Panama Covid-19 update – if you like needles, this is the time for you, as the Minsa health ministry announces it has also dispensed 253,530 doses of the influenza vaccine in addition to the Pfizer and AstraZeneca Covid vaccines. This is traditionally the flu season in Panama, or was pre-Covid, after the weather change from the hot and relatively dry “Summer” to the hot and humid months.
Meanwhile, numbers of new cases and total active cases continue to rise, but only 1 additional fatality reported today. With 915 new cases, there are now 7,184 active cases, with 61 in ICU and 372 in other wards.
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4 JUNE 2021
US BRIBERY CASE: EMPLOTEES ALLEGE COMPANY COOPERATE WITH DOJ TO PENALISE THEM AND NOT THE COMPANY
On3 June, the Wall Street Journal reported a case which it says underscores the potential legal peril that can arise when companies cooperate with law enforcement against their former employees. 2 executives at Cognizant Technology Solutions Corporation , a professional-services company, were charged in 2019 with paying a $2 million bribe to secure business in India. Both men have pleaded not guilty, saying there is no evidence they approved any bribes or that the alleged bribe was ever paid. Their lawyers alleged that the DoJ “appears to have outsourced important aspects of its investigation” to the company and accuse prosecutors of helping the company avoid the demands for information from the employees’ defence team.
BRAZIL PROBES US OIL TRADER FREEPOINT IN ALLEGED BRIBERY SCHEME
On 3 June, KYC 360 reported that authorities in Brazil are investigating senior employees at trading house Freepoint Commodities for their alleged role in a bribery scheme involving state-run oil company Petrobras, routing bribes through an intermediary to Petrobras employees for a roughly 7-year period ending in 2018.
COURT ORDERS SEIZURE OF UKRAINIAN BLOGGER ANATOLY SHARIJ’S REAL ESTATE AND BANK ACCOUNTS
On 3 June, Unioan reported that a court in Kyiv made the order against the blogger, who is facing treason charges in Ukraine, and was recently declared persona non grata in Lithuania. He said he has not lived in Ukraine for 10 years. The assets are said to include a villa and housing real estate in Spain, as well as bank accounts in several countries.
CHINA PURSUES VERY OLD CORRUPTION CASES AND EVEN THE DEAD CAN’T ESCAPE
On 3 June, the Wall Street Journal reported on a new initiative in the anti-graft campaign with retrospective investigations that have led to charges against long-serving and former officials. Authorities in Inner Mongolia have detained dozens of retired officials now in their 60s and 70s, including one who stepped down more than 14 years earlier, since launching a campaign in the spring of 2020 to punish alleged coal-related corruption going back 20 years.
IRELAND: ANTI-CORRUPTION BODIES TO BE GIVEN SNOOPING POWERS
On 4 June, KYC 360 reported that more state bodies will be given power to eavesdrop on private conversations while investigating corruption and white-collar crime. The Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) may be among the agencies allowed to use covert surveillance in some cases of white-collar crime.
US MIDWEST IS FOREIGN OLIGARCHS’ NEW PLAYGROUND
On 3 June, an article in Foreign Policy says that oligarchs and kleptocrats are now targeting new areas for their laundering sprees, places few would suspect: from declining, second-tier cities like Cleveland, Ohio, to small factory and steel towns across the US Midwest. It refers to the case of Ukrainian billionaire Ihor Kolomoisky who, with his enablers, ploughed money into commercial real estate in places like Cleveland and Louisville, Kentucky and into small towns reliant on manufacturing plants and steel factories in Illinois, West Virginia, and Michigan, allegedly burying the money using a series of shell companies and cash purchases to obscure the trail. The article looks at why billionaires would choose to opt for the Midwest – citing obscurity and the availability of bargains post-2008.
QATAR ALLEGEDLY ‘FUNNELLED MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO NUSRA FRONT TERRORISTS IN SYRIA’
On 4 June, KYC 360 reported that, in the High Court in London, Qatar has been accused of playing a central role in a secret money laundering operation to send hundreds of millions of dollars to jihadists in Syria. 2 Qatari banks, several charities, wealthy businessmen, leading politicians and civil servants are among the defendants in a claim for damages lodged by 9 Syrians. The Qatar state is accused of collaborating with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Sunni Islamist organisation. It is alleged in the claim that money was laundered for terrorism via significantly overpriced construction contracts, the purchase of property at inflated prices and overpayments to Syrian migrant workers. The claimants allege they suffered severe financial losses or torture, arbitrary detention, threats of execution and other forms of persecution committed by Nusra Front.
