Panama Covid-19 update – the Rt rate is down again, to just below 1, at 0.96; but new case numbers, and active cases, are both up slightly. There are currently 4,372 active cases, with 51 in ICU and 321 in other wards. There were another 4 fatalities reported today, taking the total to date to 6,282 – of the 368,368 people recorded as having contracted Covid-19 to date.
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11 MAY 2021
DUTCH GAMBLING REGULATOR TO CLAMP DOWN ON AFFILIATES AGAIN
On 11 May, iGB reported that the Netherlands’ Gaming Authority – Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has said it is starting a new round of action against affiliates offering unlicensed gambling in the jurisdiction. Advertising online gambling remains illegal in the Netherlands until the country’s online market opens on 1 October.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE, FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND THE RULE OF LAW IN THE DIGITAL AGE
The Centre for European Policy Studies has published a report by the High-Level Expert Group (HLEG) on Criminal Justice in the Digital Age which examined how different technologies can affect the functioning of a variety of criminal justice systems, processes and practices at the national and European level. The HLEG’s discussions provided the expert knowledge needed to set out recommendations towards better EU policy and law making in the area of criminal justice in the digital age.
ANTI-CORRUPTION AND BRIBERY LAW: WHAT PRECEDED BRAZIL’S “OPERATION CAR WASH” AND WHAT COMES NEXT?
On 7 May, Mayer Brown published an article saying that Brazil has, since the turn of the century, significantly modified its ABC Laws and more significantly, dramatically enhanced their enforcement. To understand where it is now, one must understand how it got there.
RUSSIA: COMPANIES UNDER SANCTIONS AND DEFENCE INDUSTRY ORGANISATIONS MAY WITHHOLD INFORMATION FROM FOREIGN AUDITORS
On 7 May, Baker McKenzie published an article saying that the Russian Government has allowed companies under sanctions and defence industry organisations not to provide information to foreign audit firms or individual auditors. A new Decree applies not to all audited entities, but only to companies sanctioned by foreign states (or whose controlling persons or counterparties are subject to sanctions), as well as organisations of the military-industrial complex.
IMPLEMENTATION OF NEW CUSTOMS ACT IN NORWAY – COUNTERFEIT GOODS
On 10 May, an article from Bryn Aarflot says that by 1 July a new Customs Act will be implemented in Norway, with simplified procedures relating to the destruction of consignments which contain counterfeit goods. The amendments aim to align Norwegian customs control with EU regulations and practice. The Act introduces a clear and undisputable prohibition of the import of counterfeit goods for private use, provided that the exporter can be confirmed as a commercial market player. To support this, the new Act includes various procedures relating to smaller consignments. It includes the removal of the requirement for the importer’s written consent for the destruction of consignments which contain counterfeit goods.
MALTA: US SANCTIONS CANNOT STOP INSURANCE COMPANY’S RELEASE OF FUNDS
On 11 May, the Times of Malta reported that a court has rules that sanctions by the US Treasury cannot stop a locally-registered assurance company from releasing funds to former footballer and suspected fuel smuggler Darren Debono. He s facing investigations for alleged international fuel smuggling, and the US imposed sanctions against Debono and 3 others in 2018. HSBC Life Assurance (Malta) had refused to release funds Debono held with them under a Savings Plan and a Private Retirement Plan. The court decided that the life assurance company must release the funds requested by Debono, but only once a local freezing order is lifted.
FATF REQUIREMENTS: PAKISTAN TO FORM NEW INSTITUTIONS
On 11 May, the News International in Pakistan reported that the government has decided to form new institutions to meet FATF requirements. Following amendment of AML/CFT laws, AML/CFT cases will be investigated by specialised agencies.
MALTA: REGULATOR SIGNS AGREEMENT WITH POLICE TO BETTER CLAMP DOWN ON FINANCIAL CRIME
On 10 May, Lovin Malta reported that the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) and the Malta Police Force have signed an agreement that will see the entities strengthening their cooperation. It is said to be one of several initiatives to establish a cooperation network with national and international stakeholders.
