OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JULY 22

Panama Covid-19 update – open calls being held in several districts this week, with mainly younger people (including our daughter) queuing, having booked using the online app, for their Pfizer jab.

Meanwhile, another 1,250 new cases reported and 7 new fatalities; though active cases appear to have stabilised, now being 13,064. There are 133 patients in ICU and 651 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

22 JULY 2021

PAKISTAN DETAINS 5 CHINESE TRAWLERS FOR ALLEGED ILLEGAL FISHING

On 21 July Dryad Global reported that close Chinese ally Pakistan detained the vessels near its strategic port city of Gwadar, as a wave of protests swept across the region led by fishermen concerned about losing control of their fishing grounds to China.

https://channel16.dryadglobal.com/pakistan-detains-five-chinese-trawlers-for-alleged-illegal-fishing

PIRATES STRIKE OIL PLATFORM IN THE GULF OF MEXICO

On 21 July, Dryad Global reported that armed thieves attacked a privately-owned oil platform in the south of the Gulf of Mexico and made away with equipment and personal belongings of rig workers.  At least 5 armed men arrived aboard 2 speed boats.

https://channel16.dryadglobal.com/pirates-strike-campeche-oil-platform-steal-tools-supplies-crews-belongings

6 RUSSIAN ENTITIES ADDED TO US EXPORT CONTROL ENTITY LIST

On 19 July, the US Department of Commerce had added 6 Russian entities to its Entity List, making them subject to additional licensing and export restrictions – 

  • Aktsionernoe Obshchestvo AST;
  • Aktsionernoe Obshchestvo Pasit;
  • Aktsionernoe Obshchestvo Pozitiv Teknolodzhiz;
  • Federal State Autonomous Institution Military Innovative Technopolis Era;
  • Federal State Autonomous Scientific Establishment Scientific Research Institute Specialized Security Computing Devices and Automation; and
  • Obshchestvo S Ogranichennoi Otvetstvennostyu NEOBIT.

https://www.bis.doc.gov/index.php/documents/regulations-docs/federal-register-notices/federal-register-2021/2786-86-fr-37901/file

AUSTRALIA: ACCOUNTANTS, LAWYERS BEING RECRUITED BY CRIME BOSSES

On 21 July, the Brisbane Times reported that the Crime and Corruption Commission chair said that accountants, lawyers and real estate agents are being lured to the “dark side” by organised crime bosses.  “We’re seeing more and more evidence of facilitators of organised crime, not just lawyers, but lawyers are a prominent part of it for obvious reason – they have the skills and they have the knowledge,” he said.  He also cited accountants, lawyers, real estate agents, brokers. 

https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/accountants-lawyers-being-recruited-by-crime-bosses-corruption-watchdog-20210721-p58bqe.html

MIAMI CASE REVEALS BLACK MARKET FOR HIGH-PRICED PRESCRIPTION DRUGS WORTH $78 MILLION

On 21 July, the Miami Herald reported that 14 individuals have been indicted in Miami federal court in the region’s largest case in recent years of drugs being diverted from legitimate suppliers and resold at high mark-ups to consumers.  They are accused of operating a network that dealt in illegally purchased or stolen prescription drugs, mostly to treat HIV, cancer and psychiatric illnesses. 

https://kyc360.riskscreen.com/news/miami-case-reveals-black-market-for-high-priced-prescription-drugs-it-took-in-78-million

NEW ZEALAND: TSB BANK AGREES TO $3.85 MILLION PENALTY FOR MONEY LAUNDERING FAILURES

On 22 July, Stuff reported that the bank had acknowledged it failed to comply with rules designed to prevent the bank being used for money laundering.  The action comes 5 years after TSB was formally warned for risk assessment and compliance failures.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/125823825/tsb-agrees-to-385m-penalty-for-moneylaundering-failures

SLAVERY AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN SUPPLY CHAINS: UK GUIDANCE FOR BUSINESSES

On 22 July, the Home Office issued updated guidance for organisations on how to ensure that slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in their business or supply chains.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/649906/Transparency_in_Supply_Chains_A_Practical_Guide_2017.pdf

