Panama Covid-19 update – on a small island in the Pacific, where there are no local (known) Covid cases, but nevertheless face masks are still required (by law). In the greater Panama, 324 new cases have been reported and 9 new fatalities (quite a rise on recent numbers); with 3,558 active cases, as this number continues to fall, wih 61 in ICU and 236 in other wards.
Note – as I am in this small island, albeit with better than expected wi-fi, one is still reliant on this ageing laptop (and remembering passwords); so service might not be as prompt or complete (e.g. nice photos and graphics) as usual. Hopefully, things will be better in due course, when we return home, but the desktop PC I normally use was refusing to fire up this morning, so who knows. I have another, plus the laptop(s), but one gets used to the orutine and usual, and any disruption is annoying and distracting…
23 SEPTEMBER 2021
Sanctioned tankers, cargo ships spotted at North Korean port of Nampho
On 23 September, NK Pro reported that at least 19 vessels have appeared in or around the key North Korean port of Nampho this month, including several UN-sanctioned oil tankers. It says that their appearance suggests DPRK’s oil trade is ramping up, including by illicit means, amid low official imports.
Man convicted of terrorism financing led ‘unremarkable’ life in Ireland
On 16 September, the Irish Times reported on the conviction of an Algerian national, found after Ireland joined the EU-wide Schengen Information System database. The man, in his early 50s, fled to Ireland in 2000, shortly after being prosecuted for facilitating Islamic terrorism in Marseille and sentenced in absentia.
UAE puts 6 Nigerians with ties to Boko Haram on terrorist list
On 14 September, the Nigerian Guardian reported that, in April 2019, the Abu Dhabi federal court of appeal sentenced the men for setting up a Boko Haram cell in the UAE to raise funds and material assistance for the insurgents in Nigeria.
Russia has renewed its import ban on agricultural products, raw materials and food from the US, EU, Canada etc
On 23 September, the EU Sanctions blog reported that the ban on agricultural products, raw materials and food, (including beef, pork, fruit, vegetables, fish and dairy products) from the US, EU, UK, Canada, Australia, Norway, Ukraine, Albania, Montenegro, Iceland and Lichtenstein had been renewed to 31 December 2022. It had originally been imposed in response to foreign sanctions following the takeover of Crimea.
Kenya Removed From Piracy Red List
On 20 September, Dryad Global reported that Kenya maritime waters within the Indian Ocean had been removed from the piracy red list, 12 years after it was designated a high-risk area (HRA). The announcement by the IMO will save Kenya and East Africa millions in insurance and other security expenses, and could open up Kenya’s ports for more business.
ANALYSIS OF AN IRANIAN ASSAULT RIFLE PROVIDES INSIGHT INTO MANUFACTURING PRACTICES
A Technical Brief from Conflict Arms Research reported on how a CAR field investigation team disassembled a recovered AM-50 anti-materiel rifle and comprehensively documented its component parts. The resulting report provides a technical analysis of each of its components, highlighting key identifying features and yielding new insight into Iran’s weapon manufacturing practices.
Guernsey to introduce stricter compliance measures for CRS and FATCA reporting
On 23 September, STEP reported that all Guernsey financial institutions will soon have to register on the Revenue Service’s information gateway online reporter (IGOR) system, whether or not they have reporting obligations under the OECD Common Reporting Standard (CRS) or the US FATCA. As well as registering, all FIs will be required to submit an annual validation either confirming that the information it provided remains complete and correct or providing amended information. The changes are amongst measures contained in a new law intended to demonstrate Guernsey’s commitment to a ‘robust and effective compliance framework underpinning its regime of automatic exchange of information for tax purposes’.
OECD publishes compilation of 2021 peer review reports
On 22 September, Accountancy Daily reported that the OECD had published Country-by-Country Reporting – Compilation of 2021 Peer Review Reports – Inclusive Framework on BEPS: Action 13.
AGREEMENT ON RETURN OF FORFEITED FUNDS FROM UK TO MOLDOVA
On 22 September, a Policy Paper from the Home Office advised that an MoU between the governments of the UK and Moldova facilitates the return of funds in relation to Luca Filat, which were confiscated in November 2019. The MoU is said to ensure the return of £456,068.38 by the NCA to Moldova, which will be used to the benefit of the people of Moldova, in support of social assistance projects. There will be monitoring of the returned money by Keystone Moldova, a Civil Society Organisation, which is also a provision related to transparency and monitoring within the MoU.
UK: man ordered to pay £213,000 after selling students places at fake Bath college
On 23 September, ITV News reported that Sanketkumar Patel, 38, a convicted money launderer has been ordered to pay back more than £200,000 after he sold foreign students places at a non-existent college in Bath. He was part of a 2015 scam which saw a number of foreign nationals pay money to criminals advertising a fake college purporting to be Prior Park College. The fake college’s business course enabled foreign nationals to apply for visas to study in the UK.
