OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MAY 14

Panama Covid-19 updateLa Prensa reports that, as of 30 April, 455 reports associated with reaction to vaccination were received, out of a total of 629,103 doses using the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. This works out to 0.07% of doses administered. The health ministry has said that, of these, 50.4% are moderate reactions, 43.4% mild and 6.2% severe (i.e. required further medical surveillance).

Meanwhile, from Monday, 17 May, the maximum capacity on buses will be allowed to increase to 80% – but all passengers, on buses and the Metro, theuse of a face screen or double mask will be mandatory.

Today 588 new cases reported, with 4 new fatalities – and with ICU, ward occupancy and total active cases all showing respective rises – 52 in ICU (up 7), 282 in other wards (up 5) and 5,081 active cases (with an increase of 272 over yesterday’s figures). There are also 252 housed in quarantine in requisitioned hotels (a figure up 39 on yesterday), and passed by one of these today – The Executive Hotel in downtown Panama City – a nice hotel and probably no hardship having to stay there, I think.

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

14 MAY 2021

US AUDIT WATCHDOG HAS PROPOSED A NEW FRAMEWORK TO HELP IMPLEMENT A LAW THAT BANS FOREIGN COMPANIES FROM THE COUNTRY’S EXCHANGES IF THEIR AUDITS HAVEN’T BEEN INSPECTED BY US REGULATORS

On 12 May, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s framework would help it decide whether it can review or investigate a public audit firm in certain jurisdictions, such as China or Hong Kong. The Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act applies to cases in which the work of overseas auditors hasn’t been inspected by US authorities for 3 consecutive years. The Chinese government has long resisted inspections of Chinese-company audits.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/audit-watchdog-proposes-framework-to-help-implement-new-trading-ban-11620943197

POLITICALLY INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE MADE UP A SIGNIFICANT PORTION OF THE CLIENTS AT AN OFFSHORE BANK IN THE ISLE OF MAN

On 13 May, OCCRP reported that politically influential people made up a significant portion of the clients at an offshore bank in the Isle of Man – the Cayman National Bank and Trust Isle of Man (CNBIOM) – according to a Brookings Institute researcher who analysed data from a breach.  Some of the politically connected clients of CNBOM appeared in OCCRP investigations.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/14376-expert-big-number-of-isle-of-man-offshore-bank-clients-are-politicians

CITIBANK TAIWAN AND DBS BANK TAIWAN PENALISED FOR AML FAILINGS

On 14 May, the Taiwan Times reported that the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) has fined Citibank Taiwan Ltd and DBS Bank Taiwan for breaches of AML regulations.  The fine is the highest penalty that the FSC has imposed on a domestic bank.  Citibank based its AML policies on those of its US-based parent company but the policies ignored transaction types specific to Taiwan that are suspected to be used for money laundering.

https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/biz/archives/2021/05/14/2003757358

WORLD’S BIGGEST CRYPTOCURRENCY EXCHANGE FACES US MONEY LAUNDERING AND TAX PROBES

On 14 May, KYC 360 reported that Binance Holdings Ltd is under investigation by the JUS DoJ and IRS.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/binance-faces-probe-by-u-s-money-laundering-and-tax-sleuths

NORWAY: FINE FOR AFFILIATE SEO-BUTLER FOR PROMOTING ILLEGAL GAMBLING

On 13 May, iGB reported that Norwegian regulator Lotteritilsynet is set to fine affiliate site owner SEO-Butler for promoting illegal gambling websites despite repeated warnings.  The regulator had presented SEO-Butler with an order to stop marketing of illegal gambling websites on its sites on 7 December, but it appeared some sites continued.

https://igamingbusiness.com/norways-lotteritilsynet-to-fine-affiliate-seo-butler-for-promoting-illegal-gambling

ACCOUNT FREEZING AND FORFEITURE ORDERS (AFFO) AND INTERNATIONAL OR SENSITIVE EVIDENCE

5SAH Chambers has published a short article which examines how this type of evidence raises a number of issues of admissibility and fairness.  It says that AFFO, like cash seizures, operate outside set procedure rules but follow general civil procedure.  Which rules and laws apply is a particular web which could be discussed in another article.

