OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JULY 14

Panama Covid-19 update – oddly, the weekly news conference was delayed until today, due to the Panama-Qatar football match live on TV yesterday…

When the news conference did run it revealed that another 1,515 new cases were reported and 7 new fatalities. All the numbers – active cases, hospitalisations and “hospital hotel” – shows increases. There are 13,643 active cases, 111 in ICU, 652 in other wards and 362 in the hotels.

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

14 JULY 2021

HM TREASURY ADMITS TO WIPING DATA FROM OVER 100 DEPARTMENT PHONES AFTER OFFICIALS MADE MISTAKES ENTERING PIN CODES

On 13 July, Panatimes reported that sensitive data from over 100 HM Treasury phones, including text messages related to the Greensill lobbying scandal involving former Prime Minister David Cameron, was deleted after officials apparently entered incorrect PIN.  Its IT team apparently had to reset some 117 of its roughly 2,100 government-issued mobile phones last year – including the work phone of its Permanent Secretary Tom Scholar, according to the Treasury’s response to a Freedom of Information request from the PA news agency.  The revelations are expected to add to criticism of the government’s transparency mechanisms, which have been attacked in recent weeks after it emerged that senior officials may have used personal email accounts to conduct government business.

https://panatimes.com/uk-treasury-admits-to-wiping-data-from-over-100-department-phones-after-officials-made-mistakes-entering-pin-codes


UKRAINE: FORMER DEPUTY DEFENCE MINISTER DETAINED ON CORRUPTION CHARGES

On 12 July, Kyiv Post reported that Ihor Pavlovskiy, former deputy defence minister and high-ranking military general, has been detained on charges of embezzlement in hardware supplies.  According to Ukraine’s State Bureau of Investigations (GBR), Pavlovsky has become the fourth individual detained as part of the corruption case and officials are suspected of a conspiracy to supply military formations with low-quality hardware in 2016-2018 – with patrol boats and ambulances involved.

https://www.kyivpost.com/ukraine-politics/former-deputy-defense-minister-detained-on-corruption-charges.html

SHIPPING INDUSTRY SEEKS TO COMBAT DARK OIL TRANSFERS AT SEA

On 13 July, an article from Reuters said that top oil shipping companies say they have tightened operational guidelines and deployed technology to prevent accidental breaches of sanctions.  Iran and Venezuela have developed sophisticated methods to bypass sanctions, it says that one way to evade sanctions is to hide behind the practice of transferring oil from one ship to another at sea, known as a ship-to-ship (STS) transfer.

https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/shipping-industry-seeks-combat-dark-oil-transfers-sea-2021-07-13/

A LONDON COUPLE’S LAVISH LIFESTYLE RODE ON THE AZERI LAUNDROMAT

On 14 July, an article from Bloomberg Quint says that the UK authorities investigating wealth belonging to a politically-connected Azerbaijani family had their suspicions were triggered by a raft of “brass plate” companies that funnelled more than double the amount of the couple’s stated income.  A court filing from the NCA gives the most detailed glimpse yet of how dirty money was allegedly funnelled through the UK using a scheme known as the “Azerbaijani Laundromat”, which enabled the flow of about $3 billion in cash.  It also laid out the role of Danske Bank’s Estonia branch and that of Latvia’s ABLV Bank in transferring money to the UK.  The documents were released after the Javadov family agreed to hand over £4 million to end an investigation by the NCA.  It shows how the funds ended up in UK bank accounts, including at Banco Santander and private bank Coutts, via hundreds of transactions from Danske Bank’s Estonia branch or ABLV Bank, once Latvia’s third-largest bank before it was closed over money laundering concerns.

https://www.bloombergquint.com/onweb/a-london-couple-s-lavish-lifestyle-rode-on-the-azeri-laundromat

US: 2021 REPORT ON GENOCIDE AND ATROCITIES PREVENTION

A news release from the US State Department on12 July advised that a report had been released under section 5 of the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act 2018.  The report highlights countries of concern and whole-of-government efforts undertaken by the Atrocity Early Warning Task Force1 to prevent and respond to atrocities from July 2020 to May 2021.

https://www.state.gov/2021-report-to-congress-pursuant-to-section-5-of-the-elie-wiesel-genocide-and-atrocities-prevention-act-of-2018

