OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – AUGUST 30

Panama Covid-19 update – Panama remains on UK updated “Red List”, and it says that you should not travel to Red List countries or territories.  If you have been in a country or territory on the Red List in the last 10 days you will only be allowed to enter the UK if you are a British or Irish National, or you have residence rights in the UK.

In Panama, data shows that 66% of the population has received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, with 31% of the population having had two doses.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/red-amber-and-green-list-rules-for-entering-england

Today 371 news cases and 7 new fatalities reported; with 7,890 active cases – 95 in ICU and 295 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

30 AUGUST 2021

ESTIMATED TALIBAN EARNINGS OF $1.6 BILLION LAST YEAR

On 26 August, Vice reported on a confidential NATO report that estimated Taliban earnings of $1.6 billion last year.  Multiple news reports suggest a significant chunk comes from black and grey markets involving illegal mining, the drugs trade, and real estate.  A significant portion of income — 15%, which is more than $240 million — comes from generous “donations” from wealthy sponsors in Pakistan and the Middle East and others.  One of the wives of Taliban leader Sirajuddin Haqqani living in Saudi Arabia sends an annual donation of $60 million, according to the UN.

https://www.vice.com/en/article/5dbe3b/taliban-wealth-afghanistan

LEBANON HEZBOLLAH AGREES TO THIRD SHIPMENT OF IRANIAN FUEL

On 30 August, KYC 360 reported that a third vessel of Iranian fuel was agreed to ease crippling shortages in the country, and that the first vessel carrying Iranian fuel for Lebanon had already departed.

https://kyc360.riskscreen.com/news/lebanons-hezbollah-agrees-to-third-shipment-of-iranian-fuel/

CHINA CHARGES FORMER TOP CORRUPTION INSPECTOR 

On 27 August, the South China Morning Post reported that Dong Hong, 67, a former aide of Vice-President Wang Qishan, was a senior figure in the Communist Party’s top anti-corruption watchdog.  However, he is now charged with responsible for accepting bribes over 2 decades of his political career.

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/politics/article/3146619/china-charges-former-top-corruption-inspector-taking-us71

ACCUSATIONS OF CORRUPTION IN BATTLE FOR CONTROL OF AUSTRALIA’S MEAT MARKET

On 28 August, the Guardian reported on the battle for control of the meat market in Australia, including the Batista brothers who control global meat empire, JBS, who have big plans for Australia.  It reports on a fight over control of a Tasmanian salmon farmer, and says that JBS is in the middle of taking over Australia’s biggest pork producer, Rivalea.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/aug/29/meet-the-batistas-the-global-beef-barons-battling-for-control-of-australias-meat

AUSTRIA’S FORMER FAR-RIGHT VICE CHANCELLOR CONVICTED OF CORRUPTION

On 27 August, France 24 reported that a court has convicted the former leader of Austria’s far-right Heinz-Christian Strache of a corruption charge in a case stemming from a 2019 scandal known as “Ibizagate”.  He was given a 15-month suspended jail sentence.  The affair brought down the coalition between the Strache’s FPOe and the centre-right People’s Party (OeVP) and triggered fresh elections. 

https://www.france24.com/en/europe/20210827-austria-s-former-far-right-vice-chancellor-convicted-of-corruption

LATIN AMERICA‘S COMPLIANCE CLIMATE TODAY

On 3 August, Latin Lawyer published an article saying that, since 2014, Brazil’s Operation Car Wash investigation into widespread bribery and corruption involving politicians and state-owned enterprises has dominated headlines and captured public attention across Latin America and around the world.  The international interest in combating corruption in the region shows no sign of abating. It says that companies operating in Latin America should be mindful of recent legislative, judicial and enforcement trends, and of global regulators’ focus on fighting corruption in the region.  The article examines recent trends in legislative and constitutional anti-corruption enforcement regimes in Latin America; changes in data protection regimes that may affect corporate investigations in the region; and global enforcement of corruption-related conduct in Latin America, including the impact of Covid-19-related investigations and cooperation among US, Latin American and other regulators.

https://latinlawyer.com/guide/the-guide-corporate-compliance/second-edition/article/2-latin-americas-compliance-climate-today 

SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD IN THE ESG SPOTLIGHT

On 28 June, DLA Piper published an article saying that seafood sourcing can pose serious challenges for companies looking to improve their environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance, and the mounting potential for severe legal, financial and reputational risks illustrates a growing trend showing how seafood sourcing implicates ESG.  It considers examples of good practices for companies trying to eradicate forced labour from supply chains and limit related liability, and says companies should strive to understand the relevant impacts and engage affected stakeholders in their seafood supply chains.

https://www.dlapiper.com/en/us/insights/publications/2021/06/sustainable-seafood-in-the-esg-spotlight/

OVERVIEW OF SANCTIONS CURRENTLY APPLICABLE TO BELARUS

On 26 August, Baker McKenzie reported that Belarus has become subject to phased tightening of international sanctions restrictions.  The article discusses in detail the sanctions restrictions recently introduced by the US, the EU, the UK, Canada, Switzerland and Ukraine with respect to Belarus. 

https://insightplus.bakermckenzie.com/bm/viewContent.action?key=Ec8teaJ9VaqMfM2mgG1Li17eOOGbnAEFKCLORG72fHz0%2BNbpi2jDfaB8lgiEyY1JMz1e2tr2Ki2qDj4hl%2BJ2FQ%3D%3D&nav=FRbANEucS95NMLRN47z%2BeeOgEFCt8EGQ0qFfoEM4UR4%3D&emailtofriendview=true&freeviewlink=true

BRAZIL: FOSSILS OF PREHISTORIC FLYING REPTILE SEIZED IN POLICE RAID

On 30 August, the Indian Express reported that limestone slabs recovered in a 2013 police raid in Brazil have revealed the most complete fossil of a species of pterosaur ever found.  The pterosaur had a giant, mohawk-style crest, a birdlike beak and a body covered in something resembling but not quite fur.  A raid, at a harbour near São Paulo, led to the confiscation of about 3,000 fossils, including many fish and insects. 

https://indianexpress.com/article/technology/science/fossils-police-raid-demystify-prehistoric-flying-reptile-7478336/

COLOMBIA’S POLICE HAVE DETAINED A SENIOR DRUG TRAFFICKER FOR ALLEGEDLY LAUNDERING MONEY FOR THE SINALOA CARTEL

On 30 August, Colombia Reports said that Nestor Tarazona was linked to drug trafficking since the 1980’s but is primarily known for the breeding and trading of horses.  Tarazano is one of multiple narcos said to have ties to both the Sinaloa Cartel and the Colombian government.

https://colombiareports.com/colombia-arrests-sinaloa-cartel-money-laundering-chief/

UK: 2 MEN JAILED FOR MANUFACTURING AND SUPPLYING COUNTERFEIT IDENTITY DOCUMENTS ORDERED PAY ALMOST £350,000 OF ILLICIT EARNINGS OR FACE A FURTHER 4½ YEARS IN PRISON

A news release from NCA on 28 August advised that officers recovered over 3,000 completed identity documents, 3,500 passport style photos and 300 Construction Skills Certificate Scheme (CSCS) cards, as well as 40,000 bank cards and £15,000 in cash, with the arrests made in 2018.  The 2 Ukrainians used the home of one of them in Stratford as a forgery factory, set up with computers and printers capable of producing tens of thousands of false documents.  There was an online business through which one received orders and would post the forged documents to customers all over the UK.  If either man fails to pay up by the money demanded by the deadline he will be subject to additional time in prison, and will still be liable for the money.

https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/crooks-who-produced-false-identity-documents-for-people-smuggling-gangs-forced-to-pay-up-3

US CONSULTS ON PROPOSAL TO LIST THE AMUR STURGEON UNDER THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT

On 30 August, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reported that the US Fish and Wildlife Service is accepting until 25 October comments on a proposal to list the Amur sturgeon, a fish species from the Amur River basin in Russia and China, as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. If this rule is finalised, the following activities involving this species will be generally prohibited.

https://www.strtrade.com/trade-news-resources/str-trade-report/trade-report/august/import-and-export-restrictions-proposed-for-amur-sturgeon

