OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – SEPTEMBER 3

Panama Covid-19 update – the total number of cases since the start of 2020 edges towards half a million, now standing at 459,077 (or around 10% or more of the total population), with a further 439 cases added today. There were another 4 fatalities reported. Meanwhile, 102 patients remain in ICU and 263 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

3 SEPTEMBER 2021

2021 GLOBAL SHIPPING MARKET UPDATE

On 19 August, Global Trade Magazine published an article reviewing the year to date, saying that demand continues to exceed global capacity, with no sign of slowing down and that schedule reliability in ocean shipping is at the lowest it has ever seen.  It refers to the problems shipping has faced – supply chain disruptions that consist of port and terminal congestion, shipping delays due to high cargo volumes, lack of labour due to Covid-19 and limited space.  These all contributed to rocketing freight costs, and it says that disruptions and delays likely won’t be ending soon.  It points out it is not just sea trade that has been affected, lower levels of passenger air travel over the past year have created congestion at air cargo terminals worldwide.

https://www.globaltrademag.com/2021-has-felt-like-one-big-peak-season-a-global-shipping-market-update/

INDONESIA: INVESTIGATORS TO GO AFTER ILLEGAL FISHING KINGPINS

On 1 September, Mongabay reported that the fisheries ministry has pledged to target the ultimate beneficiaries of fisheries-related crimes in the country, in the wake of a court ruling that empowers ministry officials to act as investigators, including the authority to look into cases of money laundering.  It says that a 2020 paper had said that the perpetrators behind organised crime in the fisheries industry are companies with complex operational activities in many countries, and it is estimated that estimates that IUU fishing costs Indonesia at least $4 billion a year in lost revenue.

https://news.mongabay.com/2021/09/indonesias-newly-minted-investigators-to-go-after-illegal-fishing-kingpins/

UK ANNOUNCES NEW SANCTIONS AGAINST MYANMAR

On 3 September, Al Jazeera reported that the UK has announced new Myanmar sanctions, saying it was targeting a key business associate of the military government for providing arms and financial support following a coup earlier this year.  Htoo Group of Companies and its founder Tay Za were targeted with the UK adding that the tycoon was involved in arms deals on behalf of the military.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/9/3/britain-announces-new-myanmar

https://www.jurist.org/news/2021/09/uk-imposes-sanctions-on-myanmar-businessman-u-tay-za-and-htoo-group-for-alleged-links-to-human-rights-violations/

JPMORGAN SETTLES FRENCH TAX FRAUD CASE FOR $30 MILLION

On 2 September, Bloomberg Quint reported that JPMorgan Chase & Co had settled a longstanding French criminal investigation over allegations it helped clients commit tax fraud for €25 million.  The case relates to allegations of tax fraud seen to benefit former managers at investment firm Wendel.  However, the case continues however for other suspects such as former Wendel Chairman Ernest-Antoine Seilliere and ex-CEO Jean-Bernard Lafonta – both deny the allegations and Wendel was not itself accused of any wrongdoing in the case.

https://www.bloombergquint.com/onweb/jpmorgan-settles-tax-fraud-case-linked-to-wendel-for-30-million

UK: DATA PROTECTION – ICO CONSULTATION ON INTERNATIONAL DATA TRANSFER AGREEMENT TO REPLACE SCC

On 12 August, an article from Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP explained that the Information Commissioner’s Office had launched a consultation on its draft international data transfer agreement (IDTA) and guidance for organisations on international transfers. Once finalised, the IDTA will replace the existing EU Standard Contractual Clauses (SCC) in the UK.  It says that the ICO has also produced a draft tool to assist organisations when making routine transfers, though organisations are also free to use their own methods to assess risk.  A crucial element of the new process if that the organisation must assess whether the IDTA would be enforceable in the destination country.  The draft template IDTA does not follow the same structure as the SCC, instead providing separate sections for details of the parties, the transfer (including whether the importer is permitted to make further transfers and the frequency with which the IDTA will be reviewed), the data transferred and the purpose of the transfer, as well as the security measures that will be implemented at each stage of the transfer. 

https://www.huntonprivacyblog.com/2021/08/12/ico-consultation-on-international-data-transfer-agreement-to-replace-sccs/#page=1

THE GROWTH OF NORWICH PHARMACAL ORDERS (PART I)

On 11 August, William Fry published an article about Norwich Pharmacal orders (NPO), which are generally used to discover the identity of a wrongdoer from a third party, in the context of Irish law.  It explains that NPO arose out of a UK decision in Norwich Pharmacal v Customs and Excise Commissioners in 1974, but has developed in recent times to suit an increasingly digital world.  A second article will look at a High Court decision which illustrates the flexibility of the NPO and the pragmatic approach of the Irish Courts to their use is evident in recent cases. 

