Panama Covid-19 update – The “Brazilian” or Gamma variant has reportedly now been detected, and thought to have come in from Costa Rica.
Meanwhile, today saw another 1,197 new cases and 9 more fatalities. The 12,530 active cases include an increase of fall of numbers in ICU to 101, but 15 more patients in other wards – the total now being 590.
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
FORMER MALAWI CENTRAL BANK CHIEF CHARGED WITH MONEY LAUNDERING
On 29 June, Reuters reported that the former governor of the Reserve Bank of Malawi, Dalitso Kabambe, and 3 other former senior officials have been charged with 4 counts of financial impropriety, including money laundering. It is reported that this follows a forensic audit which showed the central bank made several irregular payments to companies linked to the former ruling Democratic Progressive Party, which he had joined after being replaced at the bank.
IRS WANTS MORE CLIENT DATA FROM SWISS BANKS
On 28 June, Swissinfo reported that the IRS has extended its requests for Swiss banks to disclose full details of client accounts held by US citizens.
PORTUGUESE MILLIONAIRE ART COLLECTOR DETAINED IN TAX FRAUD PROBE
On 30 June, KYC 360 reported that Portuguese art collector Joe Berardo, 76, who was once one of the country’s richest men and owned his own museum, was detained by the police in an investigation of money laundering and fraud. Berardo has been under scrutiny by authorities for years. Charges related to nearly a billion euros of loans received from Portuguese banks.
LITIGATION PRIVILEGE AND THE DOMINANT PURPOSE OF CORRESPONDENCE
On 25 June, an article from Rahman Ravelli details a case that considered the evolving issue of litigation privilege. It explained that, under English law, the 3 requirements for litigation privilege were summarised in Three Rivers District Council v Bank of England (no. 6) , and that another case which expands on the dominant purpose requirement is Re Highgrade Traders Limited .
EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS RULES THAT UK BULK INTERCEPTION SURVEILLANCE REGIME VIOLATES HUMAN RIGHTS
On 28 June, an article from A&L Goodbody, an Irish law firm, reported that, in May, the court ruled that the UK’s surveillance regime of bulk interception of online communications violated the European Convention. According to the court this regime breached the rights to privacy and freedom of expression enshrined within Article 8 and 10 of the Convention, a ruling that will have significant implications for state surveillance across Europe. It found that bulk interception under the UK’s RIPA regime violated the rights contained in Article 8 and Article 10, and endangered individual’s privacy and journalistic confidentiality; and that the bulk interception regime did not meet some of the required safeguards. Re the right of privacy under Article 8 of the Convention, there had been no independent authorisation for a bulk warrant, no internal authorisation for linking search terms to an individual and a failure to include categories of search terms in a warrant. It is said that this decision may now pave the way for a challenge of the replacement regime created under the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 in the UK courts – which had been stayed pending this decision.
THE EVOLUTION OF CRYPTOGRAPHY IN MOBILE NETWORKS
On 29 June, Ericsson published a post saying that mobile phone networks heavily use advances in cryptographic algorithms and protocols to ensure the security of the information in the communication and privacy protection for the individuals. The post takes a detailed look at the cryptographic algorithms and protocols used in mobile communications and share some insights into the recent progress. It also looks at how export licensing controls affected second generation (2G or GSM) mobile networks, which had quite low security by today‘s standards but were subject to licensing controls as, at the time, export of cryptography was heavily restricted and GSM had to be designed with this in mind.
US COURT HAS UPHELD A NATIONWIDE ORDER REQUIRING A COPYRIGHT LAWYER TO NOTIFY HIS CLIENTS AND THE COURTS HANDLING HIS CASES OF A DECISION AGAINST HIM
On 29 June, the ABA Journal in the US reported that a lawyer described as a “copyright troll” has filed thousands of copyright infringement cases in federal courts. An appeals court said the evidence against him and his pattern of misconduct in other cases justified the nationwide scope of the sanction imposed by a court in New York for lying about an order requiring in-person mediation, for violating court orders, and for falsely claiming that a copyright was registered before he filed suit.
GUERNSEY: NEW ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL CRIME BUREAU WILL USE ALL LEGAL POWERS TO STOP FINANCIAL CRIMINALS
On 29 June, the Guernsey Press reported that increased powers to seize ill-gotten cash and property are being worked on, according to the director of Guernsey’s new Economic and Financial Crime Bureau. The new independent body will, subject to the approval of funding from the Policy & Resources Committee, have 53 staff – including staff already working in financial crime intelligence. There are already 30 posts established within the bureau, but 8 of these established posts are currently vacant due to previous post-holders having left and the roles are in the process of being filled. It is also said that an additional 23 new posts are needed by the agency to improve the effectiveness of the island’s economic crime and AML regime ahead of an inspection by Moneyval.
SWITZERLAND INVESTIGATES GUNVOR LINKS TO ECUADOR OIL TRADING
On 30 June, Reuters reported that Swiss prosecutors said that they are investigating whether bribery, money laundering or other crimes linked to Ecuador oil trading were committed in Switzerland following a US criminal case against an ex-Gunvor Group employee.
