OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – OCTOBER 5

Panama Covid-19 update – it is reported that ruling party PRD has paid the $50,000 fine imposed last year for a meeting that violated the sanitary regulations then in force. meanwhile, the remaining nightly curfew is lifted in Panama Oeste and Chiriqui – 2 areas that were seriously hit by Covid-19.

Meanwhile, today saw 253 new cases and 5 new fatalities; with active cases now down to less than 3,000, at 2,925 – 43 in ICU and 194 in other wards.

Travelling on a bus today we came across a very Latin incident, where an annoyed car driver, but up by the bus, then blocked the bus’s access to the next bus stop. Cue lots of use of horns… Mind you, it could have been worse, today a Cherokee light aircraft had to make an emergency landing on the busy Panama City-Colón highway!

https://www.prensa.com/sociedad/aeronave-aterriza-de-emergencia-en-la-autopista-panama-colon/

5 october 2021

EUROPEAN COURT ANNULS EU TRADE AND FISHING DEALS WITH MOROCCO AS AGREED WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF THE PEOPLE OF WESTERN SAHARA

On 29 September, the Guardian explained that the Western Sahara was annexed by Morocco in 1975 after the withdrawal of Spain, the colonial power, in a move largely unrecognised internationally and opposed by the Polisario Front, which fought a 16-year guerrilla war against Morocco.  A ceasefire in 1991 ended the guerrilla war, but a promised independence referendum has never taken place.  In 2016 and 2018, the court said earlier versions of the trade and fisheries agreements only applied to Morocco and not the natural-resource rich Western Sahara – and in 2018, 94% of EU catches under the deal came from Western Saharan waters, and chiefly for Spanish vessels.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/sep/29/european-court-annuls-eu-trade-and-fishing-deals-with-morocco

MALI RECEIVES RUSSIAN HELICOPTERS AND WEAPONS AND LAUDS MOSCOW ‘PARTNERSHIP’

On 1 October, France 24 reported that the arrival of the equipment comes as it is reported that Mali could recruit Russian mercenaries as France reshapes its 5,000-strong counter-terrorism mission in the region.  Mali’s military junta is said to be close to recruiting the Russian Wagner Group.

https://www.france24.com/en/africa/20211001-mali-receives-russian-helicopters-and-weapons-lauds-moscow-partnership

CYPRUS: BENEFICIAL OWNERS OF PARTNERSHIPS

On 4 October, a short report from Koukounis Law advised that in August the Registrar of Companies had announced that partnerships are deemed to be “other legal entities”, and that consequently, the details of the beneficial owners of partnerships are required to be registered in the Central Registry of Beneficial Owners.

SWISS REGULATORS ADD ALMOST 50 SITES TO i-GAMING BLACKLISTS

On 5 October, iGB reported that Switzerland had another 50 online gambling websites to a blacklist launched in 2019.  ISP are ordered to block all sites on the lists.  More than 600 websites have now been backlisted by the 2 regulators involved since 2019.

https://igamingbusiness.com/swiss-regulators-add-almost-50-sites-to-igaming-blacklists

MALAYSIA: POLITICIAN SAID TO HAVE ORCHESTRATED MONEY LAUNDERING THROUGH A MONEYCHANGER

On 5 October, the Straits Times reported that the High Court in Kuala Lumpur has heard evidence that Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi orchestrated a money laundering scheme involving millions through a moneychanger operator.  He is on trial for a total of 47 charges, 12 of which are for criminal breach of trust, 8 for bribery and 27 for money laundering.  He is a politician and a former Deputy Prime Minister 2015-18.

https://www.nst.com.my/news/crime-courts/2021/10/733841/zahid-orchestrated-money-laundering-through-moneychanger

MOLDOVA: 6 FORMER AND CURRENT EMPLOYEES OF MINISTRY OF INTERIOR DETAINED

On 5 October, Moldpress reported that 6 former and current MAI employees have been detained in the criminal investigation on fabrication of a case involving an alleged sexual crime, which was allegedly committed by a former employee.

