OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JULY 13

Panama Covid-19 update – it is reported that the growth in visitors to the country since January stalled in April, as the third wave began to kick in here and elsewhere, with a 30% drop compared to the preceding month.

Today saw another 857 new cases reported and 8 new fatalities, giving a total of 13,281 active cases, with 107 in ICU and 613 in other wards. Meanwhile, another 12,000 doses of vaccine today.

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

13 JULY 2021

CITIGROUP TO EXIT VENEZUELA

On 12 July, Yahoo Finance reported that Citigroup Inc plans to exit Venezuela by selling its remaining business there, ending more than a century of operating in the country.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/citigroup-exit-venezuela-agreement-sell-193626353.html

MALAYSIA: LOCAL POLITICAL LEADER CHARGED WITH MONEY LAUNDERING 

On 12 July, Free Malaysia Today reported that Bayan Baru Umno chief Mansor Musa has been charged with receiving kickbacks between 2011-2020.  He was a Batu Maung assemblyman 2004-2008, and was charged with 42 counts of engaging in money laundering and 64 counts of abetting laundering in the span of over 9 years.

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2021/07/12/umno-division-chief-charged-with-laundering-rm11-million/

DUTCH REGULATOR FINES MALTA-BASED BETCHAN OWNER FOR ILLEGAL GAMBLING

On 13 July, iGB reported that the Dutch gambling authority has imposed a €500,000 fine on Malta-based operator N1 Interactive Ltd for illegally offering gambling to Dutch players via its Betchan website.

https://igamingbusiness.com/dutch-regulator-fines-betchan-owner-for-illegal-gambling

POLICE SEIZE RECORD £180 MILLION OF CRYPTOCURRENCY IN LONDON

On 13 July, the BBC reported that the Metropolitan Police have seized a record £180 million worth of cryptocurrency linked to international money laundering in London. The seizure is the largest of its kind in the UK – beating the previous record of £114 million of cryptocurrency seized in June.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-57816644

UK: NEW POWERS FOR INSOLVENCY SERVICE TO INVESTIGATE THE CONDUCT OF DIRECTORS OF DISSOLVED COMPANIES AND TO RECOMMEND DIRECTOR DISQUALIFICATION

On 8 July, TLT LLP reported that new powers are being given to the Insolvency Service to investigate the conduct of directors of dissolved companies and to recommend director disqualification.  A new Bill introduced into Parliament makes amendments to director disqualification legislation.  It  will allow the Insolvency Service in England & Wales and Northern Ireland to investigate the conduct of directors and former directors of dissolved companies without the company having to first be restored to the Companies Register

https://www.tltsolicitors.com/insights-and-events/insight/dissolution-and-director-disqualification/

ANTI-CORRUPTION: FRANCE UNVEILS ITS NEW INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION STRATEGY

On 9 July, an article from Mayer Brown said that France is updating its anti-corruption strategy, and that the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs had published a report on France’s anti-corruption strategy for the next decade.  It is reported that France has set the overall objective of reducing corruption based on 3 areas of intervention – consolidation of the French anti-corruption system; promotion of anti-corruption and strengthening of governance in international cooperation; and support of the work of international organizations, non-state actors and local institutions. 

https://www.mayerbrown.com/en/perspectives-events/publications/2021/07/anti-corruption-france-unveils-its-new-international-cooperation-strategy-key-points

UK: RETAIL BANKS WARNING FROM FCA ABOUT CONTINUING WEAKNESSES AND FAILINGS SURROUNDING THEIR FINANCIAL CRIME CONTROLS

A release on Mondo Visione on 13 July said that a warning letter had been sent by the Director of Retail Banking & Payments Supervision for the FCA to banking industry chiefs across the UK – issued in May and made public on 29 June.  It outlined the key issues and weaknesses surrounding retail banks’ financial crime controls and requested that each firm complete a gap analysis of each of the identified weaknesses and take prompt and reasonable steps to resolve them by 17 September. 

