OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – OCTOBER 1

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 Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that the curfew and ban on social activities in Panama City has been repealed.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.

https://www.sipri.org/commentary/topical-backgrounder/2021/missile-technology-control-regime-crossroads

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.

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/business/does-dirty-money-need-banking-secrecy-to-thrive-/46062514

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.

https://www.rusi.org/events/open-to-all/illicit-money-financing-terrorism-twenty-first-century

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.

https://www.ekathimerini.com/news/1168888/north-macedonia-holds-8-for-antiquities-smuggling-illegal-digs/

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.

https://www.newsweek.com/morgan-stanley-took-millions-venezuelan-businessman-accused-money-laundering-1634455

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.

https://www.therecycler.com/posts/raids-lead-to-huge-seizures-in-lima/

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.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-10049481/Star-soccer-agent-Zahavi-charged-fraud-investigation.html

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.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/insecure-id-cards-phased-out-as-travel-document-to-strengthen-uk-borders

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.

https://www.dw.com/en/aung-san-suu-kyi-on-trial-for-corruption-in-myanmar/av-59373472

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. 

https://nltimes.nl/2021/10/01/online-gambling-now-legally-possible-netherlands

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.

https://en.vietnamplus.vn/singapore-to-launch-new-digital-platform-to-fight-illicit-banking-transactions/209021.vnp

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’.

https://rusi.org/explore-our-research/publications/commentary/getting-serious-uk-uae-illicit-finance-partnership-holds-promise

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.

https://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/Afghanistan/trafficking_groups_afghan_opiate_trafficking_routes.pdf

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.

https://insightcrime.org/news/mexico-takes-aim-us-assets-former-top-cop/

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.

https://www.legalfutures.co.uk/latest-news/sra-bans-non-solicitors-for-theft-fabrication-and-forgery

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.

https://www.abc.net.au/austory/the-accomplice/13555466

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.

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/drewry-survey-of-top-shippers-and-carriers-on-the-medium-term-strategic-impact-from-the-container-system-crisis/

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.

https://www.americanbanker.com/news/wafd-bank-pays-2-5-million-anti-money-laundering-fine

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.

https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/court_and_police/112409/sufficient_evidence_for_pilatus_money_laundering_reporting_officer_to_be_indicted#.YVcVru3MKUk

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.

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/faqs/933

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.

https://www.hstoday.us/uscg/u-s-coast-guard-patrols-international-waters-in-an-effort-to-strengthen-maritime-governance-and-foreign-partnerships/

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. 

https://home.kpmg/us/en/home/insights/2021/10/tnf-thailand-control-dual-use-items-weapons-mass-destruction.html

https://home.kpmg/th/en/home/insights/2021/09/th-tax-news-flash-issue-109.html

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.

https://www.itv.com/news/channel/2021-10-01/guernsey-politicians-meet-to-discuss-future-of-islands-tax-system

‘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.

https://www.mylondon.news/news/south-london-news/heathrow-airport-industrial-scale-fraudster-21741531

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.

https://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/crime/businessman-held-on-6m-worldwide-fraud-charges-after-arrest-in-belfast-on-us-extradition-warrant-3404910

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-58768040

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. 

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/founder-russian-bank-pleads-guilty-tax-fraud

https://www.forbes.com/sites/joewalsh/2021/10/01/billionaire-russian-banker-will-pay-feds-500-million-on-tax-fraud-charges

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.

https://www.justice.gov/usao-edny/pr/turkish-national-pleads-guilty-conspiracy-commit-health-care-and-wire-fraud-birth

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FATF: CANADA AML/CFT FOLLOW-UP REPORT

On 1 October, FATF released a follow-up report on Canada, following its original mutual evaluation report (MER) of 2016.  Canada has been in an enhanced follow-up process following the adoption of the MER.  Now, to reflect Canada’s progress, FATF has now re-rated the country on the following Recommendations:

12 – PEPS from non-compliant to largely compliant 

16 – Wire transfers – from partially compliant to largely compliant 

17 – Reliance on third parties – from non-compliant to compliant 

20 – Reporting of suspicious transactions – from partially compliant to largely compliant

22 – DNFPB: CDD – from non-compliant to partially compliant

23 – DNFPB: Other Measures – from non-compliant to largely compliant

This report also looks at whether Canada’s measures meet the requirements of FATF Recommendations 2, 5, 7, 8, 15, 18 and 21, which changed since their 2016 MER.  FATF agreed to downgrade Canada on Recommendation 8 (Non-profit organisations) from compliant to partially compliant, and upgrade the rating for Recommendation 15 (New technologies) from non-compliant to largely compliant.  As a result, Canada is compliant on 11 of the 40 FATF Recommendations and largely compliant on 23. It remains partially compliant on 5 Recommendations and non-compliant on one.  FATF has agreed to move Canada from enhanced follow-up to regular follow-up, and Canada will continue to report back to FATF on its progress.

