OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JULY 24

Panama Covid-19 update – Panama broke the record for vaccinating people again yesterday, this time over 93,000 were vaccinated in one day (actually in a 12 hour session) – representing no less than 2.1% of the population, in one day. In fact, it was reported on 24 July that more than 252,000 doses of Pfizer had been applied in a 3-day drive.

Despite the efforts, another 1,095 new cases and 5 new fatalities reported today. There are 13,117 active cases, with 120 in ICU and 641 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

24 JULY 2021

CHINA SANCTIONS WILBUR ROSS AND OTHERS IN RESPONSE TO US WARNINGS ON HONG KONG

On 23 July, Yahoo News reported that China had imposed sanctions on former Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and 6 others.  Ross served as the Secretary of Commerce under former President Donald Trump.  The others were Carolyn Bartholomew, the chair of the US-China Economic Security Review Commission; Sophie Richardson, the China director of NGO Human Rights Watch; Jonathan Stivers, former staff director of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, DoYun Kim at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs; Adam Joseph King, senior program manager of the International Republican Institute and the Hong Kong Democratic Council.

https://news.yahoo.com/china-sanctions-wilbur-ross-others-174627306.html

INDIA: 4 INDIGO AND SPICEJET AIRLINE STAFF AMONG 7 HELD FOR ‘SMUGGLING GOLD’

On 24 July, Times Now News reported that 7 people, including 4 airline staff have been arrested at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI) on charges of allegedly smuggling gold from Saudi Arabia.

https://www.timesnownews.com/delhi/article/indigo-spiecejet-staffers-among-seven-held-for-smuggling-gold-worth-rs-72-lakh-at-igi-airport/789711

UK: CONSULTATION ON APPLYING THE TRAVEL RULE TO CRYPTOCURRENCY

On 24 July, the Coin Republic reported that HM Treasury has released a public consultation on, among other things, its plans to adopt FATF so-called “travel rule” for bitcoin transactions.  The public consultation will last to 14 October, with legislation expected to be introduced in the Spring of 2022.

https://www.thecoinrepublic.com/2021/07/24/the-united-kingdom-has-begun-consultations-on-applying-the-travel-rule-to-cryptocurrency/

GUERNSEY FSC SEEKS 10.1% RISE IN FEES TO COMBAT REGULATORY THREATS

On 20 July, the Guernsey Press reported that a 10.1% across-the-board increase in fees for regulated financial services firms and regulated entities is being proposed by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission.  The regulator said the increase, pencilled in for 2022, was required because ‘regulatory inflation’ globally was running ahead of its current financial base.

https://guernseypress.com/news/business/2021/07/20/gfsc-seeks-101-rise-to-avoid-regulatory-threats/

https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2021/07/20/which-covid-19-vaccine-is-the-most-widely-accepted-for-international-travel

GUATEMALA ATTORNEY GENERAL FIRES TOP ANTI-CORRUPTION PROSECUTOR

On 24 July, Al Jazeera reported that Guatemala’s attorney general has removed Juan Francisco Sandoval , an internationally known corruption prosecutor, from his post as head of the anti-corruption unit (FECI), prompting criticism that the move was a setback to the rule of law.  The unit was originally created to tackle investigations spearheaded by the UN-backed International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), which was removed from the country in 2019.  US Acting Assistant Secretary of State Julie Chung has said that the move contributes to perceptions of a systemic effort to undermine those known to be fighting corruption.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/7/24/guatemala-attorney-general-fires-top-anti-corruption-prosecutor

CHINESE FRAUDSTER RETURNED AFTER 3 YEARS HIDING OUT IN CAMBODIA

On 24 July, CNE in Cambodia reported that since 2017, the suspect, named as Deng, has promoted a fake company in​​ Guangzhou, which is said to have managed to defraud more than 90 people of around $154,000.  By the beginning of 2018, Deng had fled with the investors’ money, and ended up in Cambodia.

https://cne.wtf/2021/07/24/chinese-fraudster-returned-after-3-years-hiding-out-in-cambodia

IMF WARNS VANUATU ON EFFECTS OF AML/CFT ISSUES

On 23 July, a post from the IMF following an Article IV review said that, among other things, Economic Citizenship Programs (ECP) revenues could fall sharply amid growing concerns on AML/CFT risks to and the recent loss of a key correspondent banking relationship.  It also said that a lack of transparency and effective supervision framework for state enterprises could negatively affect the business environment and fiscal management. Issues concerning AML/CFT and EU blacklisting related to tax transparency could accelerate de-risking by foreign firms and impede foreign direct investment (FDI).

