OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MAY 19

Panama Covid-19 update – got the date for my second vaccination, this Friday…and obtained the medication prescribed against the chance of (another) mild allergic reaction…

Meanwhile, another 533 cases reported today – I don’t know how many of these were in the hotspot of Chiriqui, which with Veraguas has been badly hit of late. Fatalities are also up again, with 5 more reported today. There are now 5,662 active cases, of which 61 are in ICU and 304 in other wards.

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

19 MAY 2021

CHINA BANS FINANCIAL, PAYMENT INSTITUTIONS FROM CRYPTOCURRENCY BUSINESS

On 19 May, Reuters reported that China has banned financial institutions and payment companies from providing services related to cryptocurrency transactions, and warned investors against speculative crypto trading, in its latest attempt to clamp down on what was a burgeoning digital trading market.  China has banned crypto exchanges and initial coin offerings but has not barred individuals from holding cryptocurrencies.

https://www.reuters.com/technology/chinese-financial-payment-bodies-barred-cryptocurrency-business-2021-05-18/

REPORT ON CHINESE NUCLEAR AND MISSILE PROLIFERATION

On 17 May, the US Congressional Research Service published a report which says that official US Government reports indicate that the Chinese government has apparently ended its direct involvement in the transfer of nuclear- and missile-related items, but Chinese-based companies and individuals continue to export goods relevant to those items, particularly to Iran and North Korea. US officials have also raised concerns about entities operating in China that provide other forms of support for proliferation-sensitive activities, such as illicit finance and money laundering.   China significantly curtailed its nuclear- and missile-related transfers during the 1990s; and it also committed to improving its export controls. For example, a 1998 US State Department report noted China’s 1996 pledge to refrain from assisting unsafeguarded nuclear facilities and 1997 changes to Chinese nuclear export policy, as well as other Chinese non-proliferation efforts.  It cites a statement by a State Department official in November that China hosts no less than 2 dozen North Korean WMD and ballistic missile procurement representatives and bank representatives.  Media outlets are also said to have reported that China is assisting in the construction of facilities in Saudi Arabia for possible uranium production, and China has been constructing civil nuclear reactors in Pakistan – another source of concern to Congress.

https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/20744012/chinese-nuclear-and-missile-proliferation-may-17-2021.pdf

US AML WHISTLEBLOWER PROGRAMME STRUGGLES TO GET OFF GROUND

The Wall Street Journal reported that some lawyers say the lack of a minimum reward and delays in establishing the systems for receiving and investigating tips have made them reluctant to take on whistleblowers as clients.  The new programme offered further business opportunities to lawyers who have set up practices to guide corporate whistleblowers through government investigations, with a share of any reward windfall as their compensation.  It says that tipsters can receive up to 30% of the monetary penalties collected in an enforcement action brought by the US Treasury or Attorney General and from related actions. 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/anti-money-laundering-whistleblower-program-struggles-to-get-off-ground-11621362937

PODCAST:  IRISH TAX APPEALS COMMISSION AND IRISH REVENUE COMMISSIONERS 2020 ANNUAL REPORTS.

On 13 May, Irish law firm A & L Goodbody released a 5-minute podcast which outlines some of the key points arising from these reports and our take on associated trends.

https://www.algoodbody.com/insights-publications/irish-tac-and-revenue-annual-reports#page=1

https://www.algoodbody.com/files/uploads/news_insights_pub/Tax_Irish_TAC_and_Revenue_Annual_Reports.pdf

UK: ITALIAN ACCUSED OF EXTORTING VATICAN BAILED FOR $1.6 MILLION

On 19 May, BNN Bloomberg reported that an Italian businessman, Gianluigi Torzi, 42, who is accused of extorting Vatican officials during the purchase of a valuable London property is set to be bailed after a judge set bail at £1.1 million.

