OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – 16 JULY

Panama Covid-19 update – 14 fatalities reported today (including 1 from an earlier date), with another 1,087 new cases reported. There are now 13,636 active cases, with 113 (unchanged) in ICU and 619 in other wards.

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

16 JULY 2021

PANAMA: FORMER PRESIDENT’S TRIAL TO BEGIN 21 JULY

On 15 July, Panatimes reported that the trial of former President Martinelli is to start on 21 July.  The court has rejected the latest application for a delay to the trial, lodged on health grounds by the defence.

https://panatimes.com/martinelli-s-defense-petitions-rejected-oral-trial-will-begin-on-july-21

US CRACKDOWN ON THE USE OF CRYPTOCURRENCIES IN RANSOMWARE ATTACKS THROUGH MORE RIGOROUS TRACING OF PROCEEDS

On 15 July, Bloomberg Quint reported that the Biden administration intends to crack down on the use of cryptocurrencies in ransomware attacks through more rigorous tracing of proceeds paid to hackers behind the disabling of companies, government agencies and organisations.  The strategy will include bounties of as much as $10 million for information that leads authorities to cyberattackers.

https://www.bloombergquint.com/politics/u-s-plans-to-counter-ransomware-attacks-with-crypto-tracing

DOCUMENTS IN AN ARBITRATION PROCEDURE IN ISRAEL ON BEHALF OF ISRAELI MINING MAGNATE DAN GERTLER IMPLICATE HIM IN PAYING BRIBES TO OFFICIALS IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

On 15 July, Haaretz reported that documents submitted to an arbitration procedure in Israel on behalf of Israeli mining magnate Dan Gertler implicate him in paying as much as $360 million in bribes to officials in the DRC.  The documents, which include an affidavit filed on Gertler’s behalf, were submitted in the course of his defence against the civil suit filed by his former partners, the brothers Moises and Mendi Gertner.

https://kyc360.riskscreen.com/news/bribe-totaling-360m-docs-presented-by-israeli-billionaire-dan-gertler-embroil-him-in-one-of-biggest-graft-probes-ever

CHINA’S BLOCKCHAIN AND CRYPTOCURRENCY AMBITIONS

On 12 July, the EU Institute for Security Studies issued a briefing paper saying that, after at first observing the emergence of blockchain technology with concern, China’s central government has increasingly seen it as an opportunity.  The Communist Party has increasingly considered that blockchain could become an economic, political and geopolitical asset for the country, if ‘guided’ well.  The Chinese government has launched its own digital currency – the digital yuan.  At the same time, it dislikes bitcoin, which relies on a truly decentralised type of blockchain. The paper asks if China is likely to succeed in the global promotion of an alternative form of blockchain?  It answers this question by analysing the development of different applications at national level, before and during the Covid-19 pandemic, but also the emergence of international cooperation on blockchain and cryptocurrency.

https://www.iss.europa.eu/sites/default/files/EUISSFiles/Brief_15_2021_web.pdf

1 ENTRY ON UK GLOBAL HUMAN RIGHTS SANCTIONS LIST AMENDED – ISLE OF MAN FOLLOWS SUIT

On 16 July, a Notice from HM Treasury advised that the entry for Anwar Ahmed KHAN has been amended.  A separate news release on 16 July advised that the Isle of Man was following suit.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1003140/Notice_Global_Human_Rights_160721.pdf

https://www.gov.im/news/2021/jul/16/financial-sanctions-global-human-rights-regime/

THE EU AML/CFT ACTION PLAN

On 16 July, a primer from IFLR set out to explain the key changes contained in the EU AML/CFT Action Plan.  Released in May 2020, the EU plans to introduce the changes during this year.

https://www.iflr.com/article/b1sqjs5gf0lvzm/primer-eus-amlcft-action-plan

FinCEN RELEASE OF AML PRIORITIES

On 14 July, the Association of Certified Financial Crime Specialists published an article contained the key takeaways from FinCEN releasing the formal list of its national AML/CFT priorities, which includes organised criminal groups and other rising risks, like record ransomware attacks and crypto-fuelled paydays.  It says that the priorities are the first concrete update to implement the US Anti-Money Laundering Act (AML Act) – the most significant upgrade to the country’s financial crime framework since the 2001 USA Patriot Act.  It says that the document includes priorities detailed by the Wolfsberg group.  It says that the FinCEN document provides a glimpse of future AML/CFT priorities.

https://www.acfcs.org/in-fincen-release-of-aml-priorities-wolfsberg-metrics-of-effectiveness-a-glimpse-of-the-future-of-financial-crime-compliance/

UK: 12 TONNES OF FAKE CLOTHING SEIZED IN RAID ON STRANGEWAYS WAREHOUSE

On 16 July, Manchester Evening News reported that 12 tonnes of fake designer gear was seized in a raid on a warehouse in Strangeways.  The haul includes counterfeit shoes, clothing, handbags, watches, wallets, perfume and sunglasses, and they bore the names of Yves Saint Laurent; Gucci; Louis Vuitton; Dior; Vivienne Westwood; Chanel; and Balenciaga.  Police believe the building was a supply depot for multiple businesses in the district.

