OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JANUARY 19

Panama Covid-19 update – it has been confirmed that the first consignment of vaccine arrives tomorrow – the authorities have done a trial run of the receipt, transport and storage. it looks like TV news is going to cover the arrival etc live.

Meanwhile, the weekly news conference revealed the latest data, with the Rt rate now said to below 1, at 0.97, and figures may be levelling off, but still another 2,173 new cases today and 31 more fatalities. To date there have been 301,534 recorded cases and 4,864 fatalities since March. There are currently 53,513 active cases, with 241 in ICU, 2,356 in other hospital wards and 705 in hotel rooms. The 13,046 tests carried out in previous 24 hours showed a 16.6% hit rate.

19 JANUARY 2021

UKRAINE: WATCHDOG WARNS OF NEW ATTEMPT TO SABOTAGE ANTI-CORRUPTION REFORM

On 18 January, the Kyiv Post reported that the President’s Office has drafted a bill that would prevent the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) from investigating top-level corruption, the Anti-Corruption Action Center has said.  NABU’s independence has been under assault by the administrations of both ex-President Petro Poroshenko and his successor Volodymyr Zelensky.  The Prosecutor General’s Office, led by a Zelensky protégé, has been trying to derail NABU’s bribery case against Zelensky’s deputy chief of staff, Oleh Tatarov.

https://www.kyivpost.com/ukraine-politics/watchdog-warns-of-new-attempt-to-sabotage-anti-corruption-reform.html?cn-reloaded=1

MORE TRADERS LIKELY FACE CHARGES IN DANISH TAX INVESTIGATIONS

On 19 January, KYC 360 reported that Danish prosecutors who charged hedge-fund manager Sanjay Shah with running a $1.6 billion tax fraud say they are looking at a “number of other suspects” in the Cum-Ex case.  Denmark is one of several countries cracking down on trading schemes that reaped billions of dollars by claiming duplicate refunds on dividend taxes. Germany, Belgium and the Nordic country are all trying to extradite financial professionals in relation to the controversial strategy.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/more-traders-likely-face-charges-in-danish-tax-investigations/

UK GAMBLING OPERATORS ACCUSED OF EXAGGERATING SCALE OF BLACKMARKET BETTING

On 18 January, the Guardian reported that gambling companies have been accused of concocting a “dodgy dossier” to exaggerate the scale of blackmarket betting, in an attempt to influence an upcoming government review expected to result in tougher regulation.  It refers to a report claiming that 200,000 people in the UK spend £1.4 billion on black market sites every year, warning that tougher regulation could drive more people into the arms of “unscrupulous” operators.  It is said that the industry’s use of the report has echoes of a similar tactic deployed when the government was weighing up whether to slash the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBT) from £100 to £2.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/jan/18/uk-gambling-firms-accused-of-exaggerating-scale-of-black-market-betting

CHINA ANNOUNCES RECIPROCAL SANCTIONS ON US OFFICIALS AND OTHERS AND NGO OVER HONG KONG AND TAIWAN-RELATED ISSUES

On 18 January, a news release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the sanctions measures, without naming the specific targets.

https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/xwfw_665399/s2510_665401/2511_665403/t1847010.shtml

AUSTRALIA: ATO ‘ZERO TOLERANCE’ APPROACH TO FRAUD AND CORRUPTION

On 18 January, Nyman Gibson Miralis published an article saying that preventing, detecting and responding to fraud and corruption is a critical part of the work of the Australian Taxation Organisation (ATO), and that its Fraud and Corruption Control Plan outlines its “zero tolerance” approach to these crimes, stating that it will prosecute offenders, recover debts and take criminal actions as appropriate.  It examines the Plan and notes that ATO responsibilities include preventing, detecting and responding to fraud and corruption.  The Plan outlines key responsibilities within the ATO for combating both internal and external fraud and corruption, and the tough response measures that can be drawn on including taking criminal actions against offenders.

https://ngm.com.au/ato-approach-to-fraud-and-corruption/

The Fraud and Corruption Control Plan is at –

https://www.ato.gov.au/General/The-fight-against-tax-crime/In-detail/ATO-Fraud-and-Corruption-Control-Plan-2019-20/