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/italian-accused-of-extorting-vatican-bailed-for-1-6-million-1.1605712

BULGARIA: 12 MORE POLICE OFFICERS ARRESTED IN PLOVDIV DURING ANTI-CORRUPTION OPERATION

On 19 May, Novinite reported that the Director of the Regional Police Department Samuil Hadzhiev had already been arrested amid allegations of drug distribution, extortion, corruption, crimes against justice against the police.

https://www.novinite.com/articles/209580/Bulgaria%3A+12+More+Police+Officers+Arrested+in+Plovdiv+during+Anti-Corruption+Operation

FORMER DINAMO ZAGREB COACH ZORAN MAMIC DETAINED IN BOSNIA

On 19 May, the Daily Mail reported that Bosnian police have detained former Dinamo Zagreb coach Zoran Mamic after Croatia issued an international arrest warrant when he didn’t report to prison to start serving a nearly 5-year sentence for tax evasion and fraud.  Mamic and his brother, Zdravko, had fled to neighbouring Bosnia, and as citizens of both countries they are not subject to automatic extradition to Croatia.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-9595609/Former-Dinamo-Zagreb-coach-Zoran-Mamic-detained-Bosnia.html

Later on 19 May, Rferl reported that a Bosnian court has released the former coach of shortly after he was held on an international arrest warrant.  It said that Bosnian authorities have rejected a request by Croatia to extradite Zdravko Mamic.

https://www.rferl.org/a/bosnia-soccer-coach-mamic-freed-arrest-fraud-dinamo-zagreb/31263732.html

OECD: GOVERNMENTS SHOULD STEP UP THEIR EFFORTS TO TACKLE HARMFUL ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION

A news release from the OECD on 19 May said that, according to a new OECD report, investing in policies to reduce harmful alcohol consumption would save millions of lives. The economic benefits of putting them in place would also be much higher than the costs.

https://www.oecd.org/newsroom/governments-should-step-up-their-efforts-to-tackle-harmful-alcohol-consumption.htm

The report is at –

https://www.oecd.org/health/preventing-harmful-alcohol-use-6e4b4ffb-en.htm

INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT JURISDICTION OVER NON-PARTY STATES

On 19 May, an article in Jurist considers the jurisdiction of the ICC and says that the Pre-trial Chamber (PTC) of the ICC chose to initiate prosecutorial proceedings against states not party to the Statute, as seen most recently in the cases of Myanmar and Israel.

https://www.jurist.org/commentary/2021/05/utkarsh-dubey-icc-jurisdiction-over-nonparty-states/

UK: DISCLOSURE PILOT SCHEME “STILL UNFIT FOR PURPOSE”

On 19 May, Litigation Futures reported that 7 in 10 lawyers consider the disclosure pilot scheme unfit for purpose, with many believing it has exacerbated the adversarial environment, new research has found.  The disclosure pilot was introduced for an initial 2-year period in January 2019 and operates in the Business and Property Courts in England and Wales.

https://www.litigationfutures.com/news/disclosure-pilot-scheme-still-unfit-for-purpose-most-lawyers-say

UNDERSTANDING EUROJUST: THE EU AGENCY FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE COOPERATION

A briefing paper from the EU Parliament Research Service on 19 May explains the role of the agency, which aims at fighting serious cross-border crimes by strengthening coordination and cooperation among the competent judicial authorities of the Member States.  When Eurojust was set up in 2002, the idea was to create a similar and parallel body to Europol, the EU law enforcement agency.  However, in 2009, the Lisbon Treaty and  the TFEU opened up new possibilities to further strengthen Eurojust’s cooperation and coordination roles.

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2021/690615/EPRS_BRI(2021)690615_EN.pdf

THE NEW EUROPEAN CYBERSECURITY COMPETENCE CENTRE AND NETWORK

On 19 May, a briefing paper from the EU Parliament Research Service is concerned with the creation of a European cybersecurity competence centre with a related network of national coordination centres.  It is supposed to become the main body that would manage EU financial resources dedicated to cybersecurity research under the two proposed programmes – Digital Europe and Horizon Europe – within the next multiannual financial framework, for 2021-2027. 