https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/twelve-tons-fake-clothing-seized-21068709

NCA RECOVERS £2 MILLION FROM LONDON-BASED PROPERTY DEVELOPER AND LANDLORD

A news release from NCA on 15 July advised that London-based property developer Richard Leahy has agreed to hand over assets worth almost £2 million to settle a civil recovery claim based on alleged involvement in cannabis cultivation, money laundering and fraud, under a civil recovery order.  The order relates to 3 London properties and £1,125,340 in cash in a bank account.

https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/nca-recovers-2m-from-london-based-property-developer-and-landlord

HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS ASK JAPANESE BUSINESSES AND PROPERTY DEVELOPERS TO TERMINATE A PROPOSED REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT ON MILITARY-OWNED LAND IN MYANMAR.

On 16 July, Jurist reported that the deal is worth approximately $330 million and involves 92,000 square feet of land leased from the country’s military.  It aims to contain shopping malls, office buildings and a hotel from a Japanese luxury hotel chain.

https://www.jurist.org/news/2021/07/human-rights-groups-call-to-stop-myanmar-real-estate-project-on-military-owned-land/

SRI LANKA CUSTOMS TO DECIDE FATE OF MYSTERY UREA SHIPMENT

On 16 July, The Island Online reported that Customs wants to know what to do with a urea shipment weighing 9,795 tons that arrived at the Colombo Port long after the government banned agrochemical imports.  The government had decided to ban agrochemicals on 6 May but the urea had been loaded into the ship, at an Indonesian port, on 6 March – and the ship had developed technical problems in the Malacca Strait, forcing it to visit a Malaysian Port for repairs en route.

https://island.lk/customs-to-decide-fate-of-mystery-urea-shipment/

SHADOW BANKING AND THE EU

On 16 July, a short paper from the EU Parliament Research Service referred to a study which analyses a part of the financial services industry commonly called “shadow banking”, aka “non-bank financial intermediation”, and provides policy recommendations for the prudential regulation of this still largely unregulated sector.  It explains that shadow banking is a form of credit intermediation that takes place in an environment where regulatory standards and supervisory oversight are looser than for regular banks.

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2021/662925/IPOL_STU(2021)662925_EN.pdf

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/ATAG/2021/662938/IPOL_ATA(2021)662938_EN.pdf

EU PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSES TO CHEMICAL, BIOLOGICAL, RADIOLOGICAL AND NUCLEAR (CBRN) THREATS

On 16 July, a study was published by the EU Parliament Research Service and provides an update of the current level of each of the threat elements, including the type of actor from which such threats might stem.  It takes stock of the existing preparedness and response mechanisms and matches these against the updated threat landscape to determine the current state of play of the EU’s response tools and its remaining gaps where improvement may be needed.  It makes a number of recommendations on specific issues. 

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2021/653645/EXPO_STU(2021)653645_EN.pdf

REVENUE SEIZES TOBACCO AND CIGARETTES WORTH €7.3 MILLION AT DUBLIN PORT

On 16 July, in another large seizure of tobacco products, a news release from the Revenue Commissioners advised that officers seized over 5.8 tonnes of ‘roll your own’ tobacco and 5.3 million cigarettes at Dublin Port.

https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/press-office/press-releases/2021/pr-071621-revenue-seize-tobacco-cigarettes-7.3-million-dublin-port.aspx

FRAUD ACROSS EUROPE: UK TOPS THE MOST VULNERABLE COUNTRY LIST

On 14 July, Digital Journal reported that a survey has found which of the countries across Europe which are considered to have a population most at risk of losing the most money from fraud.  It revealed that the UK has the highest financial impact from fraud in Europe, ahead of Ireland and Denmark, with a value of £8,908 (€10,414) lost per 1,000 inhabitants.

https://www.digitaljournal.com/life/fraud-across-europe-uk-tops-the-most-vulnerable-country-list/article#ixzz70muDzNj7

EU COURT ANNULS 1 VENEZUELAN SANCTIONS ENTRY BUT REJECTS 8 OTHER APPLICATIONS

On 16 July, the EU Sanctions blog reported that the EU General Court had annulled the sanctions listing for Xavier Antonio Moreno Reyes.  However, it rejected applications in respect of 8 other listings dating from 2018, upholding the grounds for the listings involved.

https://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=244123&pageIndex=0&doclang=en&mode=lst&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=2687174

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2021/07/eu-general-court-annuls-sanctions-listings-of-1-venezuelan-official-dismisses-8-other-challenges/

LAYERING ILLICIT FUNDS VIA SECURITIES TRADING IN THE MARKET

On 14 July, ACAMS published an article saying that it is of utmost importance to understand the ways in which criminals are abusing trading securities to move the proceeds of crime.  The article discusses why and how money launderers take advantage of the particularities of the securities sector and will focus on the layering stage of money laundering through securities trading in secondary markets.  It says that the securities sector poses a significant money laundering risk notably in the layering phase.

