OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – AUGUST 9

Panama Covid-19 update – another 523 new cases and 5 new fatalities reported today, with 11,914 active cases – 105 in ICU and 442 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

9 AUGUST 2021

TRANSPORT UNDER EXCISE DUTY SUSPENSION ARRANGEMENT: MAJOR RISKS FOR CARRIER IN GOOD FAITH

On 23 July, an article from Ploum, a Rotterdam law firm, says that a recent European court case illustrates that moving goods under excise duty suspension can entail major risks for a carrier in good faith who transports excise goods to another Member State on behalf of and for the account of another party.  A self-employed worker was transporting beer pallets destined for a company in the UK and assumed that the transport took place under this so-called duty suspension arrangement.  However, that turned out not to be the case.  The driver was stopped on arrival at Dover Docks and officers established that the e-AD being used could not be used for the transport of the pallets, because it had already been used for a separate delivery of beer under excise duty suspension for the same tax warehouse in the UK.  He was faced with a large assessment of excise duty. It is said that the transport of excise goods therefore remains a risky affair for transporters.  Although the customs authorities have the option of levying the excise duty on multiple parties, in practice customs authorities often choose the easy way and the person who has the goods on hand is addressed.

https://ploum.nl/en/knowledge-center/news/transport_under_excise_duty_suspension_arrangement_major_risks_for_carrier_in_good_faith

ITALIAN POLICE NAB WOMAN REPUTED TO BE NAPLES CRIME BOSS

On 7 August, AP reported that Maria Licciardi, 70, a reputed top Naples Camorra crime syndicate boss (aka “’a piccirella,” due to her petite build) was arrested as she was about to board a flight to Spain.

https://apnews.com/article/europe-crime-naples-99031f4d4c256f2ffe44e3427a197d11

ASPHALT PRINCESS – ANALYSIS & RECOMMENDATIONS

On 9 August, Hellenic Shipping News published a report on the attack on the tanker in the Gulf.

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/m-t-asphalt-princess-analysis-recommendations/

US NAMES MOZAMBICAN TERRORIST LEADERS

On 8 August, All Africa reported that the US State Department has named 2 of the leaders of the Islamist terrorists operating in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado – Bonomade Machude Omar (aka Abu Sulafya Muhammad and Ibn Omar) and Abu Yasir Hassan.  The terrorists are known locally as Al-Shabaab, although they seem to have no organisational ties with the Somali terrorist group, but the State Department refers to it as a branch of ISIS.

https://allafrica.com/stories/202108080067.html

UK: COURTS ALLOW NIRAV MODI APPEAL AGAINST EXTRADITION

On 9 August, Hindustan Times and others reported that Nirav Modi has been granted permission to appeal against his extradition from the UK to India to face charges in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case on mental health grounds.  He has been at the Wandsworth Prison in south-west London since March 2019, when he was arrested on the basis of India’s extradition request. 

https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/nirav-modi-can-appeal-against-india-extradition-on-mental-health-grounds-report-101628507414751.html

UK: SFO LAUNCHES INVESTIGATION INTO ENTREPRENEUR GAVIN WOODHOUSE OVER SUSPECTED FRAUD

On 9 August, The Guardian reported that the SFO said it was investigating “suspected fraud and money laundering in relation to … Woodhouse and individuals and companies associated with him” and that “conduct currently under investigation by the SFO relates to investments offered in care homes and hotels between 2013 and 2019”.  He raised over £80 million over several years to build care homes and buy and refurbish hotels, promising generous returns.

https://www.theguardian.com/law/2021/aug/09/sfo-launches-investigation-into-gavin-woodhouse-over-suspected

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-58112342

https://www.theguardian.com/law/2021/aug/09/sfo-launches-investigation-into-gavin-woodhouse-over-suspected

CRYPTO FRAUD AND ASSET RECOVERY LEGAL COMMUNITY LAUNCHES IN THE UK

On 9 August, Being Crypto and others reported that legal industry professionals in the UK have come together to target a growing area of legal need: crypto disputes. The CFAAR community consists of lawyers, barristers, forensic accountants, corporate intelligence, and asset recovery experts. It intends to develop and share the best practices to deal with such disputes, and the ultimate goal being crypto dispute resolution. 