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/uk-financial-conduct-authority-issues-warning-letter-to-banks-over-anti-money-la/

QUESTION OVER GREEK MASTERPIECE SOLD AT AUCTION IN NEW YORK AFTER EXPORT FROM UK

On 12 July, the Art Newspaper carried an article about the Ionides Scarab, sold for $250,000 in April, arguing that it may not have been the auction house’s, nor the consigner’s, right to sell the object in the US.  It asks, how did a gem that was never supposed to leave the UK end up for sale at an auction house in New York?

https://www.theartnewspaper.com/news/ionides-scarab-sale-raises-provenance-questions

GLOBAL PIRACY DOWN, GULF OF GUINEA STILL A CONCERN

On 13 July, an article in Defence Web reported that incidents of international piracy and armed robbery are at their lowest level in 27 years, according to International Maritime Bureau (IMB) statistics, with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) specialist facility warning risks to seafarers remain, especially off West Africa.

https://www.defenceweb.co.za/featured/global-piracy-down-gulf-of-guinea-still-a-concern/

EU EXTENDS SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA OVER UKRAINE EXTENDED TO JANUARY 2022

EU Council Decision 2021/1144/EU has extended the EU sanctions imposed on Russian targets in view of Russia’s actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine have been extended to 31 January.

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/AUTO/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2021.247.01.0099.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2021:247:TOC

KOREAN REGULATORS EXTEND AML GUIDELINES FOR FOREIGN CRYPTO EXCHANGES

On 13 July, Coinpage reported that the Financial Services Commission (FSC) is now targeting foreign crypto exchanges and any foreign exchange serving Korean customers must register with the AML body.

https://coingape.com/just-in-korean-regulators-extend-aml-guidelines-for-foreign-crypto-exchanges

OVER 250 SUPER-RICH INDIANS USED ‘GOLDEN VISA’ ROUTE TO UK IN 12 YEARS

On 13 July, Eastern Eye carried an article saying that more than 250 millionaires from India have made use of the so-called “golden visa” to settle down in the UK through a large investment into the country since the route opened in 2008.  It says that a new report reveals that in the 12 years between 2008 and 2020, China saw 4,106 Tier 1 visas issued, Russia 2,526, Hong Kong 692, US 685, Pakistan 283, Kazakhstan 278, Saudi Arabia 223, Turkey 221 and Egypt 206. The report says that the regime continues to pose a significant corruption, money laundering and national security risk to the UK.

https://www.easterneye.biz/254-super-rich-indians-used-golden-visa-route-to-uk-in-12-years

https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/254-indian-millionaires-used-golden-visa-route-to-uk-in-12-years-says-report/article35292971.ece

https://www.spotlightcorruption.org/new-briefing-red-carpet-for-dirty-money-the-uks-golden-visa-regime/

UK: GREAT YARMOUTH KEBAB SHOP OWNER OWED ALMOST HALF A MILLION POUNDS IN UNPAID TAX

On 13 July, the Great Yarmouth Mercury reported that a man who owned a Great Yarmouth kebab shop has been named and shamed on a government list for not paying his tax.  The current list shows that over 9 years almost half a million pounds was left unpaid by a Great Yarmouth kebab shop.  Bilal Gilgil, trading as Istanbul Kebab House, evaded taxes worth £461,081.90.

https://www.greatyarmouthmercury.co.uk/news/yarmouth-kebab-shop-tax-debt-8091864

KUWAIT CUSTOMS SEIZES OVER 2 MILLION CHEWING TOBACCO BAGS

On 12 July, the Kuwait Times reported that Customs had announced that it had seized 2,220,000 bags of chewing tobacco in 3 containers at Shuwaikh Port and which had been left for more than 90 days in the port. 

https://news.kuwaittimes.net/website/kuwait-customs-seizes-over-2-million-chewing-tobacco-bags/

GREEK CUSTOMS SEIZE 17,200 KG OF ILLEGAL HFC REFRIGERANT

On 12 July, Cooling Post reported that the haul of 1,352 cylinders was discovered in a refrigerated trailer in a suburb of Athens. There was no documentation with the shipment and all the refrigerant was in illegal disposable cylinders.

https://www.coolingpost.com/world-news/greek-customs-seize-17200kg-of-illegal-hfc-refrigerant/

HOW DIRTY MONEY ENTERS UK POLITICS

On 13 July, OCCRP says that a new report has detailed how legal loopholes allow for money from foreign sources to fund British politics and influence elections.  The report released by the Committee on Standards in Public Life, an independent advisory body to the UK Government, was triggered by concerns over the increased digital campaigning and its potential to hamper campaign finance tracking.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/14804-report-how-dirty-money-enters-uk-politics

The report is at –

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/999636/CSPL_Regulating_Election_Finance_Review_Final_Web.pdf

VENEZUELA’S INDIGENOUS WARAO PRESS-GANGED INTO GUYANA’S ILLEGAL GOLD MINES

On 13 July, Insight Crime reported that migrants from Venezuela’s Warao indigenous community who have been forced to flee to Guyana find themselves forcibly recruited to work as illegal miners in their new country.  A new report says that around 1,500 members of the Warao community have been forced to work for no pay in illegal gold mines in Guyana, and it appears that Guyanese recruiters had also entered Venezuela to entice more Warao to join up under false pretences.

