Panama Covid-19 update – another 875 new cases reported today and 16 more fatalities. 149 people are in ICU and 809 in other wards.
23 NOVEMBER 2020
MEET THE REMMO CLAN – THE ARAB GANG THAT HAS BECOME GERMANY’S MOST NOTORIOUS ORGANISED CRIME FAMILY
On 2 November, KYC 360 reported that the arrest of 3 men in connection with last year’s €1 billion jewel heist at Dresden’s famous Green Vault museum has shone a rare light on the “Arab clans” who increasingly dominate organised crime in Berlin – the Remmo Clan, a single extended family that is one of the most feared in the German capital and has been implicated in a series of spectacular crimes in recent years. The Remmo Clan are just one of the so-called “Arab clans”, extended families of Middle Eastern who control much of the drugs and illegal prostitution trade in Berlin, and defend their various turfs around the city with violence and intimidation.
RUSSIA STOPS U.N. BLACKLISTING OF LIBYA MILITIA AND LEADER
On 21 November, Reuters reported that Russia has stopped a UN Security Council committee from blacklisting a Libyan militia group and its leader for human rights abuses because it said it wanted to see more evidence first that they had killed civilians. It prevented the Libya sanctions committee impose an asset freeze and travel ban on the al-Kaniyat militia and its leader Mohammed al-Kani.
US REDUCES LENGTH OF SANCTIONS WAIVER, INCREASING PRESSURE ON IRAQ AND IRAN
On 23 November, KYC 360 reported that the Trump administration has intensified pressure on Iraq and Iran by reducing the length of a sanctions waiver that allows Iraq to power its already overstretched energy grid.
MURKY BOSNIAN CHARITY APPEALS FOR AFRICAN WELLS RAISE CONCERNS
On 20 November, Balkan Insight reported that millions of euros have been raised through appeals in Bosnia and Herzegovina to build wells and mosques in Africa, but concerns persist about suspect fundraising methods and claims that photographs documenting some charity-funded wells were faked.
MALAYSIA SCRAPS MEGA PORT PROJECT OFF MELAKA
On 23 November, Seatrade Maritime News reported that Malaysia’s state government has reportedly scrapped a $10.5billion port project off the coast of Melaka due to delays in reclamation works. The developer of the Melaka Gateway project has failed to complete the reclamation works after 3 years as contracted.
US DRAFTS LIST OF 89 COMPANIES WITH CHINA MILITARY TIES
On 22 November, Reuters reported that the Trump administration is close to declaring that 89 Chinese aerospace and other companies have military ties, restricting them from buying a range of US goods and technology, according to a draft copy of the list seen by Reuters. The list, if published, could further escalate trade tensions with Beijing and hurt US companies that sell civil aviation parts and components to China, among other industries.
RESPONDING TO THE US TREASURY INFORMATION REQUEST ON THE HONG KONG AUTONOMY ACT
An article from Steptoe & Johnson on 19 November said that OFAC is expected to issue a report by mid-December under the Hong Kong Autonomy Act (HKAA) identifying “foreign financial institutions” that have knowingly conducted significant transactions with “foreign persons” previously identified by the State Department under Section 5(a) of the HKAA and which will face a menu of ten sanctions, ranging from prohibitions on serving as a repository of US Government funds to travel bans against corporate officers. It is said that OFAC “will reach out to an FFI to inquire about its conduct” and the article says that firms should consider how to respond if they receive an outreach from OFAC. Inaccuracies or omissions in the response or the failure to respond at all could form the basis of enforcement action. The article sets out to provide guidance on how to handle requests from OFAC under the HKAA, and more broadly to other informational outreach, based on our considerable experience in managing similar US government requests for clients in Asia.
THE IMPACT OF BREXIT ON COURT PROCEEDINGS
On 19 November, Buse Heberer Fromm in Germany published an article examining the position for ongoing and future proceedings following the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December.
US DoJ WARNS AGAINST TRAVELLING WITH SENSITIVE INFORMATION IN CONTRAVENTION OF EXPORT CONTROLS
On 20 November, Government Contracting carried an article saying that a news release from the DoJ linked to the recent sentencing of an individual for travelling to China with unclassified military-related technical information also said that the “sentence should stand as a warning to others who might be tempted to similarly put the nation’s security at risk”. Indeed, the article goes on to say, contractors should take care to know which export controls and information safeguards are applicable to their business and to train their employees on the same in order to avoid a bad outcome such as this one.
PODCAST: NORTH KOREAN CASH-FUNNELLING PROGRAMMES IN THE DRC AND HOW NORTH KOREAN STATUE MAKERS EVADE SANCTIONS
On 17 November, NK News released a podcast interview with those from The Sentry website which published a report focuses on North Korea’s illicit financing, shady business deals and UN, US and EU sanctions evasions.
