OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – SEPTEMBER 21

Panama Covid-19 update – the Rt rate shows a slight rise, but still remains well below the magic 1.0 figure, at 0.85. Another 341 new cases and 1 new fatality reported in the big weekly news conference. Active cases have fallen again, this time to 3,890; with 67 in ICU and 227 in other wards. Another interesting statistic included in the presentation was that 87.7% of the tests carried out to date were negative.

21 SEPTEMBER 2021

SWEDISH REGULATOR OUTLINES LICENSEES’ AML OBLIGATIONS

On 20 September, iGB reported that Sweden’s gaming regulator has published new guidelines for online gaming operators on how to counter money laundering and terrorist financing in response to a request for clarity from the sector.  For example, guidelines suggest customers who deposit up to €2,000 during a rolling 12-month period can be considered as low risk.  Those who deposit more than this, but with no other AML risk indicators, may be considered normal risk. Circumstances indicating high risk include unusual or irrational game patterns, unusually large transactions, unwillingness to respond to customer knowledge issues or to submit documentation that proves the money origin.

https://igamingbusiness.com/swedish-regulator-outlines-licensees-aml-obligations

AUSTRIAN POLICE SEIZE 55 MACHINES IN ILLEGAL GAMBLING RAIDS

On 20 September, iGB carried a quote that Upper Austria is one of the hotspots for illegal gambling in our country. Since August alone, more than 200 machines have been successfully withdrawn from circulation through targeted actions by the financial police.

https://igamingbusiness.com/austrian-police-seize-55-machines-in-illegal-gambling-raids

“PANAMA PAPERS” HEARING POSTPONED UNTIL NOVEMBER

On 20 September, Newsroom Panama reported that a preliminary hearing scheduled for  20 September, for alleged money laundering in a case initiated in 2016 and related to the activities of the defunct firm Mossack Fonseca, has been postponed to 22 November.  The case, which began following an International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) investigation is related to the alleged concealment of illicit funds received from executives of German company Siemens.

https://www.newsroompanama.com/business/quotpanama-papers-hearing-postponed-until-november-1

US: MAN DEFRAUDED 22 CUSTOMERS BY NOT DELIVERING VESSELS HE HAD PROMISED

On 17 September, AP reported that Michael David Dismer, 53, had been sentenced to 5 years in federal prison in Missouri for running a boat-building scheme that defrauded customers out of more than $4 million.  At least 14 customers received incomplete, inoperable, or unseaworthy vessels and at least 7 other customers did not receive any boats at all.

https://apnews.com/article/business-springfield-tax-evasion-michael-david-72bb86b737f2fc0e30d129ca3d9069c6

PDVSA BEGINS US TRIAL OVER CLAIM SANCTIONS PREVENTED DEBT PAYMENTS

On 21 September, Devdiscourse reported that Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA will make its case at a US trial saying that it is not liable for nearly $150 million in debts owed to a unit of Siemens Energy because US sanctions prevented it from making payments. In January 2017, PDVSA had issued a promissory note for some $120 million, plus interest.

https://www.devdiscourse.com/article/business/1738328-pdvsa-begins-us-trial-over-claim-sanctions-prevented-debt-payments

US SPELLS OUT STEPS ETHIOPIA MUST TAKE ‘IMMEDIATELY’ TO AVOID SANCTIONS

On 21 September, The Africa Report said that the Biden Administration has put Ethiopia on notice that it needs to see rapid progress on ceasefire negotiations and humanitarian access to Tigray if Addis Ababa wants to avoid painful sanctions.

https://www.theafricareport.com/129013/us-spells-out-steps-ethiopia-must-take-immediately-to-avoid-sanctions/

TAIWAN TO REQUIRE ONLINE REGISTRATION OF PET DATA TO PREVENT SMUGGLING

On 21 September, Taiwan News reported that pet shop owners will be required to input information about transactions into an online portal to make animals’ origins more transparent and facilitate checks by the authorities.

https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/4292976

AUSTRALIA: BANKS CALL FOR EXPANSION OF AML/CFT REGIME TO DNFBP – REAL ESTATE AGENTS, ACCOUNTANTS AND LAWYERS

On 21 September, Macrobusiness reported that the Australian Banking Association, Fintech Australia and Bendigo & Adelaide Bank are among those calling for Australia’s AML regime to be broadened, in a submission to a Senate inquiry into the adequacy and efficiency of Australia’s AML/CFT regime.

https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2021/09/banks-extend-anti-money-laundering-rules-to-property/

UK: INSURER’S PLEA TO PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS AFTER FRAUDSTER JAILED

On 21 September, the Law Society Gazette reported that an insurer has urged the claimant personal injury sector to do more to root out fraudsters, after a fixer was jailed for orchestrating fake passenger crash claims, having organised false claims by adding phantom passengers to 6 genuine road traffic collisions.  The report quotes an insurer saying that carrying out due diligence and KYC checks by claimant’s solicitors and claims management companies is part of that important process, to help support insurers and spot fraudulent behaviour so that we can all protect innocent victims.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/check-your-clients-insurers-plea-to-pi-lawyers-after-fraudster-jailed/5109866.article

INDIA: KPMG DROPS PARTNER NAMED IN MAGMA INSIDER TRADING CASE

On 21 September, The Economic Times reported that KPMG India has terminated the services of one of its partners after he was named in an insider trading investigation at Magma Fincorp.  KPMG said that he was not a partner during the period that he undertook the transactions involved in February 2021 and it had no knowledge of the violations until a subsequent report was published.