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2019/635518/EPRS_BRI(2019)635518_EN.pdf

UK: THE BANKERS’ BOOK EVIDENCE ACT 1879 AND ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS FOR OVERSEAS PROCEEDINGS

On 19 May, Eversheds Sutherland published an article about a High Court case in London linked to the arrest of Wangzou Meng, CFO of Huawei Technologies Co Ltd in Canada at the request of the US authorities, who subsequently applied for her extradition to face charges relating to bank and wire fraud.  Documents had been provided to the US authorities by the Respondents (HSBC) and an order had been made in a US court that those documents could be disclosed to Ms Meng in US criminal proceedings, but must not be used in Canadian extradition proceedings.  She then applied to the High Court in London for an order under section 7 of the Bankers’ Book Evidence Act 1879 to allow her to inspect and take copies of 13 categories of documents which she wished to use in support of her case in the Canadian extradition proceedings.  The court rejected the claim.

https://www.eversheds-sutherland.com/global/en/what/articles/index.page?ArticleID=en/Financial-services-and-dispute-investigation/Meng_v_HSBC_Bank

CHINA’S MARITIME MILITIA

On 18 May, Radio Free Asia provided an article following an investigation which is said to have found that the ships of the state-owned fishing company in charge of Sansha City’s maritime militia fleet are engaged in more than just fishing.  It says that China has long denied that it uses maritime militia forces to assert its maritime and territorial claims in South China Sea, often describing the Chinese vessels clustered around disputed reefs and islets as just fishing boats.  RFA found that the state-owned fishing company in charge of Sansha City’s maritime militia fleet has managed projects involving classified national security information, a strong indicator that the company’s ships are engaged in more than just fishing.  RFA also uncovered clear evidence of overlap between the fishermen living on islands and reefs occupied by China and the maritime militia personnel charged with guarding those features.

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/maritime-militia-05182021094638.html

UKRAINE: PRESIDENT SAYS MEDVEDCHUK CASE IS ‘JUST BEGINNING’ OF CUTTING OLIGARCHS DOWN TO SIZE

On 19 May, Rferl reported that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said the state’s case against Viktor Medvedchuk is “just the beginning” of a process of curtailing the power of a handful of tycoons who have dominated the country’s economic and political landscape for decades. Medvedchuk is a Russia-leaning politician and businessman with assets allegedly ranging from TV stations to oil pipelines.

https://www.rferl.org/a/zelenskiy-oligarchs-medvedchuk/31262432.html

AFRICA AND THE CORROSIVE INTERNATIONAL TAX SYSTEM

On 18 May, the Tax Justice Network published a report about the effect of illicit finaicla flows, noting that two-thirds of corporate tax abuse, which forms a substantial part of illicit financial flows, is enabled by member countries of the OECD.  The report describes a system that allows multinational companies to pay less taxes in the countries where they should with direct effects on developing countries’ tax revenues. It also claims that UK and its  Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories are collectively responsible for 31% of the world’s corporate tax abuse risks; while the Netherlands enables 5.5% of global corporate tax risks – despite both countries’ government statements that paint a different picture.

https://www.taxjustice.net/2021/05/18/africa-and-the-corrosive-international-tax-system/

UK: FCA SENDS THOUSANDS OF STAFF ON CYBER AND FINANCIAL CRIME TRAINING COURSES

On 18 May, Institutional Asset Manager reported that the FCA has sent 4,430 of its employees on compulsory cyber and information security courses over the past 2 financial years to help combat the growing threat of financial crime, such as money laundering and fraud. 

https://www.institutionalassetmanager.co.uk/2021/05/18/300418/fca-sends-thousands-staff-cyber-and-financial-crime-training-courses

THE ‘GLOBAL SANCTIONS DATA BASE’: MAPPING INTERNATIONAL SANCTION POLICIES FROM 1950-2019

On 19 May, VOX from the Centre for Economic Policy Research published an article containing findings from the newly updated Global Sanctions Data Base, which now includes the years of the Trump Presidency and provides a more comprehensive coverage of 1,101 sanction cases in the years from 1950 to 2019.

