OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MAY 18

Panama Covid-19 update – after 2 days with no deaths, 2 reported today – and a worrying rise in the average Rt rate to 1.15. meanwhile, another 539 new cases reported, with a total of 5.536 now active – 61 in ICU, 303 in other wards and 263 in the so-called “hospital hotels”.

18 MAY 2021

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

CANADA IMPOSES SANCTIONS AGAINST MYANMAR OFFICIALS

On 18 May, EU Sanctions blog reported that Canada has designated 10 entities, all of which are also US-listed. 16 officials have also been designated, of whom 8 are both EU- and US-listed, 6 are EU-listed only, while the remaining 2 (adult children of military commanders) are US-listed. 

https://www.canada.ca/en/global-affairs/news/2021/05/canada-imposes-additional-sanctions-on-individuals-and-entities-affiliated-with-armed-forces-of-myanmar.html

GERMANY ARRESTS BUSINESSMAN OVER DUAL-USE EXPORTS TO RUSSIA

On 18 May, Republic World carried an AP report saying that a businessman suspected of helping Russia purchase sophisticated machinery in breach of arms export rules has been detained in Germany.  Officers also searched premises in Leipzig and Berlin in connection with the case.  The suspect is accused of running a trading company that had ties to a business in Russia controlled by a Russian intelligence agency.

https://www.republicworld.com/world-news/europe/germany-arrests-businessman-over-dual-use-exports-to-russia.html

PANAMA IS POORLY RATED IN INTERNATIONAL STUDY ON COMBATING CORRUPTION

On 18 May, TVN reported that in the Anti-Corruption Assessment of Latin America 2020 Panama came second-lowest, just ahead of Guatemala. 

https://www.tvn-2.com/nacionales/Nuevamente-Panama-evaluada-internacional-corrupcion_0_5854664515.html

2 ARRESTED AND CHARGED FOR SELLING US AIR FORCE CONTROLLED TECHNICAL DOCUMENTS

On 18 May, the Clearance Jobs website reported that 2 further arrests had been made in the case, following the detaining of 4 others in September.  It is said that court documents allege the illegal acquisition of the Air Force Technical Orders which provide clear and concise instructions for the safe and effective operation and maintenance of centrally-acquired and managed Air Force military systems and end items.  It is alleged that the purloined documents were sold on for profit.

https://news.clearancejobs.com/2021/05/18/insiders-arrested-and-charged-for-selling-usaf-controlled-technical-drawings/

GHANA: PLUGGING THE REVENUE LEAKAGES FROM THE SMUGGLING OF GOLD BY SMALL-SCALE MINERS “WILL BOOST THE COUNTRY’S FISCAL REVENUE”

On 18 May, Graphic Online reported that almost $2 billion worth of gold is smuggled out annually by some small-scale miners to Dubai and India, and it is claimed that about $6 billion of gold exported from Ghana to India and Dubai 2013-2016 had not been reported. 

https://www.graphic.com.gh/business/business-news/seal-2bn-leakage-tax-consultant-urges-over-illicit-gold-trade.html

PANAMA: IMF MISSION REPORT

On 17 May, EIN Presswire carried a news release from the IMF about the outcome of a virtual Article IV Consultation Mission to Panama.  Amongst its comments are that exiting the FATF grey list must remain a priority, saying that, with original deadlines passed, authorities need to expediently address the remaining deficiencies in the AML/CFT regulatory framework identified by FATF.  It is said that the country must improve oversight and sanctions for AML/CFT-related violations; ensure the verification of up-to-date information on beneficial owners of legal entities and continue to demonstrate progress in money laundering criminal investigations involving foreign tax crimes.  On tax transparency, it is said that, despite efforts to comply with international standards on transparency, the EU has kept Panama on the blacklist of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes issued in February 2021. The authorities are encouraged to work closely with the EU authorities to resolve this issue.

https://www.einnews.com/pr_news/541369395/panama-staff-concluding-statement-for-the-virtual-2021-article-iv-consultation-mission

BAHRAIN PROBES $1.3 BILLION IRANIAN MONEY LAUNDERING NETWORK

On 18 May, Arab News reported that Bahrain’s attorney general said that public prosecutors had uncovered a $1.3 billion money laundering racket linked to officials at Future Bank and other Iranian institutions — including its central bank, with alleged offences taking place 2008-12.  It enabled banks that included Iran’s Melli Bank and Bank Saderat Iran, to complete transfers which would have otherwise been blocked.