https://5sah.cmail19.com/t/ViewEmail/i/A93E7530A80D280A2540EF23F30FEDED/2C2211D2562A6759775FA7C4C6318CD9

OVERVIEW OF NEW POCA POWERS INTRODUCED BY CRIMINAL FINANCES ACT 2017

5SAH Chambers says that while the powers are not new, having been enacted on 17 April 2018, as we approach the 3-year anniversary of enactment it seems law enforcement are more comfortable in using them, and as the investigatory period is limited to 2 years, applications for forfeiture of the items will increase.

https://5sah.cmail19.com/t/ViewEmail/i/A93E7530A80D280A2540EF23F30FEDED/2C2211D2562A6759775FA7C4C6318CD9

OFAC AMENDS FAQ RELATED TO TSRA, AS WELL AS THE SUDAN AND DARFUR SANCTIONS

On 12 May, an article from Baker McKenzie says that, on 12 April, OFAC issued 4 amended FAQ related to submissions made pursuant to the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000, as well as the Sudan Program and Darfur Sanctions.  The article summarises these FAQ. 

https://sanctionsnews.bakermckenzie.com/ofac-amends-frequently-asked-questions-related-to-tsra-as-well-as-the-sudan-and-darfur-sanctions/#page=1

UK: THE EVOLUTION OF CHARITY LAW AND THE CHARITIES BILL

On 11 May, an article from Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP is concerned with long-awaited changes to charity law aimed at reducing unnecessary red tape which will be brought forward in the form of the Charities Bill.  The Bill will address the recommendations from the Law Commission which have been accepted by the Government.  The article details the reforms that the firm anticipates will have the most impact on the sector.

https://www.womblebonddickinson.com/uk/insights/articles-and-briefings/evolution-charity-law-charities-bill

GUERNSEY: NEW PLANS FOR BRINGING PARTNERSHIPS IN SCOPE OF ECONOMIC SUBSTANCE RULES

On 13 May, Walkers published an article the States of Guernsey’s Revenue Service has issued further details of the proposals to bring partnerships into scope of economic substance requirements for accounting periods commencing on or after 1 January 2022, although partnerships formed on or after 1 July 2021 will be in scope immediately on formation where they conduct activities that trigger economic substance requirements.  The changes are designed to meet commitments to adopt economic substance requirements made to the EU Code of Conduct Group on Business Taxation.  All Guernsey law partnerships, including limited partnerships both with and without legal personality and LLP will be brought into scope. Foreign partnerships, including LP and LLP, formed under non-Guernsey law and which have their “place of effective management” (POEM) in Guernsey and carry on business in Guernsey will also be brought into scope.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/documents.lexology.com/422afc2b-9038-4993-8755-7000eea27842.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAVYILUYJ754JTDY6T&Expires=1620995344&Signature=Ayhg%2Bnvka1SVQ45ZwHHh6VNl6fs%3D

TURKISH CUSTOMS CONFISCATE OVER 500 SMUGGLED BITCOIN MINING RIGS

On 14 May, Investing.com reported that Turkish customs have carried out what is said to be a record bust against illegal Bitcoin (BTC) mining equipment in the country.  The Customs Protection’s anti-smuggling and intelligence teams raided a warehouse where they found 501 ASIC Bitcoin mining rigs in closed cardboard boxes.

https://www.investing.com/news/cryptocurrency-news/turkish-customs-confiscate-over-500-smuggled-bitcoin-mining-rigs-2506552

GUERNSEY FSC SAYS IT NEEDS ADDITIONAL RESOURCES TO MEET THE CONTINUING DEVELOPMENT OF THOSE INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS

On 14 May, Guernsey Press reported that the FSC director general said other countries could shut the door on Guernsey’s finance industry when it comes to market access if international standards are not met.

https://guernseypress.com/news/2021/05/14/lack-of-resources-could-be-bad-for-business-says-gfsc-boss/

SFO LAUNCHES MONEY LAUNDERING PROBE INTO GUPTA FAMILY OVER TIES TO GREENSILL CAPITAL

On 14 May, City AM reported that the SFO has said that it is launching an investigation into the Gupta Family Group Alliance.  The SFO said that it is investigating suspected fraud, fraudulent trading and money laundering in relation to the financing and conduct of the business of companies within the Gupta Family Group Alliance (GFG), including its financing arrangements with Greensill Capital UK Ltd.