SFO POWERS AND HOW COMPANIES SHOULD APPROACH INTERNALLY INVESTIGATING ALLEGATIONS OF BRIBERY

On 15 January, UK solicitors Rahman Ravelli published an article which is an extract from the chapter, ‘’Bribery and Corruption: Investigations and Negotiations across Jurisdictions’’, written by Aziz Rahman and Joshua Ray for the “2021 International Comparative Legal Guide – Corporate Investigations’’.

https://www.rahmanravelli.co.uk/articles/investigating-bribery/

AN OVERVIEW OF FRENCH CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY LEGISLATION FOR US-BASED MULTINATIONALS

On 13 January, Ropes & Gray LLP published an article saying that there has been a dramatic increase in corporate social responsibility legislation over the last few years, and that France is one of the countries at the forefront of promoting corporate social responsibility through legislation. The article considers gender pay equity, human rights diligence, climate risk reporting etc.

https://www.ropesgray.com/en/newsroom/alerts/2021/January/An-Overview-of-French-Corporate-Social-Responsibility-Legislation-for-US-Based-Multinationals

IRELAND: CRIMINAL JUSTICE (THEFT AND FRAUD OFFENCES) (AMENDMENT) BILL 2020 – NEW FRAUD OFFENCES ON THE WAY

An article from A&L Goodbody on 13 January considers this Bill, saying that it serves as a useful reminder to companies to ensure that their systems and controls for preventing and detecting fraud and corruption are sufficiently robust.  Although Ireland will not participate in the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) – whose activities are expected to ramp up in 2021 – the increased focus on these offences at EU level may result in the referral of suspected offences to Irish law enforcement agencies for investigation.

https://www.algoodbody.com/insights-publications/new-fraud-offences-on-the-way-in-2021

SWITZERLAND: ESG REPORTING AND DUE DILIGENCE REQUIREMENTS

On 17 January, an article from Baker McKenzie says that on 29 November, Swiss voters opted in a referendum for the introduction of EU-style environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting and due diligence requirements and against the so-called Responsible Business Initiative.  While the initiative would have added teeth to the civil liability regime for the violation of international human rights and environmental standards across the supply chain, the substantive requirements regarding ESG reporting and due diligence across the extended enterprise are not any lighter under the chosen approach.  The firm expects that affected companies will have to apply the new requirements in financial year 2023.

https://globalcompliancenews.com/switzerland-esg-reporting-and-due-diligence-requirements17122020

UK SOLD WEAPONS TO POLICE IN BRAZIL AS KILLINGS SOARED

On 18 January, Vice reported that the UK government facilitated the sales after Jair Bolsonaro came to power, in a year that the force killed twice as many people as all police in the US.  It said that sales were promoted at a trade event organised by the UK government for companies selling weapons to police in Brazil. 

https://www.vice.com/en/article/y3gqaj/the-uk-sold-weapons-to-police-in-brazil-as-killings-soared

US EXPORTERS TO HONG KONG: HAVE YOU REVIEWED YOUR EXPORT LICENCES AND TRADE COMPLIANCE PROGRAMME TO ACCOUNT FOR RECENT CHANGES?

On 18 January, an article from Michael Volkov said that until recently, the US treated Hong Kong and China as 2 separate destinations for export control purposes and in many cases provided Hong Kong with preferential treatment.  However, at the end of 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security published 2 final rules in the Federal Register changing the regulations associated with the export and reexport of items controlled under the Export Administration Regulations to and from Hong Kong.  The article says that exporters of items or technology to Hong Kong should carefully review their export licences and trade compliance programme to ensure compliance with the new regulations. 

