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

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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