https://beincrypto.com/crypto-fraud-asset-recovery-legal-community-uk

UK ADDS 1 NAME TO BELARUS SANCTIONS AND AMEND OTHER ENTRIES

On 9 August, a Notice from HM Treasury advised that Russian businessman Mikhail Safarbekovich GUTSERIEV had been added to the sanctions lists, and that entries for 7 other individuals (including President Lukashenko) are amended.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1009568/Notice_Belarus_090821.pdf

DOCUMENT LEAK APPEARS TO CONFIRM THAT QATAR IS CONTINUING TO PROVIDE FINANCIAL SUPPORT TO HEZBOLLAH

On 7 August, a blog post from Kenneth Rijock says that a leak from government files in the State of Qatar (the “Qatar Papers”) reportedly confirm that Qatar is continuing to provide financial support to the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah.

https://rijock.blogspot.com/2021/08/recipients-of-massive-document-leak.html

THE GOLDEN FRIENDS AND NEIGHBOURS OF CYPRIOT PRESIDENT NICOS ANASTASIADES

On 9 August, a report from OCCRP says that Cyprus’s “golden passport” programme is considered a corrupt free-for-all that gave kleptocrats, oligarchs, and criminals access to EU citizenship – Cyprus approved 6,679 golden passports between 2008, when the program began, and August 2020.  It says that Cyprus stopped taking new applications last October following an Al Jazeera news undercover sting that caught politicians offering to help get a passport for a fictitious criminal from China, and that the EU has also moved to hold Cyprus accountable for its investor citizenship scheme.  However, it says, despite promised reforms, questions remain about corruption among its political class.  It cites the relationship between President Nicos Anastasiades –– whose family law firm was deeply involved in procuring golden passports for clients –– and Saudi businessman Abdulrahman bin Khalid bin Mahfouz.

https://www.occrp.org/en/investigations/the-golden-friends-and-neighbors-of-cypriot-president-nicos-anastasiades

IRAN: RAISI CHOOSES HEAD OF SANCTIONED CONGLOMERATE TO BE HIS FIRST VICE-PRESIDENT

On 9 August, Eurasia Review reported that Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has named the chairman of a powerful state-owned conglomerate – Mohammad Mokhber, who has headed the conglomerate known as Setad since 2007 – sanctioned by the US as his first vice president.

https://www.eurasiareview.com/09082021-raisi-chooses-head-of-sanctioned-iranian-conglomerate-to-be-his-first-vice-president/

UK: NEW CPS GUIDANCE ON SECTION 330 PROCEEDS OF CRIME ACT 200

On 9 August, a blog post from Corker Bining argues that the position of criminal law enforcement authorities across the board is that it is legally irrelevant whether money laundering occurred; all that is required to prove this offence is that an individual in the regulated sector received information that caused them to suspect, or that provided reasonable grounds for suspicion, that another was engaged in money laundering.  The post asks if the CPS is correct to contend, as a matter of law, that section 330 does not require a prosecutor to prove money laundering?

https://www.corkerbinning.com/a-suspicious-change-in-policy/

UK: TOP TORY DONOR’S FAILED PROPERTY FIRM LEFT HUNDREDS OUT OF POCKET IN INDIA

On 7 August, Open Democracy published claim involving Indian businessman Sam Singh.  In India, hundreds blame the company he founded for losing their life savings, after the online estate agency he built collapsed, prompting accusations of fraud.

https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/dark-money-investigations/top-tory-donors-failed-property-firm-left-hundreds-out-of-pocket-in-india/

ISLE OF MAN – ENHANCED BELARUS SANCTIONS

On 9 August, the Isle of Man announced that the extended sanctions applying to Belarus also applied in the Isle of Man.

https://www.gov.im/news/2021/aug/09/financial-sanctions-belarus/

CHARGES DROPPED AGAINST CHILDREN OF AUSTRALIAN COUPLE WANTED OVER ALLEGED FREMANTLE PORTS CORRUPTION

On 9 August, ABC News reported that Paolo and Tiziana Merolla, the children of a Perth couple who are wanted by Western Australia Police over alleged corruption at Fremantle Ports, have walked free from court after charges against them were dropped.  It is believed the couple left Australia last year amid an investigation into alleged corrupt business practices at Fremantle Ports between 2014 and 2020.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-08-09/children-of-wanted-fremantle-ports-couple-have-charges-dropped/100361842