CUSTOM DUTIES ON CHINESE GOODS ACCOUNTED FOR 62% OF ALL CUSTOMS REVENUE IN DENMARK LAST YEAR

On 28 August, ScandAsia reported that, in 2020, the Danish Customs collected custom duties on Chinese goods that accounted for more than half of customs revenues.  As in previous years, customs duties on goods from China accounted for the largest share of Denmark’s customs revenues in 2020.

https://scandasia.com/custom-duties-on-chinese-goods-accounted-for-62-percent-of-all-customs-revenue-in-denmark-last-year/

EU: VAT GAP, REDUCED VAT RATES AND THEIR IMPACT ON COMPLIANCE COSTS FOR BUSINESSES AND ON CONSUMERS

On 30 August, the EU Parliament Research Service published an Impact Assessment which focuses on the causes underlying the huge gap between the VAT projected and de facto collected, by looking at factors such as the Member States’ disparate VAT systems and at the effects of reduced VAT rates on businesses and consumers.

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2021/694215/EPRS_STU(2021)694215_EN.pdf

US: CONDUCTING DUE DILIGENCE ON FINANCIAL TECHNOLOGY COMPANIES – A GUIDE FOR COMMUNITY BANKS

3 US federal agencies have published a joint guide intended to be a resource for community banks when performing due diligence on prospective relationships with fintech companies.  It says that a community bank can tailor how it uses relevant information in the guide, based on its specific circumstances, the risks posed by each third-party relationship, and the related product, service, or activity (herein, activities) offered by the fintech company.  While the guide is written from a community bank perspective, the fundamental concepts may be useful for banks of varying size and for other types of third-party relationships.  Banks should also reference federal banking agencies’ relevant guidance.

https://www.occ.gov/news-issuances/news-releases/2021/nr-ia-2021-85a.pdf

INDIA: BOLLYWOOD STAR JACQUELINE FERNANDEZ QUESTIONED BY ENFORCEMENT DIRECTORATE IN MONEY LAUNDERING CASE

On 30 August, the Hindustan Times and others reported that the Enforcement Directorate questioned Bollywood actress Jacqueline Fernandez in Delhi for 5 hours, in a money laundering case.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/entertainment/bollywood/jacqueline-fernandez-questioned-by-enforcement-directorate-in-money-laundering-case-101630327111714.html

WORLD TANKERS MANAGEMENT STRONGLY DENIES WRONGDOING AFTER INDONESIA SEIZES TANKER CONTAINING “STOLEN” CAMBODIAN OIL

On 27 August, Insurance Marine News reported that an oil products tanker was detained by the Indonesian Fleet Command on 27 July, with approaching 40,000 tons of crude oil on board.  It appears that a complex legal situation could arise as a result of the charterer of the vessel going out of business earlier this year.  The operator of the Bahamas-flagged products tanker, World Tankers Management, denied the claims that the vessel was transporting Cambodian crude oil illegally, and said that the tanker was in Indonesia to conduct a “long-overdue”’ crew change.

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/world-tankers-management-strongly-denies-wrongdoing-after-indonesia-seizes-tanker/

WHAT IS KNOWN ABOUT ISIS-K FUNDING IN AFGHANISTAN?

On 30 August, Lawfare carried an article posing this question and saying that to fully understand the group and disrupt future terrorist attacks, policymakers must recognise how the group raises revenues to fund its activities as well as steps already taken by the international community.  It is said that now ISIS-K primarily raises funds through local donations, taxation, extortion, and some financial support from ISIS-core.  It also says that the underregulated hawala money exchange system appears to be a likely avenue for ISIS-K to move money around the world and throughout Afghanistan.  It notes that, in May 2019, the UN designated ISIS-K, making it the first Islamic State affiliate designated by the UN, and this designation immediately established an asset freeze, an arms embargo and a travel ban on ISIS-K by all member states.  It makes recommendations on how to combat ISIS-K and its funding.

https://www.lawfareblog.com/what-known-about-isis-k-funding-afghanistan

IRAN’S BET ON AUTONOMOUS WEAPONS

On 30 August, an article in War on the Rocks looked at claims and possible realities of Iran’s investment in AI and autonomous weapons, such as “suicide drones”. 

