OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – OCTOBER 4

Panama Covid-19 update – it seems that 43% of schools are still engaged in distance learning, and that the subsidy for users of electricity (one of various initiatives to help out hard-pressed citizens) has been extended for a further 3 months to the end of the year, so that (like us) you see a further discount on your utility bill.

Today has seen 121 new cases reported and 6 new fatalities, with 3,032 active cases – 46 in ICU and 194 in other wards.

4 october 2021

HONG KONG SFC UNVEILS CONSULTATION CONCLUSIONS ON AML/CFT GUIDELINE FOR LICENSED CORPORATIONS

On 4 October, an article from Mayer Brown says that the SFC has published its conclusions following last year’s consultation on proposed amendments to the Guideline on Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Financing of Terrorism.  The revised AML/CFT Guideline came into effect on 30 September, except for the new requirements of cross-border correspondent relationships, which will come into effect from 30 March 2022 after a 6-month transition period.  The article provides a high-level overview of proposed amendments to the AML/CFT Guideline and highlights key takeaways from the Consultation Conclusions.

https://www.mondaq.com/hongkong/money-laundering/1117452/hong-kong-sfc-unveils-consultation-conclusions-on-amlcft-guideline-for-licensed-corporations

NEW EU AML PACKAGE: AN IN-DEPTH LOOK AT PROPOSED CHANGES TO CDD MEASURES

On 1 October, Herbert Smith Freehills published a briefing which considers the proposed changes to customer due diligence (CDD) measures, as set out in the EU’s recent AML package, published in July.  A proposed EU Regulation sets out a more detailed and granular set of requirements which EU-regulated entities will need to follow when undertaking CDD measures, and the briefing focuses on the key clarifications and amendments to those requirements, in particular those relating to identifying the customer’s beneficial owner, and determining the nature and extent of CDD measures.  The Regulation and a 6th Money Laundering Directive, if enacted in their current form, are intended to bring about a more consistent, harmonised approach to CDD measures across the EU.

https://sites-herbertsmithfreehills.vuturevx.com/38/26928/landing-pages/cci-briefing-on-cdd—final-ver.pdf

SWISS POLICE RAID CREDIT SUISSE AS PART OF GREENSILL INVESTIGATION

On 3 October, the Wall Street Journal reported that Swiss police had raided Credit Suisse Group AG offices as part of an investigation into collapsed finance firm Greensill Capital.  Credit Suisse had run the $10 billion in investment funds that financed Greensill’s supply-chain finance lending programmes, and has recovered some $7 billion so far, following the collapse of the firm.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/swiss-police-raid-credit-suisse-as-part-of-greensill-investigation-11633287785

UAE CENTRAL BANK IMPOSES HEFTY PENALTIES ON 6 EXCHANGE HOUSES

On 4 October, Gulf News reported that the Central Bank of the UAE has imposed sanctions on 6 exchange houses for violating AML rules. 

https://gulfnews.com/business/banking/uae-central-bank-imposes-hefty-sanctions-on-six-exchange-houses-1.1633337535040

BELGIUM SENDS 2 SMUGGLED ARTEFACTS BACK TO EGYPT

On 4 October, Cairo Scene reported that Belgium had helped recover 2 smuggled artefacts for Egypt, including an Old Kingdom limestone statue and a faience ‘ushabti’ – or funeral figurine – from the Late Period.

https://cairoscene.com/Buzz/Belgium-Sends-Two-Smuggled-Artefacts-Back-to-Egypt

HOW THE US GOT THE UPPER HAND IN THE OECD TAX REFORM PROPOSALS

On 4 October, an article in EurActiv says that one of the more intriguing aspects of the negotiations on the OECD proposals to reform international corporate tax rules, which come up for decision this month, is the role played by the Biden administration.  The author is a former minister of state for European affairs in Ireland. 

https://www.euractiv.com/section/global-europe/opinion/how-the-us-got-the-upper-hand-in-the-oecd-tax-reform-proposals/

RANSOMWARE GANG ARRESTED IN UKRAINE WITH EUROPOL’S SUPPORT

On 4 October, a news release from Europol advised that a coordinated strike between the French National Gendarmerie, the Ukrainian National and the FBI, with the coordination of Europol and INTERPOL, has led to the arrest in Ukraine of 2 prolific ransomware operators known for their extortionate ransom demands (between €5 to €70 million).