INDIA: MONEY LAUNDERING CASE AGAINST EX-MAHARASHTRA HOME MINISTER ANIL DESHMUKH
On 11 May, the Times of India reported that the Enforcement Directorate had registered the money laundering case against the former provincial minister. This came following a police investigation ordered by the Bombay high courtand based on a letter written by former Mumbai police commissioner.
A FORMER DIRECTOR OF BP SINGAPORE JAILED AND ORDERED TO PAY A PENALTY OF ABOUT S$6.22 MILLION FOR TAKING BRIBES
On 11 May, CAN reported that Clarence Chang Peng Hong was jailed for 54 months and ordered to pay a penalty of about S$6.22 million. Chang, who was BP’s former eastern regional director for marine fuels, separately faces money laundering charges.
BOKO HARAM’S GROWING ARMS STOCKPILE: A GREAT CONCERN FOR LAKE CHAD BASIN REGION
On 11 May, Defence Web reported that not only has Boko Haram grown in size and number, but it has also increased significantly in arms and ammunition, leading to scores of civilian deaths in many of its onslaughts. More worrisome, it says, is the seeming ease with which the terrorist group kills dozens of soldiers and captures sophisticated weapons in different attacks on military bases. The Lake Chad Basin region comprises Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger. Boko Haram has mainly sustained its deadly acts in the region using stolen weapons, mostly hijacked from the military. Each time it overpowers a military base, it captures an array of arms and ammunition. Non-lethal materiel, such as communications gear, uniforms, and petrol, are also seized on a sizeable scale.
PIRACY IN THE GULF OF GUINEA: – ARE THE CURRENT EFFORTS WORKING?
On 10 May, Control Risks hosted a webinar, a video of which is available online. Nigeria’s Deep Blue project, the EU’s Coordinated Maritime Presence and regular naval exercises are some of the most prominent efforts to reduce the number of attacks against ships in the Gulf of Guinea. This webinar looks at the impact of ongoing effects and looks at potential developments in the coming months, focussing on the second half of this year.
SOUTH AFRICA: ‘KICKBACK KING’ – WHO IS THE TOP ESKOM OFFICIAL WITH A NOW-FROZEN BANK ACCOUNT?
On 10 May, an article in The South African says that Eskom has placed a senior coal procurement manager on suspension following evidence of corruption involving millions. It is said that the state-owned enterprise, still recovering from years of damage caused by dodgy deals and shoddy maintenance programmes, continues to find bad apples sitting at the top of the tree. he official’s suspension follows a whistle-blower tip-off to the power utility.
EUROPE’S BANKING AUTHORITY OPENS CONSULTATIONS ON AML/CFT DATABASE
On 11 May, OCCRP reported that the European Banking Authority (EBA) has launched a public consultation on draft regulations for a future central database on AML/CFT in the EU. It will serve as an “early warning tool” that will enable the competent authorities to act. The consultation sets out how the EBA will analyse and disseminate the information contained in the AML/CFT central database.
OECD: INHERITANCE, ESTATE AND GIFT TAXES COULD PLAY A STRONGER ROLE IN ADDRESSING INEQUALITY AND IMPROVING PUBLIC FINANCES
A news release from the OECD on 11 May advised that inheritance taxation can be an important instrument to address inequality, particularly in the current context of persistently high wealth inequality and new pressures on public finances linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new OECD report.