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/attention-u-s-exporters-to-hong-kong-4184464/

LEADER OF FINNISH ECSTASY SMUGGLING GANG ARRESTED IN MARBELLA

On 18 January, Euroweekly reported that National Police officers in Marbella, on Spain’s Costa del Sol, have captured and arrested the 33-year-old leader of an organised Scandinavian criminal organisation known to be responsible for smuggling ecstasy tablets between Spain and Finland.

https://www.euroweeklynews.com/2021/01/18/leader-of-finnish-ecstasy-smuggling-gang-arrested-in-marbella/

ISRAEL: POLICE NOW BELIEVE DUBAI-BASED ISRAELI BEHIND FAILED COCAINE SMUGGLING

On 18 January, the Jerusalem Post reported that Israel Police has been investigating the biggest ever smuggling attempt of cocaine into Israel which took place a couple of months ago, and has reason to believe that the mastermind behind it is an Israeli crime lord who is currently operating from Dubai.  Initial findings indicated that the container involved made its way to Israel from Guatemala and, earlier this month, the investigation led police to a second container with an additional 550 kg of cocaine, apparently another attempt by the same network. The article also mentions that, in October, 4 Israeli citizens were arrested in Odessa, Ukraine, after smuggling around 120 kg of cocaine from Peru to Ukraine, which was expected to later reach Israel.

https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/police-now-believe-dubai-based-israeli-behind-failed-cocaine-smuggling-655890

THAILAND: 3 MILLION FAKE BRANDNAME EYEWEAR SEIZED

On 18 January, the Bangkok Post reported that a Chinese man was arrested and about 3 million pairs of fake brandname eyewear seized during raids on premises in Dao Khanong area of Thon buri district.  They found about 3 million pairs of eyewear branded with names including Ray Ban, Gucci, Oakley, Chanel, Christian Dior, Doilce & Gabbana (D&G), Cartier, Montblanc, Armani, Fendi, Gentel Monster, Celine and Versace.  All had been smuggled into the country. 

https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/2053511/3m-fake-brandname-eyeglasses-seized

MULTI-MILLION EURO ILLEGAL GAMBLING ACTIVITY REMAINS UNCHECKED IN MALTA

The Shift News reported on 19 January reported that an ongoing investigation has uncovered a thriving illegal gambling industry with sophisticated networks across the island and a multi-million euro turnover.  The investigation was spurred by the reported discovery of some €2 million in cash during one of the police raids on Melvin Theuma – the middleman turned State witness in the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.  It is said that the investigation has so far unearthed a sophisticated network of professional bookmakers, spread all over the island, with ‘runners’ taking illegal bets on their behalf, including on international football and horse racing televised from France and the UK.

https://theshiftnews.com/2021/01/19/multi-million-euro-illegal-gambling-activity-remains-unchecked-in-malta/

SWEDISH BANKS FORMALISE AML INFORMATION SHARING PACT WITH POLICE

On 19 January, Finextra reported that Sweden’s 5 largest banks have formalised an information-sharing pact with the country’s police force aimed at cracking down on money laundering.  Danske Bank, Handelsbanken, Nordea, SEB and Swedbank last June commenced a pilot project, and in co-operation with the police are to develop a more formal framework for collaboration and governance in the coming months.

https://www.finextra.com/newsarticle/37296/swedish-banks-formalise-aml-information-sharing-pact-with-police

KUWAIT: 6 GOLD COMPANIES SUSPECTED OF MONEY LAUNDERING

On 19 January, Gulf News reported that the Kuwaiti government has kept 6 gold companies under close scrutiny on suspicion of money laundering, after their businesses ballooned in the last 3 years.  The Trade Ministry, during its audit of activities, discovered that there were gold companies that recorded a rapid financial rise despite their recent emergence in the sector.

https://gulfnews.com/world/gulf/kuwait/kuwait-6-gold-companies-suspected-of-money-laundering-1.76579796

ENGLAND & WALES LAND LAW FAQ

On 18 January, the House of Commons published a briefing paper providing an overview of common issues about land law.  It gives an overview of some commonly raised issues about land law, including:

  • how to trace ownership of registered and unregistered land;
  • how to resolve boundary disputes;
  • how to enforce or discharge a restrictive covenant on freehold land; and
  • private rights of way.