CPS RESPONSE TO HM CPSI REPORT INTO CPS AND SFO PROCEEDS OF CRIME DIVISIONS

On 22 July, a news release from the CPS advised that Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) has issued a report following its Inspection of the operation of CPS and Serious Fraud Office (SFO) Proceeds of Crime Divisions.  The overall aims of the report are to examine how effective and efficient they are in identifying and progressing restraint and confiscation casework.

https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmcpsi/inspections/proceeds-of-crime-divisions-cps-and-sfo/

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/sfo-receives-welcome-boost-from-watchdog/5109329.article

COUNTERFEIT WINE SEIZED IN EUROPE POLICE CRACKDOWN

On 22 July, the Decanter website reported that more than 1.5 million litres of counterfeit wine and other alcohol have been seized in a Europe-wide police operation targeting food and drink fraud in recent months.  Wine and vodka dominated the seizures. 

https://www.decanter.com/wine-news/counterfeit-wine-seized-europe-police-europol-462309/

HONG KONG CUSTOMS CLOSES 2 UNLICENSED MONEY SERVICE BUSINESSES

On 22 July, a news release from the Hong Kong Government advised that Customs had conducted an operation to combat unlicensed money service businesses and discovered that 2 women had operated a money service without a valid licence involving a grocery shop in Kowloon City and a fashion shop in Sham Shui Po. 

https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202107/22/P2021072200581.htm

UK: TREASURY COMMITTEE WRITES TO FCA CONCERNING FROZEN BANK ACCOUNTS

On 22 July, a release from the UK Parliament advised that the Chair of the Treasury Committee has written to the FCA with concerns about reports of the apparent unwarranted freezing of bank accounts for vulnerable customers.  This follows press reports that NatWest might have frozen the accounts of some customers on low incomes without good reason. Banks can freeze accounts for various reasons, including the suspicion of fraud or money laundering.

https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/158/treasury-committee/news/156825/treasury-committee-writes-to-fca-concerning-frozen-bank-accounts

SOUTH AFRICA: WIFE OF AN SANDF GENERAL CHARGED WITH FRAUD RELATING TO THE ALLEGED FALSIFYING OF TENDER DOCUMENTS

On 22 July, News 24 reported that the fraud trial of Nombasa Ntsondwa-Ndhlovu, the wife of a senior SA National Defence Force (SANDF) general, has been postponed to September due to Covid-19. 

https://www.news24.com/news24/SouthAfrica/News/tender-fraud-trial-of-sandf-generals-wife-postponed-to-september-20210722

GRAFT WHISTLEBLOWER RELEASED FROM CROATIA RETURNS HOME TO UK

On 22 July, OCCRP reported that Jonathan Taylor in 2013 had revealed how the Monaco-based Dutch company, SBM Offshore, was bribing government officials in exchange for juicy contracts. Taylor revealed that in only 5 years, SBM paid government authorities over $250 million in bribes.  Last July he went on vacation to Croatia with his family and was arrested as soon as he landed with Croatian police acted on an Interpol Red Notice issued by Monaco.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/14882-graft-whistleblower-released-from-croatia-returns-home-to-uk

EU-BELARUS RELATIONS: HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION AND RYANAIR FLIGHT DIVERSION

On 22 July, a briefing paper from the EU Parliament Research Service said that, despite the possibility of starting dialogue with the democratic opposition and Belarusian society, Aliaksandr Lukashenka chose another path, involving continued brutal repression of the country’s citizens.  The briefing examines the current position and EU and international reaction.

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2021/696177/EPRS_BRI(2021)696177_EN.pdf

BOLIVIA SEEMINGLY POWERLESS TO STOP RAMPANT VEHICLE SMUGGLING

On 22 July, OCCRP reported that a crackdown by Bolivian security forces on vehicle smuggling this year appears to be failing as the country’s contraband trade continues to thrive.

https://insightcrime.org/news/bolivia-seemingly-powerless-stop-rampant-vehicle-smuggling/

HOW SANCTIONS RELIEF COULD IMPACT EU-IRAN TRADE

On 20 July, an article from the European Council on Foreign Relations said that the new Iranian administration may agree a revised JCPOA with the US, but if the economic benefits are paltry, political support will drain away.  It also posited that, if the rebound in EU-Iran trade proves underwhelming, the renewed nuclear deal will be vulnerable.

