OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – AUGUST 24

Panama Covid-19 update – the gradual fall in active cases continues, with there now being 8,866. Today has also seen 480 new cases and 3 new fatalities, with 103 in ICU and 279 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 one-off contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

24 AUGUST 2021

WHEN FRAUD WIPES OUT LEGAL PRIVILEGE AND THE INIQUITY EXCEPTION IN PRACTICE: BARROWFEN PROPERTIES

On 20 August, an article from ParrrisWhittaker explained that discussions between an attorney and client are privileged. They can’t be disclosed in court or anywhere else without the client’s consent. However, as the article explains there are exceptions to the rule, including the ‘iniquity’ or fraud exception.  A 2020 case before the High Court illustrates the fraud exception in practice.

https://parriswhittaker.com/when-fraud-wipes-out-legal-privilege-2

US VISA RESTRICTIONS ON 19 NICARAGUAN ELECTION AND POLITICAL PARTY OFFICIALS WHO HAVE “ENABLED THE ORTEGA-MURILLO GOVERNMENT’S ATTACK ON DEMOCRACY”

On 20 August, the State Department announced that the Department of State has taken steps to impose visa restrictions on 19 Nicaraguan election officials and political party officials who have enabled the Ortega-Murillo government’s attack on democracy.  This action follows the Secretary’s announcements on July 12 and August 5  that imposed visa restrictions on 150 Nicaraguan judges, prosecutors, and family members of those officials under a visa restriction policy that applies to Nicaraguans and their immediate family members.

https://www.state.gov/the-united-states-takes-action-to-restrict-visas-of-election-officials-and-party-members-complicit-in-ortega-murillo-governments-assault-on-democracy/

WARNING OF ARMED ATTACKS ON SHIPS AT ANCHOR IN MANILA BAY

On 24 August, Seatrade Maritime News reported that a recent incident brings to 8 the number of attacks on vessels at anchorage in Manila Bay since the beginning of the year.

https://www.seatrade-maritime.com/ship-operations/warning-armed-attacks-ships-anchor-manila-bay

CHINA: INVESTIGATION RAISES QUESTIONS ABOUT CLOSE TIES BETWEEN LOCAL TOP-LEVEL COMMUNIST PARTY MEMBERS AND THE PRIVATE SECTOR

On 23 August, the Wall Street Journal reported that China’s anti-corruption watchdog is investigating top government officials in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, where Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Ant Group are based, raising questions about close ties between local top-level Communist Party officials and the private sector.  This comes after the announcement of a probe into Zhou Jiangyong, Hangzhou’s top Communist Party official, citing suspected serious violations of discipline and law – seen as meaning corruption.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/chinas-antigraft-watchdog-probes-party-leaders-in-alibaba-ants-backyard-11629724066

https://chinaeconomicreview.com/china-warns-thousands-of-officials-over-links-with-businesses

UKRAINE: SANCTIONS IMPOSED ON 13 PEOPLE AND 22 ENTITIES

On 24 August, EU Sanctions blog reported that 4 decrees listed individuals and entities, including Andrii Derkach, a Ukrainian MP (listed by the US in September 2020), and Denis Pushilin, the so-called ‘Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic’ (and who is also subject to US, UK and EU sanctions), as well as members of the judiciary in the “temporarily occupied” Crimea, and media outlets in Crimea and the “temporarily occupied territories” of Donetsk and Luhansk.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2021/08/ukrainian-president-authorises-sanctions-against-13-people-and-22-entities/

DRONE MANUFACTURERS RANKING REPORT 2020

Woodland Reports has released a report providing an overview and analysis of commercial drone platform manufacturers.  It comprises 2 rankings: The Top 40 global commercial drone manufacturer ranking and the Top 20 dual-use manufacturers (commercial and governmental use) in the world.

https://woodlandreport.com/2021/08/drone-manufacturers-ranking-report-2020-top-40-global-commercial-drone-manufacturers-and-top-20-dual-use-manufacturers-commercial-and-governmental/

FACT SHEET: US IMPOSES ADDITIONAL COSTS ON RUSSIA FOR THE POISONING OF ALEKSEY NAVALNY

On 20 August, the US Embassy and Consulates in Russia released this Factsheet, which includes references to new sanctions measures imposed that day, and provides background information, including how one can be removed from the sanctions list.

https://ru.usembassy.gov/fact-sheet-united-states-imposes-additional-costs-on-russia-for-the-poisoning-of-aleksey-navalny/

AHEAD OF G7 MEETING, CHINA SAYS SANCTIONS AGAINST TALIBAN NOT PRODUCTIVE

On 24 August, the Business Standard in India, and others, reported that China had expressed reservations over imposing penalties, saying the US and its allies should learn lessons from the past and act prudently.  A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman told a media briefing that imposing sanctions and applying pressure will not solve problems.

https://www.business-standard.com/article/international/ahead-of-g7-meet-china-says-sanctions-against-taliban-not-productive-121082400916_1.html

UK: CIGARETTE SMUGGLING BUSINESS WAS RUN FROM SELF-STORAGE UNIT

On 23 August, Wales Online reported that the smuggling operation was uncovered when a lorry carrying 95,000 cigarettes in lead-lined wooden crates was intercepted en route to Wales in 2019.  A self-storage facility at the Big Yellow storage centre in Cardiff was being used as a warehouse for huge quantities of cigarettes which were being smuggled to Wales from Europe.

