OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MAY 21

Panama Covid-19 update – bit tired this evening, perhaps because of my second vaccination appointment this morning, but otherwise so far, so good. However, it was 3-4 days after the first jab that the allergic reaction rash set in. This time I already have the medication ready… But a few spots for a few days is a small price to pay.

At the same time, new infections, and more fatalities, continue, with another 508 new cases and 7 fatalities reported today. There are now 5,786 active cases, with 57 in ICU and 366 in other wards. So getting the vaccinations ASAP seems an excellent idea, and it is good to know that the vaccination programme here is going well – albeit so far it has concentrated on frontline medical staff, teachers, the vulnerable and over-60s.

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

21 MAY 2021

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pi6uhOmTMWU

POCA: REPATRIATION ORDERS – A DEFENCE PERSPECTIVE

A post from 5 St Andrews Hill Chambers on 21 May says that a pre-charge restraint order can contain a provision which requires the subject to repatriate any assets that they have outside of the UK back to the UK.  The time set for both of these requirements is usually rather short, 7 to 21 days.  However debatable it is as to whether it is reasonable that such intrusive provisions should be included in an order which is made at an ex-parte hearing, these provisions are now seen as standard.

https://5sah.cmail19.com/t/ViewEmail/i/E3A779CEC2E5D4762540EF23F30FEDED/CFD51432C37D11396E6039C17E42EE19

LITHUANIA BANS ALL GAMBLING ADVERTISING

On 21 May, iGB reported that Lithuania’s government has announced an outright ban on all forms of gambling advertising with effect from 1 July.  It is designed to help tackle problem gambling in the country, as well as reduce the appeal of gambling and lower the amount people spend on gambling; and will apply to both the land-based and online gambling in Lithuania.  It is already prohibited in Lithuania to encourage gambling by offering players gifts to gamble, or to organise gambling outside licensed venues or an approved operator’s website.

https://igamingbusiness.com/lithuania-bans-all-gambling-advertising

NORTH KOREA LIMITS EXPORT OF URANIUM CONCENTRATE 

On 21 May, Daily NK reported that this comes amid increasing signs that North Korea is expanding its uranium mining, and now only a few key institutions can export the material. 

https://www.dailynk.com/english/north-korea-limits-export-uranium-concentrate-pyongsan-just-few-key-organizations/

GUATEMALA DETAINS ANTI-GRAFT CRUSADERS 

On 20 May, Reuters reported that Guatemala has dropped a graft charge against a jailed former president Otto Perez Molina and arrested former investigators who built cases against him.

https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/guatemala-detains-ex-tax-chief-who-took-oligarchs-2021-05-19/

HOW MARBELLA BECAME A MAGNET FOR GANGSTERS

On 20 May, the Guardian carried an article saying that the Spanish Costa del Sol is organised crime’s southern frontier – a stretch of urban sprawl extending from Málaga to Estepona, with Marbella, a city of 147,633 people, as its capital.  It is said that the Costa del Sol is a kind of hub, or ‘co-working’ space, where almost every major criminal group in the world has some sort of presence. 

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2021/may/20/a-united-nations-of-how-marbella-became-a-magnet-for-gangsters

JAPAN READY TO FREEZE ALL MYANMAR DEVELOPMENT AID

On 21 May, Nikkei Asia reported that Japanese infrastructure aid in Myanmar could halt for both new and ongoing projects if the situation does not improve, according to Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi.  Japan paid out around $1.7 billion in overseas development aid to Myanmar in fiscal 2019, more than any other country with disclosed figures.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Editor-s-Picks/Interview/Japan-ready-to-freeze-all-Myanmar-development-aid-Motegi

BEARER SHARE COMPANIES IN THE BVI

An article from Ogier on 19 May explains that a 2007 law introduced a series of transitional arrangements which eliminated the privacy traditionally afforded by a bearer share company and had the practical effect of abolishing bearer share companies under BVI law in all but name. These arrangements are explained in the article. 

