Panama Covid-19 update – despite the vaccination programme underway, and more re-opening of businesses in hand or soon to take place, there were still 20 more fatalities reported today, and 682 new cases. 9,417 active cases include 172 in ICU and 1,016 in other wards.
25 February 2021
ISLAMIC STATE’S MONEY SUPPLY NOT DRY YET
On 23 February, VoA reported that, nearly 2 years after losing the last of territory in eastern Syria, the Islamic State terror group seems to be generating substantial amounts of revenue that has been instrumental for funding its insurgency across Syria and Iraq. The group’s growing terror activity in both countries in recent months has occurred largely because it is still capable of generating cash from criminal networks, military officials and experts say. According to the US Treasury, IS has an estimated $100 million available in cash reserves, and with no territory to control, IS no longer has the administrative responsibilities that would require additional spending. IS militants have also resorted to taking hostages for ransom as another means to fund its insurgency. To eradicate IS financial networks, experts suggest that the global coalition against IS and its local partners in Syria and Iraq should deal with the group as if it were more like a mafia organisation.
NIGERIA: WEIGHING THE BAN ON CRYPTOCURRENCY TRANSACTIONS
On 16 February, This Day in Nigeria carried an article saying that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently directed banks and other financial institutions to close any accounts dealing in cryptocurrency or facilitating payment for cryptocurrency exchange. It also directed banks to report any individual and entity running such accounts. It was reported that the federal government and CBN were hinted by the FBI of the activities of fraudsters using cryptocurrencies to bring into the country hundreds of millions of US Dollars illegally obtained from the US and other western economies, giving rise to the policy.
TURKEY: 3 FOUND GUILTY IN HELPING CARLOS GHOSN ESCAPE
On 24 February, the Wall Street Journal reported that 3 Turkish nationals were found guilty of smuggling Carlos Ghosn into Turkey after he fled Japan inside a musical-equipment box, becoming the first people convicted in connection with the escape from Japan in late 2019. A judge in Istanbul handed down suspended prison sentences of 4 years and 2 months and fines equivalent to $4,352, to 3 men—an airline manager and 2 pilots who flew Ghosn from Japan to Istanbul. 2 other pilots who flew Ghosn from Istanbul to Beirut and were on trial for the same charges of migrant smuggling were acquitted. A flight attendant was also acquitted, and the court dropped charges against a second flight attendant.
UK: EXECUTIVE CONVICTED IN BRIBERY CASE AGAINST UNAOIL GROUP AFTER RETRIAL
The Wall Street Journal has reported that Paul Bond, a former sales manager at Dutch oil company SBM Offshore NV, was convicted of 2 counts of conspiracy to give corrupt payments , conspiring to bribe public officials in Iraq.
ARE THERE LIMITS TO WHAT CAN BE DISCUSSED “WITHOUT PREJUDICE”?
An article from ParrisWhittaker in the Bahamas discusses the subject in the light of a recent Court of Appeal case in England, saying that, in certain situations the courts will lift what’s been described as the ‘veil of without prejudice’. But given the usefulness of this type of discussion these exceptions will only be used sparingly. It explains that the without prejudice principle essentially means that whatever the parties say during negotiations can’t be used against them in any subsequent court case, and that this encourages free and frank discussions between parties engaged in a dispute. Without prejudice talks also promote negotiated settlements. It examine the limitations, primarily ‘unambiguous impropriety’, a recognised exception to the without prejudice rule (other exceptions include the existence of fraud, misrepresentation or undue influence).
PRIVILEGE: LPP – WHEN MIGHT A LIMITED WAIVER BECOME A COLLATERAL WAIVER?
On 23 February, an article from Dechert LLP posed this question, saying that corporates sharing privileged material subject to limited waiver should be aware of the downstream risks entailed where this material is deployed in litigation. This was in the light of a recent court case in England where the court considered the law on collateral waiver and on limited waiver of LPP. It explains that a collateral waiver of privilege arises where a party to litigation deploys part of privileged material in order to advance its claim or defence, without disclosing the whole. In such a case, in the interests of fairness, privilege over other material falling within the same transaction is also waived. It may also arise where reliance is placed on documents which were formerly privileged, even in circumstances where the privilege has been lost due to deployment of the material by a third party in separate litigation.
