OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – AUGUST 11

Panama Covid-19 update – it has been announced that from 15 August the Sunday quarantine in the district of La Chorrera is lifted and replaced with a daily curfew from 10 pm to 4 am. there is also to be an easing of measures in other areas of the country.

However, while active cases have fallen, to 10,992, 977 new cases and 5 new fatalities have been reported, and there remains 117 patients in ICU and 425 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

11 AUGUST 2021

SECRET MILITARY BASE BEING BUILT ON REMOTE ISLAND IN MAURITIUS

A special report from Al Jazeera on 3 August claiming that a remote Mauritian island is being quietly transformed into a military hub for India’s navy – Agaléga.  Residents worry that what happened on the Mauritian island of Diego Garcia in the 1960s will happen to them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKb1nZ5YnCg

US: WHISTLEBLOWER AWARDED OVER $3.5 MILLION IN JUNIPER BRIBERY CASE

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the SEC has awarded a whistleblower the sum after the California-based networking and cybersecurity solutions company settled SEC allegations in 2019 that the company violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act through its subsidiaries in Russia and China.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/whistleblower-is-awarded-over-3-5-million-in-juniper-bribery-case-11628630066

US STATE DEPARTMENT) HAS IMPOSED RESTRICTIONS ON 8 FOREIGN ENTITIES OVER TRADING WITH IRAN, SYRIA AND NORTH KOREA

On 9 August, a Notice from the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation announced restrictions imposed on 8 entities (and their successors, sub-units, and subsidiaries) based in Iraq, Russia and Syria for trading in goods, services or technology controlled under multilateral weapons control lists, or which have the potential to make a material contribution to WMD or ballistic missile systems.  The restrictions include an export licence ban.

https://public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2021-16971.pdf

US SANCTIONS ON BELARUS POTASH LEAVE OUT THE COUNTRY’S SOLE SELLER

On 10 August, Bloomberg Quint reported that sanctions had been imposed on Belarus potash producer Belaruskali OAO, which ships much of its products to China, India and Latin America, along with more than a dozen other companies with ties to President Alexander Lukashenko.  However, the Belarusian Potash Co., in which Belaruskali owns a 48% stake and which is the sole handler all of the country’s potash exports, wasn’t included in the sanctions list.  It is said that China and India might still feel it’s safe to purchase from BPC, the company that signs export deals.

https://www.bloombergquint.com/global-economics/u-s-sanctions-on-belarus-potash-leave-out-nation-s-sole-seller

AUSTRALIA: CROWN PERTH CASINO ACCOUNT NAME SAID TO BE MADE DELIBERATELY VAGUE TO ‘DISGUISE’ DEPOSITS

On 10 August, News.com reported that former chief financial officer Ken Barton claimed that Crown Perth adopted the name “Riverbank Investments” for its bank account so Asian high rollers could disguise funnelling cash into a casino.

https://www.news.com.au/finance/business/other-industries/crown-account-name-deliberately-vague-to-disguise-deposits-top-exec-took-decade-to-learn-about-money-laundering/news-story/97f4c7c6b09efb77a757b393a2d8e10d

THIRD OF FINANCE FIRMS ACCELERATE USE OF AI TO DETECT MONEY LAUNDERING

On 10 August, Computer Weekly reported that finance firms are stepping up their investments in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning after Covid-19 and the disruption it brought to the global economy has triggered a sudden increase in financial crime, with money laundering a threat to society.  According to a study from KPMG, software company SAS and the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS), a third of finance firms are accelerating the use of AI and machine learning in their AML strategies to fight the growing problem.

https://www.computerweekly.com/news/252505107/Third-of-finance-firms-accelerate-use-of-artificial-intelligence-to-detect-money-laundering

GOLD DIGGERS AND RENT SEEKERS STRIP TANZANIA’S WEALTH

On 11 August, the Institute for security Studies reported that gold profits are filling the pockets of crooked companies and criminals instead of benefiting Tanzania’s population.  Gold accounts for a sizeable portion of Tanzania’s export earnings as the country’s biggest foreign exchange earner, but the government loses massive amounts of gold through smuggling by transnational criminal networks. Problems within the gold mining sector contribute to the smuggling. These include conflicts of interest between multinational mining corporations and local small-scale artisanal miners, and a lack of enforcement of mining regulations resulting in non-compliance by companies. 

https://issafrica.org/iss-today/gold-diggers-and-rent-seekers-strip-tanzanias-wealth

US CUSTOMS SEIZES TILES FROM IRAN FOR MOSQUE IN VIRGINIA

On 11 August, ABNA reported that US custom authorities have confiscated a set of Iranian tiles to be used in construction of a new mosque in Virginia, demanding they must be shipped backed to Iran or destroyed.  The tiles, which are adorned with Qura’nic verses, were shipped in June from the Iranian city of Qom, to be used in construction of the Manassas Mosque in northern Virginia.

https://en.abna24.com/news//us-seizes-quranic-tiles-from-iran-for-mosque-in-virginia_1168535.html

