OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – AUGUST 16

Panama Covid-19 update – total deaths to date are starting to nudge the 7,000 figure now, reaching 6,972 today, with 11 new fatalities. Despite active cases and ICU occupancy continuing to show a slow fall, another 444 new cases were reported today, with there now being 10,397 active cases – of which 116 are in ICU and 344 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

16 AUGUST 2021

TYCOON MAY HAVE SHIFTED ASSETS TO ZIMBABWE AFTER US SANCTIONS

On 13 August, Bloomberg Quint reported that Zimbabwe’s government is pressing ahead with a plan to combine its mining assets under a massive private-public enterprise, even as evidence mounts that the project could be linked to a tycoon, Kudakwashe Tagwirei, sanctioned by the US and UK in August 2020.   His Sotic International Ltd, based on Mauritius, began planning to shift its assets to a new Zimbabwean holding company — Ziwa Resources Ltd, which is the only private shareholder in the partnership, Kuvimba Mining House Ltd.  Tagwirei was sanctioned over he disappearance of $3 billion from a farm-subsidy programme.

https://www.bloombergquint.com/politics/tycoon-may-have-shifted-assets-to-zimbabwe-after-u-s-sanctions

UK FCA IS INVESTIGATING MONZO BANK OVER POSSIBLE CIVIL AND CRIMINAL LIABILITY FROM POTENTIAL BREACHES MONEY LAUNDERING RULES OCTOBER 2018 TO APRIL 2021

On 16 August, KYC 360 reported that digital bank Monzo – founded in 2015 and which has grown rapidly, signing up five million customers – is facing both an FCA investigation and a series of setbacks, with lenders that provide £1 billion of savings products to the digital bank’s customers cutting back on their offers.

https://kyc360.riskscreen.com/news/new-hit-for-monzo-over-money-laundering-inquiry/

ISRAEL SEIZES 23 TONS OF CHOCOLATE INTENDED FOR HAMAS FUNDING

On 16 August, the Jerusalem Post reported that the Defense Minister had approved the confiscation of 23 tons of chocolate bars intended to serve as an alternative method of funding for Hamas in Gaza.

https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/israel-seizes-23-tons-of-chocolate-intended-for-hamas-funding-676847

https://www.statista.com/chart/25540/world-terrorism-index

UK: “GHOST BROKING” A CONTINUING PROBLEM FOR INSURANCE SECTOR

On 16 August, Insurance Times reported that the Insurance Fraud Bureau that the problem remains.  The IFB explains that “Ghost Brokers” are fraudsters who sell drivers apparently cheap motor insurance deals but issue policies that aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.  It says that financial hardship and an influx of many new drivers will provide a fertile ground for the fraudsters.

https://www.insurancetimes.co.uk/insight/ghost-broking-continues-to-be-a-substantial-problem-for-the-industry/1438496.article

RUSSIA: ANTI-CORRUPTION TAX OFFICIAL ARRESTED IN MOSCOW ON BRIBERY ALLEGATIONS

On 16 August, the RAPSI news agency in Russia reported that the acting chief North-western Tax Directorate’s anti-corruption department of Russia’s Federal Tax Service, Maxim Rozsypalo, has been arrested in Moscow on suspicion of graft.  He is alleged to have conspired with other officials to systematically take bribes from a representative of a commercial organisation.

https://rapsinews.com/judicial_news/20210816/307296901.html

INTERPOL ISSUES GLOBAL ALERT AS FRAUDSTERS TARGET GOVERNMENTS WITH COVID-19 VACCINE SCAMS

On 16 August, a news release from INTERPOL advised that the warning follows some 60 cases in 40 countries around the world where individuals in health ministries and hospitals have received offers for COVID-19 vaccines approved for distribution in their country.  Usually claiming to represent a vaccine manufacturer or a government agency facilitating the distribution of vaccines, the scammers are targeting both professional and personal email accounts of potential buyers, as well as making contact via phone.  Issued under the umbrella of the INTERPOL Global Financial Crime Task Force (IGFCTF), the alert is the most recent in a series of warnings issued in relation to COVID-related crime threats.

