Panama Covid-19 update – Panama Fashion Week began this week, but that will largely pass me by. More importantly, from Monday, the nightly 0100-0400 curfew ends is most of the country, including in the city where I am. Mind you, I am off to a small island in the Pacific for a few days where, as I understand it, they have no Covid at all now. I don’t know about the wi-fi though, but you can’t have everything…
Meanwhile, another 366 new cases reported and 4 new fatalities; with 3,887 active cases, 64 in ICU and 241 in other wards.
22 SEPTEMBER 2021
DUTCH AUTHORITIES TO INTENSIFY ACTION AGAINST UNLICENSED GAMBLING OPERATORS
On 21 September, iGB reported that the government had announced a major tightening up for those operators who are currently not pursued by the Dutch authorities under a “cooling off” approach introduced prior to the passing of the Remote Gambling Act earlier this year.
WHY CONTAINER SHIPS CAN’T SAIL AROUND THE CALIFORNIA PORTS BOTTLENECK
On 22 September, the Wall Street Journal published another article on the hold-ups being experienced at US West Coast seaports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. It says that newly arriving vessels are adding to a record-breaking flotilla waiting to unload cargo that has reached 73 ships, according to the Marine Exchange of Southern California, nearly double the number a month ago and expanding a fleet that has become a stark sign of the disruptions and delays roiling global supply chains. There are, it says, no viable alternatives.
PLANNED NEW US SHIPPING ACT WOULD INCREASE CARGO DELAYS – ACCORDING TO TERMINALS AND SHIPPING ASSOCIATIONS
On 21 September, Seatrade Maritime News reported opposition to a legislative effort driven by agricultural and other cargo interests – the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021 (OSRA 2021 – designated as HR 4996), a bi-partisan Bill under consideration in the US House of Representatives. This aims to address concerns about terminal congestion by reducing beneficial cargo owners (BCO) responsibility to collect cargo from marine terminals.
Also, on 20 September, the same source had reported that the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are expanding operating gate hours for trucks at weekends and night-time as the ports try to tackle a surge in imports and unprecedented congestion.
SMUGGLED SUGAR STILL ENTERS VIETNAM IN LARGE VOLUME
On 22 September, Nong Nghiep reported that, despite Covid-19, smuggled sugar still entered Vietnam in large volume through the south-western border with Cambodia.
UK: FLEETWOOD TOWN FC OWNER ACCUSED OF FRAUD AND MONEY LAUNDERING
On 22 September, The Gazette reported that Fleetwood Town’s owner and chairman Andy Pilley, 51, had appeared in court after being charged with fraud and money laundering offences involving his energy company. His sister, who also works for Business Energy Solutions (BES), faces similar charges.
MAN QUESTIONED BY GARDAÍ OVER €500,000 IN CRIMINAL PROCEEDS
On 22 September, the Irish Independent reported that specialist gardai have made 3 more arrests in relation to their investigation into an organised international gang who are involved in a multi-million-euro fraud operation. The main target of the investigation was being held and is suspected of laundering over €500,000 in criminal proceeds.
EXTRADITION DECISION ON BRITISH TECHNOLOGY TYCOON MIKE LYNCH TO US IS DELAYED
On 22 September, the Daily Mail reported that a final decision on whether British technology tycoon Mike Lynch will be extradited to face fraud charges in the US has been delayed. has been accused of falsifying the books at his software firm Autonomy before it was sold to Hewlett Packard for £9 billion in 2011.
US: SEARCH WARRANT REQUIRED FOR POLICE SEARCH OF FILES REPORTED BY DIGITAL ALGORITHM
On 22 September, a federal appeals court ruled that police breached privacy rights by searching images that were automatically reported by a Google algorithm before obtaining a warrant. The algorithm had detected suspected child sexual abuse material.
IMPROVED ACCESS TO JERSEY LEGISLATION
On 22 September, Jersey reported that on 28 September changes will improve access to Jersey’s legislation and bring changes for the Legislative Drafting Office. The Legislative Drafting Office has been continually producing updated unofficial versions of legislation showing all new amendments as soon as they come into force, and now those updated versions will become the official versions of the law.
AIRCRAFT THEFT ACROSS LATIN AMERICA CONTINUES TO FUEL DRUG TRADE
On 22 September, Insight Crime reported that a heist of Brazilian planes that were later discovered in Bolivia has offered a unique look into how drug planes are procured in the region. It says that while the increase in drug flights across Latin America has been widely documented, less is known about how these aircraft are procured or the pilots who fly them. Recent investigations have highlighted the increase in the theft of private aircraft across the region. Guatemala alone seized over 50 aircraft for carrying drugs in 2019.
