On 30 June, a news release from FinCEN advised that it had issued the first government-wide priorities for AML/CFT policy, following consultation with other relevant US Treasury offices, as well as Federal and State regulators, law enforcement, and national security agencies. They identify and describe the most significant AML/CFT threats currently facing the US and, in no particular order, these include: corruption, cybercrime, domestic and international terrorist financing, fraud, transnational criminal organisations, drug trafficking organisations, human trafficking and human smuggling, and proliferation financing. FinCEN has also issued 2 statements to provide guidance to covered institutions on how to approach the Priorities.
On 30 June, an article from Eversheds Sutherland says that the Act positioned the UK alongside the US as the countries with the most formidable anti-bribery legislation in the world and the most active enforcement. Its extra-territorial elements meant that the ramifications of the introduction of the Act was felt across the globe. The article looks at the impact that the introduction of the Act has had across the globe in terms of the introduction of similar legislation in other countries or invigorated law enforcement.
On 30 June, FATF published a report which focuses on the funding behind ethnically or racially motivated terrorism, also referred to as extreme right-wing terrorism. Extreme right-wing attacks have increased in recent years, highlighting the need to raise awareness about this complex phenomenon and its financing. It says that while most of these attacks were carried out by self-funded lone actors, but they can also involve small and medium organisations, as well as transnational extreme right-wing movements. Few countries have so far designated these groups or individuals as terrorists and there are differences in the countries’ legal regimes to addressing their activities. Extreme right-wing groups can obtain funding from criminal activity, but most funding comes from legal sources, such as donations, membership fees and commercial activities. The report encourages countries to continue to develop their understanding of this increasingly transnational criminal activity.
On 30 June, a post from the OFSI blog was concerned with applying for a licence from the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation to release otherwise frozen funds for legal fees or the maintenance of frozen funds or economic resources, and the term “reasonableness”. OFSI is legally obliged to ensure that those fees and expenses are “reasonable”. There are 2 licensing derogations that include a ‘reasonableness’ test – ‘legal services’ and ‘maintenance of funds or frozen resources’. The post outlines the types of questions that applicants may wish to consider when applying under these specific licensing grounds. The term ‘reasonable’ is a legal requirement both for OFSI to assess this and for applicants to provide evidence of why a payment is reasonable.
Interpol produced this guidance in March – as technical guidelines to provide information and advice on digital forensic approaches that may be adopted when seizing and analysing different kinds of devices. It aims to provide best practices for search and seizure of electronic and digital evidence. The Guidelines are solely for the use of law enforcement professionals having the necessary legal basis or authorisation to perform the actions described in the publication. It also includes mentions of open source, proprietary and publicly available tools and services that offer various functionalities.
On 28 June, a report from the Humane Society International reveals that EU countries imported nearly 15,000 hunting trophies of 73 internationally protected species between 2014 and 2018, an average of almost 3,000 trophies every year, including African lions, African elephants and critically endangered black rhinos. Zebras, cheetahs, Asia’s near threatened Argali sheep, and polar bears. Germany, Spain, Denmark, Austria, Sweden, France, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia are the top trophy importing EU Member States, with Namibia, South Africa, Canada, Russia, Argentina, Kyrgyzstan and the U.S. represent the top exporting countries to the EU. Spain, Poland, Hungary, Germany and the Czech Republic are the top importers of captive lion trophies.
The EU’s European Court of Auditors has issued this report which found “institutional fragmentation” and poor co-ordination at EU level when it came to actions AML/CFT and take action where risk was identified. In practice, supervision still takes place at national level with an insufficient EU oversight framework to ensure a level playing field. It found that the Commission was slow to assess Member States’ transposition of Directives due to poor-quality communication by Member States and limited resources at the Commission. The quality of material shared by the supervisory authorities also varied considerably due to national practices, and the European Banking Association is said to be developing updated guidance. It makes a number of recommendations for the EU Commission, EBA and the European Central Bank.
The Airports Council International has released the first edition of this guidance which is designed to assist airports in addressing this global crime. It offers detailed case studies on the comprehensive work and strategies of individual airports engaged in this global challenge and draws on the experience of airports which have taken an active role against wildlife trafficking. It also provides guidance to airports on their role and the options that may be available to them to support industry action.
On 29 June, an article from OCCRP reported that “Mikaela Jav” made a name for herself as a DJ on Ibiza and OCCRP reveals that she is Izzat Khanim Javadova, a cousin of Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev. (Javadova’s stage name, Mikaela, is the name of her 22-year-old daughter). Over the past few years, she and her husband, Suleyman Javadov, have been the targets of an investigation by the UK’s NCA into millions of pounds that the NCA suspects are the proceeds of “corruption, theft or embezzlement”. They are said to have received £13.9 million from questionable origins. They used a network of 20 opaque companies based in mostly offshore jurisdictions to receive the funds in their UK accounts, according to the NCA, and it identified 6 of these companies as being part of the “Azerbaijani Laundromat”.
On 29 June, FATF reissued this guidance, saying that it had recently revised 2 Standards to require countries, financial institutions, designated non-financial businesses and professions (DNFBP) and virtual asset service providers (VASP) to identify, assess, understand and mitigate their proliferation financing risks. The guidance, first issued in October, will effectively implementing these new FATF requirements.