US: FORMER BANKER FOUND GUILTY OF BRIBERY TIED TO PAUL MANAFORT LOANS

On 13 July, the Wall Street Journal reported that a federal jury in Manhattan has convicted a former bank executive on charges that he helped by urging a “16 million in loans to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, in exchange for help getting a high-level job in the Trump Administration.  Stephen M Calk was the founder and former chairman of the Federal Savings Bank in Chicago.  It is said that Calk pushed the bank to approve the loans, despite multiple red flags, because he hoped to be named Secretary of the Army.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/former-banker-found-guilty-of-bribery-tied-to-paul-manafort-loans-11626195439

SPAIN ADOPTS NEW LAW FOR THE PREVENTION AND ACTIONS COMBATING TAX FRAUD

On 13 July, an article from DLA Piper reported on the Law for the Prevention and Actions Against Tax Fraud (Ley de Medidas de Prevención y Lucha contra el Fraude Fiscal) which includes several tax measures which directly affect multinational groups of companies.  To implement in Spanish legislation the EU Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive (ATAD) the Law amends the exit tax and Controlled Foreign Corporations (CFC) rules.  The article details the amendments made, which include the concept of tax havens being replaced by “non-cooperative jurisdictions”.

https://www.dlapiper.com/en/us/insights/publications/2021/07/spain-adopts-new-law-for-the-prevention-and-actions-combating-tax-fraud/

EXPORT CONTROLS IN THE UK

On 13 July, an article in the Global Investigation Review detailed the export control regime in the UK. 

https://globalinvestigationsreview.com/guide/the-guide-sanctions/second-edition/article/export-controls-in-the-united-kingdom

ALBANIA TOP DESTINATION FOR “SUSPICIOUS TRANSFERS” FROM ITALY

On 13 July, Exit News reported that Albania was a top destination for the receipt of “suspicious transactions” from Italy in the first half of 2021, according to the Italian Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF).  Out of all the countries in the world, the majority went to Albania, Morocco, Romania, and Senegal. These accounted for almost 40% of all reports.  Most of these transfers came from Lombardy, Lazio, Emilia-Romagna, and Sicily.  It is estimated that up to €700 million in illicit funds enter Albania every year.

https://exit.al/en/2021/07/13/albania-top-destination-for-suspicious-transfers-from-italy/

PHILIPPINES’ REAL ESTATE SECTOR HAS A MEDIUM-HIGH VULNERABILITY TO DIRTY MONEY TRANSACTIONS

On 14 July, Philstar Global reported that the real estate sector has a medium-high vulnerability to dirty money transactions due to limited AML/CFT regulation, according to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).  AMLC said it had received 142,562 covered transaction reports (CTR), as well as 5,416 suspicious transaction reports (STR).  The banking sector accounted for 99% of the CTR, with commercial banks corner 85.8% followed by savings and mortgage banks with 9.4%, government banks with 3.2% and private development and rural banks with 1.25%.  While there have been improvements, the AMLC said the overall risk of the real estate sector is still within the medium-high level amid the low level supervision of the sector for AML/CFT, the increase in sector’s threat to money laundering and terrorism financing, as well as the increase in customer risk.

https://www.philstar.com/business/2021/07/14/2112261/real-estate-sector-medium-high-vulnerability-dirty-money

THE STORY BEHIND LITHUANIA’S CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE IN AML

On 14 July, The Paypers reported on the creation of the Centre of Excellence in Anti-Money Laundering and how 5 initial tasks evolved and improved over time.  The Bank of Lithuania and the Ministry of Finance proposed the Centre of Excellence in Anti-Money Laundering; and the idea for this Centre was stimulated by several factors, including the widespread use of modern technologies that are changing the face of the financial sector, recommendations of international organisations (IMF, European Commission, MONEYVAL, FATF) and the goal of implementing the best and most effective AML practices in Lithuania. It was established by the Ministry of Finance, the Bank of Lithuania and the country’s commercial banks, and other financial market participants and law enforcement bodies are expected to join in its activities as well.  Its 5 initial tasks were to share information on typologies and helping the financial market to ensure proper risk identification and management; carry out studies, assessments and analyses, as well as prepare guidelines, recommendations, methodologies and legislative initiatives to improve the AML/CFT framework; assist private sector entities in conducting internal AML/CFT risk assessments, and strengthen the competence of public and private sector staff in the field; organise relevant events, including training, seminars, and conferences; and publish information on the implementation of measures.

https://thepaypers.com/expert-opinion/the-story-behind-lithuanias-centre-of-excellence-in-anti-money-laundering–1250371

HMRC DECLARES COVID FURLOUGH FRAUD HAS SURPASSED 6,000 CASES

On 14 July, Reward Strategy reported that, since the UK Government introduced its support scheme known as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) at the beginning of the pandemic last year, concerns have risen regards an increase in fraud.  It has been revealed that HMRC has opened 6,150 inquiries into suspected overpayments through CJRS due to error or fraud as of 30 June.