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1860636/business-economy

2,800 RADIOACTIVE WASTE BARRELS FOUND IN BALTIC SEA

On 18 May, EurActiv reported that about 2,800 barrels of radioactive waste partly originating from the healthcare and defence industries may have been handled carelessly.  They were reportedly located on the floor of the Baltic Sea 100 km north of Stockholm and date from the 1970s and 1980s.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/politics/short_news/2800-radioactive-waste-barrels-found-near-baltic-sea-stored-carelessly/

EUROPOL HELPS SPANISH AUTHORITIES BREAK UP A €26.5 MILLION VAT FRAUD SCHEME

A news release from Europol on 18 May advised that a law enforcement operation involving 5 countries with the support of Europol and Eurojust has resulted in the arrest of 22 suspects belonging to an organised crime group which has caused over €26.5 million in tax loss to the Spanish state budget.  A syndicate used a sophisticated infrastructure to facilitate such tax evasion spread over various countries in the past year and a half.  The criminals would use so-called front companies in Spain, Slovakia, Romania, Belgium and the Netherlands to pretend a trade in goods took place.  In reality, no goods were delivered to enterprises in other countries, but they remained in the same Member State.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/europol-helps-spanish-authorities-break-€265-million-vat-fraud-scheme

EU RENEWS SANCTIONS REGIME FOR THOSE INVOLVED IN CYBER-ATTACKS THREATENING THE EU OR ITS MEMBER STATES

EU Regulation 2021/796/EU has renewed EU Regulation 2019/797/EU has been renewed, to have effect until 22 May 2022.

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/AUTO/?uri=uriserv:OJ.LI.2021.174.01.0001.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2021:174I:TOC

http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2021/05/17/cyber-attacks-council-prolongs-framework-for-sanctions-for-another-year/

AIRBUS-OWNED GPT SPECIAL PROJECTS MANAGEMENT SAUDI CORRUPTION CASE

The latest edition of Private Eye magazine in the UK carries an article about what it calls about blatant UK government connivance in criminality over 30 years.  Regular payments were made by GPT to offshore companies using the name Simec, for which no services were provided.  Bribes worth around 12% of costs on the contract, or several millions of pounds a year, were funnelled through this network into local and Swiss accounts belonging to senior figures in the Saudi National Guard.  Despite the UK ratifying the UN Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in 1999, it is alleged that official connived in enabling corrupt practices to continue.  The article comments on the poor treatment of whistleblower Ian Foxley.

https://www.private-eye.co.uk/in-the-back

UK RETURN TO NIGERIA $6 MILLION STOLEN BY EX-GOVERNOR JAMES IBORI

On 18 May, Mail Online reported that Nigeria has received $4.2 million looted by a former governor, who was jailed in the UK for money laundering and fraud.  James Ibori was the governor of the southern oil-rich Delta state between 1999 and 2007.  The deal stipulates that Nigeria will use the funds to finance vital infrastructure projects.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-9591989/UK-return-Nigeria-6-mn-stolen-ex-governor.html

US CUSTOMS UPHOLDS BAN ON SHIPMENT OF COTTON GARMENTS THAT WERE SUSPECTED OF VIOLATING ITS XINJIANG RESTRICTIONS

On 17 May, Crowell Moring reported that, on 10 May 10, US Customs and Border Protection’s rejected a protest in response to a request for an Application for Further Review (AFR) concerning a shipment of cotton garments that were suspected of violating its Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps Withhold Release Order (WRO).  The WRO prohibits the importation of all cotton and cotton products produced by the XPCC, and its subordinate and affiliated entities. This WRO was issued due to rising concerns over reports of forced labour in Xinjiang.

https://www.cmtradelaw.com/2021/05/customs-denies-protest-and-excludes-shipment-of-cotton-garments-for-violation-of-xinjiang-withhold-release-order-wro

UK: JUSTICE CATCHES UP WITH DRUG TRAFFICKER AND MONEY LAUNDERER WHO FLED TO ISRAEL

A news release from the NCA on 18 May advised that Eitan Benzur, 65, a  drug trafficker and money launderer who spent more than 6 years on the run in the Middle East has been jailed for 9 years.  He had been on bail following his arrest in February 2014 as part of an NCA investigation into drug trafficking and money laundering.

https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/justice-catches-up-with-drug-trafficker-and-money-launderer-who-fled-to-israel

US CUSTOMS SEIZES COUNTERFEIT DESIGNER MASKS, BUCKET HATS WORTH NEARLY $800,000

On 17 May, KOLD News reported that US Customs and Border Protection officers examining arriving shipments at an express consignment location intercepted over 5,000 counterfeit designer face masks, hats and headbands valued at nearly $800,000.  The items were shipped from China and arrived in Austin in early March. 

https://www.kold.com/2021/05/18/cbp-counterfeit-seizes-designer-masks-bucket-hats-worth-nearly-800k/

