Panama Covid-19 update – couldn’t help noticing that Morocco, of all places, is banning flights to and from the UK because of rising coronavirus case rates – in the UK. Latest figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control show tMorocco’s weekly rate of reported coronavirus cases on 14 October stood at 10.4 per 100,000 people. The UK’s comparable rate is 445.5.
Meanwhile, in Panama, fatalities have reached 7,300 with 2 more reported today. There are also 257 new cases reported. There are said to be 2,319 active cases – 37 in ICU and 167 in other wards.
20 OCTOBER 2021
PERU: PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE SEEKS TO PREVENT NEW AMBASSADOR TO VENEZUELA FROM LEAVING COUNTRY
On 19 October, La Prensa reported that the prosecutor’s office in Peru had sought a court order to prevent the new Peruvian ambassador to Venezuela, Richard Rojas García, from leaving to take up the post. He is said to be under investigation for money laundering. The previous month Panama had rejected the appointment of the same man as ambassador to Panama. It is reported that the case involves suspected illegal financing of the 2021 presidential campaign of the Perú Libre party, of which he is the national leader.
FBI RAIDS HOMES OWNED BY RELATIVES OF RUSSIAN OLIGARCH OLEG DERIPASKA
On 19 October, the Wall Street Journal reported that the FBI conducted raids of residences in Washington and New York owned by the family of Russian metals tycoon Oleg Deripaska. A spokesman for Deripaska confirmed that the searches were carried out pursuant to court orders stemming from US sanctions – Deripaska has been under US sanctions since 2016.
BELGIUM TRYING TO DILUTE EU BELARUS POTASH SANCTIONS
On 20 October, KYC360 reported that diplomats in Brussels have written to other EU Member States, requesting a loosening of restrictions on Belarusian potash to allow for changes to the potassium content of fertiliser imports.
CANADA: CASINOS USED FOREIGN HIGH ROLLERS AS MONEY LAUNDERING ‘PAWNS,’
On 19 October, Global News reported that the inquiry into money laundering using casinos in British Columbia has heard that in 2012 the RCMP said that such casinos were a very significant source of laundering activity, “using wealthy People’s Republic of China gamblers as willing pawns in their activity”. An RCMP report provides new details about undercover operations targeting high-end patrons and loan sharks operating in 2 casinos in the province. Lawyers for the casinos have argued that it wasn’t the company’s responsibility to investigate or reject suspicious cash transactions – but that the company “appropriately relied upon the RCMP and FINTRAC to provide direction.
PODCAST: MODERN SLAVERY AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING LAWS AND THE SHIFTING REGULATORY LANDSCAPE
On 14 October, Reed Smith released a 20-minute podcast which seeks to provide an overview of the latest developments in this field of law and to offer practical tips to achieve compliance.
ANTI-CORRUPTION IN GREECE
On 12 October, law firm Ovvadias S. Namias published an interview with its managing partner (also Ovvadias S. Namias) looking at key developments in Greece and key areas of compliance risk.
BUSINESS-FRIENDLY GUIDE TO THE UK-EU BREXIT TRADE DEAL: NOW FULLY UPDATED
On 15 October, Travers Smith LLP said that it had recently updated its cross-practice area guide to the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), which breaks the TCA down into key topics of interest to business.
It also provided a 3-minute video guide to the TCA –
SINGAPORE TO COUNTER TRADE-BASED MONEY LAUNDERING WITH NEW PLATFORM
In its 21 October edition, Global Trade Review reported that the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is readying the launch of a new digital platform to tackle financial crime in the city-state’s banking sector, with the initial phase of the project set to focus on the illicit use of trade finance. Known as Cosmic, it is being launched together with 6 major commercial banks including Citi, DBS, HSBC, Standard Chartered, OCBC and UOB.
PROSECUTING PROJECT RAVEN: A NEW FRONTIER FOR EXPORT CONTROL ENFORCEMENT
On 20 October, an article on Lawfare was concerned with the announcement of a case involving the the US DoJ “unprecedented” resolution of criminal charges against 3 former US military and intelligence members for conspiring to conduct computer network exploitation operations (hacking) on behalf of a foreign government, the UAE. It is said that the defendants used the tradecraft they learned in the US military and intelligence community to assist a foreign government’s intelligence collection operations. The case marks the first time the DoJ has charged hacking as a violation of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). The DoJ resolved the charges with a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA). It is said that it is clear that the DoJ is now focused on former US military and intelligence members and efforts to promote offensive cyber capabilities of foreign governments.
