FATF SURVEY ON ENHANCING CROSS-BORDER PAYMENTS

On 1 December, FATF announced that it was welcoming contributions to an online questionnaire on enhancing cross-border payments.  It says that faster, cheaper and more inclusive cross-border payment services could have widespread benefits for people and economies worldwide.  They would help support economic growth, international trade and global development.  That is why the enhancement of cross-border payments, with a focus on safety and security, is a key priority of the G20, the FATF, and other international organisations.  A questionnaire is provided, and contributions are required by 15 January.

https://survey.oecd.org/index.php?r=survey/index&sid=766572&lang=en%20

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 – DECEMBER 1

Panama Covid-19 update – Tuesday is the day of the big weekly news conference, and it made depressing viewing this week. New cases continue too high, another 1,505 today, with daily new cases now higher than in the first wave in July. The Rt rate is up again, now an alarming 1.24 average. 19 more fatalities and 18,695 actives cases – 166 in ICU (ICU numbers have stayed more or less steady since July, but haven’t declined) and now over 1,000 in other wards (this was a sizeable increase), with another 640 in requisitioned hotel rooms. at least another 1,056 people were recorded as “recovered” today…

1 DECEMBER 2020

UK COURT FREEZES UP TO $5 BILLION TIED TO ALLEGED KAZAKHSTAN BANK THEFT

On 1 December, the Wall Street Journal reported that acourt froze up to $5 billion in assets including stakes in luxury hotels, cash in bank accounts in half a dozen countries and a Burger King franchise, as part of an international legal saga that ensnared Kazakhstan’s richest businessmen, according to court documents.  The order was based on a petition from Kazakhstan’s state-owned BTA Bank, which has alleged for years that its former bank chairman stole more than $6 billion and laundered it through shell companies.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-k-court-freezes-up-to-5-billion-tied-to-alleged-kazakhstan-bank-theft-11606817488

SBM OFFSHORE FACES SWISS PROBE OVER LEGACY BRIBERY ALLEGATIONS

The Wall Street Journal reported that the probe underscores the risks posed to companies by the proliferation of anti-bribery laws such as the FCPA.  Even highly coordinated settlements resolving allegations of wrongdoing in multiple countries don’t prevent law enforcement agencies in other countries from opening their own subsequent investigations—sometimes years later.  SBM Offshore has already paid out hundred of millions in 3 other countries.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/sbm-offshore-faces-swiss-probe-over-legacy-bribery-allegations-11606771058

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/sbm-offshore-faces-swiss-probe-over-legacy-bribery-allegations/

FinCEN FILES: NEW JERSEY CON MAN BEHAVIOUR IGNORED BY BANKS FOR YEARS

On 30 November, a report from ICIJ said that, despite a long record of fraud, a New Jersey con man was able to swindle hundreds of victims around the world who were promised cheap used cars.  America’s largest bank, JP Morgan Chase, helped move millions of dollars long after he was first accused of ripping off customers looking for good deals on the used cars of their dreams.  JPMorgan and Standard Chartered Bank helped move $9.3 million for Kapustin and his companies after he was first publicly accused of fraud in 2008, according to an analysis of the documents and other records.  It says that for years Kapustin’s victims told anyone who would listen that the car salesman was bad news. They grumbled on online chat groups, pleaded with US embassies and the FBI, and hired attorneys.  Kapustin’s reputation preceded him. Various banks, which opened at least 11 accounts for him and his companies, were among the last to notice.  A federal judge jailed Kapustin for money laundering after he tricked customers in Russia and other former Soviet republics into buying used cars from the US that were not delivered or were damaged by storms.  He moved to New York from Moscow in 1998, where he operated a car dealership.  He became a US citizen and sold used cars domestically and overseas, including to a niche market in the former Soviet Union, where customers perceived American car dealers as more trustworthy than local ones.

https://www.icij.org/investigations/fincen-files/the-public-knew-he-was-crooked-in-2009-big-banks-helped-him-stash-millions-until-2017/

THE NEW AUSTRALIAN MODERN SLAVERY REGISTER

On 30 November, an article from K&L Gates said that, on 27 November, the Australian government’s publicly accessible Online Register for Modern Slavery Statements uploaded the first tranche of statements under the Modern Slavery Act 2018 on the Australian Border Force website.  The Act ordinarily requires modern slavery statements to be submitted by reporting entities within 6 months following the close of the relevant reporting year.  The article says that he initial reporting entities operate in a wide range of industries, including mining, air transportation, food retail, textiles and apparel and healthcare equipment, and that the register will provide Australian consumers, investors and civil society with unique insight into global supply chains.

https://www.klgates.com/The-New-Australian-Modern-Slavery-Register-11-30-2020

GUERNSEY DATA TRUSTS

On 31 October, Walkers published an article about the use of a Guernsey trust where the current holder of the data, such as a business, or its customer, transfers the data and assigns its rights in the data to a trustee in Guernsey. It sets out to explain and set out some of the possible benefits of a data trust for securing data and satisfying data protection requirements.  It claims that Guernsey data trusts are an ideal solution for businesses that require data protection compliance and additional legal safeguards to protect their data.