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/company/corporate-trends/kpmg-drops-partner-named-in-magma-insider-trading-case/articleshow/86394763.cms

US CUSTOMS AGENTS NABBED THOUSANDS OF FAKE COVID-19 VAX CARDS AND PFIZER STICKERS IN OHIO

On 20 September, the Cleveland Scene reported that the US Customs & Border Patrol (CBP) recently seized thousands of counterfeit vaccination materials at the Port of Cincinnati.  The shipments originated in China, officials say, and the materials contained numerous spelling errors. The packages were heading to private residences.

https://www.clevescene.com/scene-and-heard/archives/2021/09/20/us-customs-agents-nabbed-thousands-of-fake-covid-19-vax-cards-and-pfizer-stickers-in-ohio

THIRD RUSSIAN NATIONAL CHARGED OVER SALISBURY POISONINGS

On 21 September, the Guardian reported that a third Russian national has been charged over the 2018 novichok poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury.  A man using the name Sergey Fedotov, believed to be about 50 years old, is alleged to have been working as part of a Russian military unit with Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/sep/21/third-russian-national-charged-over-salisbury-poisonings

THE HAQQANI NETWORK AND INDIA’S AFGHAN DILEMMA

On 21 September, an analysis article in the Eurasia Review was concerned with a group whose leader is set to head the Interior Ministry, perhaps the most important ministerial position in the newly announced Afghan cabinet.  A UN-designated global terrorist since 2007 and on the FBI most-wanted list, he is undoubtedly one of the most influential and powerful insurgent leaders in Afghanistan.  2 other members of the group – Najeebullah Haqqani and Sheikh Abdul Baqi Haqqani – will lead the Communications and Higher Education ministries respectively.  It says that there are local, regional and global dimensions of the Haqqanis’ rise to prominence, and though the Haqqani network has formally functioned under the Taliban’s Supreme Council, it has been able to remain effectively outside Taliban control and maintain a separate identity. 

https://www.eurasiareview.com/21092021-the-haqqani-network-and-indias-afghan-dilemma-analysis/

INDIA: GOVERNMENT RAIDS TARGETING CRITICS

On 21 September, Eurasia Review reported that Indian authorities are using politically motivated allegations of tax evasion and financial irregularities to silence human rights activists, journalists, and other critics of the government, according to Human Rights Watch.  The raids are said to be part of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led national government’s escalating crackdown on freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly since coming to power in 2014. 

https://www.eurasiareview.com/21092021-india-government-raids-targeting-critics/

THE INCREASINGLY BUSY CUBA-URUGUAY HUMAN SMUGGLING ROUTE

On 21 September, an article from Insight Crime said that Uruguay has dismantled a group dedicated to bringing Cuban migrants illegally to the country, highlighting an increasingly popular human-smuggling route.  This network allegedly encouraged Cubans in Havana to first travel to Guyana, a trip for which they did not need a visa; and they then travelled across Brazil and were smuggled into Uruguay. Once in the country, some claimed refugee status while others paid between $6,000 to $7,000 to continue their journey northward toward the US.  It is also said that in 2019, Cubans became the largest population of migrants in Uruguay, surpassing Venezuelans, and in 2020, a sex trafficking ring involving Cuban women was dismantled in Montevideo.

https://insightcrime.org/news/increasingly-busy-cuba-uruguay-human-smuggling-route/

SWITZERLAND: INQUIRY INTO POSSIBLE LEAK OF DOCUMENTS IN INTERIOR MINISTER BERSET BLACKMAIL CASE

On 18 September, Swissinfo reported that, after more details of a blackmail case involving Interior Minister Alain Berset were revealed in the press, a special prosecutor is to investigate whether official documents were leaked.  It has been claimed that Berset used state resources to deal with what the minister maintains is a private affair, and the latest story now claims that Berset used state resources to stifle the affair. 

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/inquiry-to-look-into-possible-leak-of-documents-in-berset-blackmail-case/46958798

EVERGRANDE: CHINESE PROPERTY GIANT ADMITS TO MISCONDUCT BY EXECUTIVES

On 18 September, Deutsche Welle reported that 6 Evergrande executives cashed in their investments just as the company’s liquidity crunch became clear. China’s second-largest real estate company is close to collapse.  The Shenzhen-based property giant is struggling to convince its many creditors to reschedule millions of dollars in liabilities — ranging from loans, bonds, so-called trust products to money owed to contractors and suppliers.

https://www.dw.com/en/evergrande-chinese-property-giant-admits-to-misconduct-by-executives/a-59224432