https://www.moldpres.md/en/news/2021/10/05/21007354

RUSSIA: EX-MAYOR OF VLADIVOSTOK PUT IN DETENTION IN BRIBERY CASE

On 5 October, the RAPSI news agency reported that Oleg Gumenyuk has been placed in detention for 2 months.  According to investigators, between 2019 and 2021, the suspect regularly received bribes from the administration of Neсropol funeral agency and through mediators for the common protection in the funeral service delivery.

http://rapsinews.com/judicial_news/20211005/307433116.html

HONG KONG: CUSTOMS MAKES FIRST SEIZURE OF KRATOM JUST WEEKS AFTER DRUG IS BANNED 

On 4 October, the South China Morning Post reported that 2.5 tonnes of the drug in powder form was in transit from Indonesia to Florida, where it is legal in all but one county.  No attempt was made to disguise the shipment, which arrived about 2 weeks after Hong Kong outlawed the drug.  Kratom – Mitragyna speciosa is a potentially addictive herbal substance, also known as ketum, and made from the leaves of a tree native to parts of SE Asia.  The leaves contain chemical compounds that can act either as a stimulant when consumed in small doses or a sedative when taken in larger quantities, and has been long used in traditional medicine in the region.

https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-and-crime/article/3151109/customs-makes-first-seizure-kratom-just-weeks-after

REASSESSING LIBYA – WHAT ARE THE RISKS?

A Special Report from Control Risks comprises an 18-minute audio discussion, saying that a period of relative stability, large oil reserves and Libya’s strategic positioning next to Europe have led a considerable number of international companies to reassess doing business in the country.

https://www.controlrisks.com/our-thinking/podcasts/in-focus-channel/reassessing-libya-what-are-the-risks 

UN REPORT LISTS 5 YEARS OF CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY IN LIBYA

On 5 October, Eurasia Review reported on a “damning” report containing accusations of war crimes, torture of prisoners and crimes against humanity.  The Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Libya, established by the UN Human Rights Council, said Europe-bound migrants faced abuse in detention centres and at the hands of traffickers, and prisoners were tortured in horrific conditions in jail.

https://www.eurasiareview.com/05102021-un-report-lists-five-years-of-crimes-against-humanity-in-libya/

TALIBAN REPORTEDLY REARMING TAJIK MILITANTS AND MOVING UYGHUR FIGHTERS FROM CHINESE BORDER

On 5 October, Eurasia Review reported that the Taliban has provided Tajik militants based along the border with Tajikistan with new military vehicles, weaponry, and other equipment, amid an ongoing military build-up on both sides of the frontier.  However, it has also “removed” ethnic Uyghur fighters from an area close to Afghanistan’s small border with China.

https://www.eurasiareview.com/05102021-taliban-reportedly-rearming-tajik-militants-moving-uyghur-fighters-from-chinese-border/

ECUADOR: THE NEW CORRIDOR FOR SOUTH AMERICAN ARMS TRAFFICKING

On 4 October, Insight Crime reported that military intelligence has recently revealed a flow of arms from Chile and Peru into Ecuador along its southern border, highlighting the country’s key role in emerging arms trafficking routes.  Ecuador is a focal point for arms trafficking in South America, with weapons imported from Chile, as a critical transit point for arms moving from Chile into Colombia, with the main buyers being dissident groups of the now-demobilised FARC.

https://insightcrime.org/news/ecuador-new-corridor-south-american-arms-trafficking/

IMF AND WORLD BANK PLAGUED BY LEADERSHIP UPSETS AND SCANDALS

On 5 October, an article from Hellenic Shipping News says that investigations into the roles of now-IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and former World Bank president Jim Yong Kim in altering World Bank data to favour China are the latest in a series of leadership controversies at the institutions.  It mentions some of the controversies involving IMF and World Bank leaders in the past 15 years.

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/factbox-imf-world-bank-plagued-by-leadership-upsets-scandals/

The ATF in the US has released its Annual Statistical Update 2021 which includes data on firearms manufactured, imported and exported etc since 1986.

https://www.atf.gov/firearms/docs/report/2021-firearms-commerce-report/download

SWISS INVESTIGATORS GO TO GAMBIA FOR SONKO CASE

On 3 October, Swissinfo reported that former Gambian Interior Minister Ousman Sonko, suspected of crimes against humanity, is to stay in a Swiss jail until at least the end of October, after his appeal was rejected by the Federal Criminal Court.  It also said that investigators from the Federal Office of Police and Office of the Attorney General (OAG) travelled to Gambia at the end of June.  He is accused of ordering the torture of opposition members when he was interior minister.  He was arrested in a Swiss asylum centre in January 2017 and has been in jail ever since.