https://www.walkersglobal.com/index.php/publications/99-advisory/2247-guernsey-data-trusts

WE NEED A NEW INTERNATIONAL ACCORD TO CONTROL DRONE PROLIFERATION

On 1 December, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists reported that recent conflicts in which high-tech armed drones help decide the fate of nations, are becoming increasingly common.  Equally concerning is the increasing use of drones for targeted killings in purported self-defence.  The proliferation and evolution of drone technology puts such killings within the reach of multiple state and non-state actors, who may kill anonymously and with impunity.  It says that the Missile Technology Control Regime, or MTCR has not stopped the proliferation of armed drones, and the Trump administration’s decision to re-interpret the MTCR has only made things worse.  As of March 2020, at least 102 countries had acquired military drones, and around 40 possessed, or were in the process of purchasing, armed drones.  Since 2015, the US and at least 10 other countries (Egypt, Israel, Iraq, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, UK, and the UAE) have allegedly operated drones for the use of force, such as in targeted killings.  The article says that one of the problems with the MTCR is that it only includes a few nations, and that as drones become cheaper and more readily available, a Drone Technology Control Regime, or DTCR, must seek a broader consensus.

https://thebulletin.org/2020/12/we-need-a-new-international-accord-to-control-drone-proliferation/

UKRAINE CONSIDERING SANCTIONS ON AUSTRIAN ARCHITECTS OVER CRIMEA PROJECT

On 1 December, Ukrinform reported that Ukraine is seriously considering the imposition of sanctions on the Viennese Coop Himmelb(l)au architecture firm and its director, Wolf Prix, for involvement in the project for construction of an opera house in the occupied Sevastopol – Putin’s flagship project in Crimea:

https://www.ukrinform.net/rubric-polytics/3146348-ukraine-considering-sanctions-against-austrian-architects-over-project-in-occupied-crimea.html

QUEBEC ORDERS INDEPENDENT AUDIT OF CASINO-MAFIA ALLEGATIONS

On 30 November, Calvin Ayre reported that Quebec’s gambling monopoly says it will fully cooperate with the provincial government’s plans to audit its casino operations for signs of improper dealings with local mafia figures.  This followed allegations made in a series of print and broadcast media reports focusing on perks doled out to the likes of Stefano Sollecito, a reputed organised crime figure.  The Quebec Finance Minister has announced plans to conduct an independent audit into allegations of money laundering and other dodgy dealings at the 4 land-based casinos operated by the province’s Loto-Quebec gambling monopoly.

https://calvinayre.com/2020/11/30/casino/quebec-independent-audit-casino-mafia-allegations/

ZIMBABWE: BUSINESSMAN CHARGED WITH MONEY LAUNDERING

On 30 November, Bulawayo 24 reported that a Felix Chuma, who runs floor polish company King Cobra, is accused of using a mobile money transfer platform to allegedly mop up foreign currency on the black market.  He appeared in court on allegations of money laundering involving $300 million.

https://bulawayo24.com/index-id-news-sc-national-byo-195500.html

US SUPREME COURT HEARING OVER THE SCOPE OF AN ANTI-HACKING LAW WITH IMPLICATIONS FOR CYBERSECURITY RESEARCH, AND OTHER SITUATIONS WHERE COMPUTER ACCESS IS IN QUESTION

On 27 November, Bloomberg Law reported that the case involves the question of whether people who misuse their authorised access can be held liable under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.  The case gives the high court the chance to clarify the law and its decision could impact a wide range of computer use scenarios, from so-called helpful hackers to the alleged theft of company trade secrets.  In the case, a police officer was convicted and sentenced to 18 months in prison for using an enforcement database to look up a strip club dancer’s licence plate number as a favour in exchange for a loan.  He argues that the conviction should be overturned because he was authorised to access the police database, but government lawyers contend that he violated the anti-hacking law by searching the database for personal gain.

https://news.bloomberglaw.com/privacy-and-data-security/u-s-supreme-court-to-weigh-anti-hacking-laws-limits-on-access

COUNCIL OF EUROPE CONVENTION ON ACCESS TO OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS ENTERS INTO FORCE

On 1 December, the Council of Europe advised that the Council fo Europe Convention on Access to Official Documents, the first binding international legal instrument to recognise a general right of access to official documents held by public authorities, has entered into force. The Tromsø Convention entered into force in respect of 10 member states – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Lithuania, Montenegro, Norway, Moldova, Sweden and Ukraine, entering into force 3 months after its ratification by Ukraine, the tenth state to ratify it.  The Tromsø Convention provides a framework of legal principles and sets out a number of basic guarantees regarding the right to access of official documents.

https://www.coe.int/en/web/portal/-/convention-on-access-to-official-documents-enters-into-force

https://www.coe.int/en/web/portal/-/access-to-official-documents-is-crucial-let-s-make-it-a-reality

