OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JULY 9

Panama Covid-19 update – another 1,160 new cases reported today, as the Delta variant continues to take its effect. 7 new fatalities, with 3 from an earlier period. Panama has now seen 413,626 cases since the start of the pandemic, which is getting on for 10% of the population. There are now 13,635 active cases (i.e. an added 35), with ICU cases up by 9 to 124, though cases in other wards fall to 584.

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

9 JULY 2021

GERMAN POLICE OFFICER AMONG THOSE DETAINED IN ILLEGAL GAMBLING RAIDS

On 8 July, iGB reported that a major police raid in the German state of Saarland saw 41 houses searched, 3 suspects being arrested and a serving police officer detained over accusations of illegal gambling activities.  Those arrested are said to be under suspicion of commercial fraud and illegal gambling and are accused are said to have manipulated the software of gaming machines to distribute fewer winnings.

https://igamingbusiness.com/german-police-officer-among-those-detained-in-illegal-gambling-raids

SWISS WIDEN SANCTIONS LIST AGAINST BELARUS

On 8 July, KYC 360 reported that Switzerland has widened its sanctions against Belarus, joining other countries in acting after Belarusian authorities triggered outrage by intercepting a Ryanair flight in May and arresting a dissident blogger aboard.  It has joined the EU in listing 78 people and 7 entities under its Belarus sanctions regime. 

https://www.seco.admin.ch/seco/en/home/seco/nsb-news.msg-id-84368.html

RUSSIA TO INTRODUCE RULES FOR CONFISCATING CRYPTO

On 7 July, Coindesk reported that Russia is said to be preparing legislation to allow law enforcement agencies to confiscate illegally obtained cryptocurrencies.  The country passed its first law regulating the digital assets last year. 

https://www.coindesk.com/russia-to-introduce-rules-for-confiscating-crypto-report

IS THE MEXICAN ADMINISTRATION’S FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION ALL RHETORIC?

On 30 June, an article from Ropes & Gray LLP said that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador campaigned vigorously on an anti-corruption platform, but his first 2 years in office have not delivered the improvement in the country’s fight against corruption that his campaign promised.  It is said that, with one third of his 6-year term behind him, Mexico under the President’s leadership has not yet achieved significant gains in its struggle against corruption and impunity.  It notes criticism of Mexico by the OECD, the special prosecutor for corruption assumed office in 2019, but has made only meagre progress, and the citizen-led National Anti-Corruption System has also languished under the administration.  Actions against the drugs cartels and a medical supply crisis in the country have been criticised.  The article concludes that meaningful anti-corruption progress in unlikely.

https://www.ropesgray.com/en/newsroom/alerts/2021/June/AMLO-2021-Is-the-Mexican-Administrations-Fight-Against-Corruption-All-Rhetoric

CANADA: FINTRAC GETS FLEXIBLE WITH NEW AML REQUIREMENTS

An article from Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP on 7 July said that on 1 June, substantial amendments to the regulations issued under the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act came into force, along with a comprehensive set of new and updated guidance documents issued by FINTRAC.  It is said that, taken together, these amended regulations and the new and updated guidance documents effect a wide-reaching overhaul of Canada’s AML regime, and all entities that have reporting obligations to FINTRAC 

https://www.osler.com/en/resources/regulations/2021/fintrac-gets-flexible-with-new-anti-money-laundering-requirements

UK: OFSI BLOG GIVES GUIDANCE ON REASONABLENESS IN SANCTIONS LICENSING

On 1 July, an article from Ropes & Gray LLP reported that the blog published by the UK Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation describes the grounds for specific licence applications which include a “reasonableness” test, and the factors OFSI will consider in examining such applications. 

https://insights.ropesgray.com/post/102h1vg/how-reasonable-is-reasonableness-ofsi-blog-gives-guidance-on-reasonableness-in

