OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MAY 28

Panama Covid-19 update – travelled on the Metro today, where all passengers now obliged to wear both a face mask and a face shield (and urged by videos and posters to keep quiet during their journey). Meanwhile, new cases continue at worrying levels, with 617 new cases reported today and numbers of those hospitalised up. There were 4 more fatalities today, and there are now 6,192 active cases – 54 in ICU and 380 in other wards.

28 MAY 2021

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GAMBLING COMMISSION FIGURES SHOW IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON GB INDUSTRY

On 27 May, iGB reported that industry statistics collected from licensees for the 6-month period to September 2020, showed total gross gambling yield (GGY) of £5.89 billion in the jurisdiction.  For the year to March 2020, the numbers showed a GGY of £14.12 billion, which suggests a significant decline year-on-year for the period.

https://igamingbusiness.com/gambling-commission-figures-show-impact-of-covid-19-on-gb-industry

DANISH HIGH COURT UPHOLDS BLOCKING OF UNLICENSED GAMING SITES

On 28 May, iGB reported that the court upheld a ruling from the Copenhagen City Court from March, to block 55 unlicensed gambling websites following a request from the country’s regulator.  ISP had claimed that a website could only be blocked if the regulator could prove that Danish customers had actually played on the site in question.

https://igamingbusiness.com/danish-high-court-upholds-blocking-of-unlicensed-gaming-sites

FRENCH CRIMINAL AUTHORITIES GO AFTER THOSE SEEN AS FACILITATORS OF TAX EVASION

On 28 May, KYC 360 reported on a French tax case involving the affairs of Jean-Marc Forneri, who died last year aged 61.  The Swiss lawyer who helped set up his Bahamas company and Forneri’s wealth manager have been put on trial in Paris in the latest example of the determination of French criminal authorities to go after not just alleged tax evaders but also those seen as facilitators.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/secret-credit-suisse-stash-bahamas-in-case-targeting-enablers

VENEZUELAN JUDGE OF THE SUPREME COURT SANCTIONED BY CANADA ARRIVED IN PANAMA TO FILL A DIPLOMATIC POSITION

On 28 May, Pen Media Inc reported that Jhannett Maria Madriz Sotillo, an investigative judge in the electoral room of Maduro’s High Court of Justice, had arrived in Panama to take up the post of Chargé d’Affairs.  She is said to have served as Venezuela’s ambassador to Canada in 2010.  She was designated by Canada in 2018.

https://www.penmediainc.com/a-judge-of-the-supreme-court-sanctioned-by-canada-has-arrived-in-panama-to-fill-a-diplomatic-position/

https://efectococuyo.com/politica/cilia-flores-y-magistrados-de-sala-electoral-del-tsj-entre-los-14-sancionados-por-canada/

TOBACCO GIANT’S BURKINA FASO DISTRIBUTOR DENIES SMUGGLING AND FUNDING TERRORISM

On 27 May, All Africa reported that 2 investigative reports this year accused the Burkina Faso representative of tobacco giant Philip Morris of funding terrorism through tobacco smuggling.  However, in an exclusive interview the representative rejects those findings.  It is alleged cigarettes are sold to smugglers who pay jihadists to protect their convoys.

https://allafrica.com/stories/202105280100.html

FINTRAC ANNOUNCES FLEXIBLE COMPLIANCE APPROACH FOR UPCOMING CANADIAN AML CHANGES

On 28 May, an article from Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt LLP says that wide-reaching changes overhauling Canada’s AML regime will come into force on 1 June.  A flurry of new and updated guidance documents were published by FINTRAC in February, March and May.  FINTRAC promises to exercise flexibility and reasonableness when assessing reporting entities’ compliance with the amendments, and will not begin to conduct compliance assessments with respect to the new obligations until 1 April 2022. 

https://www.mondaq.com/canada/compliance/1070992/fintrac-announces-flexible-compliance-approach-for-upcoming-canadian-anti-money-laundering-changes

https://www.osler.com/en/resources/in-focus/anti-money-laundering-in-canada-a-guide-to-the-june-1-2021-changes

PAPUA NEW GUINEA: IMPROVING AML EFFORTS VITAL

On 28 May, the Post-Courier in PNG published an article saying that, ahead of the planned AML/CFT evaluation next year, watchdog groups have raised concerns about changes needed to avoid the country falling back onto a grey listing.

https://postcourier.com.pg/improving-anti-money-laundering-efforts-vital/

UK – PUBLICATION OF FIFTH ROUND COMPLIANCE REPORT BY GROUP OF STATES AGAINST CORRUPTION (GRECO)