Bear in mind that such follow-up reports do not reassess effectiveness ratings, only technical compliance.

http://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/reports/fur/Follow-Up-Report-Canada-2021.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

HONG KONG TO BE ADDED TO EU “GREY LIST” FOR TAX PURPOSES

On 30 September, KPMG reported that Hong Kong will be added to the Eu “grey list” of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes on 5 October.  KPMG explained that this means that the EU considers that aspects of Hong Kong’s territorial tax system may facilitate tax avoidance or other tax practices regarded as harmful; but thatit also means that Hong Kong has agreed to make changes to the relevant legislation. The EU has granted the affected jurisdictions until 31 December 2022 to make necessary changes.

https://home.kpmg/us/en/home/insights/2021/09/tnf-hong-kong-added-eu-grey-list-tax-purposes.html

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PANAMA IN WORLD WAR 2: PART 9 – THE CANAL AND THE EXPANSION OF US ACTIVITY PRIOR TO PEARL HARBOR AND JUST AFTER

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 5 – Naval defences 

https://raytodd.blog/2021/09/21/panama-in-world-war-2-part-5/

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/  

$73 MILLION IS MISSING FROM SOUTH SUDAN’S COFFERS: CORRUPTION OR CONSPIRACY?

On 29 September, the National Interest published an article posing this question.  It says that South Sudanese elites have responded to the UN’s accusations of corruption with their own: that the UN is fomenting an “international campaign” to destabilise South Sudan and its government.  The UN has released a report accusing South Sudan’s elite class of stealing tens of millions of dollars from the poor and war-torn country.  It concluded that $73 million had disappeared from public coffers since 2018, with $39 million stolen in the span of 2 months. 

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/73-million-missing-south-sudan%E2%80%99s-coffers-corruption-or-conspiracy-194551

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

EXPLOITATION OF MEAT PLANT WORKERS RIFE ACROSS UK AND EUROPE

On 28 September, the Guardian published an exposé of how thousands of outsourced workers on inferior pay and conditions to fulfil demand for cheap meat.  Meat companies have been hiring thousands of workers through subcontractors, agencies and bogus co-operatives on inferior pay and conditions. 

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/sep/28/revealed-exploitation-of-meat-plant-workers-rife-across-uk-and-europe

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

ARGENTINA: FOOTBALL CLUBS AND FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION HEADQUARTERS RAIDED AS PART OF MONEY LAUNDERING PROBE

On 30 September, the Buenos Aires Times reported that the headquarters of the Argentine Football Association (AFA) and several high-profile local football clubs were raided by police, as part of an investigation into alleged money laundering and tax evasion related to the transfer of footballers to Mexico.

https://batimes.com.ar/news/argentina/football-clubs-afa-headquarters-raided-as-part-money-laundering-probe.phtml

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

OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – SEPTEMBER 30

Panama Covid-19 update – from Monday, 4 October, more areas have their curfews lifted. At the same time, the launch of “Black Week” (and vaccination for visitors) is said to show Panama is targeting visiting consumers – Panama was pre-Covid a big tourist destination for shopping from the rest of Latin America with many malls, for example, including the largest (Albrook) in all of Latin America.

Meanwhile, today has seen 262 new cases added, for the second day running, and with 2 new fatalities. With 3,295 active cases, 54 are in ICU, but numbers in other wards have fallen from 231 to 201.