AUSTRALIA CONSULTS ON DISCIPLINARY BODY FOR FINANCIAL ADVISERS

On 11 August, Regulation Asia reported that the government has released for consultation a policy paper on regulations to support the establishment of the single disciplinary body for financial advisers.  The consultation closes on 20 August, and the necessary regulations to support the implementation of the new disciplinary and registration systems for financial advisers are expected to come into force on 1 January.

https://www.regulationasia.com/australia-consults-on-disciplinary-body-for-financial-advisers/

https://treasury.gov.au/consultation/c2021-197233

TO GET TO EUROPE, TUNISIAN MIGRANTS TURN TO ‘SELF-SMUGGLING’

On 11 August, Deutsche Welle reported that instead of paying human traffickers, increasing numbers of Tunisians are buying their own boats and organizing DIY ocean journeys to Europe; and this appears to be a growing trend.

https://www.dw.com/en/tunisian-migrants-turn-to-self-smuggling-to-get-to-europe/a-58828200

IRISH INVESTIGATORS PLAY KEY ROLE IN 20 TONNE HASHISH SEIZURE OFF SPANISH COAST

On 11 August, Sunday World reported that Irish investigators working as part of the EU’s anti-drugs smuggling unit have played a key role in the seizure of almost 20 tonnes of hashish on board a vessel from Turkey off the coast of Spain. 

https://www.sundayworld.com/crime/world-crime/irish-investigators-play-key-role-in-20-tonne-hashish-seizure-off-spanish-coast-40739588.html

https://www.thesun.ie/news/7425475/watch-armed-cops-board-raid-cargo-ship-400m-cannabis/

INDIA: CACHE OF ARMS SMUGGLED FROM MYANMAR SEIZED

On 10 August, The Sentinel in Assam reported that authorities recovered the hidden arms and ammunition in a house in a border town. The seized arms and ammunition include 2 M16 rifles, 2 AK56 rifles, 2 9mm pistols, a Chinese hand grenade, a large cache of various ammunition and 9 magazines of assault rifles, 3 magazines of pistols.  Officials said that drugs and various other contraband, including exotic animals and reptiles, are often smuggled in from Myanmar which shares 1,643 km of unfenced borders with 4 north-eastern Indian states.

https://www.sentinelassam.com/north-east-india-news/manipur/huge-cache-of-arms-smuggled-from-myanmar-seized-in-manipur-550112

US REAL ESTATE IS HAVEN FOR AFRICAN MONEY LAUNDERING

On 11 August, All Africa reported that the Global Financial Integrity (GFI) and the Financial Transparency Coalition had published a new report this month: ‘Acres of Money Laundering: Why US Real Estate is a Kleptocrat’s Dream’.  It is said that the US needs to tighten rules on money laundering into real estate, with transactions from Africa highlighting the inadequacy of current systems.

https://www.theafricareport.com/116281/us-real-estate-is-haven-for-african-money-laundering-report-says/

SANCTIONED NORTH KOREAN OIL TANKER REAPPEARS AFTER MORE THAN YEAR-LONG ABSENCE

On 11 August, NK Pro reported that the appearance of the Chon Ma Son (IMO 8660313) on vessel-tracking systems, after an absence of more than a year, and near the port of Nampho suggests sanctions-evading ship-to-ship oil transfers.

https://www.nknews.org/pro/sanctioned-north-korean-oil-tanker-reappears-after-more-than-yearlong-absence/

BBC INVESTIGATION EXPOSES EXTENT OF RUSSIAN MERCENARY INVOLVEMENT IN LIBYA

On 11 August, Rferl reported that the investigation has brought new insights into the “key” role of a Russian military contractor, the Vagner Group, in the civil war in Libya, including links to war crimes and Russia’s military.  Vagner Group is believed to have indirect ties to Russia’s political elite and to be controlled by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

https://www.rferl.org/a/russia-vagner-group-libya/31404322.html

and

RUSSIAN WAGNER MERCENARIES LINKED TO WAR CRIMES IN LIBYA

On 11 August, EU Observer reported that a BBC investigation has revealed the scale of operations by the shadowy Russian mercenary group in Libya’s civil war, which includes links to war crimes and the Russian military.  Wagner fighters appeared in Libya in April 2019 when they joined the forces of a rebel general, Khalifa Haftar.

https://euobserver.com/tickers/152628

EU: 23 CHARGED OVER COVID-19 BUSINESS EMAIL COMPROMISE (BEC) FRAUD

A news release from Europol advised that a sophisticated fraud scheme using compromised emails and advance-payment fraud has been uncovered by authorities in Romania, the Netherlands and Ireland as part of an action coordinated by Europol.  23 suspects were charged as a result of a series of raids carried out simultaneously in the Netherlands, Romania and Ireland.  The criminal group is said to have been composed of nationals from different African countries residing in Europe.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/unmasked-23-charged-over-covid-19-business-email-compromise-fraud

RESPONDING TO CHINA’S UNENDING GREY-ZONE PRODDING

On 11 August, a Commentary from RUSI says that China remains hard at work using its innovative grey-zone tactics to further its ceaseless quest for strategic advantage over its neighbours.  Referring to a new report, the Commentary explains that grey-zone activities involve purposefully pursuing political objectives through carefully designed operations; moving cautiously towards objectives rather than seeking decisive results quickly; acting to remain below key escalatory thresholds so as to avoid war; and using all instruments of national power, particularly non-military and non-kinetic tools.

