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

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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