OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JUNE 30

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.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/former-malawi-central-bank-chief-charged-with-money-laundering

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.

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/irs-wants-more-client-data-from-swiss-banks/46742698

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.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/portuguese-millionaire-art-collector-detained-in-tax-fraud-probe/

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) [2005], and that another case which expands on the dominant purpose requirement is Re Highgrade Traders Limited [1984]

https://www.rahmanravelli.co.uk/articles/litigation-privilege-and-the-dominant-purpose-of-correspondence/

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.

https://www.irelandip.com/2021/06/articles/uncategorized/big-brother-was-watching-echr-grand-chamber-rules-that-uk-bulk-interception-surveillance-regime-violates-human-rights/#page=1

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. 

https://www.ericsson.com/en/blog/2021/6/evolution-of-cryptographic-algorithms

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.

https://www.abajournal.com/news/article/lawyer-deemed-copyright-troll-must-file-sanctions-opinion-in-all-his-cases-2nd-circuit-agrees

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.

https://guernseypress.com/news/2021/06/29/well-use-all-legal-powers-to-stop-financial-criminals/

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.

https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/swiss-probe-suspected-bribery-money-laundering-ecuador-oil-trading-2021-06-30/

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/swiss-prosecutor-investigates-ecuador-bribery-scandal/46747880

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/international-business/article-swiss-prosecutors-investigating-gunvor-links-to-ecuador-oil-trading

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.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2021/06/us-company-fined-200k-over-unlawful-exporting-of-jet-boots-to-russia/

https://www.patriot3.com/jetboots

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. 

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/coordinated-action-cuts-access-to-vpn-service-used-ransomware-groups

https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/doublevpn-takedown-nca-takes-uk-server-of-criminal-network-offline

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.

https://www.fca.org.uk/news/press-releases/court-orders-compensation-victims-illegal-investment-scheme

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.

https://www.rte.ie/news/business/2021/0630/1232206-bank-of-ireland-warns-on-scams

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. 

https://www.civilserviceworld.com/news/article/fraud-and-error-in-covid-support-schemes-will-cost-taxpayer-tens-of-billions

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.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/reflections-on-the-uk-bribery-act-part-2364983/

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.

https://www.jurist.org/news/2021/06/brazil-supreme-court-revokes-passport-of-ex-environmental-minister-amid-illegal-timber-sale-investigations/

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.

https://www.unodc.org/documents/human-trafficking/2021/Aggravated_SOM_and_Gender.pdf

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.

https://www.interpol.int/content/download/16493/file/Illegal%20gold%20mining%20in%20Central%20Africa.pdf

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.

https://www.eurasiareview.com/30062021-covert-operations-unravelling-serbian-officials-links-to-paramilitaries-analysis/

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. 

https://www.eurasiareview.com/30062021-amid-political-protest-king-mswati-flees-eswatini/

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.

https://www.eversheds-sutherland.com/global/en/what/articles/index.page?ArticleID=en/Employment_and_labour_law/illegal-working

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.

https://www.thejournal.ie/fraud-ireland-international-garda-national-economic-bureau-interview-pat-lordan-mick-cryan-5479429-Jun2021/

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.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/used-motor-vehicle-dealers-sentenced-odometer-tampering-scheme

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.

https://www.fca.org.uk/publication/correspondence/dear-ceo-letter-common-control-failings-identified-in-anti-money-laundering-frameworks.pdf

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.

https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-57601631

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.

https://www.traceinternational.org/resources-podcast

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.

https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/los-angeles-area-man-pleads-guilty-role-international-conspiracy-sell-counterfeit

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.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-essex-57672570

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;

https://media-exp1.licdn.com/dms/document/C4E1FAQFOYHgbCGgyqw/feedshare-document-pdf-analyzed/0/1625080110027?e=1625176800&v=beta&t=X4sM5NclvYbYZrPxYIsH1mN3swFN0cIt7ubVLm_IK7U

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.

https://www.stewartslaw.com/news/uk-tax-authoritys-approach-to-recovering-incorrect-covid19-claims

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

US: FinCEN ISSUES FIRST NATIONAL AML/CFT PRIORITIES AND ACCOMPANYING STATEMENTS

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.  