UK: CONSULTATION ON AMENDMENTS TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL’S CODE OF PRACTICE UNDER SECTION 377A OF THE PROCEEDS OF CRIME ACT 2002

On 1 December, a news release from the Home Office advised that the Code provides guidance for prosecutors in England, Wales and Northern Ireland on the exercise of the investigation powers in Chapter 2 Part 8 of POCA.  The Code will replace earlier codes issued under section 377A of POCA. The revised Code relates to the whole of the UK, and the only significant amendments to the Code are those that seek to apply to officers operating in Northern Ireland.  The existing guidance needs to be updated in advance of the full commencement of the Criminal Finances Act 2017 amendments to POCA in Northern Ireland.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/938231/Consultation_on_amendments_to_the_Attorney_General_s_Code_of_Practice_issued_under_Section_377A_of_the_Proceeds_of_Crime_Act_2002.pdf

UK: SECRETARIES AND PARALEGALS BANNED IN FLURRY OF SRA ACTIVITY

On 1 December, the Law Society Gazette reported that the Solicitors Regulation Authority has banned a total of 6 support staff workers in a single day for misconduct ranging from rewriting wills to misusing season ticket loans.  All six, from different firms, were made subject to notices which prevents them from working for any regulated firm without SRA permission.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/secretaries-and-paralegals-banned-in-flurry-of-sra-activity/5106613.article

RINGLEADERS OF PlusToken SCAM JAILED FOR UP TO 11 YEARS

On 1 December, Coindesk reported that the top operators of the PlusToken scam are heading to prison after being found guilty of defrauding investors out of $2.25 billion-worth of cryptocurrency in the eastern province of Jiangsu, China.  It is said that the leader Chen Bo set up PlusToken as a blockchain project in 2018 and attracted millions of people with promises of high returns on investment. They were also required to pay membership fees in cryptocurrencies; and that all of PlusToken’s 27 alleged masterminds were arrested this Summer, along with another 82 core members who were hiding in Cambodia, Vanuatu, Vietnam and Malaysia.

https://www.coindesk.com/ringleaders-of-plustoken-scam-jailed-for-up-to-11-years

UAE CONVICTS SAUDI MINISTER OF FRAUD, ISSUES $450 MILLION FINE

On 1 December, Middle East Monitor reported that the Court of First Instance in Dubai has found the Saudi Minister of Labour, Ahmed Al-Rajhi, guilty of fraud issuing him a $450 million fine in the case filed against him by the Palestinian-Canadian businessman Omar Ayesh.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20201201-uae-convicts-saudi-minister-of-fraud-issues-450m-fine/

UK POINTS-BASED IMMIGRATION SYSTEM FACTSHEET

On 1 December, a blog post from the Home Office provided information, saying that from 1 January, the new UK points-based immigration system will apply.  Those wanting to enter the UK to work from 1 January will be awarded points for a job offer at the appropriate skill level, if they speak English, and for meeting the appropriate salary threshold. Skilled worker visas will be awarded to those who gain enough points.

https://homeofficemedia.blog.gov.uk/2020/12/01/new-routes-launched-as-part-of-points-based-immigration-system/

MALTA FIAU PUBLISHES KEY DATA ON SUSPICIOUS TRANSACTIONS RELATED TO ONLINE GAMBLING

On 1 December, SBC News reported that Malta’s Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit has published its ‘intelligence factsheet’ providing an overview of STR submitted by licensed operators.  During 2019, the FIAU recorded a total of 1445 STR from 210 MGA-licensed operators.  A breakdown of results saw 32% (457 cases) of total STR submitted by just 3 companies and a further 35% (498 cases) reported by a further 5 licensed operators, with the remaining 33% of STRs (roughly 486) were submitted by 72 other entities.  For 2020, the FIAU has recorded 741 STR cases related to online gambling.  However, the release from the FIAU commented that in most of the cases, the FIAU considered it more appropriate to send a spontaneous intelligence report to foreign FIU rather than to trigger an investigation in Malta on the basis of STR received from the remote gaming entities in Malta.

https://www.sbcnews.co.uk/europe/uk/2020/12/01/malta-fiau-publishes-key-stats-on-suspicious-transactions-related-to-online-gambling

US ‘WAR ON DRUGS’ IN LATIN AMERICA NEEDS OVERHAUL AMID COVID-19 CHALLENGES

On 1 December, Reuters reported on a bipartisan 117-page report from the Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission to the US Congress that urges “smarter” interagency policies led by the State Department to reduce the supply of dangerous drugs.  It also calls on authorities to combat money laundering by blocking the flow of illicit funds using cryptocurrencies and complex cross-border financial transactions.  The report comes as health problems and economic stress associated with the coronavirus outbreak have increased the challenges of eradicating drug trafficking in the region.  The report praises some policies but cites uneven progress from police reform schemes in the troubled nations known as the Northern Triangle – El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

https://www.reuters.com/article/usa-latinamerica-trafficking/u-s-war-on-drugs-in-latin-america-needs-overhaul-amid-covid-19-challenges-report-says-idUSKBN28B4ST