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/shiting-wang-illegal-cigarette-smuggling-21363822

US: FATHER AND SONS ARE CHARGED IN $21 MILLION LOTTERY FRAUD

On 23 August, the New York Times reported that a Massachusetts man and his 2 sons cashed in more than 13,000 winning lottery tickets worth nearly $21 million over 8 years.  Now Ali Jaafar and his sons Mohamed Jaafar and Yousef Jaafar have been charged with more than a dozen counts of fraud, money laundering and tax evasion for taking part in what the authorities say was a ticket-cashing scheme. A vast majority of the tickets were the scratch-off type that are typically sold at convenience stores.  It is alleged that they claimed the prizes on behalf of the actual winners, who potentially avoided having their winnings garnished for unpaid taxes or child support, a requirement for any prize over $600 in Massachusetts.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/23/us/lottery-ticket-fraud.html

NORTH KOREAN ILLICIT TRADE DECLINED DURING PANDEMIC

On 24 August, NK Pro reported that the UN Panel of Experts on UN sanctions has found that COVID-19 ‘significantly affected’ North Korea’s ability to clandestinely export coal and to import fuel products, resulting in historically low coal and fuel exports.

https://www.nknews.org/pro/north-korean-illicit-trade-nosedives-during-pandemic-poe-report-finds/

CYPRUS SAYS IT WILL STRIP PASSPORTS FROM TURK CYPRIOT OFFICIALS

On 23 August, EurActiv reported that Cyprus has said that it would revoke the passports from Turkish Cypriot officials in the breakaway state in the northern part of the island.  A number of Turkish Cypriot officials, including incumbent leader Ersin Tatar, are known to hold or held passports of the Republic of Cyprus, even though they administer the Turkish Cypriot state.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/global-europe/news/cyprus-says-to-strip-passports-from-turk-cypriot-officials/

COOK ISLANDS FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION BANNED FOR 6 YEARS

On 24 August, Radio New Zealand reported that Lee Harmon was found in breach of the Oceania Football Confederation’s Code of Ethics, involving conflicts of interest, offering and accepting gifts and other benefits and bribery and corruption.  He has been banned from all football activities for 6 years, fined $US75,306 and must pay the costs and expenses of the investigation and legal proceedings.  He was previously suspended by FIFA’s Ethics Committee for 3 months in 2019 and fined $US20,000 for breaching rules on the resale of World Cup tickets.

https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/449911/cooks-football-considering-next-steps-after-president-banned

HOW AMERICAN WEAPONS FIND THEIR WAY TO INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL ORGANISATIONS

An article from The Dispatch on 24 August followed the lawsuit lodged in the US by the Mexican Government claiming that manufacturers are negligent in their sales and bear responsibility for the flow of weapons across the US-Mexico border.  It says that, despite a Supreme Court ruling on “straw men” being used, organised crime elements have found ways to purchase large quantities of weapons on the US market legally through illicit actors who take advantage of insufficient custom controls, corrupt border officials, and freight companies that dispatch entire armouries to Central and South America for the benefit of criminal syndicates and violent gangs.

https://thedispatch.com/p/how-american-weapons-find-their-way

UK: BUSINESSMAN JAILED FOR RUNNING CLOTHING FACTORY PRODUCING THOUSANDS OF FAKE ITEMS

On 24 August, Express & Star reported that Inderjit Sangu, 67, owned a clothing manufacturing business in Birmingham that was producing tens of thousands of counterfeit goods – causing an estimated loss to the clothing industry of £5 million – and distributing them to market stall and online sellers across the UK.  In 2019, officers from the National Trading Standards Regional Investigation Team (RIT), Birmingham Trading Standards and West Midlands Police executed search warrants at his factory and home address.  He has pleaded guilty to 26 trade mark offences.

https://www.expressandstar.com/news/crime/2021/08/24/birmingham-man-jailed-for-running-counterfeit-clothing-factory/

CORPORATE DIRECTORS DON’T SEE STOPPING WAYWARD CEO AS THEIR JOB

An article in The Conversation on 24 August was concerned with a new study which included interviews with 48 corporate directors – some of whom were also executives at other companies. An overarching finding was that directors generally said they viewed their jobs as primarily supporting managers, not monitoring them. 