CHARGES STAYED IN ONE OF ONTARIO’S LARGEST MOB BUSTS AFTER ALLEGED ILLEGAL CONDUCT BY INVESTIGATORS
On 24 February, CBC reported that one of the largest police investigations into organised crime in Ontario’s history has fallen apart after police allegedly illegally intercepted phone calls as part of a multimillion-dollar probe into suspected Mob activity in the Greater Toronto Area. Defence lawyers raised concerns that investigators committed “significant breaches of solicitor/client privilege”. The case, Project Sindacato was an 18-month, $8 million joint investigation that began in 2018 involving 8 different police services. The group was accused of running illegal gambling operations, fraud, drug trafficking and laundering money through casinos.
SUPPORTING SMALL ARMS AND LIGHT WEAPONS (SALW) CONTROLS THROUGH DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE
On 25 February, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute released its latest report, which takes the form of a case study of sub-Saharan Africa. It says that, in order to help states to address the multifaceted challenges posed by the proliferation of such weapons, some states as well as regional and international organizations have established a series of funding instruments and assistance programmes that support or provide SALW control-related assistance. In view of the recognised linkages between SALW proliferation, security and development, official development assistance (ODA) has progressively become an eligible source of funding in this field. The report says that research shows that only a limited number of donors have used ODA to support SALW control-related assistance and that they have different practices in the way they report on the use of these funds. It also outlines the challenges that make mapping this assistance a particularly difficult exercise.
CHINA PULLS THE PLUG ON AUSTRALIA’S BIGGEST LIVE REEF FISH EXPORTER
On 24 February, ABC News reported that Queensland’s multi-million-dollar coral trout fishery is in jeopardy after the country’s biggest live-fish exporter failed to have its export licence renewed in China – the latest casualty of simmering tensions between the Australian and Chinese governments.
US: HONG KONG RECORDKEEPING FAQ UPDATED CONSISTENT WITH REMOVAL OF HONG KONG FROM EAR COUNTRY CHART
An article from Husch Blackwell LLP on 24 February reported that the merging of Hong Kong with China with respect to Hong Kong’s treatment under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) is now reflected in the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security’s Hong Kong recordkeeping guidance. On 19 February, BIS updated its Hong Kong record-keeping FAQ to make that guidance consistent.
WORKING GROUP ESTABLISHED FOR THE RISK ASSESSMENT OF MONEY LAUNDERING AND TERRORISM FINANCING IN BOSNIA
On 25 February, the Sarajevo Times reported that the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina have passed a Decision to establish a Working Group to draft an amendment to the Risk Assessment of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing in Bosnia and Herzegovina for the period 2021-2023, and the accompanying action plan until 2023.
EX-CEO OF SWEDBANK ESCAPES LEGAL BATTLE AFTER LAUNDERING SCANDAL
On 25 February, Bloomberg Quint reported that the ousted CEO of Swedbank AB, Birgitte Bonnesen, is no longer facing a legal battle with her former employer after its lawyers advised against a drawn out and costly process. Swedbank says it won’t move ahead with a lawsuit because its chances of winning are low. Bonnesen, who was fired in early 2019 amid concerns she misled the public on the extent to which Swedbank had allegedly handled suspicious transactions via its Baltic operations, is still being investigated by Sweden’s public prosecutor for gross market manipulation and unauthorized disclosure of insider information.
UK COURT: NIRAV MODI CAN BE EXTRADITED TO INDIA TO STAND TRIAL
On 25 February, Scroll in India reported that the Westminster Magistrates’ Court has ordered that fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi can be extradited to India to face trial over the PNB Bank fraud. He was arrested in 2019.
BRITISH COLUMBIA: HALF-BILLION-DOLLAR UNREGISTERED ‘SHADOW’ MORTGAGE BROKER SAYS HE JUST MET DEMAND
On 24 February, an article from CBC reported on the testimony of a so-called unregistered “shadow” mortgage broker responsible for securing more than half a billion dollars’ worth of home financing through the use of altered tax and bank documents. he says there will always be a demand for the services of people with his skills. Jay Kanth Chaudhary was ordered by authorities to cease and desist his unregistered activities in 2019. He is estimated to have earned $6 million in fees related to 900 deals fronted by registered mortgage brokers in the decade before regulators raided his offices in 2018. He was speaking before the Cullen Inquiry, which is looking at money laundering abuses of British Columbia casinos.
VENEZUELA EXPELS EU AMBASSADOR AFTER NEW SANCTIONS
On 25 February, EurActiv reported that the Venezuelan Foreign Minister said that the head of the EU delegation in Caracas had 72 hours to leave the country and declared her persona non grata after the bloc imposed new sanctions on Venezuelan officials.
UK AMENDS 1 ENTRY ON CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC SANCTIONS LIST
On 25 February, a Notice from HM Treasury advised that the entry relating to Bi Sidi SOULEMAN had been amended.
