OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – SEPTEMBER 16

Panama Covid-19 update – the EU has said that it will recognise the digital vaccination certificates issued in Panama, so now we can at least travel to France, Spain etc. Perhaps not the UK, however, as Panama remains on its Red List. Interestingly, today it was reported that Panama’s own Red List of 20 high-risk countries’ travellers also includes the UK (as well as notably the US as well), although other Western European countries (if you don’t count Greece) are not on the list, which says something, I guess.

Incidentally, I noticed that all the staff inside the British Embassy today appeared to be wearing masks, something I am not sure would see in all offices in the UK itself (despite the UK perhaps being in reality a higher risks place than Panama).

Meanwhile, today sees a further fall in active cases, but alongside a further 373 new cases and 6 new fatalities (plus a further death added to totals that occurred earlier). There are now 4,327 active cases, with 72 in ICU and 232 in other wards.

16 SEPTEMBER 2021

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

FORMER CRYPTOCURRENCY FUND MANAGER SENTENCED TO 7½ YEARS IN PRISON

On 15 September, the Wall Street Journal reported that Stefan Qin, 24, a cryptocurrency hedge-fund manager who lied about returns on his $90 million fund and siphoned money from its accounts to cover a lavish lifestyle was sentenced to 7½ years in prison.  Prosecutors said he ran the fund, Virgil Sigma Fund LP, like a Ponzi scheme for 3 years until its implosion in late 2020.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/ex-cryptocurrency-fund-manager-sentenced-to-7-years-in-prison-11631736989

GLENCORE: CORRUPT OIL TRADER TURNS ON COLLEAGUES IN AFRICA BRIBERY CASE

On 16 September, KYC360 reported on Anthony Stimler, who left Glencore PLC in 2019, who is now helping a US DoJ investigation into the company and numerous former colleagues and concerning corruption in the extraction and trading of commodities.

https://kyc360.riskscreen.com/news/corrupt-oil-trader-turns-on-colleagues-in-massive-africa-bribe-case/

FINANCIAL CRIME, PAYMENT FRAUD AND THE ROLE OF DIGITAL IDENTITY

Refinitiv has produced this White Paper which draws on the support of key industry stakeholders and subject matter experts to provide an overview of the current landscape, emerging threats and insights into how fraud controls can be improved.  It looks at the current situation and emerging threats, current limitations and new technologies, the role of digital identities, collaboration and data-sharing, and challenges and barriers to combatting the threats.

https://resourcehub.refinitiv.com/436593globalthirdpartyrisk/436593-Risk-PaperEPAFinCrime

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BLACKMAIL AND EXTORTION?

On 15 September, an interesting article from Hassan Elhais in the UAE posed this question, and explained how to distinguish between the two types of crime.

https://www.mondaq.com/crime/1110968/what39s-the-difference-between-blackmail-and-extortion

DEEP FAKE AUDIOS AND VIDEOS: A HUGE RISK TO ANY COMPANY – “SEEING IS NO LONGER BELIEVING”

On 15 September, a 40-minute video webinar from AML Grey Matters said that some companies have already fallen victim to a fake audio of a CEO requesting significant funds to be wired urgently.  With some private banks and wealth managers having policies to arrange wires on behalf of their clients without a second sign-off after a phone call and an email – something which can be easily faked if a client or company becomes a target.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoMTh1G3MTc&list=PLvyP7E7vlqPlkpw4VS0EIn3tsGQyjQjXc&index=3&t=10s

https://www.statista.com/chart/25782/working-hours-needed-at-minimum-wage-to-escape-poverty

US: 8 PEOPLE CONVICTED OF EXPORT OFFENCES DENIED EXPORT PRIVILEGES

The EU Sanctions blog reported on 16 September, the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security has issued orders denying export privileges to 8 people who were all separately convicted of export violations between August 2018 and February 2020. Those affected have been denied export privileges for periods of between 5 and 10 years from the date of their convictions.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2021/09/8-people-convicted-of-export-violations-denied-export-privileges-by-bis/

EU PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION CALLS FOR A NEW EU STRATEGY TO PROMOTE DEMOCRACY IN RUSSIA AND CHANGES TO THE EU SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA

On 16 September, a news release from the EU advised that MEP had adopted a resolution saying that the EU must distinguish between the Russian government and the Russian people, step up work with partner countries and civil society to strengthen pro-democracy tendencies in Russia, and impose sanctions, when necessary, counteract the flow of dirty money and support human rights activists.