GERMAN GAMBLING LAW – UPDATE 

On 7 July, am article from Taylor Wessing reported that 2021 was marked by the anticipation of the new Interstate Treaty on Gambling and the licensing opportunities that come with it, as it came into operation from 1 July.  The new law allows private operators to apply for licenses to offer sports betting, virtual slot machines (online simulations of terrestrial slot machine) and online poker. The gambling authority in the federal state of Saxony-Anhalt becomes the competent authority for the nationwide licensing process.  Hitherto, the provision of online gambling services had not been in line with German gambling law, which effectively allowed only sports and horse racing betting.

https://www.taylorwessing.com/fr/insights-and-events/insights/2021/07/german-gambling-law-update-2020-2021

FRANCE: EXPORT LICENCE FOR DA VINCI DRAWING BLOCKED

On 8 July, the Art Net website reported on an “epic battle” to prevent a collector from selling a $31 million Leonardo drawing.  The collector owned the small pen-and-ink study of Saint Sebastian for decades without knowing it was a Leonardo.  His father gifted him the work in the late 1950s to congratulate him for passing his medical exams. The saga is said to have started in 2016, when the drawing was valued.  The planned export was blocked for 30 moths to allow national institutions to make an offer – but an offer of $10 million was rejected.  However, an export licence was also rejected, on the grounds that a complaint filed in 2020 claimed that the drawing was stolen. 

https://news.artnet.com/art-world/leonardo-da-vinci-drawing-export-dispute-france-1987154 

ITALY RELAXES STRINGENT EXPORT LAWS FOR OLD MASTERS AND ANTIQUES WORTH LESS THAN €13,500

On 8 July, The Art Newspaper reported that lower-value older works and those by artists who died less than 50 years ago no longer need an export licence to leave the country — but it is said that the process can still be slow.

https://www.theartnewspaper.com/news/italy-relaxes-stringent-export-laws-for-old-masters-and-antiques-worth-less-than-eur13-500

CHINA HITS AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRIES WITH ECONOMIC SANCTIONS

On 9 July, the Business Standard reported that China has hit several Australian industries with economic sanctions as part of punishment over Australia’s criticism of China blocking investigations into origin of pandemic.  It is said that China has imposed hefty tariffs on Australian barley and wine exports while throwing up barriers to several other products including timber, lobster, and coal.

https://www.business-standard.com/article/international/china-hits-australian-industries-with-economic-sanctions-amid-souring-ties-121070900082_1.html

JAPAN: 2 FOREIGNERS HAVE BEEN ACCUSED OF SMUGGLING NEARLY 300 KG OF STIMULANT DRUGS ABOARD A SHIP FROM HONG KONG

On 9 July, the Tokyo Reporter reported that in April customs officers found the drugs hidden inside laser equipment used for metal processing aboard the vessel, with a Canadian and a Chinese national detained.

https://www.tokyoreporter.com/crime/canadian-chinese-nationals-accused-of-smuggling-300-kg-of-stimulant-drugs/

THE 10 MOST SIGNIFICANT CHANGES TO POLISH AML RULES SINCE 2018

On 8 July, an article from the TMF Group says that the  newest, long-awaited amendment to the country’s AML Act was signed by Poland’s President on 8 April.  It is said that the latest amendment to the Act implements significant modifications resulting from EU regulations.  Its primary aim is to increase the transparency of financial flows, and therefore to support the effectiveness of the authorities responsible for the detection of funds derived from criminal activity or used for terrorist financing purposes.  The article outlines what is said to be the 10 most important changes since 2018.

https://www.tmf-group.com/en/news-insights/articles/2021/july/ten-most-significant-changes-to-polish-aml-rules

ISLE OF MAN ORDER TO EXTEND ECONOMIC SUBSTANCE REQUIREMENTS TO PARTNERSHIPS AND LLC

On 9 July, Bloomberg Tax reported that on 16 June the Island’s parliament passed an Order to extend the scope of the economic substance rules of the Income Tax Act 1970 to partnerships, including limited partnerships, and LLC.

https://news.bloombergtax.com/daily-tax-report-international/isle-of-man-parliament-passes-order-to-extend-economic-substance-requirements-to-partnerships-llcs

https://www.cains.com/isle-of-man-economic-substance-rules-extends-to-partnerships-and-llcs/

