OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – SEPTEMBER 4

Panama Covid-19 update – another 8 fatalities notified today, and 442 new cases. Active cases continue to fall, now being at 6,537; with 95 in ICU and 253 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

UK ‘ASSISTED’ COLOMBIA POLICE FORCE THAT CLAIMED 63 LIVES IN 2021 PROTESTS

On 3 September, The Wire reported that the UK military had up to 9 soldiers “assisting” the Colombian police force a month before it launched a brutal crackdown on anti-government protesters that left 63 people dead. But the MoD refused to reveal the nature of the assistance.  The NCA had also trained the Colombian police in a multimillion-pound 5-year programme that is shrouded in secrecy. Furthermore, in the 6 years to 2020, 309 Colombian students studied at the UK’s Defence Academy and its constituent colleges.  In 2020, the British government made Colombia one of its key arms sales markets 

https://thewire.in/world/uk-assisted-colombia-police-force-that-claimed-63-lives-in-2021-protests

24 FINANCIAL SERVICES COMPANIES SURRENDERED LICENCES SINCE MALTA GREY-LISTED

On 4 September, The Shift reported that 24 firms had voluntarily handed back their licences to operate in the 10 weeks that have passed since Malta was grey-listed by FATF on 23 June.

https://theshiftnews.com/2021/09/04/24-financial-services-companies-surrender-licenses-since-grey-listing/

US AND NORWAY AGREEMENT TO ELIMINATE ALL OF NORWAY’S HIGHLY ENRICHED URANIUM (HEU) BY DOWNBLENDING IT TO LOW-ENRICHED URANIUM

On 3 September, World Nuclear News reported that the US Department of Energy and Norway’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries have signed a MoU to advance a cooperative project to eliminate all of Norway’s HEU by downblending it to low-enriched uranium.  The MoU calls for downblending activities to begin in 2022 using Norway’s existing infrastructure, followed by the eventual deployment of the DOE Mobile Melt-Consolidate system.

https://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/US-Norway-work-together-to-eliminate-HEU

SOUTH AFRICA: INVESTIGATIONS INTO DENEL CORRUPTION AND WRONGDOING SLOWLY PROGRESSING

On 31 August, Defence Web reported that the defence industry company is moving forward with nearly a dozen investigations into criminal matters at the company concerning dubious contracts, intellectual property theft and suspect loan extensions.

https://www.defenceweb.co.za/featured/investigations-into-denel-corruption-and-wrongdoing-slowly-progressing/

DO E-BILLS SIGNAL THE END OF LETTERS OF INDEMNITY (LOI) FOR SHIPOWNERS?

On 31 August, a briefing from law firm HFW says that, following an earlier briefing regarding the acceleration of adoption of e-bills of lading and the enabling legislative framework, this further briefing looks at what these developments mean for shipowners and their insurers. It explains that delay in the original bill of lading arriving at the discharge port, has led to pressure on shipowners to discharge the cargo without presentation of the original bill and against a letter of indemnity (LOI).  It argues that the use of e-bills of lading is the tip of the iceberg in the drive to digitalise the shipping industry; and the benefits of making the switch from paper have been demonstrated in multiple test cases and the widespread adoption of e-bills appears inevitable.

https://www.hfw.com/downloads/003229-HFW-Do-E-bills-signal-the-end-of-LOIs-for-Shipowners.pdf

US: A RETIRED MARINE COLONEL IS SECOND TO PLEAD GUILTY IN A WEEK IN ‘FAT LEONARD’ NAVY BRIBERY CASE

On 4 September, Stars & Stripes reported that the criminal trials into the US Navy’s sprawling “Fat Leonard” scandal continues to narrow, with a second military officer pleading guilty to bribery in a week.  Retired US Marine Colonel Enrico “Rick” DeGuzman, 63, admitted in a plea agreement to accepting $67,000 in fine dining, gifts and luxury hotel stays in exchange for steering business to Leonard Francis, a military contractor operating in the Eastern Pacific.  At least 27 people have pleaded guilty in the linked cases since they began in 2013.

https://www.stripes.com/theaters/us/2021-09-04/navy-fat-leonard-scandal-guilty-plea-marine-col-enrico-rick-deguzman-2769569.html

INDIA: CO-FOUNDER OF E-COMMERCE GIANT FLIPKART IN COURT CHALLENGE AGAINST ACCUSATIONS OF VIOLATION OF FOREIGN INVESTMENT LAWS