https://www.ogier.com/publications/snapshot-bearer-share-companies-in-the-british-virgin-islands

FINTRAC ANNOUNCES FLEXIBLE COMPLIANCE APPROACH FOR UPCOMING CANADIAN AML CHANGES

On 19 May, an article from Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP says that far-reaching changes will come into force on 1 June, and a flurry of new and updated guidance documents have been published by FINTRAC.  FINTRAC published a Notice on 18 May that acknowledges the wide scope of the amendments due to come into force in June, and the difficulties entities subject to the legislation (i.e. the reporting entities) may encounter in meeting those obligations.

https://www.osler.com/en/blogs/risk/may-2021/fintrac-announces-flexible-compliance-approach-for-upcoming-canadian-anti-money-laundering-changes

https://www.fintrac-canafe.gc.ca/covid19/assessment-eng

FRAUD IS PROLIFERATING ACROSS THE CUSTOMER JOURNEY

An article in Forbes Magazine on 21 May says that traditional card fraud is not the only source of fraud that merchants are up against. In recent years, various forms of non-transaction fraud have increasingly proliferated across the customer journey.  The article looks at a number of these threats, saying that emergence of new fraud vectors has caught many merchants on their back foot. 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jordanmckee/2021/05/21/fraud-is-proliferating-across-the-customer-journey/?sh=5896d833648b

NEW DANISH ACT IMPOSES A SCREENING REQUIREMENT ON CERTAIN FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENTS IN DENMARK

On 19 May, an article from Bird & Bird LLP is concerned with a new law which imposes new restrictions on foreign direct investments in Denmark. The purpose is to protect Denmark against foreign direct investments which may pose a threat to national security or public order by introducing a mandatory and a voluntary screening process for certain direct investments in Denmark.  The law enters into force on 1 July, but investments and agreements completed before 1 September are excluded, and thus, it is relevant for transactions expected to close on or after 1 September.

https://www.twobirds.com/en/news/articles/2021/denmark/a-new-danish-act-imposes-a-screening-requirement-on-certain-foreign-direct-investments-in-denmark

VIETNAM: 4 INVESTIGATED OVER 1 TON OF PANGOLIN SCALES IN HANOI

On 21 May, VN Express reported that police in Hanoi in collaboration with an environmental NGO have busted a pangolin scale trafficking ring in northern Vietnam.  It is said that police became aware of the smuggling ring in Hanoi in January, resulting in this, the largest seizure to date of pangolin scales in the country.

https://e.vnexpress.net/news/news/four-investigated-for-smuggling-nearly-one-ton-of-pangolin-scales-in-hanoi-4281867.html

GHANAIAN-BASED BUSINESS CONGLOMERATE GROUPE NDUOM IS FIGHTING US-BASED CLAIMS OF MONEY LAUNDERING AND WIRE FRAUD

On 21 May, My Joy Online and others reported that Groupe Nduom is fighting off US-based Birim Group LLC’s claims of money laundering and wire fraud.

https://www.myjoyonline.com/money-laundering-claims-only-a-political-smear-groupe-nduom-fights-fraud-allegations/

SUPERYACHT IS AT THE HEART OF TALKS TO SETTLE LONDON’S BIGGEST DIVORCE CASE

On 21 May, Business Standard reported on the situation concerning the Luna – a 115-metre, 9-deck luxury motor yacht at a berth in a marina in Dubai.  It is the largest and most expensive single asset held by companies linked to oil and gas tycoon Farkhad Akhmedov, who bought the vessel from his fellow billionaire Roman Abramovich. It is also the prized target for Tatiana Akhmedova, Farkhad’s former wife of 21 years.  The case sheds some light on how the world’s wealthy are able to protect assets through regulation arbitrage, playing one jurisdiction against another, creating opaque trusts and transferring ownership.  After a judge in the High Court in London awarded Tatiana 41% of Farkhad’s assets. he called the 2016order illegitimate, and moved to Russia.  She has so far seized a single helicopter in the Isle of Man worth some £6 million and is closing in on a private plane. Her chase has run into roadblocks, with assets frequently changing ownership and moved across jurisdictions.