OVER 56,400 CULTURAL GOODS SEIZED AND 67 ARRESTS IN ACTION INVOLVING 31 COUNTRIES
A news release from Europol on 11 May announced that, taking place between 1 June and 31 October 2020, Operation Pandora V saw the involvement of customs and law enforcement authorities from 31 countries. The 2020 edition of the Pandora operation targeting the illicit trafficking of cultural goods has been the most successful to date with over 56,400 cultural goods seized. These objects include archaeological objects, furniture, coins, paintings, musical instruments and sculptures. Within the framework of Pandora V, the Dutch National Police organised a 5-day cyber patrol week focusing on online markets. Law enforcement from 15 countries, with the support of Europol, INTERPOL and WCO, identified suspicious sales online, as a result of which 15 new investigations were opened.
UN GLOBAL PROGRAMME FOR COMBATING WILDLIFE AND FOREST CRIME ANNUAL REPORT 2020
UNODC has released this report.
UK: NEW GUIDANCE ON TAX AND PAYMENTS TO FOOTBALL AGENTS
On 11 May, Out-Law reported that football clubs must keep detailed records to evidence the split of payments made to player agents or other intermediaries in cases where those intermediaries provide services to both the club and the player, HMRC has confirmed. The new guidance represents a change in stance from HMRC and puts significant record-keeping obligations on clubs.
UK: TASKFORCE LAUNCHED TO INVESTIGATE REPORTED RISE IN PET THEFTS
On 10 May, the Current Awareness website reported a Home Office announcement of 8 May that a Pet Theft Taskforce has been launched to investigate the recent reported rise in pet theft since the start of Covid lockdown. There has been a considerable rise in puppy and kitten prices over the course of the past year following more people deciding to buy or adopt a pet. Recent reports have suggested that this may be leading to a rise in pet thefts.
SLIDES FROM THE ISLE OF MAN FSA REGULATORY UPDATE PROVIDED TO THE AICP MANX STATE OF THE NATION 2021
On 11 May, the FSA published the slides used in a recent presentation which provided a regulatory update to the Alliance of Isle of Man Compliance Professionals’ Manx State of the Nation 2021 conference. The topics included whistleblowing requirements.
2 PUBLIC SERVANTS ALLEGEDLY RIGGED NEW SOUTH WALES GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS FOR MILLIONS OF DOLLARS WORTH OF KICKBACKS
On 10 May, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that they allegedly spent close to 10 years subverting the Roads and Maritime Services processes to award more than $41 million in contracts to companies owned by friends and family, an Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry was told. They are accused of garnering more than $6.8 million in kickbacks from their scheme, which included a $1.5 million Ferrari and a handful other luxury cars, a Rolex, jewellery, cash deliveries in shoeboxes, as well as school and travel fees.
IRELAND: THE NORTHERN BANK JOB
The BBC has produced a radio series about the biggest bank heist in British and Irish criminal history – the 2004 Northern Bank robbery. It comprises 10 15-minute episodes. Just before Christmas 2004, gangs of armed men took over the homes of 2 Northern Bank officials in Belfast and County Down. With family members held hostage, the officials are instructed to remove cash from the vaults of Northern Bank headquarters in Belfast city-centre and load it into the back of a van – not once, but twice – before the van disappears into the night, along with more than £26.5 million in new and used notes. It uses dramatised court testimonies, new interviews and archive and takes one into the unfolding story of a meticulously planned heist and its chaotic aftermath, where military precision giving way to soap powder boxes stuffed with cash.
NEW RUSI PROJECT ON ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND FINANCIAL CRIME
On 10 May, RUSI announced a new study which will explore in depth both the opportunities and threats presented by AI in the financial crime context. A 1-year study of policy and operational considerations related to the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on financial crime will explore the opportunities that AI offers for better financial crime detection, as well as the threats posed by the abuse of AI. It will form part of Financial Crime 2.0, a RUSI research programme focused on the intersection of new technology and financial crime. The programme has already examined the contribution of technology to effective financial crime prevention; the role of advanced data analytics in the activities of supervisory and law enforcement agencies; the money laundering threats presented by the proceeds of cybercrime; and financial crime risks in cryptocurrency, online gambling, online video games and e-commerce.