UK: OZONE-DEPLETING SUBSTANCES (ODS) GUIDANCE

On 1 December, the Environment Agency published updated information saying that if If you work with ozone-depleting substances (ODS) there are rules you must follow, including for import and export licences.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/ozone-depleting-substances-ods

US CONSULTATION ON IMPACT THAT IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CHEMICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION HAS HAD ON COMMERCIAL ACTIVITIES

On 1 December, Sandler Travis & Rosenberg reported that the Bureau of Industry and Security is seeking comments on the impact that implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention had on commercial activities involving Schedule 1 chemicals in 2020.   The closing date is 31 December.  This is in connection with the annual certification to Congress on whether the legitimate commercial activities and interests of chemical, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical firms in the US are being significantly harmed by the CWC’s limitations.

https://www.strtrade.com/trade-news-resources/str-trade-report/trade-report/december-2020/trade-impact-of-chemical-weapons-convention-under-review 

NEW EU PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE TAKES AIM AT €50-BILLION-A-YEAR ‘CAROUSEL FRAUD’ SCHEMES

On 1 December, OCCRP reported on an interview with the head of the new European Public Prosecutor’s Office about the challenges in fighting the widespread  — but often-ignored — criminal scheme, with him saying that “No one’s interested in value-added tax.  It’s just not sexy enough”.  It says that every year, organised criminals use VAT schemes to bleed an amount equivalent to the GDP of Greece from the EU budget.  By far the most damaging and sophisticated of these scams is ‘carousel fraud,” which drains an estimated €50 billion per annum from the EU’s coffers.  There is now the new European Public Prosecutors’ Office (EPPO) and it is expected that it will play a critical role in targeting cross-border tax scams that tend to fall through the cracks of the current system.

https://www.occrp.org/en/37-ccblog/ccblog/13468-new-eu-prosecutor-s-office-takes-aim-at-50-billion-euro-a-year-carousel-fraud-schemes

HIGH COURT STRIKES CLAIMS BROUGHT BY MORE THAN 200,000 BRAZILIAN CLAIMANTS IN THE ENGLISH COURTS AGAINST UK AND AUSTRALIAN HOLDING COMPANIES IN RELATION TO THE COLLAPSE OF THE FUNDAO DAM IN BRAZIL IN 2015

On 19 November, Henderson Chambers published an article saying that the presiding judge found the claims to be an abuse of process and also considered that, in the alternative, the proceedings should be stayed under the Recast Brussels Regulation and on the basis of forum non conveniens.

https://www.hendersonchambers.co.uk/2020/11/19/high-court-strikes-out-group-action-as-an-abuse-of-process-alerter-by-freya-foster/

ESMA REPORT ON WIRECARD

On 1 December, a briefing paper from the EU Parliament Research Service provided a summary of ESMA’s Fast-Track Peer-Review (FTPR), published on 3 November.  ESMA carried out an assessment of the effectiveness of the supervisory response in the financial reporting area by regulators BaFin and FREP in the context of Wirecard AG fraud case in Germany. 

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2020/659619/IPOL_BRI(2020)659619_EN.pdf

THE STABLECOIN CRYPTOCURRENCY SYSTEM

On 1 December, Dentons published Part 2 of a series of articles and says that the stablecoin philosophy minimises the roles of both central and commercial banks.  In contrast to fiat currency, and CBDC, trust in a stablecoin system shifts to the administrator(s) of the stablecoin and the technological infrastructure upon which the currency is issued and payments are processed.

https://www.dentons.com/en/insights/articles/2020/december/1/the-stablecoin-cryptocurrency-system

Part 1, which first considered central bank digital currency (CBDC) and stablecoin cryptocurrency systems is also available at –

https://www.dentons.com/en/insights/articles/2020/november/23/a-future-for-money-exploring-central-bank-digital-currency-and-stablecoin-cryptocurrency-systems 

ISLE OF MAN: FITNESS AND PROPRIETY ASSESSMENTS – UPDATED TRAINING & COMPETENCE FRAMEWORK FROM 1 DECEMBER

On 1 December, a news release from the Isle of Man FSA said that it had updated its Training & Competence Framework, and that the latest version will apply to all regulated entities with effect from 1 December.

https://www.iomfsa.im/fsa-news/2020/dec/fitness-and-propriety-assessments-updated-training-competence-framework-from-1-december-2020/

FEDS STEP UP EFFORTS TO TARGET VENEZUELANS ACCUSED OF MONEY LAUNDERING IN MIAMI

On 1 December, the Miami Herald reported that federal authorities are stepping up their efforts to seize millions of dollars deposited in Miami bank accounts that they say were used to pay kickbacks to Venezuelan government officials for inflated contracts with the national oil company, PDVSA.  The latest target is Natalino D’Amato, a contractor who is accused of selling $160 million worth of equipment to subsidiaries of the Venezuelan oil monopoly, transferring that money to Miami bank accounts and then paying bribes to government officials to secure the PDVSA deals.