https://www.imf.org/en/News/Articles/2021/07/23/pr21225-vanuatu-imf-staff-concludes-2021-article-iv-mission

VANUATU: AFRICRYPT BITCOIN BROTHERS GET “GOLDEN PASSPORTS”

On 19 July, Biznews reported that Raees and Ameer Cajee, brothers aged 18 and 21, ran Africrypt, a cryptocurrency investment platform based in South Africa.  Allegedly, the pair had disappeared with over $3.6 billion in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. It is reported that the brothers have bought citizenship from the small island nation of Vanuatu. 

https://www.biznews.com/undictated/2021/07/19/bitcoin-africrypt-vanuatu

VARIOUS US STATE ATTORNEY GENERALS AGREE $26 BILLION SETTLEMENT WITH OPIOID DISTRIBUTORS

On 23 July, Jurist reported that the agreement will resolve claims against several large opioid distributors. The distributors affected are McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health Inc., and Amerisource Bergen Drug Corporation, as well as opioid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson.

https://www.jurist.org/news/2021/07/attorneys-general-announce-26-billion-settlement-with-opioid-distributors-ok-hj/

NORTH KOREA BUYS LEAF TOBACCO FROM CHINA DESPITE SMOKING BAN

On 21 July, TJI reported that North Korea has continued to import leaf tobacco from China even though North Korea has banned smoking nationwide in public places since November 2020.

https://www.tobaccojournal.com/North_Korea_buys_leaf_tobacco_from_China_despite_tobacco-prohibition_law.56521.0.html 

KINGPINS IN CHANNEL SMUGGLING OPERATION ‘LIVING AND WORKING FREELY’ IN THE UK

On 24 July, The Guardian reported that 3 of the kingpins in operations to smuggle thousands of asylum seekers across the Channel in small boats are living and working freely in the UK and have evaded detection.  It is believed that the men use their extensive networks in Germany, the Netherlands, Iraq, Syria and Turkey, who move the payments made by asylum seekers for them, to help launder the money.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/jul/24/kingpins-in-channel-smuggling-operations-living-freely-in-the-uk-say-migrants

https://news.sky.com/story/officers-swoop-in-on-alleged-leaders-of-gang-that-smuggled-hundreds-of-migrants-into-uk-12360182 

EU CROWDFUNDING REGULATION

On 22 July, an article from Irish law firm LK Shields provides an update on the Regulation, saying that the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has expressed some concerns to the European Commission in relation to the application dates relating to this Regulation and in relation to some areas of interpretation.  The Regulation states that it will apply from 10 November 2021, and ESMA is also required to submit most of its technical standards by 10 November 2021. However, ESMA has requested the Commission to delay the application of the Regulation beyond 10 November so that the Regulation may apply in a more harmonised and orderly fashion.

https://www.lkshields.ie/news-insights/news/eu-crowdfunding-regulation 

https://www.rferl.org/a/how-does-pegasus-spyware-work/31371719.html 

GERMAN FREIGHT HUB JOINS BELT AND ROAD INITIATIVE – RECEIVES FREIGHT TRAIN FROM CHINA

On 22 July, Port Technology reported that JadeWeserPort Wilhelmshaven freight village has welcomed its first direct container-laden train from the Chinese city of Hefei.  It left on 25 June with a load of around 100 TEU, mainly household appliances as well as textiles and electrical goods, which will be distributed from Wilhelmshaven.

https://www.porttechnology.org/news/german-freight-hub-joins-belt-and-road-initiative/ 

SEC HALTS ALLEGED ONGOING FRAUD INVOLVING CYCLING COMPANIES

A news release from the SEC on 22 July advised an emergency action including a temporary restraining order and asset freeze to stop an alleged fraudulent offering of securities and misappropriation of investor assets by Outdoor Capital Partners LLC and its director Samuel J. Mancini of Denver, Colorado, and raising millions of dollars for an investment fund ostensibly to purchase controlling interests in three Italian cycling companies.