https://www.williamfry.com/newsandinsights/publications-article/2021/08/11/the-growth-of-norwich-pharmacal-orders-part-i—an-evolving-litigation-tool

PROPOSAL FOR A BELGIAN LAW ON THE CONTROL OF FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENTS IN STRATEGIC SECTORS

On 2 September, an article from CMS Law Belgium is concerned with a law proposed in February which would include in the Belgian Code of Economic Law a mechanism for screening foreign direct investments in a Belgian company active in a strategic sector.  It notes that currently only the Flemish Region has a similar, though less extensive, type of law, and that no similar legislation on the control of foreign direct investments exists in the Walloon Region and the Brussels Capital Region.

https://www.cms-lawnow.com/ealerts/2021/09/proposal-for-a-belgian-law-on-the-control-of-foreign-direct-investments-in-strategic-sectors?cc_lang=en

UK: HOME SECRETARY SEEKS EXPERT ADVICE ON ‘LAUGHING GAS’

On 3 September, the Home Office advised that the Home Secretary has asked the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) to review the harms caused by nitrous oxide after a concerning rise in use among young people.  Over half a million young people are reported taking the drug in 2019-20.  It is said that nitrous oxide, which is usually sold in small silver canisters and inhaled, can cause serious long-term effects such as vitamin B12 deficiency and anaemia; commonly used at anti-social gatherings this leads to widespread littering in public places.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/home-secretary-seeks-expert-advice-on-laughing-gas

LIMITED LIABILITY FOR COMPANIES – NOT ALL IT IS CRACKED UP TO BE (PART 2)

On 31 August, Morton Fraser in Scotland published the second article which highlights for directors some of the main ways in which the general protection of limited liability does not apply or can be lost.  The first article had discussed those exceptions to the principle of limited liability that arise in insolvency or distress situations, and Part 2 deals with the provisions that have more general applicability.  

https://www.morton-fraser.com/knowledge-hub/limited-liability-part-2

SEC: CRYPTO-COIN SCAM START-UP SAID ITS BOT COULD GENERATE HUGE PROFITS FROM YOUR BITCOIN

On 3 September, The Register reported that Cryptocurrency start-up BitConnect and 2 men have been sued by the SEC, which claims the now-defunct firm swindled investors out of billions by lying to them about an automated trading bot that could reap huge profits.

https://www.theregister.com/2021/09/03/bitconnect_sec_ponzi/

BIG 4 UK ACCOUNTANCY FIRMS MUSCLE IN ON NEW TYPE OF CITY LAW WORK

On 3 September, the Law Society Gazette reported that the firms are focusing on work that traditional City firms turn down in a drive to disrupt the legal market.  A report has suggested that accountancy firms are not interested in large, one-off matters such as major acquisitions. Instead, they are focusing on ‘run-the-company’ work such as the integration of contracts and policies in the wake of an acquisition.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/big-four-muscle-in-on-new-type-of-city-work/5109672.article

MALTA: PILATUS BANK MLRO ARRESTED

On 2 September, Kenneth Rijock in his blog reported that Claude-Anne Sant Fournier, MLRO at the now closed Pilatus Bank, has been arrested on money laundering charges; with the bank itself also charged.

https://rijock.blogspot.com/2021/09/pilatus-bank-mlro-arrested-today-was.html

https://international-adviser.com/pilatus-bank-and-official-charged-with-money-laundering

TUNISIA: DETENTION WARRANT AGAINST MAGISTRATE INTERCEPTED IN POSSESSION OF FOREIGN CURRENCIES

On 2 September, All Africa reported that a detention warrant had been issued against a magistrate intercepted recently in possession of a sum of money in dinars and foreign currency, without authorisation from the Central Bank, facing charges of possession of money from unknown sources and money laundering.

https://allafrica.com/stories/202109030173.html?src=ilaw&viewall=1

AMERICAN WHO LIVED IN UKRAINE CHARGED WITH BANK FRAUD

On 3 September, the Kyiv Post reported that Harold Sobel, 68, a US citizen who lived in Ukraine has been indicted by a grand jury in Nevada for conspiracy to make false statements to a bank and 2 counts of false statements to banks. 

https://www.kyivpost.com/world/american-who-lived-in-ukraine-charged-with-bank-fraud.html

UK: PET ABDUCTION TO BE MADE NEW CRIMINAL OFFENCE IN CRACKDOWN ON PET THEFT

On 3 September, a news release from the Home Office advised that the proposal comes after the Pet Theft Taskforce delivered a report with key findings and recommendations. 