https://ecfr.eu/article/the-politics-of-sanctions-relief-why-an-economic-rebound-matters-for-iran/

SIEMENS CONTINUED TO IGNORE RED FLAGS

On 21 July, AP reported that German engineering giant Siemens ignored some of its own red flags for foreign bribery in the aftermath of a major corruption scandal in 2008, according to newly released reports by an independent monitor and other confidential documents.  The warnings involved the company’s use of third-party resellers.  The monitoring reports stem from a landmark settlement of bribery charges by the US DoJ and the SEC in 2008. 

https://apnews.com/article/europe-business-government-and-politics-e74d2a1e851f63a778ee1e2735e61a6b

US MILITARY BOUGHT CAMERAS IN VIOLATION OF AMERICA’S OWN CHINA SANCTIONS

On 20 July, The Intercept reported that the video surveillance camera systems were supposedly made in the US but actually originated from Chinese companies blacklisted for security reasons.

https://theintercept.com/2021/07/20/video-surveillance-cameras-us-military-china-sanctions/

https://www.statista.com/chart/18744/the-number-of-drug-overdose-deaths-in-the-us

DPRK-FLAGGED CARRIER TIED TO COAL EXPORTS VISITS CHINA’S LONGKOU PORT IN JULY

On 22 July, NK Pro reported that the bulk carrier and 3 North Korea-flagged cargo ships sailed to the port this month.

https://www.nknews.org/pro/dprk-flagged-carrier-tied-to-coal-exports-visits-chinas-longkou-port-in-july/

GLOCOM: NORTH KOREA-LINKED COMPANY OFFERING EXPANDED RANGE OF RADIO HARDWARE ONLINE DESPITE UN SANCTIONS

On 21 July, NK Pro reported that the Global Corporation website offerings have increased in 2021 despite sanctions pressure.  The military radio company is said to be run by North Korean intelligence services but continues to offer a widening range of military equipment for sale on its website.  It continues to use its brand to offer and promote a growing array of military radio, battlefield radar and software control systems.

https://www.nknews.org/pro/north-korea-linked-firm-offering-expanded-range-of-radio-hardware-online/

CAPE VERDE PROSECUTOR ACKNOWLEDGES ERROR IN SAAB ARREST WARRANT

On 22 July, TeleSUR reported that after a year of perpetuating legal errors, the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) of Cape Verde has acknowledged that the warrant issued for the arrest of Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab corresponded to another person.  PGR acknowledged an error given that the US had sent an extradition order in which an arrest warrant for Alvaro Enrique Pulido Vargas was included, but the name of Alex Saab appears in the following pages of the warrant and in the translations into Portuguese and Spanish.  Venezuela’s Special Envoy Alex Saab was arrested when his plane was refuelling in July 2020.  It is also said that the Venezuela Foreign Affairs Ministry had informed INTERPOL of a Red Alert erroneously issued against a diplomat who had immunity and inviolability of rights.

https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Cape-Verde-Prosecutor-Acknowledges-Error-in-Saab-Arrest-Warrant-20210722-0005.html

PANAMA: EX-PRESIDENT MARTINELLI FACES NEW TRIAL FOR POLITICAL ESPIONAGE

On 22 July, TeleSUR reported that he faces 2 legal charges for intercepting telecommunications of 150 businessmen, journalists, rival politicians, and allies during his term 2009-2014.  He also faces charges for money laundering and use of public funds in case linked to the Odebrecht construction company and has been prevented from leaving the country.  It is also said that Spain’s Supreme Court also ordered to investigate Martinelli in a case involving the Promotion of Constructions and Contracts (FCC) group.

https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Panama-Martinelli-Faces-New-Trial-for-Political-Espionage-20210722-0003.html

DOES CANADA NEED A NEW NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY?