On 28 May, the Council of Europe reported that GRECO had published its report on the UK and preventing corruption and promoting integrity in central governments (top executive functions) and law enforcement agencies.  GRECO notes that further progress is necessary to demonstrate an acceptable level of compliance with the recommendations made to the UK in 2018 within the next 18 months, and it invited the UK to submit additional information regarding the implementation of recommendations.  Nevertheless, GRECO concluded that the UK has implemented satisfactorily or dealt satisfactorily with 5 of the 12 recommendations contained in the 2018 Evaluation Report and, of the remaining recommendations, fo4ur have been partly implemented and 3 have not been implemented.

https://rm.coe.int/fifth-evaluation-round-preventing-corruption-and-promoting-integrity-i/1680a2a1b1

DOMINICAN COURT BLOCKS FUGITIVE JEWELLER MEHUL CHOKSI BEING REMOVED FROM THE COUNTRY

On 28 May, Al Jazeera and others reported that a Dominican court has restrained local authorities from removing fugitive jeweller Mehul Choksi from the country, throwing up another hurdle to India’s attempts to have him brought home and tried in India’s largest bank fraud case, the PNB case.  He was found in Dominica after going missing from Antigua.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/5/28/dominican-court-blocks-fugitive-indian-born-jewellers-removal

https://www.easterneye.biz/choksis-repatriation-to-india-seems-tough-as-court-blocks-removal-from-dominica

FORMER ALLIED NEWSPAPERS MD ADRIAN HILLMAN BEING EXTRADITED TO MALTA

On 28 May, the Malta Independent reported that Hillman, who had been living in London, is wanted in Malta on charges of money laundering and graft, related to the purchase of a printing press in a deal involving Keith Schembri, the former chief of staff to the Prime Minister.

https://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2021-05-28/local-news/Former-Allied-Newspapers-MD-Adrian-Hillman-being-extradited-to-Malta-6736233879

US: BROKER-DEALER AGREES TO $1.5 MILLION SETTLEMENT FOR FAILING TO FILE SAR RELATED TO CYBERCRIMES

On 28 May, an article from Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP reported on SEC charges against GWFS Equities Inc, a Colorado-based registered broker-dealer and affiliate of Great West Life & Annuity Insurance Company, for failing to file SAR and failing to file sufficient SAR.  As part of the settlement, GWFS agreed to pay a $1.5 million penalty.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/broker-dealer-agrees-to-1-5-million-9787324/

JERSEY: FURTHER AMENDMENTS TO AML HANDBOOK

On 28 May, an article from Appleby says that the Jersey FSC Handbook is updated with effect from 31 May, and provides brief details of the changes.

https://www.applebyglobal.com/publications/further-updates-to-the-jfscs-aml-handbook/

WHY ARGENTINA AND BRAZIL ARE AWASH IN SMUGGLED WINE

On 27 May, an article from Insight Crime says that while contraband has boomed at the Argentina-Brazil border during the COVID-19 pandemic, wine seems to have been in particularly high demand, with one high-profile murder being linked to its smuggling.  In March alone, Argentina and Brazil confiscated 80,000 bottles of Argentine, Chilean, German, Italian and Spanish wine in 3 border towns as part of Operation Dionysus, which targeted wine trafficking.  It says that fine wine is far from the only type of alcohol on the black market. Liquor, mostly homemade moonshine, makes up 92% of illicit alcohol in Latin America, according to a 2018 Euromonitor International report.

https://insightcrime.org/news/grapes-wrath-brazil-argentina-awash-smuggled-wine/

OFAC: PUBLICATION OF BURMA SANCTIONS REGULATIONS

On 28 May, OFAC published the regulations, which will come into effect on 1 June.

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20210528

GUATEMALA: FORMER MILITARY ARRESTED FOR DICTATORSHIP-ERA CRIMES

On 28 May, TeleSUR reported that the Guatemalan Public Prosecutor’s Office had arrested 11 retired military officials for allegedly committing crimes against humanity against political opponents during the country’s dictatorship rule (1982-1985).  They included retired General Marco Gonzalez, who headed the clandestine intelligence network known as “The Archive.” 

https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Guatemala-Former-Military-Arrested-for-Dictatorship-Era-Crimes-20210528-0006.html

ENTITIES OF CONCERN – IRAN’S ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS

On 28 May, a newsletter from the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control provided brief details of 3 academic institutions, saying that many such Iranian institutions are tied to the military, play a role in the country’s research relevant to WMD.  They provide expertise to Iran’s nuclear programme and its development of ballistic missiles.  Those covered are the Amirkebir University of Technology; Imam Hussein University and Shahid Behesti University.