https://warontherocks.com/2021/08/irans-bet-on-autonomous-weapons

10 THINGS THE US SHOULD DO TO COMBAT TERRORISM IN THE SAHEL

An article from War on the Rocks on 30 August says that Jihadist violence in the Sahel region of Africa, the swath of former French colonies on the southern edge of the Sahara stretching from Mauritania to Chad, is going from bad to worse, and says that the US and its allies are uncertain about what, if anything, they can do about it.  It warns that all the available indicators — such as casualties among civilians and security forces — suggest that jihadist violence is getting worse. It has spread from northern Mali to central Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso. There also have been attacks and other indicators of penetration by Islamists in the littoral states along the Atlantic coast and the Gulf of Guinea.  It asks what can the US possibly do to make a difference, and is the answer really just to send in more special operations forces?

https://warontherocks.com/2021/08/ten-things-the-united-states-should-do-to-combat-terrorism-in-the-sahel

US HAS ‘MORE TERRORISTS TODAY THAN ON 9/11’ 

On 24 August, an article in Homeland Security Today reported that the US needs to acknowledge and craft policy toward confronting the “very sobering” counterterrorism reality that “we have more terrorists today than we did on 9/11”, a DHS Assistant Secretary for Threat Prevention and Security Policy Elizabeth Neumann told Congress.

https://www.hstoday.us/federal-pages/dhs/u-s-has-more-terrorists-today-than-on-9-11-says-former-dhs-counterterrorism-chief/

UK CONFIRMS EXTENSION ON LEGISLATION THAT WILL ENABLE CE MARKED GOODS TO CONTINUE BEING PLACED ON THE MARKET IN GB UNTIL 1 JANUARY 2023

On 26 August, the RYA reported this change, in the light of it enabling the continued import of CE-marked boats.  It means that the CE mark will now continue as a recognised trademark into next year after the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy agreed to push back the deadline for the UK Conformity Assessed (UKCA) stamp until 1 January 2023.  Any CE-marked goods that meet EU requirements may continue to be placed on the GB market for another year.  The UKCA marking came into effect on 1 January and can be used now.  However, to allow businesses time to adjust to the new requirements, businesses will now be able to continue to use the CE marking in most cases.

https://www.rya.org.uk/news/ce-marking-acceptance-for-boats-extended-until-2023

CHINA CRACKS DOWN ON ILLEGAL ONLINE FINANCIAL INFORMATION ACCOUNTS

On 29 August, the Global Times of China reported that China is intensifying a crackdown campaign on problematic online social media accounts that illegally publish financial information and engage in fraud and other illegal activities, as authorities in Shenzhen arrested a popular financial blogger on suspicion of operating an illegal peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform.

https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202108/1232750.shtml

MALTA: YORGEN FENECH DENIES MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES LINKED TO GAMING COMPANY

On 30 August, Lovin Malta reported that Yorgen Fenech, one of Malta’s most powerful businessmen, has pleaded not guilty to money laundering charges, which are focused on a gaming company called Glimmer Limited. He has also been charged with misappropriation of funds and fraud.  He is a shareholder in the company, along with his uncle, Ray Fenech.  Suspected of bribing members of the Maltese government, in November 2019 he was arrested as a suspect in the murder of the investigative-journalist Daphne Caruana.

https://lovinmalta.com/news/yorgen-fenech-denies-money-laundering-charges-linked-to-gaming-company

UKRAINE’S OLIGARCH PROBLEM HURTING OPPORTUNITIES FOR FOREIGN INVESTMENT

On 30 August, Real Clear Policy carried an article saying that, on the surface, the Ukrainian government’s willingness to call for de-oligarchising of Ukraine seems like a step in the right direction for a country struggling to stamp out corruption.  It also focuses on billionaire Igor Kolomoisky.  Kolomoisky was a strong backer in the election of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, but the President has tried to distance himself from the billionaire despite their past ties. 

https://www.realclearpolicy.com/articles/2021/08/30/ukraines_oligarch_problem_hurting_opportunities_for_foreign_investment_792242.html