https://www.interpol.int/News-and-Events/News/2021/INTERPOL-issues-global-alert-as-fraudsters-target-governments-with-COVID-19-vaccine-scams

ISLE OF MAN: PUBLICATION OF THE AML/CFT SECTOR SPECIFIC GUIDANCE NOTES 

On 16 August, the FSA published Sector Specific Guidance Notes in respect of compliance with the AML/CFT Code 2019 and for accountants and tax advisors; high-value goods dealers; moneylenders and providers of financial guarantees/commitments; and estate agents.

https://www.iomfsa.im/amlcft/amlcft-requirements-and-guidance/

SEC CHARGES FLORIDA FILM PRODUCTION COMPANY AND ITS CEO WITH FRAUD

On 13 August, a news release from the SEC advised charges against The Movie Studio Inc, a microcap company based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida that purports to engage in film production, distribution, and content-streaming, and its President and CEO, Gordon Scott Venters, for fraudulently raising at least $1.2 million from retail investors.

https://www.sec.gov/litigation/litreleases/2021/lr25166.htm

BERMUDA: SECRET RECORDS OF A REJECTED MULTIMILLION DOLLAR CASINOS DEAL MUST BE RELEASED BY THE GOVERNMENT IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST

On 13 August, the Royal Gazette reported that the Information Commissioner has ruled that the documents should be released.  Senior civil servants and the Bermudian company involved in the agreement argued against the release of the documents.  The documents concern the Government’s relationship with MM&I, an island company that stood to potentially net tens of millions of dollars a year if it had been given a contract to provide a cashless gaming network management system for casinos in Bermuda.  An MoU with the company was signed by the late Shawn Crockwell, who was tourism minister, and Mark Pettingill, the Attorney-General, both lawyers, and Mr Crockwell later tabled legislation to legalise casino gaming.  The 2 lawyers went on to represent MM&I – owned by Bermudians John Tartaglia and Michael Moniz – after they left government and went into private practice together.  The MoU was eventually terminated on the advice of the executive director of the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission.

https://www.royalgazette.com/tourism/news/article/20210813/gambling-industry-documents-cant-be-kept-secret-ico-rules/

UK: MILLIONS OF POUNDS INVESTED IN A FAKE SAVINGS AND TRADING SERVICE LIES WAITING TO BE CLAIMED BY RIGHTFUL OWNERS ACROSS THE WORLD

On 11 August, a news release from the Greater Manchester Police advised that a sum of $22.25 million was seized by specialist officers from Greater Manchester Police’s Economic Crime Unit, after intelligence led to the discovery of USB sticks containing huge amounts of Ethereum, the second largest Crypto currency after BitCoin. Investors had put money into a purported online savings and trading service using Binance Smart Chain, which stores and records transactions made in crypto-currency confirming their movement and value.

https://www.gmp.police.uk/news/greater-manchester/news/news/2021/august/millions-waiting-to-be-claimed-by-rightful-owners-as-gmp-rumble-international-crypto-currency-scam

BRITISH ARMY MAJOR TRICKED FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS INTO SENDING HIM TANKS

On 16 August, a news story from The Telegraph, reported by MSN, said that Michael Whatley targeted officials in the German and Swedish government, as well a Belgian history museum, using headed paper claiming to be from the Household Cavalry Museum.  He convinced them to send a total of 23 vehicles, which he sold for up to £105,000 an item to collectors and traders.

https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/british-army-major-tricked-foreign-governments-into-sending-him-tanks/ar-AANnTp1?ocid=msedgntp

PODCAST: “THIEVES OF STATE”: SARAH CHAYES ON AFGHANISTAN

The latest TRACE podcast is a repeat from June 2017, in which Sarah Chayes, author of “Thieves of State”, draws on her time in Afghanistan to explain the systemic corruption that contributed to the rapid crumbling of the state.

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

Even before the rapid final collapse of Afghanistan, Foreign Affairs had produced a set of 22 articles saying that over the past 2 decades senior officials, civil and military and including the current President of the country, addressing the progress of the war and the situation in the country.  These start in November/December 2001, following the initial invasion (and tellingly entitled “Afghanistan, Graveyard of Empires”), and run to May 2021 (on “Afghanistan’s Moment of Risk and Opportunity”).

