Panama Covid-19 update – good news is that the Rt infection rate has fallen again, from 0.9 last week to 0.86. However, 129 new cases and 7 new fatalities were also reported. 2,435 active cases include 43 in ICU and 169 in other wards.
13 OCTOBER 2021
INDIA: SUPREME COURT TO EXAMINE IF AUTHORITIES CAN SEIZE ANCESTRAL ASSETS AS ‘PROCEEDS OF CRIME’ IN MONEY LAUNDERING CASES
On 11 October, the Economic Times reported that the Enforcement Directorate is challenging an order of the Karnataka High Court which ruled that action under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 cannot proceed in respect of “ancestral assets” and dismissing charges against 2 defendants.
UAE: NEW DRAFT LAW ON CHARITY FUNDRAISING TO COMBAT MONEY LAUNDERING
On 12 October, Al-Arabiya reported that UAE is developing a new law that will further regulate fundraising and donations for charity in the country to tackle money laundering, as part of ongoing efforts to combat money laundering and terrorism financing.
IRAQ CLAIMS CAPTURE OF IS FINANCIAL CHIEF IN OPERATION ABROAD
On 11 October, BBC reported that Sami Jasim al-Jaburi is said to have been arrested in a “complex external operation” by the Iraqi National Intelligence Service.
US: FORMER CEO SENTENCED FOR BRIBERY OVER $250 MILLION SLUSH FUND
On 12 October, the Wall Street Journal reported that Jose Carlos Grubisich, 64, a Brazilian citizen and former CEO of Braskem SA, a Brazilian petrochemical company, had been sentenced to 12 years in prison over a scheme that diverted $250 million from the company to a slush fund to pay Brazilian government officials.
DoJ SEES CRYPTO SEIZURES AS A PRIORITY IN ANTI-RANSOMWARE PUSH
On 12 October, the Wall Street Journal reported that the DoJ is training cryptocurrency experts who can track funds across sprawling overseas criminal networks. Seizures of ransomware crypto payments is a key prong of the US strategy to slow a spate of ransomware attacks that the White House has labelled a top national-security threat, and comes push to shore up firms’ defences, disable hackers’ tools and pressure foreign governments to crack down on criminals.
PRIVY COUNCIL: FREEZING INJUNCTIONS PERMITTED WITHOUT AN UNDERLYING CAUSE OF ACTION
On 7 October, Littleton Chambers published an article reporting what is described as the first comprehensive legal foundation for freezing and interim injunctions, and removes many of the restrictions imposed on injunctions by previous cases. The Claimant had applied in the BVI courts for freezing injunctions in support of proceedings in Hong Kong. While the judgment may technically be ‘powerful obiter dicta’ it seems almost inevitable that it will be followed in England and the other territories under the Privy Council’s jurisdiction. It had been thought that an injunction depends on a pre-existing cause of action, which must already have arisen. The judgment is said to provide the first comprehensive legal foundation for freezing and interim injunctions, and removes many of the restrictions imposed on injunctions by previous cases.
JERSEY: DEFINITIONS OF “BENEFIT” – ROYAL COURT OFFERS USEFUL GUIDANCE ON TRUSTS AND NON-FINANCIAL BENEFITS
On 12 October, an article from Walkers said that the Royal Court of Jersey has recently provided helpful guidance in relation to what it means to provide a beneficiary with a “benefit”, with a broad and holistic interpretation of “benefit”.
CAN YOU TAKE SECURITY OVER THE ASSETS AND SHARES OF A BVI COMPANY?
On 11 October, an article from Ogier asked this question in the first of planned series of snapshot articles. It sets out to answer a common question about whether you can take security over the assets and shares of a BVI company in the jurisdiction.
IRELAND: THE COMPANIES (CORPORATE ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITY) BILL 2021
On 12 October, an article from Walkers says that the primary objective of replacing the existing Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) with an independent statutory body to be known as the Corporate Enforcement Authority. The Bill also clarifies certain matters and removing anomalies in companies law.
UK SOLICITORS: FAILURE TO INTRODUCE “PROPER RISK ASSESSMENTS” NUMBER ONE AML FAILURE
On 13 October, Today’s Conveyancer reported that a review by the Solicitors Regulations Authority into law firm AML failures has identified a 40% increase in the number of potential AML breaches, with the number one area of non-compliance is not having a proper risk assessment in place for AML matters.