G20 LEADERS SUPPORT THE FATF’S WORK TO ADDRESS MONEY LAUNDERING AND TERRORIST FINANCING RISKS
On 22 November, a news release from FATF reported remarks to the recent G20 Leaders’ Summit and G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting. G20 leaders recognised the FATF’s recent and ongoing work to identify the threats that have arisen as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, and the policy responses to address them. Criminals continue to exploit the pandemic, while the crisis has severely impacted the ability of some governments and the private sector to detect, prevent and investigate money laundering and terrorist financing. FATF reaffirmed its commitment to contribute to an inclusive, sustainable and resilient future by working closely with the G20 on the following issues – Environmental crime; Technology and big data, which can potentially improve AML/CFT systems in the future. The FATF will analyse the opportunities and risks while continuing its work on virtual assets and so-called stable coins; Migrant smuggling; and Illicit arms trafficking, to explore the funding behind it in the context of terrorist financing.
EU AMENDS THE LISTS OF CONTROLLED PRECURSOR CHEMICALS FOR ILLEGAL DRUGS
EU Regulation 2020/1737/EU amends EU Regulation 273/2004 and EU Regulation 111/2005 as regards the inclusion of certain drug precursors in the list of scheduled substances.
UK: TIMBER AND TIMBER PRODUCTS AND FLEGT (AMENDMENT) (EU EXIT) REGULATIONS 2020
These Regulations are intended to ensure continued application of controls that tackle illegal logging and control the demand for, and supply of, legally harvested timber are operable after the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December.
KYRGYZSTAN: CORRUPTION SCHEME FOR ILLEGAL RETURN OF VAT TO BUSINESS ENTITIES REVEALED
On 23 November, AKI Press reported that the Anticorruption Service revealed a corruption scheme for the illegal return of VAT to business entities organised by officials of one of the territorial subdivisions of the State Tax Service.
FIFA BANS AFRICA FOOTBALL CHIEF AHMAD AHMAD FOR 5 YEARS OVER CORRUPTION
On 23 November, Deutsche Welle reported that the Madagascan official has been handed a 5-year ban from all football-related activity for financial misconduct. His misappropriation of funds included a pilgrimage to Mecca.
TANZANIA LAUNCHES CORRUPTION PROBE INTO ITS CEMENT INDUSTRY
On 23 November, Global Construction Review reported that sudden price hikes in cement and other construction materials in Tanzania have prompted the country’s Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to order a criminal investigation into market manipulation.
4 MILLION ILLEGAL CIGARETTES SEIZED IN GLASGOW
On 23 November, Talking Retail reported that more than 4 million illicit cigarettes have been uncovered in Glasgow warehouse and further investigations led to a tobacco factory in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, which was dismantled with the seizure of 2 industrial mixing machines, a tobacco shredding machine, packaging, and 45 kg of tobacco.
IRELAND: COURT HEARS DETAILS OF MONEY LAUNDERING BY GUNRUNNER FOR KINAHAN CRIME GANG
On 23 November, RTE reported that Jonathan Harding, 48, a convicted drug dealer and gunrunner for the Kinahan organised crime group laundered almost €500,000 through 5 bank accounts over 5 years, the Special Criminal Court has heard. He used 2 of his own bank accounts and 3 accounts belonging to his partner and the mother of his child.
PRE-RECORDED EVIDENCE NOW AN OPTION ACROSS ENGLAND AND WALES
On 23 November, the Law Society Gazette reported that vulnerable individuals now have the option to pre-record evidence in all Crown courts across England and Wales in the latest government move to relieve pressure on victims of crime.
NEW GUIDELINES FOR EU-US DATA TRANSFERS
On 23 November, an Alert from Foley Hoag LLP is concerned with new guidelines from the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) on international data transfers. These guidelines will have significant implications for EEA-US data transfers, requiring organisations that must manage such transfers to adjust their practices in this evolving environment. This is another consequence of the Screms II decision of the CJEU earlier this year. The new guidance provides clarity as to what supplementary measures the EDPB considers appropriate. Data importers and exporters need not use any particular measure or specific set of them, and the EDPB’s list is non-exhaustive; the key issue is whether the particular combination of measures provides an essentially equivalent level of protection.
