OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JULY 10

Panama Covid-19 update – the pandemic has claimed the life of a 64-year-old member of the National Assembly (I don’t know if he had been vaccinated). Meanwhile, the Panamanian Society of Pediatrics (SPP) has recommended the use of masks in children over 2 years of age  – though I have to say you do see young children here nearly always wearing a mask (and special child-friendly ones, with cartoon characters etc on them, are available widely). the SPP also said that children over 5years old should always wear a mask.

Today, another 13 fatalities reported – only the first times that deaths have been in double figures since March. With 1,021 new cases and 13,555 active cases, numbers in hospital are said to have fallen – 117 in ICU and 569 in other wards.

10 JULY 2021

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4 MEN ARRESTED IN SOUTH AFRICA FOR SMUGGLING CHROME

Zimeye in Zimbabwe on 10 July reported that 3 Zimbabwean men and a South African national have been arrested by police in Limpopo province who found them with 3 truckloads of chrome believed to have been illegally mined.  The trucks were found with loads of suspected unprocessed chrome and were all confiscated. 

https://www.zimeye.net/2021/07/10/three-zimbabweans-nabbed-in-sa-for-smuggling-chrome/

ANOTHER CASE OF ILLEGAL CPU SMUGGLING INTERCEPTED IN MAINLAND CHINA

On 10 July, Technosports reported that multiple units of chips have been seized by the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department recently.

https://technosports.co.in/2021/07/10/the-third-case-of-illegal-cpu-smuggling-intercepted-in-mainland-china/

US: BORDER PESTICIDE INITIATIVE RESULTS IN PROSECUTION OF 50 DEFENDANTS FOR SMUGGLING DANGEROUS CHEMICALS

A news release from US DoJ on 9 July advised that a San Diego-based effort to block the smuggling of dangerous Mexican pesticides into the US has resulted in the prosecution of more than 50 defendants for environmental crimes and the seizure of nearly 1,000 containers of illegal Mexican pesticides so far.  The Border Pesticide Initiative group was formed at the end of 2019 in response to complaints that law enforcement officers were being injured during the eradication of illegal marijuana cultivation sites on public lands by exposure to powerful Mexican pesticides not permitted in the US.

https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdca/pr/border-pesticide-initiative-results-prosecution-50-defendants-smuggling-dangerous

GARDAÍ SAY IRISH FRAUD VICTIMS HAVE LOST THOUSANDS ON FAKE NEWS ARTICLES ABOUT HIGH-YIELD INVESTMENTS

On 10 July, The Journal reported that police have said that members of the public have lost thousands on fake news articles used by fraudsters to lure people into bogus ventures, about sophisticated fraud that entraps those looking for high yield investments.  It is said that the fraud can start from an online advert disguised as a news article with the name of a well-known Irish celebrity endorsing an investment.

https://www.thejournal.ie/fake-news-adverts-high-yield-investment-fraud-garda-warning-5486200-Jul2021

WHAT CYBERSECURITY ISSUES ARE KEEPING SHIPPING UP AT NIGHT?

3 articles in the new Cyber Owl series from law firm HFW are concerned with cyber security as it impacts the shipping sector.  One looks at the threats as perceived by the industry.  Another looks at the after-effects pf the cyber attack on CMA CGM, it taking the company 2 weeks to get customer-facing systems back online – fleet operators are starting to ask themselves questions about their own organisation’s resilience to a similar cyber attack. The third article asks if your shipping company could at risk.

https://www.cyberowl.io/what-cybersecurity-issues-are-keeping-shipping-up-at-night/

https://www.cyberowl.io/2020-10-14-special-report-cma-cgm-cyber-attack-6-questions-you-should-be-discussing-urgently/

https://www.cyberowl.io/2020-10-14-special-report-cma-cgm-cyber-attack-6-questions-you-should-be-discussing-urgently/

MAN CHARGED WITH SCHEMING TO DEFRAUD BUYERS OF MEDICAL-GRADE GLOVES DURING PANDEMIC-RELATED SHORTAGE

A news release from US DoJ on 9 July advised that a California man, Christopher John Badsey, 60, is expected to be arraigned in federal court on an indictment charging him with defrauding victims who paid for COVID-related medical protective equipment that was never delivered, causing nearly $3 million in losses.  It is alleged that Badsey falsely represented that he had access to millions of boxes of medical-grade nitrile gloves through his Irvine-based company.  He allegedly entered into contractual agreements with victims, whom he required to provide a money deposit to inspect the gloves before delivery.  After receiving the deposits, he allegedly instructed victims to travel to the Los Angeles area, where he claimed the gloves were stored in a warehouse – but when victims attempted to visit the warehouse, he and other employees allegedly provided excuses as to why the gloves could neither be inspected, nor delivered, to the victims.

https://www.justice.gov/usao-cdca/pr/orange-county-man-charged-scheming-defraud-buyers-medical-grade-gloves-during-covid-19