https://www.reward-strategy.com/news/top-stories/hmrc-declares-furlough-fraud-has-surpassed-6k-cases-19524

HEAD OF BOSNIA’S INTELLIGENCE SERVICE DETAINED ON CHARGES OF MULTIPLE WRONGDOINGS

On 14 July, DTT Net reported that Police of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) had allegedly detained for questioning the head of country’s secret service, Osman Mehmedagic, on charges of diploma forging and also of money laundering.

https://www.dtt-net.com/en/news/3466/39/Head-of-Bosnia-s-intelligence-service-detained-on-charges-of-multiple-wrongdoings

https://www.rferl.org/a/bosnia-intelligence-chief-probe/31358210.html

DEADLINE LOOMING TO SECURE UK PROTECTION FOR EU TRADE MARKS

On 14 July, an article from Out-Law reported that rights-holders of pending EU trade marks (EUTM) and registered Community design (RCD) rights have just a few more weeks to secure UK rights protection.  They have until 30 September to file an application for a UK national trade mark or registered design with the same filing and priority date as the pending EUTM or RCD. 

https://www.pinsentmasons.com/out-law/news/deadline-looming-to-secure-uk-protection-for-eu-trade-marks

SMALL BUSINESSES: HOW TO PREPARE FOR A CYBER INCIDENT, FROM RESPONSE THROUGH TO RECOVERY

The UK National Cyber Security Centre produced in October a guide to response and recovery from a cyber security event.  It sets out to provide small-to-medium-sized organisations with guidance about how to prepare their response, and plan their recovery to a cyber incident. It’s a companion piece to our guidance on how to protect yourself from cyber attacks. 

https://media-exp1.licdn.com/dms/document/C4D1FAQGPCZuYr-9zkQ/feedshare-document-pdf-analyzed/0/1626257036891?e=1626361200&v=beta&t=PnPLQFh6ll8Ma3bR6ou2_knDKh63GJx9XVtlHX-E37M

MALAYSIA: FORMER PENANG LAWMAKER CLAIMS TRIAL ON 106 COUNTS OF MONEY LAUNDERING

On 12 July, the Malay Mail reported that former Penang assemblyman Datuk Mansor Musa, 58, had been charged with 106 counts of money laundering.  Mansor was a one-term Batu Maung assemblyman from 2004 until 2008 and is the current Bayan Baru Umno division chief.

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2021/07/12/ex-penang-lawmaker-claims-trial-to-106-counts-of-laundering-over-rm11-milli/1989206

SINGAPORE: CONSULTATION PAPER – PROPOSED NEW AML/CFT NOTICE FOR PRECIOUS STONES AND PRECIOUS METALS ACTIVITIES AND UPDATES TO AML/CFT NOTICES

On 9 July, the Monetary Authority of Singapore published a consultation document which explains proposals to issue a new AML/CFT Notice for financial institutions in the conduct of their operations and business activities in precious stones, precious metals and precious products, as well as, to update existing AML/CFT Notices.  The consultation closes on 10 August.

https://www.mas.gov.sg/-/media/MAS-Media-Library/publications/consultations/AMLD/2021/Consultation-Paper-on-the-Proposed-New-AMLCFT-Notice-for-Precious-Stones-and-Precious-Metals-Activities-and-Updates-to-AMLCFT-Notices.pdf

PODCAST: THE NEW CORPORATION: HOW GOOD CORPORATIONS ARE BAD FOR DEMOCRACY

In the latest TRACE podcast, Joel Bakan joins to discuss his books, and the films based on them.  He outlines the fundamental conflict inherent in companies ostensibly committed to ESG principles while simultaneously driven by a legal requirement to maximize shareholder value.

https://www.traceinternational.org/resources-podcast

HOW RIGHT-WING EXTREMISTS POSE A NUCLEAR THREAT

On 12 July, an article and audio from XVXU in Cincinnati discusses insider threats at nuclear facilities.

https://www.wvxu.org/post/how-right-wing-extremists-pose-nuclear-threat#stream/0

EU WHISTLEBLOWING DIRECTIVE: CONSIDERATIONS FOR UK ORGANISATIONS

On 13 July, an Insight from Field Fisher says that the 2-year deadline which requires Member States to transpose the Directive’s provisions into national law comes around in December.  It points out that while the UK has such protections since 1999 – thanks to the Public Interest Disclosure Act – the protection afforded in many EU countries applies only to specific industries or disparate groups of employees.  The Directive is therefore being introduced by the EU as a harmonisation process which ensures rigorous protection is afforded to whistleblowers across all Member States.  The Insight informs one of the contents of the Directive and then goes on to consider the impact of the Directive on UK businesses, although following Brexit, the UK is no longer obliged to implement the Directive.

