OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – OCTOBER 15

Panama Covid-19 update – the World Health Organisation has said that Panama is at Level 1 of community transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Level 1 classification corresponds to a country that has implemented basic measures to contain transmission or, if there are already cases, the epidemic is being controlled with effective measures to manage cases.

https://www.prensa.com/impresa/panorama/panama-en-nivel-uno-de-la-transmision-comunitaria-del-virus-sars-cov-2-oms/

Nevertheless, as the La Prensa article reports, the UK stillr efuses to recognise the position in Panama and keeps it on the travel Red List. This is despite a Guardian article today which compares the poor performance of the UK (and asks why it is allowed to continue) compared to other countries, particularly its former EU partners. The graphs in the article allow you to add other countries to the comparisons provided, as shown below with panama added.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/oct/15/why-britons-are-tolerating-sky-high-covid-rates-and-why-this-may-not-last

Meanwhile, today saw another 202 new cases and 4 new fatalities; with 2,430 active cases, 42 in ICU and 178 in other wards.

15 OCTOBER 2021

NOTORIOUS WILDLIFE MARKET, LARGEST IN PERUVIAN AMAZON, BACK IN BUSINESS AFTER PANDEMIC HIATUS

On 13 October, National Geographic said that, after an overhaul aimed at modernizing Belén Market and preventing the spread of COVID-19, illegal selling of wildlife persists.  It is a sprawling outdoor bazaar in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon.  The 16-acre market is in Iquitos, on a tributary of the Amazon — the largest city in the Peruvian Amazon and the largest in the world that can’t be reached by land.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/article/notorious-wildlife-market-largest-in-peruvian-amazon-back-in-business-after-pandemic-hiatus

CHINESE TELECOM GIANT ZTE IN DISPUTE WITH US COURT-APPOINTED MONITOR

On 15 October, the Wall Street Journal reported that in 2017 ZTE agreed to the oversight of an independent monitor after pleading guilty to illegally exporting sensitive US technologies to Iran and repeatedly lying to investigators. The court-appointed monitor, James Stanton, has applied for an extension, saying he had evidence that the company violated the terms of its probation but without providing further details.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/chinese-telecom-giant-zte-in-dispute-with-u-s-court-appointed-monitor-11634290201

HONG KONG CUSTOMS SEIZE 3 TONNES OF AUSTRALIAN LOBSTER IN SMUGGLING BUST

On 15 October, RTHK reported that Customs had seized more than 3,000 kg of Australian lobster that they believed was to be smuggled to the mainland by sea. 13 people were arrested, some on suspicion of making inadequate import declarations.

https://news.rthk.hk/rthk/en/component/k2/1615380-20211015.htm

30 COUNTRIES, INCLUDING THE US, AGREE ON PRINCIPLES TO FIGHT RANSOMWARE

On 14 October, SC Media reported that a virtual summit with 30 countries which represent some of the most important stakeholders in combatting ransomware.  The agreed statement is not an agreement to specific terms, but covers a wide variety of different ransomware choke points, including a cooperative move toward AML laws and penalties within cryptocurrency exchanges.

https://www.scmagazine.com/analysis/policy/thirty-nations-including-us-agree-on-principles-to-fight-ransomware

And –

PUBLIC US EFFORTS TO COUNTER RANSOMWARE

On 13 October, the White House published this Factsheet which said, inter alia, that the US National Security Council was facilitating an international counter-ransomware event with over 30 partners to accelerate cooperation on improving network resilience, addressing the financial systems that make ransomware profitable, disrupting the ransomware ecosystem via law enforcement collaboration, and leveraging the tools of diplomacy to address safe harbours and improve partner capacity. It listed the 4 main lines of attack of the Biden Administration, and the actions taken.

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/10/13/fact-sheet-ongoing-public-u-s-efforts-to-counter-ransomware/

EBA PUBLISHES ITS WORK PROGRAMME FOR 2022

On 5 October, Market Screener reported that the European Banking Authority had published its annual work programme for 2022, describing the activities and tasks of the Authority as well as its key strategic areas of work for the coming year. This includes fighting money laundering and terrorism financing and contributing to a new EU infrastructure. Thera er also 2 “horizontal principles” – providing tools to measure and manage environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) risks; and monitoring and mitigating the impact of COVID-19.

https://www.marketscreener.com/news/latest/EBA-publishes-its-work-programme-for-2022–36689314/

https://www.eba.europa.eu/sites/default/documents/files/document_library/About%20Us/Work%20Programme/2022/1021339/EBA%202022%20Annual%20Work%20Programme.pdf

