OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – AUGUST 12

Note – off on wanderings again tomorrow, another staycation with possible uncertain wi-fi…normal service will be resumed as soon as possible…

Panama Covid-19 update – with the continuing effects of the pandemic, although (if you ignore the face masks, digital thermometers and hand cleanser) you could be forgiven that things were almost back to normal, it is reported that for Panama hotels, with 32,000 available rooms available, only occupancy rates between January and July were only 7%, when the optimum level should be 60%.

Meanwhile, today the daily statistics continue to show a downward trend (although ICU numbers are more or less unchanged), with 956 new cases and 8 new fatalities. There are now 10,964 active cases, with 118 in ICU and 411 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

12 AUGUST 2021

MALAYSIA: TANKER STOPPED FOR ATTEMPTING ILLEGAL SHIP-TO-SHIP FUEL TRANSFER

On 9 August, Dryad Global reported that the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) stopped a tanker, registered in Belize, for attempting an illegal ship-to-ship fuel transfer.  The receiving ship is under MMEA seizure pending a trial.

https://channel16.dryadglobal.com/tanker-stopped-for-attempting-illegal-ship-to-ship-fuel-transfer

WHY NIGERIA QUIT MARITIME ORGANISATION

On 10 August, Dryad Global reported on why Nigeria left the Maritime Organisation for West and Central Africa (MOWCA) where it was an active member for 46 years.  MOWCA had 25 member states in West and Central Africa, and was set up to serve as the body for handling regional maritime matters.  The implications of Nigeria leaving the organisation include an effect on the establishment of the proposed regional maritime bank and reduce regional collaboration on maritime safety and security.

https://channel16.dryadglobal.com/why-nigeria-quit-maritime-organisation

US IMPOSES EXPORT RESTRICTIONS ON 4 PERSONS

On 12 August, the EU Sanctions blog reported that the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has issued orders denying export privileges against 4 persons who were all individually convicted of export control violations related to defence articles in 2019.  All but 1 was denied export privileges for 10 years from the date of their convictions, with the other denied privileges for 3 years.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2021/08/bis-imposes-export-bans-on-4-people/

INDIA RAIDS BANNED RELIGIOUS ORGANISATION IN ALLEGED TERRORISM FUNDING CASE

On 8 August, Reuters reported that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) said it had conducted raids at nearly 5 dozen places linked to banned religious organisation Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) in Jammu and Kashmir in an alleged terrorism funding case.  India accuses Jel of supporting militancy in Indian-controlled Kashmir. 

https://www.reuters.com/world/india/india-raids-banned-religious-organisation-alleged-terrorism-funding-case-2021-08-08/

MAJORCA: ALGERIAN HEAD OF TERRORISM FINANCING ORGANISATION ARRESTED

On 5 August, the Majorca Bulletin reported that the man is allegedly the head of a human trafficking organisation and has been involved with the movement of combatants from Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia to areas controlled by jihadist factions in Libya, groups that he is believed to have been funding using from human trafficking.

https://www.majorcadailybulletin.com/news/local/2021/08/05/87787/head-terrorism-financing-organisation-arrested-mallorca.html

IRELAND: ORGANISED CRIME GANG INVOLVED IN RENTAL SCAMS

On 11 August, the Irish Independent reported that senior gardaí say organised crime gangs are involved in rental scams which have led to almost €1 million being stolen from unsuspecting victims since February 2019.  Operation Omena was set up to tackle them.  Officers from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) have identified a gang from the Romanian city of Ramnicu Valcea which has been nicknamed ‘Hackerville’.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/crime/hackerville-organised-crime-gang-involved-in-rental-scams-say-gardai-40737180.html

MIAMI: VENEZUELAN BUSINESSMAN ACCUSED OF STEALING A FORTUNE FROM FOREIGN GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS

On 12 August, KYC 360 reported that Naman Wakil was born in Syria before immigrating to Venezuela and later settling in Miami.  He must secure a $50 million bond for release from custody.  He is accused of paying bribes to obtain hundreds of millions of dollars in food and oil contracts from the Venezuelan government and then diverting some of the tainted proceeds into Miami-Dade’s luxury real estate market.  The total value of his purchases is at least $50 million, according to court documents. 

https://kyc360.riskscreen.com/news/venezuelans-bond-21-million-in-swiss-account-plane-yacht-lots-of-miami-condos/

DAC 6 – THE EU MANDATORY TAX DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENT

On 10 August, an article from Grant Thornton explained that the EU Mandatory Disclosure Directive reporting rules came into effect in July 2020, but due to the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic the reporting deadline was deferred until January 2021.  The first reports are due by the end of January.DAC 6 applies to cross-border tax arrangements which meet one or more specified characteristics and concern either more than one EU country or an EU country and a non-EU country. Subsequently, all tax authorities across the EU will exchange the received reportable disclosures amongst one another on a quarterly basis.  First reports are due by 31 January. 

