OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – FEBRUARY 16

Panama Covid-19 update – Public Holiday here today, Carnival Day (although the Carnival cancelled, for obvious reasons).

The big weekly news conference was held yesterday, because of the Carnival holiday. today, the continuing falling figures are 572 new cases and 13 new fatalities. 12,799 active cases include 215 in ICU and 1,230 in other wards

16 February 2021

PURDUE LAWYERS FACE DISCLOSURE QUESTIONS – SHOULD HAVE DISCLOSED AN AGREEMENT WITH THE COMPANY’S OWNERS

On 13 February, the Wall Street Journal reported that law firms defending Purdue Pharma LP in probes into its OxyContin painkiller did not disclose an existing deal with Purdue’s owners to keep information shared between them confidential when the drugmaker filed for bankruptcy.  The firms’ non-disclosure of the agreement with the members of the Sackler family who own Purdue, and whose interests are at odds with company creditors, skirted bankruptcy rules meant to reveal potential conflicts of interest, bankruptcy experts said.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/purdue-lawyers-face-disclosure-questions-over-sackler-defense-deal-11613224801

COVID FUELS ROMANCE SCAMS IN US

On 15 February, the Wall Street Journal reported that about 32,800 romance scams were reported last year, up nearly 31% from 2019, according to Federal Trade Commission data.  Consumers reported losing a record $304 million to the scams, an almost 51% increase, the FTC said.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/my-phony-valentine-covid-fuels-romance-scams-11613304000

BANK OF NAMIBIA HAS FROZEN ALL THE BANK ACCOUNTS OF THE NATIONAL FISHING CORPORATION OF NAMIBIA (FISHCOR)

On 14 February, The Namibian reported that the Bank of Namibia’s Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), has frozen all the bank accounts of the National Fishing Corporation of Namibia (Fishcor).  The accounts of Fishcor’s other company, Seacope Freeze Fishing, were also frozen.  Fishcor is involved in controversy over its role in the “Fishrot” corruption scandal which involves alleged money laundering, bribery and corruption, and was allegedly used to launder state funds for political campaigns through law firms.

https://www.namibian.com.na/98945/read/Fishcors-bank-accounts-frozen

OVER HK$8 BILLION FROM SCAM VICTIMS LAUNDERED THROUGH HONG KONG BANK ACCOUNTS IN 2020

On 15 February, the South China Morning Post reported that the police anti-fraud squad managed to intercept nearly HK$3.07 billion of the total involved, conned from local and international victims, with more than 10,000 personal and business bank accounts likely involved.  It is said that criminals typically used a single set of bank accounts to launder money in one case, then stopped using them in a bid to avoid police detection.

https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-and-crime/article/3121789/over-hk8-billion-scam-victims-laundered-through-hong

THE SECRET LUXEMBOURG BASE OF ITALY’S ’NDRANGHETA MAFIA

On 15 February, OCCRP reported more information from the OpenLux investigation revealed that a group of young entrepreneurs from the town of Siderno and a small village called Mammola operated numbers of account in Luxembourg.  Some of them opened and closed a succession of restaurants working together with ’Ndrangheta members.  Mammola families had emigrated made their way north, to Belgium and Luxembourg [presumably postwar, when Italians were hired for employment in the coal mines of the region).

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/the-secret-luxembourg-base-of-italys-ndrangheta-mafia/

BANKING DOCUMENTS REVEAL CONSULTING GIANTS’ CASH WINDFALL UNDER ANGOLAN BILLIONAIRE ISABEL DOS SANTOS

On 15 February, ICIJ reported that 3 of the world’s largest consulting firms received tens of millions of dollars in payments from an obscure firm in Dubai, Matter Business Solutions, to help restructure Angola’s corruption-ridden oil sector.  Boston Consulting Group, PwC, and McKinsey made tens of millions from a project to modernize state-owned oil company Sonangol, despite red flags indicating corruption.  Billionaire Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of Angola’s long-time autocratic ruler, was Sonangol’s chief executive at the time of the payments.  An expert is quoted as saying that consulting firms, like other private sector players, should identify who owns the entities they work with.  It is also claimed that of the $131 million paid first to Matter Business Solutions and then routed onwards, it is reported that 2 companies owned by dos Santos received $1.9 million combined; another $3.4 million went to Youcall, a human resources firm whose shareholders include dos Santos and her friend, Oliveira, and other firms in which Oliveira was the only shareholder received almost $3 million.