https://theconversation.com/corporate-directors-dont-see-stopping-wayward-ceos-as-their-job-contrary-to-popular-belief-165788

BREXIT: BUSINESSES GIVEN MORE TIME TO APPLY NEW UKCA PRODUCT SAFETY MARKING (WHICH REPLACES CE MARK)

On 24 August, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy advised that businesses in the UK will have an extra year to start using the new product safety marking – the UKCA marking, whereas businesses were due to begin using the UKCA marking by the end of this year. The UKCA marking replaces the product safety labelling the UK previously used while a member of the EU, such as the CE mark [and probably a further example of unnecessary duplication and costs resulting from Brexit!].  Businesses must now take action to ensure they are ready to apply UKCA marking by 1 January 2023.  However, Northern Ireland will continue to recognise the CE marking for goods placed on the market in Northern Ireland. (as it remains in the EU customs territory and Single Market), and goods sold into the EU will still require CE marking.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/businesses-given-more-time-to-apply-new-product-safety-marking

INDONESIA REVERSES COAL EXPORT BAN FOR 3 COMPANIES

On 24 August, Hellenic Shipping News reported that Indonesia has reversed coal export bans for 3 companies after they complied with domestic market obligations.  It had suspended coal exports from 34 coal mining companies earlier this month after it said the companies failed to sell an obligatory 25% of their production to the domestic market.

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/indonesia-reverses-coal-export-ban-for-three-companies/

MALTA: OVER €165,000 IN UNDECLARED CASH DISCOVERED BY CUSTOMS ON PASSENGER

On 24 August, the Times of Malta reported that Customs officials had discovered a total of €165,548 in undeclared cash on a Somali passenger headed to Turkey.  The passenger told customs he was carrying $1,600, but officials found more than €10,000 threshold that requires declaration.  Separately, a Moroccan passenger was carrying €11,055 in undeclared cash while an Egyptian passenger had a further €15,000.

https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/over-165000-in-undeclared-cash-discovered-by-customs-on-one-passenger.895234

DELOITTE 2021 GLOBAL BLOCKCHAIN SURVEY

Deloitte has published the results of a survey conducted in Spring 2021.  It considers how the switch to digital assets and control has disrupted the banking and financial services sectors.

https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/insights/articles/US144337_Blockchain-survey/DI_Blockchain-survey.pdf

ECONOMIC DURESS – DOES “LAWFUL ACT DURESS” EXIST?

On 24 August, an article from Gowling WLG is concerned with a recent High Court case in London, explaining that where one party induces another to enter into a contract by applying unlawful threats or pressure, that contract is liable to be set aside for economic duress.  The case addressed the question, in what circumstances might threatening to commit a lawful act (e.g. threatening to exercise a contractual termination right) amount to economic duress?  The Court found that threatening to do something lawful can, in certain circumstances, amount to economic duress; such that any agreement procured by the threat can be set aside – but nonetheless illegitimate pressure must be applied and hence the scope of lawful act duress is narrow.

https://gowlingwlg.com/en/insights-resources/articles/2021/economic-duress-and-lawful-act-duress

FORMER CHADIAN DICTATOR HISSENE HABRE DIES FROM COVID-19

On 24 August, TeleSUR reported that Hissene Habre, 79, the former president of Chad, died in a Dakar prison, where he was serving a life sentence for crimes against humanity, war crimes, and acts of torture committed between 1982 and 1990.

https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Former-Chadian-Dictator-Hissene-Habre-Died-From-COVID-19-20210824-0002.html

OFAC: NEW IRAN SANCTIONS GENERAL LICENSE M-1: EXPORTS OF CERTAIN EDUCATION-RELATED SERVICES, SOFTWARE TO STUDENTS IN IRAN

On 24 August, OFAC advised that a new General License M-1 “Authorizing the Exportation of Certain Graduate Level Educational Services and Software” had been issued.  At the same time, FAQ 853 has been updated to take account of the existence of the new General License, which authorises, on a time-limited basis, accredited graduate and undergraduate degree-granting US academic institutions, including their contractors, to export additional services to certain Iranian students (defined in the License).

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20210824_33

https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/126/iran_glm1.pdf

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/faqs/853

https://home.kpmg/us/en/home/insights/2021/08/tnf-us-allows-exports-of-certain-education-related-services-software-to-students-in-iran.html

UK: FUGITIVE VAT FRAUDSTER JAILED AFTER YEARS ON RUN

On 24 August, the BBC reported that Muhammad Tanwir Khan, 66,  fled to Pakistan from Stockport after conviction for a £800,000 VAT repayment fraud in 2013.  He was arrested after returning to the UK on 13 August.  His original 3½ year jail sentence was confirmed, and 6 months were also added on for absconding.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-manchester-58321050

US DoJ TO BEGIN REMITTING FORFEITED FUNDS TO FIFA, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL, AND VARIOUS CONSTITUENT NATIONAL SOCCER FEDERATIONS 

A release on Mondo Visione on 24 August advised that the DoJ was to begin returning losses and of up to a total of more than $201 million, of which $32.3 million in forfeited funds has been approved for an initial distribution. The “victims” are various football organisations and the funds were seized as part of the government’s long-running investigation and prosecution of corruption in international soccer. 