It also signposts to sources of further information and relevant case law. However, it is not designed to give legal advice or to provide the answer to the specific circumstances of disputes, or potential disputes.

https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/sn06989/

UK: PASSENGER PURCHASES OF ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO

On 18 January, a briefing paper from the House of Commons explains that from 1 January 1993 – the inception of the Single European Market – travellers within the EU have been allowed to import alcohol and tobacco products which they have purchased for their own use, without paying any additional duty on their return. Before that date, shoppers could only import limited quantities of tax-paid goods.   Duty-free sales on journeys within the EU were abolished from 1 July 1999, though they remain for journeys to countries outside the EU.  Post-Brexit the position has effectively reverted to that of prior to January 1993.  Passengers leaving Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales, note not Northern Ireland) are now entitled to buy alcohol and tobacco products duty-free, irrespective of their destination.  All passengers entering Great Britain are entitled to bring in defined amounts of alcohol, tobacco and other goods, without having to pay UK VAT or duty on these imports, subject to certain limits.

https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/sn01223/

COURT DELAYS ‘DEEPLY CONCERNING’ AS SCOTLAND RECORDS JUST A SINGLE HIGH-PROFILE FRAUD CASE IN 2020

On 19 January, the Scotsman reported that Scotland has recorded just a single high-profile fraud case for the whole of 2020 as the pandemic disrupts the country’s justice system.  It involved a Crown Office worker who was in charge of evidence at the Procurator Fiscal’s office.  She was jailed for 3 years and 9 months after it emerged she had stolen nearly £92,000 and drugs worth more than £147,720 between 2011 and 2019.  It is also said that, across the UK, 2020 saw a record fall in the value and volume of alleged fraud cases heard in the courts.

https://www.scotsman.com/business/court-delays-deeply-concerning-scotland-records-just-single-high-profile-fraud-case-2020-3104173

LONDON PRIVATE EQUITY FUND TO HAVE CASE OVER RACISM AND FRAUD CLAIMS HELD IN PUBLIC

On 19 January, Business Day reported that a private equity fund backed by families in Hong Kong and Qatar lost a bid to keep claims of fraud, racism and anti-Semitism away from public scrutiny.  London-based Queensgate Investments wanted to hold further court proceedings in private, but judge James Tayler said the upcoming hearing on an employment lawsuit brought by a Jewish former employee should be in public.

https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/companies/2021-01-19-london-private-equity-fund-to-have-case-over-racism-and-fraud-claims-held-in-public

ANGOLA: COULD ISABEL DOS SANTOS MAKE A COMEBACK?

On 19 January, Deutsche Welle posed this question, saying that she has made it clear she does not rule out returning to Angola from London to run as a presidential candidate in the elections scheduled for 2022.  She might even stand a chance, according to observers. 

https://www.dw.com/en/angola-could-isabel-dos-santos-make-a-comeback/a-56266634

MEXICO EXONERATES EX-DEFENSE SECRETARY OVER US DRUGS LINKS

On19 January, OCCRP reported that Mexico says it will not pursue criminal charges against former Defense Secretary, Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda, who was arrested last year in the US on drug trafficking and money laundering charges and later sent home to face justice under a controversial agreement with Mexico.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/13660-mexico-exonerates-ex-defense-secretary-over-us-drugs-links

SAMSUNG AND SOUTH KOREA: WHAT NEXT AFTER LEE’S BRIBERY CONVICTION?

On 19 January, Deutsche Welle asked this question, saying that the heir to the Samsung conglomerate is going back to jail and South Korea is again examining the dirty intersection of all-powerful “chaebols” and political leadership.  Sending the heir of South Korea’s most powerful conglomerate back to jail could indicate a shift in how the country deals with corruption.  However, there was a lot of pushback against the verdict from commerce and industry.  South Korea’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry asked for leniency, arguing that Samsung’s weight and role in society should be considered.

https://www.dw.com/en/samsung-and-south-korea-what-next-after-lees-bribery-conviction/a-56274875

UK DORMANT ASSETS SCHEME

On 18 January, the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport published updated information about the Dormant Assets Scheme, including its impact to date and expansion.  A dormant asset is a financial product, such as a bank account, which has not been used for many years, and which the provider has been unable to reunite with its owner despite efforts aligned with industry best practice. The Scheme allows businesses to transfer funds voluntarily from dormant assets. They can decide if they want to join and how much they transfer.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-dormant-accounts-scheme

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-on-expanding-the-dormant-assets-scheme

UK COUNTER-TERRORIST ASSET FREEZING REGIME: QUARTERLY REPORTS TO PARLIAMENT

HM Treasury quarterly reports to Parliament, on its operation of the UK’s asset freezing regime.