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/swiss-investigators-go-to-gambia-for-sonko-case/46998610

https://gijn.org/2021/10/04/investigating-arms-trafficking/

INVESTIGATING ARMS TRAFFICKING

On 4 October, the Global Investigative Journalism Network published a lengthy article which focuses on the illegal arms trade. 

https://gijn.org/2021/10/04/investigating-arms-trafficking/

THE FIGHT AGAINST CHINA’S BRIBE MACHINE

On 5 October, an article in Foreign Affairs noted that, as president, Trump tried to weaken the enforcement of the FCPA; but now President Biden has reversed course and formally designated foreign bribery — traditionally a regulatory and criminal issue — a national security concern.  He repeated this commitment to root out corruption last month at the UN General Assembly.  Referring to the China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), it is said that while the US is no saint when it comes to corporate bribery, many policymakers have alleged that China is even more egregious in “export[ing] corruption skillfully and aggressively”.  Hence, the US Government is increasingly eager to criminally prosecute Chinese actors who compete unfairly.  The article explains the background to, and history of, the FCPA.  It also notes that while the FCPA does not address foreign officials who accept bribes, they may still be vulnerable to prosecution for other offences — such as money laundering [or, indeed, if abroad, face prosecution in their own countries].  It is argued that high-profile FCPA enforcement may spur overseas regulators to raise their game. Foreign law enforcement will be faced with an ultimatum: police Chinese bribery or the DoJ will.  However, the policy is not without risks, which the article looks at – such as the hostage-taking of 2 Canadians over the Huawei executive detained in Canada.  It also says that prosecutorial focus on China can also create tension with US allies, and could be construed as politically motivated.

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/united-states/2021-10-05/fight-against-chinas-bribe-machine

CHARGES AGAINST US BANK EMPLOYEES MAY REPRESENT A NEW FRONTIER IN COVID-RELIEF FRAUD CASES

On 2 October, an article from Mayer Brown said that in September prosecutors had charged 3 bank employees in Brooklyn with conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program -both programs were created by Congress as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  The 3 employees are accused of helping to submit fraudulent PPP applications on behalf of bank customers in exchange for receiving “commissions” from the proceeds of the fraudulent obtained loans.  This marks the first time that officials at a major financial institution have been criminally charged in connection with such a fraud – the bank itself was not charged.

https://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/operational-impacts-and-strategy/1116972/charges-against-us-bank-employees-may-represent-a-new-frontier-in-covid-relief-fraud-cases

https://elements.visualcapitalist.com/all-the-metals-we-mined-in-one-visualization

US CONTROL OF DEUTERIUM FOR NON-NUCLEAR END-USE UNDER EXPORT ADMINISTRATION REGULATIONS (EAR)

On 5 October, KPMG reported that responsibility for the licensing of exports of deuterium for non-nuclear end-use is being transferred to the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the Department of Commerce, and from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

https://home.kpmg/us/en/home/insights/2021/10/tnf-us-control-deuterium-non-nuclear-end-use-under-ear.html

https://public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2021-21509.pdf

ISLE OF MAN FINANCIAL SERVICES AUTHORITY ANNUAL REPORT 2021

The FSA has published its annual report, which includes its achievements and planned actions in respect of AML/CFT.  The latter include publication of the full suite of AML/CFT Guidance documents with associated outreach sessions for industry; and continuation of AML/CFT inspections across all sectors including implementation of a foreign PEP thematic exercise.

https://www.iomfsa.im/media/2893/fsa-annual-report-2021.pdf

THIRD COUNTRIES ALIGN WITH EU SANCTIONS OVER UKRAINE

On 5 October, the EU advised that Montenegro, Albania, Norway, and Ukraine have undertaken to align with EU Council Decision (CFSP) 2021/1470 which renewed the existing restrictive measures for a further 6 months, until 15 March 2022.