https://rusi.org/explore-our-research/publications/commentary/responding-chinas-unending-grey-zone-prodding

IRISH PROPERTIES SEARCHED IN INTERNATIONAL PROBE INTO PPE SCAM

On 11 August, the Irish Examiner reported that criminals are believed to have defrauded companies in at least 20 countries out of approximately €1 million.  The gang used an online scam to sell Covid-19 protective equipment has been uncovered by authorities in Ireland, Romania and the Netherlands.  The fraud was run by an organised crime group which, prior to the pandemic, was already illegally offering other fictitious products for sale online, such as wooden pellets.

https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/courtandcrime/arid-40357061.html

SAUDI ARABIA: 207 MORE PEOPLE ARRESTED FOR CORRUPTION

On 11 August, Asia News reported that the identity of detained government officials has not been disclosed.  The National Anti-Corruption Commission (aka Nazahaanti) has investigated 460 people in all. Since 2017, the purge campaign of Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman has netted $106 billion in assets.

https://www.asianews.it/news-en/MbS-has-some-207-more-people-arrested-for-corruption-53823.html

UK: WHISTLEBLOWING – UPDATED LIST OF PRESCRIBED PEOPLE AND BODIES

On 10 August, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy published updated information which provides a list of the prescribed persons and bodies who you can make a disclosure to. There is also a brief description about the matters you can report to each prescribed person.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/blowing-the-whistle-list-of-prescribed-people-and-bodies–2/whistleblowing-list-of-prescribed-people-and-bodies

DOMINICA “CONTINUES TO SELL CBI PASSPORTS TO CAREER CRIMINALS, FRAUDSTERS AND THIEVES”

On 11 August, a post from Kenneth Rijock claims that Dominica has sold CBI passports to known criminals who are fugitives from Nigerian justice and who conducted a massive investment fraud in their country, wanted on an INTERPOL warrant, issued by the Nigeria Police Force.

https://rijock.blogspot.com/2021/08/dominica-continues-to-sell-cbi.html

SPANISH POLICE BUST MONTENEGRIN GANG ON CANARY ISLANDS

On 11 August, OCCRP reported that Spanish police on the Canary Islands have arrested 4 suspected members of Montenegro’s notorious Škaljari clan, known as a brutal gang that smuggles cocaine from Latin America to Europe.  Police seized 408 kg of cocaine, nearly €500,000 in cash, a vehicle, a yacht-like boat, 12 encrypted phones, electronic security devices, machine banknote counters and vacuum packers, as well as various tools and documentation related to criminal activities.  The criminal network had established a pipeline for the entry of cocaine to the Canary Islands and they hid the drug in rented luxury residential units.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/14989-spanish-police-bust-montenegrin-gang-on-canary-islands

A QUARTER OF PESTICIDES IN BRAZIL ILLEGALLY SMUGGLED FROM CHINA

On 11 August, Insight Crime reported that Brazilian police are cracking down on a longstanding practice: illegal pesticide smuggling in from China.  Brazilian police have launched a second phase of an operation to break up a criminal network dedicated to pesticide smuggling with ties to China and Paraguay.  Most illegal pesticides smuggled into Brazil are originally sent from China and India to a lesser extent.  They accounted for 24% of all pesticides used in Brazil in 2019. 

https://insightcrime.org/news/china-cheaper-pesticides-continue-illegally-flood-brazil/

MILLION-DOLLAR SEIZURE OF SHARK FINS LEADS TO LENIENT FINE IN ECUADOR

On 11 August, Insight Crime reported that the alleged exporter of a shipment of 26 tons of illegal shark fins from Ecuador to Hong Kong has received a fine of a few thousand dollars, showing how people and companies involved in the trade escape serious penalties.

https://insightcrime.org/news/ecuador-businesses-used-traffic-sharks/

US SHIPPERS BACK LAW CHANGE AS TRANS-PACIFIC FREIGHT COSTS LOOK SET TO BREACH $20,000

On 11 August, Loadstar reported that shipping customers in the US are looking ahead to prevent another series of events bringing unprecedented rate inflation, and accusations by shippers that carriers are exploiting the difficulties caused by the pandemic and profiteering.  There has been a formal complaint to the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC).  It is said that action is expected by the US regulator to limit the astronomical costs being borne by shippers in detention and demurrage (D&D) charges, while Congress is seeking to amend the 1984 Ocean Shipping Act.

https://theloadstar.com/us-shippers-back-change-in-shipping-law-as-transpac-rates-look-set-to-breach-20k/

PODCAST: THE VOLKSWAGEN EMISSIONS SCANDAL: JACK EWING

In the latest TRACE podcast, a repeat from November 2017. Jack Ewing of the New York Times in Frankfurt discusses his book and the outrageous fraud and cover-up uncovered by a handful of WVU students.

