THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MAY 23

PANAMA COVID-19 UPDATE – 347 more cases reported today, and 3 more fatalities. While active cases appear to be slightly down, the numbers in the ICU (58), other wards (378) and so-called “hospital hotels” are all up slightly.

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

23 MAY 2021

A HIGH-LEVEL PROBE INTO CHINESE ‘SPIES’ WORKING IN BRITISH UNIVERSITIES COULD LEAD TO ARRESTS WITHIN WEEKS

On 23 May, the Daily Mail reported that specialists at the Foreign Office, Special Branch and HMRC have drawn up a list of academics suspected of passing sensitive information to Beijing, including pioneering British technology that could be used to aid the repression of minorities and dissidents.  Universities under scrutiny include Manchester and Imperial College, which earn 26% of their income from students from China; Liverpool and Sheffield (28%); and Oxford and Cambridge (10%).  Last year it was revealed that a third of non-EU university students in the UK come from China, with 120,000 paying a total of £2.1 billion in fees.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9608707/Chinese-spies-UK-universities-academics-suspected-passing-technology-face-arrests.html

US APPROVES TURKEY MILITARY HELICOPTER SALE TO PHILIPPINES

On 17 May, Middle East Eye reported that the US has approved export licences to Turkey to sell T129 military helicopters to the Philippines, according to multiple Turkish officials.  The T129 is powered by 2 x LHTEC T800-4A turboshaft engines, which are produced through a joint venture between the American firm Honeywell and the British company Rolls-Royce. US law requires foreign companies to obtain export licences for the US military grade commercial sales.

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/us-approves-export-licence-t129-helicopter-turkey-philippines

WHY ARE SO MANY EXOTIC BIRDS BEING SMUGGLED INTO THE US?

On 23 May, MSN posed this question after a traveller was recently caught with 35 birds sewn into the lining of his jacket, and a US Customs and Border Protection specialist has said that she recently seized 60 birds that were hidden inside a suitcase.  A 3-minute Inside Edition video report looks at the issue.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/video/watch/why-are-so-many-exotic-birds-being-smuggled-into-the-united-states/vp-AAKhYqG

INDIA: 3 HELD FOR SMUGGLING WHALE VOMIT 

On 23 May, the Hindustan Times reported that police have arrested 3 persons for allegedly smuggling ambergris, which is used in making cosmetics.  The police recovered from them 5.35 kg of the ambergris. 

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/3-held-for-smuggling-whale-vomit-worth-rs-7-crore-in-gujarat-101621763770339.html

LEBANON THWARTS ATTEMPT TO SMUGGLE 4 TONS OF HASHISH TO EGYPT

On 22 May, Egypt Today reported that a huge shipment of hashish in the Port of Sidon Jieh was seized before it was set to be smuggled to Alexandria through the old port of Sidon.

https://www.egypttoday.com/Article/1/104182/Lebanon-thwarts-attempted-smuggle-of-4-tons-of-Hashish-to

IRAQ’S PRESIDENT SAYS COUNTRY HAS LOST $150 BILLION SINCE 2003 DUE TO CORRUPTION

On 23 May, The National reported that the President called for the formation of an international anti-corruption coalition to help track and return the funds.  said Iraq would be able to track and recover stolen funds more easily if an international anti-corruption coalition was created.  Widespread corruption has crippled Iraq’s efforts to recover from decades of wars and sanctions.

https://www.thenationalnews.com/mena/iraq/iraq-s-president-says-country-has-lost-150-billion-since-2003-due-to-corruption-1.1228029

HOUTHIS ACCUSED OF SMUGGLING 4,800 YEMENI MANUSCRIPTS AND ANTIQUITIES

On 23 May, Asharq al Aswat reported that workers in the antiquities sector accused the Houthi militia of systematic destruction of national artifacts, through smuggling, trading, bombing, and using the museums as military barracks.  Last year, Yemeni officials accused the group of smuggling and looting over 14,000 rare Yemeni manuscripts and hundreds of artifacts.  Sources indicated that prominent Houthi leaders in Sanaa still possess many antiquities, including large and small bronze statues, inscriptions, gold and silver coins, amulets, tablets, and others.  On 26 and 27 May, UNESCO and the EU will host an online conference “Restoring Livelihoods Through Culture in Yemen” bringing together key stakeholders.

https://english.aawsat.com/home/article/2987736/houthis-accused-smuggling-4800-yemeni-manuscripts-antiquities

