AUSTRALIA: STUDENT ‘MONEY MULES’ – POLICE SMASH MULTI-MILLION-DOLLAR MONEY LAUNDERING RING

On 15 October, the Brisbane Times reported that police have uncovered one of Australia’s biggest money laundering syndicates which allegedly bought the identity of hundreds of foreign students on the dark web to wash cash and move tens of millions of dollars offshore.  Police allege the ring laundered at least $62 million of criminal cash using the dormant bank accounts of 250 students who have returned to China after studying in Australia.

https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/victoria/student-money-mules-police-smash-australia-s-biggest-money-laundering-ring-20211015-p5907i.html

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SANCTIONED SOUTH SUDANESE BUSINESSMEN ARE SKIRTING US SANCTIONS

A briefing from The Sentry allges that Kur Ajing Ater and Benjamin Bol Mel Kuol, 2 influential South Sudanese businessmen who are sanctioned by the US and are part of President Salva Kiir’s inner circle, are potentially skirting US sanctions.  It says that several companies that have received billions in contracts from the government of South Sudan over the last 3 years are owned by their relatives, and they are likely the real beneficial owners.

https://cdn.thesentry.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/SouthSudaneseSkirtingSanctions_Alert_TheSentry.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

US: MILLION-DOLLAR REWARDS FOR INFORMATION LEADING TO ARREST, CONVICTION OR FINANCIAL DISRUPTION OF PAKISTANI HUMAN SMUGGLER

A news release from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement on 14 October announced 2 rewards for information on Pakistani national and human smuggler Abid Ali Khan (Khan).  A reward of up to $1 million is offered for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of Khan and a second $1 million reward is offered for information leading to the financial disruption of Khan’s human smuggling network.  He allegedly operates a Pakistani-based smuggling network to facilitate the travel of undocumented individuals into the US from the Middle East and South-West Asia in exchange for payment.  In addition to the planning or operations of the illegal and dangerous travel, Khan also provides false documentation to foreign nationals to use for cross-border travel.

https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/department-state-offers-2-1m-rewards-information-leading-arrest-conviction-or

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

TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL: END THE ABILITY FOR THE ULTIMATE OWNERS OF NEW ZEALAND FOREIGN TRUSTS TO AVOID TAX AND FINANCIAL TRANSPARENCY OBLIGATIONS

On 14 October, Interest reported that Transparency International had called for an end to the ability for the ultimate owners of New Zealand foreign trusts to avoid tax and financial transparency obligations in their home countries.  It says that the Pandora Papers have once again shone a spotlight on New Zealand foreign trusts.  The leaks show business people and politicians from Russia, Romania, China and Brazil using New Zealand foreign trusts to build and hide their wealth.  Unlike other jurisdictions, its foreign trusts are taxed based on the residence of the settlor, or the ultimately owner, rather than through the residency of the trustee who is New Zealand-based.

https://www.interest.co.nz/business/112699/transparency-international-calls-end-ability-ultimate-owners-nz-foreign-trusts

UK: OFSI PUBLISHES ANNUAL REVIEW 2020-2021

On 14 October, HM Treasury released an annual review which gives an overview of the operational work of the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation in the financial year, providing key statistics from the different areas of financial sanctions.  The review includes sections on UK and EU financial sanctions regimes; frozen assets review; compliance and enforcement; licensing; and guidance and engagement.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1025562/OFSI_Annual_Review_2021.pdf

PANAMA IN WORLD WAR 2 – PART 15 – 1941-45: A MISCELLANY

Part 14 – The Yamamoto plan

https://raytodd.blog/2021/10/13/panama-in-world-war-2-part-14-the-yamamoto-plan-of-attack/

Part 13 – Transportation, railway and shipping

https://raytodd.blog/2021/10/09/panama-in-world-war-2-part-13-transportation-railway-and-shipping/

Part 12 – The Japanese

https://raytodd.blog/2021/10/07/panama-in-world-war-2-part-12-the-japanese/

Part 11 – U-boats

https://raytodd.blog/2021/10/04/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 13

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.

