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

Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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