RIGHT-WING THREATS: “DAY X”, AND OTHER PLOTS TO DESTROY THE WORLD IN ORDER TO “SAVE” IT
On 4 June, an article from the New York Times examined the accelerationist threats in the US and Europe, which refers to bringing about a time when the institutions of government, society and the economy will be wiped out in a wave of catastrophic violence, clearing the way for a utopia that will supposedly follow. Accelerationism has long been a feature of white power groups and other far-right militias.
CZECH REPUBLIC NEW LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR UBO REGISTER
On 2 June, an article from CMS Law said thatnew rules define who will be considered the ultimate beneficial owner (UBO) of a legal entity, provides that key information on UBO shall be publicly available and introduces sanctions for non-compliance. The key aspects of the newly passed law on the UBO register, which implements the EU 5th ML Directive, are summarised in the article.
US AND BRAZIL EXECUTE LARGE-SCALE DISRUPTION OF INTERNATIONAL ARMS TRAFFICKING ORGANISATION
A news release from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement on 2 June announced that Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Brazil Federal Police partnership resulted in the binational arrests of key members of a major Transnational Criminal Organisation (TCO) responsible for international weapons trafficking, and numerous other transnational crimes. The investigation uncovered a shipment of hundreds of firearm accessories from the US to Brazil by the TCO, passing through the International Airports in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo to supply the largest and most dangerous transnational criminal organization in Brazil, the Primeiro Comando da Capital (PCC).
US: GUIDANCE ON EXPORT CONTROLS UNDER THE FOREIGN MILITARY SALES (FMS) PROGRAM
On 3 June, an article from Williams Mullen explains that the FMS Program offers government contractors and suppliers to the US defence industry valuable access to markets outside the US and to bona fide customers in those markets. It also presents unique export compliance advantages over other means of selling products to foreign governments and entities, such as Direct Commercial Sale (DCS) and Foreign Military Financing (FMF) arrangements. It notes that exports of dual-use and military items otherwise subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR)are broadly excluded from the regulations when sold pursuant to an FMS case – but it says that applying the exclusion is not always straightforward. To address persisting confusion about the scope and meaning of the EAR’s FMS exclusion, the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS).recently published new guidance on FMS exports in the form of 9 FAQ.
PANAMA: SOME $5 BILLION IN DRUG SEIZURES IN 5 MONTHS
On 3 June, Panama America reported that 39,920 packages of cocaine were seized between January and May of this year represent $4,7 billion in the international market and the 10,277 packages of marijuana seized are valued at $154.4 million.
UN MAY PROBE POSSIBLE SANCTIONS VIOLATIONS BY SOUTH KOREAN COMPANIES INVOLVING OIL TANKER TRANSFER TO NORTH KOREA
On 4 June, the Korea Times reported that the relevant Sanctions Committee on North Korea may begin investigating allegations that at least 2 oil tankers previously owned by South Korean companies were transferred to North Korea. Allegations were raised in a report released by the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI), an arm of the Center for Strategic & International Studies, a US-based think tank. The report said that North Korea had added 2 new vessels to its fleet for smuggling oil from China, which were previously owned by South Korean companies.
FATF: FOLLOW-UP REPORT TO BHUTAN’S ASSESSMENT OF AML/CFT MEASURES
On 4 June, FATF published this follow-up report, previously published by FATF-style regional body, APG.
SINGAPORE: BOILER ROOM FRAUDSTERS ORDERED TO REFUND $3.2 MILLION TO VICTIMS
On 4 June, International Adviser reported that a court in Singapore has granted compensation orders submitted by the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) against a group of boiler room fraudsters to refund their victims. The case involved 3 unlicensed companies based in and operating from Hong Kong.
US SUPREME COURT NARROWS THE SCOPE OF THE COMPUTER FRAUD AND ABUSE ACT
On 3 June, an article from Alston & Bird reported that the Supreme Court had issued a long-awaited decision in the Van Buren case, interpreting the meaning of “exceeds authorized access” under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), rejecting the Government’s broad definition of this phrase. It says that, in light of this decision, businesses may need to revisit the language of their internal acceptable use policies, employee handbooks, or outward-facing terms of service to find alternative solutions for deterring or penalising unwanted conduct.
SPAIN INTRODUCES DAC6 TRANSPOSITION REGULATIONS
On 4 June, an article in International Tax Review examines the current status of DAC6 in Spain and consider the various issues that may raise concerns for intermediaries and taxpayers. The EU Directive aka DAC6 involves the mandatory automatic exchange of information in the field of taxation in relation to reportable cross-border arrangements. In April 2021, the transposition process of DAC6 was finally completed in Spain.