US: NEW REGULATIONS TO REVIEW AND RESTRICT IMPORTS AND OTHER TRANSACTIONS IN INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY AND SERVICES WILL LIKELY PROVE COSTLY TO IMPORTERS AND DOWNSTREAM USERS
On 25 February, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reported that new regulations allowing the Bureau of Industry and Security to review and restrict imports and other transactions in information and communications technology and services will likely prove costly to importers and downstream users, according to an analysis from the Department of Commerce.
CONSTRUCTION: 38 ARRESTED IN FRANCE, ROMANIA AND MOLDOVA FOR ABUSING MIGRANT WORKERS
A news release from Europol on 25 February advised that a criminal network smuggled and registered Moldovan workers in France with fake documents while keeping their real passports as a guarantee. An investigation by the French Border Police, the Romanian Police and the Moldovan Police, supported by Europol and Eurojust, led officers to dismantle an organised crime group involved in migrant smuggling, human trafficking for labour exploitation, document fraud, social benefit fraud and money laundering.
UK: SUSPENDED SENTENCE FOR FRAUDSTER WHO CREATED BOGUS CLAIMS COMPANY
On 24 February, Litigation Futures reported that a fraudster who faked a road traffic accident and invented a fictitious accident management company to facilitate a whiplash claim has been handed a suspended prison sentence. Shajeel Malik was sentenced to 9 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, and 100 hours unpaid work in the community following a 10-day trial.
SOLICITOR WHO LEFT CLIENTS “HIGH AND DRY” STRUCK OFF
On 25 February, Legal Futures reported that it is claimed that a solicitor left clients “high and dry” by failing to register their property purchases and pay stamp tax, while misappropriating some £175,000 of their money.
AUSTRIA TO EXTRADITE FORMER RUSSIAN OFFICIAL WANTED FOR EMBEZZLEMENT
On 25 February, Rferl reported that Spanish investigators say Boris Mazo might have laundered money he stole in Russia through the purchase of an expensive property in the southern city of Marbella. Austrian authorities detained Mazo in November at Spain’s request. However, the Austrian court decided to extradite Mazo to Russia, not Spain.
NEW LAW APPEARS TO PROHIBIT BANKS IN NICARAGUA FROM DENYING SERVICES TO INDIVIDUALS AND ENTITIES TARGETED BY US SANCTIONS
On 25 February, an article from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer said that Nicaragua’s reforms to the “Law for the Protection of the Rights of Consumers and Users” have entered into force. It points out that, since 2018, the US has imposed sanctions on dozens of Nicaraguan individuals and entities with ties to President Daniel Ortega for corruption, money laundering, and human rights violations. It says that the new law and others like it put the banks between the US government and its foreign counterparts that are resisting that expansion, and the coming months may foreshadow how US authorities and the international financial community will react to similar blocking-type measures in other countries.
NCA SAR NEWSLETTER
In the UK, the NCA has issued the February edition of the “SARs in Action” newsletter. It includes an article on interaction with the gambling sector.
TOBACCO COMPANY PR AGENCY TRIED TO BRIBE JOURNALIST IN KENYA
On 21 February, the ICIJ reported that an employee of a Kenyan PR agency working for British American Tobacco (BAT) is said to have offered a bribe to a journalist to leak details of the investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalists into how the company had targeted young smokers. It is said that BAT, which is said to have had no knowledge of the matter, has parted company with the agency with immediate effect and is investigating the incident.
CRYPTOCURRENCY CRIME AND ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING REPORT (FEBRUARY 2021)
Ciphertrace has released a new report which provides the latest news on cryptocurrency and AML.
JERSEY GUIDANCE: REGISTERED PERSONS AND FINANCIAL STABILITY
On 24 February, the Jersey FSC said that many businesses will be facing increased financial pressure as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and that it expects all Registered Persons to be able to demonstrate that due consideration is given to the financial position of the business and its client entities so that, in the event of financial difficulties, the Registered Person engages at the earliest opportunity with their Supervisor. It lays out its expectations and stresses the importance of an open and honest dialogue between a Registered Person and their Supervisor.
SEIZED VESSEL SHOWS WIDER TIES TO ILLICIT IRANIAN OIL TRADE NETWORKS
An article from Kharon on 23 February reports that a vessel seized last month by Indonesian authorities over a suspected ship-to-ship transfer with an Iranian tanker appears to be tied to a network previously sanctioned by the US for illicit Iranian oil trade. The Freya is also connected to a broader network of actors sanctioned for Iran-related petroleum trade, according to a Kharon investigation. The vessel is owned by a Marshall Islands-based company which shares an address in Singapore with the vessel’s operator which is owned by an individual with a China-based address identified by the US Treasury as linked to COSCO Shipping Tanker (Dalian) Seaman And Ship Management Co Ltd.