On 4 September, Investing.com reported that the Enforcement Directorate had issued a so-called show cause notice to Flipkart, its founders and some investors asking them to explain why they should not face a penalty of $1.35 billion for alleged violation of foreign investment laws between 2009 and 2015. 

https://www.investing.com/news/stock-market-news/flipkart-cofounder-challenges-indian-enforcement-agency-probe-2608018

UK: TAX TRIBUNALS IN THE NEXT 10 YEARS

A report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies on 31 August is concerned with the report of the Tax Law Review Committee (TLRC) which identifies present strengths of the Tax Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) and addresses areas for improvement. It says that delay is the overriding concern among tribunal users surveyed.  The report also identifies existing areas of strength of the FTT, including how litigants in person are often assisted by judges taking an inquisitorial approach, although it also identifies potential for further improvements to access to justice for litigants in person. 

https://ifs.org.uk/publications/15554

UN TOUGHENS DRAFT HUMAN RIGHTS TREATY

Another legal briefing from Herbert Smith Freehills says that a group drafting a new UN treaty adds to global pressure for mandatory human rights due diligence and expanded duties for corporates. A Working Group was established by the UN Human Rights Council in 2014 with a mandate to develop a treaty on business and human rights and will meet from 25 to 29 October to discuss the revisions.

https://www.herbertsmithfreehills.com/latest-thinking/un-toughens-draft-human-rights-treaty-%E2%80%93-the-creep-of-progress

UK: DURHAM-BASED PROPERTY DEVELOPER HAS AGREED TO HAND OVER ASSETS WORTH £850,000 TO SETTLE A CIVIL RECOVERY AND TAX CLAIM

On 4 September, the Northern Echo reported that Ronald Morton has been ordered to hand over property and land after his alleged involvement in drug trafficking, money laundering and tax evasion.  The NCA alleged that Mr Morton was involved in the long-term supply of controlled drugs in the North-East of England.

https://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/19559137.durham-man-hands-850-000-alleged-criminal-profits/

$5.2 MILLION WORTH OF FAKE CARTIER JEWELLERY SEIZED BY US CUSTOMS

A news release on 1 September advised that officers in Cincinnati recently seized 2 shipments containing a total of 500 pieces of counterfeit Cartier jewellery.  It came from China and Hong Kong, and it been genuine, it would have been worth $5.24 million.

https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/52-million-worth-fake-cartier-jewelry-seized-cincinnati-cbp

UK: CRYPTOEXCHANGE ORDERED TO REVEAL ACCOUNT HOLDER INFORMATION LINKED TO MULTI-MILLION CRYPTOCURRENCY FRAUD

On 31 August, Osborne Clarke reported on a case before the High Court in which the presiding judge ordered worldwide freezing orders, proprietary injunctive relief and ancillary information disclosure against the unknown perpetrators of an alleged fraud, and a Bankers Trust Order against Binance Holdings Limited (despite it being based in the Cayman Islands) and Norwich Phamacal relief against Binance Markets Limited (which is UK-domiciled).  The firm says that the decision confirms English courts’ willingness to assist victims of crypto-asset fraud in recovering their property.

https://www.osborneclarke.com/insights/cryptoexchange-ordered-reveal-account-holder-information-linked-multi-million-cryptocurrency-fraud/

GERMAN STATE-OWNED BANK FINED FOR ANGOLAN LOAN EXPOSED IN “LUANDA LEAKS”

On 3 September, ICIJ reported that KfW-Ipex-Bank, an import-export bank, loaned more than $55 million through an Angolan bank to a brewery controlled by Isabel dos Santos, daughter of a former president and claimed as the richest woman in Africa.  German authorities have imposed a $178,000 fine for facilitating loans to the Angolan brewery.  Frankfurt prosecutors said that the subsidiary of Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) violated German AML laws.

https://www.icij.org/investigations/luanda-leaks/german-state-owned-bank-fined-for-angolan-loan-exposed-in-luanda-leaks/

FASHION BRANDS FAIL TO ADDRESS PANDEMIC-ERA WAGE THEFT IN CAMBODIA

The Public Eye website has claimed that Cambodian garment workers producing goods for international fashion and sportswear brands were deprived of an estimated $109 million in wages during the April and May 2021 national lockdown.  Unions and activists have called on international brands to pay workers’ full wages throughout the duration of the pandemic and sign an enforceable agreement to prevent future pay theft.

https://www.publiceye.ch/en/topics/fashion/fashion-brands-fail-to-address-pandemic-era-wage-theft-in-cambodia-garment-workers-deprived-of-109-million