US Allows Ukrainian Tycoon To Sell Texas Property It Froze
On 23 September, Rferl reported that the US is permitting a company owned by Ukrainian tycoon Ihor Kolomoyskiy to sell a Texas building the government froze as part of a civil money-laundering case so that it can pay down the property’s back taxes and other debts. He faces accusations related to Kyiv-based Privatbank and the DoJ sued to seize 3 buildings, 1 each in Ohio, Kentucky, and Texas. Kolomoyskiy denies the accusations and has filed for arbitration.
Regulator SRA launches investigations into 10% of firms checked for AML compliance
In its 24 September edition, Legal Futures reported that more than 10% of law firms whose compliance with AML rules was checked by the Solicitors Regulation Authority in the last year have been referred for investigation. 8 of 69 firms visited virtually by the SRA in the year to April 2021 were not compliant with the AML regulations and referred for investigation. Only 16 were fully compliant and the rest partially compliant. The regulator also conducted 168 desk-based reviews in the year – the majority were partially compliant, but 19 were referred for investigation.
Mastermind of Zimbabwean Bitcoin Pyramid Scheme Vanishes With $6 Million
On 3 September, Bitcoin.com reported that an individual by the name of Martin Mhlanga, who is said to be the mastermind behind the Cryptoshares bitcoin pyramid scheme, has disappeared along with over $6 million in investor funds. In addition to Mhlanga’s disappearance, the individuals thought to be managing Cryptoshares’ social media channels have similarly vanished.
THE TRADE IN LIVE CHEETAHS
The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime has produced a Black Market Brief about the trade in live cheetahs, mainly traded to serve as pets for royal and wealthy families in the Middle East. It notes that a few countries allow the legal export of cheetahs, mainly in southern Africa, but there are irregularities in the system. Approximately 300 are smuggled out of East Africa and the Horn of Africa each year.
Investigating Antiquities Trafficking
On 20 September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network published an article saying that the illicit trade in antiquities is a form of transnational crime that connects the theft at heritage sites to the elite world of the global art market, often via a web of organised crime. There is a strong demand for antiquities within North American, European, and Asian markets, and these markets inspire the removal of cultural objects from lower income countries. There is also a grey market, said to be infiltrated by organised crime. It goes on to say that, unlike antiquities trafficking, art theft from institutions is rarer and riskier, with fewer opportunities for profit.
Albania: former top prosecutor jailed on corruption charges
On 22 September, Euronews reported that the former chief prosecutor of Albania has been sentenced to 2 years in prison for hiding money involved in illegally owned properties. Adriatik Llalla, who served as Albania’s prosecutor general during 2012-2017, also had his own property confiscated by judges and is barred from holding any public post for 5 years.
Florida Businessman and CFO of Russian Natural Gas Company Arrested on Tax Charges Related to $93 Million Hidden in Offshore Accounts
A news release from US DoJ on 23 September advised that a court had returned an indictment against a businessman accused of not disclosing his substantial offshore assets, failing to report substantial income on his tax returns, failing to pay millions of dollars of taxes and submitting a false offshore compliance filing with the IRS in an attempt to avoid substantial penalties and criminal prosecution. A certified public accountant (CPA) in the US and Russia, Gyetvay allegedly became the chief financial officer of a large Russian gas company, and from 2005 allegedly used Swiss bank accounts to hide assets.
JPMorgan faces oil bribery probe in Brazil
On 22 September, Yahoo Finance claimed an exclusive, reporting that Brazilian authorities are investigating whether JPMorgan Chase & Co played a role in an alleged bribery and money laundering scheme that dated back to 2011 and involved state-run oil company Petrobras.
Isle of Man confirms removal of the Baghdad Stock Exchange from Iraq sanctions lists
On 23 September, the Isle of Man confirmed that, following action by the UN and UK, the BAGHDAD STOCK EXCHANGE had been removed from sanctions concerning Iraq.
US: Corporate Transparency Act Expands AML Burden Beyond Banks to Business Customers
On 23 September, the National Law Review published Part 2 of a feature on the CTA, considering the background and history of the AML “burden” on banks in the US, and looking at how the new legislation will shift some of the collection burden from banks to reporting companies. It notes that regulations are due by 1 January.
Kenya: Sudanese Minister of Cabinet Affairs Cleared of Money Laundering Charges
On 22 September, kahawatungu.com reported that Sudanese Minister of Cabinet Affairs Martin Elia Lomuro has been cleared of money laundering charges by a Nairobi court. A case was filed by the Kenya Assets Recovery Agent (ARA) claiming that a Co-operative Bank account had made several suspicious transactions.