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/ransomware-gang-arrested-in-ukraine-europol%E2%80%99s-support

UK: UNEXPLAINED WEALTH ORDERS

On 1 October, the House of Commons Library published a briefing paper about UWO, saying that they have been available from January 2018, but the use of UWO has been limited so far, having only been obtained in 4 cases as of June 2021. There have been high-profile successes and failures.

https://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-9098/CBP-9098.pdf

FINANCIAL FRAUDS IN BELGIUM JUMPED BY 60% IN FIRST HALF OF 2021

On 4 October, Finance Magnates reported that 40% of total complaints were with fraudulent online trading platforms, while 20% and 10%t were related to other investment fraud and credit card fraud, respectively.

https://www.financemagnates.com/forex/financial-frauds-in-belgium-jumped-by-60-in-h1-2021

PETROFAC FINED £77 MILLION FOR STRING OF MIDDLE EASTERN BRIBERY CHARGES

On 4 October, City AM reported that Petrofac has been fined £77 million for 7 separate charges of failing to prevent bribery in the Middle East, to which the London-listed oil services provider plead guilty last month.  Relating to activities between 2012 and 2015, the fine is comprised of a £22.8 million confiscation, another £47.2 million fine and the SFO costs of £7 million.

https://www.cityam.com/petrofac-fined-77m-for-string-of-middle-eastern-bribery-charges

UNDERSTANDING ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE IN THE US

On 1 October, an article from Ward & Smith PA says that attorney-client privilege has been recognised as a foundational legal principle for centuries.  However, it emphasises that not all information that a client shares with his attorney is confidential; information does not become privileged merely because a client gives it to his attorney.  To be clear, it says, the privilege applies only to confidential communications, meaning communications that the client did not intend to be disclosed to third parties unless the disclosure furthers the attorney’s provision of legal services.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/understanding-attorney-client-privilege-7137944/

US: FCC PROPOSAL TARGETS SIM-SWAPPING, PORT-OUT FRAUD

On 1 October, a post on the Krebs on Security blog advised that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is asking for feedback on new proposed rules to crack down on SIM swapping and number port-out fraud, increasingly prevalent scams in which identity thieves hijack a target’s mobile phone number and use that to wrest control over the victim’s online identity.  The FCC said it plans to move quickly on requiring the mobile companies to adopt more secure methods of authenticating customers before redirecting their phone number to a new device or carrier.

https://krebsonsecurity.com/2021/10/fcc-proposal-targets-sim-swapping-port-out-fraud/

SHIPPING FUEL CHEATS SENTENCED TO JAIL TIME IN SINGAPORE

On 1 October, Insurance Marine News reported that 9 people have been sent to jail in Singapore for cheating buyers out of $337,000 worth of shipping fuel.  The group had been found guilty of using industrial strength magnets to tamper with Mass Flow Meters (MFM) on board bunker tankers owned by a unit of marine fuel services provider Southernpec (Singapore) Pte Ltd.

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/shipping-fuel-cheats-sentenced-to-jail-time-in-singapore/

NORWEGIAN STATE PENSION FUND EXCLUDES 4 MAJOR TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE FIRMS L FOR POSING AN “UNACCEPTABLE RISK” OF CONTRIBUTING TO SEVERE ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE

On 1 October, the Environmental Investigation Agency reported that Norges Bank has excluded four major traditional Chinese medicine firms from the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global for posing an “unacceptable risk” of contributing to severe environmental damage.  These companies manufacture medicines that include threatened species in their ingredients, including leopard bone, pangolin scales, saiga antelope horns and musk deer pods.

https://eia-international.org/news/big-pharma-in-china-excluded-from-norways-state-pension-fund-over-wildlife-trade-risks/

CUSTOMS OFFICIALS IN PHILADELPHIA SEIZE $6.5 MILLION IN FAKE MONEY FROM RUSSIA

On 1 October, Yahoo News reported that the money was labelled as “Play Money for Monopoly”.  It is claimed that about $220 million in counterfeit bills are in circulation and often used to fund criminal activity. 