UK: DIRECTORS’ DUTIES

On 19 August, Boyes Turner LLP published an article saying that directors are subject to general statutory duties, comprised of 7 core duties, which are set out in Chapter 2 Part 10 of the Companies Act 2006 – and itemised in the article.  The duties apply to all directors, whether executive, non-executive, ‘de jure’ (those validly appointed at Companies House), ‘de facto’ (any person who acts as if he is a director and is treated as such by the board without having been validly appointed at Companies House), or a shadow director (a person in accordance with whose directions or instructions the directors are accustomed to act).  In general, a director owes his duties to the company of which he is a director and it is usually the company which would enforce the duties.

https://www.boyesturner.com/news-and-insights/directors-duties

AML LAW REFORM IN THE US: SWISS BANKS CAUGHT BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE

An article from Eversheds Sutherland on 20 September says that under the new US Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020, US criminal investigative authorities can demand from Swiss banks to disclose a wide range of client documents.  Invoking banking secrecy is no valid defence even if complying results in breaching Swiss criminal law, and Swiss law does not provide for a ready-made solution to fully protect Swiss banks. 

https://www.eversheds-sutherland.com/documents/global/switzerland/legalcompass/LC_2021_08_EN_Banking_Finance.pdf

SOFTWARE ARE GOODS SAYS EUROPEAN COURT

On 20 September, an article from DWF LLP said that the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ruled that software falls within the definition of “goods” under the Commercial Agents Regulations.  This decision came in a case referred by the UK Supreme Court.  It is said that the decision ends years of uncertainty for agents and principals working in the IT sector who, until now, were unclear as to whether or not their activities were regulated by the Commercial Agents (Council) Directive 1993.  It also notes that the EU-based Regulations remain in force in the UK post-Brexit as part of a body of law known as EU-retained law, and provide significant protections to agents, not least often substantial post-termination payments that are usually due under the Regulations.

https://dwfgroup.com/en/news-and-insights/insights/2021/9/software-categorised-as-goods-by-european-court

G WAGON MYSTERY: WHERE DID NORTH KOREA GET ITS LUXURY SUV?

On 20 September, NK News posed this question, saying that the Mercedes-Benz G-Class used as support vehicle for Kim Jong Un was briefly visible at the 2018 inter-Korean summit.  There are said to be no clear seller or distributor, raising questions about possible illicit channels Pyongyang may have used to obtain the luxury vehicle. Daimler AG told NK News that it was unable to trace how North Korea obtained the “G Wagon”.  UN sanctions prohibit the DPRK from purchasing luxury-class vehicles, meaning it is likely that Pyongyang’s acquisition and use of any newer Mercedes vehicles – such as the ones seen at the 2018 summit – constitutes a likely sanctions breach. 

https://www.nknews.org/2021/09/g-wagon-mystery-where-did-north-korea-get-its-luxury-suv/

NORTH KOREAN COMPANY MAY HAVE ACQUIRED SUPERALLOY USED IN NUKES AND MISSILES

On 21 September, NK Pro reported that the UN Panel of Experts has said that a lack of manufacturing capacity and dated machine tech mean North Korea must import certain kinds of steel.  A North Korean company called Korea Machinery General Trading (KMGT) may be a key procurement node for the country’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs, an upcoming UN Panel of Experts report reviewed by NK Pro shows.

https://www.nknews.org/pro/north-korean-company-may-have-acquired-superalloy-used-in-nukes-missiles-poe/

THE GUINEA COUP AND ECOWAS OPTIONS

An article in The Conversation on 17 September says that resurgence of power-seeking militaries in West Africa poses a serious threat to the hard-earned democratic progress made in the region since the early 1990s, with the recent coup in Guinea the third in the region in a year – following Mali in August 2020 and May 2021, and Chad in April 2021.  Today, only 11 of the 15 member states of ECOWAS are democracies, with others teetering on the precipice of democratic backsliding.  It says that a need to walk back the coup in Guinea is therefore clear. The question is how best to do so. Any recognition of the coup could incentivise future military interventions.  Both Ecowas and the African Union, have suspended Guinea and imposed sanctions – but it is said that this must be followed by further concrete actions that deprive the junta of any recognition. The article offers some suggestions.  Meanwhile, ECOWAS has said it would freeze the bank accounts and impose travel bans for junta members and their relatives and called for the immediate release of President Alpha Conde.  ECOWAS has also said that it will sanction those who have had a “negative impact” on the timetable of political transition in Mali and has instructed the ECOWAS Commission to compile and present a list of such people/entities.

https://theconversation.com/guinea-coup-has-left-west-africas-regional-body-with-limited-options-but-there-are-some-168092

https://www.ecowas.int/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/UK-Communique%CC%81-Final-Sommet-16-septembre-Situation-en-Guinea_210916_215714.pdf