SMUGGLERS FERRYING PEOPLE BY BOAT FROM MEXICO TO THE US

An article in Insight Crime on 17 May follows a recent incident where a boat full of smuggled people capsized off California.  Maritime smuggling attempts have seen a “dramatic increase” this year.  US agents have made 909 arrests at sea and seized 76 vessels this fiscal year, which began in October 2020.  It is said that the increase in maritime smuggling attempts shows that smugglers are seeking more dangerous routes and charging a premium for the chance to cross into the US. 

https://insightcrime.org/news/smugglers-head-pacific-ferry-people-from-mexico-to-the-us/

CORRUPTION PLAGUES ARGENTINA’S JUSTICE SYSTEM

On 18 May, Insight Crime carried an article saying that a judge in Argentina has been charged with running a corruption network that included lawyers and a slain customs official, in a case that illustrates a pattern of judges accused of orchestrating bribery schemes.  He has been charged with collecting bribes, illegal enrichment and money laundering.  This is not the only case of Argentina’s federal judges being accused of leading bribery schemes.  The corruption cases in Argentina’s federal judicial system are not a recent phenomenon. For years, the country’s political elites, both local and national, have enlisted allies in the judiciary to try to skirt justice.

https://insightcrime.org/news/corruption-plagues-argentinas-justice-system/

UK’S LONG-AWAITED CFIUS-LIKE NATIONAL SECURITY AND INVESTMENT BILL RECEIVES ROYAL ASSENT

An article from Eversheds Sutherland on 18 May said that it provides for a new, standalone regime enabling the UK Government to scrutinise and intervene in acquisitions and investments to protect national security in the UK.  Unlike similar regimes already in force in other jurisdictions especially in the EU, the UK regime will apply to investors from any country. Previously the firm provided background to the new Act and its content.  This latest article considers 2 significant changes made to the legislation during its Parliamentary progress.  The new national security regime is expected to be operational by the end of 2021. 

https://www.eversheds-sutherland.com/global/en/what/articles/index.page?ArticleID=en/Competition/uk-government-gets-cfius

ICC: JUSTICE FOR VICTIMS IN LIBYA IMPEDED BY STATES’ FAILURE TO EXECUTE ARREST WARRANTS FOR LIBYAN FUGITIVES 

On 17 May, the UN reported that the failure by countries to execute arrest warrants for Libyan fugitives — including the son of former leader Muammar al-Qadhafi — is blocking efforts to ensure justice for the victims of serious crimes perpetrated during a decade of conflict and strife.  This is according to what the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court told the UN Security Council. 

https://www.un.org/press/en/2021/sc14522.doc.htm

KOSOVO POLICE SEIZE RECORD COCAINE HAUL WORTH $24 MILLION

On 18 May, Rferl reported that Kosovo police have seized a record 400 kg of cocaine concealed in a shipment of meat from Brazil and arrested 7 people suspected of drug trafficking offences.  It is said that Kosovo lies on a key transit route for drugs smuggled from the Middle East to Western markets.

https://www.rferl.org/a/kosovo-police-seize-cocaine/31261400.html

ONE WEIRD DEFENCE TRICK RUSSIAN HACKERS HATE

In a blog post on 17 May, Krebs on Security said that many ransomware strains simply will not install on a Microsoft Windows computer that already has one of many types of virtual keyboards installed — such as Russian or Ukrainian.  The post explores this one cyber defence trick.

https://krebsonsecurity.com/2021/05/try-this-one-weird-trick-russian-hackers-hate/

CHINA’S PROPOSED DATA SECURITY AND PERSONAL INFORMATION PROTECTION LAWS WILL IMPACT INVESTIGATIONS

On 18 May, a post on the FCPA Blog explains that changes to the legal landscape in China likely will further complicate investigations and litigation involving information stored in China.  It mentions that new laws would impose a new requirement that, if a judicial or enforcement agency outside of China requests data stored in China — either personal data or non-personal data — companies must first obtain the approval of the Chinese government before transferring the data.  The laws are also said to establish a complex data protection and cybersecurity regulatory framework governing cross-border transfers of personal and non-personal data.

https://fcpablog.com/2021/05/18/chinas-proposed-data-security-and-personal-information-protection-laws-will-impact-investigations/

MALTA: CUSTOMS DETECT €263,397 IN UNDECLARED CASH SINCE JANUARY

On 17 May, the Times of Malta reported that since January the Customs’ Anti-Money Laundering Team detected 17 instances of undeclared cash, totalling €263,397. The latest case involved a man headed to Sudan through Istanbul and officials found a total of €10,450 in cash, even though the Eritrean passenger had said he was not carrying more than €8,000.  He was fined €450 and allowed to proceed.

https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/customs-detect-263397-in-undeclared-cash-since-january.872536

CREDIT SUISSE IGNORED MORE THAN 100 RED FLAGS, SAYS REGULATOR

On 16 May, Swissinfo reported that reported that the management of Credit Suisse had overlooked breaches of regulations for years and that the bank leads the pack when it comes to the most ongoing FINMA investigations. 