https://news.yahoo.com/customs-officials-philadelphia-seize-6-151717378.html

ALEX SAAB – ALLEGED MONEYMAN FOR VENEZUELA NEARS EXTRADITION TO US

On 17 September, Forbes carried an article about Saab, awaiting extradition from Cape Verde, is said to have risen to become a key cog in Venezuela’s national money machine, an ally of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and someone who had, over the last decade, worked as a key fixer on the country’s housing and food programs, juggling contacts, companies and bank accounts around the world.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/daviddawkins/2021/10/01/money-man-for-venezuelaaccused-of-looting-billionsnears-extradition-to-the-us/?sh=528ad7f46a5f

GUINEA: THE CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES OF WEST AFRICA’S LATEST COUP

On 8 September, an article from the Center for Strategic and International Studies says that the military’s overthrow of President Alpha Condé — an outcome of autocratic overreach, economic mismanagement, and eroding democratic norms — points to the failure of regional bodies and international partners to anticipate and respond to an evolving coup playbook. The article sets out to answer several questions, including what are the coup’s implications, and what steps should be taken to arrest a democratic backsliding?

https://www.csis.org/analysis/guinea-causes-and-consequences-west-africas-latest-coup

US ARMS EXPORTS UNDER CONGRESSIONAL NOTIFICATION THRESHOLDS

An article from the Forum on the Arms Trade says that, under US law, Congress must be notified of certain potential arms exports when their value reaches a minimum threshold.  There are, however, arms exports that fail to meet that threshold, and it is very difficult to assess the number and amount of such “under threshold” transfers. 

https://www.forumarmstrade.org/underthreshold.html

https://mailchi.mp/ciponline/s4355mg9zh-974060?e=05da5006d5

EU AND US INTEND TO ENHANCE THEIR COOPERATION WITH REGARDS TO EXPORT CONTROLS

On 4 October, the EU Sanctions blog reported that the EU-US Trade and Technology Council (TTC) met for the first time on 29 September.  It also says that an Export Controls Working Group is tasked with outreach for stakeholders and identifying topics to address in technical consultations.

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/STATEMENT_21_4951

https://www.visualcapitalist.com/mapped-where-are-the-worlds-ongoing-conflicts-today

NIGERIA: CUSTOMS BUST ANOTHER PANGOLIN SCALES RACKET AND SAYS INTERNATIONAL CARTEL RESPONSIBLE

On 4 October, Blueprint reported that, for the second time in 2 months, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) said a crack team has intercepted another massive cache of Pangolin scales in Lagos State.

https://www.blueprint.ng/customs-burst-another-n1-7bn-pangolin-scales-racket-says-intl-cartel-responsible

ARMENIAN GENERAL ARRESTED IN CORRUPTION PROBE

On 4 October, Azatutyun reported that Lieutenant-General Stepan Galstian, a deputy chief of the Armenian army’s General Staff, has been charged with fraud and abuse of power and remanded in pre-trial custody.  Another Armenian general was arrested earlier in September.

https://www.azatutyun.am/a/31492556.html

MUSEUM OF THE BIBLE AND THE GILGAMESH DREAM TABLET FROM IRAQ

On 4 October, an article from Slate looks at what the Museum of the Bible has been caught doing in the past few years.  The museum was founded in 2010 by Steve Green, the president of the crafting superstore empire Hobby Lobby.  It acquired the 3,500-year-old cuneiform tablet, being one of many similar antiquities smuggled out of Iraq in the chaos of conflicts in the 1990s. It had ended up at the auction house Christie’s, complete with a letter that proved it had been out of Iraq by 1981 – a forgery, and the company paid the auction house $1,674,000 for the tablet in 2014.  The museum returned another stolen manuscript to the University of Athens in 2018, after a Greek researcher had spotted it.  The article also claims that the museum had “dabbled” in fakes as well. 