US COMMERCE DEPARTMENT OVERHAULS TRADE ENFORCEMENT REGULATIONS

A Client Briefing from Wilmer Hale on 21 September said that the US Department of Commerce had published the most comprehensive revisions to its regulations for enforcing trade remedy laws since the 1990s — the completion of a rulemaking process that started under the Trump Administration.  Regulations establish entirely new procedures for 3 types of proceedings, and there are a variety of other substantive and technical revisions.  Overall, the changes are intended to strengthen enforcement and deter avoidance of trade remedies by foreign producers and exporters as well as US importers, and also to make the administration of the trade remedy laws more efficient.  The trade remedies involve anti-dumping and countervailing duty (AD/CVD) orders on particular products.  [You will remember that Field Fisher published a guide to new British trade remedies: https://www.fieldfisher.com/en/insights/an-introduction-to-trade-remedies]

https://www.wilmerhale.com/en/insights/client-alerts/20210921-commerce-department-overhauls-trade-enforcement-regulations

https://www.visualcapitalist.com/distribution-of-global-wealth-chart

ITALIAN COURT REJECTS A REQUEST BY VENEZUELA TO EXTRADITE ITS FORMER OIL CZAR TO FACE CORRUPTION CHARGES

On 21 September, Manufacturing.net reported that Rafael Ramirez, the long-time head of Venezuela’s PDVSA state oil company, fled to Italy after falling out with President Nicolas Maduro and resigning as Venezuela’s UN ambassador in 2017. 

https://www.manufacturing.net/home/news/21734884/court-rejects-extradition-of-former-oil-czar

PERUVIAN NATIONAL SENTENCED TO OVER 9 YEARS FOR DEFRAUDING THOUSANDS OF SPANISH-SPEAKING US IMMIGRANTS

A news release from US DoJ on 21 September advised that Henrry Adrian Milla Campuzano, 37, from Lima, a Peruvian national, was sentenced to serve 110 months in prison in the US for operating a series of call centres in Peru that defrauded Spanish-speaking US residents by falsely threatening them with arrest, deportation and other legal consequences.  He was arrested in January 2020 by Peruvian authorities based on a US extradition request.  He and 4 co-defendants were extradited in October 2020.  Those 5 defendants have now all pleaded guilty and received significant prison sentences.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/peruvian-national-sentenced-over-9-years-prison-defrauding-thousands-spanish-speaking-us

ANTI-CORRUPTION PROSECUTORS PROBING ANTI-COVID VACCINE ACQUISITION IN ROMANIA

On 21 September, the Romania Journal reported that the National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) had announced that a criminal case had been filed on how the anti-COVID vaccines had been purchased in Romania, from the beginning of the pandemic to the present.

https://www.romaniajournal.ro/society-people/anti-corruption-prosecutors-are-probing-into-anti-covid-vaccine-acquisition-in-romania

VENEZUELA & TURKEY TO STRENGTHEN THEIR TRADE COOPERATION

On 21 September, TeleSUR reported that Turkey had offered support to the Venezuelan government amidst the US blockade, which is said to have caused a 69% drop in imports from 2015 to 2019.

https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Venezuela–Turkey-To-Strengthen-Their-Trade-Cooperation-20210921-0011.html

FORMER WUNDERKIND MASSACHUSETTS MAYOR GETS 6 YEARS IN PRISON

On 21 September, Investing.com reported that Jasiel Correia, now 29, a former Massachusetts mayor first elected at age 23 has been sentenced to 6 years in prison after being convicted in May of defrauding investors in a smartphone app company and extorting money from local marijuana businesses.

https://www.investing.com/news/stock-market-news/former-wunderkind-massachusetts-mayor-gets-six-years-in-prison-2622565

FORMER US STATE DEPARTMENT STAFFER HAS ADMITTED BEING INVOLVED IN A FRAUD SCHEME LINKED TO IMPROVEMENTS AT THE US CONSULATE IN BERMUDA

On 21 September, the Royal Gazette in Bermuda reported that May Salehi, 66, who was involved in evaluating bids overseas government construction projects for the US State Department, said she received $60,000 in kickbacks after she gave a bidder confidential information about competitors’ bids.  She pleaded guilty in the US to a single count of conspiracy to commit honest services fraud.

https://www.royalgazette.com/article/article/20210921/woman-admits-fraud-over-us-consul-security-contract

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UK: ECONOMIC CRIME LEVY CONSULTATION RESPONSE AND DRAFT LEGISLATION

On 21 September, HM Treasury published a summary of responses to its consultation, which ran to 14 October 2020.  It also published draft legislation and initiated a technical consultation on the draft legislation ahead of its inclusion in the 2021-22 Finance Bill, to ensure the legislation operates as intended. This new consultation runs to 15 October. 

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/economic-crime-levy-consultation

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/economic-crime-anti-money-laundering-levy-draft-legislation

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US TREASURY TAKES ROBUST ACTIONS TO COUNTER RANSOMWARE INCLUDING OFAC ADVISORY AND DESIGNATION OF VIRTUAL CURRENCY EXCHANGE

On 21 September, the US Treasury announced a set of actions focused on disrupting criminal networks and virtual currency exchanges responsible for laundering ransoms, encouraging improved cyber security across the private sector, and increasing incident and ransomware payment reporting to US Government agencies, including both US Treasury and law enforcement.  Actions include OFAC designating of SUEX OTC, S.R.O. (SUEX), a virtual currency exchange, for its part in facilitating financial transactions for ransomware actors.  OFAC also updated its Advisory on avoiding sanctions risks when facilitating ransomware payments.