6 MEN HELD IN SEYCHELLES ON SUSPICION OF SMUGGLING GOLD
On 20 October, the Seychelles News Agency reported that the Seychelles Supreme Court has remanded 6 men – a Seychellois and 5 Malagasy nationals – on suspicion of alleged gold smuggling. They were arrested in Port Victoria after local law enforcement officers said they found around 23 kg of suspected gold onboard their vessel.
600 KG OF SEA CUCUMBER SEIZED IN INDIA’S SOUTHERN TAMIL NADU COAST
On 20 October, WION reported that an Indian Coast Guard team in southern Tamil Nadu state seized 600 kg of sea cucumber from a small boat that was involved in smuggling. It notes that sea cucumbers are an important constituent of the marine ecosystem as they play a key role in maintaining the health of the ecosystem. In India, sea cucumber is treated as an endangered species.
ZIMBABWE LOSES $30 MILLION TO SMUGGLED WASHING POWDER
On 20 October, Bulawayo 24 reported that the Detergents Manufacturers Association (DMA) claims that Zimbabwe is losing approximately $30 million a year through the smuggling of Maq washing powder.
TOBACCO IMPORTS TO NORTH KOREA LEAD TRADE WITH CHINA
On 20 October, NK Pro reported that imports of tobacco products far outstrip medicine, even as DPRK’s population remains unvaccinated.
UK: TAX INFORMATION AND IMPACT NOTE (TIIN) RE UK FREE ZONES
On 19 October, HMRC published a Policy Paper, a tax information and impact note (TIIN), for businesses trading in or moving goods to or from the UK that wish to store or process goods in a free zone, and authorities responsible for operating free zones. The relevant rules apply from 8 November.
HOW ONE OF SCANDINAVIA’S BIGGEST BANKS DISMANTLED ITS CORRESPONDENT BANKING NETWORK
On 20 October, Global Trade Review published an article about Swedish lender Handelsbanken, saying that, after watching other Nordic banks become embroiled in financial crime scandals over the last few years, Handelsbanken wanted to do everything it could to minimise the risk of befalling the same fate. Its trade finance division, with its sprawling network of correspondent banking relationships in developing countries, was quickly identified as high risk by the compliance department.
8 ARRESTED IN BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG FOR FRAUD AND ILLEGALLY USING CHEAP LABOUR BY EXPLOITING MIGRANT WORKERS
On 20 October, the Brussels Times reported that around 80 police investigators and 26 social investigators made a series of simultaneous arrests in Belgium, Italy and Luxembourg as part of an investigation into widespread fraud and social dumping. It explains that “social dumping” is the term given to illegally using cheap labour by exploiting migrant workers and thereby circumventing employment regulations.
MALAYSIAN GRAFT BUSTER HELD FOR STEALING $8 MILLION IN CASH UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING
On 20 October, the Straits Times reported that a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officer is being detained for the alleged theft of $6 million cash held as evidence is now under investigation for drug trafficking.
POLICE DETAIN 11 ACROSS EUROPE IN MAFIA PROBE AND THE TRADE IN LUXURY VEHICLES
On 20 October, Reuters reported that police in Germany, Italy and Bulgaria detained 11 people and raided 46 residential and commercial buildings in an investigation into tax fraud by the ‘Ndrangheta mafia. They illegally claimed VAT by selling exclusive cars several times in different European countries.
SOUTH AFRICA’S ‘YOUNGEST’ MILLIONAIRE ARRESTED FOR ‘FRAUD’
On 20 October, Sowetan Live reported that forex trader Sandile Shezi became a millionaire at the age of 23. He has been charged with fraud, and has surrendered himself in the presence of his lawyers.
US: $1.9 MILLION WORTH OF FAKE CHANEL EARRINGS SEIZED
On 19 October, a news release from US Customs & Border Protection advised that officers at the port of Memphis selected for inspection a shipment from UAE en route to an apartment in Little Rock, Arkansas. They found 500 pairs of earrings that had the recorded trademarks of Chanel. This was the same shipper and consignee of a previous, nearly identical shipment just days before.