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2021/10/museum-of-the-bible-looted-art-track-record.html

US NAVY OFFICER TURNS WITNESS IN BRIBERY CASE THAT ECHOES ‘FAT LEONARD’ SCANDAL

On 4 October, Military.com reported that an officer has become a cooperating witness in a case of alleged bribery involving a contractor and port services in Bahrain resembling the years-long “Fat Leonard” scandal in the Far East.  Military investigators allege that Frank Rafaraci, the chief executive of Multinational Logistics Services (MLS), defrauded the Navy out of at least $50 million by inflating invoices for ship services between 2011 and 2018.  He was arrested in Malta (although a judge there released him).

https://www.military.com/daily-news/2021/10/04/navy-officer-turns-witness-bribery-case-echoes-fat-leonard-scandal.html

EU AND US INTEND TO ENHANCE THEIR COOPERATION WITH REGARDS TO EXPORT CONTROLS

On 4 October, the EU Sanctions blog said that the EU-US Trade and Technology Council (TTC) met for the first time on 29 September, and that an Export Controls Working Group is tasked with outreach for stakeholders and identifying topics to address in technical consultations.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2021/10/eu-us-trade-and-technology-council-export-control-cooperation/

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/STATEMENT_21_4951

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

PANDORA PAPERS

Here is a selection of some of the reactions to yesterday’s announcement.

PANAMA’S REACTION

https://www.prensa.com/

PANAMA: 3 FORMER PRESIDENTS NAMED IN “PANDORA PAPERS” PROBE

On 3 October, Newsroom Panama reported that Ernesto Pérez Balladares (1994-1999), Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014) and Juan Carlos Varela (2014-2019) were among the names highlighted by the leak.  The Panama government is said to fear that the disclosure of documents linked to alleged secret accounts linked to local firms will further affect the reputation of the country.

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/three-former-presidents-named-in-pandora-papers-probe

LEAKED DOCUMENTS EXPOSE LIE AT HEART OF CONVICTED COSMETICS FRAUDSTER’S COURT DEFENCE

On 4 October, OCCRP reported that a Slovenian businessman, Marko Glinšek, was convicted last year of deceiving customers.  Slovenia’s national tax office said he had also dodged at least €368,000 in taxes by faking invoices.  He fought back in court by arguing that his Slovenian company was merely a distributor of the cosmetics, and that he shouldn’t have been liable for sales taxes — or responsible for the standard of the products.  He also claimed that a UK subsidiary invoiced customers on behalf of this same Seychelles company, which received all profits.  Now the Pandora Papers leak reveal that Glinšek himself started the company in the Seychelles, and had full control of the company.  He is also reportedly suspected by both Slovenian and Bosnian authorities of leading an international money laundering network that stretches across at least 4 EU countries and Bosnia.

https://www.occrp.org/en/the-pandora-papers/leaked-documents-expose-lie-at-heart-of-convicted-cosmetics-fraudsters-court-defense

BUSINESSMAN LINKED TO TORY DONATIONS MADE MILLIONS FROM ALLEGED FRAUD

On 4 October, the BBC reported that a businessman whose companies have backed 34 Tory MPs made millions from an allegedly corrupt Russian pipeline deal.  Former oil executive Victor Fedotov owns a company currently seeking UK government approval for a controversial energy link between the UK and France.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-58791274

UK: A MAJOR CONSERVATIVE PARTY DONOR IS AMONG DOZENS OF THE WORLD’S RICHEST AND MOST POWERFUL PEOPLE TO HAVE AMASSED MILLIONS IN SECRET OFFSHORE ASSETS

On 4 October, i News reported that Mohamed Amersi, who funded Boris Johnson’s leadership campaign, was allegedly involved in one of Europe’s biggest corruption scandals after a controversial £162 million payment to a secretive offshore company in 2010.  Amersi, 61, a corporate lawyer who has donated nearly £525,000 to the Tories since 2018, advised a Swedish telecoms company on a complex transaction that was later fined in the US, after it was accepted as a “corrupt payment”.

https://inews.co.uk/news/world/pandora-papers-leak-list-names-secret-property-financial-secrets-exposed-1230467

