OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – SEPTEMBER 13

Panama Covid-19 update – it is reported that, since October 2020, a total of 1,838 travelers with Covid-19 have been detected and tested positive at Tocumen International Airport, with 218,760 tests having been carried out in the air terminal.

Meanwhile, today’s statistics shows 223 new cases and 4 new fatalities; with 4,865 active cases – 88 in ICU and 213 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

13 SEPTEMBER 2021

COMMONWEALTH SECRETARIAT’S TOP LAWYER GUILTY OF £600,000 FRAUD

On 9 September, the Evening Standard reported that Joshua Brien, 48, a dual Canadian-Australian citizen and an expert on the laws of the sea and a former adviser to the Australian Attorney General, was accused of having diverted £140,000 of client payments into his own bank account at the Commonwealth Secretariat.  Then, after leaving the organisation and becoming a special counsel at US law firm Cooley in 2017, he siphoned off £493,000.  He has been convicted after a hearing in London.  It is said that he was able to steal money while at the Commonwealth Secretariat because basic anti-fraud checks were not routinely carried out, this in an organisation dogged by allegations of mismanagement, cronyism and misappropriation of funds.  The fraud was eventually revealed in 2018, after he had been sacked for an unrelated disciplinary breach and joined leading global law firm Cooley.

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/commonwealth-secretariat-fraud-joshua-brien-guilty-notting-hill-london-b954544.html

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/high-flying-lawyer-jailed-for-600000-frauds/5109773.article

GUINEA JUNTA TELLS CENTRAL BANK TO FREEZE GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTS

On 13 September, KYC 360 reported that Guinea’s military junta, which seized power in a coup, said that it has ordered the central bank and other banks to freeze all government accounts. It is reported that a mining boom had propelled strong economic growth during the deposed President’s decade in power, but surveys suggest Guineans thought corruption has increased in recent years, while dissatisfaction with the economy and living conditions has also risen.

https://kyc360.riskscreen.com/news/guinea-junta-tells-central-bank-to-freeze-government-accounts/

BRITISH AUTHORITIES CONTINUE TO ALLOW TALIBAN TO LAUNDER MONEY IN THE UK

On 13 September, KYC 360 reported claims that UK authorities are still allowing the Taliban to launder its money in the UK 20 years after 9/11, and that Britain missed opportunities to prevent the militant group and its associates from using London as a money-laundering hub, and of preventing donations from sympathisers.  It was also said that in 2012 a US delegation to London had begged the UK Government to take the issue seriously.

https://kyc360.riskscreen.com/news/two-decades-after-9-11-british-authorities-continue-to-allow-taliban-to-launder-money-in-the-uk/

UK: PUBLIC WARNED OF SURGE IN IMPERSONATION SCAMS AS CASES MORE THAN DOUBLE

UK Finance has reported that the public is being warned about the increase in fraudulent calls, texts and emails as new figures show the number of impersonation scam cases more than doubled in the first half of 2021 to 33,115. These scams resulted in criminals stealing £129.4 million, and in the same period last year there were 14,947 impersonation scam cases which led to £57.9 million being stolen.  It explains that, in an impersonation scam, a criminal pretends to be from a trusted organisation such as a bank, the police, a government department or a service provider. 

https://www.ukfinance.org.uk/press/press-releases/public-warned-surge-impersonation-scams-cases-more-double#summary

IMPROVING FOOD FRAUD PREVENTION PLANNING

On 9 September, an article from Tenet Compliance & Litigation Ltd said that recent analysis conducted by The Guardian found that 36% of more than 9,000 seafood samples from restaurants, fishmongers and supermarkets in more than 30 countries were mislabelled often resulting in the consumer paying a higher price for low value and sometimes endangered and/or illegally caught species.  Other foodstuffs are also mentioned, and the article says that globalisation of the food industry has provided organised crime groups with a multitude of opportunities to infiltrate and exploit legitimate supply chain.  The article considered what can you do to prevent your business falling victim to mislabelling within its own supply chains, what you can do if your brand of the target of counterfeiting and how to protect your brand.  The matters considered include the recovery of the proceeds of crime.