https://www.icij.org/investigations/luanda-leaks/banking-documents-reveal-consulting-giants-cash-windfall-under-angolan-billionaire-isabel-dos-santos/

PANAMA: THE PRIVILEGED LIFE OF THE MARTINELLI SONS BEHIND BARS IN GUATEMALA

On 16 February, Newsroom Panama reported that Ricardo Alberto and Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares – sons of former Panama President Martinelli – are part of a group of 250 inmates who enjoy all kinds of privileges in the Mariscal Zavala military prison.  They have been in custody since July, facing extradition to the US on money laundering charges.  It is said that the military base where they are being held has a wing branded as the VIP prison, which houses the “criminal royalty” of the country. 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/business/the-privileged-life-of-the-martinelli-sons-behind-bars

CHINA TARGETS RARE EARTH EXPORT CURBS TO HOBBLE US DEFENCE INDUSTRY

On 16 February, Report Doors claimed that China is exploring whether it can hurt US defence contractors by limiting the export of rare earth minerals that are crucial for the manufacture of F-35 fighter jets and other sophisticated weaponry, according to people involved in a government consultation.

https://www.reportdoor.com/china-targets-rare-earth-export-curbs-to-hobble-us-defence-industry/

ISRAEL: SUSPECT IN ARMS SALE TO ASIAN COUNTRY WAS PREVIOUSLY ENTANGLED IN SIMILAR CASE

On 16 February, the Times of Israel reported that both cases, involving “kamikaze” drones, expose gaps in Israel’s defence export oversight mechanism.  A suspect who allegedly illegally made and sold missiles to an unnamed Asian country was involved in a similar affair more than a decade ago.  Suspects included former defence industry employees and the alleged crimes included offences against the security of the state, violations of the law on the supervision of security exports, money laundering, and additional economic offences.  The article mentions that Israel is home to some 1,600 licensed arms exporters, which employ 150,000 to 200,000 people; and in addition there is a large supply chain of subcontractors who supply software, hardware, raw materials, and other goods necessary for arms production.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/suspect-in-arms-sale-to-asian-country-was-previously-entangled-in-similar-case/

DESPITE US SANCTIONS, HONG KONG PROCURED ARMS FROM CZECH

On 16 February, Industry Global News 24 reported that Hong Kong police acquired 1,000 submachine weapons from Czech provider CZUB after a request to a US processing plant of SIG Sauer was hindered by US sanctions.  The police bought 1,000 Scorpion Evo 3 A1 submachine guns to replace their MP5 submachine guns made by Germany’s Heckler & Koch.  It is also said that orders for ammunitions from the UK and the US were also affected by recent export bans, and police have tried to place orders with mainland Chinese suppliers.

https://industryglobalnews24.com/amid-us-sanctions-hong-kong-procured-arms-from-czech

https://hongkongfp.com/2021/02/16/hong-kong-police-buy-firearms-from-czech-supplier-after-us-order-blocked-by-sanctions-report/

NORTH KOREA BREACHED UN SANCTIONS WITH REFINED OIL IMPORTS USING PANAMA TANKER

On 15 February, UPI reported that North Korea violated international sanctions with ship-to-ship transfers of refined petroleum products at sea, according to a Japanese press report.  It is said that a Panamanian-registered tanker was employed to procure 4.4 million barrels of fuel, including gasoline and kerosene, from January to September 2020.