LEBANON PM MIKATI AMONG OFFICIALS NAMED IN PANDORA PAPERS

On 4 October, Al Jazeera reported that Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh are among several Lebanese political and financial officials named.  Mikati, the recently reappointed billionaire prime minister of Lebanon, owns a Panama-based offshore company he used to buy property in Monaco worth $10 million, and his son Maher owns at least 2 companies in the BVI.  Other Lebanese officials listed as wholly or partially owning offshore companies include Mikati’s predecessor Hassan Diab, businessman and former MP Neemat Frem, and Deputy Group Chief Executive Officer of Bank Audi Ibrahim Debs.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/10/4/lebanese-prime-minister-among-officials-listed-in-pandora-papers

PRESTIGIOUS PANAMA LAW FIRM HEAVILY IMPLICATED IN ‘PANDORA PAPERS’ REVELATIONS

On 4 October, Fin24 and others reported that Aleman, Cordero, Galindo & Lee (Alcogal), was involved in creating shell companies to move money for Jordanian King Abdullah II, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, Montenegro President Milo Djukanovic and 3 former presidents from Panama.

https://www.news24.com/fin24/economy/prestigious-panama-law-firm-heavily-implicated-in-pandora-papers-revelations-20211004

https://www.icij.org/investigations/pandora-papers/alcogal-panama-latin-america-politicians/

HOW AN ASIAN SPECIALIST FIRM HELPED ZIMBABWEAN BUSINESSMAN AND ZANU-PF ALLY BILLY RAUTENBACH AND HIS FAMILY CREATE A COMPLEX OFFSHORE TRUST FUND WHILE HE WAS STILL UNDER US SANCTIONS

On 3 October, Fin24 reported that the process was pursued under the banner of a marriage settlement and now places the ultimate ownership of the funds in the Cook Islands.  The article says that in 2013, Muller Conrad “Billy” Rautenbach, donated multimillion-dollar financial investments in his coal and ethanol businesses to his wife – Jenny Lynn Rautenbach, who also uses her maiden name Noon.  However, it is said that Rautenbach, who was under US sanctions at the time, was still in control.  The US called him one of Mugabe’s “cronies” and accused him of providing “support to senior regime officials during Zimbabwe’s intervention in the Democratic Republic of the Congo”.

https://www.news24.com/fin24/economy/pandora-papers-inside-zimbabwean-tycoon-billy-rautenbachs-offshore-family-trust-20211004

FINNISH CRIMINALS IDENTIFIED IN PANDORA PAPERS DATA LEAK

On 4 October, YLE reported that more than 200 Finnish citizens were named in the data leak, 20 of whom have criminal convictions.

https://yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/news/finnish_criminals_identified_in_pandora_papers_data_leak/12127181

PANDORA PAPERS REVEAL ARTWORLD MONEY LAUNDERING

On 4 October, Artlyst reported that the leaks highlight wealthy corporations and individuals using shell companies and trusts to hide assets ranging from art and antiquities to yachts and property portfolios.  It mentions an accused US antiquities dealer, linked to looted Cambodian artefacts and how his family set up trusts in tax havens shortly after US investigators linked him to stolen Cambodian artefacts. 

https://www.artlyst.com/news/pandora-papers-reveal-artworld-money-laundering-connections-windrush-sculpture-unveiled-las-academy-museum-opens/

A MEGA-WEALTHY MAN FROM HAITI — AND HIS MIAMI PALACE

On 4 October, the Miami Herald reported on Gilbert Bigio, 86, described as a well-known power broker in Haiti.  With his 48-year-old son Reuven, he controls the GB Group, which he founded in 1972. The conglomerate’s reach extends to the entire Haitian economy, from providing construction supplies and fuel to offering household necessities like cooking oil and food. He has branched out as well into the Dominican side of Hispaniola.