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2021/10/05/declaration-by-the-high-representative-on-behalf-of-the-eu-on-the-alignment-of-certain-countries-concerning-restrictive-measures-in-respect-of-actions-undermining-or-threatening-the-territorial-integrity-sovereignty-and-independence-of-ukra/

2 NEW JERSEY MEN ARRESTED AND CHARGED WITH SECURITIES FRAUD FOR SCHEME TO DEFRAUD INVESTORS IN HEMP COMPANY

A news release from US DoJ on 5 October advised that the alleged fraud involved a fraudulent scheme to defraud investors in CanaFarma Corporation and later CanaFarma Hemp Products Corporation by soliciting funds based upon false and misleading representations, failing to invest investor’s funds as promised, manipulating the public stock price of CanaFarma, and secretly misappropriating millions of dollars of CanaFarma funds.

https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/two-new-jersey-men-arrested-and-charged-securities-fraud-scheme-defraud-investors-hemp

https://www.reuters.com/legal/government/us-sec-charges-hemp-company-canafarma-co-founders-with-fraud-2021-10-05

US NAVY HIT BY ANOTHER INTERNATIONAL BRIBERY SCANDAL

On 4 October, Stars & Stripes reported that federal agents are investigating a new corruption case that has strong echoes of the “Fat leonard” scandal, with a defence contractor facing accusations that he delivered cash bribes and defrauded the Navy out of at least $50 million to service its ships in foreign ports.  The DoJ is trying to extradite the contractor — Frank Rafaraci, 68, a dual-Italian national and CEO of Multinational Logistics Services (MLS) — from Malta.

https://www.stripes.com/branches/navy/2021-10-04/navy-contractor-frank-rafaraci-bribery-scandal-3121922.html

TOP MALAWIAN BUSINESSMAN SENTENCED 9 YEARS FOR BRIBERY

On 5 October, the People’s Gazette reported that Thomson Mpinganjira has been jailed for 9 years after being found guilty of attempting to bribe judges in an election case, having been recorded offering bribes to one of the judges to influence the outcome of the case in favour of then-President Peter Mutharika.

https://gazettengr.com/top-malawian-businessman-sentenced-nine-years-for-bribery

US: THE ECONOMIC ESPIONAGE ACT – KEY PROVISIONS

On 5 October, an article from Freeman Law says that this Act  makes the theft of or trafficking in trade secrets for foreign governments, instrumentalities, or agents a criminal act.

https://freemanlaw.com/economic-espionage/

FinCEN ISSUES NOTICE OF PROPOSED AML RULES FOR ANTIQUITIES DEALERS

On 5 October, an article from Perkins Coie is the latest in a series about the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (AMLA 2020).  It examines expansion of BSA/AML obligations to antiquities dealers, who have to date not been subject to AML rules and regulations.

https://www.perkinscoie.com/en/news-insights/amla-2020-series-part-3-fincen-issues-notice-of-proposed-aml-rules-for-antiquities-dealers.html

BANGLADESH FIU HAS FROZEN THE BANK ACCOUNTS OF A PAYMENT GATEWAY SERVICE PROVIDER

On 5 October, The Daily Star reported that the BFIU has frozen the bank accounts of Foster Payments due to its alleged involvement in money laundering.  It had settled the transactions between clients and controversial e-commerce platform Qcoom.

https://www.thedailystar.net/business/economy/banks/news/bfiu-freezes-bank-accounts-payment-gateway-foster-2191696

AUSTRALIA SEIZES ASSETS FROM ALLEGED MONEY LAUNDERER TIED TO BIKER GANG

On 5 October, OCCRP reported that an unnamed 36-year-old Australian suspected of being connected to 2 outlaw motorcycle gangs and believed to have been laundering money will have to forfeit about US$1.3 million.  He was allegedly linked to the Finks and the Mongols – 2 outlaw motorcycle gangs, declared in 2013 to be criminal organisations.  Investigators found that the man was not employed and that his wealth far surpassed income he was declaring to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/15284-australia-seizes-assets-from-alleged-money-launderer-tied-to-biker-gang

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PANDORA PAPERS

A selection of some of the latest articles from around the word…

PANAMA TO PANDORA: 10 INDIANS WHOSE FINANCIAL RECORDS HAVE FACED ‘LEAKS’ 