ALLEGED MONEY LAUNDERER FOR THE SINALOA CARTEL EXTRADITED FROM MEXICO
On 3 June, a news release from US DoJ advised that Juan Manuel Alvarez-Inzunza, alleged top money launderer for the Sinaloa Cartel, was arraigned in federal court following his extradition to the US from Mexico. Alvarez-Inzunza was previously designated under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act for his role in providing money laundering services to top cartel leaders including Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera.
KYRGYZSTAN: RAIMBEK MATRAIMOV, THE FORMER DEPUTY CUSTOMS CHIEF, HAS PURCHASED AN ELITE NEW APARTMENT CONTRADICTING CLAIMS THAT HIS CRIMINAL SENTENCE HAD BROUGHT HIM TO THE BRINK OF FINANCIAL RUIN
On 4 June, OCCRP reported that he was convicted of large-scale corruption earlier this year. In February, he pleaded guilty to organizing corruption schemes inside the customs service, several months after he agreed to pay back the government $23.7 million. At the time, an associate said he lacked the resources to cover the compensation. But now Matraimov has purchased a second penthouse in the building where he already owned a top-floor apartment. The new purchase casts further doubt on the effectiveness of Matraimov’s sentence and the Kyrgyz government’s practice of allowing corrupt officials to avoid jail time by making payments into the state budget.
OPERATION LAKE-V: EELS BEING SHIPPED FROM EUROPE BY AIR DETECTED
A news release from Europol on 4 June reported on the results of Operation Lake-V. Between November 2020 and June 2021, Europol coordinated the fifth Operation Lake, which involved law enforcement authorities from 24 countries, OLAF, the EU Wildlife Enforcement Group and the EU Food Fraud Network. This Europe-wide annual operation targets the trafficking of the protected European eel (Anguilla Anguilla) species, which has seen its population decrease by 90% in recent years.
JERSEY RETURNS NEARLY $1 MILLION LINKED TO US TAX EVADER
On 4 June, the BBC reported that Ivan Scott Butler, from Alabama, was convicted of tax evasion in 2020. He had placed precious metals with Goldmoney Wealth Limited in Jersey. Butler admitted he used the company to conceal assets for which he did not file or pay any US taxes, and spent more than 20 years hiding money and assets in Switzerland and Jersey including transferring his assets into precious metals from 2008. Following his he was jailed for two years and ordered to pay more than $2.5 million in owed taxes, interest and tax penalties.
PODCAST: RESEARCHING KLEPTOCRACY IN EURASIA
On 4 June, a podcast from Eurasianet involved an interview with anti-corruption investigator Thomas Mayne, a research fellow at the University of Exeter, about kleptocracy and what it means for democracies all over the world. A transcript is also made available.
UN LAUNCHES NETWORK TO HELP COUNTRIES COPE WITH TRANSNATIONAL CORRUPTION
On 4 June, the Arab Weekly reported that the Global Operational Network of Anti-Corruption Law Enforcement Authorities (the GlobE Network), a Saudi initiative, offers UN member states and states parties to the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) the ability to connect anti-corruption practitioners with their counterparts in different countries, a UN statement said. It is intended to provide channels for secure and informal information exchange on specific cases, legislation, intelligence and anti-corruption tools.
TRADE-BASED MONEY LAUNDERING: ARGENTINE CUSTOMS TAKES MEASURES AGAINST UNDER-INVOICING EXPORTERS
On 3 June, Merco Press reported that the Argentine Customs Bureau (DGA) has set new criteria for the selection of potential cases of under-invoicing. The new controls will be carried out once the goods have been released to leave the country, it was announced. This comes after some 20 meat exporters were suspected of fraudulent under-invoicing in the past few months to avoid export taxes.
SINGAPORE: 53 KG OF DUTY-UNPAID TOBACCO DISGUISED AS TEA LEAVES SEIZED
On 3 June, Channel News Asia reported that the contraband was detected after a freight forwarding company handling the importation noticed discrepancies in a consignment within a container.
WORLD TRADE ORGANISATION TRIPS WAIVER TO TACKLE CORONAVIRUS
On 4 June, the EU Parliament Research service published a briefing paper on the proposal to waive patent rights on Covid-19 vaccines.
UPDATED STANDARD CONTRACTUAL CLAUSES (SCC) TO SUPPORT THE TRANSFER OF PERSONAL DATA OUTSIDE OF THE EU BY BUSINESSES AND OTHER ORGANISATIONS
On 4 June, an article from Out-Law explained that SCC govern the handling and safeguarding of personal data by those importing personal data from the EU in countries outside the EEA and are designed to help EU exporters of the data to comply with the strict conditions that apply to non-EEA data transfers under EU data protection law (GDPR).