30 SEPTEMBER 2021

UK: ILLEGALITY DEFENCE FURTHER EVOLVES INTO NATURAL JUSTICE

An article from Gatehouse Chambers on 28 September says that, in the past, as a matter of public policy, a transaction affected by illegality could not be relied upon as enforceable. Then, in 2016, a Supreme Court decision gave a modern formulation, taking a new policy-based approach.  The article then considers a recent case about the rights of tw2o mortgage lenders over 2 properties charged to them as security.  This new case appears to complicate the situation, with the Chambers remarking that while natural justice was the winner in this case, as is often the case at law, this came at the cost of certainty, and it is more likely that cases involving aspects of illegality will be the more likely to be fought to trial.

https://www.mondaq.com/uk/trials-appeals-compensation/1115642/illegality-defence-further-evolves-into-natural-justice-victus-estates-and-others-v-munroe-and-others

SOUTH AFRICA RAISES PROFILE AS COCAINE TRAFFICKING HUB

On 28 September, Dryad Global reported that South Africa is a crucial nexus in the global cocaine trade, with a rapidly expanding domestic market, routes to destinations in Europe and emerging connections to nascent cocaine markets like Australia and Hong Kong.  The drug is, it says, almost exclusively supplied – mostly in shipping containers – by Brazil’s strongest criminal group, the First Capital Command (Primeiro Comando da Capital – PCC), which controls the port of Santos. The PCC has made efforts to arrange drug trafficking deals in the region, including in South Africa’s neighbour of Mozambique.

https://channel16.dryadglobal.com/south-africa-raises-profile-as-cocaine-trafficking-hub

SECURITY WARNING UPDATE FOR SHIPPING IN THE RED SEA, PERSIAN GULF AND WESTERN INDIAN OCEAN

On 30 September, Dryad Global reported that, on 1 September, the US Maritime Administration (MARAD) issued a revised advisory to US-flagged commercial vessels operating in the Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, Gulf of Oman, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, Bab el-Mandeb Strait, Red Sea, and Western Indian Ocean.  It warns of heightened risks and that threats may come from a number of different sources including, but not limited to, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), limpet mines, explosive boats, and pirates – and/or from difficulties with communications or navigation systems.

https://channel16.dryadglobal.com/us-marad-security-warning-updatered-sea-persian-gulf-western-indian-ocean

RUSSIA IS DELAYING APPOINMENTS TO UN PANELS OF EXPERTS ON SANCTIONS

On 30 September, Reuters reported that Russia is delaying the appointment of panels of independent experts to monitor violations of UN sanctions on South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic (CAR).  Until the Security Council agrees to appointments for the new mandate of these panels, the experts cannot start work and their efforts to track sanctions violations are hampered.  Russia is also delaying a replacement appointment of one expert to the panel monitoring sanctions on Somalia.  In some cases, the mandate of the expert panels has already expired.

https://www.reuters.com/world/us/exclusive-flouting-un-sanctions-africa-no-one-un-watching-after-russia-move-2021-09-29/

NICOLAS SARKOZY SENTENCED TO 1 YEAR OF HOUSE ARREST OVER ILLEGAL CAMPAIGN FUNDING

On 30 September, Politico reported that the former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was sentenced for knowingly exceeding spending limits during his failed 2012 presidential campaign.

https://www.politico.eu/article/nicolas-sarkozy-house-arrest-illegal-campaign-funding

SOUTH AFRICA: SMUGGLED EXPLOSIVES ARE THE KEY INGREDIENT FOR ILLEGAL MINING

On 27 September, an article from ENACT Africa said that curbing the trafficking of explosives is essential to combating illegal mining syndicates.  It says that getting hold of explosives for use in mining operations is essential and it is also extremely dangerous. Criminal syndicates controlling illegal mining operations obtain explosives from 2 sources – the black market; and from legal mines and blasting operations. It is pointed out that South Africa consumes around 300 million tons of explosives annually in legal mining operations, road building and construction.  Aside from the threat of corruption and outdated laws, poor controls and tracking of the supply chain of commercial explosives presents a significant challenge to law enforcement. For instance, explosives cartridges and detonators aren’t individually marked, making it easier to conceal in the supply chain before reaching the end-user.

https://enactafrica.org/enact-observer/smuggled-explosives-are-the-key-ingredient-for-illegal-mining