https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2021/02/15/North-Korea-breached-UN-sanctions-with-refined-oil-imports-report-says/3321613410805/

SOUTH AFRICA CIGARETTES SMUGGLING: HAWKS ARREST KINGPIN

On 16 February, The Herald reported that South Africa’s organised crime unit, the Hawks have arrested 32-year-old suspected cigarettes smuggling kingpin and his 29-year old accomplice.  It is said to be estimated that 30% of cigarettes in South Africa are from Zimbabwe including Pacific, Remington gold, Mega, Dullahs, Branson, and Servilles brands.

https://www.herald.co.zw/cigarettes-smuggling-hawks-arrest-kingpin/

CHINA ARRESTS 70 IN FAKE VACCINE SMUGGLING RING

On 16 February, the Australian Financial Review reported that authorities have arrested 70 people in China for producing and distributing fake coronavirus vaccines in a crackdown involving more than 20 cases around the country. Some of the vaccines were smuggled overseas.  There are concerns that the fake vaccines could undermine confidence in China’s vaccine rollout.  China has ramped up the production of vaccinations made by state-owned Sinopharm and Sinovac but sent large amounts overseas as part of diplomatic efforts to counter criticism of its early handling of the outbreak.

https://www.afr.com/world/asia/china-arrests-70-in-fake-vaccine-smuggling-ring-20210216-p572sw

MALTA: MFSA FINES SHOOT UP TO NEARLY €1 MILLION IN 2020

On 16 February, the Times of Malta reported that the regulator issued a record 19 administrative penalties amounting to €975,462 last year.  It also notes that no fines were issued in 2013 and 2015. 

https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/mfsa-fines-shoot-up-to-nearly-1-million-in-2020.851822

INDIA: AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL INDIA’S ASSETS RESTRAINED

NDTV on 16 February reported that the government alleges that the global rights watchdog had been receiving foreign funds illegally and that it had never registered under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act.  Amnesty claims that it was winding down its India operation because of alleged “witch-hunt” by the central government. 

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/amnesty-international-indias-assets-worth-over-rs-17-crore-attached-by-probe-agency-in-money-laundering-case-2371901

270 ADDRESSES ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR 55% OF ALL CRYPTOCURRENCY MONEY LAUNDERING

On 16 February, ZD Net reported that criminals who keep their funds in cryptocurrency tend to launder funds through a small cluster of online services, blockchain investigations firm Chainalysis has said in a report.  This includes services like high-risk (low-reputation) crypto-exchange portals, online gambling platforms, cryptocurrency mixing services, and financial services that support cryptocurrency operations headquartered in high-risk jurisdictions.  It is said that compared to 3 years ago, when criminal groups used a wider array of services, and Chainalysis says this bottleneck in money laundering operations is good news.

https://www.zdnet.com/article/270-addresses-are-responsible-for-55-of-all-cryptocurrency-money-laundering/

EU: VIDEO GAMES SECTOR HIT WITH ANTI-TRUST FINE FOR GEO-BLOCKING

On 16 February, Bird & Bird published an article saying that the EU DG for Competition has fined Valve Corporation, owner of the Steam game distribution platform, and 5 personal computer video game publishers €7.8 million for breaching EU anti-trust rules through bilateral agreements.  The bilateral agreements prevented consumers from purchasing and using PC video games acquired in countries other than their country of residence (so-called “geo-blocking”).

https://www.twobirds.com/en/news/articles/2021/global/video-games-sector-hit-with-anti-trust-fine-for-geo-blocking-practices

BREXIT AND FINANCIAL SERVICES

A House of Commons Briefing Paper on 16 February (updated to 13 December – and the Library says it will not be updated again) reviews progress and possibilities as of 13 December.