IN THE SHADOW OF CHRISTCHURCH: INTERNATIONAL LESSONS FROM NEW ZEALAND’S EXTREME FAR-RIGHT

The July/August edition of CTC Sentinel says that, after the March 2019 Christchurch attacks, the Dominion Movement, New Zealand’s first major Identitarian-inspired far-right extremist group, went underground.  Only a few months later, however, the remaining members re-emerged as part of a successor group, Action Zealandia.  This article analyses Action Zealandia, outlining how the group fits into a small but persistent far-right extremist ecosystem in New Zealand, and presenting its growing links with violent extreme far-right movements internationally.  While the group toes a careful line in its advocacy of violence, the reported involvement of multiple individuals linked to the group in violent extremist threats — from aspiring to establish a ‘terror cell’ in New Zealand to alleged threats against one of the Christchurch mosques attacked in 2019 — demonstrates a ‘grey area’ that exists between so-called non-violent and violent extremism, serving as an instructive case study of broader trends within extreme far-right movements internationally.

https://ctc.usma.edu/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/CTC-SENTINEL-062021.pdf

https://www.statista.com/chart/25249/shows-operational-crypto-atms-by-country

THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION RECENTLY PROPOSED A FRAMEWORK FOR A EUROPEAN DIGITAL IDENTITY. 

On 9 July, an article from Bird & Bird says that, with a large rise in the number of online transactions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for a trusted and secure online means of identification has only increased.  The EU proposal aims to facilitate proof of identity and enable the sharing of electronic documents from a European Digital Identity app, referred to as a “wallet”.  There are national digital ID schemes currently available in 14 EU states, but with uneven results.

https://www.twobirds.com/en/news/articles/2021/belgium/european-eid-regulation-aims-to-facilitate-cross-border-transactions

UK GOVERNMENT REQUESTS VIEWS ON SUPPLY CHAIN CYBERSECURITY

On 8 July, an article from Morgan & Lewis says that the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) is requesting views on supply chain cybersecurity, which it will look to incorporate into its new National Cyber Security Strategy.  It is said that only 12% of organizations and 36% of large firms formally review cybersecurity risks coming from their immediate suppliers, and, even lower, only 5% address vulnerabilities in their wider supply chains.  The call for views closes on 11 July.

https://www.morganlewis.com/blogs/sourcingatmorganlewis/2021/07/uk-government-requests-views-on-supply-chain-cybersecurity

SOUTH KOREA: CUSTOMS OFFICERS CLOSE NET ON ‘KIMCHI PREMIUM’ CRYPTO OFFENDERS

On 9 July, Crypto News reported that “kimchi premium” is a phenomenon whereby increased trading volumes and demand for cryptoassets sometimes rise in excess of the global average on international trading platforms, meaning that buying bitcoin for US dollars, for instance, is more expensive on a South Korean platform than on an international exchange.  In 2017, South Korean buyers regularly paid 20% more for their tokens than those elsewhere in the world, and this phenomenon made a relatively brief comeback earlier this year 

https://cryptonews.com/news/south-korean-customs-officers-close-net-on-kimchi-premium-of-10987.htm

3,000 PAIRS OF ILLEGALLY IMPORTED FALSE EYELASHES SEIZED BY US CUSTOMS

On 8 July, Nola.com reported that federal agents had seized a 44 kg shipment of 3,000 pairs of fake eyelashes at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport that had been illegally imported.  They were unlabelled and had not been approved by the FDA. 

https://www.nola.com/news/crime_police/article_26d8aa70-e027-11eb-8d63-1b88632b2ded.html

HONG KONG: CHIP SHORTAGE SEES SMUGGLERS CLING-FILMING CPU TO THEIR BODIES, OVER $4 MILLION OF PARTS SEIZED

On 8 July, PC Gamer reported that smugglers have turned from their usual tricks of smuggling mobile phones, and trained their eyes on PC parts.  It says that recently 2 men were attempting to smuggle a total of 256 CPU across the border into China, having strapped the high-end processors all over their bodies with cling-film. 