US CUSTOMS ENHANCES BIOMETRICS FOR NON-US TRAVELLERS ENTERING AND EXITING THE US
A news release from US Customs & Border Protection advised of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) comprehensive biometric entry and exit system that applies to non-US citizens traveling to and from the US. This rulemaking process provides the public an opportunity to provide the US Government comments about the proposed amendments to the rule. Changes would amend the DHS entry/exit regulations requiring foreign travellers to provide photographs upon entry to and/or departure from the US. The rule also proposes to amend the DHS entry/exit regulations to eliminate references to pilot programmes and the port limitation to permit the collection of photographs or other biometrics from non-US travellers departing from airports, land ports, seaports, or any other authorised point of departure. Under current regulations, CBP may only conduct pilot programs to collect biometrics at exit at a limited number of air and seaports, and may only collect biometrics from a limited population.
UK: SOLICITOR ORDERED TO REPAY ONLY A SMALL PART OF LEGAL AID FRAUD PROCEEDS
On 23 November, Legal Futures reported that a solicitor and her partner who defrauded a law firm and the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) of almost £95,000 in a translation scam will have to repay just £5,584. She ensured that he got lucrative translation contracts from the firm where she was working and he systematically overinflated his charges.
EUROPEAN SECURITIES AND MARKETS AUTHORITY (ESMA) OFFICIAL TRANSLATIONS OF ITS GUIDELINES ON ENFORCEMENT OF FINANCIAL INFORMATION
On 23 November, a release on Mondo Visione reported that National Competent Authorities to which these Guidelines apply must notify ESMA whether they comply or intend to comply with the Guidelines, within 2 months of the date of publication by ESMA of the Guidelines in all EU official languages.
G20 SHOULD BOOST TRADE FINANCING FOR DEVELOPING COUNTRIES, BACK REFORMS, SAYS WTO OFFICIAL
On 23 November, an article in Hellenic Shipping News reported that a top G20 official has said that major economies should work to provide trillions of dollars in trade financing for developing countries to ensure the recovery of the global economy from the COVID-19 pandemic. The lack of access to trade financing hits least developed countries hardest that already suffer from the high cost of financial transactions. Wolff said close cooperation among international financial institutions, the WTO and the large commercial banks would be needed to free up trillions of dollars in required financing.
WHAT IS A CREW’S LEGAL RESPONSIBILITY IF A STOWAWAY IS DISCOVERED?
On 23 November, an article in Hellenic Shipping News posed this question and answers it, saying that any stowaways found should be placed in secure quarters, guarded if possible, and be provided with adequate food and water. They should be searched as well as the place where they were found for identification papers. Where there is more than one stowaway, they should be detained separately. The Master and crew should act firmly, but humanely. Regardless of how inconvenient the stowaways may be to the Master, crew and shipowner, it is important that the stowaways are treated humanely. If needed, the Master and crew must also provide the stowaways with medical assistance.
FRAUDSTERS CRYPTOCURRENCY TRADING PLATFORM WERE FACILITATED BY SCAMS TARGETING EMPLOYEES AT GODADDY
On 23 November, the Krebs on Security blog reported that fraudsters redirected email and web traffic destined for several cryptocurrency trading platforms saw the attacks facilitated by scams targeting employees at GoDaddy, the world’s largest domain name registrar. The incident is the latest incursion at GoDaddy that relied on tricking employees into transferring ownership and/or control over targeted domains to fraudsters. This latest campaign appears to have begun on or around Nov. 13, with an attack on cryptocurrency trading platform liquid.com.
INDIA: SHIP RECYCLING CASH BUYER PANDEY ARRESTED FOR MONEY LAUNDERING
On 23 November, TradeWinds reported that police in New Delhi have arrested Somap’s Dinesh Pandey for allegedly laundering money in a multilevel marketing scam.
SRA TELLS SOLICITOR FIRMS: CHECK EXACTLY WHERE YOUR CLIENT’S MONEY CAME FROM
On 23 November, the Law Society Gazette reported that law firms should know exactly where their clients’ money came from if they want to be effective fighters against money laundering, the regulator has said, stressing that solicitors should ask questions about client wealth before facilitating any transaction. The policy lead on AML said that the idea that firms need to check only whether clients have a UK bank account is a myth.
ROMANIA: FORMER BUCHAREST DISTRICT MAYOR INDICTED FOR CORRUPTION
On 23 November, Romania Insider reported that former Bucharest District 1 mayor Dan Tudorache, an influential member of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), was indicted by prosecutors of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) for complicity to influence peddling and money laundering. 2 other people, including Tudorache’s former wife, were also indicted in this case.