https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2021-136

MIGRANT SMUGGLING WITH LUXURY VEHICLES IN GREECE HALTED WITH EUROJUST SUPPORT

On 23 July, a news release from Eurojust advised that it had assisted the Greek and Bulgarian authorities to halt an international criminal network involved in migrant smuggling within Greece.  The network used powerful luxury cars and pickup trucks to avoid attention and security checks of the authorities, leading to serious road accidents.  At least 89 luxury cars and high-speed pickup trucks were used, which were provided by Bulgarian suspects. The other gang members are of Greek, Turkish and Georgian nationality.  The vehicles were imported from Georgia and transported to Greece for the smuggling activities.

https://www.eurojust.europa.eu/migrant-smuggling-luxury-vehicles-greece-halted-eurojust-support

50% OF SOME MAIL SERVICE REVENUES STEMS FROM PARCELS

On 19 July, Parcel and Post Technology reported on an International Post Corporation (IPC) report on the global postal industry.  As in previous years, the main growth driver for posts was parcels, fuelled by cross-border and domestic B2C e-commerce.  As mail volumes further declined, especially advertising mail, parcels now account for over 50% of revenue for some posts. 

https://www.parcelandpostaltechnologyinternational.com/news/operations/ipc-findings-show-that-50-of-some-mails-revenues-stems-from-parcels.html

ILLICIT ECONOMIES IN EASTERN AND SOUTHERN AFRICA

On 9 July, the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime published Risk Bulletin 19, which contains 2 stories from East Africa and 2 from South Africa that explore how organised crime issues link in to wider political and social landscapes.  These stories include the captive lion industry in South Africa and– what does this mean for the lion bone trade?; foreign fishing fleets routinely engage in IUU (illegal, unreported and unregulated) fishing in Somali waters; and the booming economy for smuggling cigarettes out of Tanzania.

https://globalinitiative.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/GITOC-East-and-Southern-Africa-Risk-Bulletin-19.pdf

https://www.visualcapitalist.com/worlds-biggest-private-tax-havens/

US: ELECTRICAL ENGINEER SENTENCED TO MORE THAN 5 YEARS IN PRISON FOR CONSPIRING TO ILLEGALLY EXPORT SEMICONDUCTOR CHIPS WITH MILITARY USES TO CHINA

A news release from US DoJ on 22 July advised that a California man, Yi-Chi Shih, 66, has been sentenced to 63 months, or more than 5 years, in prison for his role in a scheme to illegally export integrated circuits with military applications to China the required filing of electronic export information.  As part of his sentence, Shih has to also pay $362,698 in restitution to the IRS and fined him $300,000.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/electrical-engineer-sentenced-more-five-years-prison-conspiring-illegally-export-china

THE BIGGEST PONZI SCHEMES IN MODERN HISTORY

On 19 July, the Visual Capitalist published an article which detailed the biggest Ponzi schemes since 1991.

https://www.visualcapitalist.com/biggest-ponzi-schemes-in-modern-history/

EU FINANCIAL SERVICES HORIZON SCANNER

On 22 July, Clifford Chance published the latest edition of this publication which identifies and summarises key EU legislative and non-legislative initiatives that are likely to impact firms providing financial services in the EU, grouped thematically.  It sets out projected timelines for the finalisation and implementation of relevant legislative initiatives, covering approximately the next 2 years.

https://www.cliffordchance.com/briefings/2021/07/eu_financial_serviceshorizonscanner.html

CHINA’S EFFORT TO ESTABLISH ITS OWN LEGAL REGIME OF EXTRATERRITORIAL JURISDICTION – TAKEAWAYS AND Q&A

On 24 July, an article from K&L Gates LLP published an article about the Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law (the AFSL), which was enacted within 2 months and without an opportunity for public comment. The law gives the Chinese government authority to prohibit compliance by Chinese persons, including entities in China, with certain foreign sanctions laws and export control restrictions that are deemed to have a discriminatory impact on Chinese citizens or organisations.  It is said that AFSL introduces new risk factors for the business community. 

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/key-takeaways-and-q-as-to-understand-1666508/

$33 MILLION SEIZED IN BRAZILIAN CRYPTO MONEY LAUNDERING INVESTIGATION

On 24 July, BeInCrypto reported that Brazilian authorities carried out searches, with the courts having authorised the police to seize the assets of 2 individuals, plus a total of 17 companies. It is alleged that that the accused created a number of fictitious companies to gain access to the banking system.

https://beincrypto.com/33m-seized-amid-brazilian-crypto-money-laundering-investigation/

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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