BUSINESS AND HUMAN RIGHTS: SWISS COMPANIES FACE NEW DUE DILIGENCE OBLIGATIONS

On 29 September, LALIVE published an article saying that, on 29 November 2020, the Swiss people accepted the Responsible Business Initiative (RBI) in a referendum by 50.7%, but it was rejected by a majority of cantons, thus failing the double majority threshold required for an initiative to become law. However, a counterproposal, which imposes new reporting and due diligence obligations for companies, was put forward and, as no referendum was held against it, it will now become law.  It could enter into force by the end of the year and companies will most likely be required to comply with its provisions as from January 2023.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/documents.lexology.com/905e58bf-9be1-426c-a952-a92382f10e8b.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAVYILUYJ754JTDY6T&Expires=1633004315&Signature=H7xUwHFysnuCPg1wsQ0bPgnShzk%3D

US: FINE FOR TEXAS ELECTRONICS COMPANY OVER AEROSPACE SHIPMENTS TO RUSSIA

On 29 September, the Austin Business Journal reported that Vorago Technologies Inc will pay the US government up to $497,000 after admitting to shipping memory chips to Russia without the required licence.  It has also entered into a non-prosecution agreement with the DoJ over the export violations.  The company, which makes semiconductors for use in space, oil exploration and production and other harsh environments has agreed to the payment as part of an settlement with the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security.  It is said that, using a Bulgarian front company, it sent “radiation-hardened silicon (SRAM) wafers” to Russia from 2014 to 2019.  The current CEO blamed a prior chief executive.

https://www.bizjournals.com/austin/news/2021/09/29/vorago-russia-settlement.html

UK: EORI NOW A REQUIREMENT FOR EXPORT LICENCE APPLICATIONS

On 29 September, the Institute for Export and International Trade reported that the UK Government has announced that traders must now include their Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number when applying for an export licence.

https://www.export.org.uk/news/581747/EORIs-now-a-requirement-for-export-licence-applications-government-announces.htm

NORWAY CHARGES PROFESSOR WITH VIOLATING SANCTIONS ON IRAN

On 30 September, Asharq al Aswat reported that an unnamed German-Iranian professor at a Norwegian technical university had been charged with violating sanctions on Iran by inviting 4 guest researchers from the Islamic Republic and giving them access to a laboratory in 2018-19.  A Norwegian prosecutor said the visiting researchers had access to knowledge that could be useful to Iran’s nuclear programme.

https://english.aawsat.com/home/article/3217906/norway-charges-professor-violating-sanctions-iran

MONEYVAL HOLDS THE ANNUAL TYPOLOGIES MEETING

On 28 September, the Council of Europe reported that more than 60 delegates representing 28 MONEYVAL members and 5 observers attended the annual MONEYVAL Typologies meeting which took place virtually on the 28 September.  It is said that MONEYVAL is finalising a typologies report on the issue of Covid-related risks, which provides an overview of the measures that supervisors took to continue their AML/CFT monitoring under the restrictions generated by the pandemic.

https://www.coe.int/en/web/moneyval/-/moneyval-holds-the-annual-typologies-meeting

UK: GUIDANCE ON THE USE OF THE POWERS IN THE PROCEEDS OF CRIME ACT 2002

On 30 September, the Home Office issued updated guidance under section 2A of the Act for the NCA, SFO, FCA, HMRC, the CPS and the Public Prosecution Service in Northern Ireland. 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-proceeds-of-crime-act-section-2a/the-proceeds-of-crime-act-section-2a-accessible-version

TURKEY HAS PUT INTO FORCE AN AGREEMENT WITH MALTA TO COOPERATE ON INVESTIGATING FINANCIAL CRIMES

On 30 September, the Anadolu Agency reported that Turkey’s Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK) and Malta’s FIAU will cooperate in the “exchange of financial intelligence related to money laundering, associated predicate offenses, and terrorism financing” under an MoU.  Under the agreement, the 2 financial investigation bodies will freely share with each other the most information possible that they have available, either spontaneously or upon request.