US AUTHORITIES SEEK COURT ORDER TO SHUT DOWN CRYPTO TRADING PLATFORM ALLEGEDLY DUPING THOUSANDS OF INVESTORS
On 8 May, Bitcoin.com reported that New York Attorney General Letitia James has announced that she “has taken legal action to immediately halt the continued illegal and fraudulent operations of the cryptocurrency trading platform Coinseed Inc”. She launched a lawsuit in February against Coinseed and its 2 top executives, including founder and CEO Delgerdalai Davaasambuu, alleging that they “violated New York state laws and illegally squandered investors’ monies”.
US DoJ PROPOSES NEW REGULATION TO UPDATE FIREARM DEFINITIONS INVOLVING “GHOST GUNS”
On 7 May, Homeland Security Today reported that the DoJ has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that would update the definitions of “firearm” and related parts for the first time since 1968. It would modernise the definition of “frame or receiver” and help close a regulatory loophole associated with the privately made firearms with no serial numbers that are increasingly being recovered at crime scenes across the country. These unmarked firearms, known as “ghost guns,” are often assembled from kits that are sold without background checks, making them easily acquired by criminals who otherwise would not be permitted to possess a firearm.
INTERNATIONAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE (ICC), INTEGRITY INITIATIVES INTERNATIONAL (III), AND 96 CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS FROM OVER 50 COUNTRIES CALL ON UN FOR STRONGER ENFORCEMENT OF ANTI-CORRUPTION LAWS
On 11 May, ICC said that it and partners have called on the UN General Assembly to establish an international working group to develop proposals for new frameworks and mechanisms to address weaknesses in current international anti-corruption legal frameworks. It says that the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) is the only legally binding international treaty focused on combatting corruption and has been ratified by 187 states parties. Despite the popular adoption of UNCAC, there has been little progress in the international fight against corruption since it entered into force in 2005. The UN will convene a Special Session against Corruption from 2 June, during which a political declaration will be adopted but, to be effective, the ICC said that the declaration should include a mandate to establish a working group focused on implementing new, innovative anti-corruption strategies.
ICC AND BUSINESS AT THE OECD (BIAC) HAVE ISSUED A JOINT STATEMENT TO THE OECD ON HIGH-LEVEL PRINCIPLES FOR TRUSTED GOVERNMENT ACCESS TO PERSONAL DATA
On 11 May, the International Chamber of Commerce said that it and the BIAC have joined forces to deliver a statement – supported by over 20 business associations globally – to the OECD as it embarks on developing high-level principles and guidance on government access to private-sector held personal data. The joint statement emphasises the urgency of articulating common practices shared by OECD members and outlines necessary safeguards to ensure that a high standard of privacy is set and a firm foundation for building trust. The ICC says that it firmly believes that the benefits of trade depend on the trusted flow of data between countries.
EX-MAURITANIA LEADER UNDER HOUSE ARREST ON CORRUPTION CHARGE
On 11 May, the Daily Mail reported that Mauritania’s authorities have placed former President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz under house arrest as they investigate allegations of corruption, embezzlement and money laundering made against the former leader 2008-19. Aziz has refused to cooperate with the investigation, citing immunity as a former president and calling the prosecution illegal.
US DoJ EXPECTED TO REINVIGORATE THE POLICIES AIMED AT INCREASING COORDINATION BETWEEN THE CRIMINAL AND CIVIL DIVISIONS
An article from Proskauer on 11 May says that, under the Biden Administration, it expects the Department to reinvigorate the policies aimed at increasing coordination between the criminal and civil divisions. In the 2015 Yates Memorandum former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates pushed for “early and regular communication” between civil and criminal division attorneys in their pursuit of corporate investigations.