Outlook India has published an article about the top 10 names which propped up in various investigations over the years.

https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/panama-to-pandora-10-indians-whose-financial-records-have-faced-leaks-aishwarya-rai-amitabh-bachchan-ajay-devgn-naresh-goyal-and-m/396619

AUSTRALIAN REAL ESTATE CORRUPTION EXPOSED

On 5 October, an article in Macrobusiness summarises real estate corruption said to have been exposed by the Pandora Papers document leak, which show an array of Australian properties that have been secretly purchased by hidden overseas entities with links to corruption.

https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2021/10/aussie-real-estate-corruption-exposed/

NIGERIA: HOW GOVERNOR BAGUDU AMASSED BILLIONS AND HOW HE IS HIDING IT

An article from Gistmaster was concerned with Abubakar Bagudu, the current governor of Kebbi State and formerly a senator.  It is said that his wealth is a target of ongoing forfeiture proceedings by the US DoJ and allegedly linked to the Abacha family in the 1990s.

https://niyitabiti.net/2021/10/pandora-papers-how-governor-bagudu-amassed-billions-and-how-he-is-hiding-it/

UNAOIL: MONEY FROM ‘WORLD’S BIGGEST BRIBE SCANDAL’ INVESTED IN UK PROPERTY

On 5 October, the Guardian reported on Cyrus Ahsani and his brother Saman Ahsani, saying that leaked documents that suggest how proceeds made from the family’s company, Unaoil, were laundered through an intricate chain of offshore companies that secretly helped fund the acquisition of a string of UK properties.  The news is said to add to concerns that the UK’s property market is being used by white-collar criminals and kleptocrats to stash fortunes made in corrupt states.

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2021/oct/05/money-from-worlds-biggest-bribe-scandal-invested-in-uk-property

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-58792333

HOW PRAMOD MITTAL ‘OWED’ $1 BILLION – TO PRAMOD MITTAL

On 5 October, The Indian Express carried an article about steel baron LN Mittal’s younger brother Pramod Mittal who, facing bankruptcy proceedings in UK since June 2020, claimed zero income, total assets under £150,000 and denied ownership of his long-time London residence.  He is said to have done these to justify an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) in which he offered to pay £4.4 million — or just 0.19% — of the £2.5 billion he said he owed to 20 creditors.  In October 2020, the IVA was approved by 75% of Mittal’s creditors.  However, the newspaper claims that the BVI the company Mittal claimed he owed over £1 billion to, and another BVI company that he claimed owned his London residence, belong to a Trust in which he himself is a beneficiary – so that, in effect, he was his own creditor and approved his own agreement.

https://indianexpress.com/article/express-exclusive/pandora-papers-pramod-mittal-panama-papers-7552363/

DUTCH FINANCE MINISTER SHOULD EXCUSE HIMSELF FROM AN EU DECISION ON TAX-HAVENS AFTER HE WAS NAMED IN THE ‘PANDORA PAPERS’ 

On 5 October, EU Business reported calls for Wopke Hoekstra, one of 27 EU politicians, named in the Pandora Papers, to stay out of the EU tax-haven blacklist decision.  The Pandora Papers leak showed Hoekstra, a former McKinsey partner, invested €26,500 in safari parks in Kenya and Tanzania via Candace Management in 2009, an offshore company incorporated in the BVI, a British protectorate in the Caribbean.

https://euobserver.com/democracy/153118

BRITISH CITIZEN FINANCED AL-QAEDA AND TALIBAN WITH EU VAT FUNDS

On 5 October, the Middle East Monitor reported that a British citizen of Pakistani origin was questioned by the British authorities in 1998 due to a suspected relationship with members of a network involved in fraud operations and VAT evasion.  His name appeared in leaked documents obtained under the Pandora Project, with links to 4 offshore companies and he has been accused of being an agent of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban and of founding a cell for collecting funds, and that he had received specialised training to execute a VAT fraud scheme. It is said that the plan was to use global financial institutions to convert fraudulently obtained Euros to US Dollars, and eventually send the money to Afghanistan, Pakistan and UAE to support attacks in Afghanistan.  The funds collected through this fraud, from the mid-2000s to 2010, are estimated at more than €1.15 billion.  Included in attempts to bring him to justice, in 2017, an Italian court convicted him of conspiring to steal the VAT and demanded that the UAE extradite him, but the UAE refused.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20211005-british-citizen-finances-al-qaeda-and-taliban-with-european-funds/

