Panama Covid-19 update – in the face of the higher numbers of cases and hospitalisations, it seems the health ministry will announce new measures tomorrow. Meanwhile, officials handed out some 2,000 face shields at one of the main city metro stations, following the advise to wear both a face mask and face shield on public transport – though at least one bus I saw today (and the bus stop) was packed!
Meanwhile, the number of new cases was down quite a bit today, at 1.612; although (inevitably, giving the lag in infections/deaths) there were 26 new fatalities. There remain a high number of active cases at 27,903, with 185 in ICU and 1,250 in other wards.
14 DECEMBER 2020
BVI & CAYMAN ISLANDS: COVID-19 – FAQ ON OFFSHORE LEGAL QUESTIONS
On 10 December, Loeb Smith Attorneys published an article answering some FAQ on the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on such things as questions of economic substances, holding board meetings, execution of documents and operation of the registries.
US: ANTI-CORRUPTION LAW AND PROCEDURES
On 26 November, Miller & Chevalier published an interview with John E Davis, a member and coordinator of Washington, DC-based Miller & Chevalier’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and International Anti-Corruption Practice Group. It considers key recent developments and current and likely future changes and trends.
QUEBEC TO INVESTIGATE POSSIBLE MONEY LAUNDERING IN CASINOS
On 7 December, Addleshaw & Goddard LLP published an article reporting that an external auditor is being appointed by the Canadian province of Quebec to obtain information about alleged money laundering and criminal activities, as well as loyalty programs offered in 4 state-owned casinos in the region. This follows allegations that Loto-Quebec may have broken the rules for incentives for junket organisers.
A GUIDE TO CONTAINER OVERBOARD CLAIMS
On 10 December, Clyde & Co LLP published an article saying that claims relating to containers falling overboard from large container vessels often involve different issues to those which arise in more routine containerised cargo damage claims caused by, for example, reefer unit failures, wetting or theft. The article considers some of the key elements to these claims, although it cautions that the facts of each claim should always be considered on a case-by-case basis. It warns that recent English court decisions mean that the carrier must overcome a high burden of proof to successfully defend claims from cargo interests.
WIFE TAKES CHARGE OF MONEY AFTER HONG KONG OFFICIAL ON US SANCTIONS LIST LOSES BANK ACCOUNTS AND CREDIT CARD
On 12 December, the South China Morning Post reported that blacklisted officials were told to close accounts after the US State Department warned banks. 29 current and retired Hong Kong and mainland China officials have been designated. However, it says that Hong Kong officials hit by the sanctions have had to come to terms with having no banking services. For example, one senior official said after he was forced to close his accounts, he transferred his life savings to his wife’s account.
ASSASSINATED TALIBAN CHIEF HAD LIFE INSURANCE AND A PROPERTY EMPIRE
On 14 December, KYC 360 related a story from The Times said that the leader of the Taliban, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, had life insurance and built up a large property portfolio before he was killed in a US drone strike, a court in Pakistan has been told. He is said to have used fake identities to buy at least 5 properties in Karachi, and is believed to have owned houses in Quetta and Peshawar. He had bought a life insurance policy, again using a false name, before he was killed months later. Mansour, leader from 2015, was credited with helping the Taliban to expand their business empire from drugs and other criminal sidelines.
FOOTBALL TRANSFERS RIFE WITH ILLEGALITY AND EXPLOITATION ACCORDING TO UNPUBLISHED REPORT
On 11 December, the Guardian reported that a confidential UEFA-commissioned report from 2018 into the transfer market concluded money laundering was widespread and “dominant agents” were exploiting a failure to enforce rules banning third-party ownership. It is said that a summary of the 2018 report that was never published but has been seen by the Guardian indicates it made 8 recommendations to help rectify systemic issues. None has been adopted by FIFA more 2 years later, although it is close to introducing 1 and will vote on others next year.
UK: INSOLVENCY PRACTITIONERS TOLD TO REPORT FRAUDULENT CORONAVIRUS LOAN APPLICATIONS AHEAD OF AN EXPECTED SURGE IN COMPANY FAILURES
On 14 December, KYC 360 reported that the Insolvency Service has written to firms advising that “if it appears that a person has applied fraudulently” for the government-backed business interruption loan scheme and bounce back loans, “it is the duty of the insolvency practitioner to consider their reporting obligations”. It is said that fraud cases were “in danger of falling through the net” because the authorities were unlikely to have the resources to investigate and would instead probably focus on investigating larger frauds”.