NORTH CAROLINA MAN SENTENCED FOR TOBACCO SMUGGLING TO CANADA

On 22 May, the Wichita Eagle reported that Phil Howard, 55, a North Carolina farmer has been sentenced to 6½ years in prison in connection with a smuggling operation that moved tobacco into Canada, according to the US DoJ.  Howard arranged at least 231 times to transport tobacco to the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation Reservation near the US-Canada border. Co-conspirators then smuggled the tobacco over the St. Lawrence River and to the Kahnawake Mohawk Nation Reservation in Quebec, where it was turned into contraband cigarettes.

https://www.kansas.com/news/business/article251597678.html

MONEYVAL CARRIES OUT EVALUATION VISIT TO POLAND

On 21 May, the Council of Europe reported that a team of evaluators from the Council of Europe’s Committee of Experts for the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (MONEYVAL) carried out an onsite visit to Poland from 10 to 21 May.  The evaluation report will be scheduled for discussion and adoption at MONEYVAL’s 62nd Plenary meeting in December 2021.

https://www.coe.int/en/web/moneyval/-/moneyval-carries-out-evaluation-visit-to-poland

https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/getting-to-know-the-fiau.873850

SWISS JUSTICE FINES SOUTH AMERICAN FOOTBALL OFFICIAL

On 23 May, Swissinfo reported that a senior official of the South American football federation – Eduardo Deluca, 79, the Argentinian former secretary general of Conmebol – has been fined as part of a Swiss inquiry into money laundering.  Deluca also owes the Conmebol football federation CHF2.5 million in connection with bribes, including illegal payments in return for TV and marketing rights.  He had used several bank accounts in Switzerland to stash away money received notably in connection with the Libertadores Cup, South America’s main international club football competition.

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/swiss-justice-fines-south-american-football-official/46642402

NIGERIA WILL RELEASE A SWISS-FLAGGED TANKER THAT HAS BEEN DETAINED FOR MORE THAN 3 YEARS.

On 21 May, Swissinfo reported that the oil tanker, managed by ABC Maritime, was seized in January 2018 by Nigerian authorities, which accused the ship and its crew of violating territorial waters and diesel smuggling.  ABC Maritime said that a court ruling has stated that the defendants were found not guilty as charged and were therefore discharged and acquitted.

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/nigeria-to-release-oil-tanker-flying-under-swiss-flag/46635906

MONEY LAUNDERING FEEDS DANGEROUS HOUSING MARKET BUBBLE IN ALBANIA   

On 20 May, Exit News reported that between €300-700 million in dirty money enters Albania each year, according to an estimate by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Crime Initiative.  New construction has boomed since 2015 and it is said that dirty money in construction could trigger a real estate crisis.  It is said that because of money laundered in the construction sector, apartment prices in Albania have gone up by 70% in the last 4 years, and that it strengthens criminal groups and their political influence.

https://exit.al/en/2021/05/20/money-laundering-feeds-dangerous-housing-market-bubble-in-albania/

MYANMAR: THE MILITARY JUNTA SEEKING AN INJECTION OF HARD CURRENCY BY SELLING OFF THOUSANDS OF TONNES OF ILLEGAL TIMBER TO INTERNATIONAL MARKETS

On 21 May, the Environmental Investigation Agency reported that an  auction is due to be held by the Myanmar Timber Enterprise (MTE), the State-run entity which controls all timber sales in and from the country.  It is understood that during the last term of the pre-coup government, about 200,000 tons of illegal timber were seized and this is among the MTE stockpile due for auction.

https://eia-international.org/news/myanmar-junta-looks-to-line-its-pockets-and-fund-the-coup-with-massive-auction-of-illegal-timber/

See also –

https://eia-international.org/forests/myanmars-tainted-timber-and-the-military-coup/

JAMAICA STRUGGLING WITH THE CONSTANT THEFT OF STREET LIGHTS

On 19 May, Insight Crime reported that streetlamps are being stolen in Jamaica, hampering government efforts to illuminate crime-ridden areas.  Thieves have made off with 525 streetlights during the first 5 months of 2021.  Officials speculate that criminals are seeking to destroy the streetlights – which have been shown to reduce violence in other countries.

https://insightcrime.org/news/jamaica-struggling-with-constant-theft-of-street-lights/

HFW LAUNCHING A SERIES OF ARTICLES ON THE REINTRODUCTION OF FREEPORTS IN THE UK

On 20 May, law firm HFW reported that it was launching a series of articles on the reintroduction of Freeports in the UK.   It will look at the implications for businesses operating within these Freeports, focusing on a number of industry sectors including Shipping, Construction, Energy & Resources, Aviation and Commodities.  The first publication briefly introduces the concept.

https://www.hfw.com/downloads/003042-HFW-Freeports-Series-Freeports-Back-in-Business-May-2021.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

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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