OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – AUGUST 3

Panama Covid-19 update – it is reported that some 1,748 travelers have tested positive for Covid-19 at the Tocumen International Airport since the terminal resumed operations in October.  In this period, 190,710 tests have been carried out, says the Ministry of Health.

Meanwhile, the Rt infection rate is back up to 1.0. It was also revealed that 62% of those in hospital are unvaccinated, and 99.5% are those not double vaccinated. Today another 932 new cases and 7 new fatalities reported, with 11,958 active cases and numbers in ICU and other wards up – 105 in ICU and 468 in other wards. To date, 3.4 million vaccine doses have been administered.

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3 AUGUST 2021

ISABEL DOS SANTOS ORDERED TO RETURN TO ANGOLA $500 MILLION IN SHARES ‘TAINTED BY ILLEGALITY’

On 2 August, ICIJ reported that an international tribunal ruled that the billionaire and her late husband corruptly obtained a lucrative stake from the state oil company Sonangol.  The one time the wealthiest woman in Africa must surrender one of her last remaining major assets.  Dos Santos denies wrongdoing and has previously claimed that legal actions against her amount to a “witch hunt.  Dutch prosecutors have launched a criminal probe into the deal and Dos Santos is also facing criminal charges in Angola.

https://www.icij.org/investigations/luanda-leaks/isabel-dos-santos-ordered-to-return-to-angola-500-million-in-shares-tainted-by-illegality/

SPANISH COURT TARGETS CHILEAN BANK TIED TO PINOCHET

On 3 August, KYC 360 reported a New York Times article which says that the Supreme Court of Chile was notified by the National Court of Spain that an investigation had been reopened into whether a bank, Banco de Chile, helped General Pinochet and his associates launder millions of dollars overseas, according to court documents sent to the lawyers in the dispute.  General Pinochet died under house arrest in Chile in 2006.  Banco de Chile had for years successfully argued that Chile rather than Spain had the jurisdiction to investigate its Pinochet-related operations. But in Chile, the judiciary closed a money-laundering investigation in 2013.  Banco de Chile was never charged in Chile over money laundering, but it paid $3.1 million to the Chilean authorities in 2009 over administrative irregularities relating to General Pinochet’s money.

https://kyc360.riskscreen.com/news/spanish-court-targets-chilean-bank-tied-to-pinochet

ITF LAUNCHES WEB TOOL FOR SEAFARERS TO IDENTIFY CREWING SCAMS

On 3 August, Seatrade Maritime News reported that scam manning agents are scourge of the crewing industry and the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) has launched a new web tool to help give seafarers the upper hand.  The tool features a directory of crewing agents rated from green (good to go) to red (best avoided), and the initial launch of the web tool covers the 4 major labour supply nations of India, Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines.

https://www.seatrade-maritime.com/ship-operations/itf-launches-web-tool-seafarers-identify-crewing-scams

https://www.itfshipbesure.org

DATA ON 20 MALTESE NATIONALS’ DUBAI OFFSHORE HOLDINGS GIVEN TO POLICE

On 1 August, the Times of Malta reported that details from the so-called ‘Dubai list’ was obtained from Germany following a request by Malta’s Inland Revenue Department.  It is understood that while some of those identified live and work in Dubai, others are domiciled in Malta, raising suspicions over their holdings in the emirate.  In June, Germany purchased for a reported €2 million data from an anonymous source in Dubai on millions of international taxpayers, including several thousand Germans.

https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/data-on-maltese-nationals-dubai-offshore-holdings-given-to-police.890743

EU TO CRACK DOWN ON LARGE CASH PAYMENTS

On 3 August, the Irish Independent reported that cash payments over €10,000 for transactions such as car purchases, home improvements or funeral bills will be banned under EU rules expected to come into force within 3 years.

https://www.independent.ie/news/cars-funerals-and-home-improvements-eu-to-crack-down-on-large-cash-payments-40713482.html

https://www.mondaq.com/uk/white-collar-crime-anti-corruption-fraud/1096756/six-pillars-of-wisdom-to-prevent-bribery-and-corruption

US: GEORGIA COMPANY PLEADS GUILTY TO VIOLATION OF THE EXPORT CONTROL REFORM ACT

On 2 August, WSAV reported that a Georgia company and its owner – Dali Bagrou and World Mining and Oil Supply – pleaded guilty.  It is said that an unnamed Russian government-controlled company was interested in buying a power turbine from an US-based manufacturer for more than $17 million. The turbine was to be used on a deep-water drilling platform.  KS Engineering (KSE), a Russia-based energy company and Oleg Vladislavovich Nikitin, general director, have also pleaded guilty in relation to the same transaction.  All parties submitted false documents stating it would be used by an Atlanta company, concealing the actual turbine’s user from both the US manufacturer and US government, resulting in arrests in 2019.