https://www.fincen.gov/news/news-releases/fincen-issues-first-national-amlcft-priorities-and-accompanying-statements

https://www.fincen.gov/sites/default/files/shared/AML_CFT%20Priorities%20(June%2030%2C%202021).pdf

https://www.fincen.gov/sites/default/files/shared/Statement%20for%20Banks%20(June%2030%2C%202021).pdf

https://www.fincen.gov/sites/default/files/shared/Statement%20for%20Non-Bank%20Financial%20Institutions%20(June%2030%2C%202021).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

THE IMPACT OF THE UK BRIBERY ACT ON INTERNATIONAL ANTI-BRIBERY LAWS

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.

https://www.eversheds-sutherland.com/global/en/what/articles/index.page?ArticleID=en/Fraud_and_financial_crime/the_impact_of_the_UK_Bribery_Act_on_international_antibribery_laws

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

FATF: ETHNICALLY OR RACIALLY MOTIVATED TERRORISM FINANCING

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. 

http://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/reports/Ethnically-or-racially-motivated-terrorism-financing.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

REASONABLENESS IN UK SANCTIONS LICENSING

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.

https://ofsi.blog.gov.uk/2021/06/30/reasonableness-in-licensing/

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

OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JUNE 29

Panama Covid-19 update – from later this week, registration opens for the New Panama Solidarity Plan, which is the revised version of the relief fund for those unemployed etc as a result of the pandemic. Applicants must complete 24 hours a month of community social service or training at the National Institute of Professional Training and Training for Human Development. Some of the community projects that will qualify include repair of schools, maintenance of sports infrastructures, packaging of solidarity bags (food and necessities for families affected by the pandemic), community cleaning and decoration, and the vaccination programme. It is reported that, in May, more than 708,000 people received transfers directly to their ID cards (making them work as a sort of debit card), but the number of beneficiaries have decreased in recent months, as employment increased once more.

Meanwhile (and this of personal interest to me, of course, having received the Pfizer jab), to date in Panama, there have been 537 reported cases of adverse side-effects to the Pfizer vaccination – the most typical being headaches (132 cases). This is after over 895,000 injections, and only 7% of the adverse reactions were classified as “severe” (i.e. 37 cases). I had a mild allergic reaction myself, not to the vaccine, but rather to another substance used to aid its absorption and effect.

Meanwhile, another 1,249 new cases reported today, and 7 new fatalities. There are now 12,389 cases, with hospitalisations showing a small increase to 108 in ICU and 575 in other wards. The overall average Rt infection rate is given as 1.09 (and just 1 in the metropolitan area).

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

29 JUNE 2021

JUUL TO PAY $40 MILLION TO SETTLE LAWSUIT ALLEGING IT TARGETED TEENS

On 28 June, the Wall Street Journal reported that the case brought by North Carolina is the first of many against e-cigarette maker set to go to trial.  North Carolina’s lawsuit alleged that Juul designed and marketed its e-cigarettes to attract teenagers and misrepresented the potency of their nicotine.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/juul-to-pay-40-million-to-settle-lawsuit-alleging-it-targeted-teens-11624895466

US SENATE PASSES BILL TO FUND CFTC WHISTLEBLOWER PROGRAM

The Wall Street Journal reported that a similar Bill may be considered by the House of Representatives as well.  They wouldpay for the operation of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s whistleblower programme.  CFTC has been in turmoil in recent months over a potential pay-out of more than $100 million to a former executive at Deutsche Bank AG, and management of the CFTC contend there was no mechanism to pay the bank executive and other eligible whistleblowers while maintaining funding for the programme.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/senate-passes-bill-to-fund-cftc-whistleblower-program-11622586035

https://www.wsj.com/articles/cftc-whistleblower-program-in-peril-over-potential-100-million-plus-payout-11620732600

HONG KONG: 36 PEOPLE OVER SUSPECTED SCAMS INVOLVING GOVERNMENT-GUARANTEED LOANS

On 28 June, the South China Morning Post reported that bank officers and loan applicants among 36 arrested over suspected scams involving aid for SME.  Middlemen are suspected of inflating claims, and obtaining government-backed loans for shell companies.  Those arrested were an insurance broker, 3 suspected intermediaries, 4 bank officers and 28 applicants for the government loans.  The Special 100% Loan Guarantee comes under the government’s SME Financing Guarantee Scheme, which offers loans to ease the cash flow problems of businesses hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.