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/haiti/article254361683.html

AZERBAIJAN’S RULING ALIYEV FAMILY AND THEIR ASSOCIATES ACQUIRED DOZENS OF PRIME LONDON PROPERTIES WORTH NEARLY $700 MILLION

On 3 October, OCCRP published an article about a vast network of offshore companies, administered by service provider Trident Trust and fronted by a small group of trusted cronies, helped the Aliyevs secretly own vast real estate holdings in London, aided by family trusts established in the Isle of Man.

https://www.occrp.org/en/the-pandora-papers/azerbaijans-ruling-aliyev-family-and-their-associates-acquired-dozens-of-prime-london-properties-worth-nearly-700-million

2 ROMANIAN POLITICIANS AND 100 NATIONALS APPEAR IN PANDORA PAPERS

On 4 October, Universul released a video report saying that 100 Romanian citizens also appear in the latest leak; ‘Romania’ appears more than 21,000 times; and it is said to reveal even more connections to Romania, including billionaire Frank Timis, who was connected to the controversial Rosia Montana gold mining project.

https://universul.net/video-two-romanian-politicians-100-nationals-appear-in-pandora-papers-rise-project

PANAMA LAW FIRM IS KEY PLAYER IN SHIELDING ASSETS OF THE RICH AND POWERFUL,

On 4 October, Cuenca High Life in Ecuador provided an Ecuadorian take on the leaks and linked to a prestigious Panamanian law firm named in the “Pandora Papers”.  It mentions Ecuador President Guillermo Lasso, former President Lenin Moreno and a Honduran presidential candidate.

https://cuencahighlife.com/panama-law-firm-is-key-player-in-concealing-assets-of-the-rich-and-powerful-including-lenin-moreno

3 GIBRALTAR-REGISTERED COMPANIES AMONG THOSE IDENTIFIED IN PANDORA PAPERS LEAK

On 4 October, GBC reported that the companies are Gibraltar-registered company Takilant Limited, which was under the control of Gulnara Karimova, the daughter of the President of Uzbekistan; and the 2 other Gibraltar companies are linked to the former Minister of Mauritania, Mohamed Abdellahi Ould Yaha – MTO Oil and Bunkering Limited and Oil and Gas Services MSGBC.

https://www.gbc.gi/news/three-gibraltar-registered-companies-among-those-identified-pandora-papers-leak

PANDORA LEAK AGAIN BRINGS UP A FAMILIAR RUSSIAN NAME: ROSTEC CEO SERGEI CHEMEZOV

On 4 October, Rferl reported that Sergei Chemezov has featured prominently in a growing number of far more recent reports pointing to potential corruption.  In the latest leaks, Chemezov’s stepdaughter, Anastasia Ignatova, is said to own an offshore company that, in turn, owns a luxury yacht worth about $140 million; and also tied Chemezov’s relatives and associates to several more luxury villas in Spain.  In all, the journalists estimated the foreign property tied to Chemezov by the Pandora leak to be worth about $302 million.

https://www.rferl.org/a/pandora-putin-chemezov-offshore-corruption/31492594.html

A TALE OF 2 BROTHERS AND A CROATIAN ISLAND

An article from OCCRP on 4 October says that Croatians had been in the dark about who owns a major company called Jadranka, the leading tourism developer on the Adriatic island.  New documents reveal it to be controlled by the family of Mihajlo Perenčević, president of the Russian pipeline constructor Velesstroy.

https://www.occrp.org/en/the-pandora-papers/a-tale-of-two-brothers-and-a-croatian-island

PANDORA PAPERS REVEAL EVIDENCE OF THE HIDDEN RICHES OF POST-SOVIET ELITES

On 4 October, Rferl released this short video.

https://www.rferl.org/a/pandora-russia-ukraine-azerbaijan-kazakhstan/31492472.html

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

PANAMA IN WORLD WAR 2 – PART 11 – U-BOATS

Part 10 – Germans in South America and Panama

https://raytodd.blog/2021/10/03/panama-in-world-war-2-part-10-germans-in-south-america-and-panama/

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/  

OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – OCTOBER 3

Panama Covid-19 update – last week ended with 20% fewer cases than the previous one, i.e. 383 fewer. Today saw another 175 new cases reported and 2 more fatalities; with 3,095 active cases but, at 49, now less than 50 in ICU. Another 186 are in other wards and 113 in the so-called “hospital hotels”. The health ministry has also said that, since October 2020, October 2020, 221,477 tests have been carried out at Tocumen International airport and 1,849 positive travellers with Covid-19 have been detected.

