AND SEEKS TO PREVENT ITS NEIGHBOUR FROM CO-HOSTING THE 2021 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

On 17 November, Rferl reported that the Latvian Foreign Minister has issued an order banning Dzmitry Baskau from entering Latvia.  Baskau, the president of the Belarusian hockey federation and head of the Dynamo Minsk hockey team, is a close ally of embattled Alyaksandr Lukashenka.  Belarus is set to co-host with Latvia the 2021 world ice hockey championships, but the latter is trying to remove Belarus from any involvement.

https://www.rferl.org/a/latvia-blacklists-belarus-hockey-chief-ramps-up-pressure-on-world-championship-co-host/30953605.html

KAZAKH TYCOON JAILED FOR 11 YEARS ON EMBEZZLEMENT CHARGES

On 16 November, Rferl reported that Zhomart Ertaev, a former banker from Kazakhstan, has been sentenced to 11 years in prison on embezzlement charges.  He was found guilty of stealing $334 million from RBK Bank and a court also ruled that all his property must be confiscated.  He had previously served in senior positions at Kazakh banks throughout the 2000s.  In March 2019, Russia extradited Ertaev to Kazakhstan.

https://www.rferl.org/a/kazakh-tycoon-jailed-for-11-years-on-embezzlement-charges/30953317.html

SCHREMS II: THE IMPACT ON SOUTH AFRICA

On 17 November, an article from Eversheds Sutherland examined the position on data transfers between the EU and South Africa.  It says that in order to determine whether South Africa has adequate protection for EU personal data, a thorough evaluation of South Africa’s surveillance laws is required to establish what access the government has to data, the limits on this access, and the judicial oversight and remedies that are in place to ensure the protection of this data.  It concludes that, in light of the Schrems II decision and South Africa’s surveillance laws, it is clear that the SCC and binding corporate rules, as stand-alone mechanisms, are not sufficient to comply with the GDPR’s “adequate safeguard” requirements, and that risk assessment on a case-by-case basis is essential.

https://www.eversheds-sutherland.com/global/en/what/articles/index.page?ArticleID=en/global/South-africa/Schrems_II

CONVENTIONAL ARMS: WHAT MORE COULD THE UN DO TO PREVENT CONFLICT AND BUILD PEACE?

The UN Institute for Disarmament Research has produced a report which says that the impact of armed conflict extends far beyond casualties in battle, often leading to forced migration, long-term refugee problems, the destruction of essential infrastructure and services, damage to social, political and economic institutions, and more broadly, negatively affecting development. Following a series of online meetings, this report captures the themes raised which it says will serve to inform and guide further research and dialogue on integrating conventional arms control into conflict prevention and management.

https://unidir.org/sites/default/files/2020-11/Community%20of%20Practitioners%20-%20Workshop%20report.pdf

MONEY LAUNDERING SCHEME FUNNELLED $11 MILLION THROUGH ARIZONA BANK – MADE POSSIBLE BY A CORRUPT BANK MANAGER

On 17 November, KJZZ reported that federal prosecutors say a money laundering scheme managed to funnel $11 million through an Arizona bank. The money originated from drug sales and ended up in bank accounts in Mexico. Prosecutors say the scheme was made possible by a corrupt Rio Rico bank manager.

https://kjzz.org/content/1636228/money-laundering-scheme-funneled-11-million-through-arizona-bank

CHARGES DROPPED AGAINST 4 SUSPECTED OF SMUGGLING €3.4 MILLION INTO ALBANIA 

On 17 November, Exit News reported that a court of Tirana has dropped the charges against 4 of the 6 accused of the transport of €3.4 million in 2 cars ‘Toyota Yaris’ in the port of Durrës, in June 2018.  Charges remain against Ervis Vladi, who is accused of ‘non-declaration of money at the border’, and Agim Çeka, who is accused of ‘illegal possession of weapons’.  It was alleged that there was no evidence of an organised crime or money laundering.

https://exit.al/en/2020/11/16/charges-dropped-against-four-suspected-of-smuggling-eur-3-4-million-into-albania-in-toyota-yaris/