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/turkey-malta-to-cooperate-against-financial-crime/2378756

UK: UPDATED GUIDANCE IN RELATION TO HONOURS FORFEITURE THAT APPLIES TO DECEASED RECIPIENTS ACCUSED OF CRIMINAL ACTS

On 30 September, the Cabinet Office issued a news release saying that new guidance had been issued about honours forfeiture that applies to deceased recipients accused of criminal acts. It is noted that Orders of Chivalry are living orders and individuals cease to be a member when they die. They therefore cannot be removed posthumously.  A new policy allows for a formal statement to be published in instances where forfeiture proceedings would have been initiated had the deceased recipient been living and convicted in a court of law.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/having-honours-taken-away-forfeiture

NCA AND EUROPOL SIGN UP TO A NEW WORKING ARRANGEMENT

On 29 September, a news release from the NCA advised that the NCA Director and the EUROPOL Executive Director have signed a working arrangement between the NCA and Europol which will sit under the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement.  The Working and Administrative Arrangement, complements and implements the TCA by providing further clarity on how cooperation should be undertaken at operational level.

https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/nca-and-europol-sign-up-to-a-new-working-arrangement

EUROPE: 9 TAKEN INTO CUSTODY OVER ATM ATTACK TUTORIALS AND STRING OF EXPLOSIVE ATTACKS

On 30 September, a news release from Europol advised that a joint investigation team (JIT) between the Dutch and German authorities has taken down an organised crime group specialised in explosive attacks against ATM.  A total of 9 suspects have been taken into custody as a result of this 18-month investigation coordinated by Europol and Eurojust.  The criminals were producing step-by-step tutorials on how to blow up cash machines, and have been linked to at least 15 ATM attacks in Germany. It is said that explosive attacks against ATMs are a growing concern.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/9-taken-custody-over-atm-attack-tutorials-and-string-of-explosive-attacks

MEXICO’S GEODUCK CLAMS LATEST CASUALTY OF ASIAN DEMAND

On 29 September, Insight Crime reported that Mexican geoduck clam populations are suffering as legal harvests are threatened by rampant poaching, which has driven the species onto the endangered species list; with the legal sector being pushed out by poachers who operate with little fear of repercussion.  Mexican fishing authorities assert that the clam’s status as a luxury seafood dish in Asian markets is fuelling a perhaps irreversible decline.

https://insightcrime.org/news/mexico-geoduck-clams-latest-casualty-of-asian-demand/

UK: HIGH COURT HOLDS CLIENTS IN CONTEMPT FOR FAILING TO PAY SOLICITORS £2.3 MILLION FEES

On 30 September, Legal Futures reported that 2 clients who owe their solicitors £2.3 million in outstanding fees, costs and interest have been found guilty of 14 charges of contempt of court.  The solicitors acted for an Omani husband and wife between 2006 and 2009 – including litigation relating to the husband being placed in the OFAC sanctions list, due to his involvement with the Zimbabwean regime.

https://www.legalfutures.co.uk/latest-news/high-court-holds-clients-in-contempt-for-failing-to-pay-solicitors-2-3m

EU: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN CRIMINAL LAW

On 30 September, a briefing from the EU Parliament Research Service says that the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in a broad range of areas is the subject of wide debate at EU level.  Establishing an EU approach to AI is one of the European Commission’s digital priorities, as illustrated by the proposal on an artificial intelligence Act.  Despite the great opportunities they offer, AI applications can also entail significant risks to people’s fundamental rights.  At the October plenary session, the European Parliament is due to debate an own-initiative report on the use of AI by the police and judicial authorities in criminal matters.

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/ATAG/2021/698039/EPRS_ATA(2021)698039_EN.pdf

REFORMING EU POLICY ON HARMFUL TAX PRACTICES

On 30 September, a briefing from the EU Parliament Research Service says that EU policy reform on harmful tax practices (HTP) has been pushed up the agenda for several reasons: the significant loss of revenue due to tax evasion and tax avoidance while Member States are addressing the huge economic impacts of the pandemic, public and parliamentary pressure, and several high-profile revelations of questionable tax-related practices.  An own-initiative procedure was launched in Autumn 2020 by the Subcommittee on Tax Matters (FISC), and a vote on the report of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON) is expected in the October plenary session of the EU Parliament.