SINGAPORE: PROPOSED CHANGES TO ACCOUNTANTS ACT TO ENHANCE REGULATOR’S OVERSIGHT AND AUDIT QUALITY

On 15 October, the Straits Times reported that the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (Acra) have announced long-awaited proposed amendments to Singapore’s Accountants Act aimed at enhancing the reach and oversight of the industry’s regulator.  Consultation on the proposals continues to 13 November.  The Bill contains key amendments to enhance the audit regulatory regime and introduce measures for better compliance with professional requirements and standards by both public accountants and accounting entities.

https://www.straitstimes.com/business/banking/proposed-changes-to-accountants-act-to-enhance-regulators-oversight-and-audit

LITHIUM: CHINESE INVESTMENT IN LATIN AMERICA’S ‘WHITE GOLD’

On 14 October, the Wilson Center published a video “Explainer” saying that lithium is an indispensable ingredient for the global energy transformation, with 71% of global supply used for batteries, including in electric vehicles.  China dominates global battery production, so not surprisingly, it is on the hunt for a steady supply of lithium. Already, Chinese lithium giants Ganfeng Lithium, Tianqi Lithium and Zijin Mining Group are major players in Latin America’s famed “lithium triangle”.  As Bolivia tries to catch up to its neighbours, its lithium resources are also attracting interest from China. The same is true in Mexico, where China could help Mexico take advantage of the lithium boom 

https://www.wilsoncenter.org/video/chinese-investment-latin-americas-white-gold

SFO v PETROFAC: LESSONS FROM A COMPLIANCE PERSPECTIVE

On 15 October, HR Magazine reported that Petrofac Limited has been sentenced following guilty pleas to 7 counts of failing to prevent bribery. Petrofac must pay a fine of £47 million by February 2022 and a further £29.5 million by way of costs and confiscation within the next 3 months.  It says that Petrofac’s culpability ultimately sprang from the total failure of their internal compliance policies.

https://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/content/comment/sfo-vs-petrofac-lessons-from-a-compliance-perspective

ILLICIT FINANCE UNDERMINES ‘GLOBAL BRITAIN’

On 15 October, a video commentary from RUSI says why it is important that the UK steps up on the world stage in countering illicit finance.

https://rusi.org/news-and-comment/video-commentary/illicit-finance-undermines-global-britain

AQ KHAN IS DEAD – LONG LIVE THE PROLIFERATION NETWORK

On 15 October, a Commentary from RUSI says that AQ Khan’s legacy may not be in the nuclear kit he sold, but rather in how he sold it.  His departure is a reminder of the limited progress made in countering proliferation networks.  He was often described as the father of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb and probably the world’s best-known proliferator – the head of an international proliferation black market that helped supply nuclear and missile technology to countries like North Korea, Iran and Libya. It concludes that, until the international community gets serious about addressing the complex criminal infrastructure that underpins WMD proliferation today, Khan’s legacy will live on in the networks he helped to pioneer.

https://rusi.org/explore-our-research/publications/commentary/aq-khan-dead-long-live-proliferation-network

UK: SUSPECT €560,000 FORFEITED AFTER NCA SECURED A FORFEITURE ORDER FOLLOWING A SMUGGLING ATTEMPT BY A DUTCH MAN

A news release from NCA on 15 October advised that the money – believed to be the profits of organised crime in Ireland – was found inside a suitcase belonging to 45-year-old Harm Stachouwer.  was stopped by Border Force officers at the Channel Tunnel on 25 February 2019 as he was about to drive onto a Eurotunnel train.  The cash was found in 2 large heat-sealed bags, which NCA officers believe was to avoid the attention of cash detector dogs. The bags were marked as ‘Swedish Twisted Fire Lighters’. 

https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/cash-forfeiture-order-success-for-national-crime-agency

CALIFORNIA JUSTICE DEPARTMENT FILED CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF SEIU CALIFORNIA, THE LARGEST LABOUR UNION IN THE STATE

On 15 October, Jurist reported that Alma Hernandez and her husband Jose Moscoso had been charged with embezzlement and fraud.

https://www.jurist.org/news/2021/10/california-justice-department-files-embezzlement-charges-against-labor-union-executive/

UZBEKISTAN INTRODUCES LAW ON PRECIOUS METALS AND STONES

On 14 October, an article from Dentons says that all phases of the exploitation of precious metals and precious stones — from exploration and extraction to processing (refining), sales and export — are to be regulated by a new Law, which also aims to improve the system of testing and sealing jewellery, as well as procedures for quality control.

https://www.dentons.com/en/insights/alerts/2021/october/14/uzbekistan-introduces-law-on-precious-metals-and-stones

UK: CRYPTOCURRENCY TRADER STOLE ELECTRICITY WORTH £32,000 TO POWER ‘BITCOIN MINING’ MACHINES

On 14 October, the Leicester Mercury reported that a ‘greedy’ cryptocurrency trader has been jailed after he was caught bypassing the electrical mains to power the machines he used, after he admitted ‘abstracting’ electricity worth up to £32,000 at 2 Leicestershire sites where he operated bitcoin mining machines.