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/anthologies/2021-05-14/americas-longest-war

WHY MOSCOW’S MOVES IN THE BLACK SEA COULD DETERMINE THE FUTURE OF NAVIGATION 

On 16 August, an article from Foreign Affairs said that Russia’s moves to upgrade its Black Sea fleet and lay claim to the territorial waters around Crimea, threaten to upend the balance of power in the Black Sea and the eastern Mediterranean Sea and to endanger freedom of navigation — not just in those waters but in waters around the world.

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/turkey/2021-08-16/russias-battle-black-sea

THE TALIBAN – WHERE THEY GET THE MONEY THAT THEY USE TO WAGE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN

In December, an article in The Conversation said that the Taliban militants of Afghanistan have grown richer and more powerful since their fundamentalist Islamic regime was toppled by US forces in 2001.  It says that, in the fiscal year that ended in March 2020, the Taliban reportedly brought in $1.6 billion.  The article identifies the sources of this income – drugs, mining (for iron ore, copper, gold, zinc etc and rare earth metals in the mountains), extortion and “taxation” in areas it controls, charitable donations, the export of everyday domestic goods (including auto parts and reassembled vehicles) and with business affiliates, real estate (in Afghanistan, Pakistan and perhaps elsewhere), and funding by foreign governments (either sympathetic to aims, or to cause trouble) – with Russia, Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia accused.

https://theconversation.com/the-taliban-are-megarich-heres-where-they-get-the-money-they-use-to-wage-war-in-afghanistan-147411

UK: TRAINING ON EXPORT CONTROL COMPLIANCE

On 13 August, the Department for International Trade’s Export Control Joint Unit published an updated training bulletin which contains details of courses, seminars, workshops and webinars to help exporters understand their obligations under export control legislation.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/export-control-training-bulletin/export-control-training-bulletin-has-been-temporarily-deleted-due-to-courses-cancelled-in-april-may-and-june-2020

SWITZERLAND HAS JOINED THE EU IN IMPOSING ASSET FREEZES AND TRAVEL BANS ON 8 NICARAGUAN NATIONALS

On 13 August, the Swiss Federal Council announced that it had followed the EU in imposing sanctions against a number of individuals, including the Nicaraguan Vice-President and First Lady. 

https://www.seco.admin.ch/seco/en/home/seco/nsb-news.msg-id-84704.html

https://www.seco.admin.ch/dam/seco/de/dokumente/Aussenwirtschaft/Wirtschaftsbeziehungen/Exportkontrollen/Sanktionen/Verordnungen/Nicaragua/nicaragua_delta_2021-08-12.pdf.download.pdf/Nicaragua_Delta_2021-08-12.pdf

FORMER DEA AGENT SENTENCED TO 13 YEARS FOR CORRUPTION

On 13 August, the Black Enterprise website reported that Chad Allan Scott, 53, a former DEA agent based in Louisiana has been sentenced to more than 13 years in prison for his part in a slew of corruption-related charges.  It is said that he perjured himself and directed other officers to commit perjury in order to convict an alleged drug dealer, and also falsified documents to hide a truck that a drug dealer purchased for him.

https://www.blackenterprise.com/former-dea-agent-white-devil-sentenced-to-13-years-for-corruption-charges/

US: NURSE PRACTITIONER CHARGED IN ALLEGED $2.3 MILLION HEALTH CARE FRAUD SCHEME

A DoJ news release on 16 August advised that Alexander E. Istomin, 55, of Florida, a registered nurse and nurse practitioner who, from 2014, allegedly billed and received more than $2.3 million dollars from commercial health insurers and Medicaid for services he falsely claimed to have performed on patients in Rhode Island, New York, and Florida is in federal custody in Florida and will be brought to Rhode Island to face health care fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering charges.

https://www.justice.gov/usao-ri/pr/nurse-practitioner-charged-alleged-23-million-health-care-fraud-scheme

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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