https://tenetlaw.co.uk/articles/the-secret-ingredient-improving-your-food-fraud-prevention-planning/

NGO SET OUT KEY CONSIDERATIONS FOR EU IMPORT CONTROLS TO TACKLE FORCED LABOUR

On 10 September, Mayer Brown published an article saying that there is a trend to increase import controls to supplement human rights and environmental due diligence laws.  The European Commission is now assessing the adoption of action and enforcement instruments to tackle forced labour. A coalition of NGO have released a position paper raising some key considerations in the development of potential import control measures in tandem with a mandatory corporate human rights and environmental due diligence (HREDD) obligation. The article lists the considerations put forward in the position paper.

https://www.eyeonesg.com/2021/09/business-and-human-rights-ngos-set-out-key-considerations-for-eu-import-controls-to-tackle-forced-labour/#page=1

DUBAI CUSTOMS FOILS BID TO SMUGGLE 64 FALCONS

On 12 September, Gulf Today reported that the falcons were found inside a container full of vegetable boxes and that customs officers found birds skilfully hidden in between vegetable boxes. 

https://www.gulftoday.ae/news/2021/09/12/dubai-customs-foil-bid-to-smuggle-64-falcons

UK: FRAUDSTERS FOUND GUILTY OF GHOST WORKER SCAM THAT CONNED CANCER CHARITY AND COUNCIL OUT OF THOUSANDS

On 13 September, the Leicester Mercury reported that a pair of council workers who cooked up a ghost worker scam to con £40,000 out of a council and cancer charity have been found guilty of money laundering and fraud.  A sister on one of them who lives in Spain and is married to a wealthy businessman, was given a wage by the council for 2 years totalling £38,902, even though she wasn’t actually doing any work.  The pair were also members of the board at the Coping with Cancer and decided to pull a similar scam on the charity too, by setting the same woman up as a fake “consultant” for the charity, for which she was paid £3,675.

https://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/news/local-news/fraudsters-found-guilty-ghost-worker-5904116

IS FORCING ‘NO CASH’ SHOPPING LEGAL?

An article in EU Observer on 13 September posed this question, in the light of retail chains having adopted a cashless payment policy.  This is said to be in contradiction to a 2010 EU Commission recommendation and a recent opinion from an advocate general of the EU courts.  It is said that EU authorities have made it clear that cash is legal tender within the euro area, but it is up to Member States whether or not they enforce universal acceptance and access to cash, and that the French government is one of the only countries to actually fine companies for not accepting cash payments.  It argues that the legal opinion The recent opinion issued by the advocate general clearly states that cash is legal tender in Europe and as a general rule, must be accepted for payment, and that this may push other European countries to follow France’s lead and pass national legislation that outlaws and punishes the refusal of cash payments by merchants.

https://euobserver.com/democracy/152798

UK: DEADLINE APPROACHES FOR ANTIQUE FIREARMS LAW CHANGE

On 7 September, a news release from the Home Office reminded one that, from 22 September, owners of certain firearms previously regarded as antique will require a licence.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/deadline-approaches-for-antique-firearms-law-change

UK: WOMAN JAILED FOR HER PART IN DEFRAUDING MORE THAN £2 MILLION FROM A RELIGIOUS ORGANISATION

On 13 September, Planet Radio reported that Amanda Arckless, aged 54, from Newcastle Upon Tyne, has been found guilty of fraud by false representation and sentenced to 3 years in prison.  She became involved with an employee of Morris Curello World Evangelism in 2013, Stephen Ashton, who was convicted in 2017 for defrauding his employer of more than £2 million.

https://planetradio.co.uk/greatest-hits/beds-bucks-herts/news/herts-fraud-2m-jailed/

PODCAST: THE FATF CURRENT APPROACH TO ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME

On 10 September, RUSI released a 26-minute podcast on the increased threat from environmental crime in West Africa and why finance has an essential role to play in countering it.

https://rusi.org/podcasts/financial-crime-insights/episode-22-organised-environmental-crime-dissecting-fatf-approach

INDIA: MAN IN AGUSTAWESTLAND CORRUPTION CASE ARRESTED IN BANK FRAUD CASE

On 13 September, India Today reported that Rajiv Saxena, an accused in AgustaWestland Chopper corruption case, has been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a bank fraud case.