https://www.wsav.com/crime-safety/georgia-company-owner-pleads-guilty-to-evading-us-national-security-laws/

https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdga/pr/georgia-company-and-owner-admit-guilt-scheme-evade-us-national-security-trade-sanctions

NEW ZEALAND: FIU CALLS ON INDUSTRY TO RAMP UP AML EFFORTS

On 3 August, Regulation Asia reported that the FIU is calling on reporting entities to be more proactive in refusing transactions for customers suspected of criminal activity.  It is said that that reporting entities need to move from an approach dominated by their own legal exposure to one that is coupled with positive community outcomes, and when companies make a decision to de-risk, they should be doing it for the right reasons.

https://www.regulationasia.com/nz-fiu-calls-on-industry-to-ramp-up-aml-efforts/

SPAIN: former executive director of the state-owned Development Bank of Angola FACING EXTRADITION TO ANGOLA

On 3 August, Bob FM reported a decision by the Audiencia Nacional de Madrid, a Spanish court that takes decisions on extradition requests, concerning Carlos Aires da Fonseca Panzo, who was arrested in Spain in September last year, at the request of the Criminal Investigations Office in Angola.  Carlos Panzo, a former executive director of the state-owned Development Bank of Angola (BDA), is under investigation following a complaint that he received kickbacks of $11 million, paid in several tranches to Odebrecht, through a bank account in Switzerland.

https://www.bobfm.co.uk/spanish-court-authorizes-extradition-of-carlos-panzo/

UK: HIGH COURT ORDERS PAKISTAN’S NAB TO PAY ISLE OF MAN COMPANY

On 3 August, the News International reported that the High Court has ordered the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to pay 3 separate amounts to the Broadsheet LLC or else the United National Bank’s London branch will be forced to make payments.  The Isle of Man LLC was hired by Pakistan more than 2 decades ago to trace assets belonging to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family members, as well as several other politicians and businessmen, including Asif Ali Zardari and Benazir Bhutto.  Pakistan broke the contract in violation of the agreement it had signed and the case has so far cost Pakistan close to $65 million in legal fees and awards. In arbitration, a judge found that Pakistan had conspired to defraud Broadsheet and Broadsheet LLC’s lawyers convinced the High Court to seize Pakistan’s assets at the United Bank Limited (UBL) in December 2020. Since then Broadsheet has made further claims over the remaining sums, interests and costs.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/872540-uk-court-orders-nab-to-pay-broadsheet-or-face-action 

HONG KONG: AML/CFT REVIEW TRIBUNAL AND COMPETENCE ASSESSMENT FOR MONEY SERVICE OPERATORS

On 3 August, Tanner De Witt Solicitors published an article dealing with 2 aspects of controls in Hong Kong.  One is the role of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Review Tribunal.  The other concerns money service operators, which offer a money changing service, including currency exchange; or a remittance service, including sending and receiving money to and from a place outside Hong Kong – a licensable activity.  One of the licences which are subject to review by the Tribunal is a MSO licence.

https://www.tannerdewitt.com/anti-money-laundering-counter-terrorist-financing-review-tribunal-competence-assessment-money-service-operators/

US SECRETARY OF STATE TO URGE ASEAN COUNTRIES TO ‘FULLY IMPLEMENT’ NORTH KOREA SANCTIONS

On 3 August, NK News reported that virtual meetings with ASEAN ministers will present avenue for US to push continued sanctions enforcement.  It is said that recent events suggest that US efforts may be bearing fruit.

https://www.nknews.org/2021/08/us-secretary-of-state-to-urge-asean-to-fully-implement-north-korea-sanctions/

EXTERNAL BORDER MANAGEMENT: EUROPEAN TRAVEL INFORMATION AND AUTHORISATION SYSTEM ON TRACK FOR ENTRY INTO OPERATION BY END 2022

On 3 August, the EU reported that the rules making the future European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) interoperable with other EU information systems have entered into force.  The system will cross-check travellers against EU information systems for internal security, borders and migration before their trip, helping to identify ahead of time people who may pose a risk to security or health, as well as compliance with migration rules.  Visa-exempt non-EU nationals will only need a few minutes to fill in an online application which in a vast majority of cases (expected to be over 95%) will result in automatic approval. The process will be simple, fast and affordable: the ETIAS authorisation will cost €7, which will be a one-off fee, and will be valid for 3 years and for multiple entries. 