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/article247522690.html

PANAMA JOINS MARITIME ANTI-CORRUPTIO NETWORK

On 1 December, Hellenic Shipping News reported that the Panama Ship Registry has joined the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) becoming part of the world’s largest group of maritime companies fighting for a better and corruption-free business environment.  MACN was established in 2011 by a small group of maritime companies committed to eliminating all forms of maritime corruption. It has grown into a pre-eminent assembly of more than 130 companies globally decided to raise awareness and mitigate the root causes of corruption in the maritime industry.

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/panama-joins-the-maritime-anti-corruption-network/

BOOSTED BY THE PANDEMIC, THE ONLINE ART MARKET REMAINS A KYC AND DUE DILIGENCE MINEFIELD

On 1 December, a post on the always useful FCPA Blog says that during the past few months, the popularity of online art sales kept growing under physical distancing measures, referring to a new report from Art Basel and UBS.  However, the post warns of increased online art sales entailing high fraud and money laundering risks, mentioning a 2011 survey which found that 91% of works by sculptor Henry Moore for sale on eBay were fake, and says that the art market provides a safe haven to criminals looking for million-dollar transactions conducted in secrecy with no or limited oversight.  On the other hand, the post does say that the shift of transactions in the online art market may present an opportunity for both art market institutions and national authorities. Online transactions leave a digital trail, allowing law enforcement authorities to detect criminals selling fake pieces or seeking to launder illicit funds.  It calls for full implementation of the 5th EU AML Directive and the enactment of a law under consideration in the US since 2019.

https://fcpablog.com/2020/12/01/boosted-by-the-pandemic-the-online-art-market-remains-a-kyc-and-due-diligence-minefield/

US: POLICE ARREST IN CONNECTION WITH A MILLION-DOLLAR CYBER-SCAM INVOLVING THE SALE OF AN AIRPLANE IN AUSTRALIA

On 23 November, Infosecurity reported that police in the US have made an arrest in connection with a million-dollar BEC cyber-scam involving the sale of an airplane in Australia.  An investigation was launched in 2018 after a BEC attack interfered with digital communications between a company in New Zealand that was buying an aircraft and a company in Australia that was selling it for $1,028,000. By infiltrating the emails of the companies, cyber-scammers managed to replace the seller’s bank routing information with details of their own bank accounts in Houston, Texas, and this netted the attackers $928,000, paid in 2 separate transactions. 

https://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/news/us-police-make-arrest-in-1m/

ESPORTS AND MATCH-FIXING

On 28 November, ABC News in Australia published an article the burgeoning esports industry, which relies heavily on sponsorship deals, and the apparent growth in match-fixing.  In Australia, players caught match-fixing can face serious penalties, including [rison, and in May 5 men from Melbourne’s outer suburbs were charged with match-fixing offences as part of the first Australian criminal investigation into esports.  Police are quoted as saying that the risk of match-fixing is compounded by the lack of a single esports governing body; there’s no videogame equivalent of the International Cricket Council.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-11-27/esports-corruption-regulator-says-upturn-in-match-fixing/12923156

HOW A CUBAN DRUG LORD RAN A GLOBAL CARTEL FROM THE SAFE HAVEN OF SOUTH AFRICA

On 28 November, an astounding article from the Daily Maverick about Nelson Pablo Yester-Garrido, 62, who is suspected of running his empire from South Africa, despite being arrested in connection with a multimillion-rand cocaine bust in Port Elizabeth and being wanted in the US.  Yester-Garrido’s former associates in 2018 described him as a Cuban secret service agent who worked with Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar. Detailed allegations about how he went about this are contained in court papers from the US, where he has been detained since late 2019.  He is believed to have fled to South Africa around 1997 or 1998. In 2002, he was arrested in Johannesburg on an Interpol red notice, but an attempt to extradite him to the US failed, and he remained in South Africa and in April 2011 was arrested again.  Extradition again failed, and it was not until 2017 that the Italian authorities, acting on a US-issued provisional arrest warrant, detained him at an airport in Rome.  It was not clear when he left South Africa and made his way there.  He was extradited to the US in 2019 and in August 2020 pleaded guilty to charges relating to a Miami marijuana distribution investigation.

https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2020-11-28-escobar-mans-narcos-styled-life-how-a-cuban-drug-lord-ran-a-global-cartel-from-the-safe-haven-of-south-africa/

AUSTRALIA: CHILDCARE CENTRE “USED FAKE CHILDREN TO DEFRAUD MILLIONS”

On 27 November, The Age reported that it is alleged that a childcare centre enrolled “phantom children” to defraud millions of dollars in subsidies from the federal government to fund the owner’s lavish lifestyle of property purchases and overseas holidays.  Ola Ouda, 42, is the alleged leader of a syndicate which claimed $15 million in taxpayer funds, including more than $13 million in day care subsidies and more than $2 million in COVID-19 payments.  She as one of 5 people arrested and charged with fraud offences. 