https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-and-crime/article/3138922/hong-kong-bank-officers-loan-applicants-among-36 

SINGAPORE FILES 13 MORE CHARGES IN MASSIVE NICKEL TRADING FRAUD

On 28 June, Reuters reported that Singapore prosecutors have filed 13 additional charges against a local businessman in relation to a scheme that allegedly raised more than S$1 billion from investors to fund bogus nickel trades.

https://www.reuters.com/article/envy-metals-fraud/singapore-files-13-more-charges-in-massive-nickel-trading-fraud-idUSL3N2OA0KY

A VOLUNTEER WITH A DUBLIN SOUP RUN IS A “TRUSTED, HIGH-LEVEL” MEMBER OF AN INTERNATIONAL DRUGS TRAFFICKING GANG

On 28 June, the Irish Independent reported that, in the Special Criminal Court Jason Reed, 40, was told he faces a “substantial custodial sentence” after pleading guilty to money laundering and possessing the proceeds of crime relating to almost €400,000.  Gardaí also gave evidence of seizing 6 high-end watches worth over €55,000 from the accused who has no source of income.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/soup-run-volunteeris-a-trusted-high-level-member-of-international-drug-gang-court-told-40588611.html

NETHERLANDS: DAMNING REPORT FROM A COURT-APPOINTED DIRECTOR OF A VEHICLE USED BY ANGOLA’S STATE OIL COMPANY SONANGOL

On 28 June, ICIJ reported that a deal that gave one of the wealthiest families in Africa a lucrative stake in a large Portuguese energy company could be a step closer to dissolution, following a new ruling from a Dutch court.  Esperaza Holding BV was a vehicle used by Angola’s state oil company, Sonangol.  The case involves Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of Angola’s former autocratic president who died in 2020.  The case involves the 2006 sale of 40% of Esperaza to Exem Energy BV, a company owned by Congolese businessman Sindika Dokolo, described as “an act of corruption”. 

https://www.icij.org/investigations/luanda-leaks/dutch-court-sides-with-report-calling-dos-santos-linked-energy-deal-an-act-of-corruption/

FRENCH COURT REJECTS CONSTITUTIONAL CHALLENGE BY UBS IN TAX CASE

On 28 June, Reuters reported that a French court has rejected a challenge filed by Swiss bank UBS linked to constitutional aspects of its French tax case, confirming that judges would rule on the lender’s appeal against a €4.5 billion fine.  UBS is looking to overturn a 2019 French court ruling in which it was found guilty of soliciting clients illegally at sporting events and parties in France, and of laundering the proceeds of tax evasion. 

https://www.reuters.com/business/finance/french-court-rejects-constitutional-challenge-by-ubs-tax-case-2021-06-28/

NEW ZEALAND: AMENDMENT OF THE ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING AND COUNTERING FINANCING OF TERRORISM ACT 2009

On 28 June, Buddle Findlay reported that, in June, June 2021, 4 amendment regulations relating to the AML/CFT regime were published.  These amendments will come into force on 9 July.  In particular, the amendment regulations expand and amend reporting entities’ CDD duties and obligations where they have customers that are companies or limited partnerships. 

https://www.buddlefindlay.com/insights/amendment-regulations-relating-to-the-anti-money-laundering-and-countering-financing-of-terrorism-act-2009/

SEC SANCTIONS FIRM FOR POLICIES THAT (THEORETICALLY COULD HAVE) CURTAILED WHISTLEBLOWERS

On 25 June, Kilpatrick Townsend reported an administrative order that, among other things, fined a broker-dealer $208,912 for alleged violations of a rule, which relates to whistleblower individuals reporting possible securities laws violations to the SEC. 

https://www.kilpatricktownsend.com/Insights/Alert/2021/6/SEC-Sanctions-Firm-for-Policies-that-Theoretically-Could-Have-Curtailed-Whistleblowers