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/us-justice-department-approves-remission-of-over-32-million-in-forfeited-funds/

IMF LOANS AND OFFSHORE FINANCIAL FLOWS

On 24 August, an article from VOX at the Centre for Economic Policy Research says that recent research suggests that World Bank aid disbursements are associated with outflows from recipient countries to offshore financial centres, indicating elite capture of such aid.  The article uses 25 years of data to examine whether the same is true for IMF lending.  It says that it finds no evidence that IMF loans are diverted to offshore bank accounts.  It suggests that this could be because IMF lending differs in structural respects – such as conditionality, concessionality, and continuity – from World Bank aid.

https://voxeu.org/article/imf-loans-and-offshore-financial-flows

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where one-off contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

OFAC ADDS 3 PARAGUAYAN INDIVIDUALS AND 5 ENTITIES TO THE GLOBAL MAGNITSKY SANCTIONS LISTS

On 24 August, OFAC advised that 2 Paraguayans and a Brazilian have been added to the OGAC Global Magnitsky sanctions lists for human rights abuses.  5 companies in Paraguay have also been designated.  The US Treasury says that this action highlights the illicit finance risks and activities in the Tri-Border Area (TBA) where Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay converge.  It says that this region is marked by a large number of unregistered money exchange houses, trade based money laundering through export-import and retail businesses in the electronics and automotive sectors, the lack of awareness of money laundering and terrorist financing typologies and risk in the private sector, the intensive use of cash by businesses and individuals, and a large volume of transfers to high risk jurisdictions.  The action targets the so-called Hijazi network, a form of the despachantes (“dispatchers”), individuals skilled at navigating local and federal bureaucracies by using their expansive networks of government officials to aid them in their activities.  Complex government bureaucracies in the area are coupled with a lack of transparency and accountability  

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20210824

The full, current SDN (sanctions) lists can be accessed at –

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/specially-designated-nationals-and-blocked-persons-list-sdn-human-readable-lists

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where one-off contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

6 RELATED SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA ALUMINIUM ENTITIES CONVICTED IN SCHEME TO AVOID $1.8 BILLION IN CUSTOMS DUTIES

On 23 August, the Press-Enterprise reported that a half-dozen Southern California corporate entities have been found guilty of participating in a wide-ranging wire-and-customs fraud in which huge amounts of aluminium were disguised as pallets to avoid $1.8 billion in customs duties.

https://www.pe.com/2021/08/23/six-related-southern-california-aluminum-entities-convicted-in-scheme-to-avoid-1-8-billion-in-customs-duties/

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where one-off contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

THE UN DOES HAVE SANCTIONS AFFECTING THE TALIBAN

On 23 August, an article from the Atlantic Council asks what do UN sanctions actually mandate concerning the Taliban’s assets?  It says that the Taliban is not specifically listed on any UN sanctions list, but it remains sanctioned nonetheless. It refers to UN Security Council Resolution 1267 of 1999 (targeting the situation in Afghanistan, which was sheltering Usama Bin Laden), and that froze the Taliban’s funds and other financial resources, including money generated from property the group controlled directly or indirectly.  The UN Security Council has not amended the relevant language of this Resolution, which legally binds all Member States, meaning that it remains in force.  Despite the Resolution being split in 2011, creating more targeted sanctions on Al Qaida, but it is argued that restrictions on the Taliban remained in place.

https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/they-arent-listed-but-make-no-mistake-the-un-has-sanctions-on-the-taliban/

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where one-off contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – AUGUST 23

Panama Covid-19 update – only 388 new cases reported today (but then, only 5,428 tests undertaken, perhaps half of a typical day), and 6 more fatalities. The number of active cases continue its slow fall, now standing at 9,105, with 106 in ICU and 281 in other wards. Meanwhile, to date some 4.06 million doses of vaccine have been administered – this is a country with a population of around 4.3 million.

