On 22 january, the Real Deal and others reported that Geneva court has found Israeli billionaire Beny Steinmetz guilty of corruption, and sentenced to 5 years in jail for paying bribes to a Guinean public official in order to secure rights to an iron-ore mine. The French-Israeli diamond tycoon has been convicted of corruption charges linked to mining rights deals in Guinea and multimillion dollar bribes to the country’s former first lady.
On 22 January, LSM reported that Latvia is among a group of Nordic and Baltic countries that are asking the IMF to conduct an analysis of cross-border money laundering and terrorist financing risks in the region, the Latvian Central Bank has said in a statement. The 8 countries of the Nordic-Baltic Constituency of the International Monetary Fund (Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, and Sweden) have taken the initiative to engage the IMF to conduct a regional analysis of money laundering and terrorist financing threats and vulnerabilities.
On 22 January, FATF-style regional body GAFILAT published the Fourth Regular Monitoring and Requalification Report on Technical Compliance of the Republic of Cuba. It analyses the country’s progress towards addressing technical compliance deficiencies identified in its Mutual Evaluation Report (MER) of 2015 (after which Cuba was placed in the regular follow-up process). It is said that Cuba has addressed its technical compliance deficiencies identified in the MER in relation to –
FATF Recommendation 31, originally rated PC, now Compliant;
FATF Recommendation 28, originally rated PC, now compliant; and
FATF Recommendation 35, originally rated PC and which has not been re-rated.
The report also reviews other FATF Recommendation ratings since the MER, with Recommendation 15 (new technologies) downgraded from C to PC. Cuba will continue in the regular follow-up process and will continue to report to GAFILAT on the progress made to strengthen its implementation of AML/CFT measures.
On 22 January, Dentons published an article saying that the changed market circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have made certain obligations more difficult to perform for many contracting parties. This has led affected parties to seek legal advice about how to excuse or suspend performance of their contractual obligations, or even terminate contracts altogether.
In this context, 2 well-known legal concepts are being tested: the common law doctrine of frustration and the contractual remedy of force majeure. A third legal concept, economic hardship, is also receiving increased attention. The article looks at how these concepts are being interrogated and developed under English law.
On 22 January, a news release from Interpol advised that a report has highlighted the key cybercrime trends and threats confronting the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region. The ASEAN Cyberthreat Assessment 2021 report outlines how cybercrime’s upward trend is set to rise exponentially, with highly organised cybercriminals sharing resources and expertise to their advantage. Interpol has identified the region’s top cyberthreats:
Business E-mail Compromise (BEC) campaigns continue to top the chart with businesses suffering major losses, as it is a high-return investment with low cost and risk;
Phishing – cybercriminals are exploiting the widespread use of global communications on information related to COVID-19 to deceive unsuspecting victims;
Ransomware – cybercrime targeting hospitals, medical centres and public institutions for ransomware attacks has increased rapidly as cybercriminals believe they have a higher chance of success given the medical crisis in many countries;
E-commerce data interception poses an emerging and imminent threat to online shoppers, undermining trust in online payment systems;
Crimeware-as-a-Service puts cybercriminal tools and services in the hands of a wider range of threat actors – even non-technical ones, to the extent that anyone can become a cybercriminal with minimal ‘investment’;
Cyber Scams – with the increase of online transactions and more people working from home, cybercriminals have revised their online scams and phishing schemes, even impersonating government and health authorities to lure victims into providing their personal information and downloading malicious content; and
Cryptojackingcontinues to be on the radar of cybercriminals as the value of cryptocurrencies increases.