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/pet-abduction-to-be-made-new-criminal-offence-in-crackdown-on-pet-theft

HOW DUBAI CUSTOMS STOPS COUNTERFEIT PRODUCTS FROM ENTERING THE SUPPLY CHAIN

On 2 September, Global Trade Magazine carried an article claiming that Dubai Customs continues to position itself as a leader in countering illicit product transport, with regular reports showcasing the efforts and successes throughout each year.  In 2020, the organization recycled 1,906 counterfeit items, ranging from computers to athletic shoes and mobile headphones.

https://www.globaltrademag.com/how-dubai-customs-stops-counterfeit-products-from-entering-the-supply-chain/

MALAYSIA: CUSTOMS DEPT DESTROYS 201.7 TONNES OF SEIZED FIREWORKS

On 3 September, Borneo Post Online reported that THE fireworks were destroyed by the Royal Malaysian Customs Department at a firing range. 

https://www.theborneopost.com/2021/09/03/customs-dept-destroys-201-7-tonnes-of-seized-fireworks-worth-rm1-38-mln/

ISLE OF MAN: FURTHER AML/CFT SECTOR SPECIFIC GUIDANCE

On 3 September, the FSA said that it had released further sector specific guidance, for advocates and registered legal practitioners; and payroll agents.

https://www.iomfsa.im/fsa-news/2021/sep/amlcft-publication-of-the-amlcft-sector-specific-guidance-notes-4/

LITHIUM MINING IN ARGENTINA

On 2 September, an article from Dentons says that Argentina does not have a specific legal framework applying to lithium projects or a particular agency that controls its execution.

https://www.dentons.com/en/insights/articles/2021/september/2/lithium-mining-in-argentina

DELAYS DUE TO COVID HOLDING UP VERIFICATION OF SYRIA CHEMICAL WEAPONS DISARMAMENT

A news release from UN on 2 September reported that nearly 8 years after the UN Security Council mandated the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons programme, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is still not able to consider the file closed, the senior UN disarmament official has told delegates. 

https://www.un.org/press/en/2021/sc14621.doc.htm

ARE THE DoJ AND IRS BACKPEDALLING ON CONSIDERING CRYPTOCURRENCY AS PROPERTY?

On 2 September, Accounting Today reported that the US DoJ has made a “startling” claim in a legal filing that cryptocurrencies or virtual currencies are not in all instances property for US tax purposes.  It concludes by saying that, hopefully, any additional guidance will provide clarity rather than additional confusion and complications for holders of virtual currencies.

https://www.accountingtoday.com/opinion/are-the-doj-and-irs-backpedaling-on-considering-cryptocurrency-as-property

HOW SCAMMERS ARE EXPLOITING THE NFT MANIA

On 1 September, The Block website reported that the expanding NFT market has become a ripe target for scammers.  It says that there are tw2o main ways that they are seeking to gain access to one’s wallet and whatever tokens are held therein, e.g. pretending to provide support services on behalf of NFT marketplace OpenSea, and taking advantage of confusion.

https://www.theblockcrypto.com/post/116317/how-scammers-are-exploiting-the-nft-mania

EASTERN EUROPE’S CRYPTO CRIME LANDSCAPE: SCAMS DOMINATE, PLUS SIGNIFICANT RANSOMWARE ACTIVITY

On 1 September, Chainanalysis reported in a post a preview of its 2021 Geography of Cryptocurrency report.  It says that addresses based in Eastern Europe have the second-highest rate of exposure to illicit addresses behind only Africa.  It also says that Eastern Europe has sent the second most cryptocurrency of any region to illicit addresses, behind only Western Europe, and that that Eastern Europe sends more cryptocurrency to darknet markets than any other region.  Eastern Europe also sent the most web traffic to scam websites during the time period studied by a wide margin. 

https://blog.chainalysis.com/reports/eastern-europe-cryptocurrency-geography-report-2021-preview

ART WORLD RUSHES TO CONFORM TO UK AML LAWS

On 3 September, the Art Newspaper reported that some of the major auction houses and galleries are not yet on the list (including Sotheby’s), despite the deadline for registering with HMRC by 10 June, seemingly a result of having registered close to the deadline, or because of outstanding questions from HMRC.  Nevertheless, it says, the total number registered—around 475 as of 10 August—does suggest a sizeable chunk of the sector has now complied.   It also notes that art market participants represent less than 1% of the total number of companies supervised and requiring registration under the UK AML/CFT regime, with other sectors including estate agency businesses and trust companies.

https://www.theartnewspaper.com/news/art-world-rushes-to-conform-to-anti-money-laundering-laws