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where a single contribution can be a little as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

23 AUGUST 2021

DETAINED FORMER PRESIDENT OF BOLIVIA TRIED TO ‘TAKE HER OWN LIFE’

On 22 August, La Prensa reported that former president Jeanine Áñez, 54, is reportedly stable after an apparent suicide attempt – something that the country’s interior minister said could have been a pretence.  The former interim president, who has been remanded in custody for 5 months, is accused in three separate trials of genocide, terrorism, conspiracy, resolutions contrary to the Constitution and dereliction of duty during her 1-year presidential term in 2019-2020.

https://www.prensa.com/mundo/expresidenta-de-bolivia-estable-luego-de-que-su-familia-denuncio-que-intento-quitarse-la-vida/ 

WESTERN UNION AND MONEYGRAM STOP DOING BUSINESS IN AFGHANISTAN 

On 23 August, the Wall Street Journal reported that these 2 money transfer businesses had ceased doing business in Afghanistan, at least pending a decision on possible financial sanctions.  This came as FATF warned member countries they must freeze the assets of the Taliban given the Taliban’s designation as a terrorist group by the US, the UN and other countries, “and to ensure that no funds or other assets are made available, directly or indirectly” to them.

DUBAI SETS UP SPECIAL COURT TO DEAL WITH MONEY LAUNDERING

On 22 August, The National reported that Dubai has formed a specialist court that will focus on fighting money laundering and other financial crimes, as the emirate seeks to strengthen the integrity of its financial system and support nationwide efforts to clamp down on money laundering.

https://www.thenationalnews.com/business/economy/2021/08/22/dubai-sets-up-special-court-to-combat-money-laundering/

CHINA UNEXPECTEDLY POSTPONES VOTE ON ADDING ANTI-SANCTIONS LEGISLATION TO HONG KONG’S BASIC LAW

On 20 August, the South China Morning Post reported the new law is designed to punish companies that abide by US sanctions or fail to carry out China’s, has prompted anxiety among some foreign investors.  Whilst welcomed by some, some lawmakers cautioned against jumping to conclusions over the delay, saying it could mean that Beijing intended to be more specific and hands-on regarding the issue.

https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/3145727/surprise-move-beijing-postpones-vote-adding-anti-sanctions?module=perpetual_scroll&pgtype=article&campaign=3145727

INSIDE AFGHANISTAN’S CRYPTOCURRENCY UNDERGROUND

On 21 August, CNBC published a report on cryptocurrency use in Afghanistan.

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/08/21/bitcoin-afghanistan-cryptocurrency-taliban-capital-flight.html

20% OF BRITISH GAMBLING PREMISES LOCATED IN MOST DEPRIVED AREAS

On 23 August, iGB reported the probably unsurprising news that more than one fifth of gambling premises in Great Britain are located in the most deprived 10% of areas of Britain, according to new research.  Just 2% were in the less deprived, more affluent regions of the country.

https://igamingbusiness.com/20-of-british-gambling-premises-located-in-most-deprived-areas

UPDATE ON AMENDMENTS TO THE FRENCH DUTY OF VIGILANCE LAW

On 20 August, an article from Hogan Lovells explains that the original Duty of Vigilance Law entered into force in March 2017 and requires parent companies which meet certain criteria to set up, publish and implement a “vigilance plan”. The objective of such plan is to identify human rights and environmental risks and to adopt measures to prevent or mitigate those risks.  Currently the Law applies to French corporations with over 5,000 employees in France and/or over 10,000 employees worldwide, including affiliates’ employees.  The article refers to the Climate and Resilience Bill, which was seen as an opportunity to bring some clarifications and additions to the regime applicable to the duty of vigilance.

https://www.engage.hoganlovells.com/knowledgeservices/viewContent.action?key=Ec8teaJ9Vaq7QRVCH60ntcxgHJMKLFEppVpbbVX%2B3OXcP3PYxlq7sZUjdbSm5FIetvAtgf1eVU8%3D&nav=FRbANEucS95NMLRN47z%2BeeOgEFCt8EGQ0qFfoEM4UR4%3D&emailtofriendview=true&freeviewlink=true

FORMER INDONESIAN MINISTER JAILED FOR 12 YEARS IN COVID-19 GRAFT SCANDAL

On 23 August, the Straits Times reported that former Indonesian social affairs minister Juliari Batubara has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.  He was found “convincingly guilty of corruption” after receiving kickbacks in relation to the procurement of goods intended for Covid-19 social assistance packages.

https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/ex-indonesian-minister-jailed-for-12-years-in-covid-19-graft-scandal

SOUTH AFRICA TO EXTRADITE EX- MINISTER TO MOZAMBIQUE, NOT THE US

On 23 August, BNN Bloomberg reported that South Africa plans to extradite former Mozambican Finance Minister Manuel Chang to his home country, rather than to the US where he also faces corruption charges.  He has been held in a prison since being arrested in December 2018 on charges related to a $2 billion sovereign debt scandal, while South Africa considered the requests from Mozambique and the US.