https://www.acamstoday.org/hide-and-seek-layering-illicit-funds-via-securities-trading-in-the-market/

UK PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE HAS CALLED ON THE GOVERNMENT TO EXPAND ITS SANCTIONS RESPONSE TO THE MYANMAR COUP AND ENSUING VIOLENCE

The House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee has published a report calling for greater response, including an arms embargo and adding a greater range of people and entities to its sanctions list.

https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/6773/documents/72101/default/

MARKING AFRICAN ANTI-CORRUPTION DAY

Transparency International says that 11 July marked African Anti-Corruption Day, designated by the African Union 5 years ago.  It says that there is no doubt that African governments need to do more. But Western nations cannot escape their responsibility for enabling and even fuelling corruption in Africa.  It says that, collectively, African countries are estimated to be losing at least $50 billion annually to illicit financial flows. These are billions that are funnelled through the global financial system and often end up parked in foreign bank accounts or real estate markets. 

https://www.transparency.org/en/news/african-anti-corruption-day-2021-will-governments-enable-citizens-to-join-the-fight

SOUTH AFRICA: OVER A MILLION ROUNDS OF AMMUNITION LOOTED FROM DURBAN CONTAINER DURING RIOTS

On 16 July, Defence Web reported that more than 1.5 million rounds of ammunition have apparently been stolen during looting in Durban that followed the jailing of former President Zuma for contempt of court.  The ammunition had been imported from Brazil and looted from a container depot in Mobeni south of Durban.

https://www.defenceweb.co.za/land/land-land/over-a-million-rounds-of-ammunition-looted-from-durban-container/

FCA WARNS OF LIMITS IN ITS POWERS TO TACKLE ONLINE FRAUD

On 16 July, Pensions Age reported that the Financial Conduct Authority has warned that there are legal limits to its power to combat online scams, despite the success of its recent ScamSmart campaign, which reached 4 out of 5 pension holders aged 45-64.  For example, it is said, the FCA has no statutory power to investigate fraud and gather evidence from unauthorised firms where there is no nexus under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.

https://www.pensionsage.com/pa/FCA-warns-of-limits-in-its-power-to-tackle-online-fraud.php

ISLE OF MAN TT MOTORCYCLE RACES FRAUDSTER SENTENCED FOR £31,000 CAMPSITE SWINDLE

On 16 July, the BBC reported that a man who swindled more than £31,000 from TT fans around the world for non-existent campsite accommodation has been handed a suspended jail term.  He took the cash after accommodation was booked by fans in countries including France, Denmark, Canada and Spain in 2018.  He had been ordered to repay £18,000 to the travel firm in a civil case, and has also now been ordered to pay back the outstanding balance of more than £12,200.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-isle-of-man-57857196

TOP COURT FREES BOSNIAN INTELLIGENCE CHIEF ACCUSED OF FRAUD

On 16 July, Yahoo News reported that the top court in Bosnia has released the country’s intelligence chief – Osman Mehmedagic, head of the Intelligence-Security Agency (OSA) – following his detention and interrogation on charges of money laundering and abusing his office to forge university diplomas.  However, the investigation continues.

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/top-court-frees-bosnian-intelligence-161127273.html

37 INCIDENTS OF ARMED ROBBERY AGAINST SHIPS IN ASIA REPORTED JANUARY TO JUNE 2021

In a edition dated 17 July, Hellenic Shipping News reported on the ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ISC) half-yearly report, with a total of 37 incidents of armed robbery against ships (comprising 35 actual incidents and 2 attempted incidents) – a 35% decrease in the total number of incidents reported compared to the same period in 2020.  However, there was an increase of incidents in the Singapore Strait.

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/thirty-seven-incidents-of-armed-robbery-against-ships-in-asia-reported-to-recaap-information-sharing-centre-from-january-to-june-2021/

The report is at –

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/1-page-summary-Half-Yearly-Report-2021.pdf

AUSTRALIA: ClubsNSW SEEKS COURT ORDER TO STOP POKIES WHISTLEBLOWER SPEAKING TO MEDIA AMID ALLEGATIONS OF MONEY LAUNDERING

On 16 July, The Guardian reported that ClubsNSW is seeking a court order to gag a former employee from speaking to journalists while it sues him for blowing the whistle on alleged money laundering through the state’s poker machine.  The whistleblower is its former AML/CFT manager.  ClubNSW is suing for breach of confidence.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/jul/17/clubsnsw-seeks-court-order-to-stop-pokies-whistleblower-speaking-to-media

FRENCH JUDGES PROBE LEBANON EX-CENTRAL BANKER OVER MONEY LAUNDERING

On 16 July, The National in UAE reported that French anti-corruption judges have taken over the probe.  The probe into Riad Salameh, a former Merrill Lynch banker, opened in May following a similar move by Switzerland.

https://www.thenationalnews.com/world/2021/07/16/french-judges-probe-lebanon-ex-central-banker-over-money-laundering/

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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