https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/childcare-centre-used-fake-children-to-defraud-millions-police-say-20201127-p56iki.html

CRIMINAL PROBE INTO FORMER WORLD FOOTBALL BOSSES WIDENED

On 28 November, Swissinfo reported that the office of the Attorney General said former FIFA president Sepp Blatter and FIFA vice-president Michel Platini were informed that a 5-year probe was being reassessed and extended

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/criminal-probe-into-former-world-football-bosses-widened/46190916

AML NAME SCREENING BEST PRACTICES – part 2

On 1 December, Marcos Tinedo published the second part of his advice on screening for suspect names.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/aml-name-screening-best-practices-second-part-marcos-tinedo

TAXING VIRTUAL CURRENCIES

Cadwalader on 23 November published a Brass Tacks article reflecting on a recent OECD report and considering the taxing of virtual currencies – by direct and indirect taxation, and taxpayer status, including wealth and property taxation.

https://www.cadwalader.com/brass-tax/index.php

SLOVENIA AND LATVIA PROSCRIBE HEZBOLLAH AS A TERRORIST ORGANISATION

On 1 December, the EU Sanctions Blog reported that Slovenia and Latvia have proscribed Hezbollah in its entirety, not just the military wing, as a terrorist organisation.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2020/12/slovenia-and-latvia-proscribe-hezbollah-as-a-terrorist-organisation/

NEW ONLINE CUSTOMS PORTAL TO HELP CROSS-BORDER ROAD FREIGHT IN SOUTH-EAST ASIA

On 1 December, Loadstar reported that the ASEAN Customs Transit System (ACTS) allows businesses to make a single customs transit declaration covering multiple ASEAN countries without the need to make repeated declarations or change vehicles at the border.  Developed with EU funding, the system allows shippers and forwarders to lodge e-transit declarations and to track the movement of goods from loading to delivery. Cambodia, Lao, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam are participating so far, with Myanmar soon to follow.

https://theloadstar.com/online-customs-portal-unveiled-to-help-cross-border-road-freight-in-south-east-asia/

UK: LEBANON SANCTIONS GUIDANCE

On 1 December, OFSI published updated guidance on UK trade and financial sanctions in connection with Lebanon, and which has effect from the end of the Brexit transition period on 1 January. 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/lebanon-sanctions-guidance/lebanon-sanctions-guidance

US: PHYSICIAN SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR EXTENSIVE “PILL MILL” SCHEME

A news release from the FBI on 1 December advised that a former doctor has been sentenced to 7 years in prison for leading and organising an extensive and illegal prescription distribution conspiracy and a related health care fraud scheme.  Dr. Felicia Lyn Donald, 65, organised, led, and operated a prescription “pill mill” from at least April 2016 through April 2020.

https://www.justice.gov/usao-edva/pr/physician-sentenced-prison-extensive-pill-mill-scheme

SEC CHARGES NEW YORK RESIDENT WITH FRAUD OPERATING AT LEAST 2 BOILER ROOMS TARGETING RETAIL INVESTORS

A release on Mondo Visione on 1 December advised that the SEC had charged New York resident Mark Alan Lisser with fraud for operating at least 2 boiler rooms, on Long Island, New York and in Boca Raton, Florida, through which he raised approximately $2.1 million from at least 71 retail investors 2018-19 and misappropriated more than $900,000 of their funds.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/sec-charges-boiler-rooms-operator-with-defrauding-retail-investors/

SEC ANNOUNCES AN AWARD OF OVER $6 MILLION TO JOINT WHISTLEBLOWERS WHOSE INFORMATION AND ASSISTANCE LED TO THE SUCCESSFUL ENFORCEMENT OF SEC AND RELATED ACTIONS

A release on Mondo Visione on 1 December advised that the whistleblowers’ substantial assistance, provided to the SEC and another government agency, included submitting documents, participating in interviews, and identifying key individuals involved in the misconduct.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/sec-awards-over-6-million-to-joint-whistleblowers/

https://www.visualcapitalist.com/most-valuable-real-estate-cities-us/

WHY WAS IRAN’S TOP NUCLEAR SCIENTIST ASSASSINATED?

On 1 December, an article from the Carnegie Endowment for International Piece offered this “Quick Take” reaction to the killing.  It suggests that more than an effort to prevent nuclear proliferation, the killing of Iran’s top nuclear scientist was sanctioned to foment trouble between Washington’s incoming administration and Tehran.

https://carnegieendowment.org/2020/12/01/why-was-iran-s-top-nuclear-scientist-assassinated-pub-83360

SPANISH POLICE ARREST 2 SUSPECTED ISLAMIC STATE FINANCIERS

On 28 November, Homeland Security Today reported that the Spanish Policía Nacional supported by Europol, has arrested 2 individuals for their suspected involvement in the facilitation of terrorist financing in the Spanish provinces of Madrid and Toledo. They are believed to be part of the ‘remittance office’ in Europe of the so-called Islamic State. 