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/south-africa-to-extradite-ex-mozambique-minister-home-not-u-s-1.1643180

For background, see –

MOZAMBIQUE ‘TUNA BOND’ SCANDAL: EX-PRESIDENT GUEBUZA’S SON ON TRIAL

On 23 August, the BBC reported that the son of Mozambique’s ex-president and 18 others have gone on trial over the $2 billion “tuna bonds” affair.  Ndambi Guebuza, son of former President Armando Guebuza, and the others face charges of blackmail, embezzlement and money laundering.  Mozambique’s biggest corruption scandal led donors including the IMF to cut funding for the country and the economy to collapse.  Between 2013-2014, 3 newly-established companies took on $2.2 billion of debt (with government as guarantor), much of it without the knowledge or approval of the country’s parliament. Auditors reportedly discovered $500 million of the money was missing.  The money was allegedly used to buy a large tuna factory and a maritime security fleet, as well as to finance other deals involving companies in which the state is a leading shareholder.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-58304737

https://www.france24.com/en/tv-shows/eye-on-africa/20210823-19-people-on-trial-in-mozambique-s-tuna-bonds-scandal

COLOMBIAN POLICE TAKE DOWN CRIMINAL GROUP BEHIND HUMAN TRAFFICKING

A news release from INTERPOL on 23 August advised that a 3-year investigation has concluded with police in Colombia arresting 6 individuals believed to be behind the trafficking and sexual exploitation of Colombian and Venezuelan women.  The criminal group was first identified in 2018 by Panama’s Human Trafficking and Smuggling of Migrants Division, following the discovery of several victims who had been promised jobs as waitresses, only to have their passports confiscated and be exploited. 

https://www.interpol.int/News-and-Events/News/2021/Colombian-police-take-down-criminal-group-behind-human-trafficking

NEW DATA SHOWS PANDEMIC HAS NOT SLOWED AML ENFORCEMENT

A release on Mondo Visione on 23 August advised that Kroll has published new data showing that the COVID-19 pandemic has not stunted global enforcement action for AML failings.  Kroll’s report also highlights the 4 key AML failings from 2016-2021 that regulators across the world have consistently identified through the fines they imposed.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/new-figures-show-aml-enforcement-isnt-slowed-by-pandemic-reveals-kroll/

https://www.kroll.com/en/insights/publications/financial-compliance-regulation/global-enforcement-review

MALTA: BUSINESS REGISTRY AND FIAU TO COLLABORATE IN BID TO GET OFF FATF GREY LIST

On 23 August, the Times of Malta reported that the Malta Business Registry and the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit have signed an agreement to share information and collaborate on investigations into the ultimate beneficial ownership of financial structures, in a bid to get Malta off a FATF AML grey list.  Shortcomings in acting on this sort of information was cited as one of the leading reasons Malta was placed on the FATF grey list.

https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/business-registry-and-fiau-to-collaborate-in-bid-to-get-off-fatf-grey.895288

SWISS PRIVATE BANK BANK REYL TURNS UP IN PDVSA SCANDAL

On 20 August, Finews reported that the Swiss private bank reportedly harboured at least $21 million for a Venezuelan businessman charged with money laundering in connection with Venezuela’s state oil company.  This news surfaced following the arrest of Naman Wakil for money laundering in Miami.  It is said that the funds came from Reyl Overseas in Zurich, the Swiss wealth manager’s SEC-registered entity that caters to US clients.  Reyl is one of several dozen Swiss banks to return to the US market, after a massive tax crackdown, via units registered with the SEC. 

https://www.finews.com/news/english-news/47538-reyl-pdvsa-switzerland-banco-intesa-naman-wakil-venezuela

UK: COUPLE ORDERED TO PAY BACK ONLY £8,000 OF £2.4 MILLION MORTGAGE FRAUD

On 21 August, the BBC reported that Edwin McLaren and his wife Lorraine conned dozens of people in financial difficulty between 2008 and 2012.  They were found guilty of fraud in 2017 after the longest criminal trial in Scotland and were both made subject of Confiscation Orders.  The cost of the trial is thought to have been about £7.5 million, with more than £2.4 million in legal aid paid for defence lawyers.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-58287331

SWEDEN’S GOVERNMENT FORCED TO RETURN $1.5 MILLION IN BITCOIN TO DRUG DEALER

On 20 August, Coindesk reported that the Swedish government has been forced to return over $1.5 million in bitcoin to a drug dealer after its value surged while he was in custody.  By the time the Swedish Enforcement Authority came to auction off the bitcoin, its value had appreciated to the extent that the excess profit had to be returned to the defendant, as it exceeded the “profit” made by drug dealing.

https://www.coindesk.com/swedens-government-forced-to-return-1-5m-in-bitcoin-to-drug-dealer-report