https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/126/ofac_ransomware_advisory.pdf

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy0364

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20210921

https://www.cisa.gov/sites/default/files/publications/CISA_MS-ISAC_Ransomware%20Guide_S508C_.pdf

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UK: THE FUTURE OF CROSS-BORDER DISPUTES WITHOUT THE LUGANO CONVENTION

On 17 September, Keystone Law published an article saying that the EU Commission’s opposition of Britain’s application to join the Lugano Convention in its own right (as opposed to its previous inclusion as an EU Member State) is causing ripples of pessimism to be felt both in the legal sector and by those with an eye on the UK economy.  The article explains the impact this may have on cross-border disputes and the enforcement of judgments.

https://www.keystonelaw.com/keynotes/the-future-of-cross-border-disputes-without-the-lugano-convention

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FinCEN CALLS ATTENTION TO ONLINE CHILD SEXUAL EXPLOITATION CRIMES

On 16 September, FinCEN published a Notice to call attention to an increase in online child sexual exploitation (OCSE).  The Notice provides financial institutions with specific suspicious activity report (SAR) filing instructions, and highlights some financial trends related to OCSE.  It says that FinCEN performed a review of OCSE-related SAR and observed a number of trends detailed in the Notice.

https://media-exp1.licdn.com/dms/document/C4D1FAQH2p4bgwSKqDg/feedshare-document-pdf-analyzed/0/1632225536101?e=1632315600&v=beta&t=BE1I59v2B90ZrwvHVDGBBDQko5yfi5WF6rAL_nRm750

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TRACFIN 2020: AML AND CORRESPONDENT BANKING

TRACFIN, the French Ministry of Finance FIU has issued a report which contains some interesting considerations around the issue of AML in correspondence banking.  It points out that US law was recently revised to strengthen the obligations of foreign banks.  The report includes information on this subject (including in English), from a number of sources and from several countries.

https://media-exp1.licdn.com/dms/document/C4D1FAQE6SIvIig4x6A/feedshare-document-pdf-analyzed/0/1631797427760?e=1632319200&v=beta&t=Pv1-m_nubQ3qdFmB_X9XYDrm3IFxWm-iph2KP17rrhA

http://www.economie.gouv.fr/tracfin/accueil-tracfin

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NIGERIA: US SEIZES $6.1 MILLION AS ILLEGAL ARMS CONTRACTOR PLEADS GUILTY

On 21 September, the People’s gazette reported that the US has seized about $6.1 million belonging to Nigeria after an arms supplier, A Niger national, pleaded guilty to charges including illegal dealing in military-grade weapons and money laundering.   Ara Dolarian, an unlicensed armed dealer hired by the Nigerian government to help circumvent a US ban on arms sale to Nigeria, admitted conducting arms sale without requisite approvals.

https://gazettengr.com/boko-haram-u-s-seizes-nigerias-6-1-million-as-illegal-arms-contractor-pleads-guilty/

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PANAMA IN WORLD WAR 2 – PART 5

PANAMA IN WORLD WAR 2

PART 5 – NAVAL DEFENCES

Part 9 – the Canal and the expansion of US activity prior to Pearl Harbor and just after

https://raytodd.blog/2021/10/01/panama-in-world-war-2-part-9-the-canal-and-the-expansion-of-us-activity-prior-to-pearl-harbor-and-just-after/

Part 8 – Snapshot summaries of air units, including the Brazilians

https://raytodd.blog/2021/09/29/panama-in-world-war-2-part-8-snapshot-summaries-of-aircraft-units-including-the-brazilians/

Part 7 – Air bases

https://raytodd.blog/2021/09/27/panama-in-world-war-2-part-7-airfields-and-air-bases/

Part 6 – Introduction of radar and the role(s) of Pan American

https://raytodd.blog/2021/09/26/panama-in-world-war-2-part-6-the-introduction-of-radar-and-the-roles-of-pan-american/

Part 4 – The Third Locks project, barrage balloons and sea mines 

https://raytodd.blog/2021/09/19/panama-in-world-war-2-part-4/

Part 3 – The defences 

https://raytodd.blog/2021/09/15/panama-in-world-war-2-part-3/

Part 2 – Panama in 1939 

https://raytodd.blog/2021/09/11/panama-in-world-war-2-part-2/

Part 1 – Introduction 

https://raytodd.blog/2021/09/04/panama-in-world-war-2-part-1-introduction/  

OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – SEPTEMBER 20

Panama Covid-19 update – another sign of (relative) normality, as the first, albeit small, cruise ship launches the 2021-22 cruising season. There is a new cruise terminal at the Pacific end of the Canal due to open shortly with, I think, a schedule of cruises from early next year.

Meanwhile, another 152 new cases and 4 new fatalities have been reported; with 3,958 active cases, 68 in ICU and 225 in other wards.