The Canadian Global Affairs Institute has published a paper posing this question, saying that Canada’s international security partners release national security policies annually, bi-annually, quadrennially, etc – but Canada’s only policy, entitled Securing an Open Society: Canada’s National Security Policy, was released in April 2004.  It considers the reasons why the policy has not been updated.  However, it says that there are signs in the national security and academic communities that it is perhaps time to dust off the Open Society policy in order to do a “fact-based reality check on national security and Canada’s future.  It is said that the existing policy, crafted in the aftermath of the events of 9/11 and an environment that focused largely on threats posed by transnational jihadist terrorism, it was progressive enough to consider other non-traditional issues such as public health and pandemics, organised crime and cyber-security, among others.

https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/cdfai/pages/4756/attachments/original/1626293695/Does_Canada_Need_a_New_National_Security_Policy.pdf?1626293695

SPAIN AND SERBIA DISMANTLE SERBIAN MARIJUANA TRAFFICKING NETWORK

On 22 July, a news release from Europol announced that 43 members of a Serbian organised crime group have been arrested for their involvement in producing and distributing marijuana and hashish.  Spanish Guardia Civil and the Serbian Police carried out 19 searches and seized over 17,000 marijuana plants, over 880 kg of marijuana buds, and at least 130 kg of produced marijuana and hashish resins. Approximately €250,000 in cash was also seized.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/spain-and-serbia-dismantle-serbian-marijuana-trafficking-network

BRITISH BUSINESSMAN MIKE LYNCH FACES EXTRADITION TO US

On 22 July, the Guardian reported that British tech entrepreneur Mike Lynch should be extradited to the US to face criminal fraud charges, according to a London judge, in connection with alleged fraud involved in the Hewlett-Packard $11 billion takeover of Autonomy.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/jul/22/british-businessman-mike-lynch-faces-extradition-to-us

FINANCIAL SERVICES’ ROLE IN ANTI-TRAFFICKING, HUMAN RIGHTS, AND ESG IS AT TURNING POINT

 On 22 July, an article from Moore & Van Allen PLLC marked the tenth anniversary of the UN Human Rights Council adoption of the guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP), setting forth the internationally-accepted framework for the role of businesses in promoting and protecting human rights.  The article seeks to explain how banks and other financial institutions are currently combatting human trafficking and suggests a proposed next step on the road to financial institutions’ measuring their impact on promoting human rights preservation and advancement.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/financial-services-role-in-anti-3236827/

https://www.ohchr.org/documents/publications/guidingprinciplesbusinesshr_en.pdf

MALTA PLACED ON UK HIGH-RISK LIST FOR MONEY LAUNDERING AND TERRORIST FINANCING

On 22 July, the Malta Independent reported that this blow to Malta’s reputation comes weeks after Malta was placed on the grey list by FATF.  Ghana has been taken off the UK list which was published on 12 July and came into force on 13 July.  The other countries currently on the list are: Albania, Barbados, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cayman Islands, North Korea, Iran, Jamaica, Mauritius, Morocco, Myanmar, Nicaragua,  Pakistan, Panama,  Senegal,  Syria, Uganda, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.

https://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2021-07-22/local-news/Malta-placed-on-UK-high-risk-list-for-money-laundering-terrorist-financing-6736235408

PODCAST: ANTI-CORRUPTION LEGISLATION IN THE UK

On 23 June, a podcast from Kickback – the Anticorruption Podcast featured an interview with Robert Barrington, currently a professor of practice at the University of Sussex’s Centre for the Study of Corruption, and who previously served for over a decade as the executive director of Transparency International UK.  It touches on the strategies that proved most effective in lobbying for improving anticorruption and corporate transparency laws in the UK (especially the Bribery Act, the creation of OWO, and the public registry of companies’ beneficial owners), and the prospects for future progress on fighting corruption in the UK in the post-Brexit world.

https://open.spotify.com/show/4zeOYNu3w3A3OlIn5qW2VI

LAUNCH OF COMPENDIUM OF JURISPRUDENCE ON PERU’S NON-CONVICTION BASED CONFISCATION LAW

On 22 July, the Basel Institute on Governance announced that this Compendium had been published and will enable Peruvian judges, prosecutors and other law enforcement actors to assess progress and legal precedents in the implementation of Peru’s 2019 law on non-conviction based confiscation (Extinción de dominio).  It is revealed that Peru has already recovered around US$ 41 million using this legal mechanism, which makes Peru a leader in Latin America in the use of such non-conviction based confiscation mechanisms. It is also said to be the first country to have enforced these type of laws in international financial centres.