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20210910IPR11925/meps-call-for-new-eu-strategy-to-promote-democracy-in-russia

EU PARLIAMENT SETS OUT ITS VISION FOR A NEW EU STRATEGY ON CHINA

On 16 September, the EU Parliament announced it had adopted a new report on relations with China which, inter alia, said that the EU should address  human rights violations in Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Tibet and Hong Kong; more  resources were needed to monitor and tackle Chinese disinformation; China should allow independent investigation into origins and spread of COVID-19; and, where 5G and 6G networks are involved, one should exclude companies that do not fulfil security standards

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-9-2021-0382_EN.pdf

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20210910IPR11917/parliament-sets-out-its-vision-for-a-new-eu-strategy-on-china

UK FINANCE REPORT ON THE FINANCIAL CRIME RISKS FROM CRYPTOASSETS

On 16 September, a release on Mondo Visione advised that UK Finance (a trade association for the UK banking and financial services sector), in conjunction with financial crime compliance firm Plenitude, had released a report looking at the financial crime risk posed by cryptoassets and how to manage it appropriately.  It is said that the report aims to support financial institutions as they navigate the transitional period as countries move to regulate cryptoassets’ AML/CFT measures.  It also considers how the financial and cryptoasset sectors could partner and work together on a more collaborative basis.

https://www.ukfinance.org.uk/system/files/Cryptoassets-report-FINAL.pdf

IMF WARNINGS TO VANUATU ON AML/CFT AND EU BLACKLISTING

On 16 September, Market Screener reported that an Article IV report by the IMF on Vanuatu included a warning that risks for Vanuaru are substantial and “tilted to the downside”.  This is despite strong receipts of the Economic Citizenship Programs (ECP) and donor support which have helped mitigate the impact of the pandemic on fiscal and external balances.  However, recent hurricane and volcano damage, plus the pandemic have seen threats to the economy grow, with growing concerns on risks to the ECP with the recent loss of a key correspondent banking relationship.  Lack of transparency and effective supervision framework for state enterprises could negatively affect the business environment and fiscal management. Issues concerning AML/CFT and EU blacklisting related to tax transparency could accelerate de-risking by foreign firms and impede foreign direct investment.  These are said to be in addition to the ever-present risk related to further natural disasters.

https://www.marketscreener.com/news/latest/Vanuatu-2021-Article-IV-Consultation-Press-Release-Staff-Report-and-Statement-by-the-Executive-D–36444546/

TAKING CASH IN AND OUT OF THE UK

A reminder that changes have been made to controls on the import and export of cash (of €10,000 or more) following the end of the Brexit transition period.  You must declare cash of £10,000 or more to UK customs authorities if you carry it between Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) and another country. You must also declare cash of £10,000 or more if you carry it from Great Britain to Northern Ireland – but you do not need to declare any amount of cash if you’re carrying it from Northern Ireland to Great Britain.  You must declare cash of €10,000 or more if you carry it between Northern Ireland and any non-EU country, but you do not need to declare cash if you’re carrying it between Northern Ireland and an EU country.  You must declare cash of £10,000 or more if you carry it from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, but you do not need to declare any amount of cash if you’re carrying it from Northern Ireland to Great Britain.