https://insightcrime.org/news/venezuela-warao-indigenous-guyana-illegal-gold-mines/

FRANCE SAYS EU PREPARING TO SANCTION LEBANESE LEADERS THIS MONTH

On 13 July, Eurasia News reported that France said that the EU had reached a consensus to sanction Lebanese leaders to pressure them to form a stable government.  A political crisis has left the country without a functioning government since the last one resigned after a massive explosion killed 200 people and destroyed swathes of Beirut in August 2020.

https://www.eurasiareview.com/13072021-france-says-europe-preparing-to-sanction-lebanese-leaders-this-month/

US COMMERCE DEPARTMENT ADDS 23 COMPANIES TO ENTITY LIST

A briefing from Crowell Moring on 13 July reported that on 9 July the Commerce Department has added 23 companies to its entity list citing forced labour, military technology, and sanctions concerns.

https://www.cmtradelaw.com/2021/07/commerce-adds-23-companies-to-entity-list-citing-forced-labor-military-technology-and-sanctions-concerns 

OFAC AUTHORISES LPG TRANSACTIONS INVOLVING VENEZUELAN GOVERNMENT, PDVSA

On 12 July, an article from Cadwalader Cabinet was concerned with General License 40, which authorises transactions related to the exportation or re-exportation of LPG to Venezuela involving the Government of Venezuela or PdVSA and last until 8 July 2022.

https://www.findknowdo.com/news/07/12/2021/ofac-authorizes-petroleum-gas-transactions-involving-venezuelan-government-pdvsa

VALUED MEMBER OF ISIS CONVICTED IN THE UK

On 6 July, Counter Terrorism Policing in the UK issued a news release advising that a 28-year-old man from Leicester, Hisham Chaudhary (DOB 04/02/93), has been convicted of being a member of Daesh.  It is said that detectives uncovered considerable evidence to demonstrate he was a trusted and active member of the banned terrorist group, one that not only subscribed to their ideology, but also immersed himself in supporting their activities and creating and spreading propaganda on their behalf, and operating largely online.

https://www.counterterrorism.police.uk/leicester-man-convicted-of-being-a-member-of-daesh/

MYANMAR: THE 48 VESSELS NO ONE IS LOOKING AT (YET)

On 17 June, the Windward blog carried a post about Myanmar since the February coup, saying that its platform has identified that of the more than 132 vessels that loitered in Myanmar territorial waters, only half of which flew a Myanmar flag.  Of those 64 vessels, 48, or 75%, were headed to Malaysia, Bangladesh, and Singapore, potentially with cargo.  It says that while many types of business involving Myanmar remain legal, the potential for sanction evasion and illicit activity is increasing due to recent political events.  It uses the information to stress the need for enhanced compliance (e.g. by using its own tools) to protect yourself.

https://windward.ai/blog/staying-ahead-of-myanmar-sanctions

UN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL 16 ON COMBATING CRIME AND COVID

On 13 July, the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime produced a report on a a thematic review of Sustainable Development Goal 16 (SDG 16).  It points out that within SDG 16 is Target 16.4, which aims to significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows, strengthen the recovery and return of stolen assets and combat all forms of organised crime by 2030.  It says that the strategies and techniques deployed in aid of Target 16.4 must reflect this new reality of the pandemic.  It highlights 2 shifts that happened early in the pandemic and which will affect the post-pandemic recovery period and beyond – the explosion of cybercrime; and criminal gangs growing their authority both by handing out necessities, including food and sometimes cash, and by imposing their own lockdowns.  It says that the illicit economy has been vastly strengthened during the pandemic, but this does not mean that there are not opportunities still to be seized.  It calls on UN member states to recognise the critical spoiler that organised crime has become to sustainable development, and to keep this high on the agenda for future action.

https://globalinitiative.net/analysis/sustainable-development-goal-16-crime-covid/

THIRD COUNTRIES ALIGN WITH EU SANCTIONS ON BELARUS

A news release from the EU on 13 July advised that North Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania, Iceland, and Norway have agreed to align with EU Council Decision (CFSP) 2021/1031, which introduces new targeted economic sanctions.