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/MEX_21_4041

https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/borders-and-visas/smart-borders/etias_en

HMRC: CUSTOMS DECLARATION SERVICE (CDS) WILL SERVE AS THE UK’S SINGLE CUSTOMS PLATFORM FROM 31 MARCH 2023

On 3 August, Accountancy Daily reported that HMRC will be closing its Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system on 31 March 2023 and then all businesses will need to declare goods through CDS.  It is currently used for Northern Ireland and Rest of World declarations and has already processed more than 1 million declarations since it went live in 2018.

https://www.accountancydaily.co/cch_uk/tat/news_014984_cdsuk1pf

SOUTH KOREA NARROWS DOWN 11 CRYPTOCURRENCY EXCHANGES TO SHUT DOWN

On 3 August, News BTC reported that the FSC is supposedly staging a closedown for some cryptocurrency exchanges. This move is linked to allegations of fraud in these exchanges.  It is said that the FSC will decline the operational approval for all the affected crypto exchanges and plans to enforce stricter regulatory actions on minor exchanges.

https://www.newsbtc.com/news/south-korea-cryptocurrency-shut-down/

LOOT BOXES IN VIDEO GAMES

On 3 August, the House of Commons Library issued an updated research paper saying that loot boxes have been defined as “features in video games which may be accessed through gameplay, or purchased with in-game items, virtual currencies, or directly with real-world money”. They often appear as chests, crates, or card packs.  It says that concerns have been raised about the structural and psychological similarities between loot boxes and gambling and that they can encourage children to gamble.

https://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-8498/CBP-8498.pdf

RUSI TO LEAD ASSESSMENT OF UK’S PERFORMANCE IN TARGETING THE FINANCES OF ILLEGAL WILDLIFE TRADE

On 3 August, RUSI announced that a new RUSI project commissioned by the Home Office will assess the UK’s performance on tackling financial crime related to illegal wildlife trade (IWT) ahead of September’s G7 Interior Ministers’ Meeting.

https://rusi.org/news-and-comment/rusi-news/rusi-lead-assessment-uks-performance-targeting-finances-illegal-wildlife-trade

DRUG POISONING DEATHS IN ENGLAND AND WALES REACH RECORD HIGH

On 3 August, The Guardian reported that deaths from drug poisoning have reached a record high, with a growing number of people dying after using cocaine and opiates, data shows.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/aug/03/drug-poisoning-deaths-in-england-and-wales-reach-record-high

HOW DOMINICAN GANGS BECAME MAJOR SECURITY THREAT IN SPAIN

On 2 August, Insight Crime reported that spiralling violence around Madrid is being blamed on the fracturing and spread of Dominican gangs, which have become Spain’s primary urban security threat.  It says that renewed violence indicates the DDP and Trinitarios are feuding over control of neighbourhoods and criminal activities.

https://insightcrime.org/news/violent-expansion-spain-dominican-gangs/

GUATEMALA: FAMILIES INVOLVED IN LOCAL POLITICS CAN PLAY A PIVOTAL ROLE IN THE REGIONAL COCAINE TRADE

On 3 August, Insight Crime reported that an anti-narcotics operation in western Guatemala has shed more light on how families involved in local politics can play a pivotal role in the regional cocaine trade.

https://insightcrime.org/news/family-politics-guatemala-cocaine-trade/

EU ANNOUNCEMENT THAT ‘RIGHT TO REPAIR’ RULES WOULD BE INTRODUCED AS PART OF ITS ‘ENERGY EFFICIENCY FIRST’ PRINCIPLES – AND IN UK

On 3 August, an article from Eversheds Sutherland reported that EU changes would form part of ‘Energy efficiency first’ principles.  In March 2021, the EU introduced the new right to repair measures under the framework of its Ecodesign Directive; and on 8 July, the UK introduced its equivalent measures through the Ecodesign for Energy-Related Products and Energy Information Regulations 2021.  Manufacturers will now have a 2-year grace period to put into place new practices to ensure that they are able to make available sufficient stocks of spare parts to customers. 

https://www.eversheds-sutherland.com/global/en/what/articles/index.page?ArticleID=en/Consumer/Ecodesign-right-to-repair-030821