https://www.business-standard.com/article/international/a-superyatch-is-heart-of-settlement-talks-in-london-s-biggest-divorce-case-121052100534_1.html

SOUTH AFRICA: EXTRADITION DILEMMA INVOLVING MOZAMBIQUE’S FORMER FINANCE MINISTER

On 21 May, the Daily Maverick said that sending Mozambique’s former finance minister to the US on fraud and corruption charges is politically difficult but legally the better course of action.  It says that the decision on sending Manuel Chang either to his home country or the US is ticking like a timebomb on South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s desk.   If Chang is sent home, South Africa will be accused of undermining justice since there are doubts that Mozambique’s courts will hold him to account for the corruption and fraud; but extraditing Chang to the US will upset the ruling Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo) party, and ANC ally.

https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2021-05-21-extradition-dilemma-of-mozambiques-chang-paralyses-sa-president-ramaphosa

EU: MORE THOROUGH CHECKS FOR FIREARM LICENCES TO STOP ATTEMPTS TO CIRCUMVENT REFUSALS FROM NEXT YEAR

On 21 May, the EU announced new rules on the systematic exchange of information between Member States on refusals to grant authorisations to own a firearm – with an estimated 30,000 refusals issued each month within the EU on security grounds.  The new system from 31 January next year, and using the information exchange system within the EU, will help stop people from attempting to go around prohibitions from owning a firearm by ‘jurisdiction shopping’.

https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/sites/default/files/pdf/21052021_adoption_of_communication_on_electronic_exchange_of_information_on_refusals_to_grant_authorization_for_firearms_en.pdf

UK: ENRC SUES LAW FIRM DECHERT IN COMMERCIAL COURT IN HEARING LINKED TO SFO CORRUPTION CASE

On 21 May, the Law Society Gazette reported on a “mammoth hearing” involving City law firm Dechert, Kazakh mining giant Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC) and the SFO.  ENRC claims a former partner in the firm was originally retained to conduct an internal investigation into allegations of wrongdoing concerning a subsidiary, but that he leaked privileged and confidential documents to the press; made damaging disclosures to the SFO; and enlarged the investigation in order grossly to inflate the bills which Dechert charged to ENRC.  It is said that the case is the latest twist in the SFOs sprawling probe into ENRC, with no criminal charges having been laid. 

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/enrc-pursues-dechert-in-commercial-court-/5108609.article

NEAPOLITAN GANGSTERS MUSCLING IN ON THE MOLLUSC BUSINESS,

On 21 May, in its weekly round-up, OCCRP reported that, based in and around the city of Naples, the Camorra have many strings to their bow: drug trafficking, racketeering, prostitution, high-profile corruption, counterfeiting, money laundering, and now shellfish.  It is said that police in Italy’s Campania region announced the arrest of at least a dozen individuals for illegally harvesting date mussels along the Amalfi coast and around the island of Capri.  The sale of these shellfish is outlawed in the EU owing to the destruction wrought by harvesting practices: it can apparently take underwater ecosystems more than 50 years to recover from the damage; but a single kilogram of the prized shellfish can fetch up to €200.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/14453-unorganized-crime-mob-mussel-and-the-rogue-priest

CHINA WEIGHS NEW MEASURES TO PUNISH AUSTRALIA

On 21 May, radio Free Asia reported that China may be running out of retaliatory steps that it can afford to take against Australia after cutting off communications on economic affairs with its key commodity supplier this month.  Differences date back several years with issues ranging from Australia’s ban on China’s 5G phone network developers to criticism of its sovereignty claims in the South China Sea.  Disputes have also erupted over China’s repression of Uighurs in Xinjiang and Australia’s support for tracing the origins of COVID-19.  However, the article suggests that the patterns of China’s punishments indicate that it is carefully limiting retaliation to measures that it can afford – citing China’s continued apparent reliant on Australian LNG supplies, although in May 2 of China’s smaller importers have been effectively barred from buying new LNG cargoes from Australia.