COLOMBIA’S GULF CLAN LINKED TO BROAD CORPORATE NETWORK AND LUXURY REAL ESTATE PROJECTS IN MEDELLÍN
On 3 June, a report from Sayari says that a recently arrested alleged Colombian drug trafficker connected to one of the country’s largest transnational criminal organisations is linked to multiple luxury real estate development projects in and around Medellín as well as cattle breeding and hazardous waste companies, according to public records. It is said to be the latest example of a growing trend in Colombian organised crime, namely, the increasing preference of Colombian drug traffickers operate under the radar and to legitimise their wealth by enmeshing themselves in the legitimate business community. Beyond links to Medellín-based real estate, there were also shares in a hazardous waste company and cattle breeding and ranching.
SURGE IN BITCOIN DONATIONS TO HAMAS-LINKED TERROR GROUP
On 3 June, Elliptic said that it had identified through analysis blockchain transactions by which a Hamas-linked terrorist group has received a surge of Bitcoin donations since the start of the latest Israel-Gaza clashes. Over $100,000 in Bitcoin donations have now been received by the Al-Qassam Brigades since January 2019. The article shows how the transparency of the blockchain allows this activity to be monitored and disrupted.
YEMEN FISHERMEN FIND $1.5 MILLION OF AMBERGRIS IN THE BELLY OF A WHALE
On 1 June, a BBC video report said that a group of fishermen in Yemen came across a sperm whale carcass floating in the Gulf of Aden. The rare treasure, ambergris, they discovered in its belly has lifted them out of poverty.
UK: ICO UPDATES ITS GUIDANCE ON ANONYMISATION
On 4 June, Field Fisher reported that the Information Commissioner’s Office has released an update of its 2012 guidance, which focusses on the concepts of anonymisation and pseudonymisation. The blog post takes you through the main take-aways of the updated guidance and its practical implications. Pseudonymised data sets are often wrongly described as “anonymous”. However, the difference is that in anonymous data sets individuals cannot be re-identified by any means reasonably likely to be used, whereas individuals in pseudonymised data sets can be identified by referring to another data set held separately.
THE EU HAS INTRODUCED A BAN ON THE OVERFLIGHT OF EU AIRSPACE AND ACCESS TO EU AIRPORTS, INCLUDING LANDING AND TAKE-OFF, BY ANY AIRCRAFT OPERATED BY BELARUSIAN AIR CARRIERS,
On 4 May, EU Sanctions blog reported that the measures follow the forced landing of a Ryanair flight in Minsk on 23 May, and the subsequent detention of journalist Raman Pratasevich and Sofia Sapega.
ISLE OF MAN: NOTICE TO EXPORTERS OF MILITARY GOODS
On 4 June, a news release from the Isle of Man reminded one that an export licence is needed before the export of controlled military goods, software and technology and items on the UK dual-use list from the Isle of Man to another country outside the UK; and that the requirements apply to persons in the Isle of Man; A body corporate under the law of the Island and LLC; and British citizens and British protected persons resident in the Isle of Man. The legislation in force corresponds to UK law.
US: LATVIAN NATIONAL FACING MULTIPLE CHARGES FOR HER ALLEGED ROLE IN A TRANSNATIONAL CYBERCRIME ORGANISATION RESPONSIBLE FOR CREATING AND DEPLOYING A COMPUTER BANKING TROJAN AND RANSOMWARE SUITE OF MALWARE KNOWN AS “TRICKBOT”
On 4 June, a release on Mondo Visione advised that Alla Witte (aka Max), 55, is accused of participating in a criminal organisation referred to as the “Trickbot Group,” which deployed the Trickbot malware. The Trickbot Group operated in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Suriname, and primarily targeted victim computers belonging to businesses, entities, and individuals, and including hospitals, schools, public utilities, and governments. Witte, who previously resided in Paramaribo, Suriname, was arrested in Miami in February.
RANSOMWARE TO GET PRIORITY TREATMENT AT THE US JUSTICE DEPARTMENT
On 4 June, Ars Technica and others reported that the DoJ has created a task force to centrally track and coordinate all federal cases involving ransomware or related types of cybercrime, such as botnets, money laundering, and bulletproof hosting. A new directive applies not just to cases or investigations involving ransomware but a host of related scourges, which are listed in the article.
THE EU SIXTH AML DIRECTIVE (6AMLD): WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
An article form Comply Advantage says that the 6AMLD came into effect for Member States on 3 December and must be implemented by financial institutions in the EU by 3 June.
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