OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – AUGUST 7

Panama Covid-19 update – the number of active cases, and those in hospital, continue to fall. With 822 new cases and 7 new fatalities reported today, there are now 10,903 active cases, with 101 remaining in ICU and 453 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

7 AUGUST 2021

PANAMA: BLUE APPLE – LARGEST CRIMINAL BRIBERY INVESTIGATION SINCE ODEBRECHT WITH 51 ACCUSED INCLUDING THE SONS OF FORMER PRESIDENT RICARDO MARTINELLI

On 6 August, Newsroom Panama reported that, after delays, this bribery case had opened, with the presiding judge also calling for the extradition of the Martinelli brothers from Guatemala (where they are facing extradition to the US).  The hearing is taking place at the Balboa Theatre, converted into a temporary court.  The investigation began in 2017, and refers to the joint-stock company “Blue Apple Services”, created by several members of the Martinelli government of 2010-14.

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/curtain-rises-on-51-in-blue-apple-case

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/blue-apple-judge-seeks-extradition-of-martinelli-brothers

RUSSIA DOESN’T SEND US INVESTOR TO JAIL BUT STILL SENDS A WARNING

On 6 August, the New York Times reported that a Russian court had sentenced American businessman Michael Calvey – the founder of Baring Vostok, a private equity firm with $3.7 billion under management – and one of the country’s most prominent foreign investors to a suspended sentence of 5½ years for on embezzlement, in a ruling that could hurt Russia’s ability to attract foreign investment.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/06/world/europe/russia-american-investor-calvey-sentence.html

UK HAS EXTRADITED ONLY 1 ‘WANTED’ INDIAN IN 29 YEARS

On 7 August, The News in Pakistan reported that India signed an extradition treaty with the UK in 1992, but has had a very bad experience with extraditing criminals from one of its most favoured business partners, where its 1.4 million diaspora makes the single largest visible ethnic minority population – with a trading relationship is already worth almost £24 billion, with 383 Indian companies in the UK employing more than 82,000 people.  In 2016, Samirbhai Patel was extradited from the UK to stand trial in India, becoming the first person to be sent back from Britain 24 years after the countries had signed an extradition treaty.  In 2018 it is said that India supplied a list of 14 names, including Vijay Mallya, Lalit Modi (founder & first Chairman and Commissioner of the Indian Premier League), and Tiger Hanif , an alleged aide of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim it would like extradited; and in return the UK sought the extradition of 12 non-resident Indians and other nationals who has allegedly committed crimes in the UK.  Currently, prominent Indian business tycoon Vijay Mallya, the billionaire behind Kingfisher Airlines, and Nirav Modi, wanted in connection with the $2 billion Punjab National Bank case, are facing or appealing extradition to India.  The article also mentions Anil Ambani, described as “India’s biggest financial debtor”.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/874564-uk-has-extradited-only-one-wanted-indian-in-29-years

AUSTRALIA: CHANGES TO AML LAWS HAVE COME INTO EFFECT

On 6 August, an article from Corrs Chambers Westgarth says that changes to Australia’s AML/CFT laws came into effect on 17 June, partially a product of the statutory review of the AML/CTF Act in April 2016 by the Attorney General’s Department.  It identifies the key changes made.

https://corrs.com.au/insights/changes-to-anti-money-laundering-laws-have-come-into-effect-what-now

THIRD COUNTRIES ALIGN WITH UPDATED EU SANCTIONS LIST OF PERSONS AND ENTITIES INVOLVED IN TERRORIST ACTS 

On 6 August, an EU news release advised that Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland and Liechtenstein have agreed to align their rules with the latest EU legislation.

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2021/08/06/declaration-by-the-high-representative-on-behalf-of-the-eu-on-the-alignment-of-certain-countries-with-council-decision-updating-the-list-of-persons-groups-and-entities-on-the-application-of-specific-measures-to-combat-terrorism/

TUNISIAN OFFICIALS UNDER HOUSE ARREST OVER CORRUPTION SUSPICIONS

On 7 August, Asharq al Aswat reported that the new Minister of the Interior had placed former ministers, judges and public figures under house arrest for their suspected involvement in corruption and abuse of power.  They include senior judicial officials, Taieb Rached and Bechir Akremi, who have served in the judiciary for nearly 20 years, former Minister of Transport and Communication Technology Anouar Maarouf, and former Minister of Environment and Local Governments Riadh Mouakher. 

https://english.aawsat.com/home/article/3119716/tunisian-officials-under-house-arrest-over-corruption-suspicions

UAE EXTRADITES EX-HEAD OF ALGERIA STATE ENERGY FIRM ON CORRUPTION CHARGES

On 5 August, Middle East Monitor reported that UAE had extradited the former chief of Algeria’s state oil and gas company Sonatrach, Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour, to face trial over alleged involvement in corruption cases.  Ould Kaddour was chief executive of Sonatrach from March 2017 to April 2019. He was close to former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20210805-uae-extradites-ex-head-of-algeria-state-energy-firm-on-corruption-charges/

FINTECH FIRM TransferGo FINED BY UK FOR RUSSIA SANCTIONS VIOLATIONS

On 5 August, Kharon reported that TransferGo, a UK fintech firm that enables users to send payments to individuals abroad, settled allegations of sanctions violations on Thursday after it had allowed transfers to accounts held at a Russian bank owned by the Crimean government, and with the settlement related to 16 transactions between March 2018 and December 2019.