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/enforcement-directorate-arrests-rajiv-saxena-agustawestland-scam-bank-fraud-money-laundering-1852318-2021-09-13

BAT ACCUSED OF BRIBERY IN ZIMBABWE

On 13 September, Tobacco Reporter carried a report referring to a BBC Panorama programme that suggests BAT may have paid a bribe to Zimbabwe’s former president, Robert Mugabe.  It is claimed that the company may have funded a network of secret informants to undermine its competitors in southern Africa, including Forensic Security Services (FSS) of South Africa.

https://tobaccoreporter.com/2021/09/13/bat-accused-of-bribery-in-zimbabwe

UK SHIPPING “CONCIERGE SERVICE” FOR OPERATORS LOOKING TO ACCESS UK MARKET

On 13 September, a news release from the Department for Transport and others advised that the UK Government has launched the UK Shipping Concierge service, a professional and tailored service that will provide support and guidance for maritime businesses looking to access the UK market.  The new team will be responsible for boosting the nation’s maritime sector, by offering a proactive service to any maritime business that needs assistance with navigating government departments.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-shipping-concierge-service-launched-to-support-and-guide-maritime-businesses-into-the-uk

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/uk-shipping-concierge

UK: OUTCOME OF JUDICIAL REVIEW CONSULTATION

On 13 September, the MoJ released the government’s response to the consultation on Judicial Review Reform, which ran from 18 March to 29 April.  It says that the Government intends to legislate, and it is introducing essential reforms.  The outcome report document summarises the responses to the consultation in so far as they relate to substantive (not procedural) law reform and sets out the measures which the Government is taking forward in the Judicial Review and Courts Bill.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/judicial-review-reform

UK: SERVICE OF DOCUMENTS IN CIVIL PROCEEDINGS: A LESSON IN GETTING IT RIGHT

On 10 September, Local Government Lawyer published an article which highlights a recent judicial review case in which the claim form was set aside because it was served late, and the court declined to exercise its case management powers.  It is described as a cautionary reminder for all litigating parties of the importance of getting the timing and method of service of documents right. 

https://www.localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk/litigation-and-enforcement/311-litigation-features/48184-service-of-documents-in-civil-proceedings-a-lesson-in-getting-it-right

MURDERS OF ENVIRONMENT AND LAND DEFENDERS HIT RECORD HIGH

On 13 September, the Guardian reported that figures from Global Witness for 2020 show violent resource grab continued unabated despite pandemic.  It says that 227 people were killed in 2020 while trying to protect forests, rivers and other ecosystems that their livelihoods depended on.  Colombia topped the list with 65 deaths and the second deadliest nation was Mexico, with the Philippines third.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/sep/13/murders-environment-land-defenders-record-high

COSTA RICA STRUGGLES TO PROFIT FROM SALE OF NARCO-ASSETS

On 13 September, an article from Insight Crime said that in Costa Rica, the seizure of narco-assets presents more of an obstacle than a gift to authorities. Numerous administrative hurdles must be overcome before luxury vehicles, lavish mansions, and other expensive items can be sold off, and the Instituto Costarricense Sobre Drogas (Costa Rican Institute on Drugs – ICD) spends over $3.4 million a year caring for these assets.

https://insightcrime.org/news/costa-rica-struggles-profit-sale-narco-assets/

https://www.nacion.com/sucesos/judiciales/icd-afronta-largos-tramites-para-appropriarse-de/3NTFBO55RRHSZBEEC5QI2QOZMM/story/