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/operation-of-the-uks-counter-terrorist-asset-freezing-regime-quarterly-report-to-parliament

BRITTANY FERRIES LAUNCHES FRANCE-IRELAND ‘BREXIT BY-PASS’ RO-RO SERVICE 2 MONTHS EARLY

On 18 January, Lloyds Loading List reported that Brittany Ferries has launched its France-Ireland ‘Brexit by-pass’ ro-ro service, connecting Cherbourg and Rosslare, 2 months earlier than originally planned, due to strong demand from freight companies for greater direct freight capacity between the 2 EU member countries caused by the complications from Britain’s exit from the EU single market and customs union from the end of last year.

https://www.lloydsloadinglist.com/freight-directory/news/Brittany-Ferries-launches-France-Ireland-‘Brexit-by-pass’-ro-ro-service-two-months-early/78279.htm#.YAbt0TmSmM8

US CUSTOMS SEIZES OVER 100,000 COUNTERFEIT N95 FACE MASKS

A news release from US Customs & Border Protection on 15 January advised that officers at John F. Kennedy International Airport seized over 100,000 Counterfeit 3M N95 masks in 2 shipments from Hong Kong.

https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/cbp-jfk-seizes-counterfeit-3m-n95-masks

Meanwhile –

HONG KONG CUSTOMS SEIZES 333,000 FAKE N95 RESPIRATORS IN CITY’S LARGEST CONFISCATION OF COUNTERFEIT MASKS

On 19 January, the South China Morning Post reported that the record haul, worth HK$8.5 million, is third such bust in as many months.  The bogus 3M-brand N95 respirators were confiscated from a logistics company’s warehouse in Kwai Chung.  It was customs’ third such seizure in as many months, with about 100,000 counterfeit masks were seized in each of the 2 previous operations from October and November last year, and all were similarly destined for markets abroad.

https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-and-crime/article/3118306/hong-kong-customs-seizes-333000-fake-n95-respirators

SEIZURES OF LIQUID MARIJUANA SURGING IN JAPAN

On 19 January, the Japan Times reported that the amount of liquid marijuana seized in Japan has been surging, putting police and customs authorities on high alert.  The estimated amount of marijuana in liquid form confiscated by Tokyo Customs in 2020 jumped nearly 70 times from the previous year’s level.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/01/19/national/crime-legal/liquid-marijuana-japan/

MAFIA TO TERRORISTS: HOW US PROSECUTORS HAVE BENT THE LAW TO FIGHT MS13

On 18 January, Insight Crime reported that the recent decision by the US government to charge MS13’s top leaders in El Salvador with terrorism is either a sign of how little they understand the gang or a sign of how well they understand their own justice system.  It notes that the terrorism charge opens up another legal front in the fight against international street gangs.  And those working on the cases admit they are lured by the prospect of longer sentences and having no statute of limitations that the terrorism charge affords them.

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/analysis/mafia-terrorists-us-prosecutors-ms13/

IRAN REPORTEDLY SEIZES 45,000 BITCOIN MINING MACHINES AFTER CLOSURE OF ILLEGAL OPERATIONS

On 18 January, Coindesk reported that authorities in Iran have seized tens of thousands of bitcoin mining machines that they claim have been using illegally subsidised electricity from state-run energy provider Tavanir.

https://www.coindesk.com/bitcoin-miners-seized-electricity-iran

IN BIGGEST MALAYSIA DRUG BUST, NARCOTICS WORTH $66.2 MILLION SEIZED 

On 17 January, the Straits Times reported that in the biggest drug seizure in Malaysia’s history, illegal narcotics worth S$66.2 million were intercepted by the Johor police after 3 raids around the city.  Items that were seized included 3.2 tonnes of Ecstasy powder, 26.1 kg of liquid Ecstasy, and 117 kg of Eramin 5 powder.  Police also seized various machines and tools used by the syndicate, as well as 4 vehicles.  Machines and tools were imported from China, including the raw materials for producing the drugs.

https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/in-biggest-malaysia-drug-bust-narcotics-worth-623m-seized-by-johor-police