MALTA: CUSTOMS SEIZE STOLEN CARS, LEADING TO ARREST OF CANADIAN CARJACKERS
On 20 October, the Times of Malta reported that the 12 cars were being shipped by container to Abu Dhabi, being shipped through Malta and this has led to the arrest in Canada of people suspected of being behind a series of violent carjackings.
US ANNUAL REPORT TO CONGRESS ON ITS WORK TO COMBAT ELDER FRAUD AND ABUSE
A news release from US DoJ on 19 October advised that it has issued its Annual Report to Congress on its Activities to Combat Elder Fraud and Abuse, which summarises the department’s extensive elder justice efforts to 30 June 2021.
US: CEO OF MAJOR DEFENCE CONTRACTOR CHARGED WITH BRIBERY
A news release from US DoJ on 18 October advised that Frank S Rafaraci, 68, the CEO of Multinational Logistics Services (MLS), a large ship husbanding company that has received over $1 billion in US Navy contracts since 2010, appeared in court to face a criminal charge for his alleged participation in a bribery scheme. MLS is a defence contractor that provides ship husbanding services, such as refuelling and stocking provisions, to US Navy ships at ports worldwide.
GERMANY: NEW REPORT ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING DATA COLLECTION FILLS LAW ENFORCEMENT INFORMATION GAPS
On 19 October, a new report says that KOK (a government-funded NGO network that coordinates and oversees victim support efforts across Germany) has published the first evaluation of its trafficking data tool. It contains the first evaluation of the KOK data tool, which was used to collect information on more than 700 cases of human trafficking and exploitation between January 2020 and the end of June 2021.
BREXIT: UK FREIGHT EXECUTIVES TELLING EUROPEAN EXPORTERS TO BE PREPARED FOR FULL CUSTOMS DECLARATIONS AT THE BEGINNING OF 2022
On 20 October, Loadstar reported that European suppliers should be prepared for 1 January, when UK customs authorities will need full customs declarations completed to allow shipments across the border. It says that any shippers hoping the UK Government would again drop the proposed regulations are likely to be disappointed, said the head of border industry engagement at the UK Border and Protocol Delivery Group, part of the Cabinet Office.
US TREASURY RELEASES LONG-AWAITED SANCTIONS POLICY REVIEW
On 20 October, a Client Alert from Wilmer Hale reports on the Review which describes the US sanctions framework and the US Treasury’s future sanctions priorities. It reflects on the evolution over 2 decades of US sanctions, noting various policy successes while emphasising the importance of modernising sanctions so that they can remain an effective national security tool. The Treasury outlines 5 steps that will “modernize and adapt its sanctions policy and operational framework” to address “new, emerging challenges,” including cybercriminal activity, the role of digital currencies, and an increasingly complex financial and technical infrastructure.
ARIZONA’S NEW ALTERNATIVE BUSINESS STRUCTURE (ABS)
On 14 October, an article from Greenberg Traurig was published by Law 360 says that since 1 January Arizona has had a new alternative business structure, or ABS, the first of its kind in the US in which non-lawyers may own a law-practicing entity. However, one condition of a licence is that the ABS appoint an Arizona lawyer as its compliance lawyer.
US: AUSTRALIAN SENTENCED FOR MULTIMILLION-DOLLAR TEXT-MESSAGING CONSUMER FRAUD SCHEME
A news release from US DoJ on 20 October advised that Michael Pearse, an Australian national who was extradited to the US from in January, has been sentenced to 109 months in prison for his participation in a fraudulent scheme to charge hundreds of thousands of mobile phone customers millions of dollars in monthly fees for unsolicited, recurring text messages without the customers’ knowledge or consent – a practice the conspirators referred to as “auto-subscribing”. The scheme ‘earned’ Pearse and his co-conspirators at least $50 million, of which Pearse pocketed more than $10 million.
UNAOIL APPEAL: APPELLANT CLAIMS NEW DISCLOSURES REVEAL ALLEGEDLY IMPROPER AND UNLAWFUL ATTEMPT BY SFO TO UNDERMINE A FAIR TRIAL
On 20 October, Yahoo News reported on the Court of Appeal case brought by Ziad Akle, a former executive of energy consultancy Unaoil, who was convicted of bribery and jailed in 2020. His lawyers has accused the SFO of a “deliberate and blanket decision” not to disclose relevant material, undermining Akle’s right to a fair trial.
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