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

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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