AUSTRALIA: 2 MEN IN COURT AFTER POLICE FIND OVER $1,000,000 IN CASH INSIDE A CAR

Mirage News reported that a car entering South Australia was searched an inside the car police allegedly found over $1,000,000 in cash, an amount of the illicit substance fantasy and an amount of methamphetamine.  Follow-up house searches uncovered hydroponic cannabis premises and equipment.

https://www.miragenews.com/over-a-million-in-cash-seized-at-border-point/

TO OFFSET US SANCTIONS RISK, BANKS BAKE IN CHINA LOAN CLAUSES

On 16 November, Risk.net reported that global banks in Hong Kong are introducing loan contract clauses to mitigate the risk of sanctions. They allow a lender to terminate its contract early if a counterparty falls subject to sanctions during the deal’s lifetime. Lenders are also re-examining their onboarding processes – to make sure they are appropriately modelling potential linkages between firms.

https://www.risk.net/risk-management/7710216/to-offset-us-sanctions-risk-banks-bake-in-china-loan-clauses

THE FOUNDER OF THE MEDELLIN CARTEL LIVING IN GERMANY

La Vanguardia reported that Carlos Lehder, 71, one of the last 2 founders of the Medellin cartel still alive – the other is Jorge Luis Ochoa – now lives freely in Germany.  He is said to be the man who introduced the use of aircraft planes into cocaine trafficking.  He served 33 years in US prisons and was the first and almost the only major Colombian smuggler extradited to the US.  He was a lead witness in the trial of Panama’s former strong man, Manuel Antonio Noriega in 1992, and claims that he was promised a rebate on his sentence as a result.

https://www.lavanguardia.com/sucesos/20201116/49416503643/carlos-lehder-alemania-arroyave-abogado-retirado.html

PENNSYLVANIA MAN CHARGED WITH TRAFFICKING IN ENDANGERED AND INVASIVE FISH

A news release from US DoJ on 16 November advised that Anthony Nguyen, aka JoJo Nguyen and Jackie Lee, 48, of Pittsburgh, has been charged with trafficking in endangered Asian arowana and invasive snakehead fish.  Nguyen owned and operated a Pittsburgh business specialising in the sale of rare and exotic freshwater tropical fish species.  The snakehead fish are prohibited because they are voracious predators, can live out of water for days, can move across land, and can wipe out the native species that inhabit freshwaters of the US.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/pennsylvania-man-charged-trafficking-endangered-and-invasive-fish

COVID-19 IS PUSHING UP COSTS FOR CREW CHANGE BY AN AVERAGE OF $2,000

Insurance Marine News on 16 November reported that a crewing business has warned ship operators that the Covid-19 pandemic has increased dramatically the average cost of a crew change, with each crew change was costing an extra $2,000 – $4,000 instead of $2,000 – since last year. 

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/covid-19-is-pushing-up-costs-for-crew-change-by-an-average-of-2000/

OFAC NEW VENEZUELAN GENERAL LICENSE 8G RE TRANSNSACTIONS INVOLVING PdVSA

On 17 November, OFAC advised that it had published General License 8G “Authorizing Transactions Involving Petróleos de Venezuela, SA (PdVSA) Necessary for the Limited Maintenance of Essential Operations in Venezuela or the Wind Down of Operations in Venezuela for Certain Entities”. 

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20201117

SECURITY ALERT ISSUED FOR US CITIZENS IN TANZANIA

On 13 November, Homeland Security Today reported that the US State Department has issued a security alert for US citizens in Tanzania due to the risk of extremist violence in the Mtwara Region in the southern part of the country.  Increased activity by extremists along the southern border has led to attacks against both government and civilian targets.

https://www.hstoday.us/subject-matter-areas/counterterrorism/security-alert-issued-for-u-s-citizens-in-tanzania/

https://tz.usembassy.gov/security-alert-u-s-embassy-dar-es-salaam-tanzania-2/

HOW TECHNOLOGY IS HELPING TERROR TACTICS EVOLVE

On 17 November, Homeland Security Today published an article saying that, while most terrorist incidents are characterised by the use of the ‘gun and the bomb’, threat groups are expanding into both low- (e.g. knives and vehicular overruns) and high-end (e.g. weaponised drone and teleoperated static weapons platform) technology use and the tactics, techniques, and procedures supporting it.  Further, novel variations on mid-range technology use – such as the armouring of VBIED (vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices) – are also taking place as is the use of homemade or 3D-printed firearms.  The article provides a few examples.