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2021/07/13/declaration-by-the-high-representative-on-behalf-of-the-european-union-on-the-alignment-of-certain-countries-concerning-restrictive-measures-in-view-of-the-situation-in-belarus/

2 REMAINING DEFENDANTS IN $1.3 BILLION INVESTMENT FRAUD (PONZI) SCHEME PLEAD GUILTY TO MAIL AND WIRE FRAUD CONSPIRACY

On 13 July, a news release from US DoJ advised that, in MIami, Dane Roseman, 38, and Ivan Acevedo, 44, had pleaded guilty to participating in a massive investment fraud scheme, in which more than 7,000 victims suffered financial losses – one of the largest-ever in Florida.  It also said that co-defendant Robert Shapiro, the former owner, president, and CEO of Woodbridge Group of Companies LLC was previously sentenced to the maximum sentence of 25 years in prison for his leadership role in the fraud scheme and his separate income tax fraud. 

https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdfl/pr/two-remaining-defendants-13-billion-investment-fraud-ponzi-scheme-one-largest-ever

US: IRANIAN INTELLIGENCE OFFICIALS INDICTED ON KIDNAPPING CONSPIRACY CHARGES

On 13 July, a news release from US DoJ advised that the Iranian Intelligence services allegedly plotted to kidnap a US journalist and human rights activist from New York City for rendition to Iran.  Now a New York federal court has unsealed an indictment charging 4 Iranian nationals with conspiracies related to kidnapping, sanctions violations, bank and wire fraud, and money laundering. A co-conspirator and California resident, also of Iran, faces additional structuring charges.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/iranian-intelligence-officials-indicted-kidnapping-conspiracy-charges

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“TREASURE HUNTERS” IN TURKEY, GREECE AND CYPRUS WHO GATHER ON FACEBOOK TO SHARE IDEAS ABOUT HUNTING FOR ANTIQUITIES

The Alliance to Counter Crime Online has published a report which claims that groups and pages give “treasure-hunters” a venue for crowdsourcing knowledge, and tips for evading law enforcement. It is said that treasure hunting for antiquities can harm or even destroy ancient sites, causing irreparable damage to cultural heritage. It is also said that antiquities crime also funds militant and/or violent groups, including the PKK, and the far-right Turkish Grey Wolves group.  

https://www.counteringcrime.org/online-social-organisation-of-looting-and-trafficking-of-antiquities-from-turkey-greece-and-cyprus

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

US VISA RESTRICTIONS ON 100 MEMBERS OF THE NICARAGUAN NATIONAL ASSEMBLY AND NICARAGUAN JUDICIAL SYSTEM

A news release from the US State Department on 12 July advised that it had imposed visa restrictions on 100 members of the Nicaraguan National Assembly and Nicaraguan judicial system, including prosecutors and judges, as well as some of their family members.   The Department has also revoked any US visas held by these individuals.  Those targeted are said to have helped to enable the Ortega-Murillo regime’s attacks on democracy and human rights. 

https://www.state.gov/the-united-states-restricts-visas-of-100-nicaraguans-affiliated-with-ortega-murillo-regime/

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

US: PUBLICATION OF UPDATED XINJIANG SUPPLY CHAIN BUSINESS ADVISORY

On 13 July, the US Treasury issued a news release saying that the Departments of State, Commerce, Homeland Security, Labor, and the Treasury, and the Office of the US Trade Representative, had issued a new Advisory on the risks for businesses with potential exposure in their supply chain to entities engaged in human rights abuses in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20210713

The Advisory is at –

https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/126/20210713_xinjiang_advisory_0.pdf

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

MEXICO: LEGAL PROCEEDINGS AGAINST FORMER SECRETARY OF THE ECONOMY AND A CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION INTO ALLEGATIONS OF ILLICIT ENRICHMENT

On 13 July, Jurist reported that the Mexican General Prosecutor’s Office (FGR) has said that legal proceedings had been initiated against former Secretary of the Economy, Ildefonso Guajardo, launching a criminal investigation into allegations of illicit enrichment.

https://www.jurist.org/news/2021/07/mexico-prosecutors-launch-investigation-into-illicit-enrichment-of-former-minister/

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

GUIDANCE ON DUE DILIGENCE TO HELP EU COMPANIES TO ADDRESS THE RISK OF FORCED LABOUR IN THEIR OPERATIONS AND SUPPLY CHAINS

On 13 July, a news release from the EU says that the guidance will enhance companies’ capacity to eradicate forced labour from their value chains by providing concrete, practical advice on how to identify, prevent, mitigate and address its risk.  It explains the practical aspects of due diligence and provides an overview of EU and international instruments on responsible business conduct that are relevant for combatting forced labour. The EU has already put in place mandatory standards in some sectors and actively promotes the effective implementation of international standards on responsible business conduct.