20 SEPTEMBER 2021

MITIGATING HUMANITARIAN IMPACT IN A COMPLEX SANCTIONS ENVIRONMENT: THE EU AND THE SANCTIONS REGIMES AGAINST IRAN

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute has published a report saying that, particularly in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, there is renewed attention to the humanitarian impact of sanctions, especially in the case of Iran which became one of the flashpoints of the pandemic.  The focus of the paper is on the array of overlapping sanctions and the mitigation of humanitarian impact, with a particular focus on EU sanctions policy and instruments.  It outlines key milestones and phases in the imposition of sanctions on Iran by the 3 main sanctioning actors, the USA, the UN and the EU.  It reviews existing mechanisms to mitigate the humanitarian impact of sanctions and how they could be improved. It is said to find that finds that there is a clear need to further strengthen compliance, enforcement and coordination of EU sanctions, including in the context of the JCPOA. 

https://www.sipri.org/publications/2021/other-publications/mitigating-humanitarian-impact-complex-sanctions-environment-european-union-and-sanctions-regimes

US NAVY PROLIFERATION PROBLEM

On 15 September, Breaking Defense reported that US Navy reactors currently use about 100 nuclear bombs’ worth of HEU each year, more than all of the world’s other reactors combined.   The world’s biggest remaining customer for highly enriched uranium (HEU) outside of weapons is the US Navy, which uses it in reactors to power submarines and aircraft carriers – civilian nuclear powerplants use low-enriched uranium (LEU) fuel, which is unsuitable for weapons.  It examines the inherent risks, including that production of HEU may have to be restarted as the Navy is running short.  It suggests that the Navy could switch to LEU, as China’s navy already does.  The problem, it seems, is funding the necessary research.

https://breakingdefense.com/2021/09/the-us-navys-nuclear-proliferation-problem

US ASKS UN TO EXTEND TALIBAN’S TRAVEL-BAN WAIVER TO ALLOW NEGOTIATIONS

On 17 September, the Wall Street Journal reported that the US wants to extend a UN waiver on a travel ban against the Taliban in an effort meant to facilitate negotiations with the group and part of the US diplomatic overtures to encourage the group to abide by its human rights and anti-terror commitments.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-asks-united-nations-to-extend-talibans-travel-ban-waiver-11631926792

EU: 106 ARRESTED IN A STING AGAINST ONLINE FRAUDSTERS

On 20 September, a news release from Europol announced that Spanish National Police (Policía Nacional), supported by the Italian National Police (Polizia di Stato), Europol and Eurojust, dismantled an organised crime group linked to the Italian Mafia involved in online fraud, money laundering, drug trafficking and property crime.  The suspects defrauded hundreds of victims through phishing attacks and other types of online fraud such as SIM-swapping and business email compromise before laundering the money through a wide network of money mules and shell companies. Last year alone, the illegal profit is estimated at about €10 million.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/106-arrested-in-sting-against-online-fraudsters

SPANISH AUTHORITIES TAKE ON ILLEGAL MOLLUSC HARVESTING

On 20 September, OCCRP reported that a massive shipment of illegally harvested molluscs was intercepted by Spanish authorities.  Some 16 tons of the tasty invertebrates were caught being shipped into Spain, and 9 individuals were arrested.  The shellfish came mostly from Portugal and captured in restricted or prohibited areas.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/15187-spanish-authorities-take-on-illegal-mollusk-harvesting

ITALIAN POLICE SEIZE MILLIONS IN CASH FROM COVID FRAUD AGAINST HEALTHCARE FACILITIES

On 18 September, OCCRP reported that Italian financial police have seized more than €11 million and more than 3.5 million protective face masks in an operation in the Emilia-Romagna region, the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) said.  Those involved were charged with aggravated fraud against healthcare facilities committed in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/15186-italian-police-seize-millions-in-cash-from-covid-fraud-against-healthcare-facilities

KENYA: FORMER SPORTS MINISTER FOUND GUILTY OF CORRUPTION INVOLVING FUNDS FOR ATHLETES IN THE 2016 OLYMPIC GAMES

On 19 September, Jurist reported that a Kenyan Court has found that former sports minister Hassan Wario was guilty of corruption.  His initial arrest over these claims took place in October 2018. 

https://www.jurist.org/news/2021/09/kenyas-former-sports-minister-found-guilty-of-embezzling-funds-in-2016-rio-olympic-games/

ECOWAS: SANCTIONS IMPOSED ON COUP LEADERS IN GUINEA AND MALI

On 18 September, Jurist reported that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has decided to impose sanctions on individuals from both countries.

https://www.jurist.org/news/2021/09/ecowas-imposes-sanctions-on-coup-leaders-in-guinea-and-mali/

UK AGREEMENT PARTNERSHIP WITH UAE TO TACKLE ILLICIT FINANCE

On 17 September, the Home Office issued a news release about what was described as a new first of its kind agreement.  It says that the UK-UAE Partnership To Tackle Illicit Financial Flows is part of the new, ambitious and strengthened Partnership for the Future between the UK and the UAE.  The partnership will bolster law enforcement by enhancing intelligence sharing and joint operations between the UK and UAE against serious and organised crime networks.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-landmark-partnership-with-uae-to-tackle-illicit-finance