https://www.cityam.com/sfo-launches-money-laundering-probe-into-gupta-family-over-ties-to-greensill-capital/

GERMANY: BAFIN CEASE AND DESIST ORDER FOR WIDESTEP GMBH TO STOP AND WIND UP THE UNAUTHORISED MONEY REMITTANCE BUSINESS IMMEDIATELY

A release on Mondo Visione on 14 May reported that, on 22 April, BaFin, the German regulator, had issued the order to the company which accepts funds from private persons on its own accounts for the sole purpose of transferring these funds to mainly foreign accounts of companies based abroad.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/widestep-gmbh-bafin-issues-cease-and-desist-order-to-immediately-stop-and-wind/

WARNING FOR UK BUSINESSES AFTER DUTCH GDPR FINE

On 14 May, Out-Law said that a recent penalty imposed by the Dutch data protection authority should spur UK businesses to urgently review whether they need to appoint an EU-based data protection representative to continue servicing EU-based consumers in compliance with the GDPR.  It is said that the Dutch regulator imposed a €525,000 fine on a company thought to be based in Canada over its failure to designate a GDPR representative.

https://www.pinsentmasons.com/out-law/news/warning-for-uk-businesses-after-dutch-gdpr-fine

BOLIVIA FAMILY CLANS KEY COCAINE SUPPLIERS TO BRAZIL AND COLOMBIA

On 14 May, an article in Insight Crime reported that the extradition of a prominent Bolivian drug trafficker – Jesús Einar Lima Lobo, the suspected leader of the Lima Lobo family clan – to Brazil reveals how family clans in Bolivia serve as important cocaine suppliers to powerful organised crime groups across the region.

https://insightcrime.org/news/bolivia-family-clan-cocaine/

RUSSIAN JOURNALIST WHO EXPOSED OIL-THEFT SCHEMES SENTENCED TO 8 YEARS IN PRISON

On 14 May, Rferl reported that a journalist who believes he was targeted by investigators for his expose on massive oil theft in western Siberia has been convicted on blackmail and pornography charges and sentenced to 8 years in prison.  The investigation he was involved in, published in March, involved evidence of the role of Russian law enforcement in oil-theft schemes.

https://www.rferl.org/a/russia-oil-theft-shmonin-8-years-prison/31254873.html

FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS DO NOT ALWAYS ENSURE FREE TRADE

On 14 May, an article from VOX at the Centre for Economic Policy Research says that changes in the UK’s trading relationship with the EU are likely to have widespread effects, many of which are yet to be understood in full.  The article considers the issue of compliance with rules of origin requirements within free trade agreements. The authors argue that complying with these rules can present businesses with additional production costs that would not have been present had the UK remained a part of the EU.  It gives as an example the car manufacturing sector, saying that the average tariff imposed by the EU on non-agricultural products is a relatively low 5.3% – but that the tariff on car imports is 10%.  This is what UK manufacturers would face if they do not meet the rules of origin.

https://voxeu.org/article/free-trade-agreements-do-not-always-ensure-free-trade

THE NEW RANSOMWARE THREAT: TRIPLE EXTORTION

A post from Checkpoint Software Technologies Ltd says that the surge in ransomware attacks hits 102% increase this year compared to the beginning of 2020, and shows no sign of slowing down – with organisations in Asia Pacific are targeted more than any other region.  It provides a brief analysis of the threat and makes recommendations on mitigating the risk.

https://blog.checkpoint.com/2021/05/12/the-new-ransomware-threat-triple-extortion/

EASTERN CARIBBEAN CENTRAL BANK (ECCB) LAUNCHES PILOT OF DIGITAL CURRENCY

On 14 May, FATF-style regional body, CFATF, reported that on 31 March, the ECCB launched the pilot of its digital currency – Dcash – which is a blockchain-based, digital version of the Eastern Caribbean (EC) dollar. The pilot will run for 12 months and will initially include 4 countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis and St Lucia. The pilot will subsequently be extended to other eastern Caribbean countries with the anticipation that these will join by September 2021.

https://www.cfatf-gafic.org/home/what-s-happening/712-the-eastern-caribbean-central-bank-eccb-launches-pilot-of-digital-currency 