PANAMA: REGULATION ON DATA PROTECTION

On 28 June, Dentons published a short article saying that on 28 May Executive Decree No. 285entered into force.  It regulates Law No. 81 of March 26, 2019, which establishes mandatory guidelines for the Protection of Personal Data.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/panama-regulation-on-data-protection-3191912/

CASH-STRAPPED MUSEUMS UNABLE TO STOP TREASURES FROM LEAVING UK

On 29 June, the Art Newspaper reported that UK museums can hardly try to buy multi-million-pound works of art when they are making large numbers of staff redundant as a result of Covid-19.  A number of items are at risk of being exported, and the article looks at 2 items currently at risk.

https://www.theartnewspaper.com/news/the-great-escape-cash-crisis-means-treasures-will-leave-the-uk

MYANMAR JADE INDUSTRY BECOMING ‘SLUSH FUND’ FOR JUNTA

On 29 June, France 24 reported that, according to NGO Global Witness, Myanmar’s multi-billion-dollar jade mines risk becoming a “slush fund” for military repression, as it is urging consumers to boycott purchasing any jade and gemstones from the coup-wracked nation.  Myanmar is one of the world’s biggest sources of jadeite and the industry is largely driven by insatiable demand for the translucent green gem from neighbouring China.

https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20210629-myanmar-jade-industry-becoming-slush-fund-for-junta-report

SERBIA: MONEYVAL AML/CFT AWARENESS-RAISING ON NATIONAL MONEY LAUNDERING AND TERRORIST FINANCING RISK ASSESSMENT

On 24 June, the Council of Europe reported that an information session on preparation and benefits of National Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Risk Assessment (NRA) was held online on 24 June, with participations of more than 50 representatives of institutions contributing to the drafting of the national risk assessment in Serbia.  A Council of Europe expert presented and discussed international standards, scope, and lessons learned in drafting national risk assessment from other jurisdictions. 

https://www.coe.int/en/web/corruption/-/awareness-raising-on-national-money-laundering-and-terrorist-financing-risk-assessment-for-national-stakeholders

SPANISH TV PRODUCER ARRESTED OVER ALLEGED ‘LARGE SCALE’ FRAUD AND MONEY LAUNDERING

On 29 June, Euro Weekly reported that Spanish TV Producer, entrepreneur and businessman José Luis Moreno, 74, was arrested during a large police operation in Madrid. He is accused of fraud, embezzlement and money laundering, among other crimes.  It is said that Moreno’s arrest is part of an ongoing investigation against an international network of embezzlement and money laundering. 

https://www.euroweeklynews.com/2021/06/29/spanish-tv-producer-jose-luis-moreno-arrested-over-alleged-large-scale-fraud-and-money-laundering/

ESG IN TRADE AND EXPORT FINANCE

On 28 June, an article from Sullivan and Worcester says that environmental, social and governance (ESG) is currently at the forefront of discussions around trade and export finance, yet its application in this field is still unclear.  The article considers some of the key ways in which ESG has impacted trade and export finance, including Green and Social Loans, Sustainability Linked Loans and the push to create market standard drafting to address ESG principles.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/esg-in-trade-and-export-finance-4825438/

EX-SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT ZUMA SENTENCED TO JAIL FOR CONTEMPT OF COURT

On 29 June, Newsweek and others reported that Jacob Zuma, the former president, was found guilty of contempt of court and sentenced to 15 months in prison for failing to appear in court for an inquiry into allegations of corruption during his tenure as president.

https://www.newsweek.com/ex-south-african-president-becomes-first-sentenced-jail-charged-contempt-court-1605126

AUSTRALIA – CUSTOMER DUE DILIGENCE: SOURCE OF WEALTH AND SOURCE OF FUNDS CONSIDERATIONS

On 28 June, Austrac issued a short Q&A on this issue.

https://www.austrac.gov.au/customer-due-diligence-source-wealth-and-source-funds-considerations