https://www.mondaq.com/ireland/tax-authorities/1099312/dac-6–the-eu-mandatory-disclosure-requirement

CAYMAN ISLANDS PROCEEDS OF CRIME ACT (2020 REVISION): SEARCH AND SEIZURE WARRANTS

On 10 August, an article from McGrath Tonner published a short guide, which forms part of the firm’s financial crime and AML series, focusses on search and seizure warrants.

https://www.mondaq.com/caymanislands/crime/1100506/cayman-islands-proceeds-of-crime-act-2020-revision-search-and-seizure-warrants

https://mcgrathtonner.com/client-advisories/

MEMBERS OF US CONGRESS EXPRESS CONCERN ABOUT TURKEY’S DRONE PROGRAMME

On 12 August, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported that 27 members of the US Congress have voiced concern over Turkey’s UAV programme in a letter sent to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, claiming that the programme has destabilised multiple regions of the globe and threatens US interests, allies and partners.

https://stockholmcf.org/members-of-us-congress-express-concern-about-turkeys-drone-program/

SWITZERLAND SLAPS ADDITIONAL SANCTIONS ON BELARUS

On 12 August, Swissinfo reported that new sanctions include those which restrict trade in dual-use goods and technologies, various petroleum and potassium chloride (potash) products, and goods used for the production or processing of tobacco products; as well as restrictions on the issuance of and trading in certain financial instruments, the provision of loans and insurance or reinsurance services to the Belarusian government, public bodies and agencies; and sanctions were also placed on Belaeronavigatsia, the state-owned provider of air navigation services.

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/switzerland-slaps-additional-sanctions-on-belarus/46862306

INDIA: ASSAM FOREST DEPARTMENT EMPLOYEE HELD FOR SMUGGLING RHINO HORNS

On 12 August, Devdiscourse reported that 2 persons, including an employee of the Assam forest department, have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the smuggling of rhino horns.

https://www.devdiscourse.com/article/law-order/1690528-assam-forest-dept-employee-held-for-smuggling-rhino-horns

TUNISIA: CURRENCY SMUGGLING SPARKS CORRUPTION DEBATE

On 12 August, the Middle East Monitor reported that reports about a judge in Tunisia being implicated in smuggling €1.5 million has sparked controversy and a debate about corruption in the country, and authorities arrested the judge.  It was then discovered that the judge had been involved in a network smuggling foreign currency into Libya and the Supreme Council of Justice has lifted the judge’s immunity and has been suspended from work. 

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20210812-tunisia-currency-smuggling-sparks-corruption-debate/

UK: LANDMARK SENTENCING GUIDELINES ISSUED FOR MODERN SLAVERY

On 12 August, the Law Society Gazette reported that new sentencing guidelines for modern slavery offences could result in tougher punishments being handed down as it emerged that courts may have been inconsistent in their approach.  Human trafficking offences include recruiting, harbouring, receiving or transferring people across borders, as well as county lines trafficking and sexual assault.  Under the new guidelines, offenders could face 18 years imprisonment.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/law/landmark-sentencing-guidelines-issued-for-modern-slavery/5109519.article

IMAGE RIGHTS IN SPORT – THE STATE OF PLAY

On 12 August, an article from CMS Law  examines what is meant by “image rights” in the UK and how a combination of intellectual property and other legal rights may be used by athletes to challenge the use and commercialisation of their image and likeness, particularly where the athlete feels they are not getting their fair share of remuneration for that usage.

https://www.cms-lawnow.com/ealerts/2021/08/the-future-of-sports-data-image-rights-in-sport-the-state-of-play

WAREHOUSES: THE LATEST BOOM IN THE UK REAL ESTATE SECTOR

On 12 August, The Guardian reported that the UK is in the midst of a record-breaking boom in the construction of cavernous sheds to support the soaring growth of online shopping during the pandemic, with floorspace more than twice the size of Hyde Park due to be built this year.  Investment in UK warehouses totalled a record £6 billion in the first half of 2021, more than double the £2.7 billion recorded in the same period last year, and 54% higher than the previous record in 2018.  Overseas investors from the rest of Europe, the US, Korea and China accounted for more than half of the total.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/aug/12/warehouses-the-latest-boom-in-the-uk-real-estate-sector

SUDANESE AUTHORITIES ARE TO HAND FORMER DICTATOR OMAR BASHIR AND OTHERS OVER TO THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT

On 12 August, Eurasia Review reported that Sudanese authorities are to hand former dictator Omar Bashir, 77, over to the International Criminal Court, where he faces charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.  He was ousted by the military and detained in April 2019 after 4 months of mass nationwide protests.  Last year, alleged senior Janjaweed militia leader Ali Muhammad Ali Abd Al-Rahman, also known by the nom de guerre Ali Kushayb, surrendered to the court, where he faces charges of murder, rape and torture.