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_21_3664

The Guidance is at –

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/api/files/document/print/en/ip_21_3664/IP_21_3664_EN.pdf

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

BVI: 6 BILLS DESIGNED IN LARGE PART TO DETER FINANCIAL CRIME TAKE EFFECT AFTER RECEIVING ASSENT FROM THE GOVERNOR

On 9 July, the BVI Beacon reported on a set of Acts, including one designed to prevent the proliferation of WMD; combating tax evasion and with tax fraud offences including giving false revenue information to the public service, omitting required data, or obstructing the public service; amending the drug trafficking offences Act and proceeds of criminal conduct Act; preventing travellers from carrying undocumented money in and out of the territory, among other provisions.  It is said that the BVI Premier indicated that the amendments were designed to help the BVI in the upcoming FATF evaluation.

https://www.bvibeacon.com/guv-okays-bills-to-deter-financial-crime/

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

OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JULY 12

Panama Covid-19 update – good news for us who live in the Metropolitan region is that active cases in the city have declined, albeit slightly, 3weeks ago there were 2,537 active cases and now there are about 2,219.

Today, another 752 cases and a jump to 14 fatalities. Those in hospital wards other than ICU show a jump of 30 to 619, while ICU occupancy has fallen by 3 to 109. there are now 13,657 active cases.

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

12 JULY 2021

ISLE OF MAN: BELARUS AND SYRIA SANCTIONS REMOVALS

On 12 July, the Isle of Man advised that AGAT SYSTEM had been removed from the Belarus sanctions list; and Nader QALEI had been removed from the Syria sanctions list.

https://www.gov.im/news/2021/jul/12/financial-sanctions-belarus/

https://www.gov.im/news/2021/jul/12/financial-sanctions-syria/

AUSTRALIAN BILLIONAIRE LEX GREENSILL BEGUILED THE WORLD’S RICH AND POWERFUL – UNTIL IT CAME CRASHING DOWN

On 12 July, ABC News reported that, with a company valued in the billions of dollars, Mr Greensill mixed with the rich and powerful on a grand scale, even calling one of the world’s richest men his mentor, and a former British prime minister his employee.  The collapse of his firm, Greensill Capital, has become a scandal in the UK, where it has prompted multiple parliamentary inquiries and fraud investigations.  The media outlet has investigated how companies owned by Greensill and Sanjeev Gupta, both politically connected men of soaring ambition, used financial dark arts to conjure extraordinary amounts of money, seemingly out of nothing.  It is said that there were red flags early on, but people wanted to believe the hype.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-07-12/lex-greensill-capital-investigation-four-corners/100279294

KEY PLAYER IN GERMAN ‘CUM-EX’ TAX FRAUD ARRESTED IN SWITZERLAND 

On 9 July, Reuters reported that Hanno Berger, a German accused of playing a key role in a years-long tax fraud, has been arrested in Switzerland where he had been living in exile.  The scandal, known as “cum-ex”, is Germany’s biggest post-war fraud involving a share-trading scheme that the authorities say cost taxpayers billions of euros.  Berger is a German tax inspector-turned-tax adviser, and a defendant in a case that is being tried in Wiesbaden.

https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/key-player-german-cum-ex-tax-fraud-arrested-switzerland-prosecutor-2021-07-09/

UK: NATIONAL SECURITY REVIEW OF “GOLDEN VISAS” FOR INVESTORS

On 12 July, KYC 360 reported an article from The Times which said that thousands of “golden visas” given to oligarchs and wealthy foreigners are under review over potential risks to national security.  The Tier 1 investor visa were introduced by the Labour Party in in 2008 response to the financial crisis, granting British residency in exchange for 7-figure investments. The initiative fuelled a property boom for wealthy Russians in Britain.  The Home Office has now confirmed that it has been assessing the risk “of a range of national security threats including illicit finance, corruption and wider serious and organised crime risks”.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/uk-national-security-review-of-golden-visas-for-investors

NEW ZEALAND: TRANSITIONAL COMPLIANCE PERIOD FOR THE NEW CDD OBLIGATIONS IN RESPECT OF NOMINEE DIRECTORS AND NOMINEE GENERAL PARTNERS

On 9 July, Minter Ellison Rudd Watts published an article about a recent statement providing a transitional compliance period until 29 April 2022 for the new customer due diligence obligations in respect of nominee directors and nominee general partners. This forms part of a wider suite of amendments to the AML/CFT regulations came into force on 9 July.

https://www.minterellison.co.nz/our-view/transitional-period-for-new-aml-cft-nominee-cdd-obligations

