On 12 October, the EU sanctions blog reported that a UK-based NGO has published a suggested template to use to make suggestions to the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) for Magnitsky designations under the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020.
Panama Covid-19 update – side issue from Panama’s shock 1-0 defeat of the US in a World Cup qualifier, one of the stars missing from the US side was a English Premnier League player, unable to travel to Panama to play as this would entail a mandatory 10-day quarantine on return to the UK, due to Panama mysteriously being one of a handful of countries remaining on the travel Red List.
Maybe the people in the health ministry are still nursing the after effects of celebrating the victory as there are no updates for cases etc so far, so this post will have to be updated in due course…
11 OCTOBER 2021
INCOTERMS – 2 YEARS ON
On 5 October, the Braumiller Group published an article marking 2 years since the release of Incoterms 2020, heralded as a ground-breaking version of Incoterms that would bring great change to the supply chain community. It looks back on the most important changes that occurred – FCA, CIP, DAT – and how they have had effect.
SOUTH SUDAN OIL: WHERE DOES IT GO AND WHO DOE SIT BENEFIT?
A report from the International Crisis Group says that South Sudan’s rulers keep a tight grip on its oil wealth, blocking outside scrutiny and obstructing reforms. It says that there is a need to focus on making the oil economy more transparent and accountable by ensuring that revenue deposits go in a single public account and through other anti-corruption measures. The handling of the oil revenue has contributed to instability despite the formation of a unity government in 2020, with large debts and a cash-strapped economy. It warns that companies should be aware that their involvement in South Sudan has clear reputational and regulatory risks.
AUSTRALIA: STAR ENTERTAINMENT HITS BACK AT “MISLEADING” MONEY LAUNDERING REPORTS
On 11 October, iGB reported that casino operator Star Entertainment Group has branded media reports over allegations of money laundering at the business as “misleading” but nevertheless said it would take the appropriate steps to address the claims.
ABDUL QADEER KHAN, CONTROVERSIAL ‘FATHER OF PAKISTAN’S ATOMIC BOMB’
On 10 October, following the death of AQ Khan with Covid-19, ABC News published an article on the man who helped launch Pakistan on the path to becoming a nuclear-armed power in the 1970s, and later became embroiled in scandal after confessing he sold secret nuclear technology to North Korea, Iran and Libya. Meanwhile, Haaretz reports how he managed to escape assassination by Mossad.
US: COUPLE ARRESTED AND ACCUSED OF SELLING DATA RELATED TO THE DESIGN OF A US NUCLEAR SUBMARINES
On 10 October, Eminetra and others reported that Jonathan Tobbe, 42, and his wife, Diana, 45, were to appear in federal court in West Virginia. They are said to have sold restricted data “to those who believe that the design of a nuclear ship is representative of foreign powers” – but that person was actually an undercover investigator. Jonathan Tobbe is a Navy Department of Nuclear Engineer servicing the Navy Nuclear Propulsion Program.
ISRAELI ARRESTED IN DUBAI OVER MASSIVE DRUG SMUGGLING HAUL
On 10 october, i24 reported that an Israeli had been arrested in Dubai for attempting to smuggle $136 million worth of pure cocaine. The seizure is said to be “the largest ever in the region”. The suspect was identified by Israeli media as Khalil Dasuki and is said to have a long criminal history in Israel.
SEEKING SOLUTIONS TO TRADE MISINVOICING IN MEXICO AND COLOMBIA
On 14 September, an article from Global Financial Integrity explained that trade misinvoicing is one component of trade-based money laundering (TBML) where individuals or entities falsify the quantity, price, and quality of goods to, among other reasons, launder money, claim tax incentives, or evade taxes, duties and capital controls – and that in countries like Mexico and Colombia, drug cartels frequently use low-risk, high-reward methods such as trade misinvoicing to launder money. The article looks at efforts in Mexico and Colombia to combat the problem. It argues that transparency is an important component in the fight against financial crimes; countries should have clear beneficial ownership laws so that they are able to easily identify the true owner of an entity that is engaging in illicit activity, but pointing out that Colombia has 5 different definitions which causes bureaucratic problems. Corruption is the other major factor that can play an important role in trade misinvoicing and other TBML-related schemes.
LIBYA TO GET NEW EU-FUNDED BOATS DESPITE ABUSES IN DETENTION CENTRES
On 11 October, EU Observer reported that the EU Commission aims to deliver new ‘P150’ class patrol boats to the Libyan coast guard, despite possible crimes against humanity at detention centres where migrants intercepted at sea are often sent.
On 11 October, an article in the Cyprus Mail reported on a Supreme Court decision which referred to an EU court decision and confirmed that the person who knowingly participates in bribery cannot expect the court to give him any remedy.