https://www.rfa.org/english/commentaries/energy_watch/punish-05212021094214.html

EUROPEAN COMMISSION SEEKS POWERS TO SCRUTINISE FOREIGN SUBSIDIES

An article from Dentons on 21 May said that businesses receiving subsidies from non-EU states face wide-ranging intervention by the European Commission and mandatory clearance procedures for a range of activities, including acquiring other businesses and bidding for major public contracts.  It is concerned it has no tools to address market distortions caused by foreign subsidies and, to address this gap, it has proposed a Regulation which would grant it wide-ranging powers to take action against foreign subsidies. 

https://www.dentons.com/en/insights/articles/2021/may/21/european-commission-seeks-powers-to-scrutinise-foreign-subsidies

HOW TO ACTUALLY PROSECUTE THE FINANCIAL CRIMES OF THE VERY RICH

On 19 May, The Atlantic carried an article by a former federal financial-crimes prosecutor who relates some of his past experience, saying that a decline in enforcement capacity permits corrupt autocrats and complicit bankers to launder trillions through US banks.  He says that newly confirmed Attorney General Merrick Garland should consider appointing a white-collar-crime czar to head a sustained national effort to address elite fraud.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/05/prosecute-tax-fraud-financial-crimes-garland/618914/

GOVERNOR OF LEBANON’S CENTRAL BANK ACCUSED OF FINANCIAL CRIMES LINKED TO DOZENS OF COMPANIES

On 20 May, Sayari published an article claiming that authorities from multiple jurisdictions are coordinating efforts to track the movement of funds and assets linked to the governor of the Central Bank of Lebanon, commonly known as Banque du Liban (BdL), Riad Salame – Salame denies any wrongdoing.

https://sayari.com/blog/governor-of-lebanons-central-bank-accused-of-financial-crimes-linked-to-dozens-of-companies/

UK, BREXIT, AND SPAC: THE PROMISE OF A SHELL-COMPANY REVOLUTION

On 21 May, a post on the LSE Business Review blog says that SPAC (special purpose acquisition companies) are cash-shell companies set up, as their name indicates, with a special purpose: to conduct an acquisition.  The UK would like to position itself as the new, sophisticated jurisdiction for accommodating SPAC sponsors’ and investors’ needs.  However, SPACs entail risks, like any other investment, and the post warns that if those risks are contained through proper contractual risk allocation and enhanced governance, the UK can become the new “SPAC hub” in Europe.

https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/businessreview/2021/05/21/uk-brexit-and-spacs-the-promise-of-a-shell-company-revolution/

DUTCH GAMBLING REGULATOR RAIDS OF HOMES IN THE NETHERLANDS AND IN SPAIN AS PART OF AN INVESTIGATION INTO ILLEGAL GAMBLING

On 21 May, iGB reported that, in addition, research was also conducted into 2 companies in Curaçao.  The resident whose houses were searched was suspected of money laundering and offering online gambling in the Netherlands without a licence.

https://igamingbusiness.com/ksa-conducts-illegal-gambling-raids-in-velsen-spain/

GOOGLE RUSSIA AGAINST ORDER TO REACTIVATE THE YOUTUBE ACCOUNT OF TSARGRAD MEDIA WHICH HAS SANCTIONED OWNER

On 21 May, the EU Sanctions blog reported that Google in Russia had appealed a Moscow court order relating to Tsargrad, whose owner, Konstantin Malofeev, was US and EU sanctioned.  In April 2021, the court ruled that Google was wrong to block the accounts because EU and US sanctions do not apply in Russia.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2021/05/google-appeals-russian-arbitration-court-order-to-unblock-tsargrad-youtube-account/

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s