For more information on the changes being made, see –

https://www.minterellison.co.nz/our-view/aml-cft-regulations-amended

JERSEY: CANNABIS AND AMENDMENTS TO THE PROCEEDS OF CRIME LAW

On 8 July, an article from Ogier said that the Jersey government recently legalised the on-island growing of cannabis for medicinal purposes and the island is positioning itself as a key player in this field.  However, financial institutions in Jersey faced a “single criminality test”, which meant that if the conduct undertaken in another jurisdiction is unlawful in Jersey, it is deemed to be criminal conduct even if it is perfectly lawful in the original jurisdiction.  A new amendment of the proceeds of crime law proposes an amendment to the definition of “criminal conduct” under the Law to provide that the production, supply, use, export or import of cannabis or any of its derivatives is no longer considered criminal conduct – subject to certain, obvious conditions.

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

SWITZERLAND ANNOUNCES ADDITIONAL BELARUS SANCTIONS – TARGETING 78 ADDITIONAL INDIVIDUALS AND 7 ENTITIES

On 8 July, Baker McKenzie reported that the designated parties are subject to asset freezes, travel bans and a prohibition on funds and economic resources being made available to them or parties owned or controlled by them.  Like the corresponding EU, US, UK and Canadian sanctions, the Swiss move follows the forced landing of a Ryanair flight by Belarusian authorities and subsequent detention of a Belarusian journalist.

https://sanctionsnews.bakermckenzie.com/switzerland-announces-additional-belarus-sanctions/#page=1

ZIMBABWE TO FORMALLY REGISTER ARTISANAL MINERS TO CURB GOLD SMUGGLING

On 12 July, News Ghana reported that Zimbabwe will soon require all artisanal miners to be formally registered as part of efforts to curb gold smuggling and protect the environment.  It is estimated that there are between 500,000 and 1.5 million artisanal and small-scale miners in Zimbabwe, and only 16% percent of them are formally registered.  Smuggling of gold remains a major challenge, and authorities estimate that between 30 and 35 tonnes of gold are being smuggled each year.

https://newsghana.com.gh/zimbabwe-to-formally-register-artisanal-miners-to-curb-gold-smuggling/

NEW ZEALAND MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO REMOVING MORE THAN S$1 MILLION FROM SINGAPORE

On 10 July, Interest in New Zealand reported that, arrested and detained on the day he arrived in Singapore from New Zealand more than 3 years ago, Richard Whitham is now able to leave, despite being sentenced to 38 months imprisonment.  He faced 7 charges of dishonestly misappropriating money in his role as banking relationship establishment project officer for Worldclear in New Zealand – Worldclear assisted clients with money transfers, currency trading and banking, and worked with customers that banks wouldn’t work with due to reasons such as their location or business structure.   He was charged with removing more than S$1.1 million from Singapore through 3 outward bank transfers.  His wife says he decided to plead guilty in order to be reunited with his family as soon as possible, and the 38 months imprisonment sentence came with effect from 5 March 2019.  It is said that police in New Zealand have prepared an arrest warrant for Whitham, who has dual New Zealand and Australian citizenship.  However, with the Singapore proceedings completed, this could be withdrawn under double jeopardy rules.  It was claimed that Whitham had absconded from New Zealand after misappropriating money from Worldclear. 

https://www.interest.co.nz/news/110942/new-zealand-man-and-former-worldclear-employee-richard-whitham-pleads-guilty-removing

BANK SOUTH PACICIFC GROUP AML/CFT WARNING FROM THE BANK OF PAPUA NEW GUINEA

On 12 July, Loop reported that the BSP Group had received a formal warning, and called for the bank to remove certain executives and appoint an external auditor.  The decision relates to an account of a PEP.  The action follows an on-site inspection of the bank in 2019. 

https://www.looppng.com/business/bsp-warned-regulator-102179

CROATIA SNUBS MONACO TO FREE BRITISH WHISTLEBLOWER

On 12 July, EU Observer reported that Jonathan Taylor, an oil-industry whistleblower, is free to return to the UK after Croatia rejected Monaco’s request to have him extradited.

https://euobserver.com/world/152400

18 ARRESTED IN SPAIN IN A STING AGAINST MIGRANT SMUGGLERS OPERATING OVERSEAS

A news release from Europol on 12 July advised that an investigation led by the Spanish National Police, with close cooperation with the Albanian Police and law enforcement and immigration authorities in Austria, France, Italy, Slovenia, Kosovo, Portugal, the UK and US and supported by Europol, led officers to dismantle an organised crime group involved in migrant smuggling and document fraud. 