INDIA: TUMERIC: THE YELLOW GOLD FOR SMUGGLERS
On 23 November, the Times of India carried an article about tumeric smuggling between India and Sri Lanka, with more than 12,000kg of turmeric has been seized in 15 incidents since July. Turmeric has now turned out to be the most sought-after commodity in smuggling circuits operating in eastern coast of Tamil Nadu. thanks to the skyrocketing demand in Sri Lanka following an import ban
CAMEROON’S GOVERNMENT “IS DECEIVING THE WEST WHILE DIVERTING FOREIGN AID”
An opinion piece in Foreign Policy on 22 November argues that Paul Biya’s regime is ignoring the battle against Boko Haram and the Islamic State and using foreign counterterrorism assistance to fund its brutal repression of citizens with legitimate grievances. It says that, for the second year in a row, the Norwegian Refugee Council selected Cameroon as the most neglected displacement crisis in the world. More than 1 million Cameroonians have been displaced internally, tens of thousands have fled to Nigeria, and thousands more from other countries have escaped to Cameroon to flee Boko Haram, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), or violence in the Central African Republic.
US BLOCKS AIR CARGO FLIGHTS WITH AID FOR CUBA
On 23 November, American Shipper reported that the US Department of Transportation has denied requests from 2 small air charter companies in South Florida for exemptions to a recent embargo on non-scheduled cargo flights to Cuba. The suspension of charter operations is said to be the latest effort by the Trump administration to squeeze the Havana government over its human rights record and support of Venezuela’s leftist government.
THIRD COUNTRIES ALIGN WITH EU UKRAINE SANCTIONS CHANGES
On 20 November, a news release from the EU advised that Montenegro, Albania, Liechtenstein and Norway have aligned with EU Council Decision (CFSP) 2020/1269 which renewed the existing restrictive measures for a further 6 months, until 15 March and amended the list of individual designations.
UK: CLAIM FOR MISUSE OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION – SUPREME COURT AND A MOST COMPLEX CASE
On 20 November, an article from Field Fisher attempts to explain the outcome of a complex case over betting and race day data. The Court of Appeal (in a majority decision) has recently overturned the High Court’s ruling that there had been a misuse of confidential information. However, the claim for the unusual tort of conspiracy to injure by unlawful means was successful (albeit also in a majority decision), so the claimants were still able to succeed. The remaining defendant was Sports Information Services Ltd (SIS), and the main claimant was The Racing Partnership Ltd (TRP), which produced live betting and horse racing data collated at racecourses under agreements with the course owners and sold it to off-course bookmakers. The Court used an existing 3-stage test for the misuse of confidential information.
OECD: REPORT ON HARMFUL TAX PRACTICES, 18 JURISDICTIONS IN COMPLIANCE WITH BEPS ACTION 5
On 23 November, KPMG reported that the OECD had released a report of the 2020 reviews by the OECD Forum on Harmful Tax Practices. 295 tax regimes of 80 jurisdictions have so far been reviewed and the tax regimes of 18 jurisdictions are now found to be in line with the BEPS Action 5 minimum standard. There are 2 aspects to the Action 5 minimum standard: a process for reviewing preferential tax regimes to ensure they are not harmful, and a transparency framework that applies to tax rulings.
NORTH KOREA AND BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS: ASSESSING THE EVIDENCE
On 6 November, a report from the Stimson Center said that North Korea’s announcement that it is developing a vaccine for COVID-19 has focused renewed media attention on Pyongyang’s purported biological weapons programme. This report reviews the US and South Korea’s public assessments on North Korea’s biological weapons programme and corresponding policy responses. While North Korea may once have had and may still be pursuing a biological weapons capability, official US and South Korean public records do not indicate North Korea possesses an advanced biological weapons programme. The report discusses what the US and South Korea have said publicly on the issue over the past 20 years. It also examines whether the policy responses adopted by the 2 governments have been consistent with concerns that North Korea has an advanced biological weapons programme, as these media reports have claimed. The report concludes that, in the final analysis, 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 weapons production. It is also possible that the North Korean programme never moved beyond planning or, whatever its previous nature, the program has essentially ended. But one thing seems clear — nothing in the official public record to date indicates that North Korea has an advanced biological weapons programme, notwithstanding media reports to the contrary.
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT NOVICHOK
With fancy, easy to follow diagrams…
APPLE’S SECURITY CHIEF CHARGED WITH BRIBERY
On 23 November, the BBC reported that Thomas Moyer, Apple’s head of global security has been charged in California with bribery. He is accused of offering bribes in the form of iPads worth $70,000 in order to obtain concealed firearms licences. 2 police officers from Santa Clara County have also been charged.
NEW ZEALAND: COMANCHEROS GANG SECRETARY JAILED FOR PART IN MONEY LAUNDERING AND DRUG OPERATION
In its 24 November edition, Stuff reported that Jarome Raymond Fonua, secretary of the Commancheros biker gang, previously admitted participating in an organised criminal group for the purpose of drug dealing, money laundering, and possession of methamphetamine. He was arrested with 18 others in April 2019.
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