HERE’S WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT DarkSide RANSOMWARE

On 11 May, an article in Homeland Security Today said that an attack on the US fuel pipeline meant that another well-known variant on the cybercrime underground has been thrust into the international spotlight.  The article consists of an examination of how DarkSide rose to prominence among cybercriminals in an ecosystem that is teeming with actors looking for new ways to extort businesses out of their money.

https://www.hstoday.us/subject-matter-areas/infrastructure-security/heres-what-we-know-about-darkside-ransomware/ 

US: NEW FAQ FOR GOODS EXPORTED UNDER THE FOREIGN MILITARY SALES (FMS) PROGRAM

The US Bureau of Industry and Security has issued FAQ to provide guidance on exports that would usually be controlled under Export Administration Regulations (EAR), but are now controlled under FMS, particularly for items transferred from the US Munitions List to the Commerce Control List.

https://bis.doc.gov/index.php/documents/pdfs/2756-fms-faqs-dated-5-12-21/file 

US: AMENDMENT OF NARCOTICS TRAFFICKING SANCTIONS REGULATIONS AND FOREIGN NARCOTICS KINGPIN SANCTIONS REGULATIONS

On 14 May, OFAC announced the release to add or amend general licenses with respect to payments for legal services, certain transactions for personal maintenance, certain transactions for maintenance of blocked tangible property, and emergency medical services, among other things.  They will take effect upon publication in the Federal Register on 17 May. 

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USTREAS/bulletins/2d93550 

AMERICAN BANKERS ASSOCIATION VIEWS ON THE CORPORATE TRANSPARENCY ACT

On 14 May, an article from Ballard Spahr LLP focuses on the reaction of the ABA to the implementation of the Corporate Transparency Act – part of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 – which requires certain legal entities to report their beneficial owners to a database accessible by US and foreign law enforcement and regulators, and to US financial institutions seeking to comply with their own AML compliance obligations. 

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/american-bankers-association-weighs-in-8504986

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

CYPRUS FILES FIRST PROSECUTION IN PASSPORTS-FOR-INVESTMENT SCHEME

On 14 May, Al Jazeera reported that Cyprus has filed its first criminal prosecution in a controversial passport-for-investment scheme abolished last year after Al Jazeera’s exposé.  It is said that the action involves 5 individuals and 4 legal entities, who are facing a total of 37 charges. 

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/5/14/cyprus-files-first-prosecution-in-passports-for-investment-scheme

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

US: DOJ CHARGES SWITZERLAND’S LARGEST INSURANCE COMPANY AND 3 SUBSIDIARIES WITH CONSPIRING TO CONCEAL FROM THE IRS MORE THAN $1.4 BILLION IN OFFSHORE INSURANCE POLICIES

A release on Mondo Visione on 14 May said that the DoJ has filed a criminal information charging Swiss Life Holding AG (Swiss Life Holding), Swiss Life (Liechtenstein) AG (Swiss Life Liechtenstein), Swiss Life (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. (Swiss Life Singapore), and Swiss Life (Luxembourg) S.A. (Swiss Life Luxembourg) with conspiring with US taxpayers and others to conceal from the IRS more than $1.452 billion in offshore insurance policies, including more than 1,600 insurance wrapper policies, and related policy investment accounts in banks around the world and the income generated in these accounts.  The DoJ also announced a deferred prosecution agreement with the entities under which they agreed to accept responsibility for their criminal conduct by stipulating to the accuracy of the Statement of Facts attached to the agreement.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/us-department-of-justice-switzerlands-largest-insurance-company-and-three-subs/

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

CRYPTOCURRENCY CRIME AND ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING REPORT

Ciphertrace has published its May 2021 report which provides a review of crime involving cryptocurrencies, including the substantial use of cryptocurrency in sanctioned countries — most notably, Iran.  It says that OFAC has ramped up its enforcement actions against virtual asset service providers (VASP) for sanctions violations related to sanctioned countries, and that it is vital that institutions screen IP data to ensure they aren’t transacting with sanctioned entities and addresses.  In addition, the report identifies major trends and developments.

https://ciphertrace.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/CipherTrace-Cryptocurrency-Crime-and-Anti-Money-Laundering-Report-May-2021-051221b.pdf

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y