https://www.pcgamer.com/chip-shortage-sees-people-cling-filming-cpus-to-their-bodies-and-millions-of-dollars-worth-of-components-seized/

QUARTERLY UK FRAUD AND CORRUPTION ENFORCEMENT UPDATE

On 8 July, Eversheds Sutherland published the latest edition of its quarterly update. 

https://www.eversheds-sutherland.com/documents/services/litigation/Eversheds-Sutherland-Quarterly_UK_Fraud_and_Corruption_Enforcement_Update_-_July_2021.pdf

HOW LONDON’S LEGAL SYSTEM COURTED THE GLOBAL SUPER-ELITE

On 8 July, a report from the Bureau of Investigative Journalists says that the global super-rich who use the capital’s commercial courts tend to come from one region in particular.  Ever since the breakup of the Soviet Union allowed a class of ultra-wealthy oligarchs to rise to political power, many have made London their home.  While some maintained their ties to Russian regime, others sought refuge from what they claim are aggressive and unjust moves to seize their wealth.  It is said that the city’s biggest law firms have welcomed both sides as a lucrative source of business.  As well as the oligarchs themselves, clients include the state-owned banks, energy companies or debt collectors from authoritarian regimes that accuse exiled oligarchs of fraud or tax evasion. In four out of the past 6 years, there have been more litigants from Russia and Kazakhstan than anywhere else outside the UK.  It says that the disputes are generally rooted in the region’s post-Soviet struggle over power and money – and the dirty tactics common to undemocratic societies trickle into the English courts, and that illegally obtained evidence can sometimes be admitted in civil cases. 

https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/stories/2021-07-08/how-london-legal-system-courted-global-elite

HAMAS-LINKED WALLETS HAVE RECEIVED $7.7 MILLION IN CRYPTOASSETS

On 7 July, Ellyptic reported that Israel’s National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing had seized 84 cryptoasset addresses believed to be controlled by Hamas, or otherwise used in terror-related activity.  Analysis shows that these addresses have collectively received over $7.7 million in cryptoassets. The seizure order indicates that Hamas is now using a range of cryptoassets – including Dogecoin, Tether and Ether. 

https://www.elliptic.co/blog/hamas-linked-wallets-have-received-7.3-million-in-cryptoassets

SWITZERLAND: FIU EXPANDED POWERS TO DEMAND INFORMATION FROM BANKS ON BEHALF OF INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS

On 6 July, an article from Global Investigation Review said that under new powers Switzerland’s Money Laundering Reporting Office (MROS) can compel information from local banks and financial service providers at the request of foreign counterparts without having first received a connected SAR.  Previously, MROS could only seek information on behalf of another jurisdiction if it had already received related information from a Swiss intermediary.

https://media-exp3.licdn.com/dms/document/C4D1FAQGX5swLdQCdaA/feedshare-document-pdf-analyzed/0/1625755461030?e=1625932800&v=beta&t=HmvuH8MWvdS5PMvaw8f0wFTRee6vchPpQe0JmGoh6DM

THE GLOBALISATION OF FAR-RIGHT EXTREMISM

The July/August edition of CTC Sentinel contained an article saying that the fact that right-wing extremists are cooperating internationally more than ever today is a reality recognised by most researchers and government officials.  This article describes some of the mechanisms that are fuelling this development.  The main finding is that right-wing extremists today, in many cases, no longer subscribe to the narrow concept of nationalism but instead imagine themselves as participants in a global struggle against a global enemy.  Consequently, networking and cooperating across borders is seen as a necessity.  This process is further supported by shared ideological writings, technological advancement, and the conflict in Ukraine, which has served as a powerful accelerator.

https://ctc.usma.edu/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/CTC-SENTINEL-062021.pdf