https://www.hstoday.us/subject-matter-areas/counterterrorism/how-technology-is-helping-terror-tactics-evolve/

US: A FINAL RULE AMENDING AND CLARIFYING CERTAIN PROVISIONS OF THE EXPORT ADMINISTRATION REGULATIONS (EAR)

On 17 November, KPMG reported on the effect of a Final Rule published in the US, which amends the EAR to reflect enforcement authorities and to update certain EAR provisions to make them consistent with Export Control Reform Act 2018 (ECRA).

https://home.kpmg/us/en/home/insights/2020/11/tnf-us-final-rule-amending-ear-export-enforcement-provisions.html

FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT REVIEWS – AUSTRALIA

On 17 November, White & Case produced an article saying that Australia requires a wide variety of investments by foreign businesses to be reviewed and approved before completion and the decision t is ultimately made by the Treasurer of Australia, based on an assessment of whether the investment would be contrary to the national interest.

https://www.whitecase.com/publications/insight/foreign-direct-investment-reviews-2020-australia

BELGIUM’S BIGGEST BANKS PROPOSE SYSTEM TO SHARE SUSPECTED MONEY LAUNDERING INFORMATION

On 17 November, the ICIJ reported that a group of Belgium’s biggest banks have proposed the creation of a platform to exchange information about suspect transactions with Belgian authorities and one another.  ING Belgium, KBC Bank, Belfius Bank and Insurance and BNP Paribas Fortis have jointly asked for laws allowing them to set up a secure system to share information about suspected money laundering and the shadowy entities behind the transactions.  

https://www.icij.org/investigations/fincen-files/belgiums-biggest-banks-propose-system-to-share-suspected-money-laundering-information

PERU JUST HAD 3 PRESIDENTS IN A SINGLE WEEK. WHAT’S GOING ON?

On 17 November, a blog post from the American Enterprise Institute posed this question.

https://www.aei.org/foreign-and-defense-policy/peru-just-had-3-presidents-in-a-single-week-whats-going-on

Meanwhile –

IN CORRUPTION, PERU’S NEW PRESIDENT FACES UPHILL BATTLE

Deutsche Welle published an article on 17 November saying that the new caretaker President faces the mammoth task of fighting systematic corruption that has paralysed the South American country for years.  He is described as an experienced political strategist, consultant to the UN, the author of 25 books and an industrial engineer who once worked at the World Bank; and he’s a man who isn’t easily ruffled, perhaps because he was one of the hostages taken by Peru’s MRTA guerrillas at the Japanese embassy in Lima in 1996.  He may just be the right person in the right place at the right time to moderate the transition until the next general election in April 2021, but it is said that the main reason he was selected was probably the fact that the 76-year-old politician with Austrian roots isn’t suspected of corruption. That means a great deal in the Andean state. When asked what the new President can expect in his fight against corruption, a member of parliament was quick to come up with a new nickname: Don Quixote — the aging knight and hero of lost causes.

https://www.dw.com/en/in-corruption-perus-new-president-faces-uphill-battle/a-55640916

CONTROVERSIAL SELF-PROCLAIMED PROPHET SHEPHERD BUSHIRI AND HIS WIFE MARY HAD 5 PASSPORTS EACH THAT WERE ISSUED BY MALAWI

On 17 November, The Herald in Zimbabwe reported that “prophet”, who fled Malawi to South Africa, where the specialist police unit, the Hawks are also said to be investigating fraud, corruption and money laundering.