https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-7628/

UK: FCA COMMENCES CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS AGAINST BROTHERS FOR INSIDER DEALING AND FRAUD

A news release from the FCA on 16 February advised that the FCA has commenced criminal proceedings against Mohammed Zina and Suhail Zina for events in 2016-17.  Mohammed Zina was employed by Goldman Sachs International as an analyst in the Conflicts Resolution Group in their London office, and Suhail Zina was a solicitor at Clifford Chance, also in London.

https://www.fca.org.uk/news/press-releases/fca-commences-criminal-proceedings-against-brothers-insider-dealing-and-fraud

RECENT KICKBACK CASES YIELD ALMOST $20 MILLION IN SETTLEMENTS FOR THE US

On 15 February, Bricker & Eckler LLP reported that the US DoJ and US Attorney’s Offices have been quite busy settling False Claims Act (FCA) cases during the first month and a half of 2021.  2 recent FCA lawsuits based, at least in part, on allegations of violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute, have already brought in almost $20 million in recovery in 2021 for bribery and kickbacks in the medical sector.

https://www.bricker.com/insights-resources/publications/recent-kickback-cases-yield-almost-20-million-in-settlements-for-the-united-states

UK GOVERNMENT EXTENSION OF INSOLVENCY MEASURES

A news release from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy advised that the government has announced it intends to extend the power (granted through the Corporate Governance and Insolvency Act) to make temporary amendments or modify the effects of corporate insolvency and governance legislation for an additional year. The government laid the regulations on 11 February in Parliament ahead of the power expiring on 30 April.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-gives-businesses-much-needed-breathing-space-with-extension-of-insolvency-measures

https://www.professionalsecurity.co.uk/news/commercial-security/counter-fraud-fundamentals-scheme

REPORT: ‘GOLD RUSH’ FOR AFRICAN RARE MARINE WILDLIFE

On 16 February, OCCRP reported that an increasingly large, lucrative and often illegal trade in seahorses, sea cucumbers and dried fish bladders is threatening the collapse of marine wildlife reserves across dozens of African countries, according to a report from TRAFFIC, an international NGO that monitors the global wildlife trade.  It refers to a “gold rush” for dried fish bladders, known technically as fish maws or colloquially as “cocaine of the sea”, with Asian retailers of wildlife products responding to the ongoing decline of the shark fin trade by increasingly touting fish maw as a highly prized alternative.  Fish maw and shark fins are 2 of China’s “Big 4” traditional luxury delicacies, together with abalone and sea cucumber.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/13874-report-gold-rush-for-african-rare-marine-wildlife

The TRAFFIC report is at –

https://www.traffic.org/publications/reports/a-response-to-trade-in-high-value-trade-in-marine-products-between-africa-and-asia/

BULGARIAN CUSTOMS SEIZE OVER 400 KG OF HEROIN IN CONTAINER SHIP

On 16 February, Xinhua reported that Bulgarian law enforcement officers have seized 401.47 kg of heroin in a container ship at the Black Sea port of Varna-West.   Split into 487 packages, was hidden in cavities inside bitumen rolls.  According to the cargo documents, the bitumen rolls were made in Iran, the seller was an Iranian company, and the final destination was Bulgaria.

https://www.xinhuanet.com/english/europe/2021-02/16/c_139746610.htm

KHAT CONSIGNMENT FROM YEMEN CONFISCATED BY OMAN CUSTOMS

On 16 February, the Times of Oman reported that customs had foiled the smuggling of more than 1,000 packages of khat drug that were coming from the Republic of Yemen into Oman, hidden in the base of the trailer through a cavity specially designed for smuggling purposes.

https://timesofoman.com/article/khat-consignment-from-yemen-confiscated-by-oman-customs

EU: ADVANCES IN ADMINISTRATIVE COOPERATION IN THE FIELD OF TAXATION

On 16 February, the EU Parliament Research Service published a briefing paper which says that e digitalisation of the economy opens the door to new cross-border economic activities that make it possible to under-report income and under-pay tax.  It also presents new challenges for tax administrations, already faced by limited access to information at the national level.  In July 2020, the EU Commission proposed to amend the provisions on information exchange and administrative cooperation and to include the automatic exchange of data on information declared by digital platform operators in their scope.  The goal is to ensure that sellers on digital platforms pay their fair share of taxes, align EU countries to the digital economy, and close the gaps for tax evasion and avoidance.