https://www.iranwatch.org/our-publications/newsletters/iran-watch-newsletter-may-2021

US RETURNS STOLEN SACRED ARTIFACTS TO THAILAND IN COMMEMORATION CEREMONY

A news release from US Customs and Immigration Enforcement on 26 May announced that Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) had returned 2 hand-carved sandstone lintels – structural components from 9th and 10th Century religious sanctuaries in north-eastern Thailand – at an official commemoration ceremony held at Crozier Fine Arts.  The sacred lintels had been stolen and illegally exported from Thailand more than 50 years ago.

https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/hsi-returns-stolen-sacred-artifacts-thailand-commemoration-ceremony

https://www.statista.com/chart/24939/personnel-involved-in-the-largest-peacekeeping-operations

https://www.statista.com/chart/14007/top-contributors-to-un-peacekeeping-operations-by-country

INDUSTRIAL-SCALE COCAINE LAB UNCOVERED IN ROTTERDAM 

A news release from Europol on 28 May advised that nn international multi-agency operation has led to 9 arrests, the seizure of over €3.4 million in cash and the shutdown of an industrial-sized cocaine production lab.  This followed the arrest of 8 members of the gang, with €5 million worth of cocaine seized in the region of Marseille, alongside €3 million worth of cannabis resin and €3.4 million in cash. The investigation was able to trace back the cocaine to the underground laboratory targeted in the Netherlands. 

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/industrial-scale-cocaine-lab-uncovered-in-rotterdam-in-latest-encrochat-bust

UK: FRC WANTS TO SEE MORE FRAUD DETECTION BY AUDITORS

On 28 May, PQ Magazine reported that the Financial Reporting Council has issued a revision of its UK auditing standard on the responsibilities of auditors relating to fraud, designed to provide increased clarity about the auditor’s obligations.  The revised UK standard is effective for audits of periods beginning on or after 15 December, with early adoption permitted.

https://www.pqmagazine.com/frc-wants-to-see-more-fraud-detection-by-auditors/

US: CONSTRUCTION COMPANY PRESIDENT CHARGED WITH DEFRAUDING THE STATE DEPARTMENT IN MULTIMILLION-DOLLAR FRAUD SCHEMES

A news release from US DoJ on 28 May advised the arrest of SINA MOAYEDI, the owner of a construction company, Montage Inc, on charges including bribery and fraud.  It is alleged that, cultivating a State Department insider, Sina Moayedi made misrepresentations about his employees’ qualifications and his company’s ownership in order to induce the State Department into awarding approximately $100 million in lucrative construction contracts.

https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/construction-company-president-charged-defrauding-state-department-multimillion-dollar

PANAMA SHIP REGISTRY OFFERS INCENTIVES TO USE PANAMANIAN CREW

On 28 May, Hellenic Shipping News reported that, in order to create new job opportunities for Panamanians, a new Resoltion of the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) grants a discount incentive to shipping companies of up to 50% on the current rate for technical documentation services for foreign seafarers who work on board ships with Panamanian registration and embark officers and cadets of Panamanian nationality.

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/amp-promotes-the-placement-of-panamanian-seafarers-in-vessels-of-the-panama-ship-registry/

INDIA MAY RESUME IRANIAN OIL BUYING IF NO SANCTIONS BUT NEEDS CONCESSIONS

On 28 May, Hellenic Shipping News reported that state-run Bharat Petroleum Corporation could annually take up to 2 million tonnes of Iranian oil if the OPEC member offers concessions to make its crude oil attractive compared to rival grades. 

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/indias-bpcl-may-resume-iranian-oil-buying-if-no-sanctions-needs-concessions/

FISC (Financial Institutions Sanctions Compliance) is the new journal from WorldECR.  The first issue has articles covering Asia, the EU, US, and UK. As well as an educational piece, on all things crypto, blockchain, and ransomware. There is also an interview with Jessica Hodson covering advice on careers in the sanctions compliance world.  The first issue is available as a free sample. To request a copy you should email: fisc@worldecr.com and include your name, role and organisation where possible, and it is said that a copy will be sent out.