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/india/sc-to-examine-if-ed-can-attach-ancestral-assets-as-proceeds-of-crime-in-money-laundering-cases/articleshow/86937641.cms

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.

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2021/10/12/UAE-drafts-new-law-on-charity-fundraising-to-combat-money-laundering

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.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-58868803

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.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/former-braskem-ceo-sentenced-for-bribery-charges-in-u-s-11634079656

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.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/doj-sees-crypto-seizures-as-a-priority-in-anti-ransomware-push-11634072878

https://www.akingump.com/en/experience/practices/cybersecurity-privacy-and-data-protection/ag-data-dive/the-doj-announced-two-initiatives-to-tackle-cybersecurity-fraud-and-cryptocurrency-enforcement.html#page=1

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.

https://littletonchambers.com/articles-webinars/freezing-injunctions-are-permitted-without-an-underlying-cause-of-action-rules-privy-council/

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”.

https://www.walkersglobal.com/index.php/publications/99-advisory/2749-definitions-of-benefit-jersey-s-royal-court-offers-useful-guidance-on-trusts-and-non-financial-benefits

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.

https://www.ogier.com/publications/snapshot-can-you-take-security-over-the-assets-and-shares-of-a-bvi-company

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.

https://www.walkersglobal.com/images/Publications/Articles/2021/Jersey/Corporate_Enforcement_Authorities_-_Oct2021.pdf

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.

https://www.todaysconveyancer.co.uk/main-news/sra-publishes-new-anti-money-laundering-report/

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. 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/oct/13/spain-former-police-officer-court-sewers-of-state-scandal

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.

https://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business-observer/jamaica-unlikely-to-leave-anti-money-laundering-grey-list-says-minister-clarke-due-to-delay-from-court-appeal-by-legal-profession_233496

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.

https://www.jurist.org/news/2021/10/icj-rules-in-favor-of-somalia-in-maritime-border-dispute/

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.

https://www.occrp.org/en/investigations/how-a-zimbabwe-tycoon-made-a-fortune-from-a-trafigura-partnership-and-spiralling-national-debt

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.

https://insightcrime.org/news/social-media-democratizes-arms-trafficking-mexico/

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.

https://insightcrime.org/news/yacu-kallpa-illegal-timber-impunity-peru/

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.

https://www.pinsentmasons.com/out-law/analysis/uae-introduces-licensing-regime-for-payment-service-providers

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.

https://www.moneylaundering.com/news/large-us-banks-sharing-financial-intelligence-through-private-exchange/

‘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.

https://cryptonews.com/news/identity-theft-criminals-plundering-el-salvador-bitcoin-wallet-funds.htm

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.

https://riotimesonline.com/brazil-news/mercosur/peru/peru-libre-leaders-mothers-accounts-are-frozen-for-alleged-money-laundering/

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.

https://fcpablog.com/2021/10/13/iaca-now-offering-an-anti-bribery-and-human-rights-online-course/

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.

https://www.traceinternational.org/resources-podcast

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.

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Terrorists-Cocaine-And-Power-A-War-Within-Venezuela.html

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.

https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/italy-court-overturns-arrest-warrant-broker-trial-vatican-2021-10-13

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.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/beneficial-ownership-information-in-7468840

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.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/oct/13/british-football-coach-sentenced-to-25-years-jail-in-dubai-over-cbd-vape-liquid

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. 

https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/us-attorney-announces-charges-against-11-members-money-laundering-and-bank-fraud-ring

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.

https://www.lawfareblog.com/obscure-tax-law-may-be-hampering-efforts-understand-domestic-extremism

PANDORA PAPERS

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.

https://www.dechert.com/knowledge/onpoint/2021/10/the-pandora-papers-and-the-heightened-importance-of–knowing-you.html

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.

https://afridi-angell.com/the-pandora-papers-a-legal-perspective/

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