BRAZILIAN FORMER FIFA OFFICIAL BRIBERY LIFE BAN REDUCED TO 20 YEARS

On 2 September, First Post reported that Brazilian football official Marco Polo del Nero has had his his life ban cut to 20 years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland. Del Nero was on the FIFA executive committee when he fled Switzerland in May 2015.  He was formally indicted 6 months later, resigned his FIFA position, and has since stayed in Brazil where he has avoided being extradited to the US.

https://www.firstpost.com/sports/former-fifa-official-marco-polo-del-neros-bribery-life-ban-reduced-to-20-years-9932311.html

DRUG TRAFFICKING AND ILLEGAL LOGGING THREATEN INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES IN PERU

On 26 August, Mongabay reported that Kichwa communities in northern Peru say outsiders are illegally invading their land and cutting down rainforest to plant coca and sell timber; and regional authorities say they cannot intervene in the area because they do not have the necessary security force to contend with armed criminal groups in the area.

https://news.mongabay.com/2021/08/drug-trafficking-and-illegal-logging-threaten-indigenous-communities-in-peru/

CREDIT SUISSE GROUP LEGAL BATTLE WITH SANJEEV GUPTA DELAYED BY ANOTHER 6 MONTHS, AS THE METALS TYCOON CONTINUES TO SEEK FUNDING

On 3 September, Swissinfo reported that a hearing in London over the bank’s attempt to push some of Gupta’s companies into insolvency has been rescheduled to March by consent between the parties.  The case involves “winding-up petitions” applied for against a number of companies in Gupta’s GFG Alliance Group, including Liberty Commodities Ltd.

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/credit-suisse–gupta-legal-fight-delayed-as-tycoon-seeks-funding/46917182

DoJ IS INVESTIGATING 2 SENIOR KUWAITI OLYMPIC OFFICIALS FOR BRIBERY AND RACKETEERING RELATED TO FIFA PROBE

On 2 September, the Business Insider website reported that 2 Kuwaiti Olympic officials are being investigated by the DoJ for alleged racketeering and bribery related to FIFA. 

https://www.businessinsider.com/doj-is-investigating-two-senior-kuwaiti-olympic-officials-for-bribery-2021-9

FBI WARNS OF RANSOMWARE GANGS TARGETING FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANISATIONS

On 2 September, the Bleeping Computer website reported that the FBI says ransomware gangs are actively targeting and disrupting the operations of organizations in the food and agriculture sector, causing financial loss and directly affecting the food supply chain.  The article also mentions a number of past attacks.

https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/fbi-warns-of-ransomware-gangs-targeting-food-agriculture-orgs/

“DÉJÀ VU” IN EU SANCTIONS POLICY: A COMMENT ON 2 EU GENERAL COURT JUDGMENTS IN THE YANUKOVYCH CASE

On 2 September, an article from Steptoe & Johnson says that when the parties targeted by financial sanctions seek legal redress, they are often frustrated by the outcome.  This is illustrated by 2 recent judgments of the EU General Court in a matter involving Viktor Yanukovych, the former President of Ukraine, and his son, Oleksandr Yanukovych.  It points out that the Court had already reviewed the sanctions against Viktor Yanukovych and his son on various occasions in the past and annulled some of the acts adopted by the EU Council against them.  However, such blocks were sidestepped by the EU, saying that it is doubtful that the General Court’s rulings will have actual practical consequences for these individuals. The annulled acts were adopted in 2019 and, since then, the EU Council has again designated the applicants under other acts.

https://www.steptoeinternationalcomplianceblog.com/2021/09/deja-vu-in-eu-sanctions-policy-a-comment-on-two-eu-general-court-judgments-in-the-yanukovych-case/

UK: POST OFFICE LAUNCHES DIGITAL ID VERIFICATION SERVICE

On 1 September, Parcel & Postal Technology International reported that customers in the UK can now collect parcels and letters from Post Office branches using an app displaying their ID. The Post Office EasyID app is free to download and can already be used for completing online transactions that require proof of identity.

https://www.parcelandpostaltechnologyinternational.com/news/technology/post-office-launches-digital-id-verification-service.html

AFGHANISTAN HAS VAST MINERAL WEALTH BUT FACES STEEP CHALLENGES TO TAP IT

An article in The Conversation on 31 August said that Afghanistan possesses non-fuel minerals worth an estimated at more than $1 trillion plus, and has always been renowned for its gemstones – rubies, emeralds, tourmalines and lapis lazuli.  Minerals continue to be locally extracted, both legally and illegally, in mostly small artisan mines.  More value, it says, lies with the country’s endowments of iron, copper, lithium, rare earth elements, cobalt, bauxite, mercury, uranium and chromium.