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/credit-suisse-ignored-more-than-100-red-flags–says-regulator/46622546

VATICAN CRIMINAL LAW AND RECENT MONEY LAUNDERING CASES

On 18 May, the US Library of Congress carried a post which sets out to explain some of the key sources and aspects of the criminal law of the Vatican, particularly legislation related to money laundering and other financial crimes.

https://blogs.loc.gov/law/2021/05/vatican-criminal-law-and-recent-money-laundering-cases/

FRENCH APPEAL SET FOR CONVICTED RUSSIAN MONEY LAUNDERER ALEXANDER VINNIK

On 17 May, Security Week reported that Alexander Vinnik, jailed last year for money laundering, begins an appeal at a Paris, as prosecutors challenge his acquittal on charges that he masterminded massive ransomware attacks.

https://www.securityweek.com/french-appeal-set-convicted-russian-money-launderer

US TREASURY PUBLISHES HONG KONG SANCTIONS REPORT

On 18 May, the US Treasury released the report to the US Congress under the Hong Kong Autonomy Act decribing efforts to date.

https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/126/hkaa_report_05182021.pdf

OFAC NEW GENERAL LICENCE AUTHORISING TRANSACTIONS INVOLVING SECURITIES OF CERTAIN COMMUNIST CHINESE MILITARY COMPANIES

On 18 May, OFAC issued General License 1B authorising otherwise prohibited transactions involving publicly traded securities, or any securities that are derivative of, or are designed to provide investment exposure to such securities, of an entity whose name closely matches, but does not exactly match, the name of a sanctioned Communist Chinese military to 11 June 11.

https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/126/ccmc_gl1b.pdf

ISLE OF MAN CONFIRMS MYANMAR GEMS ENTERPRISE (MGE) ADDED TO MYANMAR SANCTIONS LIST

On 18 May, a news release advised that Myanmar Gems Enterprise (MGE) had been added to the Burma/Myanmar sanctions lists.

https://www.gov.im/news/2021/may/17/financial-sanctions-myanmar/

PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE FUJIMORI BANNED FROM LEAVING PERU TO ATTEND AN EVENT IN ECUADOR

ON 18 May, TeleSUR reported that the presidential candidate is under restrictive measures due to investigations into her role in the “Car Wash” corruption case.  A travel permit was denied to Popular Force (FP) presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori, who intended to travel to Ecuador to participate in a forum organized by the International Freedom Foundation (IFF).

https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Fujimori-Banned-From-Leaving-Peru-To-Attend-an-Event-in-Ecuador-20210518-0015.html

MYANMAR COUP: UN POSTPONES VOTE ON ARMS EMBARGO RESOLUTION

On 18 May, Nikkei Asia reported that a UN General Assembly vote on a draft resolution calling for the suspension of arms supplies to Myanmar has been postponed, according to a UN diplomat.  Some diplomats said the vote had been delayed in a bid to win more support.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Myanmar-Coup/Myanmar-coup-latest-UN-postpones-vote-on-arms-embargo-resolution

PANAMA SHIPPING REGISTER REAFFIRMS ITS COMMITMENT TO INTERNATIONAL COMPLIANCE

On 18 May, Hellenic Shipping News reported that the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP), the entity responsible for the administration of the Panama Ship Registry, has bolstered its operation for strengthening the application of its procedures, especially those related to due diligence and international compliance of its fleet.  Recently, Panama participated in the experts’ meeting on the Full Implementation of the Maritime Resolutions of the UN (UN)’ Security Council, on North korea (DPRK), that addressed the effectiveness on DPRK of the UN application of sanctions in the maritime sector.  It is explained that the Control and Monitoring Section was created which is responsible for ensuring that all vessels entering the Panamanian Registry -and those already in its fleet- comply with international norms and standards; in addition to not being involved in activities that are not aligned with the policies and commitments acquired by the Panamanian Ship Registry.  An Implementation, Control and Enforcement of International Measures Section was also set up.

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/panama-reaffirms-its-commitment-to-international-compliance-2/

PODCAST INTERVIEW: REPORTING ON RADICALS IN THE US

On 14 May, the War on the Rocks website released an interview with Tess Owen, senior reporter at VICE News covering extremism, hate crimes, and gun control.  The discussion examines the evolution and developments that Owen has seen in the course of reporting on domestic extremism. These findings include the evolution of what she refers to as “suit and tie extremists,” as well as the mainstreaming of increasingly extremist views.

https://warontherocks.com/2021/05/reporting-on-radicals/

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

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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