NEW FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES IN THE RIGHT-WING EXTREMIST ONLINE ECOSYSTEM

On 19 August, an article from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute says that, as mainstream social media companies have increased their scrutiny and moderation of right-wing extremist (RWE) content and groups, there’s been a move to alternative online content platforms.  There’s also growing concern about right-wing extremism in Australia.  The Institute has produced a report which aims to provide a preliminary map of the online financial platforms and services that may both support and incentivise an RWE content ecosystem in Australia.  The report makes a number of recommendations grouped into 6 categories, to address and undermine the financial incentives that can help sustain and grow such RWE movements.

https://www.aspi.org.au/report/buying-and-selling-extremism

RECORD-BREAKING BITCOIN SEIZURE LEAD AUSTRALIAN POLICE BACK TO SILK ROAD

On 20 August, Decrypt reported that police in Victoria seized almost A$8.5 million from online drug traffickers, in the country’s largest-ever cryptocurrency seizure.  It is said that law enforcement is investigating the activities on the now-defunct Silk Road website and, according to Victoria Police, the arrests and seizures were part of an investigation launched in 2021 into “drug trafficking on a dark web platform dating back to 2012”. 

https://decrypt.co/79011/record-breaking-bitcoin-seizure-lead-australian-police-back-silk-road

US: CEO OF SMARTPHONE COMPANY THAT NEVER RELEASED A PHONE CHARGED WITH FRAUD

On 21 August, The Verge reported that a Utah man who touted a revolutionary new smartphone for several years but failed to produce one, has been charged with securities fraud.  Chad Leon Sayers solicited approximately 300 investors to invest $10 million in his Saygus phone project.  He is alleged to used the funds to pay personal expenses and debts, and paid older investors with funds he raised from newer ones.

https://www.theverge.com/2021/8/21/22635779/ceo-saygus-smartphone-company-fraud

HOW IRAN HELPED HOUTHIS EXPAND THEIR REACH

On 23 August, an article on War on the Rocks argues that, in recent years, some of the most alarmist coverage of the Houthi movement has presented the group in simplistic terms as an Iranian proxy inside Yemen. In fact, it says, the partnership is more complex than a patron-proxy one, but it still carries real risks for regional security.  It says that the Houthi movement is now a regional power, demonstrating ever greater experience and skill as it pursues its interests in the region. It has emerged from Yemen’s civil war as an increasingly important element in the Iranian-led constellation of revisionist actors that surrounds Saudi Arabia and Israel. 

https://warontherocks.com/2021/08/how-iran-helped-houthis-expand-their-reach/

TAKING STOCK OF THE UN ARMS TRADE TREATY

A new paper from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute says that the provision of international assistance is key to achieving the effective implementation of the 2013 Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) – including mechanisms established by the UN and EU, and efforts by other international and regional organisations and NGO.  This is one of a series of 5 papers that are being produced as part of a wider project aimed at taking stock of specific aspects of the ATT — its scope, the application of the risk-assessment criteria, its processes and forums, universalisation efforts, and international assistance to support ATT implementation.  This paper focuses on what international assistance exists and its effect.

https://www.sipri.org/sites/default/files/2021-08/att_first_six_5_assistance_bauer_and_maletta.pdf

COURT REJECTS SWISS BANKER’S APPEAL TO REVERSE BAN OVER 1MDB DEALINGS

On 23 August, Reuters reported that a Swiss appeals court has rejected a the bid by a former senior executive at Swiss bank BSI to lift his 3-year regulatory ban from working in the industry over failures to properly fight money laundering linked to scandal-hit Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.

https://www.reuters.com/article/swiss-bsi-1mdb/court-rejects-swiss-bankers-appeal-to-reverse-ban-over-1mdb-dealings-idUSL8N2PU1K6

BIDEN ADMINISTRATION SANCTIONS RUSSIA-BASED NOBILITY, AND A RUSSIAN INSURER, CONSTANTA OVER NORD STREAM 2

On 23 August, the Insurance Journal reported on the designating of the 2 companies over their involvement in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, but the US is leaving in place a waiver that spared the company overseeing the construction and its top executive.

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/international/2021/08/23/628290.htm

CHINA HITS LITHUANIA WITH FURTHER SANCTIONS OVER ITS TIES WITH TAIWAN

On 23 August, Taiwan News reported that China is imposing additional sanctions on Lithuania in retaliation for the latter’s pursuit of closer relations with Taiwan.  Companies in the agricultural, animal husbandry and timber industries of the Baltic country have complained about trade restrictions.

https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/4275087

US ACCUSES FORMER NIGERIAN MINISTER OF SMUGGLING STOLEN JAGUAR CAR TO CALIFORNIA

On 23 August, The Street Journal reported that the US Government has reportedly accused a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu of smuggling an exotic car stolen from Jaguar’s UK assembly into the US.  The vehicle, a 2007 Jaguar XKR, was allegedly stolen from a Jaguar assembly facility in Birmingham, shipped to Lagos and, in was seized in June 2011, at the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport.