https://theconversation.com/afghanistan-has-vast-mineral-wealth-but-faces-steep-challenges-to-tap-it-166484

HOW THE PURDUE OPIOID SETTLEMENT COULD HELP THE PUBLIC UNDERSTAND THE ROOTS OF THE DRUG CRISIS

On 1 September, an article in The Conversation is concerned with the settlement of thousands of the lawsuits filed by states, cities, counties and native tribes against Purdue Pharma.  If the deal holds up, it says, it will cap 20 years of litigation against Purdue Pharma, a privately held drugmaker in connection with its marketing of OxyContin, an opioid.  Under the draft settlement the Sackler family behind the company will hand over a total of $4.5 billion over 9 years provided they can be released of any liability for their role in the opioid crisis – and this immunity would extend to members of the family as well as to foundations, trusts, business associates, attorneys, lobbyists, Purdue subsidiaries etc.  Aside from the question of the settlement, the article argues that the lawsuits against the industry have produced millions of internal company documents that shed light on the origins of the opioid catastrophe.  This, it is said, will help researchers, journalists and the public better understand the causes of the opioid epidemic.

https://theconversation.com/how-the-purdue-opioid-settlement-could-help-the-public-understand-the-roots-of-the-drug-crisis-166701

GHANA: AIRBUS SCANDAL SUSPECT VOWS TO SUE AS UK SFO DROPS CHARGES FOR LACK OF EVIDENCE

On 4 September, Pulse reported that charges had been dropped against Phil Middlemiss, 58, and the actor is now said to be preparing to sue the UK authorities for ruining his life with the 2-year-long investigation and the bad publicity it has caused him.  He says that his role was to help the Airbus staff in the country to facilitate meetings, transport and arrange visas on arrival as they usually needed to travel at short notice, and that he would be paid on a commission basis following the successful sale of its planes.

https://www.pulse.com.gh/news/local/airbus-scandal-suspect-vows-to-sue-as-uk-serious-fraud-office-drops-charges-for-lack/k0e3p8p

US: TIPS ON AVOIDING FRAUDULENT CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTION SCHEMES

A news release from US DoJ on 4 September advised that the National Center for Disaster Fraud reminded the public to be aware of and report any instances of alleged fraudulent activity related to relief operations and funding for victims.  It warns that criminals can exploit disasters, such as Hurricane Ida, for their own gain by sending fraudulent communications through email or social media and by creating phony websites designed to solicit contributions.  Before making a donation of any kind, consumers should adhere to certain guidelines, which are laid out in the release.

https://www.justice.gov/usao-mdla/pr/tips-avoiding-fraudulent-charitable-contribution-schemes

UN ARMS TRADE TREATY ISSUE BRIEF 3: DIVERSION ANALYSIS FRAMEWORK

The UN Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) has published this guide on 31 August, which says that the diversion of conventional arms occurs in settings considered at peace, in armed conflict, or affected by armed violence.  This Issue Brief presents the Diversion Analysis Framework (DAF) – a Framework has been designed as an analytical tool for interested States and relevant stakeholders to enhance their ongoing efforts to prevent, detect, eradicate, and address diversion. 

https://unidir.org/publication/arms-trade-treaty-issue-brief-3-diversion-analysis-framework

PRINCE CHARLES’ CHARITY WENT INTO BUSINESS WITH CONVICTED LATVIAN TYCOON AND FORMER BLACKPOOL FC OWNER VALERI BELOKON

On 4 September, the Daily Mail reported that the Prince’s charitable foundation went into business with a Latvian tycoon later convicted of money laundering. The Latvian’s company established PF Urban in a ‘joint venture’ with the Prince’s Foundation and a Kuwaiti property conglomerate.  According to Companies House records, Belokon, 61, was a director of PF Urban from September 2010 until June 2013 – 2 years after criminal proceedings began against him in Latvia over money-laundering allegations.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9958623/Prince-Charles-charitys-partnership-Latvian-tycoon-ex-Blackpool-FC-owner-questioned.html

INDIA COAL SCAM: KOLKATA TOURISM FIRM OFFICE SEARCHED IN MONEY LAUNDERING PROBE

On 4 September, First Post reported that the Enforcement Directorate had conducted search operations at a private tours and travels company’s office in Kolkata in connection with its probe into an alleged multi-crore coal pilferage scam.  The ED is probing the money laundering aspect of the scam.

https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/coal-scam-ed-searches-kolkata-tourism-firms-office-in-money-laundering-probe-9938461.html

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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