Panama Covid-19 update – the “bank flexibility” ended today and financial institutions will now be able to open judicial collection processes, and clients are recommended to approach the banks and detail their situation. By June, it was said that 70% of the outstanding loans had been restructured. Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that the curfew and ban on social activities in Panama City has been repealed. However, commercial premises must comply with the sanitary biosafety measures dictated by the Ministry of Health in terms of the maximum allowed capacity and social distancing among customers. The curfew and social activities ban has been in place since March 2020.
Addenda – 225 new cases reported today, with just 1 new fatality. There are now 3,214 active cases, with 56 in ICU and 197 in other wards.
1 October 2021
THE MISSILE TECHNOLOGY CONTROL REGIME (MTCR) AT A CROSSROADS
On 1 October, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute published an article saying that something overlooked in the diplomatic tussle following the announcement of the Australia–UK–US (AUKUS) agreement was that Australia also announced that it would acquire Tomahawk land-based cruise missiles (GLCM) from the US. It is said that this sale of missiles could deal a blow to one of the few remaining multilateral instruments for addressing missile proliferation—the MTCR. It explains that the MTCR is a multilateral export control regime that brings together 35 missile technology supplier states to coordinate their controls on exports of missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and related dual-use goods and technologies. The basis is that the states will adopt a strong presumption of denial on transfers of complete missiles and other unmanned delivery systems capable of carrying a payload of 500 kg to a range of at least 300 km. Tomahawk missiles can deliver a 500 kg payload to a range of more than 1000 km. The US had already fudged its interpretation of the MTCR over UAV, after its producers were losing out to foreign rivals, such as Israel, Turkey and China.
DOES DIRTY MONEY NEED BANKING SECRECY TO THRIVE?
On 30 September, Swissinfo published an article posing this question. It says that if the demise of Swiss banking secrecy was supposed to flush dirty money out of the system, it appears to be failing. Criminal and regulatory slaps on wrists continue to pile up against banks. Even worse is the allegation that Switzerland lacks real political will to tackle money laundering. Switzerland is the largest offshore wealth centre in the world, managing 27% of all cross-border assets – some $2.5 trillion from foreign private individuals and families at the end of 2018.
ILLICIT MONEY: FINANCING TERRORISM IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY
On 30 September, RUSI hosted an event where CFCS associate fellow Jessica Davis talked about her new book – Illicit Money: Financing Terrorism in the Twenty-First Century – which pulls together existing strands of terrorism financing research and assesses where we are in this expanding yet still nascent field – which is said to offer new ways of understanding and identifying terrorism financing activity. A recording of the event is available online.
NORTH MACEDONIA ARRESTS 8 FOR ANTIQUITIES SMUGGLING AND ILLEGAL DIGS
On 30 September, Ekathimerini reported that 8 men have been arrested in North Macedonia accused of participating in multiple illegal excavations across the country to sell antiquities abroad. Police seized a large number of artifacts, including ancient figurines and jewellery, as well as firearms, metal detectors and computer hard drives.
MORGAN STANLEY TOOK MILLIONS FROM VENEZUELAN BUSINESSMAN ACCUSED OF MONEY LAUNDERING
On 30 September, Morgan Stanley reported that Morgan Stanley is among financial advisory firms are being investigated by US authorities for managing roughly $100 million belonging to Venezuelan businessman Luis Mariano Rodriguez Cabello. The cousin of a former Venezuelan oil minister and ambassador to the UN, he has been accused of laundering $2 billion in the US on his cousin’s behalf and Rodriguez is currently under investigation by US and international agencies. However, it is said that Morgan Stanley, Interactive Brokers, and the other firms have not been accused of wrongdoing.
LARGE AMOUNT OF COUNTERFEIT INK AND TONER CARTRIDGES WERE SEIZED DURING RAIDS IN LIMA, PERU
On 1 October, The Recycler reported that in July and August seizures were made against ‘big fish’ manufacturers of counterfeit ink and toner cartridges in Lima. In excess of 2,000 finished and unfinished toner and ink cartridges, tools and supplies were seized.
STAR SOCCER AGENT ZAHAVI CHARGED IN FRAUD INVESTIGATION
On 1 October, the Daily Mail reported that influential soccer agent Pini Zahavi, 78, has been charged in Belgium as part of an investigation into alleged wrongdoing at second-division club Royal Excelsior Mouscron. It is said that prosecutors suspect Zahavi, who took over the club in 2015, of illegally financing Mouscron through offshore companies.