US NAVY OFFICER AWAITS TRIAL FOR EXPORT CONTROL VIOLATIONS
On 14 December, Clearance Jobs the website reported that an active-duty US Navy Lieutenant has not joined his 3 co-conspirators in pleading guilty to the charges of violating US export laws as part of a conspiracy to purchase and export US manufactured vessels, with dual-use applications to China. This may be because he is also charged with providing false information as part of his background investigation and lying to his command, and thus he has not been offered the “deal” which his co-defendants enjoyed. Lieutenant Fan Yang is a naturalised US citizen (born in China in 1985, emigrated to the US in 1999, and became a US citizen in 2006). Yang served in the US Navy from 2005-2007 and after attending college and acquiring a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, re-enlisted in the Navy in 2012 to attend Officer Candidate School, followed by flight school.
IRAN SENDS SHIP TO LOAD VENEZUELA OIL IN DEFIANCE OF SANCTIONS
On 13 December, Bloomberg reported that an oil tanker booked by the National Iranian Oil Company had arrived at the Venezuelan coast and is expected to load crude oil.
US REMOVES SUDAN FROM THE LIST OF STATES SUPPORTING TERRORISM
On 14 December, Arab News reported that the US has removed Sudan from its state sponsors of terrorism blacklist and declared a “fundamental change” in relations, less than 2 months after the Arab nation pledged to normalise ties with Israel. This opens the way for aid, debt relief and investment to the country.
OVER 3 TONNES OF TURMERIC BEING ILLEGALLY SMUGGLED TO SRI LANKA SEIZED
On 14 December, the Times of India reported that a fishing vessel with 5 crew members was intercepted by the Indian Coast Guard
SAUDI PUBLIC PROSECUTION SEIZES $7.46 MILLION ON MONEY LAUNDERING AND COVER-UP
On 13 December, Arab News reported that the Saudi Public Prosecution has seized more than $7.46 million after an institution’s founder and an employee were convicted of commercial cover-up and money laundering. The 2 people were also sentenced to 9-year imprisonment, local media reported. This came after a complaint was filed by a local bank to the Saudi Arabia FIU about suspected money laundering by the bank account-holder.
HOW RUSSIA WORKED TO UNDERMINE UN BIOWEAPONS INVESTIGATIONS
On 11 December, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists carried an article saying that Russian diplomats introduced a highly controversial resolution to the General Assembly of the UN, one that would have weakened the 40-year-old mandate of the UN Secretary-General to investigate allegations of chemical or biological weapons use, saying that Russia wanted to wrest back control over future international investigations by putting the UN Security Council, where Russia has veto power, in charge.
UK: DETAILS OF DELIBERATE TAX DEFAULTERS
On 14 December, HMRC published the latest list of people who deliberately got their tax affairs wrong.
EU UPDATES DUAL-USE EXPORT CONTROL LISTS
EU Regulation 2020/1749/EU of 7 October amended the EU Regulation 428/2009/EC, which is concerned with the dual-use export control system in the EU. The new Regulation replaces Annexes to the original Regulation in the light of changes to international control regimes.
CYBER FRAUD CLAIM: CHINESE AIRCRAFT LEASING COMPANY SAYS $2 MILLION WIPED FROM DUBLIN ACCOUNT
On 14 December, The Currency website reported claims that 2 fraudulent payments were made from a Dublin-based bank account with global banking group BNP Paribas following a cyber-attack on the bank’s computer system. Aircraft leasing business CMIG is suing global banking giant BNP Paribas in Commercial Court proceedings. Payments just shy of $2 million were then allegedly transferred to a bank account in Hong Kong in July 2019. BNP Paribas denies any liability in respect of the making of those payments.
ONE SAUDI ARABIAN COMPANY TAKES TOUGH STANCE ON BRIBERY
On 14 December, Gulf News reported that mining company Ma’aden has become first company in kingdom to take anti-bribery certification – becoming the first company in the country to attain the ISO 37001:2016 certification in anti-bribery management.
MALAWI SIGN EXTRADITION PAPERS TO BRING THE BUSHIRIS BACK TO SOUTH AFRICA
On 14 December, The South African reported that a Malawi government spokesperson has confirmed that the extradition papers needed to bring the flamboyant pastor and his wife, wanted on fraud and other charges, back to South Africa have been signed, and will be processed.
UK – EXPORT ART, ANTIQUES AND CULTURAL GOODS: SPECIAL RULES
On 14 December, the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport issued a news release and guidance explaining how to apply for a licence to export cultural goods, including antiques, furniture and archaeological items as the Covid-19 situation continues.