US: EXECUTIVE ORDER LAUNCHES A COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW OF US SUPPLY CHAINS TO IDENTIFY WAYS TO SECURE U.S. SUPPLY CHAINS
On 25 February, KPMG reported that the Executive Order launches a comprehensive review of US supply chains and directs federal departments and agencies to identify ways to secure US supply chains against a broad range of risks and vulnerabilities. It initiates a 100-day review of the supply chains of 4 key products – active pharmaceutical ingredients (API); critical minerals; semiconductors and advanced packaging; and large-capacity batteries (such as those used in electric vehicles). A fuller 1-year long review will follow.
see the White House factsheet –
REPORT ON US MEASURES TO ADDRESS HUAWEI-RELATED ISSUES
On 25 February, KPMG reported that the US Congressional Research Service has produced a report on recent Huawei-related legal activities in the US and examines the statutory authorities underlying each action.
The report dated 23 February is at –
ISLE OF MAN MYANMAR AND CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC SANCTIONS UPDATE
On 25 February, the Isle of man issued 2 news releases: one confirming the addition of 5 names (and amendment of the entry for another) on the Myanmar/Burman sanctions lists; and the other confirmed the amendment of 1 existing entry on the Central African Republic sanctions list.
EU TO FORCE MULTINATIONALS TO REVEAL TAX FILINGS AS IRELAND LOSES DEBATE
On 25 February, the Irish Times reported that the EU is to move ahead with a new law to force multinationals to reveal their tax payments and activities for each Member State, as backing for the measure outnumbered the opposition of a group of countries led by the Irish Republic. The country-by-country reporting proposal for companies with revenue of more than €750 million had been stalled since 2016.
DOES THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT (ESA) APPLIES TO THE US FDA APPROVAL OF GENETICALLY-ENGINEERED ANIMALS FOR CONSUMPTION AS FOOD
An article from Wiley rein LLP on 25 February says that while genetic engineering has stirred passionate debates between its defenders and detractors, a recent federal court decision has attempted to settle this particular dispute. In this case, the court held that FDA failed to comply with the ESA when authorising a company to grow genetically engineered salmon in landlocked pens, and that the “FDA failed to adequately assess the risk that the salmon would escape and survive in the wild”.
See also –
COUNTERFEIT MEDICAL SCHEMES PERSIST A YEAR INTO THE GLOBAL CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
On 25 February, an article from Snell & Wilmer says that, even before COVID-19, counterfeits within the healthcare industry and military supply chains were a significant issue. COVID-19 may only have exacerbated the issue for legitimate suppliers and desperate end-users. It advises that healthcare facilities in the US should stay abreast of changing guidance from the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security regarding counterfeit PPE. Entities may also want to consider adhering to alerts published by manufacturers themselves regarding characteristics of counterfeit products. It also proposes that entities should also consider conducting internal compliance and audits of equipment to ensure that counterfeit PPE has not been distributed to its employees.
UK: SFO CHARGES FORMER BIODIESEL TRADER WITH FRAUD AND MONEY LAUNDERING
A news release from the SFO on 25 February advised that it had charged biodiesel trader Gianni Rivera with fraud and money laundering in connection with its investigation concerning the sustainable fuel sector. A former employee of Greenergy, he is charged by the SFO with 2 counts of fraud by abuse of position and 1 count of money laundering.
SHIPPING: 11 NEW CASES OF CREW ABANDONMENT IN OPENING WEEKS OF 2021
On 25 February, Insurance Marine News reported that a blog that has been tracking crew abandonment closely in recent months, has reported that 11 new cases of abandonment had been recorded in the opening weeks of 2021. Iran, Yemen and the UAE led the locations of recent abandonment cases.
CARGO THEFTS FROM WAREHOUSES ARE ON THE RISE
On 25 February, Insurance Marine News reported that losses from warehouses and other storage facilities increased to 25% of all cargo theft, according to TT Club’s just-published report on annual cargo theft in 2020. However, thefts of cargo in transit remained the highest percentage of the total. It is said that new high-value targets had emerged, such as PPE, face masks and anti-bacterial gel. The vaccine supply chain was likely to come under threat as the roll out expanded. However, food & beverage sector remained the largest target, at 31% of the total.
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