ID CARDS PHASED OUT AS TRAVEL DOCUMENT TO ENTER UK
On 1 October, the Home Office advised that,from 1 October, UK Border Force will stop accepting ID cards from most EU, EEA and Swiss citizens, and most EU, EEA and Swiss citizens will need a valid passport to enter the UK. It claims that last year almost half of all false documents detected at the border were EU, EEA or Swiss ID cards. However, those in the EU Settlement Scheme or with equivalent rights will be able to continue using ID cards until at least 2025.
AUNG SAN SUU KYI ON TRIAL FOR CORRUPTION IN MYANMAR
On 1 October, Deutsche Welle reported that Myanmar’s ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi is facing a new trial for corruption.
ONLINE GAMBLING NOW LEGALLY POSSIBLE IN NETHERLANDS
On 1 October, the NL Times reported that from 1 October it is possible to legally gamble online in the Netherlands, as the Dutch Gambling Authority issued licences to 10 providers of digital gambling games.
SINGAPORE TO LAUNCH NEW DIGITAL PLATFORM TO FIGHT ILLICIT BANKING TRANSACTIONS
On 1 October, Vietnam Plus reported that the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced that it will launch a data- and information-sharing platform, named Cosmic, to prevent money laundering, terrorism funding and proliferation financing. It will allow financial institutions to securely share in a timely manner with one another information on customers or transactions, where they cross “material risk thresholds”. The platform has been co-created by MAS and 6 major commercial banks in Singapore, which will continue to co-develop the platform with MAS, and will be the initial users when it is rolled out in 2023 alongside a regulatory framework to govern the information sharing.
THE UK–UAE ILLICIT FINANCE PARTNERSHIP HOLDS PROMISE
On 1 October, a Commentary from RUSI says that partnerships between global financial centres are key to tackling illicit finance. Delivery will determine the credibility of the new UK–UAE initiative. It notes that the UAE was mentioned in the UK 2020 National Risk Assessment of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing as one of the ‘particularly relevant cross-border money laundering risks faced by the UK’.
THE REACH OF NATIONALLY LINKED TRAFFICKING GROUPS ACROSS AFGHAN OPIATE TRAFFICKING ROUTES
A briefing from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime looks at the evidence for the cross-border operation of national drugs trafficking groups – Afghan, Tajik, Pakistani, Iranian etc.
ACCUSATIONS AGAINST MEXICO’S FORMER TOP COP GROW IN US COURTS
On 1 October, Insight Crime reported that evidence and accusations are said to be piling up against Mexico’s former top security official, Genaro García Luna, as US prosecutors are said to have new records in their case which alleges he pocketed bribes from drug traffickers and Mexico demands the return of millions of alleged illegal assets.
UK: SRA BANS NON-SOLICITORS FOR THEFT, FABRICATION AND FORGERY
On 1 October, Legal Futures reported that the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has banned a string of non-solicitors from working in the profession for dishonesty, including theft, fabricating letters and faking a client’s signature.
AUSTRALIA: BEHIND THE SCENES OF THE AFP INVESTIGATION INTO THE BIGGEST INSIDER TRADING CASE IN AUSTRALIAN HISTORY
On 27 September, ABC published a 30-minute featuring a “story of greed, secrets, conviction and ultimately redemption”, It involves how someone shared yet-to-released data from his employer, the Australian Bureau of Statistics. to trade the Australian dollar on the foreign exchange market. The audacious insider trading scheme came unstuck when skyrocketing deals set off red flags.
SURVEY OF TOP SHIPPERS AND CARRIERS ON THE MEDIUM-TERM STRATEGIC IMPACT FROM THE CONTAINER SYSTEM CRISIS
On 1 October, Hellenic Shipping News reported concerns and real commercial harm to most shippers and identifies practical but limited measures within the control of ocean carriers and shippers to mitigate and manage market disruptions caused by the ongoing container system crisis which began back in mid-2020.