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/eighteen-arrested-in-spain-in-sting-against-migrant-smugglers-operating-overseas

UK MONEY LAUNDERING ADVISORY NOTICE: HIGH-RISK THIRD COUNTRIES

On 12 July, HM Treasury issued a Notice following the recent FATF Plenary about risks posed by jurisdictions with unsatisfactory money laundering and terrorist financing controls, and updating information on its grey and black lists.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/money-laundering-advisory-notice-high-risk-third-countries–2

THE US CAESAR SYRIAN CIVILIAN PROTECTION ACT AT 1 YEAR

On 8 July, a Commentary from the RAND Corporation said that a powerful new US sanctions law on Syria came into effect 1 year ago, amid speculation regarding its potential effects.  It is said that it is apparent that the Act’s power lies not in who the US has sanctioned but rather in who the US could sanction. The law, which sunsets after 5 years, also shows the limits of to effect change, with the Syria conflict was continuing into its eleventh year.  The the Caesar Syrian Civilian Protection Act and named after an anonymous Syrian military police photographer who had defected with 53,000 pictures of victims of torture by the regime.  However, while the US rolled out 6 tranches of Syria sanctions between June and December 2020, targeting a total of 113 people and companies, the US used the Caesar law specifically on only 15 people, and there have been no new Syria sanctions in 2021. Despite its limited application, the Caesar Act is said to have had significant influence.

https://www.rand.org/blog/2021/07/the-power-and-limits-of-threat-the-caesar-syrian-civilian.html

WCO AND UNODC LAUNCH NEW PROJECT TO ENHANCE CAPACITY FOR DETECTING ILLEGAL SHIPMENTS OF PLASTIC AND HAZARDOUS WASTE

On 12 July, a news release from WCO announced a new Project to improve the capacity of enforcement agencies to counter illegal shipments of plastic and hazardous waste in the cargo trade supply chain. The Project is part of the Container Control Programme (CCP), under which the 2 organisations have established and provided training to dedicated Port Control Units (PCU) and Air Cargo Control Units (ACCU) at key seaports and airports and which bring together customs officers and other national law enforcement personnel from the police, drugs enforcement agencies etc. 

https://www.wcoomd.org/en/media/newsroom/2021/july/wco-and-unodc-launch-new-project.aspx

KYC DETAILS OF INDIAN USERS MISUSED BY CHINESE LOAN APPS TO CREATE FAKE BANK ACCOUNTS

On 5 July, The 420 website in India reported the apparent misuse of data for the purpose of generating higher-interest rate micro-loans through digital lending apps.  It says that so far 7 Chinese Nationals and 35 Indian residents have been arrested under the Instant loan app scam.

https://www.the420.in/kyc-details-of-indian-users-misused-by-chinese-loan-apps-to-create-fake-bank-accounts/

US SANCTIONS A CHINESE FACIAL RECOGNITION COMPANY THAT HAS SILICON VALLEY FUNDING

On 9 July, The Verge reported that 14 Chinese tech companies sanctions by the US Commerce Department over links to human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang includes one backed by a top Silicon Valley investment firm.  It says that DeepGlint, also known as Beijing Geling Shentong Information Technology Co Ltd., is a facial recognition company with deep ties to Chinese police surveillance, and funding from US-based Sequoia Capital.

https://www.theverge.com/2021/7/9/22570225/us-sanctions-chinese-facial-recognition-silicon-valley-funding

HOW IS LAW ENFORCEMENT TRACING AND RECOVERING BITCOIN PAYMENTS?

On 12 July, Security Week carried an article posing this question and looking at the Colonial Pipeline attack in the US and the seizure of £114 million in cryptocurrency by the Metropolitan Police in the UK.  It says that it has explored several hypotheses on how US and UK law enforcement could have made the 2 major bitcoin seizures.  In the world of hypotheses, one hypothesis is as valid as any other hypothesis.  What it says to have shown, however, is that the seizures could have been achieved without needing to break the bitcoin encryption security.

https://www.securityweek.com/seizing-cryptocurrency-how-law-enforcement-tracing-and-recovering-bitcoin-payments

ITALY EASES CURBS ON ARMS SALES TO SAUDI ARABIA AND UAE

On 6 July, US News reported that Italy has loosened restrictions on arms exports to Saudi Arabia and UAE, in a move aimed at easing diplomatic tensions with the Gulf states.  Italy halted the sale of missiles to Saudi Arabia and the UAE in January, citing the situation re war-ravaged Yemen and protecting human rights.  That ban will remain in place, but other curbs introduced in 2019, which effectively blocked any sales of arms and equipment that might be used in Yemen, will now be lifted.