Panama has received quite a few mentions in the Pandora Papers material and highlights reported so far, but no direct mention of my old home, the Isle of Man, so far. Mind you, at least one of the “victims” of the leaks is a big, multi-jurisdiction trust company which has a significant presence on the Island – so I wait to see if future reports give it a mention… Meanwhile, it is reported in Panama that the Government has hired a law firm to propose a dialogue and contain the damage to the country’s reputation that this investigation may cause. It has also said it would investigate anyone allegedly involved in illegal acts.

https://www.prensa.com/politica/panama-investigara-las-conductas-de-todos-los-implicados-en-los-pandora-papers/

3 October 2021

2 ANCIENT STATUES RESTORED TO EGYPT FROM BELGIUM

Zoma reported that two statues date back to the Old Kingdom of Egypt and it is made from limestone, while the other is made from blue faience and it dates back to the Late Period of Ancient Egypt.  They were discovered in 2016, when the Belgian authorities found both in an antiquities store without any kinds of formal permissions or official documentation. 

https://lomazoma.com/breaking-news/8901970.html

MALTA-BASED SHIP SERVICING COMPANY AT THE CENTRE OF A $50 MILLION FRAUD INVESTIGATION BY US AUTHORITIES

On 2 October, The Shift reported that Multinational Logistic Services Ltd, a Malta-based ship servicing company, has failed to submit audited accounts to the Malta Business Registry since 2004.  It is controlled by Frank Rafaraci, 68, an American who is the subject of a request for extradition charging him with bribery and conspiracy to commit bribery, wire fraud and money laundering in his dealings with the US Navy. 

However, on 3 October, Kenneth Rijock in his blog reported that  the judge assigned to hear the case in Malta found that, since the charging document was only a Criminal Complaint and not an indictment, there was no equivalent under Maltese law, and therefore the US position was fatally flawed. He invalidated the arrest warrant and also dismissed any pending extradition proceedings.

https://theshiftnews.com/2021/10/02/alleged-fraudsters-ship-servicing-company-never-submitted-audited-accounts/

https://rijock.blogspot.com/2021/10/malta-frees-wanted-major-american.html

UAE: NEW AML/CFT GUIDANCE FOR LICENSED FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS (LFI) WHICH PROVIDE SERVICES TO CASH-INTENSIVE BUSINESSES (CIB)

On 3 October, Gulf News reported that the Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) had issued the new guidance which came into effect on 28 September and requires LFI to demonstrate compliance with its requirements within 1 month.  The article explained that CIB are businesses that experience a high volume of cash flows spanning across various industry sectors such as retail, wholesale and trading, travel and transport.  CIB must take a risk-based approach in their AML programmes and must perform appropriate CDD.

https://gulfnews.com/business/banking/uae-central-bank-issues-new-anti-money-laundering-guidance-1.82700741

SCANDAL-RIDDEN FRENCH TYCOON BERNARD TAPIE DIES AGED 78

On 3 October, the Guardian reported that Bernard Tapie, the businessman, actor, former politician and one-time president of Olympique de Marseille football club has died aged 78.  He guided the football club to 5 successive French league triumphs and the only time a French club has won the European championship, but was later sent to prison for corruption in a match-fixing scandal.  A controversy over the sale of his stake in Adidas saw a court find him guilty of fraud and ordered him to repay €404 million, a decision he appealed against and on which a court is due to issue its ruling this week. Christine Lagarde, finance minister in the government of the then-president Nicolas Sarkozy, a long-time Tapie ally, and now president of the European Central Bank, was found guilty of negligence over the affair in 2016.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/oct/03/scandal-ridden-french-tycoon-bernard-tapie-dies-aged-78

RUSSIAN TYCOON ISMAILOV SEEKS ASYLUM IN MONTENEGRO AFTER ARREST ON MOSCOW WARRANT

On 2 October, Rferl reported that an Azerbaijan-born Russian billionaire, Telman Ismailov, wanted by Russia for allegedly ordering contract murders has been detained in Montenegro.  It is said that that his political asylum request could complicate his extradition to Russia from Montenegro, where his son Alekper Ismailov owns a casino in the coastal town of Budva.