SPANISH FORMER POLICE INSPECTOR IN COURT OVER ‘SEWERS OF STATE’ SCANDAL – SPYING ON AND WORKING TO DISCREDIT HIGH-PROFILE SPANISH FIGURES
On 13 October, the Guardian reported that a former police inspector is accused of spying on and working to discredit some of Spain’s most high-profile politicians and business people, and has gone on trial to face charges including bribery, forgery, extortion and influence peddling. He was arrested in 2017 and could face a jail term of 109 years if convicted. Prosecutors allege he spent years on the payroll of private clients and big companies who used his services to spy on their rivals and dig up dirt.
MINISTER: JAMAICA UNLIKELY TO LEAVE AML GREY LIST
On 13 October, the Jamaica Observer reported that, despite making significant progress in strengthening Jamaica’s AML/CFT framework, the Minister of Finance says the court proceedings between the Jamaican Bar Association and the Government will delay the country from leaving international money laundering lists.
INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE (ICJ) HAS RULED IN FAVOUR OF SOMALIA IN THE DISPUTE WITH KENYA CONCERNING THE MARITIME BORDER OF THE INDIAN OCEAN
On 12 October, Jurist reported that the court ruled unanimously that there was no agreed maritime boundary between Somalia and Kenya and that the new boundary line, which was decided by the ICJ, was closest to that proposed by Somalia. However, Kenya does not want to accept the jurisdiction of the ICJ and considers the judgement as inherently biased.
HOW A ZIMBABWE TYCOON MADE A FORTUNE FROM A TRAFIGURA PARTNERSHIP AND SPIRALLING NATIONAL DEBT
On 13 October, an article from OCCRP was concerned with Kudakwashe Tagwirei, who is close to Zimbabwe’s president and his inner circle. He is said to have formed a lucrative partnership with commodities giant Trafigura and, subject to US and UK sanctions for corruption, he continued to do business by relocating his network to Mauritius – using Sotic International Ltd., a new company that he had set up in Mauritius, and associated shell companies fronted by South Africa-based directors. Trafigura claimed that it exited its business relationships with Tagwirei in December 2019, prior to US sanctions being imposed.
WEAPONS TRAFFICKING RIFE ON MEXICO’S SOCIAL MEDIA
On 12 October, Insight Crime reported that arms traffickers in Mexico continue to sell their wares on social media networks that offer them visibility and anonymity and in complete defiance of measures taken to stop them.
ILLEGAL TIMBER AND IMPUNITY IN PERU
On 12 October, Insight Crime reported that, 6 years after investigators in Peru took down a massive timber trafficking operation that shipped millions of dollars’ worth of illegal hardwood, more than 90 people have been indicted and a US importer has been forced to pay restitution. However, it says that this victory is unlikely to be repeated in a climate of increasing impunity.
UAE INTRODUCES LICENSING REGIME FOR PAYMENT SERVICE PROVIDERS
On 12 October, Out-Law reported that the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates (CBUAE) is continuing efforts to prepare the country for digital payments with a regulation licensing retail payment services. The relevant regulation came into force on 15 July, and a 1-year transitional period has been given to existing payment service providers and card schemes to obtain the relevant licences.
LARGE US BANKS SHARING FINANCIAL INTELLIGENCE THROUGH PRIVATE EXCHANGE
On 8 October, ACAMS reported that at least 8 large US banks have formed a private partnership to investigate suspected crimes and suspects.
‘IDENTITY THEFT’ CRIMINALS PLUNDERING EL SALVADOR BITCOIN WALLET FUNDS
On 12 October, Cryptonews reported that the media in El Salvador has reported that some citizens are resorting to “identity theft” in a bid to obtain $30 worth of bitcoin through the government’s Chivo wallet and app. Individuals have allegedly been stealing others’ identities to register the app in other people’s names, using stolen ID documents to complete the process – allowing them to accrue larger quantities of BTC than the “golden hello” downloads offered to citizens.