RWANDAN COURT FINDS HOTEL RWANDA HERO GUILTY OF TERROR-RELATED CHARGES

On 20 September, the Guardian reported that a Rwandan court has ruled that Paul Rusesabagina, 67, a former hotel manager portrayed as a hero in a Hollywood film about the 1994 genocide, is guilty of terrorism-related charges.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/sep/20/rwandan-court-finds-hotel-rwanda-hero-guilty-of-terror-related-charges

LEGAL ADVICE PRIVILEGE – LESSONS FROM 2 RECENT DECISIONS ON WAIVER

On 20 September, an article from Eversheds Sutherland says that the concept of legal professional privilege is fundamental to litigation and the Court is regularly asked to consider requests to disclose privileged information. The Court’s approach to privilege in different situations can have important implications in a case. The recent cases help illustrates how privilege may be lost or waived.  It says that it is important to remember that whilst both decisions are specific to the facts of their cases, they highlight some key points – which the article lists.

https://www.eversheds-sutherland.com/global/en/what/articles/index.page?ArticleID=en/Financial-services-and-dispute-investigation/Legal_Advice_Privilege

US TREASURY SANCTIONS COLOMBIAN DRUG TRAFFICKING QUEEN ‘LA PATRONA’

On 16 September, CNBC reported that the Biden Administration has imposed sanctions on Zulma Maria Musso Torres, the notorious woman in charge of an international drug trafficking empire based in Colombia.  Aka “La Patrona” or “La Senora,” Musso Torres is said to oversee the logistics of transporting cocaine from Colombia to the US, Europe, the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico.

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/09/16/treasury-sanctions-colombian-drug-trafficking-queen-la-patrona.html

HACKERS MANAGED TO HIJACK ONE-TIME PASSWORDS (OTP) SENT VIA SMS BY SINGAPORE BANKS 

On 17 September, Finextra reported that the hackers used them to carry out fraudulent credit card transactions worth a total of S$500,000.  Carried out late last year, the hack affected 75 bank customers, according to the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the island’s police force.  Criminals gained unauthorised access to the systems of overseas telcos and used them to modify the location data of the mobile phones used by the victims in Singapore.

https://www.finextra.com/newsarticle/38846/crooks-hijack-bank-otps-to-make-fraudulent-card-payments

TELEGRAM HAS SEEN A SHARP RISE IN CYBERCRIMINAL ACTIVITIES

On 17 September, engadget reported that a report has said that there has been “a 100 percent-plus rise in Telegram usage by cybercriminals” recently, and the Financial Times has said that the rise in criminal activity on the app came after users flocked to it following a change in WhatsApp’s privacy policy.

https://www.engadget.com/telegram-sharp-rise-cybercriminal-activities-072559131.html

COCAINE, THE YUPPIE DRUG? NOT NOW, SAY EXPERTS – ITS LURE IS CROSSING ALL CLASSES

On 19 September, the Observer reported that, according to police, cocaine is not now a middle-class drug – every stratum of British society frequently uses cocaine.  It is said to have undergone a radical brand transformation that the government is choosing to overlook. 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/sep/19/cocaine-the-yuppie-drug-not-now-say-experts-its-lure-is-crossing-all-classes

US: TRIAL ENDS IN GUILTY VERDICT FOR DDOS-FOR-HIRE BOSS

On 16 September, a post from Krebs on Security said that Matthew Gatrel, charged in 2018 with operating 2 online “booter” services that allowed paying customers to launch powerful DDoS attacks, had been convicted on all 3 charges of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, including conspiracy to commit unauthorised impairment of a protected computer, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and unauthorised impairment of a protected computer.

https://krebsonsecurity.com/2021/09/trial-ends-in-guilty-verdict-for-ddos-for-hire-boss/

PEESA: NEW US AUTHORITY TO IMPOSE SANCTIONS IN CONNECTION WITH RUSSIAN ENERGY PIPELINES

On 24 August, an article was published by Kelley Drye about the Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Act (PEESA) 2019.  This requires the State Department to issue a periodic report naming parties involved in the construction certain Russian energy export pipelines. 

https://www.ustrademonitor.com/2021/08/new-authority-to-impose-sanctions-in-connection-with-russian-energy-pipelines/

FORMER KENYA MEDICAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE BOSS FINED OVER FRAUD

On 15 September, The Standard reported that former Kemri boss Davy Koech had been found guilty of fraudulent acquisition of public property in 2006.  If  Koech is unable to pay, he will serve a 6-year jail term.  The money was to finance his children’s education abroad.  The funds had been allocated to the Center for Disease Control in Kisumu.

https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/national/article/2001423594/ex-kemri-boss-davy-koech-fined-sh19m-for-fraud

FATF: WEBINAR ON MONEY LAUNDERING FROM ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME

On 30 September, FATF is to host a webinar which will bring together panellists from civil society, private and public sectors to discuss how to fix the gaps in systems to protect the environment and preserve the world’s natural resources.  The panel will discuss important aspects of the recent FATF Report, including how to identify Red Flag information to help detect and trace the illicit finances of criminals engaged in environmental crimes.  Participants will also debate how to overcome challenges, such as the lack of governmental or institutional prioritisation, limited awareness and data, de-risking, and limited domestic and international co-ordination.  

https://www.fatf-gafi.org/publications/fatfgeneral/documents/webinar-environmental-crime.html