GIFT CARD GANG EXTRACTS CASH FROM 100,000 INBOXES DAILY

A post from Krebs on Security on 2 September says that some of the most successful and lucrative online scams employ a “low-and-slow” approach — avoiding detection or interference from researchers and law enforcement agencies by stealing small bits of cash from many people over an extended period.  The post relates the story whereby 100,000 email inboxes per day are affected, and apparently does little else with this access except siphon gift card and customer loyalty programme data that can be resold online.

https://krebsonsecurity.com/2021/09/gift-card-gang-extracts-cash-from-100k-inboxes-daily/

RED SEA DRONES: HOW TO COUNTER HOUTHI MARITIME TACTICS

On 2 September, a Commentary from War on the Rocks says that mariners in the Red Sea must deal with a much more modern threat – unmanned explosive boats.  Since 2017, Houthi forces in Yemen have been perfecting their use of maritime drones — sometimes referred as unmanned surface vehicles (USV), drone boats, or water-borne improvised explosive devices (IED) — to carry out attacks against maritime vessels and port facilities in the region. 

https://warontherocks.com/2021/09/red-sea-drones-how-to-counter-houthi-maritime-tactics

TRANSFERS OF MAJOR ARMS TO AFGHANISTAN BETWEEN 2001 AND 2020

On 3 September, a Backgrounder from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute says that, since 2001, significant numbers of major arms had been delivered to bolster the Afghan military and security forces, in the expectation that they would eventually be able to maintain security and suppress the Taliban insurgency without international support.  This article gives an overview of known international flows of major arms to the Afghan armed forces between 2001 and 2020 and discusses the supplier states, volumes, types and numbers of major arms deliveries. It does not cover deliveries of small arms and light weapons, which were also supplied to Afghanistan in large numbers. The US was the largest major arms supplier to Afghanistan in every consecutive 5-year period after 2001–2005.  Deliveries from the US to Afghanistan from 2001 included an estimated 21,924 armoured vehicles, 66 MD-530F armed light helicopters, 34 Cessna-208B armed light transport aircraft, and 53 UH-60A transport helicopters.  The US also delivered 65 ScanEagle (unarmed) UAV and an estimated 250 Paveway guided bombs.  Russia was the second largest supplier of major arms to the Afghan armed forces in the period, accounting for 14% of imports, by volume, and all of these deliveries took place between 2002 and 2014.  Several other states, mainly NATO member states, delivered smaller volumes of major arms to Afghanistan directly or supplied major arms through US-run and US-funded programmes.

https://sipri.org/commentary/topical-backgrounder/2021/transfers-major-arms-afghanistan-between-2001-and-2020

A VILLA IN TURKEY, AN EXCLUSIVE PRIVATE SCHOOL. ALL ON A RUSSIAN LAWMAKER’S SALARY

On 3 September, an article in Rferl focused on Leonid Slutsky, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and the No. 2 official of the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party.  He is subject to US sanctions in connection with Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.

https://www.rferl.org/a/leonid-slutsky-wealth-russia/31442651.html

US ENDS ZURICH BANK ZKB CRIMINAL TAX EVASION CASE

On 3 September, Metro reported that the US government is ending its criminal case against Zuercher Kantonalbank for helping wealthy Americans evade taxes, after the Zurich lender paid $98.5 million and complied with a 3-year deferred prosecution agreement.

https://www.metro.us/u-s-ends-zurich-bank

PROBE BEGINS INTO ALLEGED BRIBE INVOLVING GUATEMALA’S PRESIDENT AND RUSSIAN BUSINESSMEN

On 3 September, Al Jazeera reported that anti-corruption prosecutors are investigating an alleged bribe from Russian businessmen to President Alejandro Giammattei o obtain a dock in one of the country’s main ports. 

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/9/3/probe-begins-into-alleged-bribe-involving-guatemalas-president

FRAUD, THEFT, AND EMBEZZLEMENT IN NON-PROFIT ORGANISATIONS: TOP PREVENTIVE MEASURES

On 2 September, Venables LLP published an article, Part 1 of a 2-part series on preventing, detecting, and addressing fraud, theft, and embezzlement in NPO.  It refers to recent research, saying that non-profit fraud is an evergreen concern that organisations grappled with before the pandemic.  It says that taking the time to set up robust internal controls is an indispensable step that NPO can take toward avoiding allegations of fraud and the costly enforcement actions that might follow, and they can seek insurance to help mitigate the damage resulting from fraud.

https://www.venable.com/insights/publications/2021/09/fraud-theft-and-embezzlement-in-nonprofit-org

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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