https://www.hstoday.us/subject-matter-areas/counterterrorism/spanish-police-arrest-two-suspected-islamic-state-financiers/

SOUTH CAROLINA MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO SHARING BOMB-MAKING INFORMATION FOR ISIS

On 24 November, Homeland Security Today reported that Kristopher Sean Matthews (aka Ali Jibreel), 34, from San Antonio has admitted to conspiring to provide material support to the designated foreign terrorist organisation Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham/Syria (aka ISIS).  He admitted that since May 2019, he conspired with Jaylyn Christopher Molina (aka Abdur Rahim), 22, to share bomb-making information for the purposes of domestic and foreign attacks on behalf of ISIS and to radicalize and recruit other individuals to support ISIS.

https://www.hstoday.us/subject-matter-areas/counterterrorism/south-carolina-man-pleads-guilty-to-sharing-bomb-making-information-for-isis/

BANK OF TANZANIA: 82 FOREX BUREAUX LAUNDERED MONEY

On 1 December, IPP Media reported that 50 forex bureaux have not opened for business after the Bank conducted an inspection into their business, after preliminary findings were that they were flouting the laws and regulations.  It is claimed that only 5 out of 82 bureaux in Dars es Salaam were operating properly.

https://www.ippmedia.com/en/news/bot-82%20forex-bureaux-laundered-money

FORMER TRUMP ASSOCIATE FELIX SATER MUST FACE MONEY LAUNDERING SUIT

On 1 December, the Huffington Post reported that former Donald Trump associate Felix Sater will have to face a lawsuit in New York accusing him of laundering stolen funds in part through Trump properties.  He is accused of laundering millions of dollars stolen by Khazakh officials from a Kazakhstan bank and the city of Almaty.  He and his partner Daniel Ridloff, another former Trump business associate, allegedly laundered the money through businesses they controlled and Trump properties.  A Judge dismissed 2 of 5 claims in the suit, but rejected a motion to dismiss the case as a whole.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/felix-sater-money-laundering-trump-porperties_n_5fc5958ac5b68ca87f87132a

AUSTRALIA: CROWN RESORTS HAS APPOINTED A CHIEF COMPLIANCE AND FINANCIAL CRIMES OFFICER, IN THE WAKE OF A INQUIRY INTO ITS FITNESS TO HOLD A SYDNEY CASINO LICENCE

On 1 December, Yahoo Finance reported that the inquiry heard allegations of laundering at its Melbourne casino, and that Crown had hoped to open its Sydney venue in mid-December, but the regular has withheld regulatory approval until the inquiry hands down its final report, due in February next year.

https://nz.finance.yahoo.com/news/crown-tightens-anti-money-laundering-ops-222237839–spt.html

UK: VIRTUAL HEARINGS AND TRIALS: WHERE WE ARE, HOW WE GOT HERE AND WHERE WE’RE GOING

In Issue 3 of FIRE Magazine, an article says that when the UK went into lockdown in March, the English judiciary and civil courts showed an immediate willingness to adapt quickly to the situation by embracing virtual trials and hearings. It looks at the “logistics” of a virtual hearing, and says that virtual is now the new normal. 

https://thoughtleaders4.com/images/uploads/news/TL4_Fire_-_Issue_3_-_Year_in_Review.pdf

UNLOCKING FINANCIAL INFORMATION IN THE US: OBTAINING DISCOVERY FOR USE IN FOREIGN LAWSUITS

In Issue 3 of FIRE Magazine, an article says that the US offers a very powerful litigation tool (Section 1782) to parties to foreign legal proceedings to obtain bank records, other documents and witness testimony from sources within the US, even if such evidence is unobtainable through the foreign forum’s own discovery procedures.  This process can be relatively quick, inexpensive, and efficient for obtaining crucial information to win a case.

https://thoughtleaders4.com/images/uploads/news/TL4_Fire_-_Issue_3_-_Year_in_Review.pdf

IRELAND: THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE (CORRUPTION OFFENCES) ACT 2018

In Issue 3 of FIRE Magazine, an article discusses this legislation which it says was introduced as part of a broader programme aimed at strengthening Ireland’s response to fraud, corruption and other white collar crime, the 2018 Act consolidated and modernised existing but archaic anti-corruption laws dating as far back as 1889.  It also contained a number of welcome reforms.  Most important among them, it added a new weapon to the Irish law enforcement arsenal: a strict liability corporate offence.

https://thoughtleaders4.com/images/uploads/news/TL4_Fire_-_Issue_3_-_Year_in_Review.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

UN REMOVES 1 INDIVIDUAL AND 11 ENTITIES FROM IRAQ SANCTIONS LISTS

A news release from the UN on 1 December advised that the relevant Sanctions Committee had approved the removal of the the individual and entities from its List of Individuals and Entities subject to the assets freeze under UN SCR 1483.