https://www.traceinternational.org/resources-podcast

UK: HIGH COURT ASSISTS VICTIMS TO RECOVER ASSETS IN INTERNATIONAL CRYPTOCURRENCY FRAUD CASES

On 11 August, Field Fisher reported that the English High Court has reacted to this new digital landscape with a number of recent welcome developments, with cryptocurrencies to be treated as property and allowing that property freezing injunctions (against “persons unknown”) and disclosure orders can be obtained.  It is said that the key message for victims is that the English High Court has demonstrated a willingness to assist in the recovery of assets in cryptocurrency fraud cases, even where cases fall beyond geographical borders. 

https://www.fieldfisher.com/en/insights/english-high-court-assists-recovery-of-assets-international-cryptocurrency-fraud-cases

CALIFORNIA-BASED MANUFACTURER OF ELECTRONICS TEST AND MEASUREMENT EQUIPMENT/SOFTWARE SETTLEMENT WITH STATE DEPARTMENT OVER EXPORT VIOLATIONS

On 9 August, a news release from the US State Department announced that it had reached an administrative settlement with Keysight Technologies Inc of Santa Rosa, California, to resolve alleged violations of the Arms Export Control Act and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).  The case involved the alleged unauthorised exports of technical software used for testing radar equipment on fixed or mobile platforms.  Keysight will pay a civil penalty of $6,600,000 (with $2,500,000 conditionally suspended) and must hire an outside Special Compliance Officer for a term of 2 years and conduct an external audit to assess and improve its compliance programme.  Previously, in September 2020, Keysight had agreed to pay $473,157 on behalf of its former Finnish subsidiary Anite Finland to settle liability for breaches of Iran sanctions.

https://www.state.gov/u-s-department-of-state-concludes-6-6-million-settlement-of-alleged-export-violations-by-keysight-technologies-inc/

ISLE OF MAN: NOTICE TO IMPORTERS AND EXPORTERS ON NEW TRADE SANCTIONS IMPOSED ON THE REPUBLIC OF BELARUS

On 11 August, the Isle of Man issued a news release confirming the application of recent Notices to Importers and Exporters issued by the UK Department of International Trade.

https://www.gov.im/news/2021/aug/11/notice-to-importers-and-exporters-on-new-trade-sanctions-imposed-on-the-republic-of-belarus/

US: EXEMPTIONS AND AUTHORISATIONS RE TO SUPPORTING THE CUBAN PEOPLE THROUGH THE PROVISION OF CERTAIN INTERNET AND RELATED TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES.

On 11 August, OFAC announced a factsheet highlighting the most relevant exemptions and authorisations pertinent to supporting the Cuban people through the provision of certain internet and related telecommunications services.  It is intended to emphasise the US Government’s commitment to promoting the ability of the Cuban people to seek, receive, and impart information.  While most transactions between persons subject to US jurisdiction and Cuba continue to be prohibited under the US embargo, the US allows for certain activities to support the Cuban people’s access to information on the internet.

https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/126/cuba_fact_sheet_20210811.pdf

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NEW FLAG OF CONVENIENCE COUNTRIES LISTED BY ITF

On 10 August, Insurance Marine News reported that the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has added 7 countries to its list of flags of convenience, defined by the ITF as countries which take registration fees but then typically avoid any of the responsibilities that go with being a flag state.  The new states are Cameroon, Cook Islands, Palau, Sierra Leone, St Kitts & Nevis, Tanzania (Zanzibar) and Togo.

https://www.itfglobal.org/en/news/countries-take-money-and-run-new-foc-countries-listed

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/new-flag-of-convenience-countries-listed-by-itf/

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

CRYPTOCURRENCY CRIME AND AML REPORT

CipherTrace has published this report which says that, by the end of July 2021, major crypto thefts, hacks, and frauds totalled $681 million.  It said that while this number continues to be dwarfed by previous years’ highs, a breakdown of the types of thefts and fraud confirms a trend observed at the beginning of last quarter – involving DeFi.  The proliferation and escalation of ransomware targeting critical infrastructure marks another disturbing trend in 2021. On the regulatory front, the world is set to accelerate the implementation of the cryptocurrency “Travel Rule”. 

https://info.ciphertrace.com/hubfs/CAML%20Reports/Cryptocurrency%20Crime%20and%20Anti-Money%20Laundering%20Report%2c%20August%202021.pdf

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SCOTLAND COULD PURSUE A MONEY LAUNDERING INVESTIGATION INTO TRUMP’S GOLF COURSES

On 11 August, Yahoo News reported that Scotland could pursue an investigation into former President Donald Trump’s Scottish golf courses after a judge heard that there were “real and substantial concerns” about the Trump Organization and its finances.  A judge of the Court of Session in Scotland gave permission for a judicial review to appeal the government’s decision not to pursue the investigation.