PERU LIBRE LEADER’S MOTHER’S ACCOUNTS ARE FROZEN FOR ALLEGED MONEY LAUNDERING
On 11 October, the Rio Times reported that the FIU had frozen nearly $366,000 in accounts of the mother of the controversial founder of the ruling Peru Libre party, Vladimir Cerron, investigated for an alleged criminal organisation.
INTERNATIONAL ANTI-CORRUPTION ACADEMY OFFERING AN ANTI-BRIBERY AND HUMAN RIGHTS ONLINE COURSE
On 13 October, a post on the FCPA Blog advised that the Vienna-based ICAC is offering a 4-week online course on Business, Human Rights, and Anti-Corruption, from 18 October.
PODCAST: “AMERICAN KLEPTOCRACY”
In the latest TRACE podcast, Casey Michel, of the Hudson Institute’s Kleptocracy Initiative joins the podcast for a very lively discussion about his new book, “American Kloptocracy: How the US Created the World’s Greatest Money Laundering Scheme in History”. Casey discusses America’s role in the problem of global kleptocracy and shares some optimism about the path ahead.
TERRORISTS, COCAINE, AND POWER: A WAR WITHIN VENEZUELA
On 13 October, Oil Price.com carried an article arguing that Hezbollah is gaining control within Venezuela, the failure of government institutions and security forces within the country has left a power vacuum that criminals are rushing to fill, and cocaine smuggling and gold mining are providing Hezbollah with revenue and providing Iran with regional influence.
ITALY COURT OVERTURNS ARREST WARRANT FOR BROKER ON TRIAL AT VATICAN
On 13 October, Reuters reported that Italy’s highest appeals court has overturned an arrest warrant for an Italian broker on trial at the Vatican in a case involving the purchase of building in one of London’s smartest districts. Gianluigi Torzi was one of 2 brokers involved in the deal and is facing charges of embezzlement, fraud, money laundering and extortion.
BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP INFORMATION IN SOUTH AFRICA
On 13 October, an article from FTI Consulting argued that establishing a UBO Register should be seen as a vital and necessary manoeuvre.
BRITISH FOOTBALL COACH SENTENCED TO 25 YEARS’ JAIL IN DUBAI OVER CBD VAPE LIQUID
On 13 October, the Guardian reported that a British football coach has been sentenced to 25 years in jail after police discovered four bottles of vape liquid containing CBD in the boot of his car. The vape oils found in Hood’s car contained CBD, which is legal in the UK and many other countries, but illegal in the UAE as it contains trace elements of THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis. The oils had been bought in the UK, which resulted in a trafficking charge. It warns that recent convictions in Dubai include for possession of poppy seeds, which contain opium alkaloids; medical prescriptions; and traces of drugs consumed months before arrival in the country showing up in urine tests.
US: CHARGES AGAINST 11 MEMBERS OF MONEY LAUNDERING AND BANK FRAUD RING
A news release from US DoJ on 13 October advised of an indictment charging 11 defendants with conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and aggravated identity theft, in connection with their involvement in laundering millions of dollars in proceeds derived from business email compromises (BEC) and romance fraud schemes.
THE OBSCURE US TAX LAW MAY BE HAMPERING EFFORTS TO UNDERSTAND DOMESTIC EXTREMISM
On 13 October, an article from Lawfare was concerned with an amendment dating from 1998 which prevented the IRS designating sovereign citizen non-filers as “illegal tax protesters”. This, it is said, may now be obscuring a plausible tool for identifying domestic extremists.
THE PANDORA PAPERS AND THE HEIGHTENED IMPORTANCE OF “KNOWING YOUR CUSTOMER”
On 8 October, an article from Dechert LLP says that time will tell whether the exposure of the Pandora Papers might impact pending or future legislation or otherwise lead to increased regulatory scrutiny over an already highly regulated financial industry. For now, it says that the Pandora Papers can be expected to garner national and international attention from government regulators and law enforcement partners of all kinds.
THE PANDORA PAPERS: A LEGAL PERSPECTIVE
On 7 October, an article from Afridi & Angeli, headquartered in Dubai, sets out to provide what it says is a legal analysis which aimed to offer modest counterpoint through a professional, law abiding lens, to help put the media frenzy into a slightly more rational perspective. The offshore world is being unfairly maligned.
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