THE RISE OF CRYPTO LAUNDRIES: HOW CRIMINALS CASH OUT OF BITCOIN

The Financial Times on 27 May carried an article saying that criminals are locked in battle with forensics firms tracking how privacy wallets and gift cards are used to turn virtual hauls into hard cash.  It says that the necessary facilitators are listed on the dark web on the Hydra website.

https://www.ft.com/content/4169ea4b-d6d7-4a2e-bc91-480550c2f539?shareType=nongift

 

 

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CONVERGENCE OF WILDLIFE CRIME WITH OTHER FORMS OF ORGANISED CRIME

A report from the Wildlife Justice Commission says that, as wildlife crime has increased in seriousness and profitability as a crime type, so too have reports of its convergence with other forms of organised crime.  However, these reports have been mostly anecdotal, and the nature of this relationship is still largely undocumented.  Now the Wildlife Justice Commission has collected evidence of criminal networks that are dealing in wildlife alongside other illicit commodities.  The report sets out 12 case studies that illustrate a range of converging crime types and typologies that have transpired in different regions of the world to increase the understanding of how these intersections can occur on the ground.  It says that the clear and frequent intersection of these crimes highlights the need for financial and corruption investigations that run in parallel or in response to wildlife crime cases; however, few countries are currently undertaking these types of investigations.  As with other similar reports, this report calls for intelligence collection and sharing in a timely and secure manner, and for governments to develop their own comprehensive wildlife crime information systems.

https://wildlifejustice.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Crime-Convergence-Report-2021.pdf

 

 

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CONFLICT MINERALS: ARE COMPANIES SOURCING FROM CONFLICT-FREE REFINERS & SMELTERS?

An opinion piece from The Sentry on 25 March says that independent audits on conflict minerals have been around for a decade, but asks if companies actually using them in their supply chain decisions?  According to new research by The Sentry, a majority of the largest electronics, jewellery, and automotive companies are still not requiring suppliers to source from conflict-free refiners and smelters – despite legal requirements to monitor supply chains.  It is said that the number of companies sourcing only from conflict-free refiners and smelters has increased, which is encouraging, although they are still a small minority, but the majority of the largest companies in each sector still do not require their suppliers to source from conflict-free refiners and smelters.  It also notes that many companies continue to list smelters and refiners that have failed or have not undergone credible, independent conflict minerals audits in their supply chains.  It suggests what consumers should look for from companies in the new 2021 SEC filings?

https://thesentry.org/2021/05/25/6004/op-ed-conflict-minerals-companies-sourcing-conflict-free-refiners-smelters/

 

 

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NEW STUDY SHEDS LIGHT ON ILLICIT FINANCIAL FLOWS IN LIBYA

On 28 May, the EU Neighbours website reported that the EU and the UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) present a new study on Illicit Financial Flows (IFF) and Asset Recovery in Libya.  The report sheds light on the significant damage being caused to Libya as a result of unchecked IFF and on the importance of prioritizing the capture of illicitly-obtained assets linked to such IFF.

https://www.euneighbours.eu/sites/default/files/publications/2021-05/study%20Libya.pdf

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EU DELETES 5 ENTRIES ON SYRIAN SANCTIONS LIST AND AMENDS MANY OTHERS

EU Regulation 2021/848/EU removed 5 entries from its sanctions list, on the grounds that these are deceased, and the existing entries for 25 individuals and 3 entities have been amended.

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/AUTO/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2021.188.01.0018.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2021:188:TOC

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/AUTO/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2021.188.01.0090.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2021:188:TOC

 

 

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COUNTERING THE FINANCING OF SELF-ACTIVATING (LONE WOLF) TERRORISM IN EUROPE

A new Occasional Paper from RUSI details the financial behaviours of “self-activating” terrorists in planning their attacks and assesses why counter-terrorist finance controls have been ineffective in detecting them.  “Self-activating” terrorists involve so-called “lone wolf” attacks.  It is said that much of the current ‘conventional wisdom’ around these kinds of actors assumes that terrorist financing and a CFT response are not relevant to this growing threat and involving little to no preparation or financial resourcing.  In light of this, the European Commission commissioned RUSI Europe to carry out this research study to answer 2 related research questions –

How do self-activating terrorists operating in Europe conduct their financial attack preparations?

How should the CTF regime be changed to meet this pervasive terrorist threat?

The research findings included that self-activating terrorism can have a financial and commercial dimension and any financial activity is not necessarily negligible or invisible.  It also said that current CFT collaborations are not structurally flexible or wide-ranging enough to tackle the self-activating terrorist problem proactively.

https://www.projectcraaft.eu/s/A-New-Normal-Countering-the-Financing-of-Self-Activating-Terrorism-in-Europe.pdf

 

 

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UK: ARTISTS WILL NOT BE SUBJECT TO AML REGULATIONS

On 26 May, The Art Newspaper reported that, after lobbying from art organisations, the UK Government has made last-minute decision that creators who sell their work direct to clients will not be classed as “Art Market Participants” and will not therefore not be liable under the revised AML regulations.

https://www.theartnewspaper.com/news/artists-will-not-be-subject-to-anti-money-laundering-regulations-uk-treasury-says

 

 

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