AUSTRALIA: ATO LAUNCHES CRACKDOWN ON DISGUISED UNDECLARED FOREIGN INCOME

On 20 September, STEP reported that the Australian Tax Office has launched an enforcement drive against residents who fail to declare foreign income in their tax returns and then disguise the character of the funds when repatriating them.  According to the ATO, the concealed foreign income is typically misrepresented as a gift or loan from a related overseas entity such as a family member or friend, or a related company or trust.

https://www.step.org/industry-news/ato-launches-crackdown-disguised-undeclared-foreign-income

$1 BILLION RECOVERED FOR VICTIMS OF ALLEN STANFORD PONZI SCHEME – 12 YEARS AFTER SCAM EXPOSED

On 20 September, Sky News reported that Allen Stanford, 71, is serving a 110-year prison sentence after his conviction for running a $7.2 billion Ponzi scheme involving 18,000 investors that lasted 2 decades.  It also said that efforts to compensate victims have recouped more than $1 billion, lawyers for a court-appointed receiver have revealed.

https://news.sky.com/story/1bn-recovered-for-victims-of-allen-stanford-ponzi-scheme-12-years-after-scam-exposed-12413191

US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: ACTION NEEDED TO STEM PROCUREMENT FRAUD

On 19 September, the US Government watchdog, the Government Accountability Office released a report saying that the DoD, which spent about $422 billion on contracts for goods and services in FY 2020, has been the target of contracting-related fraud schemes. For example, one contractor pleaded guilty to defrauding the Department by overbilling. DoD is also vulnerable to other types of contract fraud and corruption.  It found that 11 of 59 DOD organisations hadn’t designated representatives for a Fraud Reduction Task Force that the DoD had established.  It also found the DoD could more thoroughly assess and report Department-wide fraud risks.

https://www.gao.gov/products/gao-21-309

CHINA TIGHTENS TAX EVASION CRACKDOWN ON SHOWBUSINESS

On 20 September, Caixin Global in China reported that the authorities are tightening a crackdown on tax evasion targeting individuals and businesses in the entertainment industry following several high-profile cases.

https://www.caixinglobal.com/2021-09-21/china-tightens-tax-evasion-crackdown-on-showbiz-101775748.html

DUTCH FINANCE MINISTER HEADS EUROPEAN INITIATIVE TO BAN €500 NOTE

On 20 September, Dutch News reported that the Dutch finance minister is heading a joint European move to ban the €500 note and cash payments of up to €5,000 to prevent money laundering and other criminal activity.  He is also said to be working on a limit of €3,000 in cash payments for the Netherlands as part of a national plan to combat money laundering presented in 2019.

https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/2021/09/dutch-finance-minister-heads-european-intitiative-to-ban-e500-note/

JERSEY: DRUGS PLOTTER’S CRYPTO-CURRENCY IS TO BE SEIZED

On 20 September, the Jersey Evening Post reported that a involved in a plot to smuggle almost £1 million-worth of drugs into Jersey on a yacht is likely to lose almost £100,000 in crypto-currency after having a confiscation order served upon him.  Daniel Niall Riley, who was jailed for the offence alongside 6 others last year, has appeared before the Royal Court.  An order which aims to seize £96,565.10-worth of ‘Chainlink’, a digital crypto-currency, is the first case of its kind to be heard in Jersey. 

https://jerseyeveningpost.com/news/2021/09/20/drugs-plotters-crypto-currency-is-to-be-seized/

CHARGES IN FIRST SEC CASE INVOVLING REGULATION CROWDFUNDING

A release on Mondo Visione on 20 September advised that the SEC had charged 3 individuals and 1 issuer with conducting a fraudulent scheme to sell nearly $2 million of unregistered securities through 2 crowdfunding offerings. The SEC also charged the registered funding portal and its CEO, who placed the offerings on the portal’s platform.  It also notes that the SEC Office of Investor Education and Advocacy has issued an investor bulletin on crowdfunding and investor alerts on the Red Flags of investment fraud.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/sec-charges-crowdfunding-portal-issuer-and-related-individuals-for-fraudulent/

GAFILAT: REGISTRATION OPEN FOR A COURSE ON FATF 40 RECOMMENDATIONS AND AN INTRODUCTION TO EVALUATION METHODOLOGY

On 20 September, the FATF-style regional body for Latin America advised that registration of members of the general public for its “campus”, a virtual course, had opened, and would be open until 24 September. 

https://www.gafilat.org/index.php/es/noticias/146-se-encuentran-abiertas-las-inscripciones-al-campus-gafilat

UK: 78% YEAR-ON-YEAR INCREASE IN UNDER-21 PERSONS TAKING PART IN MONEY MULE ACTIVITY

A news release from CIFAS on 15 September advised that the ‘Generation Covid’ are being specifically targeted with ‘get rich quick’ schemes on social media to become money mules.  It notes a 78% in accounts of people aged under 21, a 76% in accounts of people aged between 21 to 30, but only a 26% increase in accounts of people ages over 30.

https://www.cifas.org.uk/newsroom/mules-six-months-2021

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