CAMBODIA: OVER 2,000 LITRES OF FAKE SANITISER SEIZED

On 10 July, the Phnom Penh Post reported that officers from the General-Directorate of Consumer Protection, Competition and Fraud Repression (CCF) had confiscated more than 2,000 litres of fake alcohol sanitiser.

https://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/over-2000-litres-fake-sanitiser-seized

MEXICAN MAGNATE WANTED FOR TAX FRAUD HAS LEFT COUNTRY

On 9 July, Reuters reported that a prominent Mexican businessman who faces tax fraud charges left Mexico earlier this year, the government has said.  Miguel Aleman, a co-founder of budget airline Interjet, last left Mexico on 31 January.

https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/mexican-magnate-wanted-tax-fraud-has-left-country-govt-says-2021-07-10

ST KITTS AND NEVIS CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT: EXPANSION OF ELIGIBLE PROPERTIES

On 5 July, Dixcart reported that, until November 2022, the sale of private homes, under the St Kitts & Nevis Citizenship by Investment programme, has now been approved.  This means that any private home with an appraisal value of $400,000 or more, is eligible for investors to apply for Citizenship (subject to certain criteria).  Therefore, the article says, that for a limited period, the range of potential real estate options has never been broader.  In addition, in March, a reduction in fees was announced for the programme.

https://www.dixcart.com/st-kitts-and-nevis-citizenship-by-investment-expansion-of-eligible-properties-need-to-act-now/

https://www.dixcart.com/st-kitts-and-nevis-citizenship-by-investment-need-to-act-now/

JERSEY’S NEW ANTI-GREENWASHING DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS

On 9 July, an article from Ogier reported that the Jersey FSC has published new disclosure requirements relating to sustainable investment. The requirements aim to address the risk of greenwashing (funds being mislabelled as having a sustainable objective) and will apply to certified funds, certain fund services businesses, Jersey private funds and investment advisers.  The requirements will be set out in updated codes of practice. 

https://www.ogier.com/publications/sustainable-investment-jerseys-new-anti-greenwashing-disclosure-requirements

CANNABIS: AMENDMENTS TO THE PROCEEDS OF CRIME LAW IN JERSEY

On 8 July, an article from Ogier reported on an to amendment of the current definition of criminal conduct which will facilitate investment and structuring in the cannabis sector.  Jersey recently legalised the on-island growing of cannabis for medicinal purposes – though growing and supplying cannabis for recreational use remains very much illegal as a matter of Jersey law.

https://www.ogier.com/publications/cannabis-amendments-to-the-proceeds-of-crime-law

LOVE HONEY – THE ODD SEXUAL STIMULANT SWEEPING BRAZIL’S PARTY SCENE

On 10 July, an article in Insight Crime reported that Brazil has seen its fair share of new synthetic drugs, but the latest hit, known as “love honey,” may be the strangest.   Love honey, or “melzinho do amor,” which is described as being a sexual stimulant and is becoming a favourite among partygoers.  The substance, reminiscent of honey, is being marketed as an all-natural sexual stimulant for men.  The ingredients inside love honey are unknown and likely varied. 

https://insightcrime.org/news/love-honey-odd-sexual-stimulant-sweeping-brazil/

SWEEPING CORRUPTION PROBE TESTS DOMINICAN REPUBLIC’S ANTI-GRAFT FIGHT

On 9 July, an article in Insight Crime reported that prosecutors in the Dominican Republic have arrested a number of government officials for allegedly awarding lucrative government contracts to businesses in exchange for millions in bribes – in the so-called “Medusa Case”.  The investigation centres on the 2016-2020 term of former Attorney General Jean Alain Rodríguez Sánchez. 

https://insightcrime.org/news/corruption-probe-dominican-republics-anti-graft-fight/

UN ADOPTS NON-BINDING ARMS EMBARGO ON MYANMAR

The Arms Control Association reported that, more than 4 months after the Myanmar military overthrew the country’s elected leaders, the UN General Assembly adopted a Resolution that “calls upon all member states to prevent the flow of arms into Myanmar”.  It lacks the binding nature that can come with UN Security Council Resolutions and is more of a political message than a punitive measure. 

https://www.armscontrol.org/act/2021-07/news-briefs/un-adopts-nonbinding-arms-embargo-myanmar

A BILATERAL RESPONSE COULD HELP ADDRESS THE ILLEGAL WOOD TRADE ACROSS CAMEROON AND NIGERIA’S BORDERS

On 5 July, an article in ENACT Africa reported that Cameroon loses about $60 000 000 a year through the illegal exploitation of timber. The billion-dollar trade may also be benefiting terrorist groups, including Boko Haram and separatist movements in Cameroon and Nigeria.  It says that reports show that corruption by local officials and exploitation by Chinese businessmen drive the trade.  Wood is smuggled into Nigeria before being laundered through the domestic market and processed for export to various destinations in Asia and Europe. 

https://enactafrica.org/enact-observer/timber-trafficking-in-cameroon-goes-against-the-grain-of-economic-growth