[Well, that’s quite straightforward, isn’t it?  Just like most post-Brexit arrangements…]

https://www.gov.uk/bringing-cash-into-uk

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/notices-to-be-made-under-the-cash-controls-amendment-eu-exit-regulations-2019

ITALY HAS INFRINGED EU LAW BY EXEMPTING FROM EXCISE DUTY FUELS USED FOR PRIVATE PLEASURE CRAFT, CHARTERED AND USED BY END USERS FOR NON-COMMERCIAL ACTIVITIES

A news release from the EU Courts on 16 September advised of judgment in a case, saying that the fact that the chartering of a vessel constitutes a commercial activity for the person making that vessel available to another does not justify the tax exemption in question.

https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2021-09/cp210157en.pdf

ARMENIA AND EUROPOL SIGN AGREEMENT TO COMBAT CROSS-BORDER SERIOUS ORGANISED CRIME

On 16 September, a news release from Europol advised that it and Armenia have signed a strategic cooperation agreement to expand cooperation to combat cross-border criminal activities. The agreement will enable both partners to work on some key areas such as migrant smuggling, cybercrime, drug trafficking, asset recovery, money laundering, organised property crime and trafficking in human beings.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/armenia-and-europol-sign-agreement-to-combat-cross-border-serious-organised-crime

FATF PUBLISHES CHILE AML/CFT MUTUAL EVALUATION REPORT

On 16 September, FATF published the report already released by FATF-style regional body, GAFILAT.

https://www.fatf-gafi.org/publications/mutualevaluations/documents/mer-chile-2021.html

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO (SANCTIONS) (EU EXIT) (AMENDMENT) REGULATIONS 2021

These UK regulations amend the legislation implementing the relevant UN sanctions in the UK and come into force on 7 October.

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2021/1041/contents/made

DoJ ANNOUNCES MADOFF PONZI SCHEME VICTIM PAYOUTS HAVE REACHED $3.7 BILLION

On 16 September, the Washington Examiner reported that the DoJ has announced on that the Madoff Victim Fund began distributing $568 million in additional pay outs to those affected by the Bernard L Madoff Investment Securities LLC (BLMIS) fraud scheme, marking the seventh distribution the MVF has made.  This brings the total amount of MVF’s distribution to $3.7 billion, with the goal of reaching the approximately $4 billion that victims lost from the collapse of BLMIS.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/madoff-victim-fund-distributes-568-million-to-victims

UK: TOP SPORTS LAWYER DENIES CENTRAL ROLE IN FOOTBALL TRANSFER PAYMENTS

On 16 September, the Law Society Gazette reported that the lawyer said that she should not be held responsible for historic payments made to third parties which allowed football transfers to go through.  She is alleged – along with the London firm at which she worked – to have caused the client account to be used as a banking facility for 5 transactions from 2011 to 2013, and was answering the allegations before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/top-sports-lawyer-denies-central-role-in-football-transfer-payments/5109825.article

KENYAN EX-MINISTER SENTENCED FOR OLYMPICS GRAFT

On 16 September, the Daily Mail reported that a Kenyan court has sentenced former sports minister Hassan Wario to 6 years in jail, or to pay a hefty fine after being convicted of embezzlement at the Rio Olympics.  He was one of 6 Kenyan officials charged with abuse of office and the misappropriation of $545,000 during the Rio Games in 2016.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-9997861/Kenyan-ex-minister-given-hefty-sentence-Olympics-graft.html

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR THE UK’S MONEY LAUNDERING REGULATIONS?

On 16 September, a Commentary from RUSI posed this question, saying that the UK government is reviewing its Money Laundering Regulations, and it is not alone.  Around the world AML regimes are evolving – how will the UK’s compare? In In July 2021, a further action was added to the country’s Economic Crime Plan – Action 33, which calls for a review of the UK’s Money Laundering Regulations and the Office of Public Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision (OPBAS) Regulations.

https://rusi.org/explore-our-research/publications/commentary/what-does-future-hold-uks-money-laundering-regulations