THE VIOLENT EVOLUTION OF THE PROUD BOYS

Another article in the excellent July/August edition of the CTC Sentinel is this, which says that the Proud Boys have emerged as both a manifestation of and driver for polarisation and political violence in the US since their inception in 2016.  Characterised by their use of political violence in defence of what they perceive to be Western values and society, the evolution of the Proud Boys has seemingly culminated in the central role members of the group allegedly played in the storming of the US Capitol in an attempt to disrupt the certification of the 2020 presidential election.  Accelerationist factions of the Proud Boys have been pushing violence within the organisation, as well as networking with neo-Nazi terrorist organizations.  Looking ahead, despite enhanced scrutiny from law enforcement on individual members of the group in the wake of their activity on 6 January, the Proud Boys appear galvanised, participating in numerous events in recent months that have descended into violence.  Emboldened by the relative impunity with which they seemingly continue to operate, the group appears to be using the flashpoint of 6 January as an opportunity to further position themselves as the tip of the spear for extreme far-right political mobilisation.

https://ctc.usma.edu/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/CTC-SENTINEL-062021.pdf

EU COURTS DISMISSES CLAIM BY IRANIAN NATIONAL FOR DAMAGES OVER SANCTIONS LISTING

On 9 July, the EU Sanctions blog reported that the EU General Court has dismissed a claim brought by Naser Bateni, an Iranian national, in which he sought €250,000 in damages resulting from his 2011, 2012 and 2013 designations.  These listings had previously been annulled by the Court. The claim was dismissed as the Council had not committed a “sufficiently serious breach” by relying on the information available to it.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2021/07/eu-court-dismisses-claim-for-sanctions-damages/

ISOTOPIC ANALYSIS HELPS IDENTIFY FRAUDULENT TRUFFLES – THE WORLD’S MOST EXPENSIVE FOOD

On 5 July, the IAEA Bulletin reported that scientists from an institute in Slovenia, with technical advice and analytical support from the IAEA, and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the UN, are studying the composition of truffles and, as a result, other laboratories worldwide can also test truffles, establish their geographical origin and verify if they are genuine.  It explains that truffles are edible fungi that grow in the soil in symbiosis with the roots of several tree and bush species. Due to their aroma, their price can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars per kilogram.

https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/scientists-detect-fake-truffles

https://www.visualcapitalist.com/worlds-biggest-private-tax-havens/

INTERPOL OFFERS NATIONAL CYBERCRIME STRATEGY GUIDEBOOK

On 6 July, Homeland security Today reported that the INTERPOL National Cybercrime Strategy Guidebook has been produced as part of phase two of the ASEAN Cyber Capacity Development Project (ACCDP II). The information contained in the Guidebook is not tailored to any specific region but instead details identified good practices which are in use internationally; and it is designed to be used by any country looking to develop, review or enhance its national cybercrime strategy.

https://www.hstoday.us/subject-matter-areas/cybersecurity/interpol-offers-national-cybercrime-strategy-guidebook/

CISA-FBI GUIDANCE FOR MSP AND THEIR CUSTOMERS AFFECTED BY THE KASEYA VSA SUPPLY-CHAIN RANSOMWARE ATTACK

On 4 July, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the FBI produced guidance relating to the recent supply-chain ransomware attack leveraging a vulnerability in Kaseya VSA software against multiple managed service providers (MSP) and their customers. CISA and FBI strongly urged affected MSP and their customers to follow the guidance.

https://us-cert.cisa.gov/ncas/current-activity/2021/07/04/cisa-fbi-guidance-msps-and-their-customers-affected-kaseya-vsa

RUSSIAN NATIONAL LIVING IN US GETS 5 YEARS IN BRIBERY CASE IN A $150 MILLION KICKBACK SCHEME WHILE WORKING FOR A RUSSIAN MILITARY CONTRACTOR

On 9 July, the Daily Mail reported that a Russian national living in North Carolina who had been accused by authorities of involvement in a $150 million kickback scheme while working for a Russian military contractor had made an earlier guilty plea on unrelated bribery and visa fraud charges.  Leonid Teyf, 59, of Raleigh, and his wife, Tatiana, 43, also will forfeit nearly $6 million in assets.  Among the charges, Teyf pleaded guilty in March to offering a $10,000 bribe to an employee of the Department of Homeland Security in 2018 to cause the deportation of a man who he thought was having an affair with Tatiana.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-9774313/Russian-national-living-US-gets-5-years-bribery-case.html

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and 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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