PEP GUARDIOLA PAID HIS 2012 QATARI WAGES INTO A TAX-AVOIDING ANDORRA ACCOUNT

On 5 October, Inside World Football reported that the now-manager of Manchester City faces accusations that he held money in an offshore account in Andorra to avoid paying tax.  He allegedly had a current account open in Andorra until 2012 when he took advantage of a tax amnesty in Spain to regularise his finances.

http://www.insideworldfootball.com/2021/10/05/pandora-papers-guardiola-paid-2012-qatari-wages-tax-avoiding-andorra-account/

EGYPT: HOW IS CONTROVERSIAL ENERGY TYCOON MAGDY RASIKH STILL IN BUSINESS?

On 5 October, the Middle East Monitor posed this question about controversial oil tycoon Mohammad Magdy Hussein Rasikh, the former chairman of the board of directors of Egypt’s National Gas Company, and the son-in-law of former President Hosni Mubarak. 

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20211005-how-is-controversial-energy-tycoon-magdy-rasikh-still-in-business

283 GREEK NAMES TO BE PUBLISHED MID-OCTOBER

On 5 October, the Keep Talking Greece website reported that the leaks do not contain the names of any active or former politician, but a long list of Greek names.  It says that the names of 283 Greeks are mentioned in the Pandora leaks and these names are expected to be published in mid-October.

https://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2021/10/05/pandora-papers-greece-283-greek-names

BIGGEST TAX HAVEN IN US? SOUTH DAKOTA, SAYS PANDORA PAPERS INVESTIGATION

On 5 October, CBS News reported that South Dakota and a handful of other US states are increasingly competing as landing pads for global capital hidden from creditors, tax collectors and law enforcement.  It is said that one local company, the South Dakota Trust Company, has international clients from 54 nations, and that another, Trident Trust, speaks of the “South Dakota Advantage”.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/pandora-papers-tax-haven-south-dakota

HOW NOTORIOUS ANTIQUITIES DEALER USED TRUSTS TO HOARD KHMER TREASURES

On 5 October, the Guardian carried an article about Douglas Latchford, who had lorded it over the Cambodian cultural scene for decades and was hailed as an expert and benefactor, before being accused before he died of being a prolific trader in looted antiquities, and charged with criminal offences.  The leaks show how show how Latchford formed 2 trusts in Jersey, both named after Hindu gods: the Skanda Trust in 2011 and the Siva Trust in 2012 to facilitate his activities.

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2021/oct/05/offshore-trusts-used-pass-on-looted-khmer-treasures-leak-shows-douglas-latchford

https://www.icij.org/investigations/pandora-papers/cambodia-relics-looted-temples-museums-offshore/

FORMER HONG KONG LEADERS CONCEALED WEALTH OFFSHORE

On 5 October, Radio Free Asia reported claims that former Hong Kong leaders Tung Chee-hwa and Leung Chun-ying were named among hundreds of public officials in 91 jurisdictions around the world known to be concealing assets.  Both remain part of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) political system for governing Hong Kong. 

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/wealth-10052021092342.html

CHILE: NEW DETAILS ABOUT PRESIDENT PIÑERA’S OFFSHORE COMPANIES

On 5 October, TeleSUR reported that the Pandora Papers revealed details about the corporate network that Chilean President Sebastian Piñera’s children have established in various tax-havens.  He transferred his businesses to his sons so as to avoid possible conflicts of interest after becoming President.

https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Chile-New-Details-About-President-Pineras-Offshore-Companies-20211005-0009.html

AS CATHOLIC ORDER FOUGHT SEX ABUSE CLAIMS, SECRET TRUSTS DEVOTED TO IT POURED MILLIONS INTO AMERICAN RENTAL PROPERTIES

On 5 October, ICIJ reported claims that leaked files reveal nearly $300 million stashed overseas for the Legion of Christ in wake of Vatican investigation.  Millions were invested with a corporate landlord that evicted struggling U.S. tenants during pandemic.  The Legion of Christ was a wealthy Roman Catholic order disgraced by an international paedophilia scandal.