https://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/news/local-news/jailed-cryptocurrency-trader-stole-electricity-6054392

GANG MEMBER FLOWN BACK TO THE UK AND JAILED OVER £2.8 MILLION CIGARETTE FRAUD

On 11 October, Lincolnshire Live reported that a fifth member of a criminal gang has been flown back to the UK from Lithuania and jailed for his part in smuggling 8.5 million illegal cigarettes into the UK in 2017. 

https://www.lincolnshirelive.co.uk/news/gang-member-flown-back-uk-6040182

SPORTRADAR INTEGRITY SERVICES HIGHLIGHT THE SCALE OF MATCH-FIXING IN SPORT OVER THE LAST 18 MONTHS

On 13 October, Sportrader reported that it had detected more than 1,100 suspicious sports matches since the start of the global Covid pandemic in April 2020, with 655 of those matches detected in the first 9 months of 2021.

https://www.sportradar.com/news-archive/sportradar-integrity-services-highlight-the-scale-of-match-fixing-in-sport-over-the-last-18-months/

BRITISH SUPERMARKET CHEESE LINKED TO DEFORESTATION IN BRAZIL

On 13 October, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism says that UK farms supplying milk and dairy products for Cathedral City Cheddar, Anchor butter and Cadbury chocolate are feeding their cattle soya from a controversial agribusiness accused of contributing to widespread deforestation in Brazil.  They source some of their animal feed from companies buying Brazilian soya exported by the US grain giant Cargill.  Grupo Scheffer, one of Cargill’s Brazilian suppliers, has been linked to multiple incidents of environmental damage, including clearing swathes of tropical forest.

https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/stories/2021-10-13/british-cheese-dairy-deforestation-brazil

POSSESSION AND TANGIBILITY: CLOSELY RELATED CONCEPTS LONG ESTABLISHED UNDER ENGLISH LAW FACE A CHANGE JUST AROUND THE CORNER

On 14 October, an article from Reed Smith explains that the existing position under English law is that one cannot legally ‘possess’, or have physical control of, something intangible (not including intellectual property rights, which are governed by separate rules). This means that a purely electronic or digital trade document cannot be possessed, and so cannot fulfil the legal functions of its possessable paper equivalent. However, the Law Commission has issued proposals that could change the position.  These refer to the possession of electronic trade documents and the accompanying draft legislation which suggest that more universal digitisation of electronic bills of lading and other trade documents will soon be a reality.  The article says that the Law Commission’s proposals herald a far-sighted and welcome modernisation of English law to reflect the new digital world.  What will be important going forward is that the global marketplace perceives that enough of the technological challenges around electronic trade documents have been overcome to facilitate widespread uptake. If that can be achieved, then English law will be ready to help realise the full potential of digital trade documents.

https://www.shiplawlog.com/2021/10/14/possession-as-we-dont-know-it

AS CHINA BURNS THROUGH COAL, NORTH KOREA STEPS IN TO FILL THE GAP

On 15 October, NK Pro reported that imports of illicit North Korean coal fuels concerns that shipments will continue even after Chinese energy crisis ends.  It says that North Korean trading companies have recently upped shipments of anthracite coal to China in response to surging demand.

https://www.nknews.org/pro/as-china-burns-through-coal-north-korea-steps-in-to-fill-the-gap/

UK: TRANSPARENCY IN SUPPLY CHAINS REQUIREMENTS OF THE MODERN SLAVERY ACT

On 15 October, the Home Office published the Government response to a consultation that ran until 17 September 2019.  It is said to be gathering views on proposed measures intended to increase transparency and compliance, improve reporting quality and extend the scope of the legislation.  The consultation sought views on proposed changes to transparency in supply chains reporting, including the areas statements must cover; potential features for the new Government-run reporting service for modern slavery statements; a single reporting deadline; civil penalties; and the extension of reporting to the public sector.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/919937/Government_response_to_transparency_in_supply_chains_consultation_21_09_20.pdf

UK: MONEY LAUNDERING TRIAL ENDS AS COURT REFUSES MORE TIME FOR PROSECUTION

On 15 October, Eastern Eye reported that the trial of a high-profile money laundering case ended without making any significant headway as a judge refused to grant more time to the CPS to produce evidence.  A couple and 2 others were accused of conspiring to launder £34 million between 2012 and 2018 with false identities by setting sham companies and accounts. They were also believed to have stashed away cash in 43 bank accounts before transferring the money from the UK to Pakistan and other countries.

https://www.easterneye.biz/money-laundering-trial-ends-as-court-refuses-for-time-for-prosecution/

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Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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