https://www.herald.co.zw/bushiri-had-five-passports-sa-home-affairs-minister

FORMER CEO CHARGED IN SCHEMES TO DEFRAUD US GOVERNMENT RELATED TO THE CONFLICT IN AFGHANISTAN

A news release from US DoJ on 17 November advised that former CEO of a US government contractor was charged in connection with schemes to defraud the US DoD regarding contracts related to US military efforts in Afghanistan.  Paul Daigle, 40, was charged with conspiracy, 4 counts of wire fraud, and 4 counts of false claims.  Between 2013 and 2017, Daigle allegedly engaged in 2 fraudulent schemes that resulted in the submission of false claims to the US Government. The first scheme involved the use of unqualified employees for government contracts, and the second scheme involved alleged false billing.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/former-ceo-charged-schemes-defraud-us-government-related-conflict-afghanistan

MALTA: A BUSY YEAR FOR THE CUSTOMS DEPARTMENT

On 16 November, the Times of Malta reported that the Custom’s Intellectual Property Rights Unit this year intercepted 31 containers seizing 666,159 counterfeit items, those in transit valued at a total of €52.8 million, those intended for the local market at €450,000.  The items seized in transit were 49,558 pieces of clothing, 6,808 bags, 395,909 pairs of footwear, 16,500 apparel accessories, 46,032 deodorants, 3,595 pieces of electronics and 142,200 mobile accessories.  The article also details the other contraband, including cigarettes and tobacco and illegal drugs.  The Anti Money-Laundering Team also intercepted €568,172 of cash in 35 instances.  The department said that with postal and courier services being in high demand throughout the year, the medium was a target for illicit trade. 

https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/a-busy-year-for-the-customs-department.832351

ZIMBABWE: FAMILY FACES $5 BILLION MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGE

On 17 November, Newsday reported that a family has been arraigned before a Harare magistrate on money laundering charges involving $5 billion, which was orchestrated through their supermarket business.  They allegedly conducted foreign currency dealings thorough Family First Choice and Bailey Charamba Investments, which are both supermarkets in Mutare.

https://www.newsday.co.zw/2020/11/mutare-family-faces-5bn-money-laundering-charge/

US TO DROP DRUG CHARGES AGAINST MEXICAN EX-DEFENCE CHIEF

In its 18 November edition, the Daily Mail and others reported that the US DoJ has announced plans to drop drug trafficking and money laundering charges against Salvador Cienfuegos, 72,a Mexican ex-defence minister, who was arrested in San Francisco in October, so that Mexico can do its own probe and potentially prosecute him.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-8960081/US-drop-drug-charges-against-Mexican-ex-defence-chief.html

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

OECD WORKING GROUP ON BRIBERY ISSUES REPORT COMMENDING THE US FOR MAINTAINING LEADING ROLE IN THE FIGHT AGAINST TRANSNATIONAL CORRUPTION

On 17 November, a news release from the US DoJ announced that the Working Group on Bribery of the OECD Working Group issued its Phase 4 Report of the US.  It is part of the OECD Working Group’s peer monitoring process and focuses primarily on the US enforcement of its foreign bribery statute, the FCPA, and was issued following a year-long review that included a series of interviews with government, private sector, academic, and civil society experts.  It highlights the US increasing foreign bribery enforcement level since the OECD Working Group’s Phase 3 Report in 2010.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/oecd-working-group-bribery-issues-report-commending-united-states-maintaining-leading-role

https://www.state.gov/the-united-states-leads-the-fight-against-foreign-bribery-and-transnational-corruption

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

WHAT THE NEW GUIDANCE ON DPA TELLS US ABOUT THE SFO APPROACH TO COOPERATION

On 17 November, an article from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner sets out to explain how cooperation features in the deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) process, what it means to be “co-operative”, and why the SFO appears to be trying to strongly encourage organisations to lay “golden eggs” for it in the form of making privileged documents available.  On this point, the article makes clear that, in a very recent case, the defendant did not provide material requested by the SFO that was protected by legal professional privilege but was still found to have “actively cooperated” with the SFO.  It also says that the SFO could not be clearer in making the point, once again, that it will be cooperating and coordinating its efforts with other investigating authorities in the UK and internationally, as applicable.

https://www.bclplaw.com/en-US/insights/the-sfo-the-goose-and-the-golden-eggs-what-the-sfos-new-dpa-guidance-on-dpas-tells-us-about-the-prosecutors-approach-to-co-operation.html

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