ILLICIT TOBACCO TRADE: NEARLY 370 MILLION CIGARETTES SEIZED IN EU IN 2020

On 14 January, a news release from OLAF advised that international operations involving the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) led to the seizure of nearly 370 million illegal cigarettes in 2020.  The majority of the cigarettes were smuggled from countries outside the EU but destined for sale on EU markets. Had they reached the market, OLAF estimates that these blackmarket cigarettes would have caused losses of around €74 million in customs and excise duties and VAT to EU and Member State budgets. 

https://ec.europa.eu/anti-fraud/media-corner/news/14-01-2021/illicit-tobacco-trade-nearly-370-million-cigarettes-seized-2020_en

UK: FCA CLAMPS DOWN ON CONSUMER INVESTMENT HARM

On 18 January, the FCA announced that a new report highlights the many ways in which it works to protect consumers from investment harm by stopping and disrupting potentially harmful firms and activities. The report focuses on action taken by the FCA during the first 10 months of 2020, when many consumers found their finances under pressure as a result of coronavirus lockdowns and restrictions. It took action against firms found to have caused consumer harm. This included –

  • pursuing 47 enforcement investigations against unauthorised businesses in 2020, securing almost £6 million to be returned to consumers and obtaining court orders ordering that over £14 million be returned to consumers which the FCA will take steps to recover; and
  • issuing fines totalling more than £80 million to regulated firms and individuals over the course of 2019 and 2020.

https://www.fca.org.uk/news/press-releases/fca-clamps-down-consumer-investment-harm

BILLIONS OF VENEZUELAN ‘SUSPICIOUS FUNDS’ IN SWISS BANKS

On 17 January, Swissinfo reported that Swiss officials have found around $10 billion linked to Venezuela on hundreds of bank accounts in Switzerland, and  this makes Venezuela “the largest source of suspicious funds in Swiss banks”.

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/business/paper–billions-of-venezuelan–suspicious-funds–in-swiss-banks/46293650

SOUTH AFRICA: CYBERCRIME ACT

The Act creates many new offences with the majority of these being related to data, messages, computers, and networks involving hacking, the unlawful interception of data, ransomware attacks, cyber forgery and uttering, and cyber extortion. It also grants law enforcement extensive powers to investigate, search, access and seize various articles, such as computers, databases or networks. The Act further imposes a duty to report certain offences on the part of electronic communications service providers and financial institutions within 72 hours.

https://media-exp1.licdn.com/dms/document/C4D1FAQF1_KHYZOMp0g/feedshare-document-pdf-analyzed/0/1611037251099?e=1611158400&v=beta&t=9n2_NxrG6PxSuln968cSgqHOzKzZWQnhuIf-a2Whoeg

https://www.ensafrica.com/news/detail/3655/cybercrimes-bill-to-be-submitted-to-the-sa-pr/#page=1

THE ADMINISTRATORS OF RANGERS FC HAVE BEEN PAID MORE THAN £20 MILLION FOR “MALICIOUS PROSECUTION”

On 19 January, Scottish Legal News reported newspaper claims that £21 million in total has been paid to the 2 men and a further £3 million has been given to them for legal expenses.  The men were appointed as administrators of Rangers in February 2012 and the club was liquidated in October that year, shortly before both left their positions.  They were both arrested and charged in relation to their positions as administrators.  The charges were later dropped, and the men said that the Crown Officeand Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) and Police Scotland subjected them to wrongful detention, arrest and prosecution.

https://www.scottishlegal.com/article/malicious-prosecution-whitehouse-and-clark-reportedly-paid-21m-plus-3m-in-legal-expenses

COVID-19 MONEY LAUNDERING RISK ASSESSMENT FOR THE ISLE OF MAN JANUARY 2021 UPDATE

The FIU in the Isle of Man had produced an 11-page update.

https://fiu.im/media/1099/covid19-risk-assessment-public-january-2021-update.pdf

BREXIT: FIRST 2 WEEKS DON’T BODE WELL, SUPPLY CHAINS IN ‘SEVERE SHOCK’

An opinion piece from Seatrade Maritime News on 19 January gave this verdict on the first 2 weeks post-Brexit.