2 ARRESTS IN ROMANIA BRING LARGE-SCALE ONLINE FRAUD IN THE DUTCH RENTAL MARKET TO A HALT

A news release from Eurojust on 28 June advised that a joint cybercrime investigation supported by Eurojust, saw Romanian and Dutch authorities arresting 2 suspects in Romania who were allegedly involved in large-scale online fraud in the housing market in the Netherlands since 2015.  The suspects posted fake advertisements for apartments for rent on online platforms and convinced hundreds of victims to pay 1 or 2 months’ rent without first visiting the property.

https://www.eurojust.europa.eu/two-arrests-romania-bring-large-scale-online-fraud-dutch-rental-market-halt

‘MOVIE-PLOT’ COCAINE CASE HIGHLIGHTS SHIPPING INDUSTRY DRUG PROBLEM

On 28 June, an article in Swissinfo reported that the first mate of a ship chartered by a Switzerland-based company was recently sentenced to 7 years in prison in the US after authorities found a record-breaking 20 tons of cocaine on board. It is said that the case is one of many highlighting the vulnerability of the global shipping industry — in which Switzerland is a key player — to criminal activity by drug traffickers.  It says that drug trafficking is a headache for all major container lines and UN experts note the illicit drugs trade has been on the rise in the 5-year period leading up to 2019. 

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/cocaine-case-msc-gayane-us-philadelphia-switzerland-container-shipping-drug-trafficking/46728094

IRAN ENTITIES OF CONCERN

On 29 June, in its Iran Watch newsletter, the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control listed some Iranian state-owned entities subordinate to the Iranian Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL).  These ostensibly private companies are controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) produce and maintain Iran’s fleet of aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).  These companies and their subsidiaries have also played a role in supporting Iran’s proxies overseas.

Iran Aviation Industries Organisation (IAIO);

Pars Aviation Services Company (PASC); and

Pouya Air (Yas Air).

https://www.iranwatch.org/iranian-entities/iran-aviation-industries-organization-iaio

https://www.iranwatch.org/iranian-entities/pars-aviation-services-company-pasc

https://www.iranwatch.org/iranian-entities/pouya-air-yas-air

IRAN’S PROXIES IN IRAQ THREATEN US WITH MORE SOPHISTICATED WEAPONS

On 4 June, the Iran Watch newsletter from the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control said that unnamed US officials allege that Iranian-backed militias in Iraq have used dive-bombing drones to launch at least 3 attacks against Iraqi military bases used by the CIA and U.S. Special Operations Forces in the last 2 months.

https://www.iranwatch.org/news-brief/irans-proxies-iraq-threaten-us-more-sophisticated-weapons

ESG ISSUES IN MINING FINANCE TRANSACTIONS

On 24 June, an article from Field Fisher said that various financial institutions are increasingly making ‘green’ financing available to corporates in jurisdictions with a heavy mining presence, environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG), making it a hot topic for the mining industry.  It also says that mining transactions are increasingly adherent to various ESG principles to satisfy lenders, partners and customers as well as to preserve their social licence to operate.  The article provides a brief overview of the different ESG principles relevant to funders and mining companies and takes a deeper dive into how to incorporate those principles into agreements documenting loan facilities and other financial instruments.

https://www.fieldfisher.com/en/insights/esg-issues-in-mining-finance-transactions

US CUSTOMS: MILLIONS OF COUNTERFEIT MASKS ORDERED BY US STATE SEIZED

On 29 June, a news release from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement advised that more than 2 million counterfeit N95 masks purchased by the State of Maine were seized on 16 June 16, the result of an ongoing investigation.  The case also involved the recovery of $3.6 million in funds used by the State of Maine to pay for this PPE material.  The counterfeit N95 masks were purchased by the State of Maine over a series of transactions occurring in late 2020 and early 2021. 

https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/millions-counterfeit-masks-seized-during-operation-maine

NIGERIEN ISIS LEADER OUSMANE ILLIASSOU DJIBO DESIGNATED A TERRORIST BY US

On 28 June, Homeland Security Today reported that the US had designated Ousmane Illiassou Djibo – aka Petit Chapori – as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT).  A native Nigerien, he is an Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in the Greater Sahara (ISIS-GS) leader operating in the Menaka Region of Mali.  He is a close collaborator and key lieutenant of ISIS-GS leader, Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi.  ISIS-GS was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and SDGT in May 2018.