https://www.rferl.org/a/russia-montenegro-telman-ismailov-/31489653.html

REASSESSING COUNTER TERRORISM FINANCING IN A TALIBAN-CONTROLLED AFGHANISTAN

On 17 September, the US-based online forum  Just Security published an article saying that the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan set back decades-long efforts to integrate Afghanistan into the international community. Nowhere is this more apparent than on AML/CFT reforms, a policy area in which Afghanistan made substantial progress over the past several years to raise compliance standards and crack down on major vulnerabilities in its economy, particularly the under-regulated hawala money transfer system.  It is said that the Taliban is [obviously] unlikely to meaningfully enforce UN sanctions against itself or crackdown against the hawala industry in the same way as the previous government.  However, it is argued that, in the light of the Taliban’s problems with ISIS-K, addressing AML/CFT risks presents one concrete way for the international community to measure the Taliban’s actions rather than its rhetoric in addressing terrorism and terrorism financing.  The article nevertheless calls on the US and the international community to improve AML/CFT monitoring in and around Afghanistan, and strengthen international AML/CFT cooperation in order to manage the grave risks posed by terrorism financing, given the Taliban’s status as a terrorist group and its close relationship with other terrorist organisations.

https://www.justsecurity.org/78221/reassessing-counter-terrorism-financing-in-a-taliban-controlled-afghanistan/

BRAZIL MIGHT GET NUCLEAR-POWERED SUBMARINES EVEN BEFORE AUSTRALIA

On 2 October, The Economist warned that, in Brazil, Brazil, engineers are slowly designing and piecing together parts of the Álvaro Alberto, a nuclear-powered submarine named after a former vice-admiral and pioneer of the country’s nuclear programme.  It says that if all goes to plan, it could be ready by the early 2030s, and that would make Brazil the first non-nuclear-armed country to operate a nuclear-powered submarine.

https://www.economist.com/the-americas/brazil-might-get-nuclear-powered-submarines-even-before-australia/21805075

DEA SEIZES HISTORIC AMOUNTS OF DEADLY FENTANYL-LACED FAKE PILLS 

A news release from the DEA on 30 September advised that it had seized 1.8 million fake pills and arrests 810 nationwide in 2-month effort to dismantle drug distribution networks flooding US with deadly fentanyl-laced fake pills.  During the 2-month law enforcement surge targeting fake pills, DEA also seized 712 kg of fentanyl powder: enough to make tens of millions of lethal pills. DEA seized 158 weapons and said many of the enforcement actions are tied to violence and overdose deaths. Additionally, DEA seized 4,011 kg of methamphetamine and 653 kg of cocaine.  It had issued a Public Safety alert on 27 September warning the American public about the increasing availability of fake pills that often contain deadly doses of fentanyl. It also launched the “One Pill can Kill” campaign to inform the American public of the dangers of fake prescription pills.

https://www.dea.gov/press-releases/2021/09/30/dea-seizes-historic-amounts-deadly-fentanyl-laced-fake-pills-public

https://www.dea.gov/alert/sharp-increase-fake-prescription-pills-containing-fentanyl-and-meth

US SANCTIONS SQUEEZE HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE IN AFGHANISTAN

On 29 September, an article from the Center for Strategic and International Studies says that Afghanistan is heading toward a humanitarian catastrophe and a lack of clarity regarding sanctions by the US continues to challenge the humanitarian response effort.  The text is adapted from a recent event organised by the Humanitarian Agenda.  It argues that the US Government, in cooperation with other international partners, should immediately establish a safe payment channel for humanitarian and civil society organisations and financial institutions to move urgently needed funds into Afghanistan.

https://www.csis.org/analysis/us-sanctions-squeeze-humanitarian-assistance-afghanistan

AUTHORITARIAN REGIMES ARE USING INTERPOL TO HUNT DOWN THEIR CRITICS

An article on Coda on 28 September explains how Interpol, the largest law enforcement organisation in the world, with 194 member countries, can be used by authoritarian leaders and human rights violators to track down critics across international borders.  This involves a red notice, an international electronic wanted persons notice issued and circulated by Interpol.  Despites its own rules, criminal justice experts say that the system is vulnerable to abuse, including countries fabricating or misrepresenting charges against political dissidents.

https://www.codastory.com/authoritarian-tech/interpol-red-notice/

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