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2021/679099/EPRS_BRI(2021)679099_EN.pdf

MYANMAR: THE RETURN OF THE JUNTA

On 16 February, the EU Parliament Research Service published a briefing paper which looks, briefly, at the background to, and reactions to, the recent coup in Burma/Myanmar.

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/ATAG/2021/679102/EPRS_ATA(2021)679102_EN.pdf

IRELAND: REVENUE SEIZE 2.7 MILLION CIGARETTES FROM POLAND AT ROSSLARE EUROPORT

On 16 February, the revenue Commissioners reported that, as a result of routine profiling, Revenue officers at Rosslare Europort seized approximately 2.7 million cigarettes branded ‘L&M’, with a retail value of over €1.8 million.  Officers stopped and searched a Polish-registered articulated lorry and its accompanying trailer that had disembarked a ferry from Cherbourg.

https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/press-office/press-releases/2021/pr-021621-revenue-cigarettes-rosslare-europort.aspx

INDIA: CHARGES AGAINST FORMER STATE CHIEF MINISTER AND OTHERS IN MONEY LAUNDERING CASE

On 16 February, Outlook in India reported that the Enforcement Directorate has filed a chargesheet against former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and others in a money laundering case related to alleged irregularities in the allocation of over a dozen industrial plots. 

https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/india-news-ed-files-chargesheet-against-former-haryana-cm-hooda-others-in-money-laundering-case/374505

JERSEY FSC FINES 3 SG KLEINWORT HAMBROS FIRMS

A news release from the Jersey FSC on 16 February advised that it has issued civil financial penalties totalling more than £719,000.00 against 3 SG Kleinwort Hambros firms because the boards were unable to demonstrate that they adequately monitored and controlled the SGKH firms’ activities.

https://www.jerseyfsc.org/news-and-events/jfsc-fines-three-sg-kleinwort-hambros-firms/

US-EDUCATED FOREIGN SOLDIERS LEARN ‘DEMOCRATIC VALUES,’ STUDY SHOWS – THOUGH AMERICA ALSO TRAINS FUTURE DICTATORS

An article in The Conversation is concerned with the ongoing debate about whether US military education of foreigners is spreading respect for democracy or empowering future dictators.  Training foreign military personnel became part of the US global military strategy to achieve foreign policy goals during WW2, along with a robust programme of weapons and equipment sales.  The governing Acts provides that the programmes aim to transmit the US military’s professional values and norms – namely respect of democratic values, human rights and civilian control of the armed forces.  They also seek to professionalise and strengthen the armed forces of recipient countries.  The article reports a recent research study, and to assess what foreign officers actually take away from this experience, the researcher studied one participant country, Hungary, in depth.  The results show that US-trained military officials displayed greater respect for democratic values, and that human rights were similarly judged more important by US-trained military officials.  The study is also said to have found that countries that had received US training were less likely to have initiated the conflict than other countries. In fact, for every soldier trained in the US, the probability of a country instigating an international conflict decreases by about 0.75%, on average.  However, the article concedes that the benefits of US military training on domestic rule of law are more mixed.  The article concludes that the research establishes, possibly for the first time, that US military training programmes achieve their stated goals, in that they transmit democratic values to foreign soldiers, who spread them among national armed forces.  However, it does not conclude that American military education is an unmitigated good.

https://theconversation.com/us-educated-foreign-soldiers-learn-democratic-values-study-shows-though-america-also-trains-future-dictators-143885

PRIVATE PLANES, MANSIONS AND SUPERYACHTS: WHAT GIVES BILLIONAIRES LIKE MUSK AND ABRAMOVICH SUCH A MASSIVE CARBON FOOTPRINT