SEC HAS CHARGED 3 MEDIA COMPANIES WITH CONDUCTING AN ILLEGAL UNREGISTERED OFFERING OF STOCK AND CONDUCTING AN ILLEGAL OFFERING OF A DIGITAL ASSET SECURITY REFERRED TO AS EITHER G-COINS OR G-DOLLARS

A release on Mondo Visione on 13 September advised that the respondents have agreed to pay more than $539 million to settle the SEC action.  It has charged New York City-based GTV Media Group Inc and Saraca Media Group Inc, and Phoenix, Arizona-based Voice of Guo Media Inc.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/sec-charges-three-media-companies-with-illegal-offerings-of-stock-and-digital-as/

MODIFYING PLANES TO CARRY DRUGS – ANOTHER CRIMINAL SPECIALITY IN COLOMBIA

On 9 September, an article from Insight Crime said that a gang, which modified aircraft to be able to carry cocaine from Colombia to the US and Mexico, has provided another example of how specific aspects of the drug trafficking supply chain are being outsourced to experts.

https://insightcrime.org/news/narco-planes-another-link-in-colombias-long-drug-trafficking-chain/

DUTCH FREE BRITISH Formula 1 FAN MISTAKEN FOR MAJOR MAFIA BOSS

On 12 September, GMA News Online reported that the Dutch law authorities have released a British Formula 1 fan after he was mistakenly arrested on suspicion being a notorious Sicilian mafia boss.  It says that heavily armed police stormed a restaurant in The Hague to arrest him.  It had been believed that the man was Matteo Messina Denaro, a leading Sicilian mafia boss on the run since 1993.

https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/world/803078/dutch-free-british-f1-fan-mistaken-for-major-mafia-boss/story/?just_in

US: MAN WHO MADE MILLIONS OVERCHARGING FOR PRINTER TONER IS GOING TO PRISON

On 7 September, Vice News reported that Gilbert Michaels defrauded 50,000 people of hundreds of millions of dollars using call centres to sell printer toner at inflated prices.  In one 6-year period alone, Michaels earned $126 million from his business.

https://www.vice.com/en/article/v7eky8/man-who-made-millions-overcharging-for-printer-toner-is-going-to-prison

NEW BLOCKCHAIN PLATFORM AIMS TO TRACK ONE-THIRD OF ALL SHIPPING CONTAINERS GLOBALLY

On 10 September, Coin telegraph reported that the Global Shipping Business Network has launched a new blockchain-based platform to digitise the shipping process and sought out key partnerships to target the Asian markets.  Members of the Hong-Kong-based non-profit consortium GSBN are said to “account for 1 in every 3 containers handled in the world,” and this may soon be verifiable on the blockchain once the platform is fully utilised.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/new-blockchain-platform-aims-to-track-one-third-of-all-shipping-containers-globally

INVESTIGATING MAFIA STATES AND KLEPTOCRACIES

On 6 September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network published a Q&A interview with the co-founder at OCCRP, veteran editor and reporter, Drew Sullivan.

https://gijn.org/2021/09/06/investigating-mafia-states-and-kleptocracies-a-qa-with-occrps-drew-sullivan/

FCA WARNS BANK TRADERS OVER BREXIT FUTURES ‘SPOOFING’

On 10 September, Yahoo News reported that the FCA has rebuked 3 unnamed City traders for alleged market manipulation before and after the Brexit referendum.  The FCA said the individuals had ‘spoofed’ futures markets before and after the UK’s Brexit vote in the summer of 2016.

https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/fca-warns-bank-traders-over-134511118.html

RISK BULLETIN OF THE OBSERVATORY OF ILLICIT ECONOMIES IN WEST AFRICA

On 2 September. the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime has published the first issue of this new Risk Bulletin.  The articles in the quarterly bulletin will analyse trends, developments and insights into the relationship between criminal economies and instability across wider West Africa and the Sahel.  In this first issue, articles scrutinise the relationship between jihadist violence and local illicit economies in Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire, the revenue sources of bandit groups behind the upsurge in violence in north-western Nigeria, and the implications of the unlawful temporary release of cocaine traffickers imprisoned for coordinating 2 bumper cocaine imports in Guinea-Bissau.  In one it argues that criminal economics were a key factor in Burkina Faso’s Solhan massacre with a disagreement over illegally sourced natural resources.