US: COMPANY FINED FOR UNLICENSED SALE OF UNDERWATER “JET BOOTS” TO RUSSIA
On 30 June, the EU Sanctions blog reported that Patriot 3 Inc had been fined $200,000 by BIS for the supply of maritime jet boots with underwater propulsion systems as unlicensed exports to the Russian Federal Guard Service in 2014. The “jet boots” are strap-on propulsion systems for divers.
COORDINATED ACTION CUTS OFF ACCESS TO VPN SERVICE USED BY RANSOMWARE GROUPS
A news release from Europol on 30 June said that law enforcement and judicial authorities in Europe, the US and Canada have seized the web domains and server infrastructure of DoubleVPN, a virtual private network (VPN) service which provided a safe haven for cybercriminals to attack their victims.
FCA URGES VICTIMS TO COME FORWARD AFTER COURT ORDERS COMPENSATION FOR VICTIMS OF ILLEGAL INVESTMENT SCHEME
A news release from FCA on 30 June advised that the FCA has secured asset confiscation orders against 6 individuals who had been convicted of criminal charges in relation to an illegal investment scheme – and they were convicted and sentenced to terms of imprisonment totalling more than 28 years after the largest-ever FCA fraud investigation. The Court also imposed default prison sentences under the terms of the Confiscation Orders for each of the individuals, which means that they would each be liable to serve a term of imprisonment in the event that they do not satisfy their respective Confiscation Orders.
BANK OF IRELAND WARNS OF ‘UNPRECEDENTED SPIKE’ IN SMISHING
On 30 June, RTE reported that the Bank of Ireland has issued a new warning to the public to take extra caution around fraudulent text messages in circulation. It has noted a spike in “smishing”, where fraudsters send fake text messages – which appear to come from Bank of Ireland – and direct customers to fake websites imitating Bank of Ireland websites.
UK GOVERNMENT DECISIONS TO DROP BASIC FRAUD AND ERROR CHECKS WHEN ADMINISTERING ITS COVID-19 SUPPORT LOANS COULD COST THE TAXPAYER TENS OF BILLIONS OF POUNDS
On 30 June, Civil Service World reported on evidence before Parliament’s Public Account Committee. The Committee urged departments to claw back money lost to fraudsters and said some were showing a “lack of urgency” about the problem. It is said that the government had “significantly increased” its exposure to fraud and error, and decisions taken by the departments managing the support schemes increased this exposure further.
REFLECTIONS ON THE UK BRIBERY ACT (PART II) – UNFULFILLED POTENTIAL?
On 30 June, this article from White & Case, the second article in the series marking the 10 years of the Act, considers whether, a decade on, the Act still has yet to meet some of its objectives: namely, effectively dissuading companies from allowing bribery to happen on their watch, prosecuting those who do, and holding culpable individuals to account. It focuses on how the Act has been enforced in the UK, with particular regard to bribery-related Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPA) and the impact of the Act on individuals and SME.
BRAZILIAN SUPREME COURT HAS REVOKED THE PASSPORT OF FORMER ENVIRONMENT MINISTER RICARDO SALLES
On 29 June, Jurist reported that this follows allegations that Salles was involved in — and helped cover up — a multi-million-dollar illegal timber trafficking scheme.
UNODC HIGHLIGHTS LACK OF JUSTICE FOR MIGRANTS ABUSED ON SMUGGLING ROUTES
On 28 June, UNODC published a report saying that migrants who use smuggling networks to flee their home countries are often subjected to extreme violence, torture, rape and kidnapping while in transit or captivity. Despite the severity of these offences, little action is taken by national authorities and, in some cases, officials are complicit in these crimes. The report centres on transit routes in West and North Africa, the Mediterranean Sea and Central America.
CENTRAL AFRICA: CRIMINALS ARE CASHING IN ON COVID-19 SURGE IN GOLD PRICES
A news release from INTERPOL on 30 June said that a new INTERPOL report sounds the alarm on the prevalence of organised crime group in gold mining across the Central African region. It has recently found itself in the crosshairs of internationally connected organized crime groups due to the skyrocketing price of gold during the global COVID-19 pandemic. In August 2020, the price of gold hit an unprecedented peak at $2,048 per ounce. At the same time, demand for other Central African minerals such as the ‘3Ts’ – tin, tantalum and tungsten – has decreased over the past decade due to a collapse of international prices and more stringent sourcing requirements for purchasing companies. These factors have led to what some are calling a new gold rush in Central Africa’s gold mining hotspots, especially in the artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) sector that mostly takes place in the informal or illegal economy. The report warns that non-state armed groups in the DRC and CAR finance their activities by controlling gold mining sites and smuggling routes, as well as using extortion through illegal taxation but that the major part of illicit profits generated goes to organised crime groups.