On 16 February, an article in The Conversation examines how all the wealth accumulated by billionaires translates into consumption and the resulting carbon footprint – which can be thousands of times higher than those of average Americans.

https://theconversation.com/private-planes-mansions-and-superyachts-what-gives-billionaires-like-musk-and-abramovich-such-a-massive-carbon-footprint-152514

AUSTRALIA WILL NOT BAN ARMS SALES TO COUNTRIES INVOLVED IN YEMENI CIVIL WAR

On 10 February, the Guardian reported that, unlike the US and others, the defence department has said that it will weigh risks of sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, despite calls from human rights groups to follow President Biden’s lead. 

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/feb/11/australia-will-not-ban-arms-sales-to-countries-involved-in-yemeni-civil-war

US GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE (GAO) RECOMMENDS THAT OFAC IDENTIFY AND MITIGATE POTENTIALLY ADVERSE HUMANITARIAN CONSEQUENCES OF VENEZUELA SANCTIONS

A report from the GAO finds that the Venezuelan economy’s performance has declined steadily for almost a decade and fallen steeply since the imposition of a series of US sanctions starting in 2015.  It does say that US agencies have sought input from humanitarian organizations to identify the potential negative humanitarian consequences of sanctions related to Venezuela and taken steps to mitigate these issues.  It also found that the US Treasury does not systematically track and analyse information to identify trends or recurrent issues involving humanitarian issues caused by sanctions.

https://www.gao.gov/assets/720/712232.pdf

UK: TIGHTER REGULATIONS ON THE WAY FOR THE “BUY NOW, PAY LATER” MARKET

On 16 February, an article from TLT says that alternative payment models forming the burgeoning “Buy Now Pay Later” market have made a huge contribution to the ongoing growth of the online retail sector over recent years and have made certain payment providers huge tech success stories in their own right.  It provides an attractive alternative to more traditional (and expensive) forms of unsecured finance.  Consumer use of such products in the UK almost quadrupled over the course of 2020 and this growth has attracted the attention of the FCA.   On 2 February, the FCA published a review which could have a significant impact on BNPL providers and retailers alike.  The article suggests that  prudent retailers and payment providers should consider the role that BNPL plays in their long term strategy and the potential impact of tighter measures on their business models.

https://www.tltsolicitors.com/insights-and-events/insight/tighter-regulations-on-the-horizon-for-the-buy-now-pay-later-market/#BuyNowPayLater

POST-BREXIT ISSUES WITH ENFORCEMENT OF ENGLISH JUDGMENTS IN EU MEMBER STATES

On 16 February, in an article from Field Fisher, as the UK adjusts to life outside the EU, it is proposed why arbitration may now be the best option for UK-based parties seeking to resolve cross-border disputes, pointing out that the current EU-UK agreement does not continue previous cross-border civil litigation processes.  It points out that, prior to Brexit, English judgments were recognised and enforced by virtue of the Brussels Regulation (EU Regulation 1215/2012), but that from 1 January, outside the EU, English judgments will continue to be enforced in the same way.

https://www.fieldfisher.com/en/insights/post-brexit-issues-with-enforcement-of-english-jud