https://baselgovernance.org/news/launch-compendium-jurisprudence-perus-non-conviction-based-confiscation-law

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

US TREASURY SANCTIONS CUBAN MINISTER OF DEFENSE AND SPECIAL FORCES BRIGADE FOR ABUSES AGAINST PROTESTORS

On 22 July, OFAC listed a Cuban individual and oaane Cuban entity pursuant to the Executive Order which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and targets perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption around the world.  Alvaro LOPEZ MIERA and the BRIGADA ESPECIAL NACIONAL DEL MINISTERIO DEL INTERIOR are designated.

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20210722

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy0288

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

UK: CLAMPING DOWN ON TAX AVOIDANCE PROMOTERS – RESPOONSE FROM HMRC

On 20 July, HMRC said that the UK Government takes tax avoidance very seriously and is determined to clamp down on the unscrupulous promoters who market these schemes.  It also says that the Government is consulting on draft legislation to implement the measures outlined in this document and intends to legislate for them in the next Finance Bill, and this will give taxpayers greater information about promoters and ensure that those promoters who are determined to continue to operate will face further tough action.  HMRC issued a consultation about clamping down on the promoters of tax avoidance on 23 March and this closed on 1 June.  The government received 18 written responses and met with 9 representative bodies.  Draft legislation on the proposals was published alongside this summary of responses to the consultation. Stakeholders will be provided with an opportunity to comment on the draft legislation. 

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/clamping-down-on-promoters-of-tax-avoidance/outcome/clamping-down-on-promoters-of-tax-avoidance-summary-of-responses

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

REVIEW OF THE UK’S AML/CFT REGULATORY AND SUPERVISORY REGIME AND CONSULTATION ON AMENDMENT OF REGULATIONS

On 22 July, HM Treasury reported on a call for evidence which supports the review which will aim to assess the UK’s anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing regulatory (OPBAS) regulations and supervisory regimes.  The document considers 3 themes –

  • the overall effectiveness of the regimes and their extent (i.e. the sectors in scope as relevant entities);
  • whether key elements of the current regulations are operating as intended; and
  • the structure of the supervisory regime including the work of OPBAS to improve effectiveness and consistency of PBS supervision.

This consultation closes on 14 October.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1004602/210720_MLRs_Review_Call_for_Evidence_final.pdf

Also on 22 July, HM treasury issued a call for evidence invites views and evidence on the steps that the government proposes to take to amend the Money Laundering Regulations and which will allow the government to make some time-sensitive updates to the Regulations, which are required to ensure that the UK continues to meet international standards set by FATF, whilst also strengthening and ensuring clarity on how the AML regime operates.  This consultation also closes on 14 October.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1004603/210720_SI_Consultation_Document_final.pdf

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

UK: 5 NAMES ADDED TO GLOBAL MAGNITSKY SANCTIONS LIST

On 22 July, a Notice from HM Treasury advised that 2 Colombians (including Alex Nain SAAB MORAN), an Iraqi, an Equatorial Guinean national and a Zimbabwe national had been added to the UK’s human rights sanctions list.

  • Nawfal Hammadi AL-SULTAN
  • Teodoro NGUEMA OBIANG MANGUE
  • Alvaro Enrique PULIDO VARGAS
  • Alex Nain SAAB MORAN
  • Kudakwashe Regimond TAGWIREI (Group ID: 14126

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1005064/Notice_Global_Anti-Corruption_220721.pdf

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-uk-sanctions-against-individuals-involved-in-corruption-around-the-world

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

US CHARGES BRITISH ART RESTORER FOR ROLE IN ANTIQUITIES TRAFFICKING RING

On 22 July, OCCRP reported that a British national, Neil Perry Smith, 58, was extradited to the US and charged for his role in the decades-long smuggling operation of Subhash Kapoor, a New York art dealer who specialised in looted antiquities from Central and SE Asia. 

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/14880-us-charges-british-art-restorer-for-role-in-antiquities-trafficking-ring

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