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/scotland-could-pursue-money-laundering-112832834.html

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

LEAKED DATA EXPOSES LOOPHOLES IN KENYA’S PROCUREMENT PROCESS, ENABLING GRAFT

On 11 August, OCCRP reported that Kenyans are used to seeing procurement scandals in the news, stories about billions in public funds paid to ghost companies for goods and services that never materialize. But they rarely learn who is behind the schemes, or why they’re so common.  Now, however, Africa Uncensored acquired a leak of 25,727 public procurement records that spanned nearly 4 years and 8 government agencies.  It has identified companies linked to public officials, while seeking to understand the systemic loopholes that enable endemic fraud and embezzlement in Kenya.  It says that procurement contracts are now “commonly referred to in Kenya as ‘budgeted corruption’. 

https://www.occrp.org/en/37-ccblog/ccblog/14986-the-cost-of-kenya-s-budgeted-corruption

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FATF UPDATED CONSOLIDATED SCHEDULE OF AML/CFT ASSESSMENTS

On 11 August, FATF published an updated schedule of all AML/CFT assessments to date, following the publication of the follow-up report on Thailand.

http://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/4th-Round-Ratings.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

FATF AML/CFT FOLLOW-UP REPORT FOR THAILAND

On 11 August, FATF published the second follow-up report on Thailand.  It is said that, overall, Thailand has made good progress in addressing the technical compliance deficiencies identified in its mutual evaluation report (MER) of December 2017.  FATF Recommendations 13, 16, 19 and 20 have been re-rated form Partially Compliant to Largely Compliant.  Thailand has also made progress on FATF Recommendations that were amended after the adoption of its MER in 2017 and has been re-rated to Compliant on Recommendation 2 and rated Largely Compliant on Recommendation 21.  Thailand new has 31 Recommendations rated C or LC, but will remain in enhanced follow-up, and will continue to report back to FATF-style regional body APG on progress to strengthen its implementation of AML/CFT measures, with a third progress report due 1 February.

http://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/reports/fur/APG-Follow-Up-Report-Thailand-2021.pdf

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FORMER CHIEF OF THE US DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (USDA) OFFICE OF HOMELAND SECURITY AND EMERGENCY COORDINATION, PHYSICAL SECURITY DIVISION SENTENCED FOR ACCEPTING BRIBES

On 10 August, a news release from US DoJ advised that Richard Holman, 69, had pleaded guilty in May to bribery.  In 2013-15, Holman and other USDA officials received Corvette wheels, concert tickets, PGA tour tickets, meals, alcohol, strip clubs, parking, concierge medical services, prescription drugs, and other cash tips.  Holman accepted bribes in exchange for ensuring the awarding of USDA contracts.

https://www.justice.gov/usao-dc/pr/former-usda-official-sentenced-bribery-caseformer-usda-official-sentenced-bribery

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BRITAIN’S MOST WANTED WOMAN LAUNDERED £1 BILLION AND DISAPPEARED INTO THIN AIR

On 11 August, an article from Vice reported that Sarah Panitzke, 47, was a well-off expat living in Spain when she became embroiled in a criminal enterprise worth £1 billion.  She has been on the run for 8 years, after laundering approximately £1 billion of illicit money from a large-scale VAT carousel fraud operation through offshore bank accounts. She has been named the most wanted woman in Britain for the past 6 consecutive years.

https://www.vice.com/en/article/4avpqm/britains-most-wanted-woman-laundered-pound1-billion-and-disappeared-into-thin-air

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – AUGUST 10

Panama Covid-19 update – the Minister of Health is reported to have said that Christmas celebrations, the Carnival (in February and face-to-face classes depend on whether herd immunity is achieved in November. it should also have been a big tourist boom from late 2021, with the country marking 200 years of independence from Spain (though independence from Colombia had to wait another 100 years or so). However, an epidemiologist in the UK has been quoted as saying that her immunity is a “myth” in the wake of the Delta variant.

Meanwhile, some good news here, as the Rt infection rate has dropped from 1.0 last week to 0.91. Nonetheless, another 900 new cases have been reported and 4 more fatalities, with there now being 11,006 active cases, of which 119 are in ICU (a rise of 14) and 423 in other wards (a drop of 19).

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

10 AUGUST 2021

ACCOUNTANT CHARGED WITH MONEY LAUNDERING AFTER €1.2 MILLION ‘SYPHONED’ FROM DUBLIN FINANCIAL SERVICES FIRM

On 9 August, the Irish Independent reported that Vipul Dhoot, 35, an accountant and his brother have been charged with theft and money laundering after almost €1.2 million in fictitious expenses was “syphoned” from a financial services firm in Dublin.

https://www.independent.ie/news/accountant-and-his-brother-charged-with-theft-and-money-laundering-after-almost-12m-syphoned-from-a-financial-services-firm-in-dublin-40733479.html

SWISS BANK CBH EMBROILED IN AKHMETZHAN YESSIMOV MONEY LAUNDERING SCANDAL

On 9 August, Dispatch Weekly reported that Swiss private bank Compangnie Bancaire Helventique (CBH) is said to have been holding accounts for offshore companies that are allegedly linked to a senior Kazakh politician, Akhmetzhan Yessimov.  In April, a complaint alleged that over $300 million of suspicious transactions involved bank accounts at CBH.

https://dispatchweekly.com/2021/08/swiss-bank-cbh-embroiled-in-akhmetzhan-yessimov-money-laundering-scandal/