UNRAVELLING SERBIAN OFFICIALS’ LINKS TO PARAMILITARIES
On 30 June, Eurasia Review reported on the trial in The Hague of Serbian State Security Service chiefs Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic, who allegedly illegally controlled wartime paramilitary units during the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s. Stanisic and Simatovic stand accused of organising, financing, training and deploying armed units in the Croatian and Bosnian wars to achieve the goals of a joint criminal enterprise that involved Slobodan Milosevic and the political, military and security leadership of Serbia and the leaders of Serbs in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
POLITICAL PROTEST: KING MSWATI SAID TO HAVE FLED ESWATINI
On 30 June, Eurasia Review reported on the situation in the former Swaziland, saying that Africa’s last absolute monarchy has allegedly fled his country as pro-democracy protests turned violent. Protesters are demanding democracy in the country that has banned political parties since the early 1970s.
UK: NEW GUIDANCE ON PREVENTION OF ILLEGAL WORKING
On 30 June, an article from Eversheds Sutherland says 2 documents explain how the Government will administer the civil penalty scheme in respect of right-to-work checks from 1 July onwards and the ways in which right-to-work checks must now be conducted from this date. The guidance highlights the changes to the right-to-work checking process for EEA and Swiss nationals, together with third country family members, which will come into effect on 1 July. Employers will no longer able to accept EU/EEA passports or National ID cards (except for a passport/passport card from Ireland) as valid proof of right-to-work from that date although there is no need to retrospectively check the status of any such EEA employee who entered into employment up to and including 30 June.
GARDAI REVEAL MASSIVE INTERNATIONAL FRAUD WITH A “SIGNIGICANT FOOTPRINT” IN IRELAND
On 30 June, The Journal reported that police claim that international organised crime gangs are using Ireland as a base for multi-million-euro frauds. It is said that scammers have set up camp in Ireland in a criminal network that reaches to every corner of the globe.
US: USED MOTOR VEHICLE DEALERS SENTENCED IN ODOMETER TAMPERING SCHEME
A news release from the US DoJ on 29 June advised that a motor dealer has been sentenced to 60 months’ imprisonment for his role in a long-running odometer tampering and money laundering scheme and ordered to pay $3,936,000 in restitution. The defendant pleaded guilty in August 2020 to conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to commit odometer tampering, making false odometer statements and securities fraud.
FCA: ACTION NEEDED IN RESPONSE TO COMMON CONTROL FAILINGS IDENTIFIED IN AML FRAMEWORKS
On 22 May, the FCA sent a “Dear CEO” letter to retail banks saying that it was disappointed to continue to identify, across some firms, several common weaknesses in key areas of firms’ financial crime systems and control frameworks.
HOW HACKERS ARE USING GAMERS TO BECOME CRYPTO-RICH
On 25 June, an article from the BBC said that gamers are being duped into helping hackers become rich, after downloading games laced with hidden malware. Researchers say that the “cracked” games are spreading and a cyber-security software company is now detecting about 800 cases on computers every day – and says that the true impact is likely to be far higher.
PODCAST: KLEPTOPIA AT FRAUDFEST!
In the latest TRACE podcast, Tom Burgis, investigations correspondent at the Financial Times and author of “Kleptopia”, discusses the increasingly disturbing influence that kleptocrats exert internationally, who enables them and the flaws in our efforts to contain them.
LOS ANGELES-AREA MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO ROLE IN INTERNATIONAL CONSPIRACY TO SELL COUNTERFEIT LAPTOP BATTERIES
A news release from US Immigration & Customs Enforcement on 30 June advised that Zoulin Cai, aka Allen Cai, 29, had pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges for participating in a multimillion-dollar scheme to manufacture and ship counterfeit laptop computer batteries and other electronics from China to the US, where the bogus batteries were sold to unsuspecting buyers in online marketplaces. Batteries bore counterfeit trademarks of companies such as Apple, Dell, HP and Toshiba, as well as counterfeit certification marks of UL, a company that tests and certifies the safety of electronic products.
FORMER NHS MANAGER DEFRAUDED NHS TRUST OUT OF £800,000
On 30 June, the BBC reported that Barry Stannard, 53, a former NHS manager has been jailed for defrauding the health service out of more than £800,000. He sent false invoices from 2 companies to the Trust where he worked between 2012 and 2019. He was authorised to approve invoices of up to £7,500 and the court heard all of his were below this.
AML/CFT – DEMONSTRATING EFFECTIVENESS
The Wolfsberg Group – an association of 13 global banks developing financial industry standards for AML/CFT and KYC policies – has published a paper on how an institution can assess risk in defined priority areas and demonstrate the effectiveness of its AML/CFT programme. It recommends a need to –
- Complying with AML/CFT laws and regulations;
- Providing highly useful information to government authorities in priority areas; and
- Reasonable and risk-based controls to detect, prevent or deter financial crime;
THE HMRC APPROACH TO RECOVERING INCORRECT COVID19 CLAIMS
On 29 June, Stewarts Law LLP published an article which looks at the steps being taken by HMRC to recover incorrect furlough claims made during the Covid-19 pandemic, and discuss what a business needs to do if it finds itself under investigation.
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