FORMER HONG KONG IPO VETTING CHIEF PLEADS NOT GUILTY AS TRIAL BEGINS

On 9 August, Bloomberg Quint reported that Eugene Yeoh Kim-loong, a former Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd. executive in charge of vetting initial public offerings, has pleaded not guilty in the Hong Kong District Court to allegations of bribery.  He is accused of bribery in order to give companies an easier path to being approved to list on the bourse 2017-19.   IPO consultant Richard Lum Chor-wah is named as the alleged giver of bribes.  Yeoh and Lum pleaded not guilty to all charges and will remain on bail.

https://www.bloombergquint.com/markets/former-h-k-ipo-vetting-chief-pleads-not-guilty-as-trial-begins

BILLIONAIRE SAMSUNG SCION CONVICTED FOR CORRUPTION TO BE RELEASED ON PAROLE

On 9 August, Manufacturing.net and others reported that South Korea will release billionaire Samsung scion Lee Jae-yong on parole after he spent 18 months in prison for his role in a massive corruption scandal that triggered nationwide protests and led to the ouster of the country’s previous president. The Justice Minister said Lee will be released with about 800 other convicts, ahead of a national holiday celebrating Korea’s liberation from Japanese colonial rule at the end of WW2.

https://www.manufacturing.net/home/news/21602763/billionaire-samsung-scion-to-be-released-on-parole

PORTUGAL: POLICE BRING DOWN INSURANCE PYRAMID SCHEME

On 9 August, Portugal News reported that police had detained a foreign citizen suspected of several crimes involving fraud, document falsification, money laundering and illegal insurance operations amounting to a total of €3 million.  The suspect is said to have convinced countless victims that he was the supervisor of a Spanish insurance brokerage company and that he was authorised to market a financial product with high profitability and guaranteed capital.  However, it is said to have been a ‘pyramid scheme’ or ‘ponzi’, with non-existent and simulated profitability.

https://www.theportugalnews.com/news/2021-08-09/police-bring-down-insurance-pyramid-scheme/61613

THE ART MARKET AND MONEY LAUNDERING: THE UK FIRST YEAR REPORT

On 9 August, Arts & Collections reminded one that, in January 2020, art galleries, dealers, intermediaries and other art market participants (AMP) dealing in works valued at €10,000 or more became subject to UK AML Regulations (applying the EU 5th Money Laundering Directive).  In June 2021, HMRC published its first risk assessment which identifies key areas for AMP to consider when carrying out regulated activities.  HMRC views the art market as being at ‘high risk’ of money laundering.  The HMRC report identifies key risk indicators for AMP across the UK art sector – unusual sales or purchase activity, anonymity, face-to-face sales, dealing with clients or counterparties in high-risk jurisdictions and off-record sales.  It also highlights other risks, including relying on CDD undertaken by others.

https://www.artsandcollections.com/the-art-market-and-money-laundering-the-uks-first-year-report/

US JUDGE SETS BAIL FOR FORMER BOLIVIAN MINISTER ARTURO MURILLO

On 9 August, TeleSUR reported that a court has set bail at $25,000 for the former Bolivian minister of the de facto government, despite an extradition request from Bolivia and postponed a hearing on corruption and money laundering charges until 9 September.  Murillo was Minister of Government during the mandate of the self-proclaimed de facto president Jeanine Áñez (2019-2020) and was arrested in May, as were 4 other co-defendants.

https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/US-Judge-Sets-Bail-for-Former-Bolivian-Minister-Arturo-Murillo-20210809-0011.html

INDIA: 122 SITTING AND EX-LEGISLATORS FACING LAUNDERING CASES

On 9 August, the Times of India reported that the Enforcement Directorate had informed the Supreme Court that 122 sitting and former MP and MLA were facing PMLA (money laundering) cases.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/122-sitting-ex-legislators-facing-laundering-cases-ed-tells-sc/articleshow/85196602.cms

WHY US REAL ESTATE IS A KLEPTOCRAT’S DREAM

On 2 August, Global Financial Integrity produced a report which is said to demonstrate the ease with which kleptocrats, criminals, sanctions evaders, and corrupt government officials choose the US real estate market as their preferred destination to hide and launder proceeds from illicit activities. GFI built a database of more than 100 real estate money laundering cases from the US, UK, and Canada, reported between 2015 – 2020.  The database and accompanying regulatory analysis in this report provide conclusive evidence that the current US regulatory approach, using temporary and location- specific Geographic Targeting Orders (GTO), has critical shortcomings.  It also proposes the key recommendations for the sector in line with international best practices and regulatory developments seen elsewhere in the G7.

https://gfintegrity.org/report/acres-of-money-laundering-why-u-s-real-estate-is-a-kleptocrats-dream/

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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