https://www.seatrade-maritime.com/opinions-analysis/brexit-first-two-weeks-dont-bode-well-supply-chains-severe-shock

PREVENTING CONTAINER FIRES – ENFORCEMENT OF REGULATIONS ‘CRITICALLY IMPORTANT’

On 19 January, Seatrade Maritime News said that container fires can lead to both loss of life and huge cargo losses as result of dangerous cargoes that mis-declared, in some cases on purpose to avoid higher fees for the shipping of hazardous goods; and as much of 15% of containers could contain dangerous cargoes, if fraudulently mis-declared cargoes are included.   

https://www.seatrade-maritime.com/finance-insurance/preventing-container-fires-enforcement-regulations-critically-important

US: FEDERAL PROSECUTIONS FOR DOMESTIC TERRORISM HIT RECORD HIGH LAST YEAR

On 12 January, The Crime Report said that Federal prosecutions for domestic terrorism climbed to a record high in 2020, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University.  183 domestic terrorism prosecutions were filed by US Attorneys last year, the highest number since the government began tracking them 25 years ago―capping a sharp rise since 2017 that coincided with the administration of President Donald Trump.

https://thecrimereport.org/2021/01/12/fed-prosecutions-for-domestic-terrorism-reached-record-high-last-year/

SEC NEITHER ADMIT NOR DENY POLICY

On 19 January, the Compliance & Enforcement Blog at the Program on Corporate Compliance & Enforcement at the School of Law at New York University published a post considering the background to, and criticism of, the SEC use of “neither admit nor deny” settlements – with which it settles the majority of cases.

https://wp.nyu.edu/compliance_enforcement/2021/01/19/admissions-of-guilt-to-the-sec-under-chair-jay-clayton/

The figure above illustrates, in each fiscal year 2010 to 2020, the percentages of settled actions with neither admit nor deny, actions with admission of guilt, actions where defendant prevails, actions with SEC dismissal, actions classified as “other”.

https://www.visualcapitalist.com/most-populous-cities-in-the-world/

EU: TAXATION OF DIGITAL ECONOMY PUBLIC CONSULTATION LAUNCHED

On 19 January, KPMG reported that the European Commission launched a public consultation initiative on 18 January regarding considerations for a possible proposal for taxation of the digital economy.  Interested parties are asked to provide feedback on an inception impact assessment, as well as to respond to a detailed public consultation questionnaire about challenges related to taxing the digital economy and on possible solutions to these issues.  A proposal from the Commission is expected by June 2021, with a view to the introduction of a digital levy by no later than 1 January 2023.

https://home.kpmg/us/en/home/insights/2021/01/tnf-eu-taxation-of-digital-economy-public-consultation-launched.html

https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/have-your-say/initiatives/12836-Digital-Levy

PODCAST: A BRIEF HISTORY OF TEAR GAS IN AMERICA

 On 15 January, Post reports, the podcast from the Washington Post released a 35-minute podcast looking at the use of tear gas in the US – in the light of the use in the 6 January attack on the Capitol.  It says that tear gas is a chemical weapon banned in war.  So why do police departments still use it on civilians in the US? It examines the history of tear gas and the ethical questions about its use.  It starts by saying that, for a start, tear gas is not, in fact, a gas…

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/dir-r7ja5-cc239ae

TERRORISTS ACTIVELY RECRUITING, TRAINING AND FUNDRAISING IN INDONESIA

On 18 January, Channel News Asia reported that, as Indonesia grapples with the impact of COVID-19, terrorism cells in the country continue to spread radical messages, actively seeking new recruits and plotting their next attacks, a senior counterterrorism official said.  The National Counter Terrorism Agency’s (BNPT) director for enforcement said although there has been no major terrorist attack during the pandemic, terrorism cells in Indonesia “are not sitting back and relaxing”.  He also said that they are actively recruiting, spreading their ideology, raising funds and conducting training, adding that the only thing that has slowed during the pandemic is the sending of militants to join the ranks of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/indonesia-terrorism-attack-recruitment-plot-covid-19-bnpt-13959304