https://www.icij.org/investigations/pandora-papers/legion-of-christ-us-property-evictions-offshore/

5 WAYS CELEBRITIES IN THE PANDORA PAPERS USE THE OFFSHORE SYSTEM

On 5 October, ICIJ also reported that the Pandora Papers reveals how the rich and famous also make use of offshore havens, from Jackie Shroff to Shakira, Ringo Starr to Sachin Tendulkar.

https://www.icij.org/investigations/pandora-papers/shakira-sachin-julio-celebrities-use-offshore/

6 BOSNIA-HERZOGOVINA COMPANIES MENTIONED IN THE PANDORA PAPERS

On 5 October, the Sarajevo Times said that the question that arises is how come there is not a single politician among the mentioned names.

https://www.sarajevotimes.com/six-bih-companies-mentioned-in-the-pandora-papers

FATF: FINLAND SECOND AML/CFT FOLLOW-UO REPORT

On 5 October, FATF released the second follow-up after the 2019 mutual evaluation review (MER).  Finland has been in an enhanced follow-up process following the adoption of its MER, and the country has reported back to the FATF on the action it has taken since. Consequently, to reflect Finland’s progress, the FATF has now re-rated the country on Recommendations 34 (Guidance and Feedback), from partially compliant to compliant.  The report also looks at whether Finland’s measures meet the requirements of FATF Recommendations 2 and 15, which have changed since their MER.  FATF has agreed to upgrade Finland on Recommendation 2 (National Co-operation and Co-ordination) from partially compliant to largely compliant, and downgrade the rating for Recommendation 15 (New technologies) from largely compliant to partially compliant. Hence. Finland is now compliant on 9 of the 40 FATF Recommendations, largely compliant on 23 others, and partially compliant on 8 Recommendations.  It will continue to report back to FATF on its progress.  Note that, as usual with such follow-up reports, this report only addresses technical compliance ratings, and not effectiveness. 

https://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/reports/fur/Follow-Up-Report-Finland-2021.pdf

BRITISH CITIZEN FINANCED AL-QAEDA AND TALIBAN WITH EU VAT FUNDS

On 5 October, the Middle East Monitor reported that a British citizen of Pakistani origin was questioned by the British authorities in 1998 due to a suspected relationship with members of a network involved in fraud operations and VAT evasion.  His name appeared in leaked documents obtained under the Pandora Project, with links to 4 offshore companies and he has been accused of being an agent of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban and of founding a cell for collecting funds, and that he had received specialised training to execute a VAT fraud scheme. It is said that the plan was to use global financial institutions to convert fraudulently obtained Euros to US Dollars, and eventually send the money to Afghanistan, Pakistan and UAE to support attacks in Afghanistan.  The funds collected through this fraud, from the mid-2000s to 2010, are estimated at more than €1.15 billion.  Included in attempts to bring him to justice, in 2017, an Italian court convicted him of conspiring to steal the VAT and demanded that the UAE extradite him, but the UAE refused.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20211005-british-citizen-finances-al-qaeda-and-taliban-with-european-funds/

VAT FRAUD INVOLVING CASH REGISTERS AND ITALIAN RESTAURANTS UNCOVERED IN GERMANY

A news release from Europol on 5 October advised that more than 300 Italian restaurants in Germany allegedly used manipulated cash registers to avoid taxes.  German and Italian police have dismantled an organised crime group involved in VAT fraud through the manipulation of cash registers. 

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/vat-fraud-cash-registers-uncovered-in-germany

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EU FINANCE MINISTERS STRIKE 3 COUNTRIES OFF TAX HAVEN BLACKLIST – ANGUILLA, DOMINICA, AND SEYCHELLES 

On 5 October, EurActiv reported that EU Finance Ministers on 5 October had agreed the amended blacklist.  Before the meeting, Markus Ferber of the EPP group in the European Parliament had warned against this change.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/economy-jobs/news/pandora-papers-eu-lawmakers-urge-finance-ministers-to-act/

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