THE ILLEGAL TRADE IN MALI’S CULTURAL ARTEFACTS

On 4 July, an article from ENACT Africa says that instability in Mali deflects attention and critical resources from preserving and securing priceless cultural artefacts.  Mali is a country rich in heritage and cultural artefacts – terracotta and bronze figurines, ancient beads, medieval manuscripts and other archaeological objects.  In July 2020, UNESCO warned of a false certification scam involving the illegal trade in African antiquities – but little information exists on this illegal trade.

https://enactafrica.org/enact-observer/crime-without-punishment-the-illegal-trade-in-malis-cultural-artefacts

WTO ISSUES 2021 ANNUAL REPORT

On 9 July, the WTO published its annual report which provides a comprehensive account of the organisation’s activities in 2020 and early 2021.  It is available in print and electronic format. A short animation provides an overview of the Report.

https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news21_e/anrp_08jul21_e.htm

US BLACKLISTS MORE CHINESE COMPANIES OVER HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES IN XINJIANG

On 9 July, Radio Free Asia reported that the US Commerce Department has added 14 Chinese companies to its Entity List, for direct involvement in human rights abuses in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.  Adding them to its Entity List restricts the export, reexport, or in-country transfer of commodities, software, and technology subject to US export regulations in cases in which the entities are a party to the transactions.

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/uyghur/blacklisted-companies-07092021185329.html

UK ADVERTISING STANDARDS AUTHORITY (ASA) PLANS TO TIGHTEN ITS MONITORING OF CRYPTO MARKETING

On 9 July, Coindesk reported that the advertising regulator said it will ramp up steps to identify and remove misleading or irresponsible ads for crypto products, and will particularly focus on online and social media platforms, with companies being warned or required to add disclaimers to their adverts.

https://www.coindesk.com/uk-ad-watchdog-to-clamp-down-on-crypto-report

EUROJUST ASSISTS ITALY IN BLOCKING VAT FRAUD SCHEME WITH CAR IMPORTS FROM GERMANY

On 8 July, a news release from Eurojust advised that it has supported the Italian authorities to stop an elaborate fraud scheme involving the import of new and used cars from Germany.  Over 200 vehicles were falsely registered in Italy and sold at below market price.  The total trading value of the fraud amounted to at least €53.5 million.

https://www.eurojust.europa.eu/eurojust-assists-italy-blocking-vat-fraud-scheme-car-imports-germany

DIVERGENCE IN BANKRUPTCY LAW ACROSS ADVANCED AND DEVELOPING ECONOMIES

On 9 July, an article from VOX at the Centre for Economic Policy Research said that the economic shock triggered by Covid-19 shut down thousands of businesses and cost millions of workers their jobs.  The goal of government response to this shock was simple: keep the lights on for as long as possible. The post describes how while some advanced economies have moved ahead with changes in their bankruptcy law to make it easier for distressed companies to keep running, developing countries have not reformed their procedures.  It says that a possible solution is to devise policies that reduce the share of the informal economy and put more pressure on reforming formal institutions.

https://voxeu.org/article/divergence-bankruptcy-law-across-advanced-and-developing-economies

THE UK GOVERNMENT HAS A CHANCE TO MAKE ITS SUPPLY CHAINS DEFORESTATION FREE – WILL IT STEP UP?

A post from Global Witness on 9 July posed this question, saying that the Environment Bill includes measures to tackle illegal deforestation, but also saying that this is only half the story.

https://www.globalwitness.org/en/blog/the-uk-government-has-a-chance-to-make-its-supply-chains-deforestation-free-will-it-step-up/

WILL NORTH KOREA REMAIN STABLE FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE?

On 26 June, an article from the School of Public Policy at the Center for International and security Studies at the University of Maryland asked this, saying that, despite significant economic problems, North Korea remains stable for now, meaning that the country is unlikely to descend into chaos or collapse.  This is because North Korean leader Kim Jong-un appears to have a firm grip on power that enables him to contain any internal threats.  While food scarcity and other economic uncertainties pose risks for Kim, whether they will lead to broader instability for the country remains to be seen.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/korea-watch/will-north-korea-remain-stable-foreseeable-future-188632

UPDATES TO THIS YEAR’S BASEL AML INDEX METHODOLOGY

On 6 July, the Basel Institute on Governance says that it updates the methodology every year of its index of money laundering risks around the world – following an in-depth review with a group of experts from diverse backgrounds.  This year’s Basel AML Index will see two methodological changes when the annual Public Edition is released in August.  Firstly, it is switching its data source on media freedom, an indicator that appears in the category “Political and legal risks”.  Second, it is changing its approach to data from FATF in order to improve comparability between countries in the Public Edition of the Index.

https://baselgovernance.org/news/keeping-money-laundering-risks-updates-years-basel-aml-index-methodology

CORRUPTION IN THE SPOTLIGHT AS BULGARIA HEADS TO THE POLLS

On 10 July, Deutsche Welle published a video report saying that that voters in Bulgaria are heading to the polls for the second time in only 3 months, with many Bulgarians hoping for change in the corruption-ridden country.

https://www.dw.com/en/corruption-in-the-spotlight-as-bulgaria-heads-to-the-polls/av-58227237

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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