https://thestreetjournal.org/u-s-govt-accuses-ex-nigerian-minister-of-smuggling-stolen-exotic-jaguar-car-to-california/

END SANDALWOOD TRAFFICKING IN EAST AFRICA

The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime announced a virtual event on 25 August concerned with the trafficking of the endangered sandalwood in East Africa.  It explains that, despite a 2013 ban on the harvest in the region, there has been a growing illicit market with the high value tree over-harvested for its essential oil used in the pharmaceuticals and cosmetic industries. The virtual event seeks to inform on the existing gaps in agriculture and commercial forestry in regards to sandalwood in East Africa, who is to be engaged in the domestication, what are the adoption strategies needed especially when talking about climate and its role in economic development and lastly, what policies are needed to protect sandalwood in East Africa from trafficking?

https://globalinitiative.net/analysis/end-sandalwood-trafficking-in-east-africa/

OPIOID LAWSUIT PAYOUT PLANS OVERLOOK A VITAL NEED: PAIN MANAGEMENT CARE AND RESEARCH FOCUSED ON SMARTER USE OF ADDICTIVE DRUGS

An article in The Conversation on 20 August follows the record payouts involving a number of medicines distributors, with the federal government, states and other entities filing claims against them to address the harm and suffering caused by inappropriate opioid prescribing practices.  However, the article says there remains a need to address the needs of one critical group: patients who suffer from acute and chronic pain.  It suggests 3 ways in which the funds recovered could be used to improve pain treatment and address resource gaps for patients with acute and chronic pain.

https://theconversation.com/opioid-lawsuit-payout-plans-overlook-a-vital-need-pain-management-care-and-research-focused-on-smarter-use-of-addictive-drugs-165732

US: FORMER EL SAVADOREAN FIFA OFFICIAL PLEADS GUILTY TO RACKETEERING CONSPIRACY

A news release from US DoJ on 23 August advised that Reynaldo Vasquez, the former president of the El Salvadorean soccer federation, has pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy in connection with his participation in schemes to accept hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and kickbacks.  

https://www.justice.gov/usao-edny/pr/former-fifa-official-pleads-guilty-racketeering-conspiracy

2021 CHAINALYSIS GLOBAL CRYPTO ADOPTION INDEX

Chainanalysis has released the latest edition of this report, the second edition of a publication which seeks to measure grassroots cryptocurrency adoption around the globe, and coming after a year of huge growth for cryptocurrency markets and increased attention for the industry. To compile the Index, Chainalysis ranked 154 countries according on-chain cryptocurrency value received, on-chain retail value transferred and peer-to-peer exchange trade volume.   It further indicates that global cryptocurrency adoption has grown over 2,300% since Q3 2019 and over 881% in the past year to June 2021.

https://blog.chainalysis.com/reports/2021-global-crypto-adoption-index

THE GOVERNMENT CONTRACTOR’S GUIDE TO TERMINATIONS FOR CONVENIENCE

In the light of the US (and others’) withdrawal from Afghanistan, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP has produced a guide which seeks to provide a user-friendly guide for government contractors on important rights and obligations when contracts are terminated.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/afghanistan-withdrawal-the-government-9635429/

$16 MILLION PENALTY AND BAN FOR ALABAMA MAN IN PRECIOUS METALS FRAUD

On 23 August, a release on Mondo Visione advised that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced a settlement with Charles McAllister, who is required to pay $16,186,212.56 in restitution and permanently enjoins McAllister from engaging in conduct that violates the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA), from registering with the CFTC, and from trading in any CFTC-regulated markets.  The case saw allegations that McAllister and his defunct and bankrupt company BullionDirect, Inc (BDI) defrauded thousands of customers throughout the US who purchased precious metals from or through BDI through various misrepresentations and omissions.  In a separate, parallel criminal action, in October 2019, a jury found McAllister guilty of 2 counts of wire fraud and 1 count of engaging in monetary transactions in criminally-derived property.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/federal-court-orders-alabama-man-to-pay-more-than-16-million-in-precious-metals/

THE CHALLENGES OF UNDERSTANDING TALIBAN FINANCE

On 23 August, an article on Lawfare said that, after the Taliban effectively took control of most of Afghanistan, this has naturally led to questions about how the group managed to do it — and about how they were funded.  Little is said to be known about how the group uses, moves, stores, manages and obscures its funds, and even public understanding of Taliban revenues suffers from lack of precision. This, it says, prevents the international community from developing effective policy responses and levers to the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, and can lead to politicised and inflated estimates of the group’s financial prowess.

https://www.lawfareblog.com/challenges-understanding-taliban-finance

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