LESS THAN HALF OF COMPLIANCE PROFESSIONALS IN THE LEGAL SECTOR THINK THAT THE FIFTH ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING DIRECTIVE WILL HAVE A POSITIVE IMPACT ON THEIR ABILITY TO DETECT AND PREVENT FINANCIAL CRIME
A release on Mondo Visione on 22 September advised that new research by LexisNexis had found that 42% of compliance professionals in the legal sector think that the 5MLD will have a positive impact on their ability to detect and prevent financial crime. This is 20% lower than the overall research average of 60% across other regulated industries in the UK, including real estate, banks. 40%) in the legal sector also believe that the regulation will have no impact in mitigating risks, and 14% believe the regulation will have the opposite to its intended effect by negatively impacting their firm’s ability to detect and prevent financial crime. Research found that it is costing the legal sector on average 12% more to implement 5MLD than for other regulated industries, at £940,200 per law firm, compared to an average of just over £836,000 across other sectors.
TO COMBAT A GAMBLING EPIDEMIC, BRITAIN TURNS TO THE AML RULEBOOK
On 17 September, an article from ACAMS says that the Gambling Commission has emerged over the past 3 years as the UK’s most prolific enforcer of AML rules, which the regulator has also used to great effect to address a seemingly unrelated societal issue: compulsive gambling. The article reflects on such recent enforcement action, noting that most cases where penalties were imposed involved problem gambling. The Commission has banned the use of credit cards, consulted on improved KYC and due diligence in general.
DIGITAL ASSETS – FROM FRINGE TO FUTURE
A report from BNY Mellon says that digital assets have entered the mainstream, and outlines the evolution of digital assets — how they are helping to reshape the financial ecosystem. It highlights the infrastructure and collaboration needed to help digital assets reach full maturity and integrate seamlessly with traditional assets.
REGULATING THE ENABLERS
A report from the Alliance for Securing Democracy says that when kleptocrats, foreign intelligence services, homegrown autocrats, and other malign actors weaponise corruption to undermine US democracy, their financial secrecy relies upon the services of sectors of US professionals, including lawyers, real estate agents, hedge fund managers, and others. It says that the US Government should promulgate new financial regulations — similar to existing rules for banks — that would require non-bank enablers to watch out for dirty money. Regulators should prioritize 6 or 7 sectors of professionals known to gravely endanger US national security by facilitating corruption. It notes that the US is among the less than 10% of countries that do not require non-bank enablers to establish AML programmes, which are mandatory for banks. The sectors it refers to are – private equity and hedge funds; real estate title insurers; art dealers; lawyers, trust and corporate service providers (TCSP); accountants; and covert PR and marketing firms; as well as real estate agents, escrow agents and real estate lawyers; luxury vehicle dealers; crypto and other money services businesses (MSB).
PODCAST: HOW IRAN AND NORTH KOREA COOPERATE TO DEVELOP MISSILES AND EVADE SANCTIONS
On 22 September, a podcast from Iran Watch (from the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control) involved a meeting with Neil Watts, who served for 5 years as the Maritime Expert on the UN Panel of Experts on North Korea. Missile and arms-related cooperation between Iran and North Korea is discussed, and how such collaboration has evolved over time, from the transfer of complete systems to the sharing of test data and technical expertise. The conversation took place on 8 September. The discussion also covered sanctions evasion methods used by Iran and North Korea, including ship-to-ship transfers, transshipment, splitting shipments among multiple containers and vessels, and hiding illicit items in bulk cargo.
CFIUS RELEASES ANNUAL REPORT TO CONGRESS
A blog from Baker McKenzie reported that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has released its report for calendar year 2020. It provides data on transactions filed with CFIUS in 2020.
PODCAST: CONTAGIOUS DISHONESTY
In the latest TRACE podcast, Frederico Masera, from the University of New South Wales and the Resilient Democracy Lab in Sydney discusses his recent research, together with Giorgio Gulino. Their intriguing research uncovers a trend toward substantially increased customer theft at supermarkets in the immediate aftermath of local corruption scandals involving prominent public officials.
OFAC SANCTIONS SINALOA CARTEL MEMBERS OPERATING IN SONORA, MEXICO
On 22 September, OFAC announced that its action targets individuals trafficking fentanyl and other drugs at the direction of Sinaloa Cartel leader Ismael Zambada Garcia.
OFAC NEW LISTINGS, UPDATES AND DELETIONS
On 22 September, OFAC advised a large number of changes – many linked to the targeting of the Sinola Cartel operating out of Sonora, Mexico. A large number of individuals and entities are also removed from the SDN List – chiefly with Panamanian or Colombian connections. Other existing entries are amended.
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