https://www.un.org/press/en/2020/sc14368.doc.htm

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

EXTRATERRITORIAL SANCTIONS ON TRADE AND INVESTMENTS AND EUROPEAN RESPONSES

A study for the European Parliament in November says that recent US measures directed against Iran, Cuba and Russia (Nord Stream 2) have become indirectly a critical challenge for the EU as well. As they purport to deter economic actors under EU jurisdiction from engaging with target countries, they have an important extraterritorial dimension, which affects EU business and individuals and ultimately the sovereignty of the EU and its Member States.  A review of the existing sanction regimes and of the geopolitical context reveals that other international players and China in particular may follow suit in using such measures.  The study shows that extraterritorial sanctions have important economic implications, particularly for the EU and its vulnerabilities.  Extraterritorial sanctions also raise critical questions as to their legality under general international law, WTO law and other specific international rules.  The EU is especially affected by these measures and has taken some measures already in response. These could be improved and additional measures could be taken, as the policy recommendations set out in the study provide.

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2020/653618/EXPO_STU(2020)653618_EN.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

UK AMENDS 4 ENTRIES ON SUDAN SANCTIONS LIST ISLE OF MAN FOLLOWS SUIT

On 1 December, a Notice from HM Treasury advised that 4 current entries on its Consolidated List in connection with Sudan sanctions had been amended.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/940219/Notice_Sudan_Corrections.pdf

https://www.gov.im/news/2020/dec/01/financial-sanctions-sudan/

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: 4 INDIVIDUALS AND 4 ENTITIES ADDED TO SDN LIST, WITH A FURTHER 2 AMENDMENTS

On 1 December, OFAC advised that the names are of those said to be materially assisting the international narcotics trafficking activities of the Clan del Golfo.  3 of his family members and associates are also being designated along with 4 businesses they own or control. 

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20201201

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm1197

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

OFSI: GET READY FOR THE END OF THE BREXIT TRANSITION PERIOD

A blog post from the UK Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation on 1 December sets out to explains what you need to know about these changes, what OFSI has already implemented, and what you need to do now. 

https://ofsi.blog.gov.uk/2020/12/01/get-ready-for-the-end-of-the-transition-period/

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

AUSTRALIA: CHILDCARE CENTRE “USED FAKE CHILDREN TO DEFRAUD MILLIONS”

On 27 November, The Age reported that it is alleged that a childcare centre enrolled “phantom children” to defraud millions of dollars in subsidies from the federal government to fund the owner’s lavish lifestyle of property purchases and overseas holidays.  Ola Ouda, 42, is the alleged leader of a syndicate which claimed $15 million in taxpayer funds, including more than $13 million in day care subsidies and more than $2 million in COVID-19 payments.  She as one of 5 people arrested and charged with fraud offences. 

https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/childcare-centre-used-fake-children-to-defraud-millions-police-say-20201127-p56iki.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

EU: TRANSNATIONAL ACCESS TO ELECTRONIC EVIDENCE FOR CRIMINAL CASES

On 1 December, a news release from Europol advised publication of the 2nd annual edition of the SIRIUS EU Digital Evidence Situation Report which outlines the status of EU authorities in retrieving electronic data held by foreign-based online service providers (OSP) in 2019.  It says that cross-border access to digital information is paramount to an ever-increasing number of investigations, ranging from economic crimes and drug trafficking to terrorism, cybercrime and child sexual exploitation.  In one case mentioned in the report, law enforcement officers were able to find an abducted child after requesting GPS data from a social media platform.  The report encompasses extensive information gathered from over 325 surveyed officials of EU Member States’ law enforcement and judicial authorities, together with relevant input coming from a dozen major OSPs and reference to national legislation.  The volume of cross-border requests submitted by EU authorities to OSP increased significantly in 2019 with a large majority of them issued by Germany (37.7% of requests), France (17.9%) and the UK (16.4%).  The news release says that in the last 2 years, EU authorities have observed an increase in the relevance of online gaming platforms in criminal cases.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/publications-documents/sirius-eu-digital-evidence-situation-report-2nd-annual-report

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

UK REPORT: BARRIERS TO POLICING FINANCIAL CRIME

On 1 December, Professional Security Magazine reported research from the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies at the University of Portsmouth. The ICJS asked why results of financial crime investigations vary so widely, especially when the fraud is the number 1 volume crime in the UK.  It found that most police detectives in England and Wales investigating financial crime do not have enough knowledge to build a case. It found that only 40% of investigators understood the process by which fraud is reported.  A third of those questioned said they had not received proper training in how to investigate financial crime.  There was also a poor perception of fraud and the impact on victims amongst those questioned.  It also found that, in many cases, investigators had a negative view of their work, and did not have the time, training or determination, researchers found.  Financial crime is perceived to be notoriously challenging to investigate. Investigations into less prolific, but higher profile and headline grabbing crimes are known to get better results.

https://www.professionalsecurity.co.uk/news/case-studies/barriers-to-policing-financial-crime/

The report is at –

https://academic.oup.com/policing/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/police/paaa081/5998981?redirectedFrom=fulltext

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