https://voxeu.org/article/global-sanctions-data-base-mapping-international-sanction-policies-1950-2019

PODCAST: CANNABIS AND COMPLIANCE

In the latest TRACE podcast, Amy McDougal of CLEAResources discusses the rapidly shifting cannabis landscape and how to prepare for the many employment and compliance issues it raises.

https://www.traceinternational.org/resources-podcast

US AMENDS TERRORISM SANCTIONS REGULATIONS AS SUDAN REMOVED AS STATE SPONSOR OF TERRORISM

On 19 May, OFAC advised amendment of the Terrorism List Governments Sanctions Regulations, with effect from 20 May.

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20210519

IMPLEMENTING THE PEACE AGREEMENT IN COLOMBIA

On 18 May, the EU Institute for security Studies published a report concerned with the 2016 peace agreement between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), signed after 3 years of negotiations and at least 4 failed peace talks since 1982.  It examines the challenges of implementing the peace agreement and explores how the EU can support the implementation process and reconciliation efforts in Colombia.  It includes policy implications and recommendations for supporting the implementation of the peace accord and shows how the EU can positively contribute to peacebuilding and reconciliation at the local level.

https://www.iss.europa.eu/sites/default/files/EUISSFiles/Brief_11_2021_0.pdf

US: EXECUTIVE ORDER ON CYBERSECURITY EXPANDS MANDATORY BREACH NOTIFICATION AND SUPPLY CHAIN SECURITY REQUIREMENTS FOR GOVERNMENT CONTRACTORS

On 19 May, a post on the Compliance and Enforcement blog from the Program on Corporate Compliance & Enforcement at the New York University School of Law said that on 12 May, the Biden Administration issued an ambitious Executive Order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity declaring the prevention, detection, assessment, and remediation of cyber incidents to be a “top priority and essential to national and economic security”. 

https://wp.nyu.edu/compliance_enforcement/2021/05/19/executive-order-on-cybersecurity-expands-mandatory-breach-notification-and-supply-chain-security-requirements-for-government-contractors/

DUBAI TRADE FINANCE FUND IS SUING TRAFIGURA OVER A SERIES OF ALLEGEDLY FRAUDULENT COAL TRADES 

On 19 May, Global Trade Review reported that a trade finance fund owned by Dubai’s Rasmala Investment Bank is suing Trafigura over a series of allegedly fraudulent coal trades, accusing staff at the commodity trading giant of overlooking forged documents in order to recover debts.  The fund is said to believe that the coal trades did not take place, and that the financing was actually used to service pre-existing debts that UAE-based Farlin Energy & Commodities owed to Trafigura. 

https://www.gtreview.com/news/global/rasmala-sues-trafigura-over-alleged-fraudulent-coal-trades/

CALIFORNIA WOMAN ARRESTED FOR FRAUDULENTLY SELLING OVER $700,000 WORTH OF COUNTERFEIT RETAIL STORE COUPONS

On 19 May, a news release from the US DoJ advised that a California woman had been arrested and charged with fraudulently selling over $700,000 worth of counterfeit Catalina coupons used at various retail stores across the US for the purchase of household items.  From January 2020 to May 2021, Tong Lor, aka “Mandy Carr”, 33, was involved in a large-scale operation to produce and sell fraudulent, counterfeit Catalina coupons using the US Postal Service. She printed coupons with fake bar codes and then mailed them to purchasers.

https://www.justice.gov/usao-nj/pr/california-woman-arrested-fraudulently-selling-over-700000-worth-counterfeit-retail-store

BRAZILIAN MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT SUSPECTED OF TIMBER SMUGGLING

On 19 May, Prensa Latina reported that Federal Police had raided the offices of the Ministry of Environment and Minister Ricardo Salles’s home, as part of an investigation into corruption and illegal timber exports.

https://www.plenglish.com/index.php

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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