TURKISH AUTHORITIES DETAIN 76 SUSPECTS, CONFISCATES 4,122 ARTEFACTS

On 10 August, Newstrack reported that Turkish authorities have detained 76 suspects and captured 4,122 historical artefacts in an anti-smuggling operations.  It is said that simultaneous operations have been carried out at 108 addresses in 30 provinces across Turkey and with raids carried out at several addresses in Turkey, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Serbia. 

https://english.newstracklive.com/news/turkish-authorities-detain-76-suspects-confiscates–4122-artefacts-sc57-nu318-ta318-1175904-1.html

PRIME MINISTER OF PERU ACCUSED OF MONEY LAUNDERING

On 10 August, the Free News and others reported that the Prime Minister of Peru, Guido Bellido Ugarte, became a person involved in a criminal case involving the illegal financing of the election campaign of the ruling Free Peru party. 

https://freenews.live/the-prime-minister-of-peru-was-accused-of-money-laundering/

UK: HOME OFFICE TO RESEARCH FINANCIAL CRIME LINKED TO ILLEGAL WILDLIFE TRADE

On 10 August, Police Professional reported that the Home Office has commissioned a project to assess the UK’s performance on tackling financial crime related to illegal wildlife trade ahead of the G7 Interior Ministers’ Meeting being hosted by the Home Secretary in September.  The research is being conducted by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).  RUSI will present its findings at the G7 meeting and publish a full report with UK-specific recommendations in October.

https://www.policeprofessional.com/news/home-office-to-research-financial-crime-linked-to-illegal-wildlife-trade/

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

REPORT: HONG KONG IVORY BAN COMES INTO FORCE AT END OF 2021

On 10 August, the NGO TRAFFIC has produced a a report that acknowledges progress in Hong Kong, but urges tighter regulation on privately-owned ivory stocks, antique ivory and licensing to prevent these products from entering illicit markets.  It claims that at least 39,000 ivory items were still in circulation within Hong Kong in 2019, and that commercial ivory stocks registered with the government in Hong Kong have declined to a total weight of approximately 51 tonnes.  TRAFFIC recommends that traders should be required to update stock levels with monthly transaction records with the authorities, and says that there remains a potential blind spot for ivory to be smuggled out of Hong Kong – as antique ivory will also be exempt from the ban and will not require a licence to import, re-export or possess for commercial purposes.

https://www.traffic.org/site/assets/files/15265/ebbing_away_hong_kong_ivory_trade.pdf

UK: CO-FOUNDER OF BATTERY PLANT STEPS DOWN AFTER TAX FRAUD CONVICTION COMES TO LIGHT

On 10 August, the Sunderland Echo reported that Lars Carlstrom, 55, of Britishvolt, the co-founder and chairman of the company planning to build the UK’s first gigafactory in the north-east of England has quit after it emerged he was convicted for tax fraud in Sweden more than 20 years ago.  The Swede also has links to Russian businessman Vladimir Antonov, the former Portsmouth FC owner who skipped bail 5 years ago.

https://www.sunderlandecho.com/business/co-founder-of-firm-behind-8000-jobs-north-east-battery-plant-steps-down-after-tax-fraud-conviction-comes-to-light-3069440

IRELAND: FOREIGN MULTINATIONALS ACCOUNTED FOR 82% OF CORPORATE TAX RECEIPTS LAST YEAR

On 10 August, the Irish Times reported that the Department of Finance warns that the State’s “potential over-reliance” on business tax receipts poses a “significant risk” to the public finances.  The Finance Minister has also provided the latest projections of how Ireland’s tax receipts will be impacted by changes to global tax policy, and that Ireland’s corporate tax revenue will face a significant decline in the coming years.

https://www.irishtimes.com/business/economy/foreign-multinationals-accounted-for-82-of-corporate-tax-receipts-last-year-1.4643758

https://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/finance-minister-predicts-decline-in-irish-corporate-tax-revenue-1169520.html

OneCoin PYRAMID PROMOTERS ARRESTED IN ITALY FOR FRAUD

On 10 August, Atoz reported that 14 promoters of the OneCoin Ponzi scheme who were accused of aggravated fraud have been arrested by the police in Italy.

https://atozmarkets.com/news/onecoin-pyramid-promoters-arrested-in-italy-for-fraud

SAUDI ARABIA: SEVERAL MINISTRY OFFICIALS AMONG 207 ARRESTED OVER CORRUPTION CHARGES

On 10 August, the Saudi Gazette reported that Saudi Arabia’s Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority (Nazaha) have arrested a total of 207 Saudis and expatriates for their alleged involvement in corruption.  They several officials and employees from the Ministries of Defense; Interior; National Guard; Health; Justice; Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing; Environment, Water, Agriculture; Education; Commerce; Human Resources and Social Development; and Media.

https://saudigazette.com.sa/article/609653/SAUDI-ARABIA/Several-ministry-officials-among-207-arrested-over-corruption-charges