UK: THE NEWLY ANNOUNCED DEFENCE CENTRE ON ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
On 14 December, RUSI published a Commentary on what little is known about this new facility announced on 19 November. It says that the UK government has decided it wants such a centre, but has not yet revealed how it should be structured and operate. One possibility, of course, is that it announced the centre without thinking through many of the details.
NIGERIA: CUSTOMS INTERCEPTS 73 LOCALLY-MANUFACTURED GUNS
On 14 December The Vanguard reported that the discovery was made after a patrol seized a truck loaded with locally produced rice.
ECONOMIC SUBSTANCE UPDATE – BERMUDA, BVI AND CAYMAN ISLANDS
On 14 December, Appleby published an update on new guidance, official notices etc.
VANCOUVER LAWYER WHO LET CLIENT USE TRUST ACCOUNT FOR MILLION-DOLLAR FRAUD HAS LICENCE SUSPENDED
On 13 December, CBC reported that Milan Matt Uzelac, a lawyer who let a family friend use his trust account to defraud a Vancouver mother of $1.17 million has had his licence suspended for 4 months. It is said that he has admitted to professional misconduct after he “turned a blind eye” to an investment scam perpetrated by his client and friend.
ASSET MANAGERS DETAINED IN TAIWAN LABOUR FUND BRIBERY CASE
On 12 December, Focus Taiwan reported that the CEO of PJ Asset Management Co (PJAM) and 3 others were ordered detained and held incommunicado, as part of a growing investigation into the alleged bribery of a Ministry of Labor (MOL) funds manager in a scheme to manipulate stock prices.
DAD WHO RAN £9 MILLION MONEY LAUNDERING EMPIRE FROM LEICESTER TERRACED HOUSE ORDERED TO PAY BACK £87,000
On 11 December, the Leicester Mercury reported that Chauhan Vijay Yogendrasinh was jailed for 8 years in November 2019 for running the £9 million scam. The “sophisticated operation” had so much criminal cash pouring in that Post Office vans called 3 times a week to collect £25,000 in notes. Yogendrasinh hid the dishonesty by using a number of genuine money transfer bureaux. A confiscation order has been made for £87,342.86, which amounts to his realisable/available assets and, if the amount is not paid, the defendant will be ordered to serve a further 12 months imprisonment consecutive to his current sentence.
MALAYSIA SEIZES RECORD HAUL OF CRYSTAL METH WORTH $26.2 MILLION
On 13 December, Channel News Asia reported that Malaysia’s maritime agency has seized more than 2 tonnes of crystal methamphetamine from a boat off the country’s west coast, its largest-ever haul of the drug. The origin and destination of the drugs are still under investigation. The tea packaging, though, was similar to that found in previous shipments suspected to have come from Myanmar.
8 PEOPLE ARRESTED IN ARGENTINA LINKED TO ONECOIN PONZI SCAM
On 13 December, Bitcoin.com reported that the Public Prosecutor’s Office for Complex Crimes of the Argentine city of Córdoba ordered the arrest of 12 people linked to the Onecoin Ponzi scam. Among the 8 people arrested was Edgar Moreno, a well-known radio host and journalist from Córdoba who started businesses related to Onecoin and real estate operations in Panama some time ago, according to local media.
PODCAST: UK, ASUTRALIAN AND PHILIPPINES FIU COOPERATION ON ONLINE CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE
On 11 December, the least podcast from the UK FIU focusses on a specific international project led by the FIU alongside the FIU of Australia and the Philippines. This project focused on online child sexual abuse and exploitation and on the financial flows associated with it.
GUIDELINES FOR AN ADEQUATE AML TRANSACTION MONITORING – PART 1
On 14 December, Marcos Tinedo published the first part of a planned series of articles about the minimum requirements for the oversight and/or execution of AML transaction monitoring activities and to determine whether SAR or STR should be filed, or other actions should be taken to protect a bank from risk.
PORT OF LOS ANGELES SETS UP DIGITAL-SECURITY CENTRE
On 14 December, Loadstar reported that the port has taken a decisive step to combat cyber-criminals targeting its ecosystem of users. It has struck an agreement with IBM Security for the creation and operation of a Port Cyber Resilience Centre that aims to raise the level of protection and automate threat collaboration beyond the port itself to stakeholders involved with cargo flowing through Los Angeles. It is said that the Centre is intended to provide a cutting-edge early warning system to further defend the port and its stakeholders against cyber threats.
NEW STANDARD CONTRACTUAL CLAUSES (SCC) AND BREXIT – ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE NOW
An article from Gowling WLG on 14 December is concerned with new information from the EU in the form of a new draft implementing Decision which, once officially adopted, will repeal all current international SCC and provide organisations with a 1-year grace period to implement the new SCC. The article discusses the key takeaways for organisations. Such international SCC are one of the mechanisms which organisations can use under the GDPR to transfer personal data to a third country (i.e. countries outside the UK and EEA and that do not have an adequacy decision from the European Commission).