UK: HIGH COURT DISTINGUISHES BETWEEN EX PARTE AND INTER PARTE HEARINGS OVER COSTS OF A WORLDWIDE FREEZING ORDER

An article from Eversheds Sutherland on 3 August considers the case of Darnitsa v Metabay Import/Export Ltd.  This is said to highlight again the different approach to costs as between freezing orders and other interim injunctions, which is borne of the different underlying tests, respectively a “good arguable case” and the “balance of convenience”, and the cost risk of not at least engaging when offers are made.

https://www.eversheds-sutherland.com/global/en/what/articles/index.page?ArticleID=en/Financial-services-and-dispute-investigation/Darnitsa_v_Metabay

NATO AND EU JOIN CRITICISM OF IRAN AFTER DEADLY TANKER ATTACK

On 3 August, Rferl reported that NATO and the EU have added to Western criticism of Iran over a purported drone attack on a merchant ship in the Arabian Sea that killed 2 crewmen on 29 July, urging Iran to respect its international obligations.

https://www.rferl.org/a/qatar-iran-tanker-attack/31390874.html

NUISANCE CALL BLOCKER COMPANY FINED £170,000 FOR MAKING ALMOST 200,000 ILLEGAL MARKETING CALLS

On 2 August, a news release from the Information Commissioners Office in the UK advised that Yes Consumer Solutions Ltd had been fined for calls were made over a 12-month period between October 2018 and October 2019.  While the company sells nuisance call blocking systems, and had the means to check their marketing lists against the Telephone Preference System (TPS) lists, it still contacted almost 200,000 people without their consent.

https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/news-and-events/news-and-blogs/2021/08/nuisance-call-blocker-company-fined-170-000-for-making-almost-200-000-illegal-marketing-calls/

PROPORTIONALITY IN BANK REGULATION AND SUPERVISION – A JOINT GLOBAL SURVEY

On 30 July, the Swiss-based Bank for International Settlements published a paper wherein the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and the World Bank released the results of a global survey conducted with bank supervisors and regulators. The report summarises the responses from 90 authorities, with a broad distribution across geographical regions and income groups.  The survey found that proportionate implementation is practised widely, but that challenges remain, including how to avoid opportunities for regulatory arbitrage.

https://www.bis.org/bcbs/publ/d523.pdf

https://www.visualcapitalist.com/which-country-is-the-cheapest-for-starting-a-business/

ESG ASSET MANAGERS AND INVESTMENT FUNDS—NEAR-TERM SEC ENFORCEMENT RISK

On 3 August, Wilmer Hale issued a Client Alert saying that the SEC intends to bring enforcement actions under existing legal provisions against investment advisers and funds that do not adhere to stated environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria.  Advisers and funds should therefore ensure that they have policies and procedures in place to adhere to their stated ESG criteria.

https://www.wilmerhale.com/en/insights/client-alerts/20210803-esg-asset-managers-and-investment-funds-near-term-sec-enforcement-risk

UK: SEARCH THE REGISTER OF CUSTOMS AGENTS AND FAST PARCEL OPERATORS

On 3 August, HMRC published updated information to help one find a customs agent or fast parcel operator to help you with import and export declarations – more important in the times of Brexit.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/list-of-customs-agents-and-fast-parcel-operators

PROPERTY TYCOON WHO LOST HIS WIFE AND BELGRAVIA HOME TO FOOTBALLER CESC FABREGAS IS CONVICTED OF £2 MILLION FRAUD

On 3 August, the Daily Mail reported that Elie Taktouk, 46, has been convicted of fraud after a developer claimed he left him £2 million out of pocket during a redevelopment project.  He was convicted of 8 counts of fraud by false representation, 1 of fraud by abuse of position and 2 of using a false instrument, 2015- 2017.  Last year Taktouk admitted 6 counts of violating a restraint order and 8 counts of contempt of court and was jailed for 7 months.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9856517/Property-tycoon-46-lost-wife-5-5m-Belgravia-home-Cesc-Fabregas-convicted-fraud.html

JERSEY: FATE OF AIRCRAFT REGISTRY HANGS IN THE BALANCE

On 3 August, the Jersey Evening Post reported that whether Jersey’s aircraft registry should be scrapped or not should be decided within 18 months and will depend on whether it can help develop a ‘sustainable and low carbon’ aviation sector.  In 2018 after it emerged that only 2 aircraft had signed up to the initiative after £900,000 had been spent on its development.

https://jerseyeveningpost.com/news/2021/08/03/fate-of-aircraft-registry-hangs-in-the-balance/