MOZAMBIQUE EX-PRESIDENT’S SON DENIES ENABLING HIDDEN DEBT

On 30 August, News 24 in South Africa reported that Ndambi Guebuza, the son of Mozambique’s ex-president Armando Guebuza, has denied allegations he took bribes to facilitate a $2 billion secret government loan that plunged the southern African country into financial crisis.  He is accused of receiving $33 million from an international shipbuilding group, Privinvest, to convince his father, who was president at the time, to approve corrupt maritime projects.

https://www.news24.com/news24/Africa/News/mozambique-ex-presidents-son-denies-enabling-hidden-debt-20210830

AUSTRIAN COURT RULES TO EXTRADITE TURKISH BUSINESSMAN TO TURKEY

On 30 August, Hurriyet reported that an Austrian court has ruled to extradite a Turkish businessman, Sezgin Baran Korkmaz, to Turkey where he is being investigated for money laundering charges.  He is facing charges of conspiring to commit money laundering and wire fraud in the US, which also is seeking his extradition.

https://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/austrian-court-rules-to-extradite-turkish-businessman-to-turkey-167494

CHINA CRACKING DOWN ON ITS PRIVATE-SECTOR OIL REFINERS IN A BID TO CLOSE TAX LOOPHOLES AND MITIGATE POLLUTION

On 30 August, Oil price.com reported that approximately a quarter of the nation’s mammoth refining capacity comes from these independent refineries, known as “teapots”.  Beijing allowed these private refiners with their most limited crude import quota since 2015, when such teapots were first able to directly buy their own oil.  Because of the crackdown, oil tankers are currently piling up off the shores of key Asian ports.  The article says that some of these stranded ships are carrying oil from Iran and Venezuela, countries which are currently under sanction from the US, and which will therefore have a very hard time finding another buyer for their oil if the Chinese market dries up. 

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Chinas-Refinery-Crackdown-Leaves-Oil-Tankers-With-Nowhere-To-Go.html

EU GENERAL COURT SAYS SOUND FILE OF “OPENING A CARBONATED BEVERAGE” NOT REGISTRABLE AS A SOUND MARK

An article from Hogan Lovells on 30 August reported that the Court had ruled in a case brought by a German company that the typical crack and fizz sound that occurs when opening a carbonated beverage is not registrable as a sound mark as it lacks any distinctive character. 

https://www.engage.hoganlovells.com/knowledgeservices/news/put-a-cork-in-it-eu-general-court-says-sound-file-of-opening-a-carbonated-beverage-not-registrable-as-a-sound-mark

UK: COVID-19 Concession on Right-to-Work Checks Extended to 5 April

On 30 August, Morgan Lewis reported that the Home Office has announced that the temporary COVID-19 adjusted right-to-work checks have been extended to 5 April 2022 following the positive feedback on remote checks.  Under UK law, all employers are required to complete a right-to-work check on or prior to any employee’s start date. Under the temporary changes allow employers to conduct right-to-work checks by video calls, with employees sending scanned copies or photos of their documents in advance and the individual is required to hold up the original documents to the camera and the employer will check them against the uploaded documents.

https://www.morganlewis.com/pubs/2021/08/covid-19-concession-on-uk-right-to-work-checks-now-extended-to-5-april-2022

ILLICIT FENTANYL FROM CHINA: AN EVOLVING GLOBAL OPERATION

On 24 August, the US-China Economic and security Review Commission published a briefing which examines the evolution of China’s role in global illicit fentanyl trade.  Whilst China placed all forms of fentanyl and its analogues on a regulatory schedule in 2019, the DEA assesses China remains the primary country of origin for illicit fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances trafficked in the US.  While Mexican drug cartels have always been a critical node for smuggling illicit fentanyl into the US, this brief finds that the links between Chinese and Mexican actors in the fentanyl trade has grown in complexity, including the development of sophisticated money laundering operations.  Finally, the brief concludes that while cooperation between the US and China remains limited, there are opportunities for the US to work with other countries on counternarcotic enforcement.  The briefing provides an overview of fentanyl flows from China to the US and developments since 2018.  It explains that fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid approved by the FDA for pain relief, often for cancer patients, and as an anaesthetic, approximately 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin, with fentanyl pharmaceutical products are available in lozenges, tablets, nasal sprays, skin patches, and injectable formulations.

https://www.uscc.gov/files/001889

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

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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