https://brief.kharon.com/updates/fintech-firm-fined-by-uk-for-russia-sanctions-violations/

US: REAL ESTATE MONEY LAUNDERING

On 2 July, the Financial Crimes Academy published this article, saying that there are many methods used to hide money in purchasing and selling property, such as houses, and highlighting some red flags.

https://financialcrimeacademy.org/real-estate-money-laundering/

IRELAND: SAILOR CAUGHT WITH €1.5 BILLION OF COCAINE LINKED TO KINAHAN GANG ‘OFFERED $1 MILLION’ TO SMUGGLE DRUGS

On 3 August, an article in the Irish Independent said that a crew member on a ship busted with a gigantic haul of 20 tonnes of cocaine destined for European drugs gangs including the Kinahan cartel claims to have been offered $1 million to take part in the plot.  It is said that said the Montenegrin got 2 anonymous phone calls telling him to participate and offering him upwards of $1 million for his efforts.  The drugs were hidden onboard the cargo ship MSC Gayane, destined for the Netherlands, but found in searches in Philadelphia where it had docked in July, 2019.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/crime/sailor-caught-with-15-billion-of-cocaine-linked-to-kinahan-gang-offered-1mto-smuggle-drugs-40716013.html

FATF GREY LIST DRIVES MOODY’S ‘NEGATIVE OUTLOOK’ FOR MALTA

On 7 August, Malta Today reported that credit rating agency Moody’s has affirmed Malta’s ratings at A2 on the back of its post-COVID recovery, but it has changed its outlook to negative from stable over the FATF grey listing of the Maltese financial centre.

https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/111361/fatf_greylist_drives_moodys_negative_outlook_for_malta?

HOW SYRIAN JIHADI GROUP IS LAUNDERING MONEY IN IDLIB

On 7 August, Al-Monitor reported that prominent leaders in Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), which controls Idlib and its surroundings in north-western Syria, are seeking to invest their money in various economic sectors in the area.  It is said that HTS leaders invest their money in various economic activities. They also invest in raising poultry and livestock, stone quarries that manufacture building materials, car trading, money exchange, money transfers and gold trade. The majority of investment operations and projects owned by HTS leaders are carried out through civilian intermediaries close to the leaders, who act as fronts behind which the real investors hide.

https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2021/08/how-syrian-jihadi-group-laundering-money-idlib#ixzz72teVJYvF

RESEARCH AND REGULATION OF LESS-LETHAL PROJECTILES CRITICALLY NEEDED

A post from a blog at the Harvard Law School’s Petrie-Flom Center on 30 July says that 2020 saw increased use of less-lethal weapons in the US, and in June 2021, the House of Representatives formed a commission of inquiry to investigate the health effects of one such weapon: tear gas.  Such research is welcome and badly needed, it says, but tear gas is only part of a larger story.  While well-intentioned, the House missed an opportunity to address a wider and more dangerous issue: the use of “less-lethal” projectiles against crowds.  The post says that, in protecting basic human rights and civil liberties, it is critical to better understand and regulate projectiles — they are dangerous and poorly studied weapons.

https://blog.petrieflom.law.harvard.edu/2021/07/30/research-and-regulation-of-less-lethal-projectiles-critically-needed/

NICARAGUA’S UPCOMING ELECTION HIGHLIGHTS NEED FOR LONG-TERM FORMS OF PRESSURE ON THE ORTEGA REGIME

On ^ August, a Commentary from the Center for Strategic and International Studies made this argument, saying that since regaining the Nicaraguan presidency in 2007, Daniel Ortega has led a steady assault on the country’s institutions and has accumulated vast personal power and wealth.

https://www.csis.org/analysis/nicaraguas-upcoming-election-highlights-need-long-term-forms-pressure-ortega-regime

US: DOMESTIC TERRORIST TACTICS AND TARGETS

On 3 August, the Center for Strategic and International Studies published a video of testimony given before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on “Domestic Terrorist Tactics and Targets” by Seth G Jones, senior vice president, Harold Brown Chair, and director of the International Security Program at CSIS.

https://www.csis.org/analysis/domestic-terrorist-tactics-and-targets

LATIN AMERICA ENFORCEMENT REVIEW

On 6 August, US law firm King & Spalding published the latest edition of this newsletter.  Its news included that –

  • in June 2021, at the US Vice-President announced the creation a new DoJ task force that will focus on pursuing investigations, prosecutions, and asset recoveries relating to corruption, as well as the training of regional law-enforcement officials across Latin America;
  • the Operation Car Wash task force in Rio was formally disbanded on 31 March 31, after almost 5 years of work, and after imposing $727 million in penalties and compensation from 180 collaboration agreements, 183 convictions and 9 leniency agreements.  However, it is said that enforcement actions related to Brazil continue in full force both inside and outside of Brazil;
  • developments in relation to Odebrecht and Braskem SA (a publicly-traded Brazilian petrochemical company and a subsidiary of Odebrecht);
  • the FCPA settlement with Amec Foster Wheeler Energy Limited involving Brazil’s state-owned Petrobras and a $190 million contract to design a gas-to-chemicals complex;
  • Mexican anti-corruption efforts; and
  • US-Mexico cooperation.

https://www.kslaw.com/news-and-insights/q2-2021-latin-america-enforcement-review

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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