US: LEADER OF TRANSNATIONAL MONEY LAUNDERING NETWORK PLEADS GUILTY

On 3 August, a DEA news release advised that a Chinese national and naturalised US citizen pleaded guilty to his involvement in a conspiracy to launder at least $30 million in drug proceeds on behalf of foreign drug-trafficking organisations.  Another Chinese national was sentenced to 7 years in prison for his role in the same conspiracy.  Xizhi Li, 48, played a leadership role within a years-long conspiracy to use a foreign casino, foreign and domestic front companies, foreign and domestic bank accounts, false passports and other false identification documents to launder money on behalf of transnational drug-trafficking organisations.  Co-defendant Tao Liu, 46, of Hong Kong, helped to execute the money laundering scheme. At times, Liu accepted bulk drug cash on behalf of Xizhi Li, which he later deposited into bank accounts that Li provided. In April, co-defendants Jiayu Chen, 46, of Brooklyn, New York, and Jingyuan Li, 49, of San Gabriel, California, pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy.  In June, Eric Yong Woo, 43, of Alhambra, California, also pleaded guilty to his role; and Jianxing Chen, 40, of Belize is facing extradition following his arrest in Lima, Peru.

https://www.dea.gov/press-releases/2021/08/03/leader-transnational-money-laundering-network-pleads-guilty

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GAO FINDS US CARGO SCREENING WEAKNESSES AS TSA PLANS COVERT TESTING AT FOREIGN AIRPORTS

On 31 July, Homeland Security Today reported that the threat of explosives reaching the US via air cargo is significant.  The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) therefore requires air carriers to x-ray or screen the cargo by other means before it enters the US – but the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found weaknesses in TSA’s analysis of imaging technology in a field assessment January 2020-April 2021.  The problem was that TSA officials cannot use live explosives in the field to measure the probability of detection, they rely on image quality testing, using a manufacturer’s test kit to compare system performance in the field with earlier tests performed in a laboratory with live explosives – and GAO considered this unacceptable.  It is also said that GAO considered U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) role in securing air cargo. Its Air Cargo Advanced Screening program (ACAS) requires air carriers to submit shipment data on US-bound air cargo prior to departure from last point-of-departure airports.  The report comes as TSA implements new International Civil Aviation Organization security standards for air cargo, which now require countries to screen 100% of cargo before it is loaded on freighter aircraft, as they are currently required to do with belly freight.  The increase in screening has caused backlogs and carriers have reported confusion surrounding the new documentation requirements – but the article says that sometimes the relevant checks are still playing catch-up to passenger screening standards.

https://www.hstoday.us/industry/gao-finds-cargo-screening-gaps-as-tsa-plans-covert-testing-at-foreign-airports/

The report is at –

https://www.gao.gov/assets/gao-21-105192.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

THE EU’S ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE ACT: SETTING A GLOBAL STANDARD?

On 3 August, a briefing from Field Fisher says that the EU recently published proposals for an EU Regulation laying down harmonised rules on Artificial Intelligence (AI) – said to be the  first-ever regulatory framework on AI, to address the risks of AI in Europe.  The proposed Regulation would adopt a “risk-based” approach, dividing different uses of AI into four categories: Unacceptable, High Risk, Limited Risk, and Minimal Risk.  The briefing says that the penalties of breaching the Regulation are likely to be significant.  The EU Commission currently estimates that the Regulation could enter into force in the second half of 2022, and become applicable to AI operators in 2024. 

https://www.fieldfisher.com/en/services/competition-and-consumer/competition-connect-blog/the-eu-s-artificial-intelligence-act-setting-a-glo

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FOREIGNERS FILE LAWSUITS AGAINST ALLEGED ISRAELI BINARY OPTIONS INVESTMENT SCAMMERS

On 2 August, the Times of Israel reported that a new spate of lawsuits suggests that despite legislation and prosecutions by foreign governments, alleged investment fraud remains a lucrative business in Israel, with local law enforcement doing little to crack down on suspected online scammers.  It refers to lawsuits filed in Israel by alleged victims from countries including Australia, Azerbaijan, Germany, Holland, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Norway, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and US — claims against individuals who used to sell binary options investments and pivoted to other financial instruments. 

https://www.timesofisrael.com/foreigners-file-slew-of-lawsuits-against-alleged-israeli-investment-scammers/

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THE UK NATIONAL SECURITY AND INVESTMENT ACT: WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY?

On 2 August, an article from K & L Gates LLP says that, alongside commencement information, recent guidance publications shed light on what transactions will be caught and how the Secretary of State expects to use the new powers.  It says that the updated guidance pages3 answer the various questions referred to in the article.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/the-uk-national-security-and-investment-4055456/

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