https://www.eurasiareview.com/12082021-sudan-to-hand-bashir-other-officials-wanted-for-darfur-war-crimes-to-icc-for-trial/

THE NEXT GENERATION OF CRIMINAL GROUPS DRIVING VIOLENCE IN MEXICO

On 12 August, Insight Crime carried an article saying that many of the country’s largest criminal groups have been unable to stay united due to internal strife, incursions from rivals or the arrests and killings of key leaders- and so smaller, hyper-violent and localised groups have become real national security threats.

https://insightcrime.org/news/next-generation-criminal-groups-violence-mexico/

CLOSED BORDERS HELP ARGENTINA MAKE RECORD COCA LEAF SEIZURES

On 11 August, Insight Crime reported that authorities in Argentina are seizing bumper crops of coca leaves coming over the country’s northwest border with Bolivia.  Ongoing border controls in Argentina and Bolivia to prevent the spread of new COVID-19 variants have led to an increase in seizures of coca commonly smuggled over the border and sold for consumption.

https://insightcrime.org/news/closed-borders-increase-coca-seizures-argentina/

CHINESE SOCIAL MEDIA GIANT WEIBO’S EX-PR DIRECTOR ARRESTED ON BRIBERY CHARGE

On 12 August, City AM reported that Mao Taotao, former senior public relations director at Weibo – part-owned by e-commerce giant Alibaba Groups, was detained by police on suspicion of accepting bribes and committing fraud.  Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, has recently been under fire in the wake of a scandal involving Chinese-Canadian pop star Kris Wu.

https://www.cityam.com/chinese-social-media-giant-weibos-ex-pr-director-arrested-on-bribery-charge/

A WORLD OF CRYPTO REGULATION AT A GLANCE

On 11 August, Elliptic published a brief summary comparing regulation in 2015 to that in 2021.

https://www.elliptic.co/blog/a-world-of-crypto-regulation-at-a-glance

THE WAGNER GROUP IN LIBYA AND A LOST TABLET

In a further article from the BBC about the involvement of the Russian mercenary group in Libya, after the BBC gained exclusive access to an electronic tablet left behind on a battlefield in Libya by a Wagner fighter, giving an unprecedented insight into how its operatives work.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/extra/8iaz6xit26/the-lost-tablet-and-the-secret-documents

THE IMPACT OF FATF GREY-LISTING ON CAPITAL FLOWS

On 27 May, a Working Paper from the IMF looks at how much FATF grey-listing affects a country’s capital flows and estimates the magnitude of the effect using an inferential machine learning technique. It finds that grey-listing results in a large and statistically significant reduction in capital inflows.  At the time of the study there were 19 countries on the grey list — Albania, Barbados, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cayman Islands, Ghana, Jamaica, Mauritius, Morocco, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Senegal, Syria, Uganda, Yemen, and Zimbabwe

https://www.imf.org/-/media/Files/Publications/WP/2021/English/wpiea2021153-print-pdf.ashx

US: RANSOMWARE PAYMENTS AND THE LAW

An article in lawfare on 11 August considered options for combating ransomware by preventing ransomware payments, saying that various proposals have been proposed, including the regulation of cryptocurrencies, the means by which most ransoms get paid.  It says that another approach has emerged as well: the banning of ransomware payments.  It looks at the current landscape for companies and organisations facing a demand for ransomware payments — and the debate over whether the current rules are adequate – and arguing that some ransomware payments are almost certainly already illegal.  It points out that US law already prohibits demands for coercive payments such as extortion, ransom and bribery, and payments to sanctioned individuals and entities would also be illegal.  It goes on to suggest reforms.

https://www.lawfareblog.com/ransomware-payments-and-law

ISLE OF MAN: BELARUS, SYRIAN AND GLOBAL MAGNITSKY SANCTIONS NOTICES

On 11 August, the Isle of Man issued 3 news releases advising that it was following the UK in –

  • Notifying amendment of 4 entries on the Belarus sanctions list – Mikhail Safarbekovich GUTSERIEV, Alexander Grigorievich LUKASHENKO, Viktor Aliaksandravich LUKASHENKO, and Igor Petrovich SERGEENKO;
  • Tarif AKHRAS had been removed from the Syrian sanctions list; and
  • 2 entries in the Global Human Rights sanctions list had been amended, i.e. those for Alvaro Enrique PULIDO VARGAS and Alex Nain SAAB MORAN

https://www.gov.im/news/2021/aug/12/financial-sanctions-belarus/

https://www.gov.im/news/2021/aug/12/financial-sanctions-syria/

https://www.gov.im/news/2021/aug/12/financial-sanctions-global-anti-corruption-sanctions-regime/