HOW HISTORY PREDICTS COVID-19’S IMPACT ON MARITIME PIRACY, AND WHAT AMERICA CAN DO TO HELP

An article in Homeland security Today on 13 February starts by saying that 2020 was a bad year for maritime piracy.  The global number of sea-piracy incidents rose by over 20% from 2019 and West Africa experienced the highest number of attacks and attempted attacks since data collection began in the early 1990s.  It warns that the novel Coronavirus will likely produce similar conditions that have fuelled ship targeting in the past.  It points out that the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis sharply reduced incomes, increased regional unemployment, and drove up food prices, all of which amplified poverty levels in many SE Asian countries – and pirate attacks in the region subsequently jumped by 80% from 1998 to 1999 and another 50% from 1999 to 2000.  Piracy did not return to its pre-Asian financial crisis levels until 2006, and then the region was buffeted by a global recession that began in the US only a year later. Incidents of sea-piracy and armed robbery on ships nearly quadrupled over the next 5 years in Indonesian waters and Somali pirates dramatically escalated their seizure of commercial vessels beginning in 2008.  The economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been similarly devastating, with job losses, negative growth rates, and increased poverty.  The article does note that global piracy counts currently remain far lower than previous surges and there are notable successes in counter-piracy operations.  It also notes the apparent effect of the pandemic on illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, and notes that maritime contraband smuggling saw a decrease from 2019 perhaps owing to COVID-19 restrictions. The counter the various problems, the article proposes that the US must also continue its commitment to maritime security by deepening its relationship with allies and partners alike, especially in the Indo-Pacific.  It also says that the international community needs to aggressively combat the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.  It proposes that a focus on long-term inequities to better prepare for future shocks may help alter an individual’s calculus regarding the benefits of illicit activity, especially if secure employment and an adequate social safety net were available. 

https://www.hstoday.us/subject-matter-areas/transportation/how-history-predicts-covid-19s-impact-on-maritime-piracy-and-what-america-can-do-to-help/

A GLIMPSE INSIDE INCEL IDEOLOGY

An article in Homeland security Today on 15 February looked at the Incel phenomena.  It describes those involved the community of men who self-identify as involuntary celibates (incels), with acts of targeted violence based on anger over perceived and actual experiences of sexual exclusion in a modern world where sex before marriage has become a norm for many. Incels see themselves as involuntarily celibate because they feel undesirable and excluded from engagement in romantic or sexual liaisons. The incel community operates almost completely online and provides an outlet for members to express anger, frustration and blame over perceptions that women and society at large fail to include them in the prospect of sexual contact and partnership.  It says that many news stories have focused on the few self-identified incels, and others claimed by the incel community as their own.  The article goes on to examine the history and psychohistory of the movement.

https://www.hstoday.us/subject-matter-areas/counterterrorism/a-glimpse-inside-incel-ideology/

ISLE OF MAN LOOKING FOR A NEW CEO FOR ITS FSA

The Isle of Man Financial Services Authority is the financial services regulator for the Island, and it regulates the finance industry in line with international standards to satisfy its objectives of consumer protection, reduction of financial crime and the sustainable development of the finance sector.  The Authority is now seeking to appoint its next Chief Executive.  The closing date for applications is 12 March.

https://www.saxbam.com/appointment/isle-of-man-financial-services-authority/#

OECD RELEASES FINAL STAGE 1 PEER REVIEW REPORTS FOR BEPS ACTION 14 ON THE RESOLUTION OF TAX-RELATED DISPUTES BETWEEN JURISDICTIONS

On 16 February, Accountancy Daily reported that the OECD has released the final batch of the Stage 1 peer review reports for BEPS Action 14 on dispute resolution mechanisms – for Aruba, Bahrain, Barbados, Gibraltar, Greenland, Kazakhstan, Oman, Qatar, Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Thailand, UAE and Vietnam.  The Action 14 minimum standard of the OECD/G20 BEPS Project aims to improve the resolution of tax-related disputes between jurisdictions.  The OECD says that the review reports continue to represent an important step forward to turn the political commitments made by members of the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework on BEPS into measurable, tangible progress.  Many countries are already working to address deficiencies identified in their respective reports.

https://www.oecd.org/tax/beps/oecd-releases-final-batch-of-stage-1-peer-review-reports-for-beps-action-14-on-dispute-resolution-mechanisms.htm

US: MAN SENTENCED TO 42 MONTHS IN PRISON FOR ACTING AS MONEY MULE IN “JAMAICAN LOTTERY” SCAM

A news release from the US DoJ on 16 February advised that a Florida man, David Murray had been sentenced to 42 months imprisonment for acting as a money mule for a Jamaican Operation Linked to Telecommunications (JOLT), commonly referred to as a Jamaican Lottery scam.  This followed a United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) investigation.