UK NOTICES TO IMPORTERS AND EXPORTERS: BELARUS

On 9 and 10 August, the Department for International Trade published 2 Notices.  Notice to Exporters 2021/09 concerned with new trade sanctions measures imposed on Belarus following amendments to the UK’s Belarus Sanctions Regulations.  Notice to Importers 2952 is concerned with import prohibitions in force on certain goods originating or consigned from Belarus imported into the UK, including Northern Ireland.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/notice-to-exporters-202109-new-uk-trade-sanctions-on-belarus/nte-202109-new-uk-trade-sanctions-imposed-on-the-republic-of-belarus

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/notice-to-importers-2952-belarus-import-sanctions/nti-2952-republic-of-belarus-import-sanctions

US: IMPORT DETENTION ORDER TARGETS SEAFOOD FROM FIJIAN VESSEL

On 10 August, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reported that US Customs and Border Protection has issued a new withhold release order (WRO) that requires the detention at all US ports of entry of tuna and other seafood harvested by the Hangton No. 112, a Fijian-flagged and -owned fishing vessel, based on information that reasonably indicates the use of forced labour in the vessel’s fishing operations.

https://www.strtrade.com/trade-news-resources/str-trade-report/trade-report/august/import-detention-order-targets-seafood-from-fijian-vessel

UN: GLOBAL RESPONSE NEEDED TO COUNTER RISING SECURITY THREATS AT SEA

On 10 August, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime reported on a UN Security Council High Level Virtual Open Debate with the theme ‘Enhancing Maritime Security: A Case for International Cooperation’.  It is said that incidents in Asia have nearly doubled, while West Africa, the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, and the South China Sea, were the most affected areas; and that “unprecedented” levels of insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea, and more recently in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea, were also particularly concerning.

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/frontpage/2021/August/global-response-needed-to-counter-rising-security-threats-at-sea.html

UK: THE FUTURE OF ACTION FRAUD

On 10 August, an article from Eversheds Sutherland is concerned with Action Fraud – the national reporting centre for consumers or businesses to report that they have been defrauded or scammed. The service is run by the City of London Police alongside the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau.  Action Fraud also regularly publishes warnings and statistics on its website.  The City of London Police has clarified that Action Fraud is not being scrapped, but it is in the “process of procuring a new fraud and cybercrime reporting and analysis service”.  The article looks at the plans to do and the wider implications.

https://www.eversheds-sutherland.com/global/en/what/articles/index.page?ArticleID=en/Fraud_and_financial_crime/Action_Fraud

AFRICA – NEW PLAYGROUND FOR CRYPTO SCAMS AND MONEY LAUNDERING

On 9 August, All Africa reported that the continent’s crypto market is still comparatively small, but the options for fraudsters and cyber criminals abound.  The world’s biggest crypto scam in 2020 was perpetrated in South Africa by Mirror Trading International, and in April 2021, South Africa was again in the news with an even bigger crypto hack.  However, the article warns that the expansion of crypto currency markets in Africa, coupled with a growing digital skills pool and transnational organised criminal networks, present the perfect breeding ground for crypto laundering to flourish.  It says that the problem should be tackled now to prevent Africa from becoming the next playground for crypto criminals.

https://allafrica.com/stories/202108100118.html

MEXICO’S LAWSUIT ATTEMPTS TO HALT ILLEGAL ARMS TRAFFICKING FROM US TO MEXICAN CARTELS

On 9 August, OCCRP reported that Mexican officials have sued Smith & Wesson, Beretta, Century Arms, Colt, Glock, Ruger, Barrett and Boston-based gun wholesaler Interstate Arms for negligence in an attempt to halt the ‘iron river’ of guns that flow from the US every year and end up in the hands of criminals and cartels.  The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court of Massachusetts, since the companies being sued each do significant business there.  it is said that the gunmakers are facing up to $10 billion in damages.  The Mexican government is arguing that ​​the gun manufacturers, motivated by profit, design, market and sell guns in ways they know will make them end up in the criminal market — neglecting to implement additional safety or monitoring measures even when they’re aware of the frequency of illegal arms trafficking across the border.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/14977-new-lawsuit-launched-by-mexico-attempts-to-halt-illegal-arms-trafficking-from-u-s-to-mexican-cartels

PRESIDENT ZELENSKY WAGES WAR ON UKRAINE’S OLIGARCHS

On 10 August, the Carnegie Center reported that the President’s battle against the influence of Ukraine’s oligarchs may not be as hopeless as it might first seem.  Having seen his ratings take a hit at the beginning of the year, Zelensky embarked on several drastic measures against his opponents at home.  The government presented its actions not only as targeting the Russian threat, but also as part of the battle against the sway of the oligarchs over politics.  It is said to be working on “deoligarchization” – with a new law which provides the first legal definition of an oligarch: a major monopolist with a fortune of over $80 million and influence over politics and the media.

https://carnegie.ru/commentary/85128

US WHITE-COLLAR CRIME PROSECUTIONS CONTINUE 20-YEAR DECLINE

On 10 August, the Crime Report carried a piece saying that white-collar crime prosecutions are continuing their two-decade decline in 2021, plummeting from 9,507 prosecutions in 2001 to a projected 4,727 prosecutions in 2021.  A data analysis organisation, estimates that the number of 2021 prosecutions will total 4,727 by the year’s end — an 11% increase since the pandemic’s height, when COVID-19 “temporarily depressed prosecution levels”. 