CRACKDOWN ON ILLICIT HEALTH PRODUCTS IDENTIFIES 179 SUSPECTS IN SOUTHERN AFRICA

On 9 August, Homeland Security Today reported an INTERPOL release saying that an operation across Southern Africa supported by INTERPOL against the trafficking of illicit health products and other goods has led to the identification of 179 suspects and to the seizure of products worth some $3.5 million.  More than 4,000 inspections carried out at warehouses, storerooms, pharmacies and other premises in rural areas, triggering more than 300 investigations across the 10 participating countries. 

https://www.hstoday.us/subject-matter-areas/customs-immigration/crackdown-on-illicit-health-products-identifies-179-suspects-in-southern-africa/

https://www.interpol.int/en/News-and-Events/News/2021/Crackdown-on-illicit-health-and-counterfeit-products-identifies-179-suspects-in-Southern-Africa

NETHERLANDS: INCREASED MONITORING OF IMPORT DECLARATIONS BY DUTCH CUSTOMS

On 12 August, KPMG reported that Dutch Customs authorities in late July 2021 announced that the monitoring activities for imports in certain sectors will be increased.  Several specific items were mentioned, but KPMG comments that other elements of the import declarations may also be subject to additional scrutiny.  The types of goods specifically mentioned were clothing and shoes, biodiesel, e-commerce and e-bikes.

https://home.kpmg/us/en/home/insights/2021/08/tnf-netherlands-increased-monitoring-of-import-declarations-by-dutch-customs.html

KLEPTOCRATS: 10 STEPS TO COMBAT THE MEGA-CORRUPTION THAT SAPS NATIONAL WEALTH AND SMOTHERS DEMOCRACY

The Summer 2021 edition of the Hoover Institute’s “Hoover Digest” include this article which says that fighting kleptocracy means closing the loopholes that allow funds to be illicitly transferred, hidden, and used; and that a new anti-corruption court could pursue reforms in countries where the rule of law is weak.  However, it concedes that the most important condition for fighting kleptocracy is political will.  It proposes 10 steps for the US that comprise –

  • Ending anonymous shell companies;
  • Ending anonymous real estate purchases;
  • Modernising and strengthening the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA);
  • Strengthening prohibitions and monitoring of political contributions by foreign actors;
  • Banning former US officials and members of Congress from lobbying for or representing foreign governments;
  • Modernising the AML system;
  • Increasing the resources that the US and other rule-of-law states devote to monitoring, investigating, and prosecuting grand corruption and money laundering;
  • Strengthening cooperation among democracies in fighting kleptocracy and ending “golden visas”;
  • Raising public awareness about kleptocracy in Russia and other offending states; and
  • Increasing international support for investigative journalism, NGO, and official institutions working to monitor and control corruption around the world.

https://resources.hoover.org/hoover-digest-su2021-hf/

ITAR BROKERING ACTIVITIES

On 12 August, an article from Michael Volkov attempted to demystify arms brokers under US law, specifically the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).  ITAR requires certain persons engaged in “brokering activities” to register with, and pay a fee to, the US Department of State Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC).  The article looks at the definition of a broker and brokering activities.  Persons subject to registration under the relevant Part of ITAR are required to register annually by submitting a completed statement of registration and paying the applicable fee.  It notes that while DDTC has specifically exempted activities by attorneys, consultants, and other trade professionals “that do not extend beyond the provision of legal or consulting advice to clients on ITAR compliance” from the definition of brokering activities, the same guidance provided via FAQ in relation to brokering registration, the DDTC noted that there may be circumstances where such professionals are required to register.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/itar-brokering-activities-demystified-3104632/

UKRAINE SHUTS DOWN MONEY LAUNDERING CRYPTOCURRENCY EXCHANGES

On 12 August, Bleeping Computer website reported that the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has taken down a network of cryptocurrency exchanges used to anonymise transactions since the beginning of 2021.

https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/ukraine-shuts-down-money-laundering-cryptocurrency-exchanges/

NFT ARE A MONEY LAUNDERING SCHEME FOR RICH PEOPLE, SAYS CRYPTO ANALYST

On 12 August, an article on Bitcoinist reported that a popular crypto analyst has claimed that non-fungible tokens (NFT) are simply a way for rich people to move illegally gotten money through a channel that makes it look legal.  He has pointed out that the subjectivity of art is what makes it so easy to move money through NFT – as it is with “real” artworks. While one person could find a piece of artwork hideous, another could think it was the most beautiful piece ever made, and hence, would be willing to pay top-dollar for said piece of work.

https://bitcoinist.com/nfts-are-a-money-laundering-scheme-for-rich-people-says-crypto-analyst/

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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