https://www.fieldfisher.com/en/insights/the-eu-whistleblowing-directive-considerations-for

https://www.visualcapitalist.com/china-displaces-u-s-as-the-eus-largest-trade-partner/

US: EXECUTIVE OF INTERNATIONAL FACTORING COMPANY INDICTED FOR $30 MILLION FRAUD

On 14 July, a news release from US DoJ advised that Pushpesh Kumar Baid (aka PK Jain) had been charged with wire fraud conspiracy and aggravated identity theft relating to a scheme to defraud investors in an international factoring company of more than $30 million.  Baid, the former Business Head of the company, was previously arrested in January 2021 on a criminal complaint and will be arraigned on the indictment at a later date.  It is alleged that Baid and his co-conspirators actively misled investors about the nature, operation and investment strategy of an international factoring company and used lies and material misrepresentations to defraud an investment firm responsible for managing funds on behalf of dozens of investors.  The news release explains that factoring involves the sale of an invoice to a third-party for a discount. In a factoring transaction, the seller of an invoice obtains immediate funding from a buyer, and the buyer of an invoice makes a profit when the invoice is paid in full. The company purported to be in the business of buying invoices.

https://www.justice.gov/usao-edny/pr/executive-international-factoring-company-indicted-30-million-fraud

VENEZUELA SAYS ITALIAN COURT ACCEPTS EXTRADITION REQUEST FOR EX-OIL MINISTER

On 14 July, Reuters reported that Venezuelan state TV has reported that an Italian court has approved an extradition request for Venezuela’s former Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez, who is charged with corruption.

https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/venezuela-says-italian-court-accepts-extradition-request-ex-oil-minister-2021-07-14/

US: 3 DEFENDANTS CHARGED IN INTERNATIONAL ORGANISED CRIME MONEY LAUNDERING SCHEME

On 14 July, a news release from the US DoJ advised that YOSEF COHEN (aka Joe), VAGUE SHAGENOVICH TERGALSTANYAN (aka Vahe and Vic) and IGAL BEN HANAN with conspiracy to commit money laundering. It is alleged that they worked on behalf of organised criminal enterprises operating in several countries around the world, as members of an international organised criminal enterprise that distributed narcotics and laundered money, and the defendants planned money laundering transactions of narcotics proceeds and discussed moving tens of millions of dollars of illicit money on behalf of international criminal organisations. 

https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/three-defendants-charged-organized-crime-money-laundering-scheme

US: GUIDELINES FOR PROTECTING PRIVILEGE IN TAX CASES

On 14 July, an article from Gray Reed says that a recent case in the federal courts serves as a reminder that lawyers must consider privilege at all stages of a tax dispute — including before a dispute arises.  It examines privilege at every stage of a tax issue from pre-controversy to litigation in court.  In the case mentioned, the court upheld, in the face of an appeal, enforcement of a “John Doe” summons issued to the Texas based law firm for specific client identities and other information.

https://www.jdsupra.com/post/fileServer.aspx?fName=aaec2daa-32cc-4d38-81ce-652406f730bb.pdf

US: SPIKE IN “CHAIN GANG” DESTRUCTIVE ATTACKS ON ATM

On 9 July, Krebs on Security carried a post saying that last year financial institutions throughout Texas started reporting a sudden increase in attacks involving well-orchestrated teams that would show up at night, use stolen trucks and heavy chains to rip Automated Teller Machines (ATM) out of their foundations, and make off with the cash boxes inside – there were at least 139 chain gang attacks against Texas financial institutions in the year ending November 2020.  Now it appears the crime is rapidly increasing in other states.  It was only in January that Texas lawmakers introduced legislation that would make destroying an ATM a third-degree felony offence, i.e a crime which is punishable by 2-10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 (or both).  Meanwhile, overall physical attacks on ATM in Europe have been a lot quieter since the pandemic started.

https://krebsonsecurity.com/2021/07/spike-in-chain-gang-destructive-attacks-on-atms/

A report from the Texas Bankers Association is also available –

https://texasbankers.informz.net/texasbankers/data/images/ATM%20Crime%20Task%20Force%20Report%20NOV%202020%20(FINAL).pdf

and includes tips on preventing such attacks…

 

 

 

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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