https://globalinitiative.net/analysis/weaobs-risk-bulletin-1/

CIVIL SOCIETY’S ROLE IN DISRUPTING THE ILLEGAL TRADE OF ENDANGERED ANIMALS AND ENVIRONMENTAL COMMODITIES IN VIETNAM AND INDONESIA

On 8 September, the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime published a report saying that Indonesia and Vietnam are among the world’s most significant markets for illegal wildlife trade (IWT) and other environmental crimes.  Both countries act as key hubs for the sourcing, transit and consumption of illegal environmental products such as bear bile, illegally caught fish, pangolin scales, exotic cats and rare timbers.  The report argues that civil society has a crucial role to play in the fight against IWT.  Through advocacy, outreach, academic research and cooperative partnerships with governments and communities, civil society actors can help enhance the capacity of law enforcement, while also influencing government conservation policy and guiding sustainable environmental management.

https://globalinitiative.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/GITOC-Environmental-crime-in-Vietnam-and-Indonesia-Civil-society-as-change-agents.pdf

ILLICIT ECONOMIES IN EASTERN AND SOUTHERN AFRICA RISK BULLETIN

Issue 20 of the Risk Bulletin from the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime’s Civil Society Observatory of Illicit Economies in Eastern and Southern Africa includes an article on the largest-ever reported loss of ammunition from civilian or police sources in South Africa, raising fears of increased volatility, and political violence. Other stories in this issue focus on environmental markets, from wildlife to agricultural products.  One says that the Malagasy vanilla market has, in some ways, been shaped by criminality. Laundering of profits from illegal logging reportedly contributed to a price bubble that incentivized criminal groups to orchestrate vanilla thefts.  Another looks at how regulatory mechanisms aimed at preventing illegally caught fish have been undermined in Somalia by officials abusing their positions of power.

https://globalinitiative.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/GITOC-East-and-Southern-Africa-Risk-Bulletin-20.pdf

SERIES LLC = SERIOUS RISKS

On 13 September, an article from Farrell Fritz PC explains that, basically, a series LLC is an LLC that may create one or more series, each generally having separate assets and liabilities, similar to having separate entities except without the expense and administrative burden of multiple entities.  Although most commonly used for investment funds, series LLCs could be useful for any type of business with multiple assets where it would be advantageous to keep the respective liabilities of those assets separate. It uses Delaware as an example of where Series LLC may be set up, and how this is done.

https://www.nyventurehub.com/2021/09/12/series-llcs-serious-risks/

WINDING-UP RESTRICTIONS IN THE UK

On 13 September, an article from Hogan Lovells says that the UK Government has announced that it will proceed with the phasing out of temporary measures introduced to protect businesses from creditor action during the COVID-19 pandemic, whilst also announcing new measures to protect smaller businesses from winding up petitions. The legislation required to implement these amendments has been laid before Parliament and will come into force on 29 September, and the new measures will be in place from 1 October until 31 March 2022.  The changes will apply to all businesses, whatever their size.  The article warns that potentially, the changes leave commercial landlords worse off than before.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/winding-up-restrictions-not-quite-wound-6289119/

NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL SECURES JUDGMENT AGAINS COINSEED VIRTUAL CURRENCYTRADING PLATFORM

A release on Mondo Visione on 13 September advised that the AG had said that for years, Coinseed and its CEO have engaged in egregious and fraudulent activities that have cheated investors out of millions.  The Office of the Attorney General received more than 175 complaints from investors who were concerned about protecting their assets due to Coinseed’s fraudulent conduct.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/new-york-attorney-general-letitia-james-shuts-down-virtual-currency-trading-plat/

 

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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