FAKE ADS RIFE ON BING AS INVESTMENT SCAMS JUMP 84%
On 11 October, Which in the UK reported that Microsoft continues to profit from fake ads promising high returns but only delivering misery for fraud victims. It is said that total losses almost doubled from £55.2 million in the first half of 2020 to £107.7 million, largely driven by fraudulent advertising on search engines and social media, according to UK Finance.
SOUTH AFRICA’S STORM OF PROCUREMENT CORRUPTION CONTINUES
On 11 October, Daily Maverick reported that South Africa desperately needs laws to stop procurement corruption. It refers to recent revelations about cases of fraud and the so far year and a half delay to the Public Procurement Bill, introduced into parliament in February 2020.
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime produced a report, one of a series which delivers the latest knowledge and trends on issues related to cocaine markets in an accessible and informative format. This report summarises the current state of knowledge on what the cocaine consumer products are and how they are produced and consumed in different world regions. The report is based on available published evidence and on the knowledge gained through UNODC’s monitoring activities in South American countries. It offers insight into the spectrum of cocaine products in order to assist practitioners in drug supply and drug demand reduction, such as law enforcement agencies and healthcare providers, to tailor their response to production, trafficking and consumption of cocaine products.
EUROPEAN COURT: AZERBAIJAN MUST PAY BOSNIAN VICTIMS OF FORCED LABOUR
On 8 October, OCCRP reported that the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled in favour of a group of Bosnians who sued Azerbaijan more than a decade ago for cross-border human trafficking and forced labour. Between 2006 and 2009, hundreds of workers from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and North Macedonia were lured to Azerbaijan with promises of pay substantially higher than what they could earn at home.
NAMIBIAN HIGH COURT ALLOWS CONSOLIDATION OF “FISHROT” BRIBERY SCANDAL CASES
On 8 October, Seafood Source reported that the Namibian High Court approved an application by the country’s prosecution to consolidate two fishery bribery cases involving 2 former ministers and several other co-accused, in what has been described as Namibia’s biggest corruption scandal.
NSO PEGASUS SPYWARE CAN NO LONGER TARGET UK PHONE NUMBERS
On 8 October, the Guardian reported that the powerful spyware used to hack into mobile phones is no longer effective against UK numbers, sources familiar with the software’s developer have said. NSO Group, the Israeli maker of the Pegasus surveillance tool, implemented a change preventing client countries from targeting +44 numbers, the sources said. The same source familiar with the company said that Pegasus was also not effective against US numbers – which is believed to have been the case for some time – as well as phones from NSO’s home market, Israel, and “all of the Five Eyes” members, Canada, Australia and New Zealand as well as the UK and the US.
MORE THAN HALF OF AMERICA’S 100 RICHEST PEOPLE EXPLOIT SPECIAL TRUSTS TO AVOID ESTATE TAXES
A report from Pro Publica on 28 September said that a group of Americans has taken advantage of a loophole, reducing government revenues and fuelling inequality. This involves the use of special trusts, such as the grantor retained annuity trust, or GRAT. More than half of the nation’s 100 richest individuals have used GRAT and other trusts to avoid estate tax.
CFIUS: EXPANDING JURISDICTION IN THE MAGNACHIP ACQUISITION
An article from Lawfare on 11 October says that the US Government has increasingly leaned on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), originally a bureaucratic review process, to mitigate or block transactions that it views as posing national security risks, such as CFIUS’s unprecedented intervention in the recent attempt by Wise Road Capital, a China-based private equity firm, to acquire Magnachip, a South Korean semiconductor company. It says that the expanded view of CFIUS jurisdiction will certainly afford the US Government greater ability and authority to protect national security. Far less certain, it says, is the effect this view will have on foreign companies, including whether they will be disincentivised from raising capital in the US or prompt them to delist from US exchanges.
US: FINRA ENCOURAGES MEMBERS TO INCORPORATE FINCEN AML PRIORITIES INTO BROKER-DEALER COMPLIANCE PROGRAMMES
On 8 October, Cadwalader Cabinet reported that FINRA, the government-authorised not-for-profit organisation that oversees US broker-dealers, had issued a Regulatory Notice. It said that requires a FinCEN Rule requires firm compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act and advised firms to consider how the priorities match up with their risk-based AML programmes. FINRA suggested that firms begin their evaluation by reviewing red flags based on their business activities, size and location and considering potential technological changes that would assist in a firm’s AML programme.
DELAWARE STATE AUDITOR INDICTED ON PUBLIC CORRUPTION CHARGES
On 11 October, the Daily Mail reported that Delaware´s state auditor, who is responsible for rooting out government fraud, waste and abuse, has been indicted on public corruption charges. Kathleen McGuiness, 58, has been charged with felony counts of theft and witness intimidation, and misdemeanour charges of official misconduct, conflict of interest and noncompliance with state procurement laws. The charges include allegations that McGuiness hired her daughter and one of her daughter´s friends, both high school seniors at the time, as temporary employees in May 2020, even though other temporary employees had to leave their positions because of the lack of available work amid the coronavirus pandemic.