27 SEPTEMBER DEADLINE LOOMING FOR EU STANDARD CONTRACTUAL CLAUSES (SCC)

On 16 September, an article from Alston & Bird reminded one that on 4 June, the European Commission issued modernised SCC under the GDPR for data transfers from controllers or processors in the EU/EEA (or if otherwise subject to the GDPR) to controllers or processors outside the EU/EEA (and not subject to the GDPR).  From 27 September, the modernised SCC will replace the 3 sets of SCC that were adopted under the 1995 Directive that was the predecessor of the GDPR.

https://www.alstonprivacy.com/september-27-deadline-looming-for-eu-standard-contractual-clauses/

UK: NEW EXPERT GROUP TO INCREASE CONFIDENCE AND STANDARDS IN E-SIGNATURES

A news release from the MoJ on 16 September advised of the establishment of an industry working group of experts to improve standards, reliability and security in electronic signatures.  It will seek to improve standards, reliability and security in electronic signatures and other means of legally executing documents, and to address best practice in this area.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-expert-group-to-increase-confidence-and-standards-in-e-signatures

TAX LOST IN UK AMOUNTS TO £35 BILLION – ALMOST HALF, SAY CAMPAIGNERS, DUE TO FRAUD

On 16 September, the Guardian reported that HMRC has said that said the tax gap – the difference between the expected income for the exchequer and actual receipts – was estimated to have jumped by about £2 billion in the 2019-20 financial year from the period a year earlier.  It said the figure represented a 5.3% shortfall of theoretical tax liabilities due, compared with 5% in 2018-19.  Campaigners said the amount of tax lost to fraud was at least £15.2 billion, but that billions of pounds more were likely to have been shifted away from the UK to tax havens by multinational companies.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/sep/16/tax-lost-in-uk-amounts-to-35bn-almost-half-say-campaigners-due-to

SOUTH KOREA BECOMES TRANSIT POINT FOR MEXICAN METHAMPHETAMINE

On 16 September, Insight Crime reported that a ton of Mexican methamphetamine found in South Korea and suspected of being bound for Australia has shown how Mexican synthetic drugs continue to make inroads in the Asia-Pacific.  Korean outlets have reported at least some of the drugs were destined for the domestic market.  Mexican methamphetamine is globalizing, with increasingly large quantities appearing not just in Europe but also Australia and East Asia.

https://insightcrime.org/news/south-korea-becomes-transit-point-mexican-methamphetamine/

NDA BREACH AND PROTECTING YOUR SENSITIVE INFORMATION: WHAT IS THE POSITION AFTER BREXIT?

An article from Eversheds Sutherland on 16 September reviewed the situation, pointing out that a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) only has teeth if the provider of the confidential information is able to get urgent relief to compel the recipient of their confidential information from misusing it.  It asks what the apparent loss of interim or final injunctions obtained in England having effect throughout the EU.  It sets out some key factors to consider from a dispute resolution perspective when entering into NDA in a post-Brexit world.

https://www.eversheds-sutherland.com/global/en/what/articles/index.page?ArticleID=en/Brexit/Breach_of_Non-Disclosure_Agreements

IRISH REVENUE PUBLISHES LATEST LIST OF TAX DEFAULTERS

On 14 September, the Revenue Commissioners published the latest list of tax defaulters and covering the period 1 April to 30 June. 

https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/press-office/press-releases/2021/pr-091421-revenue-list-tax-defaulters.aspx

TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL ANNUAL IMPACT REPORT AND ACCOUNTS 2020-21

Transparency International’s report includes a focus on corruption in the UK, saying that the organisation has seen momentum growing considerably this year towards achieving our long-term goals of beneficial ownership registers across the UK and its territories, as well as increased corporate transparency.  Looking ahead, it says that its objectives in the short term includes advocating for increased corporate transparency, pursuing change that discourages business from facilitating corrupt practices globally, and advancing accountability.  It also refers to continuing to work towards transparency, and highlighting the devastating impact of corruption on health care and its dangerous links to conflict and insecurity.

https://www.transparency.org.uk/sites/default/files/pdf/publications/Transparency%20International%20UK%20Annual%20Imapct%20Report%20and%20Accounts%20ye%2031%20March%202021.pdf

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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