UK POST-BREXIT REGULATIONS FOR SANCTIONS FOR MISAPPROPRIATION OF STATE FUNDS
On 14 December, the EU Sanctions blog reported that the UK had published regulations replacing from 1 January the current EU regimes imposing sanctions for the misappropriation of state assets that relate to Tunisia, Egypt and Ukraine. The post points out that there will be no UK sanctions regimes relating to Egypt, Ukraine and Tunisia, and instead, the UK has a new single regime enabling designations for misappropriation of State funds from any country outside the UK.
FORESTRY CRIME: TARGETING THE MOST LUCRATIVE OF ENVIRONMENTAL CRIMES
A news release from INTERPOL on 14 December said that, worth almost $152 billion a year, the illegal timber industry accounts for up to 90% of tropical deforestation in some countries and attracts the world’s biggest organised crime groups. It causes serious economic, environmental and social damage and fuels conflict in forest regions where criminal gangs compete for available markets. It also says that human encroachment into forested areas, driven by illegal logging and agricultural expansion, is increasing human contact with wildlife’s infectious diseases. This drives their transmission to humans, particularly when the demolition of forests displaces disease-carrying species out of the forest and into urban areas. INTERPOL set up a dedicated Environmental Security Programme in 2010 and is now celebrating the programme’s first decade of action. 10 years of INTERPOL action against forestry crime has seen a shift in focus from the front line timber criminals to the conglomerates and organised crime groups behind the industry. The world’s police community has reacted by working together across the entire timber supply chain to disrupt criminal networks and the financial flows that facilitate forestry crime. The news release then sets out to summarise 10 years in 10 feats.
CENTRAL BANK DIGITAL CURRENCIES (CBDC): THE THREAT FROM MONEY LAUNDERERS AND HOW TO STOP THEM
On 14 December, Lawfare published an article saying that central banks in large and small economies alike are proposing to revamp their monetary systems by deploying new types of digital tokens that would be managed by a single authority and designed for wide-scale retail use. It goes on to say that any large economy that builds and deploys a CBDC is likely to encounter new financial crime risks. Compared to physical cash, CBDC will in certain respects make it easier for regulators to fight money laundering, and key technical aspects of CBDC will hinder some traditional illicit financial techniques. But CBDC will nevertheless be a tempting target for bad actors, both state and non-state, who will adapt their methods accordingly, and it will enable more intricate money laundering schemes. By anticipating new layers of financial crime, financial regulators can, in cooperation with the private sector, employ policy responses attuned to digital innovation and mitigate the inevitable illicit behaviour that will touch CBDC platforms.
LEBANESE POLITICIANS CHARGED WITH NEGLIGENCE OVER BEIRUT PORT BLAST
On 14 December, Insurance Marine News reported that the lead investigator into the devastating explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, on 4 August has charged outgoing prime minister Hassan Diab and 3 ex-ministers with negligence. The port authorities, top security officials, courts and politicians all appeared to have known for years about the hundreds of tonnes of ammonium nitrate fertiliser that was stored at the port.
RATING FOR GIBRALTAR ON OECD INFORMATION-SHARING STANDARDS
On 14 December, the Gibraltar Government says Gibraltar has achieved an ‘In Place’ rating in the first peer review conducted by Global Forum Assessors with respect to the domestic and international legal frameworks of the first 100 jurisdictions that have implemented the OECD’s standard on the automatic exchange of financial account information (the AEOI Standard). The statement says that the rating is the highest possible attainable and is issued where the review of a jurisdiction’s legal framework does not identify any gaps that need to be addressed in order for that framework to comply with the OECD AEOI Terms of Reference. The Global Forum conducts its peer review processes in order to provide assurance that jurisdictions are meeting the legal and operational requirements with respect to confidentiality and data safeguards as well as having in place the legal frameworks to implement the AEOI Standard.
POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS: COMBATING WILDLIFE TRAFFICKING IN UGANDA
On 14 December, the Basel Institute on Governance reported that the recommendations were produced after research in Uganda which gives some insights into the factors that sustain the supply of large volumes of wildlife products moving from wildlife habitats in Africa to the hands of consumers all over the world. The research shows that structural drivers of weak governance systems and constrained socio-economic contexts provide the macro-level conditions for illegal activities, such as wildlife trafficking, to flourish in Uganda. The release provides 6 recommendations and links to the full policy brief.
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