FCA CONSULTS ON A NEW CATEGORY OF UK AUTHORISED OPEN-ENDED FUND TO INVEST IN ILLIQUID ASSETS: THE LONG-TERM ASSET FUND (LTAF)
On 11 May, an article from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner reported that the FCA has launched a consultation to 25 June on a new category of authorised fund vehicle designed to accommodate investment in illiquid assets. The LTAF rules embed longer redemption periods, greater disclosure requirements, specific liquidity management and governance features that would differentiate the LTAF from other open-ended authorised funds and provide investors with the necessary confidence to invest in less liquid and potentially higher risk assets.
UK: LEX GREENSILL DENIES COMPANY WAS A PONZI SCHEME AND BLAMES INSURERS FOR ITS COLLAPSE
On 11 May, The Independent reported that the founder of Greensill Capital has denied allegations from British MPs that his collapsed finance firm was a “fraud” or a Ponzi scheme during a hearing before the House of Commons Treasury Committee. He declined to say how much of this was lent to companies operated by Sanjeev Gupta, the owner of Liberty Steel and he rejected the suggestion of former Treasury Minister Lord Myners that the affair had cost the taxpayer £3 billion to £5 billion.
8 ARRESTED ON SUSPICION OF LAUNDERING MORE THAN £50 MILLION IN OPERATION LINKED TO ARREST OF LEEDS WOMAN
On 11 May, the Yorkshire Evening Post reported that 8 people have been arrested as part of a police operation targeting a suspected network of cash couriers responsible for laundering more than £50 million in criminal profits. The 3 men and 5 women arrested are alleged to be cash couriers responsible for hiding large amounts of cash in luggage on commercial flights to Dubai from Heathrow or Manchester airports.
TUNISIAN COURT SENTENCES FORMER LEADER’S BROTHER-IN-LAW TO 10 YEARS IN PRISON
On 11 May, Middle East Eye reported that a Tunisian court has sentenced Belhassen Trabelsi, brother-in-law of ousted ruler Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali (who is currently in France, where he was arrested in 2019), to 10 years in prison for corruption. The court also sentenced Sami Fehri, the owner of El Hiwar TV, to 8 years in prison in the same case. The court is also said to have fined the men $14.51 million for using state TV resources for the benefit of a private company and transferring advertising revenues to their company.
SOUTH AFRICA: 2 FORMER SARS AUDITORS ARRESTED FOR ALLEGED TAX EVASION
On 11 May, SABC reported that 2 former South African Revenue Service auditors and a runner have been arrested for alleged tax evasion worth approximately R321 million. They have been charged for tax fraud in contravention of the Value Added Tax Act, as well as Customs and Excise Act.
US: FORMER PRESIDENT OF FIRST MORTGAGE COMPANY PLEADS GUILTY TO BANK FRAUD, MONEY LAUNDERING ETC
On 11 May, a news release from US DoJ advised that Ronald J McCord, 70, of Oklahoma City, had pleaded guilty to defrauding 2 locally-based banks, Fannie Mae, and others through a broad range of fraudulent conduct over the course of 3 years. He was the Chairman and founder of First Mortgage Company, LLC, an Oklahoma City-based mortgage lending and loan servicing company. The charges included bank fraud, money laundering, and making a false statement to a financial institution.
PROPOSED ACT FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF A CENTRAL TRANSPARENCY REGISTER IN HUNGARY SUBMITTED FOR APPROVAL
On 11 May, CMS Law published an article saying that Hungary intends to fulfil its obligations under the 4th and 5th EU AML Directives, which require Member States to establish a Central Transparency Register, a central register containing the data of the ultimate beneficial owners of local companies, and a central register of bank accounts and safe-boxes.
THE 4 LEVELS OF SUPPLY CHAIN RISK
On 2 May, the Global Trade Magazine published an article saying that supply chain risk comes in many forms – from industry-crashing crises to supplier challenges. It says that a holistic approach to supply risk management is built around 4 different levels of supply risk, and the article provides a look at how those levels break down, and how building a own risk management framework around them can help to develop a holistic view of risk across a supply chain.
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