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/ATAG/2021/698040/EPRS_ATA(2021)698040_EN.pdf

THE RISE OF ONE-TIME PASSWORD INTERCEPTION BOTS

On 29 September, the Krebs on Security blog carried a post saying that new research reveals a number of competitors have since launched bot-based services that make it relatively easy for crooks to phish OTP from targets.  Many websites now require users to supply both a password and a numeric code/OTP token sent via text message or email.

https://krebsonsecurity.com/2021/09/the-rise-of-one-time-password-interception-bots/

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC NARCOS LAUNDER MONEY THROUGH GAS STATIONS

On 29 September, Dominican Today reported that a prosecution has revealed that among the illicit operations carried out by the members of an alleged network dismantled by the authorities included money laundering through gas stations. 

https://dominicantoday.com/dr/local/2021/09/29/falcon-dominican-republic-narcos-laundered-money-through-gas-stations/

UP TO 10 SUSPICIOUS BOXING MATCHES AT 2016 OLYMPICS

On 29 September, the Guardian reported that a major investigation into boxing at the 2016 Games has identified 7 to 10 suspicious matches where bout manipulation is likely to have taken place.  A press conference in Lausanne is said to be set to reveal details of the first stage of an investigation into amateur boxing.

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/sep/29/up-to-10-suspicious-matches-at-2016-olympics-boxing-investigation-finds

LIBERIAN REGISTRY BECOMES WORLD’S LARGEST FLAG FOR TANKERS

On 30 September, Seatrade Maritime News reported that, with the recent addition of 2.7 million gross tonnage of new tankers, the Liberian tanker fleet now stands at 57.4 million gross tonnage, making Liberia the world’s leading tanker flag in terms of gross tonnage. 

https://www.seatrade-maritime.com/tankers/liberian-registry-becomes-worlds-largest-flag-tankers

BOLIVIA REQUESTS ARREST OF AÑEZ REGIME’S ECONOMY MINISTER

On 30 September, TeleSUR reported that Bolivia’s Special Anti-Crime Force (FELCC) has requested the arrest of former Economy Minister Jose Luis Parada for the irregular contracting of a $346 million loan with the IMF during the coup-born regime led by Jeanine Añez (2019-2020).  This case is also said to implicate the former “Interim” president Añez and Guillermo Aponte, the former president of the Bolivian Central Bank (BCB).  Previously, Carlos Schlink, the former Vice Minister of Finance, was detained.

https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Bolivia-Requests-Arrest-of-Anez-Regimes-Economy-Minister-20210930-0004.html

BOLIVIA: GOLD DISPLACES GAS AS MAIN EXPORT TO DATE IN 2021

On 29 September, TeleSUR reported that gold production, increasing rapidly, along with natural gas, accounted for 45% of the country’s exports in the January-August 2021 period.  Bolivian metallic gold is exported mainly to India, UAE, Turkey, the US, Hong Kong, and Canada.  Sales of natural gas, to Brazil and Argentina, totals 21%.

https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Bolivia-Gold-Displaces-Gas-as-Main-Export-Thus-Far-in-2021-20210929-0019.html

MANAGING TRANSFER PRICING AND CUSTOMS RISKS OF CROSS-BORDER TRANSACTIONS

On 29 September, a report from KPMG in Switzerland says that compliance from both transfer pricing and customs perspectives remains challenging – prices of goods in cross-border transactions are of interest to both transfer pricing and customs authorities, but their respective approaches differ, and this could require close cooperation within multinational entities when setting and documenting prices and communicating with various authorities.  It says that compliance requires close cooperation between teams responsible for all taxes, including customs.

https://home.kpmg/ch/en/blogs/home/posts/2021/09/where-transfer-pricing-meets-customs-valuation.html

OFAC: 4 MORE PANAMANIAN ENTITIES REMOVED FROM SDN LIST

On 30 September, OFAC advised that 4 entities based in Panama had been removed from the SDN List, where they had been placed for reasons said to be connected to drugs trafficking.  The entities include WAKED INTERNACIONAL PANAMA SA.  The companies were removed from the OFAC list because they no longer exist, the US Embassy in Panama has said, the companies having been dissolved.  The 4 companies were part of a group of 68 companies designated in May 2016 for being linked to an alleged network led by Abdul and Nidal Waked, and 7 other people were also included in the list, all relatives or lawyers of the alleged ringleaders.