https://www.hstoday.us/subject-matter-areas/counterterrorism/nigerien-isis-leader-ousmane-illiassou-djibo-designated-a-terrorist-by-u-s/

OECD URGES TURKEY TO IMPLEMENT ANTI-BRIBERY CONVENTION

On 29 June, Ahval reported that the OECD Working Group on Bribery has called on Turkey to urgently implement key reforms to boost its fight against foreign bribery.  The Working Group said that Turkey has not taken sufficient steps to address the Group’s concerns about its implementation of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, the group, responsible for monitoring the implementation and enforcement of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, and there remains very low level of enforcement of the foreign bribery offence.

https://ahvalnews.com/oecd/oecd-urges-turkey-implement-anti-bribery-convention

US: SECOND DEUTSCHE BANK COMMODITIES TRADER SENTENCE FOR FRAUD SCHEME

On 29 June, a release on Mondo Visione advised that Cedric Chanu, 42, of France and UAE, a former commodities trader has been sentenced to 12 months and a day in prison for a scheme to commit wire fraud affecting a financial institution.  He was employed as a precious metals trader at Deutsche Bank in Singapore and, later in London, and engaged in a scheme to defraud other traders on the Commodity Exchange Inc, which was a public exchange.  He and others employed a deceptive trading practice known as “spoofing”.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/us-department-of-justice-second-former-deutsche-bank-commodities-trader-sentenc/

CHINA LOOKS TO EAST AFRICA FOR SECOND INDIAN OCEAN FOOTHOLD

In its 30 June edition, Nikkei Asia reported that Tanzania has announced that it would revive a $10 billion port project in the town of Bagamoyo with Chinese help, igniting speculation that China seeks an additional dual-use foothold on the East African coast.  It is said that if China could have a second Indian Ocean-facing base, after Djibouti, it could ease the so-called Malacca dilemma – the country’s dependence on the world’s busiest chokepoint – and be a game-changer. 

https://asia.nikkei.com/Newsletters/Indo-Pacific-Diaries/Indo-Pacific-Diaries16

Nikkei also hosted a webinar on 24 June asking if China would replace the US as the world’s leading superpower?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMM4mZ0JeYA

USHERING IN A NEW ERA OF EFFICIENCY FOR TRADE FINANCE   

On 14 June, an article in Global Trade Magazine says that trade finance has earned a reputation for an industry reluctant to adapt in the face of change.  However, during the pandemic, steps towards technological innovation have been seen, most notably across the Asia Pacific. These technological advancements are helping to revolutionise the trade finance space and, hopefully, trigger a coordinated, global approach to creating more efficient trade.  It is said that issues such as incorrect documentation and KYC, non-interoperable systems and manual reconciliation are now finally being addressed by various progressive digital solutions. In particular, the article considers “enterprise blockchain”, saying that the decentralised nature of blockchain makes it a perfect fit for trade finance which, by its nature, does not easily fit into centralised processes.

https://www.globaltrademag.com/ushering-in-a-new-era-of-efficiency-for-trade-finance/

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

GUIDELINES FOR DIGITAL FORENSICS FIRST RESPONDERS

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.

https://media-exp3.licdn.com/dms/document/C4D1FAQHHhPRiQtHHbA/feedshare-document-pdf-analyzed/0/1624901932726?e=1625065200&v=beta&t=NtZXxv8-vBf-AF9GGnYKRPCHVLpFX2PRMO0JkSGXawg

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

REPORT: EU SECOND-LARGEST IMPORTER OF HUNTING TROPHIES OF INTERNATIONALLY PROTECTED SPECIES

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.

https://www.hsi.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Trophy-hunting-numbers-eu-report.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

REPORT: EU EFFORTS TO FIGHT MONEY LAUNDERING IN THE BANKING SECTOR ARE FRAGMENTED AND IMPLEMENTATION IS INSUFFICIENT

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.

https://www.eca.europa.eu/Lists/ECADocuments/SR21_13/SR_AML_EN.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

COMBATTING WILDLIFE TRAFFICKING HANDBOOK

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.

https://store.aci.aero/product/combatting-wildlife-trafficking-handbook-first-edition-2021/

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