US: PREPARE NOW FOR VEHICLE-BORNE IED, SAYS US GOVERNMENT WEBSITE

On 7 January, a news release from the US Fire Administration, in the wake of the bomb attack in Nashville, refers to a Joint Counter Terrorism Assessment Team on first-responders’ guidance on vehicle-borne IED (VBIED).  This guidance includes a historical overview of the 10 VBIED incidents occurring in the US since 2010.

https://www.usfa.fema.gov/operations/infograms/010721.html

RETURNED FOREIGN FIGHTER – MINNESOTA MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO PROVIDING MATERIAL SUPPORT TO ISIS

A news release from US DoJ on 13 January advised the guilty plea of Abdelhamid Al-Madioum, 24, to providing material support and resources, namely personnel and services, to ISIS, a designated foreign terrorist organisation.  Al-Madioum, a native of Morocco and naturalized U.S. citizen, previously had been detained overseas by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and was subsequently transferred into FBI custody and returned to Minnesota.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/minnesota-man-pleads-guilty-providing-material-support-isis

ANDORRA BECOMES TAX DODGE FOR ONLINE INFLUENCERS

On 19 January, The Independent reported that Andorra is increasingly becoming home to a new breed of wealthy Spanish You Tubers who have moved to the tiny mountain principality to pay lower taxes, sparking controversy in the middle of an economic crisis. 

https://www.independent.co.uk/independentpremium/world/andorra-tax-youtube-spain-influencers-b1789529.html

IRAN SANCTIONS TOP US OFFICIALS INCLUDING TRUMP AND POMPEO

The Anadolu Agency reported that Iran has announced sanctions against top officials in the outgoing US Administration, including President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.  Several Trump administration officials, including National Security Adviser John Bolton, US envoy for Iran Brian Hook and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper also figure on the list.

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/iran-sanctions-top-us-officials-including-trump-pompeo/2115783

TURKEY CHARGES 6 WITH SELLING SECRET INFORMATION ABOUT DEFENCE PROGRAMMES

On 19 January, Defense News reported that 6 suspects were detained in Turkey in an alleged fraud scheme involving defence industry contracts, the government has announced.  The detentions came after a joint covert operation by the Turkish police force and the National Intelligence Organization, or MIT. The suspects are charged with selling classified and secret data pertaining to defence industry programmes.  According to the prosecutor’s office, the suspects shared confidential data and information about the projects’ resources, pricing, technical specifications and contractual progress to foreign defence companies.

https://www.defensenews.com/global/europe/2021/01/19/turkey-charges-six-with-selling-secret-info-about-defense-programs

US ARRESTS IRANIAN POLITICAL SCIENTIST ACCUSED OF BEING GOVERNMENT AGENT

On 19 January, Rferl reported that the US DoJ has filed charges against an Iranian political scientist accused of being an agent for Iran’s government.  Kaveh Afrasiabi, an Iranian citizen with US permanent residency, was arrested at his home in Watertown, Massachusetts the previous day on charges of “acting and conspiring to act as an unregistered agent” of Tehran.

https://www.rferl.org/a/u-s-arrests-iranian-political-scientist-kaveh-afrasiabi/31053007.html

UK INFORMATION COMMISSIONER ANALYSIS OF THE IMPACT OF UK DATA PROTECTION LAW ON TRANSFERS OF PERSONAL DATA FROM CERTAIN UK-BASED FIRMS TO THE SEC

A release on Mondo Visione on 19 January advised that the ICO had considered the application of the UK GDPR to transfers from UK-based firms or branches that are registered, required to be registered, or otherwise regulated by the SEC, including investment advisers and securities-based swap dealers. The ICO also reviewed the application of the GDPR to transfers from UK issuers that have equity securities or depositary receipts registered with the SEC and listed on a US exchange or market.  The ICO letter clarifies that the GDPR permits UK firms’ transfers of personal data to the SEC directly in connection with a number of things and explains how UK firms with regulatory obligations to the SEC can rely on the “public interest” derogation of the UK GDPR when directly transferring personal data to the SEC.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/uk-information-commissioner-provides-clarity-regarding-transfers-of-personal-dat/

 

 

If you would like to make a (polite) gesture and make a (very) modest contribution to my ongoing with my relocation, removal and computer costs, I have a page at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

Author: raytodd2017

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

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