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20210930_33

https://www.prensa.com/judiciales/estados-unidos-elimina-las-sanciones-a-cuatro-sociedades-otrora-ligadas-a-abdul-waked/

COMPLIANCE OBLIGATIONS FOR CONTRACTORS SELLING TO THE US GOVERNMENT

A blog post on 30 September from Bass Berry & Sims links to an article for Risk Management on 27 September which outlined the ever-growing list of compliance obligations for businesses that sell goods and services to the US federal government.  It is said that new regulatory requirements include such as obligations relating to cybersecurity and counterfeit parts; and others, such as the mandatory disclosure requirement, continue the trend of the government relying on third parties, whether it be whistleblowers or contractors themselves, to police the procurement system.  The article highlighted key areas of evolving provisions to address beyond the overarching ethics and compliance programme.

http://www.rmmagazine.com/articles/article/2021/09/27/ethics-and-compliance-in-government-contracts

https://www.bassberrygovcontrade.com/compliance-obligations-for-government-contractors

2 MORE MEXICAN NATIONALS ARE SENTENCED AFTER PLEADING GUILTY TO INTERNATIONAL TIMESHARE TELEMARKETING SCAM

A news release from the US DoJ on 30 September advised that the 2 had pleaded guilty pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.  From at least January 2016, they conspired together and with others to commit wire fraud in connection with a telemarketing scheme that targeted and victimised persons in the US, Canada and South America. As part of the elaborate scheme, the conspirators made unsolicited phone calls to owners of resort timeshare properties to induce them into paying fees associated with the bogus sale of their property.  They misrepresented the existence of a buyer for their timeshare and solicited money from the victims to facilitate the sale.  The defendants in the case were all based in Mexico.

https://www.justice.gov/usao-edla/pr/two-more-mexican-nationals-are-sentenced-after-pleading-guilty-international-timeshare

US: NIGERIAN NATIONAL CHARGED WITH MONEY LAUNDERING FOR PONZI INVESTMENT FRAUD CONSPIRACIES

A news release from US DoJ on 30 September announced that Tochukwu Abel Edeh, 31, a Nigerian national previously residing in Jacksonville, Florida, had been indicted on one count of money laundering conspiracy and one count of conspiracy to conduct an unlicensed money transmitting business. He is said to have managed used car dealerships and currency transfer services in Texas, Florida and Nigeria.  This included a trading company as well as a cryptocurrency and e-commerce firm, both of which were based in Nigeria, through which Edeh exchanged Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for profit.  It is alleged that Edeh conspired with others to launder and transmit proceeds of Ponzi-style investment fraud schemes based in Nigeria. 

https://www.justice.gov/usao-ma/pr/nigerian-national-charged-money-laundering-investment-fraud-conspiracies

MAJOR AML AMENDMENTS TAKE EFFECT IN HONG KONG

On 30 September, STEP reported that Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has issued amended AML guidelines addressing areas identified in the FATF September 2019 mutual evaluation report.  The SFC held a consultation on its plans in September 2020 and the resulting draft proposals were published on 15 September this year, and the legislation comes into effect from 30 September.

https://www.step.org/industry-news/major-aml-amendments-take-effect-hong-kong

PROPOSAL TO COUNTER IUU FISHING WITH MARITIME ENFORCEMENT GROUPS

An article from US Naval Institute says that there is an emerging crisis in the Pacific, fuelled by the war on fish. Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, and the worst effects are on vulnerable coastal states without sufficient resources to police their territorial waters. To counter this threat, the article proposes that the US should expand US Coast Guard presence and foster a cooperative maritime strategy with nation-states less able to defend themselves or their resources.  It must leverage the unique capabilities of the Coast Guard and provide a deliverable force package to combatant commanders around the world. Agile Maritime Enforcement Groups (MEG) are needed to deploy across the globe.  A national security cutter (NSC) – a type of ship used by the USCG – would be the nucleus of the MEG, and would operate with 2 Sentinel-class fast response cutters which could be refuelled and resupplied as required at sea by the NSC.   

https://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/2021/september/counter-iuu-maritime-enforcement-groups-0?mc_cid=c817eadbde&mc_eid=366bc8b40d

OFAC SANCTIONS CONSIDERATIONS FOR THE CRYPTO SECTOR (PART 3)

On 30 September, a blog post on the Compliance and Enforcement blog from the Program on Corporate Compliance and Enforcement at the New York University School of Law if the third part of a 3-part series.  Part I provided an overview of sanctions compliance issues for the cryptocurrency industry, and Part 2 discussed blocked coins, blocked persons, and sanctioned regions. Part 3 deals with other restricted transactions, blocking and rejecting transactions and the associated compliance considerations. 

https://wp.nyu.edu/compliance_enforcement/2021/09/30/ofac-sanctions-considerations-for-the-crypto-sector-part-iii-of-iii/

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