https://thecrimereport.org/2021/08/10/white-collar-crime-prosecutions-continue-to-decline/

The report on which the article is based is available at –

https://trac.syr.edu/tracreports/crim/655/ https://www.visualcapitalist.com/mapped-u-s-oil-production-by-state/

FinCEN ANNOUNCES $100 MILLION ENFORCEMENT ACTION AGAINST UNREGISTERED FUTURES COMMISSION MERCHANT BitMEX

A news release from FinCEN on 10 August announced that it has assessed a civil penalty of $100 million against BitMEX, one of the oldest and largest convertible virtual currency derivatives exchanges, for violations of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and FinCEN’s implementing regulations.  It operated as an unregistered futures commission merchant (FCM) and provided money transmission services, and willfully failed to comply with its obligations under the BSA.  FinCEN’s action is part of a global settlement with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

https://www.fincen.gov/news/news-releases/fincen-announces-100-million-enforcement-action-against-unregistered-futures

https://www.visualcapitalist.com/mapped-u-s-oil-production-by-state/

CHINESE BROKER LAUNDERED LATIN AMERICAN DRUG MONEY AROUND THE WORLD

On 10 August, Insight Crime reported that a Chinese businessman laundered tens of millions of dollars in drug money through a Guatemalan casino, a US seafood export company, Miami banks, and Chinese bank accounts, in a case that reveals the wide reach of such money laundering networks.  Xizhi Li, a Chinese national with US citizenship, has pleaded guilty to charges in the US.

https://insightcrime.org/news/chinese-money-laundering-networks-expand-profit-latin-america

MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO FRAUD AFTER ATTEMPTING TO SELL $65 MILLION OF NON-EXISTENT COVID PPE

On 10 August, Newsweek reported that Christopher Parris, 41, a New York native who now lives in Georgia, faces 30 years in prison for wire fraud.  Parris offered to sell non-existent PPE supplies to various medical companies and government entities.

https://www.newsweek.com/man-pleads-guilty-fraud-after-attempting-sell-65-million-non-existent-covid-ppe-1618101

OFFICIAL IN RUSSIA’S CHUVASHIA REGION CONVICTED OF FORGERY LINKED TO CHINESE INVESTMENT PROJECT

On 10 August, Rferl reported that Maksim Medvedev was found guilty of forging documents related to public discussions that never occurred to allocate the lands in 2019 to the Sichuan-Chuvashia Chinese-Russian agricultural joint venture.  In the recent years, residents of Chuvashia have staged numerous rallies protesting Chinese companies’ involvement in the economic development of the region, accusing local authorities of corruption related to such Chinese projects.

https://www.rferl.org/a/chuvashia-official-forgery-chinese/31403000.html

US CENTRAL COMMAND (CENTCOM) IDENTIFIES IRANIAN LONG-RANGE DELTA-WING UAV USED IN TANKER ATTACK

On 9 August, Janes.com reported that CENTCOM had released a statement identifying the UAV that was used to attack the tanker Mercer Street off the coast of Oman on 30 July as the same type that was used against Saudi Arabia in 2019 and has been supplied by Iran to the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news-detail/centcom-identifies-iranian-delta-wing-uav-used-in-tanker-attack

NEW ZEALAND: FORMAL AML/CFT WARNING ISSUED TO WESTPAC BANK

On 10 August, Scoop reported that the Reserve Bank of New Zealand has issued a formal warning to the New Zealand branch of Westpac Banking Corporation (WBC) for failing to report prescribed transactions as required by the AML/CFT Act.  It is said to have designed and configured its prescribed transaction reporting (PTR) systems in a way that failed to detect and report all eligible international wire transfers, resulting in it failing to report almost 8,000 corporate transactions to overseas recipients between July 2018 and February 2019.

https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU2108/S00197/formal-amlcft-warning-issued-to-westpac-banking-corporation.htm

PATHS TO OPTIMISE ASSETS RECOVERY IN THE EU

A Paper from the European Public Prosecutor Office says that organised crime represents one of the most serious threats to the EU Area of Freedom, Security and Justice, pressing the national authorities.  It goes on to say that although it is recognised that one of the best strategies to counter organised crime is to enhance financial investigation and asset recovery mechanisms – it has been reported that merely 1% of the proceeds of crime are confiscated.  Aware of the legal and institutional gaps in the EU and national levels, and acting as truly multinational enterprises, organised crime groups are said to be expanding their activities and enhancing their influence in almost all segments of the market.  The Paper is the result of an analysis related to organised crime characteristics and the legislation aimed to recover their illegal profits in the EU, offering potential solutions to improve asset recovery.

https://media-exp1.licdn.com/dms/document/C4D1FAQGWxd0C69E71Q/feedshare-document-pdf-analyzed/0/1628503486680?e=1628719200&v=beta&t=r68tl13kHcp9ujBu_bbXKwqLsNFYUv83DJRpgp_igcQ

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