US: WaFd BANK HAS AGREED TO PAY A $2.5 MILLION PENALTY AS PART OF A CONSENT ORDER OVER ALLEGED AML PROBLEMS
On 1 October, American Banker reported that the WaFd Bank in Seattle – a unit of Washington Federal – has agreed to pay a $2.5 million penalty as part of a consent order it signed in 2018 with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency over alleged AML problems.
MALTA: SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE FOR PILATUS MLRO TO BE INDICTED
On 1 October, Malta Today reported that the magistrate compiling evidence against a former official at Pilatus Bank has declared that there is sufficient prima facie evidence to proceed with an indictment on money laundering charges. Claude Anne Sant Fournier was previously MLRO at the bank, and stands charged, together with the bank itself, with money laundering.
OFAC: NEW FAQ ON VENEZUELAN SANCTIONS
On 1 October, OFAC announced the release of FAQ 933, which explains the status of authorisations in General Licenses 7C and 20B re PDV Holding Inc and CITGO Holding Inc, and saying that the authorisation in General License 7C which relates to the purchase and importation of petroleum and petroleum products from Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., expired on 28 April 2019.
US COAST GUARD PATROLS INTERNATIONAL WATERS IN AN EFFORT TO STRENGTHEN MARITIME GOVERNANCE AND FOREIGN PARTNERSHIPS
On 30 September, Homeland Security Today reported that the USCG employs 11 bilateral agreements with Pacific Island Forum nations, including Samoa, to help them ensure their resource security and maritime sovereignty.
THAILAND: CONTROL OF “DUAL-USE” ITEMS AND WMD
On 1 October, KPMG reported that the Trade Controls on Weapons of Mass Destruction Act has been in force since 1 January 2020, and is to be effective from the end of 2021. The Department of Foreign Trade will be authorised to employ a “catch-all control” that can be applied to exports, re-exports, transit, transshipments and technology and software transfer of “dual-use” items that may constitute a risk to peace and security. Requirements also includes an internal compliance programme, as an internal control measure, required to monitor compliance with export control legislation.
GUERNSEY POLITICIANS MEET TO DISCUSS FUTURE OF ISLAND’S TAX SYSTEM
On 1 October, ITV reported that politicians in Guernsey had spent a busy day debating controversial plans to overhaul the island’s tax system, including a Goods and Services Tax; while the island’s Chamber of Commerce says that would be the “death of retail” in the island and firmly opposes such measures.
‘INDUSTRIAL SCALE’ FRAUDSTER, 22, CAUGHT RETURNING FROM SPAIN HOLIDAY WEARING £80,000 WORTH OF JEWELLERY
On 1 October, My London News reported that a 22-year-old fraudster who scammed his victims out of almost £1 million was caught returning from holiday in Spain wearing £80,000 in jewellery. His method began by finding customers’ details online and through mail theft to build up a picture of them. He ordered new bank cards, PIN and phone SIM cards for his victims, which he intercepted in the post in order to take control of their bank accounts. To help him make high value purchases, he also produced fake passports.
BUSINESSMAN HELD ON $6 MILLION ‘WORLDWIDE’ FRAUD CHARGES AFTER ARREST IN BELFAST ON US EXTRADITION WARRANT
On 1 October, the Belfast Newsletter reported that a County Antrim-based businessman, Thomas Andrew Kenny, 33, is an alleged senior figure in a suspected $6 million dollar ‘boiler room’ fraud operated on a global scale.
US: OLEG TINKOV – FOUNDER OF RUSSIAN BANK PLEADS GUILTY TO TAX FRAUD
A news release from US DoJ on 1 October announced that in 2013 Oleg Tinkov renounced his US citizenship and then lied to the IRS in a ploy to evade ‘exit taxes’ he knew were due. Now the Billionaire Russian bank magnate has pleaded guilty to tax fraud. He has entered a plea to a felony and agreed to pay more than $500 million in taxes, interest and penalties, more than double the amount of money he sought to escape paying to the US Treasury through his fraudulent scheme.
TURKISH NATIONAL PLEADS GUILTY TO CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT HEALTH CARE AND WIRE FRAUD IN “BIRTH TOURISM” SCHEME
A news release from US DoJ on 1 October announced that Ibrahim Aksakal pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit health care and wire fraud in connection with a so-called “birth tourism” scheme. The scheme facilitated pregnant Turkish women fraudulently entering the US using tourist and business visas to give birth so that their children would obtain birthright citizenship and medical benefits.
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