On 18 July, The Guardian carried an article saying that human rights activists, journalists and lawyers across the world have been targeted by authoritarian governments using hacking software sold by the Israeli surveillance company NSO Group, according to an investigation into a massive data leak. The investigation by the Guardian and 16 other media organisations suggests widespread and continuing abuse of NSO’s hacking spyware, Pegasus. Pegasus is a malware that infects iPhones and Android devices to enable operators of the tool to extract messages, photos and emails, record calls and secretly activate microphones. Among the various attached articles the Guardian says that the huge data leak shatters the lie that the innocent need not fear surveillance.
ONTARIO AUTHORITIES LAUNCH MONEY LAUNDERING TASK FORCE AS CASINOS REOPEN
On 17 July, Casino.org reported that a task force established by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) will monitor cash transactions that take place at casinos in the province. The move comes a year after Canadian financial authorities noted significant and nearly identical drop-offs in both casino disbursement and large cash transaction reports. In April, Global News revealed that the number of suspicious cash transactions at Ontario casinos has soared in recent years. Ontario regulations allow casinos to reopen at 50% capacity in the latest stage of the Covid recovery process.
On 11 June, an article from the Atlantic Council is concerned with a methodology used to determine whether, and how, sanctions from particular countries violate human rights – looking only at financial sanctions, not travel bans or export controls. The analysis shows that sanctions imposed by Russia, Pakistan, and Turkey have the most human rights impact. It says that all 3 are heavily engaged in sanctioning those not involved in terrorism or criminal activity and none provide information about listing rationale or procedures.
MALAYSIA: POLICE DESTROY 1,069 BITCOIN MINERS WITH STEAMROLLER
On 16 July, Vice reported that authorities in the city of Miri in Sarawak, Malaysia seized 1,069 rigs from miners alleged to have stolen electricity for their operations. 6 individuals were arrested for electricity theft in the operation. The mining rigs were demolished in the parking lot of the Miri district police headquarters.
DON LUCHO: ONE OF COLOMBIA’S FOREMOST DRUG TRAFFICKERS AND MONEY LAUNDERERS HAS BEEN ASSASSINATED
On 16 July, Insight Crime reported that Luis Agustín Caicedo Velandia, aka “Don Lucho,” was shot by gunmen in a district in the north of Bogotá. His relatively low profile saw him considered as one of Colombia’s “invisible” drug kingpins.
AT LEAST 3 REASONS WHY IRELAND IS RIGHT TO RESIST 15% GLOBAL CORPORATE TAX PUSH
On 18 July, the Irish Examiner carried an article saying that there are at least 3 reasons why Ireland’s current resistance to international rules establishing a minimum 15% tax rate for multinationals is warranted.
ISRAELI COURT HANDS DOWN HEAVY SENTENCE TO CORRUPT OFFICIAL
On 16 July, OCCRP reported that an Israeli court has sentenced Faina Kirschenbaum, the country’s former deputy minister and senior member of a major right-wing party, to 10 years in prison for bribery, fraud, money laundering, breach of trust, and tax evasion. She will also have to fork over a fine equivalent to $274,000. Kirschenbaum has been found guilty of orchestrating a massive kickback scheme.
IN STING OPERATION, US ARRESTS MAJOR MONEY LAUNDERERS
On 16 July, OCCRP reported that 3 men accused of laundering millions of dollars on behalf of transnational organised crime and drug traffickers have been arrested and charged in the US, the DoJ has revealed.
An amendment of the Beneficial Ownership Secure Search System Act 2017 (aka the BOSS Act) includes changes introducing new definitions of immediate parent and ultimate parent; the International Tax Authority (ITA) can access the economic substance information on the registered agent database and that an entity shall provide the registered agent any economic substance information required to be maintained on the database.
On 18 July, the New Indian Express reported that the evaluation has been postponed for the second time in view of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and is now slated to be initiated next year. The evaluation was originally slated for September-October 2020.