https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2021-07-06/italy-eases-curbs-on-arms-sales-to-saudi-arabia-and-uae

TALIBAN FIND NEW REVENUES AS THEY SEIZE AFGHANISTAN’S US-BUILT BORDER GATEWAY

On 5 July, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Taliban had taken over the main trade gateway into Tajikistan, and was beginning to collect customs revenues, as some of Afghanistan’s neighbours tacitly cooperate with the insurgent group.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/taliban-find-new-revenues-as-they-seize-afghanistans-u-s-built-border-gateway-11625495521

OFAC NEW VENEZUELA GENERAL LICENSE

On 12 July, OFAC announced the release of General License 40: Authorizing Certain Transactions Involving the Exportation or Re-exportation of Liquefied Petroleum Gas to Venezuela, alongside 2 new FAQ

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20210712

US: GAO REVIEW OF SMALL BUSINESS PROGRAMMES FINDS AGENCY WEAKNESSES IN MANAGING FRAUD, WASTE AND ABUSE

On 9 July, Homeland Security Today said that a new report from the Government Accountability Office about the Small Business Administration (SBA), through which a number of federal agencies distribute $4 billion to small businesses.  However, the GAO found that a number of federal agencies did not implement 10 requirements established by the SBA to hold both individuals and businesses accountable during the eligibility process to prevent fraud, waste and abuse.  The programmes involved help small businesses meet federal R+D, improve participation by minorities in technological innovation and increase private sector commercialisation of innovations from federal R+D efforts. According to the report, only 1 out of the 11 agencies participating in the programmes fully implemented all 10 minimum requirements.

https://www.hstoday.us/industry/gaos-review-of-small-business-programs-finds-agency-weaknesses-in-managing-fraud-waste-and-abuse/

The report is at –

https://www.gao.gov/assets/gao-21-413.pdf

NORTH KOREA’S RECYCLING PUSH

On 15 June, 38 North reported that North Korea is undergoing something of a recycling revolution.  Workplaces and homes across the country are being urged to recycle waste material and, according to state media, are responding. But this is about much more than bottles, cans and paper, but is focused on the reuse of all waste material.

https://www.38north.org/2021/06/turning-waste-into-treasure-north-koreas-recycling-push

UK AMENDS LIST OF HIGH-RISK JURISDICTIONS IN MONEY LAUNDERING REGULATIONS

In the UK, the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Amendment) (No 2) (High-Risk Countries) Regulations 2021, which amend the amend the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 to reflect the update in FATF lists following last month’s Plenary.

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2021/827/contents/made 

US: WOMAN PLEADS GUILTY TO MULTIMILLION-DOLLAR CASH PRIZE ELDER FRAUD SCHEME

A news release from US DoJ on 12 July advised that a Long Island woman, Lorraine Chalavoutis, 64, has pleaded guilty to participating in a scheme to mail fraudulent prize notices that led recipients, many of whom were elderly and vulnerable, to believe that they could claim large cash prizes in exchange for a modest fee. None of the victims who submitted fees, which in total exceeded $30 million, received a substantial cash prize.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/long-island-resident-pleads-guilty-multimillion-dollar-elder-fraud-scheme

ROBINHOOD CRYPTO TO PAY NEW YORK REGULATOR $15 MILLION FINE FOR AML AND CYBERSECURITY FAILINGS

On 12 July, Coingeek reported that Robinhood Crypto, the digital currency arm of Robinhood stock trading platform, is said to face a $15 million in a settlement with the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS), and according to regulatory filings, the settlement is in connection with AML and cybersecurity issues.  Recently, it emerged that the online brokerage firm is set to pay $70 million in penalties to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) after it was found to have caused “significant harm to its users”.

https://coingeek.com/robinhood-crypto-to-pay-ny-regulator-15m-fine-in-anti-money-laundering-probe/

SOUTH AFRICA: MOMENTUM WEALTH AND MOMENTUM COLLECTIVE INVESTMENTS FINED FOR WEAKNESSES IN AML/CFT CONTROLS

On 12 July, GRC World Forums reported that Momentum Wealth and Momentum Collective Investments is to pay $773,000 after an inspection found weaknesses in its money laundering and terrorist financing controls.  The pair were found to be failing to comply with the Financial Intelligence Centre Act and did not meet cash threshold reporting requirements.

https://www.grcworldforums.com/money-laundering/momentum-fined-for-having-inadequate-measures-against-financial-crime/2192.article

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