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

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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