https://www.justice.gov/usao-ndfl/pr/chattahoochee-man-sentenced-42-months-prison-acting-money-mule-jamaican-lottery-scam

US PROMOTING INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM AND ANTI-CORRUPTION EFFORTS IN PACIFIC ISLAND COUNTRIES

On 16 February, a news release from the US State Department Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) announced a near-$2 million fund and an open competition for organisations interested in submitting applications for a regional project that strengthens investigative journalism and anti-corruption efforts across the Pacific Islands.

https://www.state.gov/statements-of-interest-requests-for-proposals-and-notices-of-funding-opportunity/drl-promoting-investigative-journalism-and-anti-corruption-efforts-in-pacific-island-countries

JUDGE RULES NO “PROBABLE CAUSE” TO PROSECUTE A BUSINESSMAN DURING A FRAUD PROBE RELATING TO THE SALE OF RANGERS FC

On 16 February, STV in Scotland reported that Lord Tyre said that prosecutors had no legal basis to bring David Grier to court, following an investigation into activities at the club.  Grier had brought about a £5 million compensation claim against the Lord Advocate after he was charged in 2014, along with a number of other men, following investigation into how businessman Craig Whyte bought the company that ran the football club.  Grier was later cleared of the charges, and 2 administrators handling the winding up have agreed compensation, and received an apology from the Lord Advocate.

https://news.stv.tv/west-central/judge-rules-no-probably-cause-in-david-grier-prosecution

UK: FCA ENFORCEMENT OUTLOOK FOR 2021

An article from Dechert LLP on 16 February says that firms should be aware that the FCA will retain an active approach to financial crime and regulatory enforcement in 2021.  The article sets out Dechert’s views on likely enforcement trends and potential areas of focus for the FCA in 2021.  It  also covers immediate steps firms should be taking to ensure they are well prepared and that their systems and controls are up-to-date.  One of 2 main themes identified for assets managers and banks is ensuring firms are continuing to operate effective compliance programmes.  Dechert anticipates the FCA will continue to take action in relation to AML issues, so that firms should ensure that their AML policies and procedures have been adapted to take account of the challenges posed by the pandemic and that the effectiveness of these policies and procedures is kept under review.  The article also says that firms must ensure that their sanctions screening systems take into account both the new UK sanctions regime and any nuances in the way that existing sanctions legislation has been updated post-Brexit.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/fca-enforcement-outlook-for-2021-6741513/

US HAS SOLD MORE THAN 1 MILLION BARRELS OF SEIZED IRANIAN FUEL

On 16 February, Insurance Marine News reported that the US has sold more than 1 million barrels of Iranian fuel that it seized under its sanctions programme last year.  It used civil forfeiture procedures to seize 1.2 million barrels of gasoline which the US claimed were being sent from Iran to Venezuela aboard 4 tankers.  The shipments were transferred to other vessels and sent to the US.

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/us-has-sold-more-than-1m-barrels-of-seized-iranian-fuel/

MAERSK SAYS CURRENT GLOBAL SHIPPING TURMOIL SHOULD SETTLE DOWN BY JUNE/JULY

On 16 February, an article in Insurance Marine News reported that the Maersk shipping line has said that the trade disruptions that had caused significant increases in container shipping rates, as well as causing congestion at major ports, could start to ease as we head into Q2 2021.  It is said that the current exceptional situation of higher demand levels, bottlenecks in the supply chain and the misplacement of empty containers globally would continue in Q1 but would normalise after that.

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/maersk-says-current-global-shipping-turmoil-should-settle-down-by-june-july/

I would be grateful for any modest contribution for my time and ongoing costs of computer, relocation, and (still ongoing) removal costs, I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, 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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